Astros Take Series With 8-5 Win

The final 8-5 score did not indicate the nature of the game between the Dodgers and Astros. Actually it wasn't as close as the score indicated, made close only after a last-ditch, three-run rally in the ninth inning by Los Angeles that fell short. Starter Odalis Perez gave up 11 hits and seven runs (six earned) before leaving with one out in the eighth and fell to 3-1.

Without Kenny Lofton, Jeff Kent or Rafael Furcal, who were given the night off after the marathon 14-inning game the night before, the Los Angeles offense consisted of Jason Repko's third home run of the season in the fifth inning with Houston already cruising with a 6-0 lead.

Then in the ninth, having been held to six hits, Oscar Robles got his first hit of the 2006 season, a single to center; Olmedo Saenz followed with a single to left and when Repko singled to load the bases, the faithful began to hope against hope for another miracle ninth-inning rally.

They got the rally and while one should not criticize a three-run inning, Perez and Franquelis Osoria had the club in an 8-2 hole at the time and three was just a cosmetic thing.

Jose Cruz bounced to second to drive in Robles and Kent, pinch-hitting, and shot a lazier into the third baseman's glove for the second out. Then Ricky Ledee, who came into the game in the seventh and doubled, whacked a single that scored Saenz and Repko but Bill Mueller bounced out to end the impossible dream.

Perez was touched for a run in the second inning, then gave up three in the third with Lance Berkman launching a two-run homer. Three more hits, plus a throwing error by J.D. Drew cost two more in the fifth and Osoria surrendered one in the seventh.

Tim Hamulak worked a scoreless 1.1 innings and dropped his earned run average to 1.00.

Furcal and Kent sat out to rest their ailing bat as much as to rest their body. Each has a batting average hovering around the Mendoza Line. Nomar Garciaparra, since his heroic grand slam in the opening game of the series, has gone 0-for-9 and has left 10 baserunners stranded.

The Dodgers have a day off Thursday (today) and will travel to San Diego on Friday for the start of a three-game series. The National League West is bunched up like a size 38 suit on Marlon Brando. The fourth place Dodgers are only a game and one-half out of the league lead. The standings:
   West        w-l    gb 
Colorado      11-10   - - 
San Francisco 11-10   - - 
Arizona       11-11   0.5 
Los Angeles   10-12   1.5 
San Diego      8-13   3.0

  Score by innings
Dodgers  000 020 003-5
Houston  013 210 10x-8

  Dodgers     ab r h bi ave
Repko cf       4 2 2 2 .333
Cruz lf        5 0 1 1 .250
Drew rf        4 0 1 0 .333
  Hamulak p    0 0 0 0 .000
  Kent ph      1 0 0 0 .197
Garciaparra 1b 3 0 0 0 .188
  Osoria p     0 0 0 0 .000
  Ledee ph-rf  2 0 2 2 .286
Mueller 3b     5 0 1 0 .320
Martinez ss    4 0 0 0 .217
Navarro c      3 0 1 0 .233
Robles 3b      3 2 1 0 .143
Perez p        1 0 0 0 .000
  Saenz 1b     2 1 1 0 .300
    Totals    37 5 10 5
    Houston   36 8 13 8

  Error- Drew. 2B hits- Cruz (5), Ledee (3). 
HR-Repko (3). RBI- Repko 2 (11). Cruz (4), 
Ledee 2 (7). LOB- Dodgers 9, Houston 9. 
S- Perez.

  Dodgers       in  h r-er bb so era
Perez (L,3-1)  4.1 11  7-6  1  3 5.61
Osoria         2.1  2  1-1  0  4 4.38
Hamulak        1.0  0  0-0  2  2 1.00
  PB- Navarro. HBP- Repko, 1 by Osoria.
T- 3:04. Att- 32,874.
Dodger Blue Notes-- It appears that Cesar Izturis' return to action has been greatly over estimated and he will probably be able to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment before June -- which was the original estimate. Izturis had been throwing 180 feet but experienced soreness and cut back to 120 feet. He is building back in 10- to 20-foot increments and won't get back to 180 feet for about two weeks. Izturis did not accompany the Dodgers to Houston but is expected to rejoin the team Friday in San Diego. …The remarkable J.D. Drew reached base again Tuesday night and has a streak of 48 consecutive games (18 in 2006) reaching back to 2005. …Bill Mueller has struck out only twice in 87 at-bats. …The Dodger outfielders (Drew, Lofton, Cruz, Ledee, Repko and Ross) have a .300+ batting average, 10 homers and 40 runs batted in after 21 games. …Kenny Lofton has a six-game hitting streak since going 0-for-3 on April 17 and is hitting .400 (10-for-25) during that time. …