John Ely Runs Dodgers Streak to Eight

Opposing batters are saying the same thing of John Ely that they said about Greg Maddux. "He's not that difficult to hit, we just didn't capitalize. Perhaps he caught us at just the right time." And like Maddux, Ely just smiles, takes the 6-2 victory over Houston, and moves on toward the next start

. Ely, who just turned 24 on the 13th of May, was part of the trade with the Chicago White Sox, along with Jon Link, for Los Angeles outfielder Juan Pierre.

While winning his second game over four starts, Ely was again in the strike zone all night long. He threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of the 25 hitters he faced and went to a three-ball count just five times. Over his seven innings he allowed five hits and a pair of runs, lowering his ERA to 3.51.

The rookie right-hander, who was making only his fourth Major League start, struck out eight and didn't walk anyone. He has faced 84 consecutive batters without allowing a base on balls -— the longest current streak in the majors. He walked three in his first stand and none since.

The Dodgers won for the 13th time in 16 games, the last three without right fielder Andre Ethier, who fractured the little finger on his right hand during batting practice. Ethier is off to the best start of his career, leading the majors in batting average (.392) and RBIs (38) and was tied for the NL lead in home runs with 11.

Blake DeWitt and Casey Blake each drove in a pair of runs, scoring three times in the first inning and never looking back. Each had a pair of hits, along with right fielder Reed Johnson and Matt Kemp.

The Astro's Wandy Rodriguez took the loss, having allowed four runs, three unearned, before leaving in the seventh. Houston gave him a run in the first inning, but the Dodgers came back with three in the bottom of the frame.

James Loney's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded tied the game and Blake doubled inside first base to make it 3-1.

In the fifth, Kemp sliced a double to the wall in right center but Manny Ramirez was thrown out at the plate by a wide margin.

DeWitt tripled off the right fielder's glove in the fourth to drive in Loney and Houston added their second run in the top of the fifth.

DeWitt's second triple of the game in the eighth knocked in the final two runs. He is the first Dodger with two triples in a game since Rafael Furcal turned the trick on June 13, 2007.

But it was Ely that dazzled the crowd in the first game of three against Houston. He threw 96 pitches, 67 for strikes.

"I've got enough confidence in what I'm bringing to the table," said Ely. "The fact that if I execute my pitch where I want it, I feel like I have the advantage no matter who I am facing. That's the way you got to go out and feel like every time out."

Torre said they would announce in the next day or so whether Ethier, who met with the team physician on Monday for the second time in two days, would go to the disabled list.

Early Runs
Johnson broke an 0-for-14 drought he's suffered through since May 1, when he singled in the first. Manny Ramirez drew a 10-pitch walk. Kemp hit a grounder in the hole in which shortstop Geoff Blum made a diving stop but his throw pulled second baseman Jeff Keppinger off the base.

It was originally ruled a hit but the decision was changed to an error, making the three first-inning runs unearned.

Jeff Weaver, George Sherrill and Ramon Troncoso combined over the final two innings to allow the Astros just one baserunner.

Dodger Blue Notes --Ethier, wearing a small splint on his injured finger, worked out but did not take batting practice or catch any thrown balls. ...Martin singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 12 games and tie his longest in the majors. ... Dodgers pitchers have a 1.75 ERA during their eight-game winning streak and have held opponents to a .175 average. They have now won 10 of 11 and improved to 11-6 at home. ...The Dodger bullpen tossed another 2.0 scoreless innings and has allowed just two runs over 20.0 innings (0.90 ERA) during the club's eight-game winning streak. ...Jamey Carroll has played all but 2.0 innings at shortstop since Rafael Furcal's injury. Starting with the second game of the doubleheader on April 27, Carroll has a .975 fielding percentage and a .303 batting average with two doubles and six RBI in 19 games (all starts). The club has gone 13-6 in those games.    

Pitching Probables
Tonight, RHP Bud Norris (2-4, 6.03) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (4-1, 2.66)
Wednesday vs. San Diego, RHP Jon Garland (4-2, 1.88) vs. RHP Ramon Ortiz (1-1, 5.40)
Thursday, RHP Kevin Correia (4-3, 4.35)vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-2, 3.55)

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