After losing six in a row, including the opener of this series on Thursday, the Dodgers have posted back-to-back wins to set themselves up for a series victory. They squeezed out a 4-2 win in 11 innings on Friday, then posted a 6-3 triumph last night with a three-run ninth inning. James Loney highlighted the frame with an RBI double for LA, which is 2-4 on a 10-game road trip.
Casey Blake hit a solo home run and Reed Johnson had two hits, an RBI and scored twice in a winning effort. Starter John Ely threw six innings and was charged with three runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Kenley Jansen picked up his first career win for tossing a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
"Since I've started to throw as a pitcher I've always wanted to be a closer", said Jansen. "My goal is to be like Mariano Rivera, that's my goal, to be like that guy one day."
Jay Gibbons added two hits for LA and is hitting .359 with four homers and 12 RBI since being called up from Triple-A Albuquerque on August 8.
Taking the mound for the Dodgers today will be rookie Carlos Monasterios, who will replace Vicente Padilla after he was scratched with a bulging disk in his neck. Monasterios owns a 3-5 mark in 28 games (11 starts) this season to go along with a 4.02 ERA. He pitched just two innings in his last appearance on August 31 versus Philadelphia, as he gave up five runs in five hits to suffer the loss.
The right-hander is 2-2 on the road and has never faced the Astros.
Houston has dropped back-to-back games following a three-game winning streak and looks to break even in this series with Los Angeles.
Brett Wallace homered and both Michael Bourn and Jeff Keppinger contributed run-scoring hits for Houston, which is 1-2 on a 10-game homestand. Wandy Rodriguez made the start for the 'Stros and did not factor in the outcome with seven innings of three-run ball and 10 strikeouts.
"I was using my breaking ball tonight," Rodriguez said on the team's website. "[In the fourth], I think I hung it and got behind them. It got better."
Brandon Lyon was saddled with the loss for allowing three runs -- two earned -- in the top of the ninth inning.
Taking the ball for the Astros today will be Nelson Figueroa, who is 2-1 in 13 games (1 start) this season for Houston and 5-2 with both the Phillies and Astros this season. He has won consecutive trips to the hill and beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, allowing three runs in five innings of a 7-3 win.
Figueroa has lasted at least five innings in five straight outings and is 1-1 with a 6.60 ERA in three career starts against Los Angeles.
The Dodgers swept a two-game series from the Astros back in May and have six of the previous seven matchups between the two ballclubs.