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Houston at Los Angeles

Scoreboard
Houston (20-17) «320000000592
L.A. Dodgers (19-17)000000000031

Astros 5, Dodgers 0

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Chris Sampson was struggling badly with the Houston Astros, so pitching coach Dewey Robinson corrected a flaw in his delivery. Bench coach Jackie Moore also reminded the right-hander of what got him to the majors.

The advice worked wonders.

Sampson pitched three-hit ball over seven innings in a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night, and was hopeful that this kind of outing could turn his season around.

"I had a nice heart-to-heart talk with Jackie Moore, because I played for him at Round Rock in '06 and he saw me pitch a lot," Sampson said. "I asked him his thoughts on what was the difference between Round Rock and now, and that helped out tremendously -- as well as figuring out what I was doing wrong mechanically."

Robinson detected a flaw in Sampson's stride and worked with him on shortening it during an extra bullpen session. Sampson combined with Wesley Wright and Oscar Villarreal on the Astros' first shutout at Dodger Stadium since June 23, 1993.

"That's the Chris Sampson we've been looking for," manager Cecil Cooper said. "He was in command throughout. He was really efficient early, pitching down in the strike zone, mixing his pitches in and out, using his changeup and throwing his two-seamer to get the ball to sink and run. That was vintage Sampson tonight."

Sampson (2-3) struck out three and walked one, matching his longest outing of the season. The right-hander had given up 18 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings in his previous four outings.

"It was a big start for him, that's for sure," Cooper said. "I didn't really give a lot of thought to what we might do (with Sampson), but we needed him to be the guy that we saw last year and he stepped up big for us."

Sampson got 11 of his outs on groundballs, including a double-play by Jeff Kent to end the sixth.

The Dodgers' best scoring chance came in the fifth with runners at second and third and no outs. But Chin-lung Hu grounded out to third and pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney lined out to first baseman Lance Berkman, who then made a diving stop of Juan Pierre's grounder in the hole and tossed to Sampson for the third out.

"It was a good feeling out there, but it's only one outing," Sampson said. "We still have a lot to do, and I've got to build on this."

Darin Erstad and Miguel Tejada each drove in two runs for the Astros, who have won seven of their last eight.

Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley (2-5) allowed five runs -- four earned -- and six hits in five innings.

"The first two innings, I was getting ahead of hitters and wasn't able to put them away," Billingsley said. "The ball was staying up. They're a good hitting team and they put the ball in play."

The Dodgers have fallen behind 12-0, 7-0 and 5-0 in their last three games, avoiding a shutout with a ninth-inning run in each of the first two. During that stretch, their starting pitchers have allowed 14 runs over the first three innings.

Los Angeles' Rafael Furcal, third in the majors with a .366 average, missed his fourth straight game with a sore lower back.

Billingsley threw two wild pitches and hit a batter during the Astros' three-run first. The second wild pitch put two in scoring position and led to an intentional walk to Berkman. Carlos Lee followed with a sacrifice fly, and Erstad hit a two-run double to right-center with two outs.

Erstad was starting for the eighth time this season and the third time in right field.

"When you get a chance, hopefully you can help out," Erstad said. "I know what my role is here, but it's been a big adjustment and I'm still trying to figure it out. It is what it is, and you just find a way through it."

The Astros increased the margin to 5-0 in the second on Tejada's two-run single with the bases loaded, and probably would have tacked on more that inning had they not run themselves into a pair of outs.

Kaz Matsui tried to advance two bases on Tejada's hit, but was erased in a rundown between second and third after first baseman James Loney cut off right fielder Matt Kemp's throw toward the plate. Tejada attempted to score on Berkman's double into the right-field corner, but second baseman Kent took Kemp's relay and threw to Russell Martin for the tag on Tejada.

Notes

Actress Pamela Anderson threw out a ceremonial first pitch, then posed for pictures with Dodgers manager Joe Torre by the dugout. ... Berkman was 2-for-3. He has 20 hits in his last 27 at-bats, raising his average from .295 to .386. ... Astros pinch-hitters are 6-for-46 with one RBI. Erstad is 2-for-17 with a walk in that role, while Jose Cruz Jr. is 1-for-15 with five walks. ... Astros CF Michael Bourn stole his major league-leading 17th base in the seventh. He has yet to be caught. ... 3B Blake DeWitt became the seventh different hitter to bat in the second spot for the Dodgers this season, and the fifth in as many games.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Houston

M. Tejada
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Houston

C. Sampson
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 3
 
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5120020 .205
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4110101 .268
Miguel Tejada, SS3112001 .338
Lance Berkman, 1B3120101 .386
Carlos Lee, LF3011001 .285
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000 .000
Darin Erstad, RF4012012 .283
Ty Wigginton, 3B4010012 .239
J.R. Towles, C4100003 .156
Chris Sampson, P3000011 .077
    Jose Cruz Jr., LF1000000 .083
Totals3459525  
Batting
2B - Lance Berkman (15, Billingsley), Darin Erstad (5, Billingsley)
SF - Carlos Lee (2)
RBI - Miguel Tejada 2 (28), Carlos Lee (25), Darin Erstad 2 (6)
2-OUT RBI - Darin Erstad 2 (3)
SB - Michael Bourn (17, 2nd base off Park/Martin), Carlos Lee (1, 2nd base off Billingsley/Martin)
Fielding
E - Carlos Lee (1, Missed catch of throw), Miguel Tejada (3, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Chris Sampson (W,2-3) 7300130 6.27
Wesley Wright 1000100 3.46
Oscar Villarreal 1000000 5.66
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Sampson 103-68, Wesley Wright 16-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Sampson 11-7, Wesley Wright 3-0, Oscar Villarreal 2-0
Batters Faced - Chris Sampson 25, Wesley Wright 4, Oscar Villarreal 2
Los Angeles Dodgers
Juan Pierre, LF4000003 .282
Blake Dewitt, 3B3000101 .304
Matt Kemp, RF4010001 .315
Jeff Kent, 2B4000002 .252
Russell Martin, C3000000 .286
James Loney, 1B2010100 .287
Andruw Jones, CF3000021 .170
Chin-lung Hu, SS3010002 .222
Chad Billingsley, P1000011 .091
   a- Mark Sweeney, PH1000002 .120
    Chan Ho Park, P0000000 .000
   b- Delwyn Young, PH1000000 .300
    Joe Beimel, P0000000 .000
Totals2903023  
a-grounded out for Billingsley in the 5th
b-grounded out for Park in the 8th
Batting
2B - James Loney (9, Sampson)
SB - Juan Pierre (13, 2nd base off Sampson/Towles)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Matt Kemp 2
E - Blake Dewitt (6, Throwing)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Chad Billingsley (L,2-5) 5654240 4.89
Chan Ho Park 3300000 2.16
Joe Beimel 1000010 0.69
IBB - Berkman by Chad Billingsley
HBP - Tejada (by Chad Billingsley)
WP - Chad Billingsley 2 (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Chad Billingsley 96-59, Chan Ho Park 36-23, Joe Beimel 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chad Billingsley 5-5, Chan Ho Park 2-7
Batters Faced - Chad Billingsley 23, Chan Ho Park 12, Joe Beimel 3
Game Information
Attendance - 45212
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Chris Guccione