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Los Angeles at Houston

W: R. Ortiz (1-0) L: C. Kershaw (0-1)
S: J. Valverde (1)
HR: LA - M. Ramirez (3)   HOU - C. Lee (3)

Astros end Dodgers' eight-game winning streak

CBSSports.com wire reports

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros snapped the Los Angeles Dodgers' eight-game winning streak and nearly lost their closer in the process.

Carlos Lee hit a two-run homer and Russ Ortiz pitched well after a rough first inning in the Astros' 8-5 victory on Tuesday night.

Miguel Tejada drove in three runs and Jose Valverde shrugged off a bruised right heel to shut out the Dodgers in the ninth for his first save. Orlando Hudson hit a hard grounder into Valverde's heel and the closer limped around and took some warmup pitches before finishing the game.

"I'll take a win almost at any cost -- almost," manager Cecil Cooper said. "I think he'll be OK. That's a good thing."

Valverde could barely walk about 45 minutes after the game ended, hobbling into the clubhouse after getting treatment. The ball hit him near his ankle and Valverde said he strained his right calf when he went down to field Hudson's grounder.

Cooper and catcher Ivan Rodriguez tried to convince Valverde to come out of the game, but he refused.

"I wanted to pitch," he said. "I wanted to support my team, and that's what I did today."

He struck out James Loney and Russell Martin to end it, leaving the Dodgers lamenting a night of missed opportunities. They stranded 10 runners after scoring 23 runs in their previous two games.

"I thought we were going to come away with the win, but Valverde came in," center fielder Matt Kemp said. "I thought we had a chance, but he fell back and got the save."

Ortiz (1-0) gave up three runs in the first inning, then stifled the Dodgers for the next four while the Astros took over. Los Angeles came in with the highest batting average in the majors (.302) and an NL-leading 82 runs.

Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning for Los Angeles and drove in three to pass Honus Wagner for 18th on the career list. The dreadlocked slugger has 1,735 RBI.

The Dodgers seemed on their way to another big night when Ortiz walked the first two hitters and Ramirez blooped an RBI single into left to pass Wagner. Loney and Martin knocked in runs later in the inning for a 3-0 lead.

Ortiz threw 34 pitches in the first and knew he wasn't sharp.

"I just didn't find the right groove to be able to throw the ball consistently in the zone," he said. "I knew, after the first, my job was just to keep us in the game."

Lance Berkman had an RBI single in the bottom half and Houston added three more in the third against Clayton Kershaw (0-1). Tejada doubled in Kaz Matsui to cut the Dodgers' lead to 3-2. After Berkman flied out, Lee hit a drive off the brick facade in left for his third homer of the season.

Kemp tripled to center with one out in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. But the Dodgers stranded him, failing to muster another hit off Ortiz in the inning.

"I kept plugging away and had to battle the best as I could to get through as many innings as I could," Ortiz said.

Rodriguez and Jeff Keppinger led off the Astros' fourth with singles and Ortiz advanced them with a bunt. Matsui popped out before Tejada blooped a two-run single to right for a 6-3 lead.

The Dodgers hadn't allowed more than five runs since their last loss, 9-4 to Arizona on April 10. Kershaw allowed six runs and eight hits before Guillermo Mota replaced him with one out in the fifth.

"He just didn't look comfortable," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Kershaw. "It looked like he tried to overthrow it, at times."

Ortiz, meanwhile, got better with each inning. He struck out Ramirez looking in the fifth, then got Loney on a groundout to wrap up his 116-pitch outing. Wesley Wright relieved in the sixth.

Mota issued a bases-loaded walk to Matsui in the sixth to make it 7-3 and Torre brought in right-hander Ramon Troncoso, who retired the next two batters.

Matsui added a sacrifice fly in the eighth for Houston.


  • The Astros' run total was a season high.
  • Torre said RHP Hiroki Kuroda would throw a bullpen session in the next day or two and could be ready to pitch by the end of April. Kuroda went on the disabled list on April 10 with an oblique muscle strain.
  • Keppinger returned after missing the last four games with a lower back strain.
  • Astros RHP Brian Moehler is due to make a rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. Moehler went on the disabled list last Tuesday with a sprained right knee.
Copyright 2017 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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It's not Jose Valverde's sharpest ninth-inning effort, but the closer still hangs on for his first save.  (AP)
It's not Jose Valverde's sharpest ninth-inning effort, but the closer still hangs on for his first save. (AP)

Players of the Game

M. Tejada
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
Los Angeles

M. Ramirez
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Furcal, SS4100102 .255
Orlando Hudson, 2B4220101 .393
Manny Ramirez, LF4223111 .340
Andre Ethier, RF2000301 .286
James Loney, 1B5001015 .264
Russell Martin, C5021023 .261
Matt Kemp, CF4020012 .392
Casey Blake, 3B2000001 .214
    Ramon Troncoso, P0000000 .000
   a- Juan Pierre, PH1000001 .333
    Ronald Belisario, P0000000 .000
Clayton Kershaw, P1000102 .167
    Guillermo Mota, P0000000 .000
    Mark Loretta, 3B2000001 .455
a-flied out for Troncoso in the 8th
3B - Matt Kemp (2, Ortiz)
HR - Manny Ramirez (3, Fulchino)
RBI - Manny Ramirez 3 (10), James Loney (10), Russell Martin (6)
2-OUT RBI - Manny Ramirez 2 (3), Russell Martin (3)
Team LOB - 10
Outfield Assists - Andre Ethier 1
Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw (L,0-1) 4.1866231 4.41
Guillermo Mota 1111100 6.75
Ramon Troncoso 1.2000020 2.35
Ronald Belisario 1211000 1.86
HBP - Keppinger (by Guillermo Mota)
Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Kershaw 86-55, Guillermo Mota 24-15, Ramon Troncoso 30-22, Ronald Belisario 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Kershaw 5-3, Guillermo Mota 3-1, Ramon Troncoso 2-1, Ronald Belisario 1-2
Batters Faced - Clayton Kershaw 21, Guillermo Mota 7, Ramon Troncoso 5, Ronald Belisario 5
Houston Astros
Kazuo Matsui, 2B2212202 .235
Miguel Tejada, SS5123014 .364
Lance Berkman, 1B4011014 .208
Carlos Lee, LF4122000 .265
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
    Geoff Blum, 3B0000000 .341
Hunter Pence, RF4000012 .294
Jason Michaels, CF-LF3010122 .200
Ivan Rodriguez, C3320000 .255
Jeff Keppinger, 3B3120000 .500
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Russ Ortiz, P1000000 .200
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
   a- Darin Erstad, PH1000003 .111
    Jeff Fulchino, P0000000 .000
    Michael Bourn, CF0000000 .250
a-hit into fielder's choice for Wright in the 6th
2B - Miguel Tejada (3, Kershaw), Jason Michaels (2, Mota)
HR - Carlos Lee (3, Kershaw)
SF - Kazuo Matsui (1)
SH - Ivan Rodriguez (1), Russ Ortiz (1), Michael Bourn (1)
RBI - Kazuo Matsui 2 (4), Miguel Tejada 3 (4), Lance Berkman (8), Carlos Lee 2 (10)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Tejada 2 (2)
SB - Kazuo Matsui (2, 2nd base off Kershaw/Martin)
CS - Jason Michaels (1, 2nd base by Kershaw/Martin)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Matsui-Tejada-Berkman, Keppinger-Matsui-Berkman
E - Jose Valverde (1, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Russ Ortiz (W,1-0) 5333520 5.93
Wesley Wright (H,1) 1100010 8.31
Jeff Fulchino 1222101 6.00
LaTroy Hawkins (H,2) 1100000 2.57
Jose Valverde (S,1) 1100120 4.50
HBP - Blake (by Russ Ortiz)
Pitches-Strikes - Russ Ortiz 116-64, Wesley Wright 10-7, Jeff Fulchino 19-11, LaTroy Hawkins 14-8, Jose Valverde 22-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Russ Ortiz 10-2, Wesley Wright 1-0, Jeff Fulchino 2-1, Jose Valverde 1-1
Batters Faced - Russ Ortiz 23, Wesley Wright 3, Jeff Fulchino 6, LaTroy Hawkins 4, Jose Valverde 6
Game Information
Attendance - 26360
Game Time - 3:34
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Ed Montague, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Chris Guccione