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Houston (13-26)012000000380
L.A. Dodgers (22-17) «30012001x790

Dodgers run win streak to nine after Ethier heads to DL

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers weathered the storm caused by Manny Ramirez's 50-game drug suspension last year and won their second straight NL West title. So they are confident they can carry on without an injured Andre Ethier.

The Dodgers extended their winning streak to nine games with a 7-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night. Ramirez, James Loney and Casey Blake led the way with two RBI apiece.

The victory was the 14th in 17 games for the Dodgers, who placed Ethier on the 15-day disabled list because of a fractured right pinky he sustained four days earlier while taking swings in the indoor batting cage at San Diego's Petco Park.

"Obviously it hurts, but every team goes through adversity like this," Blake said. "You hate to see it happen with one of the best hitters in our lineup. It just changes the dynamic of the lineup a little bit, but we've got guys who can step in. We've showed in the last few nights that we still have guys in the lineup who can hit."

Ethier, who leads the majors with a .392 average and 38 RBI, went on the DL for the first time in his five-year career just hours before the sellout crowd of 55,662 received bobblehead dolls with his likeness as they entered the ballpark.

"He's just as much of a threat up there as Manny is," catcher Russell Martin said. "We're definitely losing a guy who can produce runs and hit the ball out of the ballpark. Obviously, you'd rather have him in the lineup. But if you don't, you do what you can and try to pick each other up. I think if we keep pitching and doing what we've been doing through this stretch here, we're going to keep winning games."

Hiroki Kuroda (5-1) allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings, striking out two and walking one. The Dodgers' staff hasn't allowed more than three runs in any game during the streak.

All three Houston runs were driven in by Carlos Lee, whose first three-RBI game of the season included a solo homer. But the Astros finished their eight-game road trip with five straight losses after a three-game sweep at St. Louis. They have dropped 16 of its last 21 altogether, and are an NL-worst 13-26.

Bud Norris (2-5) gave up six runs, seven hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings in his first career appearance against the Dodgers. The right-hander was struck on the back of his pitching arm and just above the elbow by a line-drive single off the bat of Matt Kemp with two out in the third and the score tied 3-all. He faced eight more batters and departed after giving a Ramirez's two-run single.

"It started to tighten up, but I wanted to stay out there and pitch and help my team," Norris said. "I battled through it as best I could. But that team's hot and they're swinging the bats well."

The Dodgers took a 4-3 lead in the fourth when Loney drew a leadoff walk and scored on Jamey Carroll's sacrifice fly. They extended the margin to 6-3 on Ramirez's hit, and Blake hit his fourth homer of the season in the eighth against Jeff Fulchino.

Los Angeles scored three in the first after Norris retired his first two batters. Ramirez walked on a 3-2 pitch, Kemp hit a ground-rule double into the right field corner, Loney hit a two-run single and Blake singled home another.

"When I go through stretches where I'm more consistent with my timing, I'm going to hit the ball better," said Blake, who came in batting just .159 since hitting two home runs on April 24 at Washington. "The way I hit requires pretty good timing. Hitting is timing, and when you don't have it, you're going to go through some rough stretches and start doubting yourself.

"It's a battle I've had pretty much my whole career here," Blake added. "I've gone down the path where I've sat up in bed and night and just brooded over it. I drove myself crazy and lost a lot of hours of sleep thinking about my swing and lack of success. Now I'm trying to stay patient and confident and know that things are going to turn around."

Notes
  • Astros C Humberto Quintero threw out Kemp trying to steal second base in the third. Kemp already has been caught stealing eight times in 14 attempts, matching the number of times he was thrown out last season when he stole 34 bases.
  • Lee's three RBI matched the total he had in 36 at-bats over his previous 10 games. The home run was his first at Dodger Stadium since May 7, 2006, when he hit a solo shot for the Milwaukee Brewers against Jonathan Broxton.
  • Martin singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, one more than his previous best in 2007.
  • Astros 2B Kaz Matsui was 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 20 at-bats.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Matt Kemp (two hits, one run) and Manny Ramirez (one hit, two RBI) celebrate at home.  (US Presswire)
Matt Kemp (two hits, one run) and Manny Ramirez (one hit, two RBI) celebrate at home. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

C. Blake
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Houston

C. Lee
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 

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CBSSports.com Shop

Houston Astros
Michael Bourn , CF4120001.292
Jeff Keppinger , SS4120001.278
Lance Berkman , 1B3000101.236
Carlos N. Lee , LF4123010.201
Hunter Pence , RF4010010.248
Pedro Feliz , 3B4000003.217
Kazuo Matsui , 2B4000010.141
Humberto Quintero , C4010000.239
Bud Norris , SP1000000.083
Cory Sullivan , PH-CF1000010.194
Totals33383146
BATTING
HR - C Lee (4)
RBI - C Lee 3 (15)
S - B Norris (2)
Houston Astros
Bud Norris (L,2-5) 4.17663306.75
Brian Moehler 1.20002003.44
Wilton Lopez 1.00000205.73
Jeff Fulchino 1.02110015.27
Los Angeles Dodgers
Russell Martin , C4110010.265
Xavier Paul , RF3000000.250
Manny Ramirez , LF3112110.357
Matt Kemp , CF3120100.285
James Loney , 1B3212102.308
Casey Blake , 3B4132002.250
Blake DeWitt , 2B4010023.274
Jamey Carroll , SS2001111.276
Hiroki Kuroda , SP1100100.000
a-Garret Anderson , PH-LF1000001.133
Totals28797559
a-Grounded out for H Kuroda in the 6th.
BATTING
2B - M Kemp (9)
HR - C Blake (4)
RBI - M Ramirez 2 (19); J Loney 2 (27); C Blake 2 (23); J Carroll (8)
SF - J Carroll (3)
S - X Paul (1)
BASERUNNING
SB - J Loney (6)
CS - M Kemp (8)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Hiroki Kuroda (W,5-1) 6.07331212.87
Ronald Belisario 1.01000105.56
Hong-Chih Kuo 1.00000102.16
Ramon Troncoso 1.00000003.48
Game Information
Attendance - 55662
Game Time - 2:36
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Phil Cuzzi, Second Base - Jerry Crawford, Third Base - Chris Guccione