Los Angeles at Houston

L.A. Dodgers
W: B. Norris (7-8) L: T. Lilly (8-10)
S: B. Lyon (14)
HR: LA - A. Ethier (21)   HOU - C. Johnson (8)

Astros rally past slumping Dodgers, win third straight

CBSSports.com wire reports

HOUSTON -- Chris Johnson was in the middle of one rough night when he came to the plate with two runners on in the sixth inning.

One clutch swing later, and he was feeling good again.

Johnson hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning and the Houston Astros rallied to beat the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Thursday.

The rookie third baseman struck out in his first two at-bats and committed an error that led to an unearned run before powering Houston to its third consecutive victory.

"That one at-bat was good, the rest of my game was awful," Johnson said.

Johnson drove a full-count pitch from Ted Lilly (8-10) to the train tracks in left field for his eighth homer, erasing a two-run deficit. Hunter Pence singled to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and Carlos Lee walked to set up Johnson's one-out drive.

Houston manager Brad Mills was impressed by Johnson's poise after the tough start.

"That's nice to see that he didn't let his whole game fall apart there with the error and the two strikeouts," Mills said. "There's still things that he can contribute even though those things can happen and it's good."

Bud Norris (7-8) pitched six innings for Houston, yielding two runs, one earned, and three hits. The right-hander struck out seven and walked four.

"I put Bud in a hole in the first inning by making the error and [Andre] Ethier hit a homer," Johnson said. "I was just glad I could do something to help us out after that."

The Dodgers have dropped six straight and eight of nine to continue to fade from playoff contention.

Ethier hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give Los Angeles the lead. Ethier's shot bounced just above the yellow line on the wall in left-center and scored Jamey Carroll, who reached on an error by Johnson.

But Norris settled down from there. Gustavo Chacin got two outs in the seventh, Mark Melancon pitched 1 1/3 innings and Brandon Lyon worked a perfect ninth for his 14th save, completing the four-hitter.

The Astros couldn't string together any hits early in the game. Lee singled in the fourth before Jason Michaels doubled, but Lilly struck out Johnson and Tommy Manzella to get out of that jam.

Lilly allowed seven hits in six innings, dropping to 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 13 career starts against the Astros. It was his first loss against Houston since June 10, 2005, when he was with Toronto.

"Lilly pitched well," Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said. "It goes back to the same old story -- we are putting so much pressure on our starting pitching that every single pitch they make is win or lose, do or die, stuff like that. Our starting pitching, for the most part, has been very good and very consistent."

John Lindsey, who was recalled for Ethier before he got to hit or play in the field on Wednesday night, made his first major league plate appearance Thursday after 15 years in the minors. The 33-year-old hit for Lilly in the seventh inning and was out on a fly ball to center field.

Thirteen members of his family, including his 3-year-old son, traveled from Mississippi to see the game.

"It's an awesome feeling," Lindsey said. "My little boy to see his dad up there. For all I know, he was playing around up there ... it was truly a good feeling to know that they were there to support me."

Torre said he plans to start Lindsey on Saturday.


  • Torre kept some of his regular starters out of the lineup after the team arrived at the hotel in Houston about 6 a.m. after Wednesday night's game in San Diego.
  • It had been a year and 139 days since the Dodgers last played in Houston before Thursday night.
  • Astros RHP Felipe Paulino, on the 60-day disabled list with a right rotator cuff injury, threw a simulated game. "He threw the ball really well," Mills said. "We have to just wait and see how he feels tomorrow and proceed from there."
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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Astros rookie Chris Johnson squares up his eighth homer of the season, a three-run shot that rallies  Houston.  (AP)
Astros rookie Chris Johnson squares up his eighth homer of the season, a three-run shot that rallies Houston. (AP)

Players of the Game

C. Johnson
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
Los Angeles

A. Ethier
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

Los Angeles Dodgers
Scott Podsednik, LF4010110 .297
Jamey Carroll, SS-3B5110021 .289
Andre Ethier, RF1112300 .289
James Loney, 1B4010025 .274
Russell Mitchell, 3B3000004 .000
   a- Jay Gibbons, PH1000003 .313
    Chin-lung Hu, SS0000000 .000
Ryan Theriot, 2B3000100 .281
Trent Oeltjen, CF3000020 .000
   b- Matt Kemp, PH-CF1000001 .251
A.J. Ellis, C1000200 .205
   c- Casey Blake, PH1000011 .258
    Rod Barajas, C0000000 .232
Ted Lilly, P2000002 .042
   d- John Lindsey, PH1000000 .000
    Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
    Kenley Jansen, P00000001.000
   e- Rafael Furcal, PH1000000 .314
a-grounded out for Mitchell in the 7th
b-flied out for Oeltjen in the 8th
c-struck out for Ellis in the 8th
d-flied out for Lilly in the 7th
e-grounded out for Jansen in the 9th
2B - Scott Podsednik (14, Norris), James Loney (38, Norris)
HR - Andre Ethier (21, Norris)
RBI - Andre Ethier 2 (74)
Team LOB - 9
Los Angeles Dodgers
Ted Lilly (L,8-10) 6733261 3.58
Jonathan Broxton 1000200 3.72
Kenley Jansen 1000020 1.02
Pitches-Strikes - Ted Lilly 107-77, Jonathan Broxton 15-6, Kenley Jansen 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ted Lilly 5-7, Jonathan Broxton 2-0
Batters Faced - Ted Lilly 27, Jonathan Broxton 4, Kenley Jansen 3
Houston Astros
Jason Bourgeois, CF-LF3000112 .233
Jeff Keppinger, 2B4010002 .287
Hunter Pence, RF3110111 .289
Carlos Lee, 1B3110102 .244
    Brett Wallace, 1B0000000 .196
Jason Michaels, LF4010012 .252
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
Chris Johnson, 3B4113032 .323
Tommy Manzella, SS4000022 .220
Humberto Quintero, C3020000 .233
Bud Norris, P0000100 .162
   a- Matt Downs, PH1000001 .256
    Gustavo Chacin, P00000001.000
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
    Michael Bourn, CF0000000 .259
a-flied out for Norris in the 6th
2B - Jason Michaels (9, Lilly)
HR - Chris Johnson (8, Lilly)
SH - Bud Norris (8)
RBI - Chris Johnson 3 (42)
SB - Hunter Pence (18, 2nd base off Lilly/Ellis)
CS - Jason Bourgeois (3, 2nd base by Broxton/Ellis)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Quintero
E - Chris Johnson (14, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Bud Norris (W,7-8) 6321471 5.16
Gustavo Chacin (H,5) 0.2100200 4.71
Mark Melancon (H,4) 1.1000110 3.38
Brandon Lyon (S,14) 1000000 3.04
Pitches-Strikes - Bud Norris 113-66, Gustavo Chacin 19-10, Mark Melancon 14-7, Brandon Lyon 17-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bud Norris 3-9, Mark Melancon 1-1, Brandon Lyon 2-1
Batters Faced - Bud Norris 26, Gustavo Chacin 5, Mark Melancon 4, Brandon Lyon 3
Game Information
Attendance - 28081
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Bill Hohn