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Towles ends slump with game-winning hit for Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- J.R. Towles couldn't imagine a better way to end a long slump.

He broke out of an 0 for 32 skid with three hits, including an RBI single with two outs in the ninth that gave the Houston Astros a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

"I've definitely been in some slumps before but breaking out has never been this good because I've never had a walkoff before," Towles said. "I knew at some point I was going to break out and it was going to be big for me. I was putting the ball in play and seeing the ball well. I said it can't be bad too much longer."

Brett Wallace doubled off Matt Guerrier (2-3) and after Bill Hall flied out for the second out, Towles lined a drive into center field, scoring Wallace.

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"I was trying to get the ball away from [Matt] Kemp," Wallace said. "He's a really good center fielder and I was just praying it got away from him. I didn't know if it would get out or off the wall. I was just watching to see what he would do."

Mark Melancon (4-1) pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two.

Ted Lilly gave up a home run to Michael Bourn on the first pitch of the game for a 1-0 Houston lead, but held off the Astros after that.

Aneury Rodriguez allowed only one runner until Kemp singled in the fourth inning for the Dodgers' first hit. Kemp hit his tying home run in the sixth.

Rodriguez gave up four hits and struck out five in six innings.

Lilly, who has a 7-2 career record against the Astros, allowed only three runners to reach second base in six innings. He allowed six hits.

Bourn's homer was his first career leadoff shot and the first by an Astro since Kaz Matsui on Sept. 23, 2008.

"I consider it a mistake and good hitting," Lilly said. "He got a good pitch to hit and he didn't miss it. More than anything, it was a thing where I guessed wrong. I thought he would take to begin the game. That one mistake cost us the game you could say. It was a mental error more than anything."

Houston missed a chance to take the lead in the seventh with two out. A pitch from reliever Mike MacDougal got past catcher Dioner Navarro and Towles raced home from third. But the ball bounced back to Navarro, who made the tag to end the inning.

The Dodgers had their chances too. They had a runner at third in the fifth inning and runners at second in the seventh and eighth.

"We had our chances through this lineup to get a hit," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Opportunities are there, but we just haven't seen them get that hit. We have to put pressure on the other club."

Notes

  • The Astros won consecutive series for the first time this season. They took two of three from Toronto before beating Los Angeles two out of three.
  • Houston RHP Rubby De La Rosa pitched a scoreless eighth inning in his major league debut Tuesday night. He had just been called up from Double-A Chattanooga.
  • Dodgers RF Andre Ethier pinch-hit in the seventh. He also pinch-hit Tuesday night after running into the fence on Sunday.
 
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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Astros manager Brad Mills congratulates J.R. Towles after Towles' game-winning hit in the 9th inning vs. Los Angeles. (AP)
Astros manager Brad Mills congratulates J.R. Towles after Towles' game-winning hit in the 9th inning vs. Los Angeles. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

J. Towles
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Los Angeles

M. Kemp
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
 

Related Video

Los Angeles Dodgers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rafael Furcal, SS4000004 .136
Jamey Carroll, 2B4000000 .304
James Loney, 1B3000100 .238
Matt Kemp, CF4131011 .317
Jay Gibbons, RF3000111 .200
    Javy Guerra, P0000000 .000
    Matt Guerrier, P0000000 .000
Dioner Navarro, C4020012 .184
Jerry Sands, LF-RF4000032 .229
Aaron Miles, 3B4010010 .283
Ted Lilly, P1000000 .000
   a- Andre Ethier, PH0000100 .311
    Mike MacDougal, P0000000 .000
    Tony Gwynn Jr., LF1000010 .195
Totals3216138  
a-was walked intentionally for Lilly in the 7th
Batting
2B - Matt Kemp (10, Fulchino)
HR - Matt Kemp (12, A. Rodriguez)
SH - Ted Lilly (1)
RBI - Matt Kemp (34)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Kemp (12)
SB - James Loney (2, 2nd base off A. Rodriguez/Towles)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Miles-Carroll
Los Angeles Dodgers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ted Lilly 6611121 4.41
Mike MacDougal 1100110 1.50
Javy Guerra 1000000 3.00
Matt Guerrier (L,2-3) 0.2211000 3.55
IBB - Johnson by Ted Lilly
Pitches-Strikes - Ted Lilly 79-51, Mike MacDougal 18-8, Javy Guerra 10-7, Matt Guerrier 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ted Lilly 8-7, Mike MacDougal 1-0, Javy Guerra 2-1
Batters Faced - Ted Lilly 24, Mike MacDougal 4, Javy Guerra 3, Matt Guerrier 4
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF4111011 .266
Angel Sanchez, SS4010000 .268
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
Hunter Pence, RF4010000 .301
Carlos Lee, LF4020002 .247
Chris Johnson, 3B3000101 .212
Brett Wallace, 1B4010002 .314
    Brian Bogusevic, PR0100000 .222
Bill Hall, 2B4000021 .231
J.R. Towles, C4031000 .229
Aneury Rodriguez, P2000001 .000
    Wilton Lopez, P0000000 .000
   a- Jason Michaels, PH0000100 .156
    Jeff Fulchino, P0000000 .000
    Clint Barmes, SS0000000 .218
Totals3329223  
a-walked for Lopez in the 7th
Batting
2B - Carlos Lee (9, Lilly), Brett Wallace (14, Guerrier), J.R. Towles (4, Lilly)
HR - Michael Bourn (1, Lilly)
RBI - Michael Bourn (13), J.R. Towles (5)
2-OUT RBI - J.R. Towles (3)
Team LOB - 7
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Aneury Rodriguez 6411151 4.98
Wilton Lopez 1100110 2.41
Jeff Fulchino 1100100 3.32
Mark Melancon (W,4-1) 1000020 1.85
IBB - Ethier by Wilton Lopez, Gibbons by Jeff Fulchino
Pitches-Strikes - Aneury Rodriguez 96-59, Wilton Lopez 16-9, Jeff Fulchino 17-9, Mark Melancon 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aneury Rodriguez 4-9, Wilton Lopez 2-0, Jeff Fulchino 1-2
Batters Faced - Aneury Rodriguez 23, Wilton Lopez 5, Jeff Fulchino 5, Mark Melancon 3
Game Information
Attendance - 21350
Game Time - 2:41
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Mike Estabrook