Astros 4, Dodgers 3

Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn had the big hits. Angel Sanchez

had the biggest at-bat.

Pence’s two-out RBI single in the ninth inning lifted the

Houston Astros to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. But Pence

called an 11-pitch walk by Sanchez earlier in the inning the key to

the game.

”Outstanding at-bat,” Pence said. ”That does a lot more than

the box score will ever show. Whenever you work an at-bat like that

with that many pitches with two strikes down in the count you have

to think of it like running 11 sprints for the pitcher. Then you

get on base it’s kind of deflating.”

The Astros trailed 3-1 entering the ninth inning before Michael

Bourn tied it with his two-out, full-count double down the

right-field line that scored two against Kenley Jansen (1-1), the

hard-throwing rookie who is the latest pitcher the Dodgers have

given a shot to close games.

Bill Hall started the rally with a one-out single and Sanchez

walked with two outs. They advanced on a double steal to put the

tying runs in scoring position for Bourn.

”I told (Sanchez) as soon as he got to first base to watch

me,” Hall said. ”I was thinking about taking off because I knew

he was throwing some pitches without even taking a look at me and I

knew if we could get to second and third we were going to have a

good chance for Mike to get that hit and score two runs.”

Jansen hit Clint Barmes with a pitch before Pence’s looping line

drive to left field sent Bourn home. Catcher Dioner Navarro blocked

the plate but Bourn slid in behind him to tag home.

By the time Pence came to the plate, Jansen had already thrown

36 pitches in the inning.

”He was just making me exhausted out there,” Jansen said of

Sanchez. ”I was trying to catch my breath. It was a tough

at-bat.”

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he still has confidence in

Jansen despite Monday’s struggles.

”He threw the ball good tonight,” he said. ”It was that kid,

Sanchez, that had a good at-bat against him. He kept on throwing

strikes, but he kept fouling balls off. He walks him and gets Bourn

up there. The biggest thing today is that he didn’t get ahead in

the count.”

Hall, who was 0 for 11 entering the game, went 4 for 4 with a

pair of doubles.

Houston manager Brad Mills was glad to have Pence at the plate

with the game on the line.

”He’s the guy we want up there, no doubt,” Mills said. ”He’s

going to give a big at-bat every time.”

Jeff Fulchino (1-2) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings for

Houston.

Andre Ethier broke a 1-all tie with a two-out pinch hit single

in the seventh inning. His hit to shallow center field scored

Navarro and gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead. Bourn thought he’d grabbed

the grounder, but instead ran past it for an error that allowed

Russell Mitchell to score and Ethier to take second base.

Ethier did not start on Monday after leaving Sunday’s game with

various injuries after crashing into a fence chasing a fly ball.

Navarro hit a ground-rule double to the corner of right field

before Houston intentionally walked Mitchell with starting pitcher

Clayton Kershaw on deck.

After Mitchell took second, Ethier came out to pinch hit and

sent Kershaw to the dugout.

Matt Kemp’s hit his 11th home run of the season with a solo shot

in the second inning for the Dodgers.

Kershaw gave up four hits and a run with seven strikeouts in six

innings.

Houston starter Bud Norris yielded six hits and three runs – two

earned – with five strikeouts in seven innings.

The Astros tied it at 1-all when Hall doubled on a ball that

bounced off the glove of Jay Gibbons in left field before scoring

on a single by Humberto Quintero in the third inning.

Hall got his second double with no outs in the fifth inning, but

Houston left the inning empty-handed when Kershaw retired the next

three batters.

Barmes singled in the sixth inning before Lee walked with one

out. Kershaw struck out the next two Astros to escape that jam.

Kemp’s homer to right field put Los Angeles up 1-0 in the

second. Gibbons followed with a single before Norris walked Sands.

He was able to limit the damage by retiring the next three

batters.

NOTES: Dodgers 1B James Loney extended his hitting streak to a

season-high nine games. … Jose Lima, Jr., the son of former

Astros and Dodgers pitcher Jose Lima, threw out the ceremonial

first pitch to mark the one-year anniversary of his father’s death.

Lima, who won 21 games for the Astros in 1999 and spent 13 years in

the majors, was 37. … Houston OF/INF Jason Bourgeois, on the

disabled list with an oblique strain, took swings for the first

time since his injury on Monday. He said he felt good after the

swings and hoped to take batting practice in the next couple of

days.