HOUSTON - JUNE 10: Brandon Lyon #37 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Atlanta Braves in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park on June 10, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Astros' Lyon To Go Under Knife For Rare Surgery

SB Nation Houston's coverage of the Astros-Dodgers series on June 17th, 2011

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Astros' Lyon Undergoing Rare Surgery On Biceps

Astros reliever Brandon Lyon hasn't been right all year, and now we know why. Following further examinations by Dr. Lewis Yocum and Astros physician Dr. David Lintner, it was determined that Lyon's biceps tendon was completely out of it's groove. Surgery to fix it comes with significant risk: no current major leaguer has had this surgery.

Yocum, the Los Angeles Angels' medical director, echoed the opinion of Astros counterpart Dr. David Lintner - namely that Lyon's biceps tendon is out of its groove and the condition likely will not improve through rest, rehabilitation or medication. That leaves season-ending surgery, but there's an attention-getting complication to Lyon: The doctors could not cite one major league pitcher who has had such a procedure.

Scary times for Lyon. We tend to live in a world, as fans, where players are either heroes or bums. Lyon was a whipping boy for much of the season, but considering what he was pitching through, I think it's safe to say that he just hadn't been right all year. Kudos for trying anyway, Mr. Lyon. It's crazy to even imagine pitching through something like that, and you proved it this year. 

There is no timetable on his recovery, though it's expected to end his season. The Astros are on the hook for about another $8 million to Lyon over next year and the rest of this one.


After MRI, Pence Listed As Day To Day, Remains In Doubt For Series Against Rangers

That collective "whew" you heard from Houston was the Astros' brass breathing a collective sigh of relief. What could have been a disaster for Hunter Pence and Houston (by putting them on track to lose 110 games instead of 100?) has turned out to only be an elbow sprain. He is status is currently described as day to day.

Pence has of course been one of the few bright spots of another otherwise abysmal Houston Astros season. After injuring his left elbow on Friday night sliding into first base, Pence was scratched from Saturday night's game in Los Angeles and instead flew back to Houston for an MRI.

Pence had the procedure done today, and while an elbow sprain is surely a painful injury, it is not expected to keep him on the shelf for any real length of time.

The Astros' team physician delivered more good news:

Dr. Tom Mehlhoff, the Astros' team physician, said Pence has no tears or ligament damage and has an improved range of motion since Saturday.

The short-term worst-case scenario is that he'll miss some or all of the series against the Texas Rangers, which is to begin Monday in Arlington.


Astros Waste Another Stellar Bud Norris Performance, Lose 1-0

Final Score: Los Angeles 1, Houston 0

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Dioner Navarro collected two of the Dodgers' three hits, including a solo home run in the eighth inning that lifted Los Angeles to a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros.

James Loney had the only other hit for the Dodgers, who snapped a five-game losing streak.

Matt Guerrier (3-3) worked a scoreless eighth to earn the win for Los Angeles.

Chris Johnson smoked two doubles and Jeff Keppinger added the other hit for Houston, which has lost 12 of its past 16 games.

Wilton Lopez (1-3) yielded Navarro's home run to absorb the loss for Houston.

Javy Guerra pitched a perfect ninth to notch his second save of the season.

The Dodgers scored the only run of the game on a mammoth blast to center by Navarro, his second home run of the season.

Houston put runners on first and second in the second inning via a double by Johnson and a walk to Clint Barmes. Both runners advanced after a wild pitch, but the Astros weren't able to capitalize as Carlos Corporan fanned to end the inning.

Johnson led off the seventh with a line-drive double but was stranded there as Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda bore down to retire the next three Astros hitters and keep the game scoreless.

Kuroda went seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits while striking out six and walking two. Houston starter Bud Norris pitched six strong innings, yielding only one hit while fanning five and walking one.

Facing Sergio Escalona in the seventh, Andre Ethier worked a lead-off walk and Loney stroked a single to give the Dodgers runners on first and second with one out. Los Angeles was unable to break the deadlock, as Lopez induced an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play from Casey Blake.

Game Notes

Prior to Sunday's game, the Dodgers placed catcher Rob Barajas on the 15-day DL and recalled A.J. Ellis from Triple-A Albuquerque...Astros center fielder Michael Bourn was ejected in the fifth by home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson after arguing a called third strike...The Astros fell to 14-21 on the road this season...The win snaps a six-game home losing streak for Los Angeles.


Bud Norris Takes Hill For Astros As They Go For Sweep In L.A.

Houston Astros (27-45) at Los Angeles Dodgers (31-41), 4:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Bud Norris (4-5, 3.48) Los Angeles - Hiroki Kuroda (5-8, 3.31)

(Sports Network) - The struggling Los Angeles Dodgers hope Hiroki Kuroda can break himself and the ballclub out of a funk when he takes the ball today in the finale of a three-game series versus the Houston Astros at Chavez Ravine.

Kuroda is 0-5 with a 4.40 earned run average in his last five starts and previously took the mound in Monday's 6-4 loss versus Cincinnati. He allowed four runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in 6 1/3 frames, falling to 5-8 in 14 starts with a 3.31 ERA.

The Japanese right-hander is 2-4 in seven home starts and hopes to stay unbeaten in his career against the Astros. Kuroda is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA in five starts in this matchup.

Los Angeles witnessed youngster Rubby De La Rosa suffer through his first loss, as he allowed five runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings of last night's 7-0 defeat to the Astros. Ramon Troncoso gave up the other two runs.

"Rubby was pretty good tonight, he looks like he could be special, this is just a step along the way," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of his starter. "In the fifth, everything steamrolled on us. We have to turn the page, we can't feel sorry for ourselves."

Dee Gordon, Andre Ethier and Marcus Thames each had two hits for the Dodgers, who are 0-5 so far on a season-long 12-game, 14-day homestand. The Dodgers have lost six in a row at home for the first time since Aug. 2-14, 2007 and fell to 2-8 in their last 10 games overall. The last time LA suffered seven straight losses at Dodger Stadium was during the 1993 season.

The Dodgers are 10 games below the .500 mark and will also host the Tigers and Angels on this residency. Catcher Rod Barajas left the game in the fifth inning with a right ankle sprain and could land on the disabled list soon.

Houston won for the fourth time in 15 tries last night and has outscored the Dodgers, 14-3, over the first two games of this series. Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez threw six shutout innings and struck out six batters for the win.

"I felt very good, I used everything tonight," Rodriguez said. "Winning these two games, we're feeling better as a team."

Jeff Keppinger went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs batted in and Chris Johnson finished with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI for Houston, which will also visit Texas for three games on this road swing and have won two straight in Hollywood since a four-game slide there.

Astros outfielder Hunter Pence did not pay Saturday due to a left elbow injury suffered in Friday's 7-3 win. Pence, who sustained the injury attempting a head-first slide into first base, is expected to undergo an MRI back in Houston today and is hitting .321 this season.

Toeing the rubber for the 'Stros tonight will be Bud Norris, who had a personal two-game winning streak cut short his last time out. Norris pitched well enough for a win in Tuesday's 1-0 loss versus Pittsburgh, as he surrendered the only run of the game in seven innings of work.

Norris has allowed one run in each of his past two outings and has now lost four of his previous six decisions. The right-hander is 4-5 in 14 overall starts this season with a 3.48 ERA. Norris did not record a decision in a 4-3 win over Los Angeles on May 23 and is 1-1 in three starts in this series.

Houston took two of three meetings from the Dodgers at Minute Maid Park back in May. The Dodgers went 4-2 against Houston last season and won two of three bouts between the teams held in Los Angeles in 2010.

The last time Houston swept the Dodgers in three games at Chavez Ravine was May 9-11, 2008.


Astros Cruise Over Dodgers 7-0 As Wandy Takes The Win

Final Score: Houston 7, Los Angeles 0

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Wandy Rodriguez worked six scoreless innings and Chris Johnson went 2-for-4 with an RBI double to send the Houston Astros to a 7-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the middle tilt of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium.

Rodriguez (5-3) scattered seven hits and issued one walk while fanning six to win his third straight decision.

"I felt very good, I used everything tonight," Rodriguez said. "Winning these two games, we're feeling better as a team."

Jeff Keppinger went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs for the Astros, who have won the first two in the series.

Rubby De La Rosa (3-1) worked 4 2/3 innings in defeat, charged with six hits and five runs for the Dodgers, who have lost five in a row and eight of their past 10 contests.

Andre Ethier collected two hits including a double, and Dee Gordon hit safely twice to up his average to .326.

The game remained scoreless until Houston broke it open in the fifth, striking for five runs.

Two singles and a walk loaded the bases, followed by two quick outs. Michael Bourn worked a base on balls to force in the first run, and the second came courtesy of a Jason Bourgeois infield single. The big strike came from Keppinger, who slapped a two-run single into the right-center field gap.

De La Rosa then re-loaded the bases by walking Carlos Lee, and prompted his exit. Mike MacDougal came in and fired a wild pitch to plate Houston's fifth and final run of the burst.

"Rubby was pretty good tonight, he looks like he could be special, this is just a step along the way," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of his starter. "In the fifth, everything steamrolled on us. We have to turn the page, we can't feel sorry for ourselves."

Houston added two runs in the eighth on an RBI double down the left-field line by Johnson and an RBI single by Carlos Corporan, to increase the lead to 7-0.

The Dodgers threatened in the eighth, putting two runners on with no outs against Astros reliever Wilton Lopez. Juan Uribe grounded into a double play, leaving LA with a man at third and two down, but Marcus Thames grounded weakly to second to end the inning.

Fernando Rodriguez tossed a perfect ninth to seal the win.

Los Angeles threatened in its first at-bat, putting runners on first and second with two outs after Ethier doubled and Matt Kemp was intentionally walked. Rodriguez recovered to induce a fly out from Juan Uribe.

Game Notes

The Dodgers were blanked for the seventh time this season, and fifth time at home...The teams met for the second time this season. In the previous series, the Astros took two of three from LA at Houston from May 23-25...The Astros improved to 7-9 against the NL West while the Dodgers fell to 10-16 against the Central...Dodgers' catcher Rod Barajas left the game in the fifth inning...This is the third time Houston has kept an opponent off the scoreboard...The last time the Dodgers collected 10 hits and were shutout was September 29, 1971, against the Astros.


Hunter Pence Headed Back To Houston For MRI, Scratched From Saturday Lineup

Hunter Pence was scratched from the lineup for tonight's game in Los Angeles due to a hyper-extended left elbow, and will fly back to Houston immediately for a Sunday morning MRI. The original injury occurred Friday night in the sixth inning when Pence dove into first base. He continued the game, going 0-5 at the plate. Pence took batting practice Saturday but couldn't go through his proper swing motion.

Clearly the extent of the injury is not yet known, but Pence hasn't hit the disabled list since 2007.

Pence is having by far his best season, batting .321, slugging .497, with 51 RBIs and has hit safely in 25 of his last 27 games. He figures to be Houston's lone representative in the All-Star game, though it won't be by fan vote.

The earliest Pence could rejoin the team is Monday in Arlington when the Astros are slated to take on the Texas Rangers to kick off yet another... exciting edition of The Silver Boot Series


Astros Can Win Series In Los Angeles With Win Saturday

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will try not to overlook major league baseball's worst team, the Houston Astros, when they resume a three- game series tonight at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers are in the midst of a season-long 12-game, 14-day homestand and fell to 0-4 on the residency following Friday's 7-3 loss to the Astros in the series opener of the only National League game on tap this weekend. Andre Ethier highlighted a four-hit attack with a two-run homer and Matt Kemp posted the other RBI, as Los Angeles fell a season-worst nine games below the .500 mark for the first time since ending the 2005 campaign with a 71-91 mark.

Ted Lilly drew the start for Don Mattingly's club and was reached for six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings.

"[Things] can snowball, that's for sure. I've been on a couple of those clubs where we just didn't seem to put anything together," Mattingly said on LA's website. "But it's going to be up to us to not allow that to happen, and we got to find a way to get ourselves back to .500. And we got 21 games before the break, so we have to put a run together before the break and make a little noise with that and see what happens to us."

The Dodgers have lost five in a row as the host and will also welcome the Tigers and Angels to Hollywood on this homestand. They had won four in a row at home against the Astros before last night's loss. Los Angeles third baseman Casey Blake is expected to be back in the starting lineup tonight, and has been battling neck issues recently.

Dodgers rookie pitcher Rubby De La Rosa experienced forearm cramping recently, but is expected to take the hill Saturday. De La Rosa has won two straight starts to run his record to 3-0 in five trips to the hill and was last in action Sunday in a 10-8 victory at Colorado.

De La Rosa, who has gone five innings in consecutive outings, held the Rockies to three runs with a career-high six strikeouts and three walks. The outing actually raised his earned run average from 1.80 to 3.00. The Dominican right- hander made his major league debut in a 5-4 win at Houston on May 24 in a relief role, striking out two batters in an inning of work.

The Dodgers would enjoy seeing De La Rosa throw just as well as Astros veteran righty Brett Myers did in Friday's victory. Myers went the distance for only his third win of the season (3-6) and yielded three runs -- two earned on the blast by Ethier -- and four hits with six strikeouts and one walk.

"It was a little rough early," said Myers, who retired 17 straight batters at one point. "They were aggressive, but I was able to hit my spots. I've thrown some shutouts, so this was not the best game I've ever pitched."

Clint Barmes registered a pair of doubles and two RBI, while Carlos Lee went 3-for-5 with an RBI for Houston, which snapped a three-game skid and posted just its third win in 14 tries. The Astros have the worst record in the majors at 26-45 and will visit the Texas Rangers for three games after this set.

Lee has reached base safely in 18 consecutive games, the longest run since a 23-gamer back in 2008. Brett Wallace has reached base safely in 12 of his previous 15 games.

Houston is 5-1 in Wandy Rodriguez's last six starts and looks to make it six wins in seven tries when the left-hander gets the nod tonight. Rodriguez is 3-0 with a 1.50 earned run average in his last six trips to the mound and tossed six shutout innings the previous time out in an 8-3 win versus Atlanta on June 13.

Rodriguez improved to 4-3 this season with a 3.12 ERA in 11 starts. He has made nine career appearances (8 starts) against the Dodgers, going 3-3 with a 2.68 ERA over that stretch.

Houston took two of three meetings from the Dodgers at Minute Maid Park back in May. The Dodgers went 4-2 against Houston last season and won two of three bouts between the teams held in Los Angeles in 2010.


Myers Stifles Dodgers Lineup

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Brett Myers went the distance, leading the Houston Astros to a 7-3 drubbing of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Myers (3-6) gave up only four hits in his nine innings of work, striking out six and walking one.

“It was a little rough early,” Myers said. “They were aggressive, but I was able to hit my spots. I’ve thrown some shutouts, so this was not the best game I’ve ever pitched.”

Clint Barmes smacked a pair of doubles and collected two RBI, while Carlos Lee went 3-for-5 with an RBI for Houston, which snapped a three-game skid and posted just its second win in nine contests.

Andre Ethier blasted a two-run home run while James Loney had two of the four Dodger hits. Aaron Miles added the other in LA’s fourth straight loss.

Ted Lilly (5-6) lasted only 5 1/3 innings, as he gave up eight hits and was charged with five earned runs.

Dee Gordon worked a walk and Miles slapped a single to left to put the first two runners of the inning on base for LA in its first at-bat. Gordon advanced to third on Ethier’s fielder’s choice and scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Kemp to give the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead.

Houston came back to knot the score at one in the fourth. Lee hit a one-out single to right, stole second and was chased home on a double to left by Chris Johnson.

The Astros broke the game open with five runs in the sixth. Jeff Keppinger stroked a ground-rule double to left and scored on a single to center by Lee.

The inning continued with a single by Johnson and a walk to Brett Wallace to load the bases with one out. Barmes followed with a double to right, scoring both Lee and Johnson. After the Dodgers elected to intentionally walk Carlos Corporan to load the bases a second time, Jason Bourgeois made the Dodgers pay by poking a single to second, which enabled two more runs to come home on a throwing error by Miles. The second baseman picked the ground ball cleanly but hurried his throw to second, causing it to be offline.

Houston added another run in the eighth on a wild pitch by Dodgers’ reliever Blake Hawksworth that scored Wallace. Wallace walked to start the inning and advanced to third on a double by Barmes before coming home on Hawksworth’s wild pitch.

Los Angeles got two runs back in the ninth on Ethier’s two-run home run, his sixth of the season.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly noted his team’s lack of patience at the plate, as Myers got through the game throwing 98 pitches.

“To be at 80 pitches after eight innings, you’ve got to have a little more than that,” Mattingly said.


Astros Travel To L.A. To Meet Rare Franchise That Is More Dysfunctional Than They Are

(Sports Network) - Two recently struggling foes get together for the first of three games tonight when the Houston Astros visit Dodger Stadium to meet the host Los Angeles Dodgers in an interleague weekend's lone National League series.

Both the Astros and Dodgers come in after being swept in their most recent home series. Houston lost three in a row at Minute Maid Park to Pittsburgh, while Los Angeles was beaten three straight by the Cincinnati Reds.

The Pirates closed out their sweep and sent Houston to its 11th loss in 13 games on Thursday, when Garrett Jones belted a three-run homer in a 5-4 Pittsburgh victory.

Jordan Lyles (0-2) made his fourth career start for the Astros and allowed five runs - three earned - on four hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

On Wednesday in Los Angeles, Scott Rolen went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs as the Reds completed their sweep with a 7-2 win.

It was Cincinnati's first sweep in Los Angeles since 2004.

Juan Uribe and Marcus Thames each drove in a run for the Dodgers, who'll continue a 12-game homestand this evening. Starter Chad Billingsley was knocked around for seven runs on nine hits and four walks in just four innings.

Los Angeles is fourth in the NL West Division, 8 1/2 games behind first-place San Francisco. Houston, whose 25-45 mark is worst in the league, is sixth in the Central and trails division-leading Milwaukee by 14 games.

The Astros begin the weekend with right-hander Brett Myers, a 14-game winner last season who's managed just two wins in 14 starts so far in 2011.

He was beaten by the Atlanta Braves in his most recent outing June 12 in Texas, allowing four runs on five hits in seven innings.

Myers is 4-2 with a save and a 2.61 earned run average in 12 career games against Los Angeles.

The Dodgers counter with veteran southpaw Ted Lilly, who's alternated wins and losses in his last 10 starts.

The 35-year-old defeated San Diego, 3-2, on April 29 and has subsequently lost to the Chicago Cubs, beaten Pittsburgh, lost to Arizona, beaten Colorado, lost to Philadelphia and beaten Colorado again to get to 5-5 overall.

He got a no-decision at Houston with six innings of one-run ball in a game Los Angeles lost, 2-1, on May 25.

In 14 career starts against the Astros, Lilly is 7-2 with a 2.30 ERA in 90 innings.

Houston won two of three meetings from the Dodgers at Minute Maid Park back in May. The Dodgers went 4-2 against Houston last season and took two of three bouts between the teams held in Los Angeles in 2010.

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