(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.