Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Chris Johnson’s three-run homer in the sixth inning lifted the Houston Astros over the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-2, in the opener of a four-game series at Minute Maid Park.
Bud Norris (7-8), who was winless in his previous three starts, gave up two runs — one earned — on three hits over six innings to pick up the win for the Astros, who have won three in a row and five of six.
Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer for the Dodgers, who have lost a season-high six straight games. Ted Lilly (8-10) went six frames in the start, giving up three runs on seven hits.
The Dodgers got on the board in the first inning. Jamey Carroll reached first on Johnson’s throwing error and scored on Ethier’s blast to left-center field.
Los Angeles put men on second and third in the third, but Russ Mitchell flied out to end the threat.
The Astros failed to score after putting men on second and third in the fourth. With one down, Carlos Lee singled and Jason Michaels doubled, but Johnson and Tommy Manzella struck out to end the inning.
Houston went ahead in the sixth on Johnson’s homer. Hunter Pence singled and Lee walked to start the frame. After Michaels flied out, Johnson cleared the wall in left to give the Astros a 3-2 lead.
The Dodgers stranded the bases loaded in the seventh. Gustavo Chacin started the inning on the mound for Houston and gave up a single and two walks to load the bases with one out. Mark Melancon came in from the bullpen following the second out, and got pinch-hitter Jay Gibbons to ground out to end the threat.
Melancon tossed a scoreless eighth and Brandon Lyon pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save of the season.
The Dodgers swept a two-game series from the Astros back in May…The Astros started a 10-game homestand on Thursday…Houston has won nine of its last 11 games…Since being acquired from the Cubs, Lilly has gone 5-2. He fell to 7-2 lifetime against the Astros.