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Astros Open Lengthy Homestand With Four-Game Series Against Dodgers

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers try to avoid a season-high sixth consecutive loss this evening when they open a four-game series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The Dodgers' playoff chances took a big hit this week, as they dropped two of three at home to the San Francisco Giants, then lost all three games of their series to the National League West-leading San Diego Padres, falling 4-0 on Wednesday to drop 11 games back of the division leaders.

Matt Kemp doubled for the Dodgers, who have dropped seven of eight to fall two games below .500 (69-71). Chad Billingsley (11-9) surrendered four runs, six hits and five walks in just 5 1/3 frames to take the loss.

"(Billingsley) certainly deserved a better fate, but we didn't score any runs," said Los Angeles manager Joe Torre.

Tonight, the Dodgers will turn to lefty Ted Lilly, who is 8-9 on the season with a 3.55 earned run average. Lilly did not get a decision on Saturday against the Giants, as he allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings of his team's 5-4 loss.

Since being acquired from the Cubs, Lilly has gone 5-1 with a 3.18 ERA over seven starts.

Lilly has dominated the Astros over the course of his career, going 7-1 against them with a 2.19 ERA in 12 starts.

Lilly will be opposed by righty Bud Norris, who is winless in his last three starts. Norris did not get a decision on Saturday in Arizona, but was hit hard, as he surrendered five runs and eight hits with three walks in just 4 2/3 innings of his team's 6-5 triumph. He is 6-8 on the year with a 5.34 ERA.

Norris lost to the Dodgers the only other time he faced them, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 frames back on May 18.

Houston comes into tonight's tilt red-hot after taking two of three from the Chicago Cubs. On Wednesday, Brett Myers struck out eight in seven shutout innings to continue his dominance of the Cubs and lead the Astros to a 4-0 win.

Myers (11-7) allowed just three hits and walked one, improving to 3-0 in four starts against Chicago this season. He has given up only four earned runs in those outings (1.21 ERA) and struck out 34 in 29 2/3 innings.

Additionally, Myers extended his franchise record by pitching at least six innings for the 29th consecutive start.

Houston got a home run from Hunter Pence and run-scoring hits out of Humberto Quintero and Chris Johnson to win for the fourth time in five games and for the eighth time in its last 10 tries.

"Every time he goes out there, as you've seen, he's given us six innings or more every outing," Pence said of Myers. "Just gives you a great chance to win. He competes, he knows what he's doing out there. It's fun to play behind him."

The Dodgers swept a two-game series from the Astros back in May.

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