The Astros have outscored the opposition 22-10 in winning two of their last three games.
Jeff Kent hit a grand slam and had six RBIs as Houston moved into a tie with St. Louis for the NL Central lead with a 10-1 victory over Los Angeles on Monday.
Alvarez has pitched well for Los Angeles, going 2-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 15 appearances, including six starts. The veteran southpaw is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA over his last four starts.
Alvarez struggled against the Astros his last time out, allowing three runs and six hits, while walking two and striking out seven, over 4 2-3 innings in the Dodgers’ 6-3 victory on Thursday.
Kent went 3-for-5, including his 10th career slam, in Monday’s series opener. Brad Ausmus also homered and drove in two runs. Craig Biggio and Geoff Blum each had three hits in an 18-hit attack for the Astros.
Monday’s loss snapped Los Angeles’ four-game winning streak.
The Dodgers fell 2 1/2 games behind Florida—which beat Montreal earlier in the day—in the NL wild-card race.
The Dodgers got a scare on Monday when All-Star catcher Paul Lo Duca took a foul ball off his face in the third inning. He was taken to a hospital for precautionary X-rays, which were negative.
Lo Duca, who is listed as day-to-day with a sprained jaw, is hitting a team-high .283 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs.
STANDINGS: Astros - 1st place (tied), NL Central. Dodgers - 2nd place, 12 GB, NL West.
ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Tim Redding (8-13, 3.87 ERA). The hard-throwing right-hander is 0-4 with a 4.71 ERA over his last four starts. Redding was roughed up for four runs and six hits in only three innings during the 6-3 loss to Los Angeles on Thursday.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Alvarez (2-1, 2.64 ERA). The left-hander, who has a 1.57 ERA since the All-Star break, is 0-0 with a 3.97 ERA in two career starts against Houston.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Astros - Richard Hidalgo, .303 avg.; Jeff Bagwell, 31 HRs, 94 runs and 9 SBs; Kent, 82 RBIs. Dodgers - Lo Duca, .283 avg.; Jeromy Burnitz, 26 HRs and 68 RBIs; Shawn Green, 70 runs; Dave Roberts, 36 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Astros - OF Hidalgo leads the majors with a club-record 21 outfield assists. … 1B Bagwell ranks fifth in the NL with 94 runs scored. … RHP Redding is 3-6 with a 4.02 ERA on the road. Dodgers - Los Angeles increased its active roster to 30 by activating C Todd Hundley from the 60-day disabled list and recalling RHP Steve Colyer, RHP Rodney Myers, OF Wilkin Ruan and OF Jason Romano from Triple-A Las Vegas. … C Lo Duca is hitting just .234 since the All-Star break. … OF Rickey Henderson hit his 2,182nd career single Monday, tying Hall of Famer Robin Yount for 20th place on the all-time list.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Astros - 30-36 on the road; Dodgers - 40-30 at home.
INJURIES: Astros - LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Roy Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Rosario (shoulder), 60-day DL. Dodgers - OF Brian Jordan (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL.