Houlton, a 26-year-old right-hander from Fullerton, Calif., who played high school ball down the freeway in Anaheim, made 13 relief appearances for the Dodgers this season before getting the call for his first career start on June 4 against Milwaukee.
Houlton responded to the challenge by allowing one run and four hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 4-1 victory, his first big league win. Houlton, who made 87 starts in the minors, struck out two and walked one.
“I was very nervous,” said Houlton, whom the Dodgers selected from Houston in the Rule 5 draft last December.
“It’s really been something I’ve dreamed about, growing up around here and watching the Dodgers and the Angels. So just being able to go out there and make a start like that is overwhelming. I felt if I should go out there and just think more about location than velocity and not try to go all out on every pitch.”
The Dodgers took the series opener 6-5 on Friday but suffered a 5-3 loss Saturday as Justin Morneau homered and drove in four runs for Minnesota.
Torii Hunter added a solo shot for the Twins, who ended a two-game skid and improved to 7-3 in June.
Hee-Seop Choi continued his recent power surge for Los Angeles. After belting two homers Friday, including the game-winning shot in the bottom of the ninth, Choi blasted a 458-foot drive near the back of the right field pavilion Saturday.