Houston (19-15) at Los Angeles (17-17)

Fair Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 3:10 pm EDT Thu May 11, 2006
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While the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing some of their best baseball of the season, the Houston Astros are playing some of their worst.

Los Angeles looks to extend its winning to their winning streak to six games when it caps a three-game series on Thursday at Dodger Stadium against the Astros, who are trying to avoid their seventh straight loss.

Los Angeles (17-17) won eight straight from April 12-20, 2005 as it start the season with 12 wins in 14 games. The Dodgers went 59-89 the rest of the season and finished in fourth place in the NL West a year after winning the division title.

Following a five-game losing streak at the beginning of this month, the Dodgers have rebounded on offense. They scored 19 runs a three-game sweep of Milwaukee, and 21 in the first two games against Houston (19-15), including a 9-6 win on Wednesday.

Jeff Kent and Rafael Furcal hit three-run homers, and Nomar Garciaparra also homered as Los Angeles led 9-0 before Houston rallied for six runs in the final three innings.

“We feel pretty good about winning five in a row, but we know that the best part of our season is still to come,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “We like the way we’re swinging the bats right now, but we’ve got a few things to iron out in the bullpen.”

Derek Lowe (1-1, 3.05 ERA) starts for the Dodgers on Thursday looking to earn a decision for the first time in five starts. The right-hander has pitched well since a season-opening loss to Atlanta, allowing two runs or fewer in his last six starts. He has gone at least six innings in his last six starts, but is only 1-0 in that span.

“I don’t think I have bad luck. You just go out there pitch as good as you can for as long as you can,” Lowe said.

Lowe is 1-1 with a 2.82 ERA in three starts against the Astros, and didn’t earn a decision on April 24, giving up one run and four hits in seven innings. The Dodgers won that game 6-2 after scoring five runs in the top of the ninth.

Houston is in the midst of its worst losing streak since May 18-24, when they lost seven in a row to drop to 15-30. The Astros rebounded after that to win the NL pennant for the first time in franchise history before being swept by the Chicago White Sox.

Houston has allowed at least five runs in every loss during the streak and has given up 28 runs in the last three games.

“We’re going to have to stop them from scoring here pretty soon, and we’ve got to keep them in the ballpark once in a while,” Houston manager Phil Garner said.

Wandy Rodriguez (4-1, 3.27), who starts Thursday, will try to avoid his third loss in as many starts. After starting the season with four wins in five starts, the left-hander has allowed seven and 14 hits in 12 innings over two starts since.

He defeated Los Angeles on April 26 after giving up two runs and five hits over seven innings in an 8-5 win.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Rodríguez Tex vs. D. Lowe Tex
9-10 Record 16-8
5.64 ERA 3.63
98 K 123
63 BB 55
1.60 WHIP 1.27