Los Angeles (71-72) at Houston (67-75)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 96° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Sun Sep 12, 2010
  • TV: PRIME, FSH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have much of a chance to win their division or the wild card, but they have finally won consecutive games for the first time in more than two weeks.

Looking to post their third straight victory, the Dodgers conclude their four-game set against the host Houston Astros on Sunday.

After advancing to the NL championship series each of the last two seasons, Los Angeles (71-72) now faces a 10-game deficit in the West and is 11 games out of the wild card with three weeks left in the regular season. The Dodgers, though, have won consecutive games following a season high-tying six-game skid. They prevailed 6-3 on Saturday after manager Joe Torre got ejected in the first inning for arguing balls and strikes.

“I wasn’t around long enough to see much but it turned out good,” Torre said.

The Dodgers, who have won two in a row for the first time since a four-game run Aug. 24-27, will give the ball to Carlos Monasterios(notes) (3-5, 4.02 ERA) on Sunday. Vicente Padilla(notes) was supposed to start after returning from the disabled list earlier this week, but the veteran right-hander is likely out for the season with a bulging disk in his neck - the same injury that had previously sidelined him.

Monasterios, a rookie right-hander, made a spot start for Padilla on Aug. 31 and lasted two-plus innings, allowing five runs and five hits.

“He’s got growing to do. If it wasn’t for Padilla on the DL, he wouldn’t be the guy in that spot,” Torre said of Monasterios, 2-5 with a 5.13 ERA in 11 starts. “So it’s not like he’s our fifth starter, even though he’s filled in for us. But it’s a lot to ask and a lot to expect.”

Monasterios has never faced Houston.

The Astros (67-75), who had won 14 of 18 before dropping the last two, counter with Nelson Figueroa(notes) (5-2, 3.03) in an effort to avoid their first three-game skid since they dropped four in a row Aug. 4-8.

Figueroa, 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in five starts since being inserted into the rotation, earned his career-best fifth win in a 7-3 victory at the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. Despite giving up two runs in a 22-pitch first inning, the right-hander surrendered just one run over his final four frames before the Astros’ bullpen went four scoreless innings.

“(Figueroa) had to work really hard to get through that 5,” manager Brad Mills(notes) said following his 111-pitch outing.

Figueroa is 1-1 with a 6.60 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers, but hasn’t faced them since 2008, while with the New York Mets.

Dodgers left fielder Jay Gibbons(notes) went 2 for 4 on Saturday after hitting the go-ahead two-run homer in the 11th inning of Friday’s 4-2 victory. Gibbons is batting .359 with four homers and 12 RBIs since being called up from Triple-A Albuquerque on Aug. 8.

Astros second baseman Jeff Keppinger(notes), batting .333 with six RBIs in his last nine games, is hitting .368 (7 for 19) against the Dodgers this season.

Los Angeles has won four of five in the season series.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Monasterios Det vs. N. Figueroa Ari
3-5 Record 7-4
4.38 ERA 3.29
52 K 73
29 BB 34
1.45 WHIP 1.27

Scoreboard

Sunday, Sep 12