Martin’s 2 home runs help Penny, Dodgers beat Astros 6-3

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Russell Martin has become quite comfortable hitting against Jason Jennings because of all the times they faced each other in the past.

So it was no coincidence that the Dodgers’ All-Star catcher was able to record his first career two-homer game at his expense.

Martin supported batterymate Brad Penny with his first homers in 14 games— including a go-ahead two-run shot in the sixth inning—helping Los Angeles beat the Houston Astros 6-3 Wednesday night.

“I have an idea of what he’s going to try to do,” said Martin, who is 9-for-23 lifetime against Jennings. “He’s got that little cutter and a little bit of movement on his fastball, so I was trying to stay on it and just use my hands. I was just making sure if I saw a pitch that was up in the zone, I was going to attack it. He made a couple of mistakes, left the ball up a little bit and I put some good swings on them.”

Juan Pierre singled leading off the Dodgers’ sixth and advanced to third on a single by Matt Kemp, who then stole second. James Loney hit a sacrifice fly and Martin chased Jennings with his 15th homer, driving a 2-0 slider to center field for a 4-3 lead.

“The one pitch that I’d take back all night long was the one pitch that cost us,” Jennings said. “I didn’t think he’d be on a slider, 2-0, but he’s an All-Star player this year and he showed why. We faced each other quite a bit when I was in Colorado, so it’s not like I don’t know what to throw him. I just haven’t thrown him the best pitches.”

Penny (14-3) allowed three runs and 10 hits in six innings, striking out six and walking one. The victory was the first by a Dodgers starting pitcher in 17 games since Penny went six innings to beat Colorado 5-4 at Coors Field and improve to 13-1.

No Dodgers starter other than Penny has gotten a W at home since July 8, when Mark Hendrickson beat Florida 9-3 in the final game before the All-Star break.

Scott Proctor and Jonathan Broxton each pitched a scoreless inning of relief and Takashi Saito did likewise for his 30th save in 33 attempts.

Jennings (2-8) allowed four runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings, striking out four and walking none. He is 0-7 in his last 10 starts at Dodger Stadium, after winning the first time he pitched there in 2001 with the Rockies.

“That was probably one of the most frustrating losses I’ve had in a while,” said Jennings, who beat Penny 7-4 on July 24 at Houston. “I gave up one run through five and had a low pitch count, so I really felt like I could at least get into the seventh.”

The Dodgers, who had lost 13 of their previous 16 games, tacked on two more runs in the seventh with Pierre’s RBI single and an RBI double by Kemp.

After giving up a leadoff double to Ty Wigginton in the fourth, Penny asked the umpires for time, complaining that Astros third base coach Doug Mansolino was too far out of the coaching box and way up the line with the lefty-swinging Luke Scott at the plate.

“He was in Brad’s peripheral vision, so it was kind of annoying him a little bit,” Martin said. “It seemed like I could just reach over and grab him if I wanted to. But the coach is supposed to be in the box. It was bugging Brad, and Brad just took care of it. He’s not scared to say what’s on his mind.”

Astros manager Phil Garner looked back at Penny while scooting across the diamond to argue the point with umpire James Hoye after Mansolino was ordered back. Scott reached on an infield hit and Jason Lane increased Houston’s lead to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly, causing Mansolino to clap his hands aggressively.

“It was clearly just a request he made to put Manso back closer to the box — and that’s all reasonable,” Garner said. “I had no issues with that whatsoever. When I went by him, he said, ‘He’s not doing anything. I’m just picking him up in my eye.’ There were no accusations.”

Notes

Martin leads all catchers with 71 RBIs and 122 hits. He became the first Dodgers catcher to homer twice in a game since Sept. 14, 2003, when David Ross did it against San Diego. … Pierre stole his 47 and 48th bases of the season, the second-highest total by a Dodger since Steve Sax finished the 1983 campaign with 56. Eric Young had 51 steals for them in 1999. … The only Dodgers other than Saito to record as many as 30 saves in a season were Todd Worrell, Jeff Shaw and Eric Gagne.

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