Dodgers-Astros Preview

The Associated Press

After the reigning NL Cy Young award winner stymied Houston in the Los Angeles Dodgers' latest victory, Chad Billingsley has a chance to help his team complete their first three-game road sweep of the Astros in almost 27 years.

Billingsley looks to do that and improve to 3-0 while trying to continue his own success against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Sunday.

One night after Ted Lilly and three relievers held Houston (5-10) to five hits in Los Angeles' 3-1 series-opening victory, Clayton Kershaw tossed seven scoreless innings as the Dodgers limited the Astros to four hits in a 5-1 win Saturday.

Owner of the NL's best record, Los Angeles (12-3) has outscored Houston 23-3 during a six-game series winning streak. Saturday's victory secured the Dodgers' first winning series at Minute Maid since 2008. They have not swept a set of at least three games at Houston since June 14-16, 1985.

"When you're playing well and winning games, it's an unbelievable feeling," center fielder Matt Kemp told the Dodgers' official website.

Los Angeles turns to Billingsley (2-0, 1.33 ERA) to finish the job Sunday.

The right-hander is 4-3 with a 4.29 ERA in seven starts versus Houston, but all those victories have come at Minute Maid Park, where he's posted a 1.78 ERA in four starts.

After going 11-11 with a 4.21 ERA last season, Billingsley is off to his best start since opening 5-0 in 2009. Two of the three runs he's allowed over 20 1-3 innings in his three starts have come on two homers. He yielded both of his runs in the second inning and lasted six in a 5-4 loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday.

The Dodgers scored more than four runs for the first time in five games Saturday when Kemp hit a two-run homer to set a club record through 15 games with nine.

Kemp leads the majors in homers, batting average (.474) and RBIs (22). He's homered in four straight games against the Astros, and is 8 for 18 (.444) with eight RBIs in his last five versus Houston. Hall of Famer Andre Dawson is the only player to homer in five consecutive games against the Astros, doing so in 1987.

"I'm just trying to do good for my team and just trying to get wins and put us on the map again,'' Kemp said.

He is a .278 lifetime hitter against scheduled Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez, but has a home run and two doubles among his five hits.

Rodriguez (0-2, 1.96) has allowed eight runs - four earned - in 18 1-3 innings over three starts. The Astros have scored six and committed eight errors in those contests. The left-hander allowed a run and no walks in seven innings of a 1-0 loss at Washington on Tuesday.

"That's the guy that we all know, and we all love to have him pitch like that," manager Brad Mills told the Astros' official website.

Rodriguez is 4-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 10 starts versus Los Angeles.

J.D. Martinez drove in the lone run Saturday for the Astros, who have lost nine of 11. The second-year outfielder is batting .340 with 13 RBIs in 2012.

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