LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The
moved back into first place in the National League Central Division by ambushing one of baseball's top pitchers.
had a two-run single and
's double plated two more runs as the Astros scored four times in the opening inning against
en route to an 8-2 triumph over the
Los Angeles Dodgers
chipped in a two-run single in a four-run ninth as Houston moved one-half game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the division lead.
Staked to the early cushion,
(13-7) tossed 5 2/3 effective innings, allowing two runs and five hits. The 26-year-old struck out six without a walk and eclipsed
' team record for wins by a rookie lefthander.
"I gave up two runs early," Robertson said. "You want to get their lineup under control early, but it doesn't always work. I wanted to get in a good groove."
worked 1 1/3 hitless innings,
cruised through the eighth and
struck out two in the ninth.
Brown (13-8) allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out five, but the Dodgers dropped 2 1/2 games back in the NL wild card hunt.
Second in the major leagues in ERA, Brown has surrendered four earned runs in each of his last two starts after going 10 in a row without doing so.
"Some days you make good pitches and they hit them, that's just the way things happen in this game," Brown said. "It's not like they were killing me, I made good pitches."
Paul Lo Duca
had two hits apiece for Los Angeles.
Brown started the game in control, retiring the first two batters. But
beat out an infield hit.
walked on four pitches and
made the free pass hurt with a two-run single to center. Blum made it 4-0 with a double to right.
"Brown is a good pitcher. He's tough," Hidalgo said. "I don't try to do too much off him, just try to get the bat on the ball. I tried to hit the ball up the middle in the first. I never try to pull off of him."
"The first inning was the key to the whole game," Dodgers manager
said. "The first inning changes the entire complexion of the game. The unfortunate thing is that they had two outs and nobody on."
Houston second baseman
agreed with Tracy's assessment.
"Getting to Brown early was big," he said. "You usually don't get that many runs off him. He's filthy, especially if you are on the right side of the plate."
Houston had a scoring chance go by the wayside in the second when Robertson was thrown out at the plate trying score on a fly ball by Bagwell.
Los Angeles halved its deficit in the second as Cabrera had an RBI single and
added a run-scoring groundout.
Brown pitched out of a jam in the third and Robertson worked out of a tight spot in the fourth.
The Dodgers had the tying run at the plate in the eighth, but Dotel retired
on a flyout and
on a popout.
Houston broke open the game in the ninth. Berkman started the inning with a single and took third on a double by Hidalgo. Pinch hitter
, another pinch hitter, walked to force home a run.
to foul out. Biggio plated a run with a forceout and took second on fielder's indifference. Everett made it 8-2 with a single to the right-center field gap.