To learn about our efforts to improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please visit our Accessibility Information page. Skip to section navigation or Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...

News

Skip to main content
Astros can't tame Dodgers' bats
Below is an advertisement.
07/09/2004  1:26 AM ET 
Astros can't tame Dodgers' bats
Houston struggles to keep Los Angeles off the bases

Craig Biggio smacks a two-run home run in the third inning of Thursday's contest. (Jill Weisleder/Dodgers)
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers threw the baseball better, caught it better and hit it better than the Astros on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

It was that simple, according to Astros manager Jimy Williams.

And that difficult to watch for Williams, whose team lost its fourth game in its last five with a 7-2 defeat to the Dodgers before a crowd of 33,324.

"We didn't have many chances," Williams said after the Dodgers erased a two-run deficit with seven unanswered runs.

Credit for the Astros' frustrations at the plate went to Dodgers starter Edwin Jackson and three relievers, according to Williams. Dodgers pitchers retired 12 consecutive batters after third baseman Jose Vizcaino's fourth-inning infield single off Jackson (2-0).

Credit for the Astros' frustrations in the field went to the Dodgers hitters, including catcher Paul Lo Duca, who had a bases-empty homer in the fifth, and third baseman Robin Ventura, who singled twice and scored twice, Williams said.

It also didn't help the Astros fortunes that Werth and center fielder Milton Bradley made diving catches on line drives off the bats of Vizcaino and Adam Everett to start the seventh inning.

The game also turned on Ventura's popup to center field to start the fourth inning. The Astros had a 2-1 lead at that point, with Brandon Duckworth pitching as well as hoped after his recall from triple-A New Orleans.

But the Astros lost track of Ventura's lazy fly ball in the twilight and trouble soon followed, with Werth and Jackson producing run-scoring singles that propelled the Dodgers to their sixth consecutive victory. Jackson's single to center field was his first Major League hit.

Duckworth (1-2) gave up three runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, prompting Williams to say, "You want to know the truth? He didn't pitch that poorly. The results might not show it. His command was a lot better, a lot better."

   Brandon Duckworth  /   P
Born: 01/23/76
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Lack of command was one of the reasons Duckworth was sent to the minors June 10 with a 1-1 record and a 7.56 earned run average. He gave up 11 runs on 22 hits with eight walks and 21 strikeouts in 21 innings at New Orleans, which hastened his recall this week.

Against the Dodgers, he walked only one and had two strikeouts before Williams replaced him with reliever Mike Gallo with two runs home and two out in the fourth inning.

"That pop fly that was lost in the twilight was probably a big play for them," Williams said, referring to Ventura's blooper to lead off the fourth inning. "[Duckworth] made a good pitch and wasn't rewarded."

As has become their method of operation during their six-game winning streak, the Dodgers proved to be difficult outs, fouling off pitches and making life miserable for opposing pitchers.

Although he failed to make it out of the fourth, Duckworth made 76 pitches.

"Our pitchers threw a lot of pitches," Williams said, "too many pitches."

Jackson, forced from his last start when he suffered a mild strain of his right elbow last Saturday against the Anaheim Angels, settled down after giving up Biggio's 13th homer of the season.

When Jackson left, the Dodger bullpen muzzled the Astros until there was one out in the eighth inning. Darren Dreifort then suddenly lost his command and walked the bases loaded.

Presented with a chance to get back into the game, and with clean-up hitter Lance Berkman at the plate, the Astros got nothing. The Dodger bullpen served up one more superb pitch, with Martin getting Berkman to hit into an inning-ending double play.

"It was a chance to change the game with one swing of the bat," Williams said. But all Berkman got against Martin was a slow roller toward Dodgers second baseman Alex Cora, who started a 4-6-3 double play.

"We didn't do much after that (Biggio's homer in the third)," Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell said. "It's exactly that, we're losing games and we're dropping in the standings. We've got to find a way. We've got Andy (Pettitte) pitching tomorrow and Roger [Clemens] the day after that. We've got to get some wins here before the first half ends."

The Astros must throw it, catch it and hit it better than they did Thursday against the Dodgers. It's that simple.

Elliott Teaford is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

print this pageprint this page    |    email this pageemail this page

More Coverage
Related Links
• Craig Biggio 2-run HR  56K | 350K
Astros Headlines
• More Astros Headlines