Rookie Ely Leads Dodgers to Eight-Straight

By mattgullette

John Ely (2-1) threw first-pitch strikes to 20-of-25 hitters and went to a three-ball count just five times en route to the Dodgers eighth-consecutive win last night over the Houston Astros, 6-2.

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Last night’s performance marks 84 consecutive batters Ely has faced without allowing a walk—the longest current streak in the majors. The right-hander. who turned 24-years-old last Thursday, hurled eight K’s in his fourth career start and allowed only five hits in seven strong innings, six days after beating Arizona for his first big league victory.

The Astros got on the board quickly with Lance Berkman’s RBI single in the top of the first, but the Blue Crew came back with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. After two singles by Reed Johnson and Matt Kemp and a walk to Manny, James Loney hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to score a run, and then and Casey Blake cleared the bases with a two-run double scoring Manny and Kemp, who ran through third-base coach Larry Bowa’s stop sign to score his MLB-leading 33rd run.

The Dodgers made it 4-1 in the fourth when DeWitt tripled off the glove of right fielder Hunter Pence. scoring on shortstop Jamey Carroll’s sacrifice fly. DeWitt then drove in the final two runs with another triple, making him the first Dodger with two triples in a game since Rafael Furcal on June 13, 2007. He finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI (Source: Yahoo Sports).

The Astros got a run back in the fifth, but Ely and the Dodger bullpen shut-out the struggling Houston offense the rest of the way as they continued their longest winning-streak in almost four years.

Ely, acquired (with Jon Link) from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Juan Pierre,  has given up only three walks and racked up 25 strikeouts through his first four outings, and if he continues to throw fireballs, he’ll earn a definite starting spot in the Dodger rotation.

The win boasts the white-hot Dodgers (21-17) 13th in their last 16 games, the latter of which were without slugger Andre Ethier who missed his third straight game with a small fracture in his right pinky. Ethier currently leads the majors in batting average (.392), RBIs (38) and tied for the NL lead in home runs with 11. The Dodgers are expected to place the outfielder on the disabled list sometime today.

With the first-place Padres playing San Francisco again tonight, the Dodgers have a chance to pull within one game of the division. They currently stand two games back.

Tonight Los Angeles will go their most solid starter of late, Hiroki Kuroda (4-1, 2.66), against Bud Norris and a Houston team that’s averaged 2.6 runs and hit .216 while dropping 15 of 20. The Astros (13-25), losers of four straight, are last in the majors in batting average (.227) and runs (112).

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