Even without Triple Crown leader Andre Ethier in the line-up on his own Bobblehead Night, the Dodgers cruised to their ninth-consecutive victory over the slumping Houston Astros last night, 7-3.
They did it all behind a rejuvenated offense and the arm of Hiroki Kuroda (5-1), who won his fifth game in his last six decisions. Kuroda completed six innings allowing three runs and seven hits and striking out two. The Dodger bullpen (Belisario, Kuo and Troncoso) pitched another shutout, giving up only one hit in three innings.
Dodger pitching is a big reason why they’ve won nine-in-a-row; the Dodgers’ staff hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a game during the streak, an ERA of 1.89, and the bullpen hasn’t allowed an earned run in the last six contests.
Meanwhile, the Dodger offense have averaged 5.6 runs during this streak, even with their leading slugger missing the last four games.
Casey Blake led the attack last night with three hits, including two RBI and his fourth homer of the season. Manny Ramirez and James Loney each batted in two runs as well and Jamey Carroll added a sacrifice fly in the fourth, which was more than enough to beat the lowly Houston Astros (who, besides Carlos Lee, have the league’s worst offense).
The Dodgers are streaking in all the right places in the month of May. Russell Martin added a single in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, one more than his previous best in 2007.
The offense could have taken a severe hit, though, as they found out they may be without Silver Slugger Andre Ethier for as long as six weeks. Ethier, who leads the league with a .392 average and 38 RBIs, went on the DL for the first time in his five-year career just hours before the sellout crowd received his bobblehead.
The right-fielder was placed on the 15-day after sustaining a fractured bone in his right pinkie Saturday while taking swings in the indoor batting cage at San Diego’s Petco Park.
Even with the recent string of injuries, the Dodgers have managed to win 11 of their last 12. The Blue Crew currently stands one game back in the division, and they have a chance to pull into a first-place tie in the NL West with the visiting San Diego Padres coming to Chavez Ravine tonight.