Series: Game 3 of 3

Houston won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, September 6
Houston 2Final
Los Angeles 3
Game 2: Saturday, September 7
Houston 6Final
Los Angeles 1
Game 3: Sunday, September 8
Houston 6Final
Los Angeles 2

Astros 6

(76-67, 35-37 away)

Dodgers 2

(82-60, 40-31 home)

    7:10 PM ET, September 8, 2002

    Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 101110002 6 - -
    LA 000000020 2 - -

    W: R. Oswalt (19-6)

    L: K. Ishii (14-10)

    Ishii gets skull fracture by line drive

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Roy Oswalt's spectacular outing left everyone in the Houston Astros clubhouse in an upbeat mood -- except Brian Hunter and closer Billy Wagner.

    Roy Oswalt
    Starting Pitcher
    Houston Astros
    GM W L Sv K ERA
    30 19 6 0 183 2.84

    Oswalt took a one-hit shutout into the eighth inning to win his ninth consecutive decision, and Lance Berkman hit one of Houston's three homers to lead the Astros to a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

    But all Hunter could think about was the line drive he hit flush off the head of Dodgers pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii, who left the field in an ambulance with a small fracture in his skull and a concussion.

    In the fourth inning, Hunter drove a 3-2 pitch so hard off the left side of Ishii's head that it ricocheted all the way to the backstop behind home plate for a run-scoring double.

    ''I saw every part of it. As soon as I hit the ball, my natural reaction was to say, 'Heads up!' because you never want to see anybody get hurt -- whether it's your team or the other team,'' Hunter said.

    ''Being a line drive-type hitter, you're trying to stay up the middle more. But I would rather hit into a line-drive double play than to have something like that happen.''

    Ishii, who turns 29 Monday, had feeling and movement in all of his limbs and was fully conscious when he was taken to the hospital for X-rays and further tests, according to Dodgers spokesman John Olguin.

    Ishii will remain hospitalized for at least 24 hours for observation by a neurologist.

    ''The prayers from our team definitely go out to Ishii and his family and to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. I hope he has a speedy recovery so he can come back and help the team,'' Hunter said.

    Ishii was the second player to leave Dodger Stadium in an ambulance with a concussion in less than two weeks. It happened to Alex Cora on Aug. 26, after he tried to steal second base and collided head-first with Arizona shortstop Tony Womack's knee.

    ''It's strange to see freaky accidents like that twice,'' Mark Grudzielanek said. ''Nobody wants to see that happen to anybody, but unfortunately, that's part of the game.

    ''Hopefully, it'll have the same result as Alex and that he'll come back soon. But I don't think we're concerned at all about when he'll pitch again. The No. 1 concern is his health.''

    Wagner was in the bullpen when Ishii was hit, but it still gave the Houston reliever flashbacks to July 15, 1998, at Arizona, when he was struck on the left side of the head behind the ear by Kelly Stinnett's line drive. The impact left Wagner with a concussion and vertigo.

    ''It's scary. It's not something I particularly wanted to see,'' said Wagner, who struck out the side in the ninth. ''I know what it's like to have something like that happen to me. Every time you go back out there, you think about that situation with every pitch you throw.''

    Houston remained 5 games behind the Cardinals in the National League Central and closed to 6 of the Dodgers in the wild-card standings.

    Los Angeles leads San Francisco by one game for the wild-card berth and still trails Arizona by 4 in the West. The Dodgers and Giants begin a three-game series Monday night at San Francisco.

    Oswalt (19-6) allowed two runs and three hits in seven-plus innings and struck out nine -- including the side in the seventh. He took full advantage of the 4 p.m. local start, with shadows between the mound and home plate.

    ''I felt like I could place my fastball pretty close to where I wanted to the whole night, and the shadows early on helped out a lot,'' Oswalt said. ''I tried to be real aggressive and go after them so I could get through the fourth and fifth innings before the shadows left the field.''

    Dave Roberts' leadoff bunt single in the fourth inning was the Dodgers' only hit until Tyler Houston and Grudzielanek opened the eighth with singles.

    Octavio Dotel replaced Oswalt and walked pinch-hitter Dave Hansen with one out, loading the bases. One out later, Cora hit a two-run double.

    But Adrian Beltre fouled out to end the threat, and Wagner finished after Berkman gave him some breathing room with a two-run homer off Paul Shuey.

    Ishii (14-10) allowed three runs, four walks and five hits. Kevin Beirne replaced the left-hander on the mound after a 14-minute delay.

    Craig Biggio opened the scoring in the first with his 13th homer. Hunter, who was 3-for-5, made it 2-0 in the third with his first home run since undergoing an appendectomy in July.

    The Astros added a run in the fifth on an RBI double by Brad Ausmus, who was 1-for-23 on the road trip before that hit.

    Game notes

    The Astros took two of three from the Dodgers, who had won nine consecutive series. ... Oswalt needs one victory to become the seventh pitcher in Astros history to win 20 games. ... Oswalt and Wade Miller have won their past 18 decisions combined. Their cumulative record since the start of last season is 61-20, the second-best winning percentage by any duo on one team. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling are 84-22 during that span.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press