Final

Series: Game 2 of 2

LA Dodgers won 2-0

Game 1: Monday, July 19
LA Dodgers7Final
Houston6
Game 2: Tuesday, July 20
LA Dodgers7Final
Houston5

Dodgers 7

(54-38, 25-21 away)

Astros 5

(45-48, 23-24 home)

    8:05 PM ET, July 20, 2004

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    LA 001000420 7 12 1
    HOU 301000010 5 9 3

    W: J. Weaver (7-9)

    L: D. Weathers (6-5)

    S: E. Gagne (27)

    Beltre hits 25th homer in win over Astros

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Trailing by three runs entering the seventh inning, Adrian Beltre and the Los Angeles Dodgers were patiently waiting for the inevitable rally.

    Beltre then calmly stepped out of the dugout, settled into his stance and did the honors himself Tuesday night.

    Beltre's two-run shot in the seventh sparked the Dodgers' sixth straight comeback victory on the road, 7-5 over the slumping Houston Astros.

    Adrian Beltre
    Beltre

    "We believe we can come back and win any game the way we are swinging the bats," said Beltre, who hit his career-high 25th homer. "You get in a groove and feel confident that you can do a lot of damage."

    The Dodgers have won 14 of 15 and eight consecutive road games, something they haven't done since June 1982. Los Angeles also moved a season-high 16 games above .500 at 54-38.

    Jeff Weaver (7-9) gave up four runs on seven hits in six innings, but left trailing 4-1 when the Dodgers began to rally for their eighth consecutive win.

    Eric Gagne got four outs, including three strikeouts to end the game, for his 27th save in 28 chances.

    "It's been a fantastic road trip. This is a great way to start the second half. It's a tremendous momentum builder," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "We have created a mind-set where we don't feel like anything is insurmountable."

    Los Angeles went out and proved it again Tuesday, taking advantage of another Astros' meltdown in the late innings.

    Jason Grabowski led off the seventh with a pinch-hit single and Pete Munro hit Dave Roberts with a pitch. David Weathers (1-2) came in and got Cesar Izturis to line out to shortstop, but Adam Everett made a throwing error to advance the runners.

    Paul Lo Duca singled them in on the next at-bat and Beltre followed with homer on the first pitch to give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead.

    Los Angeles added two more runs in the eighth, on Beltre's RBI single and Milton Bradley's fielder's choice.

    "I stunk. We've got a 4-1 lead and I just don't make the pitches," Weathers said. "I might as well be pitching underhanded, like in softball. I don't want to use the word `frustrating' because that's too easy. Embarrassing is the right word."

    Morgan Ensberg hit a solo homer in the eighth for Houston, which has lost four of five since Phil Garner replaced Jimy Williams as manager during the All-Star break.

    The Astros are a season-high 14 games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis and one more loss from dropping into last place with Pittsburgh. With every defeat, Houston's preseason dreams of going to its first World Series look more and more doubtful.

    Houston's discouraging start after the break has clearly befuddled the veteran clubhouse. Hardly anyone stuck around to talk with reporters after this loss.

    "Bleak crowd tonight, huh?" Garner said.

    Said Ensberg: "I don't know what to think. I don't know if we're snakebit. I don't know if it's bad luck. It's the same frustrating things that have been going on the last couple months. I don't know what the answer is."

    The Astros got off to an impressive start against Weaver.

    Carlos Beltran had a run-scoring double, Jeff Bagwell an RBI single and Lance Berkman scored from second on Alex Cora's fielding error.

    In the third, Lo Duca's RBI single scored Izturis to close the gap to 3-1. Jeff Bagwell homered in the bottom of the inning to extend the Astros' lead.

    But Houston's bullpen blew a lead against Los Angeles for the second straight night, drawing the ire of the frustrated fans.

    Weathers, who allowed two runs on three hits in his short outing, was booed by the crowd of 34,154 as he left the mound.

    "People pay to see major league baseball and then I don't pitch like a major league pitcher," he said. "I deserve to get booed."

    Game notes


    Bagwell's 432nd homer moved him past Cal Ripken Jr. into 32nd place on the career list. ... The Astros have now spent 28 days in fifth place in the NL Central, the same amount of time they've spent in first this season. ... Cora, who had only two errors this season before this series, has committed errors on back-to-back nights. ... The Astros tied a season high with three errors.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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