Series: Game 1 of 3

LA Dodgers leads 1-0 (as of 5/9)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 9
LA Dodgers12
Game 2: Wednesday, May 10
LA Dodgers9
Game 3: Thursday, May 11
LA Dodgers2

Astros 7

(19-14, 5-10 away)

Dodgers 12

(16-17, 9-9 home)

    10:10 PM ET, May 9, 2006

    Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 200400001 7 14 2
    LA 01401006 - 12 14 0

    W: T. Saito (3-2)

    L: D. Wheeler (0-2)

    Kent's homer caps six-run eighth for Dodgers in win

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers turned to their power when their pitching faltered.

    Jeff Kent hit a three-run homer and finished with four RBI to lift the Dodgers over the Houston Astros 12-7 for their fourth straight win.

    Kent's second homer of the season capped the Dodgers' six-run eighth inning. Nomar Garciaparra and J.D. Drew also homered against Houston starter Andy Pettitte, who allowed six runs and eight hits in five innings.

    "It was a great win because everyone got involved," Garciaparra said. "We did some little things that created big things."

    Morgan Ensberg, Adam Everett and Jason Lane hit two-run homers for the defending NL champion Astros, who have lost five straight.

    "I've never played a season in the major leagues where you haven't had to face some sort of adversity and had some kind of a losing streak like this. But we have enough character guys in here to be able to overcome it," Lance Berkman said.

    "Every year you expect to go through some tough times, and sometimes they come up unexpectedly. We were playing pretty good ball, and we've just hit a skid. All you can do is try to fight through it."

    Mike Gallo faced only one batter, giving up a leadoff single by Kenny Lofton in the eighth. Lofton tried to take two bases on Russell Martin's bloop single to left against Dan Wheeler (0-2) and was thrown out at third as Martin took second on the throw. Pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz lined an RBI single to right to give Los Angeles a 7-6 lead.

    "In that particular situation I didn't try to do too much. I was just trying to get a single to bring the runner in," Saenz said. "This is my job and this is my role over here, so I just try to do whatever I can to help the ballclub win. That's all that matters to me."

    Pinch-runner Andre Ethier scored on Rafael Furcal's hit, Jose Cruz Jr. drove in another run with a ground-rule double off Wheeler, and Kent homered two batters later against Dave Borkowski.

    Takashi Saito (3-2) pitched a perfect eighth inning for the victory.

    The homers helped the Dodgers overcome a lackluster outing by teammate Jae Seo, who allowed six runs, eight hits and three home runs in 3 1-3 innings. The right-hander squandered a 5-2 lead in the sixth after striking out the side on 15 pitches an inning earlier.

    Lane followed a leadoff single by Preston Wilson with his eighth homer, and Everett put Houston ahead 6-5 with his second of the season after a walk to Ausmus. But Los Angeles tied it in the fifth on Kent's RBI single.

    Pettitte, who did not allow more than one home run in any of his 33 starts last season, surrendered consecutive homers by Garciaparra and Drew during the Dodgers' four-run third.

    "They've got a lot of good hitters in that lineup," Berkman said. "I know they've had some injury problems last year, but even so, they're vastly improved offensively."

    Garciaparra's three-run homer was his first in 51 career at-bats against Pettitte, who faced the five-time All-Star numerous times when he pitched for the Yankees and Garciaparra played for the Red Sox. Garciaparra, who missed the first 17 games of this season because of a strained muscle, has 17 RBI in his first 15 games as a Dodger.

    Drew hit his seventh into the lower seats in the right-field corner three pitches after Garciaparra circled the bases.

    Ensberg opened the scoring in the first inning with his 10th homer and first since Apr. 23, ending a 13-game RBI drought. The two-run shot resulted in an injury to Dodgers center fielder Jason Repko, who left with a sprained left ankle after scaling the fence in an effort to catch the ball.

    Repko started instead of Lofton, who came in 3-for-26 lifetime against Pettitte. But Lofton doubled in the second inning, putting two men in scoring position, and Martin drove in Bill Mueller with a groundout. Mueller, back in the lineup at third base after missing three games because of a sore right knee, had reached on an infield hit.

    Game notes

    Pettitte has allowed nine homers in 47 2-3 innings, after giving up 17 in 222 1-3 innings last season. ... The second annual charity bowling tournament hosted by Dodgers closer Eric Gagne Monday night in Hollywood raised $85,000 for the Dodgers Dream Foundation. ... Ensberg, Lane and Eric Munson all played together at USC in 1998. Ensberg came in 1-for-28 at Dodger Stadium and Lane was 4-for-17 here, Munson, who spent his entire big league career in the AL before signing a minor league contract with the Astros in January, has yet to play at Chavez Ravine. ... The Astros averaged 3.16 runs in Pettitte's other six starts, the third-lowest in the NL. ... Homers accounted for 10 of the game's first 11 runs.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press