LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Making 87 starts in the minor leagues didn't
help prepare D.J. Houlton for the anxiety he would feel in his
first big league start.
Houlton pitched effectively into the sixth inning to earn his
first major league victory, J.D. Drew and Jeff Kent hit consecutive
homers for the second time in three games, and the Dodgers beat the
Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 Saturday night.
Houlton (1-0) had a 7.13 ERA in 13 relief appearances this
season before holding the Brewers to a run and four hits in 5 1-3
innings. The 25-year-old right-hander was born in nearby Fullerton
and played high school ball down the freeway in Anaheim.
"I was very nervous," said Houlton, who made 87 starts in the
Houston Astros' minor league system over the previous four seasons
before the Dodgers selected him in the Rule 5 draft last December.
"It's really been something I've dreamed about, growing up
around here and watching the Dodgers and the Angels. So just being
able to go out there and make a start like that is overwhelming. I
felt if I should go out there and just think more about location
than velocity and not try to go all out on every pitch."
Victor Santos (2-5) lost his fourth straight road decision in
his Dodger Stadium debut, allowing just two runs and six hits over
seven innings before he was removed for a pinch-hitter.
The right-hander struck out six, walked three and snapped an
0-for-34 drought at the plate with a single that led to Milwaukee's
only run. Santos has allowed no more than two earned runs in nine
of his 11 starts, but his teammates have scored no more than two
runs in five of his last six outings.
"He's been doing all we've asked for," first baseman Lyle
Overbay said. "One of these days we'll score some runs for him."
Dodgers third baseman Antonio Perez and manager Jim Tracy were
ejected by plate umpire Marty Foster in the bottom of the seventh.
The trouble started when Foster ruled that a pitch from Santos hit
the knob of Perez's bat and not his hand -- initiating a long
argument from Tracy.
"He felt like the ball hit the knob of the bat and the player
didn't feel like it completely got all of it," Tracy said. "He
called it a foul ball and I disagreed with it, that's all."
Perez asked for time just before Santos threw his next pitch,
but Foster wouldn't allow it and Perez took a ball as the crowd
booed the umpire. The inning ended with a strikeout-double play,
and Perez was ejected after saying something to Foster as he walked
away from the batter's box.
"I know Jeff Cirillo asked for time the next inning, and Marty
said, `Hey, you've got to speak up because I can barely hear you.'
So he almost didn't give it to him because the crowd was really
into it," Dodgers catcher Jason Phillips said.
"In a game where there's been a lot of close calls, it's
getting late and the game could go either way, tensions are running
high," Phillips added. "So it gets a little heated in there and
sometimes it feels like everybody's against you."
The Brewers wasted a leadoff double in the fourth by Geoff
Jenkins as Houlton retired Carlos Lee on a flyball, then struck out
Overbay and Hall.
In the bottom half, the Dodgers got their fifth set of
back-to-back homers this season -- and third against the Brewers.
Drew and Kent gave them a 2-1 lead with their 10th and 11th home
runs, respectively. Drew sent a 1-0 pitch over the center-field
fence and Kent drove Santos' next delivery into the lower seats in
the left-field corner for the first of his three hits.
It was the fourth time that Drew and Kent homered in the same
game since signing with the Dodgers as free agents last December.
"You're looking at two pretty good hitters right there, and
they both got pitches they could handle," Brewers pitching coach
Mike Maddux said. "If a guy's going to beat you to the biggest
part of the yard, then you tip your hat to him. Kent followed up
and got a lazy breaking ball, and he did to it what good hitters
do. We throw 100 pitches, two of them are bad, and that's the
Damian Miller drew a leadoff walk in the third and took second
on Junior Spivey's single. The Dodgers played in at first and
third, anticipating a sacrifice bunt by Santos, but the pitcher
crossed them up and hit a hard grounder through the box to load the
bases. Miller scored on Brady Clark's double-play grounder.
Houlton, who got the assignment after Wilson Alvarez
surrendered 11 runs and five homers over eight innings in a pair of
spot starts for the injured Odalis Perez, was the ninth pitcher to
start a game for the Dodgers. Last season, they had 11 different
starters. ... The Dodgers have had their projected starting
outfield of Drew (RF), Werth (LF) and Milton Bradley (CF) in place
only five times in their first 55 games because of injuries to
Werth and Bradley. By contrast, the Brewers' starting outfield of
Lee, Clark and Jenkins has been intact for all but five of their
first 55 contests.