Wandy Rodriguez leads Astros in shutout of sliding Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- With Hunter Pence unable to play, Jason Bourgeois took advantage of his opportunity to start for the Houston Astros.

Bourgeois threw out a runner at home plate with the game still scoreless, then hit an RBI single during a five-run fifth inning that carried the Astros to a 7-0 victory over the fading Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night. Wandy Rodriguez pitched six gritty innings in his second straight scoreless outing since coming off the disabled list.

Pence was scratched from manager Brad Mills' original lineup because of a hyperextended left elbow. The injury occurred in Friday night's 7-3 win, when he hit a grounder to first base and dived into the bag trying to avoid James Loney's tag.

"Every day I prepare like I'm starting," Bourgeois said. "I knew Hunter was banged up a little bit last night, and it's unfortunate because he's such a big bat in our lineup. But I'm ready to step in whenever I can."

The Dodgers threatened in the second when Rod Barajas reached on a fielding error by third baseman Chris Johnson and pitcher Rubby De La Rosa hit a two-out single to left field on a 1-2 pitch that was just inches off the ground.

Barajas tried to score on rookie Dee Gordon's sharp single to right, but Carlos Corporan blocked the plate perfectly after getting a one-hop throw from Bourgeois and tagged out the Dodgers' catcher. It was the first outfield assist this season for Bourgeois, who has started 13 games in the outfield.

"With two outs early in the ballgame, I guess they wanted to take a chance," Bourgeois said. "I just came up throwing, like he's running every time and just tried to make an aggressive throw. I'm just glad Corporan hung in there. That was a big man sliding into home."

Pence, who came in with the NL's fourth-highest batting average (.321), is scheduled to fly back to Houston Sunday morning for an MRI and then rejoin the club for a road series against the Texas Rangers. He leads the Astros with nine homers and 51 RBIs, and has played in all but two of Houston's first 72 games.

Pence does not want to miss the next series, because Arlington, Texas is where he played his high school and college ball. In 11 big league games there, he is 15 for 46 with six RBIs and three home runs -- all solo shots.

"I just want to get it checked out so that we know exactly what it is," said Pence, who had a 23-game hitting streak that ended on Tuesday. "I wasn't able to play tonight, but I'm hopeful I'm going to be back for the Rangers series. I feel confident. In my heart, I feel like it's just swollen."

Rodriguez (5-3) struck out six and was lifted after 103 pitches. The left-hander is 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA over his last seven starts. Last Monday, he gave up just two hits over six scoreless innings after missing 19 games due to elbow problems.

"I feel very good. Every time I go out there I try to make quality pitches, and that's what I'm doing right now," Rodriguez said. "I used everything tonight. I used the breaking ball on both corners, inside for right-handed hitters and away to lefties."

The Astros, coming off Brett Myers' complete-game victory, have won consecutive games for the first time since winning four in a row May 30-June 2 after entering this three-game series in a 2-11 skid and with the worst record in the majors.

The Dodgers have lost five straight and are 10 games under .500 for the first time since 2005, when the team finished 71-91. Their six-game home losing streak is their longest since a six-game stretch in August 2007.

"We're not at the end of the first half of the season yet, so I think we still have a chance," De La Rosa said through a translator. "I think we all feel that way."

De La Rosa (3-1) was charged with five runs, six hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings and struck out six in his third major league start. The 22-year-old right-hander, inserted into the rotation because of Jon Garland's inflamed right shoulder, won his previous two outings on the road against Philadelphia and Colorado and pitched five innings each time.

De La Rosa held the Astros to just two hits over the first four innings, striking out the side on 14 pitches in the second. But the Astros broke through for five runs in the fifth to break a scoreless tie after loading the bases with none out.

Corporan and Rodriguez struck out before De La Rosa walked Michael Bourn to force in a run. Bourgeois singled off the glove of first baseman Casey Blake to drive in another run and Jeff Keppinger added a two-run single.

De La Rosa then walked Carlos Lee and was replaced by Mike MacDougal, whose wild pitch to Brett Wallace allowed Bourgeois to score the fifth run. Barajas scrambled after the ball and sprained his right ankle popping back up to his feet. He limped back to the dugout and was replaced behind the plate by Dioner Navarro.

Houston tacked on two more runs in the eighth against Ramon Troncoso, an RBI double by Johnson and an RBI single by Corporan.

Game notes
Andre Ethier, who homered in the ninth inning of the Dodgers' 7-3 loss Friday night, doubled his first time up against Rodriguez. It's only the second time all season that he had extra-base hits in consecutive at-bats. The other time was April 16 against St. Louis, when he doubled in the sixth and eighth innings. ... Rodriguez fanned Ethier in the fifth for his 900th career strikeout. ... The Dodgers reinstated RHP Kenley Jansen from the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Josh Lindblom to Double-A Chattanooga.