Jay Gibbons saves Dodgers in 11th as two-run HR downs Astros

HOUSTON -- Jay Gibbons' performance since he returned to the majors has manager Joe Torre wishing he would have brought him up sooner.

Gibbons hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers stopped a six-game slide with a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Gibbons is batting .343 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 35 at-bats since he was promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque on Aug. 8. It's his first stint in the majors since 2007, but Torre believes he could be an everyday player.

"I think he certainly would hold his own," Torre said. "He can do a couple of things, play first base, play the outfield. When he stands at the plate he knows what he wants to do. I don't think there's any question that he has a plan when he's up there."

Matt Kemp singled before Gibbons connected against Fernando Abad (0-1), hitting a drive over the wall in right-center. Gibbons also had a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth that gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead.

"Anytime you can help the team is good, but coming off the bench is the role they have for me and I'll definitely take it and I love it," Gibbons said. "I'm just trying to get more at-bats."

Octavio Dotel (3-3) struck out three in two scoreless innings for the win. Humberto Quintero singled with two outs, but Dotel struck out Angel Sanchez to end the game.

"The thing is when you're not winning ballgames, something bad happens you kind of shake your head," Torre said. "I was just glad that we pitched the way we did at the end."

Michael Bourn had three hits and two RBIs for Houston, which had won three straight. Rookie Brett Wallace went 2 for 3.

Bourn singled in a run in the seventh, tying it at 2, but was caught in a rundown to end the inning. Wallace set up the run with a one-out double off Ronald Belisario that rolled up the hill in center field before bouncing off the wall.

Bourn also tripled with one out in the 10th before Dotel struck out Jeff Keppinger and Hunter Pence to end the inning.

"We got some big hits tonight, we just didn't capitalize on the other ones," Houston manager Brad Mills said.

Kemp tripled and scored when Gibbons delivered in the sixth. Kemp briefly considered breaking for home after a bad throw to third on his hit, but the Astros chased the ball down quickly and he returned to the bag.

Hiroki Kuroda pitched six innings for the Dodgers, yielding just one run and four hits. He struck out three and walked two.

"We faced a tough pitcher in Kuroda and they have a pretty good pen ... at the back end," Bourn said. "They're not easy to score runs against."

Bourn's two-out single tied it at 1 in the fifth. After Keppinger walked, Pence grounded out to leave the bases loaded.

That rally came after the Dodgers grabbed the lead in the top half of the inning against J.A. Happ. Rod Barajas reached on a leadoff single and advanced on Kuroda's sacrifice. Jamey Carroll singled him in with two out.

Happ allowed seven hits in five innings.

Game notes
Houston RHP Henry Villar made his major league debut in the 11th inning. He committed an error before striking out Carroll. ... The Astros are waiting to see what the next step will be for RHP Felipe Paulino, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a right rotator cuff injury. He threw a simulated game Thursday and said Friday he hopes he'll be able to pitch again before the season is over. ... Dodgers C Brad Ausmus will start on Sunday against the Astros. Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said he thought it would be nice for 41-year-old Ausmus to play against the team where he spent the majority of his career.