Dodgers hope to get on track versus Astros

The start of August looked promising for the Los Angeles Dodgers and now they're trying to save face in the final months of the season.

The Dodgers opened the month with four wins and five tries, but are currently mired in a four-game losing streak which was aided by a three-game sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies. They hope to get back on the right path tonight in the opener of a three-game series versus the Houston Astros.

Los Angeles was looking to salvage the finale of its three-game set with Philadelphia and even had a 6-0 lead in Wednesday's matinee. But starter Chad Billingsley ran into some trouble and the bullpen failed to do its part in a 9-8 setback at Chavez Ravine. Blake Hawksworth was dealt the loss for surrendering three runs, including Ryan Howard's two-run homer in a four-run sixth inning.

"They're a dangerous lineup," Billingsley said. "They can beat you with the long ball, they can string a couple hits together. They're a good ballclub."

Billingsley worked 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and three walks. Juan Rivera clubbed a three-run homer to stake the Dodgers to an early lead and recorded four runs batted in and two runs scored, while Matt Kemp ended 4-for-5 with an RBI and scored twice for the Dodgers, who are 12 games off the NL West lead and 16 games back in the Wild Card race. Over his last 17 games, Kemp is batting .391 with 13 RBI and 27 hits.

Los Angeles has lost five in a row at home and was swept by the Phillies in Hollywood for the first time since June 9-11, 1995. The club placed rookie shortstop Dee Gordon on the disabled list because of a shoulder injury and an MRI revealed a contusion. He is hitting .234 this season.

"I need to be healthy. I want to be healthy," Gordon said on LA's website. "I feel like I can help my team, and the best way is to get healthy."

Another Dodgers youngster, pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, will try to lead his ballclub back into the win column when he takes the mound this evening. Eovaldi made his major league debut in Saturday's 5-3 win at Arizona and tossed five innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts and two walks. With the Dodgers' starters banged up a bit, the right-hander made a strong case to stay in the rotation and will be taking on his hometown Astros team.

Houston looks to erase the memories of Thursday's extra-inning loss in which reliever Sergio Escalona surrendered Chris Young's game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning. Jeff Fulchino put the men on and was saddled with the loss.

"I missed the location right there and he hurt me," Escalona said. "That's baseball right there. What can you say? I tip my hat."

The Astros blew a 5-1 lead and got two RBI apiece from J.D. Martinez and Carlos Lee. Jason Bourgeois and Jose Altuve each had three hits and two runs scored for Houston, which has lost three in a row and six of seven games. Brett Myers started for the 'Stros and yielded three runs in 7 1/3 innings.

Humberto Quintero had a hit to extend his career-long hitting streak to 11 games. His previous career-best hit streak was eight set last May.

Hoping to avoid the club's 81st loss of the season, Astros starter Bud Norris takes the mound tonight and is just 1-4 with a 3.81 ERA in his last 10 starts. Norris took the loss in Sunday's 7-3 setback versus Milwaukee and was charged with six runs and eight hits in five innings. He is only 2-4 in nine road starts this season and 1-1 with a 3.47 ERA in four career starts against LA.

The right-hander, who is 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 23 overall starts, faced the Dodgers in a 1-0 loss at Chavez Ravine on June 19, when he recorded a no- decision with six scoreless innings and five strikeouts.

Houston has won four of six meetings with Los Angeles this season.