Matt Kemp hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning, Brad Ausmus had a pair of RBI doubles and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on Sunday to split their four-game series.
Kemp drove a 3-2 pitch from LaTroy Hawkins (1-4) into the left-field pavilion for his 12th homer, capping a big day at the plate. He finished with three hits and tied a career high by scoring four runs.
Ramon Troncoso (4-0) pitched a perfect eighth to extend his streak to 16 innings without allowing an earned run. Jonathan Broxton did likewise in the ninth for his 22nd save in 24 attempts as Los Angeles improved baseball's best record to 58-34.
Astros rookie reliever Alberto Arias, who came in with a scoreless streak of 21 1-3 innings, committed two costly errors that led to the tying run in the seventh after he inherited a 3-2 lead from starter Russ Ortiz.
Arias would have had three errors in the inning had first baseman Chris Coste not scooped the right-hander's low throw out of the dirt on a sacrifice bunt by Ausmus. Blake DeWitt followed with a grounder to first and Coste flipped to Arias, who dropped the ball at the bag as Kemp went to third.
Rafael Furcal then hit bouncer to the right of the mound, but the ball fell out of Arias' hand as he cocked his arm to throw to the plate. Furcal was credited with an RBI. The run was unearned, despite the errors by Arias, who has not allowed an earned run in 24 innings spanning his last 20 appearances.
Ortiz allowed two runs and five hits in six innings and struck out four. His last win as a starter was April 26 against Milwaukee. The right-hander has a 4.33 ERA in 11 starts and 10 relief appearances this year, after missing last season while recovering from August 2007 elbow surgery.
Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda gave up three runs and seven hits over five innings and never retired more than three batters in a row. The right-hander, who made his first relief appearance in the majors last Sunday before the All-Star break, is 0-3 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts at Dodger Stadium this season.
The Astros grabbed a 3-0 lead in the third. Michael Bourn led off with a double, Carlos Lee drove him in with a two-out single and Geoff Blum sent a 2-0 pitch over the right-field fence for his third homer.
The Dodgers got one back in the bottom half with a double by Ausmus after Kemp drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Kemp's stolen base was his 20th this season, but only his second over his last 22 games. He had 35 last year, his first full season in the big leagues.
Ausmus drove in Kemp again with a fifth-inning double that cut Houston's lead to 3-2.
Astros first baseman Lance Berkman, who leads the team in homers, RBIs and on-base percentage, didn't start for the third straight game because of a left calf strain. First baseman-outfielder Darin Erstad and second baseman Kaz Matsui also sat out with hamstring problems.
NOTES: The Dodgers' 1-4 hitters were 0 for 14, including two strikeouts by Manny Ramirez, who was 2 for 14 with no RBIs and five strikeouts in his first home series since his 50-game drug suspension ended. ... Dodgers 2B Orlando Hudson, a three-time Gold Glove winner, left after five innings because of an injured left wrist. ... Guillermo Mota's intentional walk to Blum in the seventh was the 40th by the Dodgers' staff, the most in the majors. ... Ivan Rodriguez's second-inning double was the 536th of his career, the most among active players. The 14-time All-Star is hitting .355 against relief pitchers this season (33 for 93), compared with .198 against starters (32 for 162). ... Dodgers home run and RBI leader Andre Ethier fouled a pitch off his right knee in the sixth and spent a few minutes on the ground in severe pain before singling with two outs. He finished with three hits. ... Astros RHP Doug Brocail, sidelined since May 4 because of a torn left hamstring, will start a minor league rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Round Rock.