Astros seek rebound effort from Lyles against Dodgers

Jordan Lyles had hoped his long-awaited first career game series against the hosting Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lyles snapped a career-opening six-decision slide with a win over the Reds on Aug. 3, but then gave up career highs of seven runs and 12 hits over just five innings at Arizona on Tuesday. It was his shortest start in six outings, though he did not get a decision despite his poor effort.

The 20-year-old righty is 1-6 with a 4.88 earned run average in 13 starts this year, going 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA in seven on the road. He faces the Dodgers for the first time.

Houston has lost five straight and eight of its last nine games following a 6-1 defeat last night. The Astros committed three errors in the setback, including one by Carlos Lee in the first inning that helped to set up Matt Kemp's two-run homer that gave the Dodgers all the runs they would need.

Clayton Kershaw struck out nine batters over his eight-inning start to pick up his career-high 14th victory of the season. He gave up just a run on six hits.

"Clayton is a great pitcher. I'm happy I don't have to face him," Kemp said. "We feel confident if we give him a couple of runs, it's going to hold up."

Los Angeles has won two straight following a four-game slide and has now split eight meetings with Houston this season. The Dodgers haven't swept the Astros in at least three games since doing so on the road on July 1-3, 2008.

J.D. Martinez knocked in the Astros' lone run in the eighth with a double that chased home Jason Bourgeois.

"They did what they had to do. Kershaw has a great delivery. He's a good pitcher," said Houston catcher Carlos Corporan, who had a throwing error on an attempted steal of third by Tony Gwynn Jr. that allowed him to come home.

Wandy Rodriguez allowed five runs -- two earned -- on six hits and two walks through six innings for the loss.

Tough-luck righty Hiroki Kuroda aims to avoid a sixth loss in seven starts today when he goes for the Dodgers.

Kuroda is just 7-14 on the season despite a desirable 3.01 ERA over 23 starts. He hurled seven scoreless innings to win at San Diego on Aug. 2, but was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on nine hits over 6 1/3 frames six days later at home versus Philadelphia to take a 5-3 setback.

The 36-year-old is a solid 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA in six career outings versus the Astros and last faced them on June 19. He did not get a decision even though he did not allow a run over his seven-inning start.