After nearly four hours and well over 300 pitches, the Dodgers managed a 6-3 win over the Houston Astros thanks to a walk-off home run by A.J. Ellis Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Ellis slammed a pitch into the left field pavilion for the Dodgers' 20th home win in 25 games.
After a pair of laborious starts by Chad Billingsley and Bud Norris, there was no way this game was going to end in a nice, easy fashion.
After Ronald Belisario allowed a pair of walks in the eighth inning, closer Kenley Jansen entered the game for a four-out save attempt with the Dodgers leading 3-2. But catcher Jason Castro foiled those plans by squirting a double past a diving Jerry Hairston Jr. at third base to tie the score.
Jansen finished the ninth inning and ended up with his fourth win of the season.
The Astros scored a run off Billingsley in the first inning thanks to a double by Jose Altuve and an RBI single by Carlos Lee. Then in the second they looked to add even more. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out, but Billingsley struck out his counterpart Norris. Billingsley followed with a walk to Jordan Schafer, giving the Astros a 2-0 lead, but he then struck out Altuve for the second out. J.D. Martinez hit a line drive to right field that looked like it might have broken the game wide open, but Andre Ethier was there to make a sliding catch to end the threat.
The Astros put two more runners on base in the third inning, but Billingsley retired the final seven batters he faced to end his night after five innings. Billingsley threw 99 pitches in his five innings but by comparison he was Mr. Efficiency.
Norris got through two innings without much damage, but the Dodgers broke through in the third inning with an RBI double by Ethier, cutting the Astros' lead in half. Through three innings Norris had thrown 64 pitches, but the fourth inning was an eternity.
Eight Dodgers came to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning, and they saw a total of 43 pitches, including 15 foul balls in the fourth inning alone. The Dodgers plated two runs in the inning, on Tony Gwynn Jr.'s single, and may have struck for more had Martinez not made a great running catch of a ball hit to the wall in left center field by A.J. Ellis early in the inning. The game was already well over two hours old when Ethier flied out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Gwynn is 10-for-21 with five walks with runners in scoring position this season.
Norris ended up throwing 116 pitches in 4 2/3 innings, the second most pitches thrown this season by a starter who didn't last five innings. Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers threw 119 pitches in 4 2/3 innings against the New York Yankees on April 29.
Home Runs: A.J. Ellis (5)
WP - Kenley Jansen (4-0): 1 1/3 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk
LP - Wesley Wright (0-1): 1 batter, 1 HBP, 1 run