A host of contributors helped on offense in the Dodgers' 5-1 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday, but the man on the mound was Chris Capuano, who continued his resurgence with another quality outing. He gave up a leadoff triple, but then 21 of the next 24 men who came to the plate were retired.
"Cappy was excellent. He's a smart guy. I say this every time and I sound like I'm repeating myself," said catcher Matt Treanor, who has caught each of Capuano's last six starts and also homered on Sunday. "They got their run, but Cappy did a great job coming back the next inning with a shutdown inning, and kind of steamrolled from there."
Capuano got into some trouble in the sixth inning, allowing a hit and a walk with two outs in what was then a one-run contest, a spot earlier in the season that might have caused manager Don Mattingly to bring the hook. But not Sunday.
"Cap was great again. He attacked the strike zone. His pitch count was down early and was able to stay in the game," Mattingly said. "He always seems to have a batter or two where he kind of backs off and gets less aggressive, but he got past that and gave us another big inning."
Capuano pitched seven innings for the fourth time this season, and Sunday was his eighth consecutive quality start, the most on the team. He is 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA through his first 10 starts as a Dodger and has 58 strikeouts in 63 innings. Not bad for a guy signed as the fourth or fifth starter on the staff.
But Capuano isn't concerned with such labels.
"I try not to get caught up with the numbers on the staff, but sometimes I feel bad for guys in the one and two slots and they're pitching well but because of those one and two slots there's always pressure and nothing slides," said Capuano. "I'm not really worried about the outside perception of me. I try to focus on what I can control, which is making pitches."
Making pitches has been what Capuano has done well, and his last 599 pitches, over his last six starts, have been thrown to Treanor. Mattingly has long derided the concept of a "personal catcher," but he also doesn't mind when it happens to work out in his favor, even if that wasn't his plan.
"I haven't tried to match them up, it just worked out, with day games and travel days," Mattingly said. "Those guys have worked well together and I don't mind it at all."
The Dodgers welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to town for four games beginning Monday. Aaron Harang starts the opener, facing Shawn Marcum.