And then out of the blue, Dioner Navarro home run ends Dodgers' five-game skid in 1-0 victory over Astros
So maybe that’s what the Dodgers need to turn things around -- an unlikely hero.
Could there be one more unlikely than Dioner Navarro?
Navarro entered Sunday batting a sad .156, his shaping up as a nightmare season. Worse, he became their main catcher by default when the Dodgers placed Rod Barajas on the disabled list before the game with a sprained ankle.
Yet with the Dodgers' offense being shackled once again by the lowly Houston Astros, it was Navarro who stepped up with the big hit.
Navarro ended a scoreless game in the eighth inning by drilling a solo home run into the right-field bleachers, leading the Dodgers to a 1-0 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.
After Hiroki Kuroda went seven innings without allowing a run, Matt Guerrier pitched a scoreless eighth to pick up the victory and rookie Javy Guerra worked the ninth to earn his second save.
Kuroda’s story is getting old for the Dodgers: pitching well and not winning.
In a bit of exciting news, however, Sunday he did not lose. Kuroda had lost his last five consecutive starts.
He certainly did his part Sunday, throwing seven scoreless innings. He held the Astros to three hits, walked two and struck out six.
In his four June starts, Kuroda has a 1.82 earned-run average -- and his record in those starts is 0-3.
Trouble for Kuroda on Sunday was that he was being matched by Houston’s Bud Norris.
Norris threw six scoreless innings, holding the Dodgers to just one hit, a clean single by Navarro in the third inning.
Norris walked one and struck out five.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers catcher Dioner Navarro is congratulated by Juan Uribe after a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images