Hiroki Kuroda gets support as Justin Sellers goes deep
Justin Sellers is a wisp of a ballplayer. He’s listed at 5 feet 10 and 155 pounds, with much of his frame obscured by a heavy dose of tattoos.
He doesn’t look like he’d have an ounce of power in him. His 14 home runs at triple-Albuquerque were considered more a product of the rarified air.
Only Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Sellers’ bat speed provides unexpected power, and it was on display Sunday afternoon in the Dodgers’ 7-0 victory over the hapless Houston Astros.
Called up from Albuquerque on Friday, Sellers hit his first home run, a three-run shot into the left-field seats next to the Dodgers bullpen.
It was one of three home runs hit by the Dodgers -- Dioner Navarro and Matt Kemp joining in -- and it provided Hiroki Kuroda with the kind of offensive support he hadn’t seen since April 24.
Kuroda (8-14) threw seven innings, holding Houston to five hits and a walk, and striking out six.
And, yes, it counts even against the Astros.
For baseball’s worst team, it was a sixth consecutive loss and ninth in 10 games. The Astros' starting lineup Sunday had hit 18 home runs this season, or 10 fewer than Kemp.
It’s amazing Kuroda remembered how to pitch with actual run support. The Dodgers had averaged barely three runs per game in his 23 previous starts.
Navarro started the offensive output in the second inning after a James Loney single with a two-run home run against Jordan Lyles (1-7). Kemp hit a home run in the third inning.
The Dodgers put the game away when they batted around in a four-run sixth inning.
Kemp singled, stole second base and scored on a hit by Aaron Miles. A walk to Navarro and Sellers connected on his first home run.
Sellers nearly sprinted around the bases. There were plenty of excited high-fives in the dugout, and then the sparse crowd called him back for a brief curtain call while the Astros changed pitchers.
The seven runs matched the most run support Kuroda has received all season.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers shortstop Justin Sellers connects for a three-run home run against the Houston Astros on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times