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Rapid Reaction: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

HOUSTON -- Mike Fiers pitched the first no-hitter by a Houston Astros starting pitcher in 22 years Friday night in a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park.

A crowd of 33,833 was on its feet to start the ninth inning before Fiers came out to throw his five warm-up pitches.

The leadoff hitter, Jimmy Rollins, hit a rocket to right-center field, but Jake Marisnick ran it down and caught it five steps in front of the wall. Chase Utley flew out shy of the warning track. Around then, people in the crowd started pulling out their cell phones and cameras to record the moment.

The crowd was back on its feet for the final batter of the game, Justin Turner, and roaring throughout the at-bat. Fiers struck out Turner on an 89-mph fastball, his 134th pitch of the game, then threw his glove off to the side before embracing catcher Jason Castro in a bear hug and being swarmed by his teammates near the mound.

Fiers walked three batters and struck out 10.

Six Astros pitchers combined for a no-hitter in 2003.

How it happened: Fiers retired the final 21 batters he faced. The only baserunners came on walks in each of the first three innings. The Dodgers never came particularly close to a hit. Turner hit a towering fly ball, but it hooked just outside the left-field foul pole.

Friday's pattern was a familiar one for the Dodgers lately. They have put scant pressure on opposing pitchers in recent games. The previous two games in Oakland, they managed one hit off Felix Doubront and two off Jesse Chavez. Fiers pitched around trouble early, when he threw the bulk of his pitches, but got stronger as the game moved along. He breezed from the fourth through the eighth, picking up eight of his nine strikeouts in that stretch.

The Dodgers battled Fiers early. Andre Ethier had a 10-pitch walk in the second inning, but Fiers struck out Yasmani Grandal on a borderline breaking ball and got a forceout from Carl Crawford. He got into a rhythm after that, mixing changeups with low-90s fastballs and breaking balls.

Brett Anderson pitched well aside from a couple of pitches. Jake Marisnick hammered a two-run home run high and deep to left in the second inning and Evan Gattis did something similar with a solo shot in the sixth.

What it means: There is never a good time for a slump, but this is a particularly bad time for the Dodgers to go cold. The San Francisco Giants are playing well despite a tough stretch of schedule. They now are just 1 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West, the closest they have been since Aug. 1.

Notable: The Dodgers' hitters seemed to have issues with umpire John Tumpane's strike zone, which was quite generous. Grandal took a curveball on -- or perhaps just a bit off -- the outside edge for a called third strike in the second inning and Adrian Gonzalez struck out on an inside changeup in the fourth, giving Tumpane a quizzical look. ... Utley had an uneventful Dodgers debut. He went 0-for-4 (much like everyone else) as the designated hitter ... . Before the game, Utley polled the reporters gathered around him to find out which ones attended UCLA, his alma mater, and which went to USC.

Up next: The series continues Saturday evening at 4:10 p.m. PT. Zack Greinke (13-2, 1.58 ERA) tries to beef up his Cy Young credentials against veteran lefty Scott Kazmir (6-8, 2.43).