LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alex Bregman singled in the go-ahead run during a five-run ninth inning, and the Astros rallied past the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-5 under smoky skies Saturday night in Houston’s first visit since the infamous 2017 World Series.
The Dodgers blew a three-run lead in the ninth when closer Kenley Jansen (3-1) got knocked around, giving up four consecutive hits without an out.
Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz singled, Josh Reddick hit a two-run double and Martin Maldonado added another single. George Springer then grounded into a fielder’s choice to third baseman Max Muncy, who committed an error while Reddick scored to tie the game at 5.
Bregman followed with a single to center that made it 6-5. Bregman scored on Yuri Gurriel’s sacrifice fly to center off Adam Kolarek for a 7-5 lead.
The Astros improved to 7-17 on the road after coming in with losses in eight of their previous nine games.
Josh James (1-0) got the victory with 1 1/3 innings of relief. Ryan Pressly earned his ninth save.
The game lacked the fiery emotion of the teams’ matchup on July 29. But there were multiple reminders that Dodger fans haven’t forgotten the Astros’ cheating scandal from their championship three years ago.
A plane towed a banner reading “Houston Cheats Bang Bang” over the stadium.
Fans aren’t allowed inside this season because of the coronavirus, but a group of Dodger supporters greeted the Astros’ bus as it pulled in. They shook large plastic and metal garbage cans in the air, a reference to Houston’s sign-stealing scheme that involved signaling pitches by banging on garbage cans.
“I loved it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game. “They have every right to do whatever they feel to express their feelings. Just shows the passion that Dodger fans have.”
Pitcher Joe Kelly honked in support as he drove his black Porsche into the stadium.
The stadium organist got into the act, too. Dieter Ruehle played “Lyin’ Eyes,” by the Eagles; “The Sign,” by Ace of Base; “Bangin’ on a Trash Can (Think Big),” by Doug; and “Bang Your Head” by Quiet Riot.
The last time the teams met, Kelly was suspended for throwing pitches that nearly hit multiple Astros batters before he taunted Correa with a pouting expression while walking off the field after the Astros’ slugger struck out.
Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernández slugged back-to-back homers for the Dodgers.
Taylor blasted a two-run shot into the right-field pavilion with two outs in the second, giving Los Angeles a 2-1 lead. Hernández followed with a solo shot to nearly the same spot in right, the third time the Dodgers have homered back-to-back this season.
Corey Seager tripled off the wall in left-center and scored on AJ Pollock’s sacrifice fly in the third.
Seager added a two-out RBI single in the fifth that scored Mookie Betts, who walked and took second on a wild pitch by Framber Valdez.
Houston’s other runs came on Gurriel’s RBI single in the first and his fielder’s choice grounder to second in the eighth.
Valdez gave up five runs and five hits in five innings. The left-hander struck out seven and walked one.
Julio Urias started for the Dodgers, allowing one run and three hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked four.
Both teams did their pre-game workouts inside to limit exposure to the smoke from a nearby wildfire that has been choking the skies over Los Angeles for a week. The scenic view of the San Gabriel Mountains beyond the stadium’s outfield was obfuscated.
Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right forearm strain) was due to throw Saturday and next time will face live hitting. … 2B Jose Altuve (right knee sprain) hit in the batting cage and planned to test his running on the field. He could return next week at home. … LHP Blake Taylor (left elbow soreness) could return next week. … RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (neck nerve irritation) is waiting for his condition to calm down so he can return.
Dodgers: RHP Dustin May, who took a line drive off his left foot in Arizona, had a CT scan that revealed a contusion but no fracture. The team has made no decision on either his next start or a possible IL stint. … RHP Walker Buehler (right hand blister) has played catch with the blister covered. … 3B Justin Turner (left hamstring strain) will face live hitting Sunday and could return next week on the road trip. … RHP Pedro Baez (right groin strain) was activated and worked in relief.
Kelly isn’t available for the two-game series because he’s serving his five-game suspension for the pitches that nearly hit multiple Astros batters last month. Kelly was just reinstated from the injured list because of shoulder inflammation. He threw one inning in a simulated game Saturday, but then had to leave the stadium. His original suspension for eight games was reduced upon appeal, but Kelly still believes he didn’t deserve the punishment.
Astros: RHP Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.27 ERA) is coming off his first loss of the season at Oakland. He gave up a season-high four runs and seven hits over six innings.
Dodgers: It will be a bullpen game with four or five pitchers used.
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