Los Angeles – The Astros were whooping it up on the Dodgers’ field again, just like they did after winning Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.
In Houston’s first visit since being punished for cheating en route to that infamous championship, the Astros rallied with five runs for a 7-5 victory under smoky skies on Saturday night as the Dodgers blew a three-run lead in the ninth.
« That was the win of the year,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. « Hopefully, we look back on this as the turning point of our season.”
The Dodgers own the best record in baseball at 32-13. The Astros, on the other hand, are 7-17 on the road after coming in with losses in eight of their previous nine games.
« Things have been very tough, like we haven’t had a whole bunch of breaks. We kind of made our breaks today, » Baker said. « If we win these two games, the rest of the road trip seems like it doesn’t matter.”
The Astros knocked closer Kenley Jansen (3-1) around, getting to him on four consecutive hits without an out.
« Just a nightmare, man. This feels terrible,” Jansen said. « I’m ahead of the count on everyone and I just didn’t execute well.”
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.
Alex 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.
« For us to be down to the best team in baseball, but for us to string together some at-bats, to come back, to not only actually tie the game, but take the lead and hold it off, was huge for us,” Spring said, « especially after a tough trip.”
Josh James (1-0) got the victory with 1⅓ 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 2017 championship. Houston also visited Dodger Stadium in 2018, but that was before Houston’s cheating scheme was revealed.
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. Kelly’s curled lip has been immortalized in a spray-painted wall mural by an artist in Los Angeles. Kelly is currently serving a five-game suspension.
White Sox 14, Tigers 0
In Chicago, Jose Abreu hit two three-run homers and matched a career high with seven RBIs, and the White Sox earned their eighth straight win against the Tigers.
Abreu went 4 for 4 a day after his career-best 22-game hitting streak ended. It was the longest streak in the majors this season. Reynaldo López (1-2) pitched five shutout innings for the AL Central-leading White Sox, who have won seven of eight overall.
Jorge Bonifacio doubled for the Tigers’ lone extra-base hit. They have lost eight of 11.
Twins 8, Indians 4
In Minneapolis, Byron Buxton homered for the second straight night for the Twins, and Rich Hill got his first win since July.
Minnesota won for the ninth time in 11 games since it closed August with a six-game slide. It remained a game back of the AL Central-leading White Sox.
Hill (2-1) struck out seven while working five innings of two-run ball. Marwin Gonzalez, Willians Astudillo, Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano also homered for the Twins.
Cubs 4, Brewers 2
In Milwaukee, Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer off Josh Hader in the ninth inning, sending the Cubs to the victory.
NL Central-leading Chicago had gone scoreless for 17 straight innings before breaking through against Hader (1-2), who hadn’t allowed a homer all season long.
Yankees 2, Orioles 1 (10)
In New York, Luke Voit hit a game-ending sacrifice fly leading off the 10th inning, and the Yankees strengthened their hold on the American League’s eighth and final playoff berth.
With DJ LeMahieu starting the inning as the automatic runner on second, Hunter Harvey (0-2) bounced a wild pitch that advanced LeMahieu. Baltimore brought the field in.
Voit, hitting in shadows, worked the count to 2-2, fouled off three pitches and hit a fly ball to center fielder Cedric Mullins for his 37th RBI.
Blue Jays 3, Mets 2
In Buffalo, New York, Bo Bichette singled and scored in a successful return to the Toronto lineup and Alejandro Kirk also got a hit and scored in his big league debut.
Bichette, who missed 27 games with a right knee sprain, was activated from the injured list and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Kirk, a 21-year-old catcher who hadn’t played above Single-A, singled in the sixth inning.
Robbie Ray (2-4) earned his first win since being acquired from Arizona in a trade on Aug. 31. Rafael Dolis got his fourth save, picking Amed Rosario off first base for the final out.
Braves 2, Nationals 1
In Washington, rookie Ian Anderson pitched seven scoreless innings, and the NL East-leading Braves held on for the win after Mark Melancon escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth.
In his fourth career start, Anderson (3-0) allowed one hit, struck out nine and walked three. Melancon earned his 10th save, getting Victor Robles to pop out to right field with the bases loaded.
Rays 5, Red Sox 4
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Brandon Lowe and Austin Meadows homered, powering the AL East-leading Rays to the victory.
Lowe hit a solo drive off Marcus Walden (0-2) in the seventh for a 5-4 lead.
Rangers 5, Athletics 2 (1st)
Athletics 10, Rangers 1 (2nd)
Phillies 12, Marlins 6
Cardinals 7, Reds 1
Royals 7, Pirates 4
Mariners 7, Diamondbacks 3
Angels 5, Rockies 2 (11)
Source : Baseball – The Japan Times