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Recap: Joe Kelly gets heated and benches clear in Dodgers’ victory over Astros

Joe Kelly and Carlos Correa get into an argument and the benches clear briefly during the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly yells back at the Houston Astros' Carlos Correa
Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly yells back at the Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa during an exchange between the sixth and seventh innings.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)
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Kenley Jansen gets the save in Dodgers’ 5-2 win

Kenley Jansen picks up the save, averaging 91-92 mph on his cutter as he worked around a one-out double from Carlos Correa by inducing back-to-back pop outs to end the game.

The Dodgers improve to 3-2 and will go for the two-game-series sweep Wednesday night in Houston, the second game of their nine-game road trip.

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Bottom of ninth: Dodgers 5, Astros 2

The Dodgers strand a couple more runners at second and third, leaving their lead at just three. Kenley Jansen will enter the game in the bottom of the ninth looking for his first save of the season. He had 33 last year, but also blew a career-high eight opportunities.

After recovering from COVID-19 this summer, Jansen looked sharp in training camp and tossed a scoreless inning against the Giants on Sunday in a non-save opportunity.

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Ninth inning: Dodgers 5, Astros 2

Blake Treinen had another strong inning of relief in his second appearance for the Dodgers. With a high-90s sinker, he induced three groundouts to work around a two-out walk and preserve the Dodgers’ three-run lead entering the ninth.

Unless the Dodgers’ add more runs in the top half of the inning, they will be facing their first save opportunity of the season.

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Eighth inning: Dodgers 5, Astros 2

In the eighth inning, AJ Pollock collects his third hit of the night (and fifth of the season in just three games) and Mookie Betts doubled for his first extra-base hit as a Dodger, but the team can’t capitalize as Max Muncy grounds out to end the inning.

The top of the Astros’ order is due up to begin the bottom half of the inning.

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Benches clear after Joe Kelly and Carlos Correa trade verbal barbs

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, left, yells toward the Houston Astros' Carlos Correa.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, left, yells toward the Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa during an exchange between the sixth and seventh innings.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Retaliation? Or just shaky command?

Either way, Joe Kelly nearly hit two batters and his between-innings jawing with Astros players led to the benches clearing in Houston.

With one out, Kelly fired a 96-mph fastball behind the head of Astros third baseman Alex Bregman.

Later in the inning, he launched a curveball that whizzed by the head of Carlos Correa.

Neither misfire seemed intentional — Kelly had trouble locating his fastball all inning — but neither Astros hitter was amused, either.

And after Correa struck out to retire the side, he and Kelly shared words — and facial expressions — on their way back to the dugouts.

The benches cleared, though no physical altercations ensured.

Kelly wasn’t on the 2017 Dodgers team that lost to the Astros — who were later found to be committing electronic sign-stealing that season — but he did play for the Boston Red Sox team that lost to Houston in that year’s ALDS.

Correa and Bregman were among the two most criticized Astros players this spring, drawing flack for their apparent lack of remorse over the scandal.

Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, right, ducks from a pitch.
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, right, ducks from a pitch thrown by Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly (not pictured) during the sixth inning.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

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Fifth inning: Dodgers 5, Astros 2

Brusdar Graterol, the Dodgers’ other notable trade acquisition this offseason, had an impressive 1-2-3 inning of relief in the fifth. Nine of his 18 pitches hit 100 mph, and he struck out a pair of batters.

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Fifth inning: Dodgers 5, Astros 2

The Dodgers tack on one more run (via another bases-loaded walk, this time drawn by Chris Taylor) before the fifth inning finally ends on a Corey Seager double-play groundout.

The team batted around and plated all five runs without any extra-base hits. Instead, it got five singles, two walks and an error. It matches the Dodgers’ highest-scoring inning so far this year.

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Fifth inning: Dodgers 4, Astros 2

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner hits a run-scoring single against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The fifth inning has become a merry-go-round for the Dodgers. After the Betts walked tied the game, the next three hitters all reached base: Max Muncy grounded the ball to third baseman Alex Bregman, whose bounced throw to the plate was unable to get AJ Pollock out. Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger strung together back-to-back singles after that, each one driving home another run.

The Astros are going back to the bullpen again, still with only one out.

The Dodgers’ runs so far this inning equal the same number of runs they had scored in the previous 21 innings, stretching back to Saturday.

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Fifth inning: Astros 2, Dodgers 1

The Astros turned to the bullpen with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and Mookie Betts due up at the plate, but reliever Enoli Paredes instead walked Betts on four pitches to plate the Dodgers’ first run.

Three straight singles from Corey Seager, AJ Pollock (his second knock tonight) and Kiké Hernández juiced the bags before Will Smith lined up sharply to right, unable to move up any of the baserunners.

Houston hoped Paredes, a right-hander, could quell the right-handed-hitting Betts. But last year, Betts was actually better against right-handed pitching, hitting .304 (compared to .271 against lefties) with a .945 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

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After four innings: Astros 2, Dodgers 0

Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers takes the ball from Walker Buehler.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, center, takes starting pitcher Walker Buehler, left, out of the game during the fourth inning.
(Bob Levey / Getty Images)

After retiring six batters in a row, Walker Buehler gets into two-out trouble in the fourth. After Michael Brantley singled to left, Buehler walked Yuli Gurriel in four pitches and then fell behind Carlos Correa, who looped a 2-and-1 cutter into center for an RBI single.

At 56 pitches, Buehler’s night is over. Left-hander Adam Kolarek came in and got some help to get the Dodgers out of the inning.

Corey Seager saves potentially two runs by snagging Josh Reddick’s line drive with a dive on the edge of the infield, ending the fourth and stranding Astros runners (who moved up after Kolarek’s first pitch was wild) at second and third.

Buehler’s line is now final: 3 2/3 innings, three hits, two earned runs, three strikeouts and two walks.

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End of second inning: Astros 1, Dodgers 0

The Astros strike first, as Carlos Correa smacks a solo home run into the seats in Minute Maid Park’s short left field. It was a hanging curveball that Walker Buehler was upset with. After two innings, Buehler has thrown 29 pitches.

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End of first inning: Dodgers 0, Astros 0

The Dodgers go down in order in the top of the first.

Walker Buehler takes the mound for the first time this season. The right-hander, whose fastball last season averaged 96.5 mph and who also throws a wicked curveball and slider, is coming off an All-Star campaign in which he went 14-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 30 starts.

The birthday boy (he turns 26 today) is still building up to full stamina and, according to manager Dave Roberts, likely won’t exceed five innings or 75 pitches this evening.

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Dodgers vs. Astros game is underway at Minute Maid Park in Houston

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve wears as mask as he waits to hit during batting practice.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The Dodgers and Astros are underway.

Houston left-hander Framber Valdéz takes the bump for his season debut, trying to cement a full-time starting role for the first time in his career. Primarily a fastball-sinker-curveball pitcher, Valdéz has a 4.60 ERA in 34 career games (13 starts).

Mookie Betts is the only Dodgers player who has previously faced Valdez (0 for 1).

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Have the Dodgers forgotten about the Astros cheating scandal? Nope

Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Hours before the start of the first meeting between the Dodgers and Astros since Houston was punished by Major League Baseball for stealing signs during the 2017 season, Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson made it clear he hasn’t gotten over what happened.

Speaking on a Zoom call, Pederson took a question about the coronavirus-shortened 2020 MLB season and turned it into a slightly veiled burn on the Astros.

That’s as cold as a trash-can in October.

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Dodgers place pitcher Alex Wood on the injured list

Dodgers starter Alex Wood delivers against the Giants on Saturday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Dodgers placed left-hander Alex Wood on the injured list with shoulder inflammation Tuesday, dealing another blow to the starting rotation less than a week into the season.

Right-hander Josh Sborz was recalled to take Wood’s place on the 30-man active roster. He will likely join the bullpen.

Wood was shelved after throwing 69 pitches in three innings in his 2020 debut Saturday against the San Francisco Giants. Wood battled command trouble from the onset. He threw 32 pitches in the second inning.

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Dodgers are hopeful and optimistic as they move on from Astros cheating scandal

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

The anger and hostility that clouded the first week of camp for the Dodgers has given way to the more familiar emotions of spring: excitement, anticipation, hope.

Talk of the Houston Astros’ high-tech sign-stealing scandal, which tainted the team’s 2017 World Series championship while possibly robbing the Dodgers of a title, has dissipated.

In its place is a keen sense of optimism fueled by the addition of 2018 American League most valuable player Mookie Betts and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price to a team that won a franchise-record 106 games and its seventh consecutive division title last season.

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Dodgers definitely were cheated out of 2017 World Series title by Astros’ sign-stealing

Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish after giving up a home run to the Astros in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

For three years we’ve wondered, and now we know.

How did the Houston Astros’ hitters so easily pound three of the Dodgers’ hottest pitchers in two key games in Houston in the 2017 World Series?

How did they so easily wreck Yu Darvish for four runs in the second inning of a Game 3 Astros victory? How did they so effortlessly score 10 runs against Clayton Kershaw and Brandon Morrow in the Game 5 victory?

They cheated, that’s how.

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Here are some of the best quotes on the Astros cheating scandal, in handy meme form

Jim Crane, "This didn't impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series."
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

The Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal rocked Major League Baseball this offseason, so naturally it’s been a major topic of conversation at spring training.

Some people are apologizing, some are venting, some are getting defensive, and some are sticking their feet in their mouths.

Here are some of the more memorable quotes on the topic, in handy meme form.

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Starting lineup for Dodgers vs. Astros: Walker Buehler makes season debut

Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

Walker Buehler will make his season debut Tuesday in perhaps the most anticipated regular-season game 2020 will offer when the Dodgers take on the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The right-hander will start after not pitching in a scrimmage or exhibition game during training camp. Buehler reported to camp behind the other starting pitchers. Instead, he faced hitters in simulated games. He logged four innings in his final tune-up last Wednesday.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Buehler will ideally log around five innings and 75 pitches Tuesday in the club’s first meeting with the Astros since Houston’s sign stealing in 2017 — when the Astros beat the Dodgers in the World Series — was exposed during the offseason.

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Health and safety trump revenge as Dodgers hit the road to play the Astros

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw walks off the field in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw walks toward the dugout during Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In normal times, Houston would have been the center of the baseball universe this week.

For the first time since the offseason revelation of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, the Dodgers face the franchise that stole — some would argue, literally — the 2017 World Series from their grasp.

Players who traded verbal jabs in the press will meet on the field, still comprising two of baseball’s best teams three years later. The sport will see its most anticipated matchup renewed at last, a rivalry revolving around hot-tempered revenge.

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The Dodgers’ 2020 team roster

A look at the Dodgers’ roster heading into Tuesday’s game against the Houston Astros, the fifth game of the season for Los Angeles.