LOS ANGELES (AP) Trailing by two runs in the eighth inning, the Los Angeles Dodgers got help from Houston's relievers and the umpire.
James Outman scored the go-ahead run on a balk by Ryan Stanek and the Dodgers rallied to beat the Astros 8-7 on Saturday for their fourth straight victory.
Stanek, his long blond hair flying, was incensed after striking out Michael Busch to end the inning. He turned around to yell and point at second base umpire Junior Valentine, who tossed Stanek. Pitching coach Josh Miller came out to grab Stanek and plate umpire Manny Gonzalez had to step in front of a barking Stanek.
Manager Dusty Baker left the dugout to argue and was ejected, too.
“I needed some kind of explanation because Stanek was going ballistic,” said Baker, who thought the reliever had merely stepped off the rubber.
“Boy, that's a tough way to lose one,” Baker said.
The Dodgers tied it at 7 in the eighth. Reliever Bryan Abreu (2-2) walked Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and J.D. Martinez to load the bases. Kyle Tucker made a sliding catch into the sun in right field on Jason Heyward’s sacrifice fly that scored Freeman. Smith scored on Outman’s ground-rule double after the ball got stuck in the right field wall.
Second base umpire Junior Valentine called the balk on Stanek, whose right leg appeared to flinch after he looked in for the pitch.
“He said I moved my leg, which was pretty obvious because I stepped off the mound. Beyond that, I wholeheartedly disagree,” Stanek said. “A balk is intentionally trying to deceive a runner. At what point was I trying to deceive a runner? I hadn’t even come set yet. I literally was just stepping backwards.”
Stanek said he watched the replay. He had never before been called for a balk.
“The move is beyond minor,” he said. “I think that’s a pretty drastic call to make considering that play right there the umpire decided the game.”
Phil Bickford (2-2) got the victory in relief and Evan Phillips pitched the ninth for his 10th save.
Alex Bregman hit a grand slam to boos in the fifth for the Astros.
Dodgers rookie Bobby Miller got hit hard in the inning, when he gave up five runs and five hits before getting yanked without retiring anyone.
For the second straight game, José Altuve and Bregman were heavily booed by the crowd of 49,281, which chanted “Cheater! Cheater!” at the only two remaining Astros from their 2017 championship team. The Astros were embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal that season when they beat the Dodgers in a seven-game World Series.
The current World Series champions batted around in the fifth. Corey Julks singled leading off, Jake Meyers walked and Altuve reached on a bunt single to first, outrunning Miller to the bag to load the bases.
That set up Bregman, whose sixth career grand slam traveled 369 feet to left field and gave Houston a 5-3 lead.
Houston's other runs came on RBI singles by Altuve in the third and Yanier Diaz in the fifth, and José Abreu's sacrifice fly that scored Altuve in the sixth.
Ronel Blanco allowed three runs and two hits in six innings of his fourth start after nine relief appearances this season. The right-hander struck out six and walked two.
The Dodgers trailed 7-5 in the seventh after David Peralta's pinch-hit, two-run homer on the first pitch from Phil Maton, who hit Jason Heyward with his first pitch of the inning.
The Dodgers got to Blanco for three runs in the first. He then retired the next 16 of his final 17 batters.
Miller gave up six runs and 10 hits in four innings of his second straight poor start. The right-hander struck out three and walked three.
Julks made a spectacular leaping catch in the first, robbing Mookie Betts of a leadoff homer. The left fielder snagged the ball in front of the Dodgers’ bullpen gate and pumped his right fist.
After Freddie Freeman grounded out, Will Smith went deep into the lower left-field seats off Blanco for his 11th homer.
J.D. Martinez walked to set up Heyward, who blasted a 380-foot line drive homer into right field for a 3-0 lead.
Dodgers: 3B Max Muncy (hamstring) will take live at-bats Sunday and is expected to be activated off the IL and play Tuesday at Colorado. ... RHP Noah Syndergaard (finger) threw a three-inning simulated game, but will not come off the IL anytime soon. ... INF/OF Chris Taylor was not in the lineup for the sixth straight game since getting hurt running the bases a week ago. He was available off the bench.
Astros RHP Hunter Brown (6-4, 3.78 ERA) was set to face RHP Tony Gonsolin (4-2, 2.92) on Sunday.
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