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Dodgers rally to beat Astros 8-7

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 yesterday 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.

Houston Astros relief pitcher Ryne Stanek held back by a coach as he yells at second base umpire Junior Valentine. PHOTO: AP

The Dodgers tied it at seven in the eighth. Reliever Bryan Abreu (2-2) walked Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and JD 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.

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