LOS ANGELES — Dodger Stadium shook. The packed home crowd went wild when James Outman tied the game with a ground-rule double off Brian Abreu in the eighth inning.
A few pitches later, second-base umpire Junior Valentine grounded Astros right-hander Ryne Stanek, allowing Johnny DeLuca to score the Dodgers’ go-ahead run.
Both Stanek and manager Dusty Baker were ejected in the bottom of the inning. But despite their arguments, the Dodgers ultimately won 8-7 against the Astros on Saturday.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been called on a strikeout in college, in the minor leagues,” Stanek said. “So yeah, I thought it was pretty cruel to have that happen.”
Baker said he was frustrated by the lack of explanation from Valentine, while Stanek insisted he use one of the two outs allotted to him because the crowd was too loud to hear his pitchcom device and pitch timer whirring. A moment of reunification. In his view, the disturbance call was incorrect.
“[Valentine] I moved my knee, I mean, when you stand up, you have to move your knee to get off the rubber,” Stanek said. “So I thought that was an interesting reason, especially in a situation where Falk is intentionally trying to trick a runner — at what point. I tried to trick a runner? I’m still not set. I wasn’t even actually on that set. I was really holding back. Yeah, I don’t know what you’d call that right there.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, felt the right call was made on the field. Miguel Rojas, who was in the batter’s box for the game, said he was the first to hear home-plate umpire Manny Gonzalez call time out. But Rojas quickly turned around and told Gonzalez it was a stoppage call and time was not up. From Rojas’ point of view, Stanek stumbled.
“From our side,” Rojas said. “It’s a good break for us.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts agreed with Rojas, saying he believes Stanek is a clear handicap with a sprained left knee late in the game. A similar play was made against the Dodgers earlier this season when Phil Pickford was called for an interception after a minor sprain on his knee.
“He got it right,” Roberts said. “Obviously in a game like this, you don’t want it to be the deciding run in those circumstances. But they got the call right. And I think Stanek was looking at the pitch clock, maybe trying to get out, call time, and then his cleat got stuck. But it was blocked by the letter of the law. We We take it.”
Although each side believed it was the right call, it was a tough loss for the Astros after out-hitting the Dodgers 13-5. After trailing, 3-1, in the first inning when starter Ronel Blanco gave up home runs to Will Smith and Jason Heyward, the Astros rallied with five runs in the fifth inning, led by a grand slam by Dodgers starter Bobby Miller and a grand slam by Alex Bregman. .
On the other side of the ledger, it was one of the Dodgers’ best wins of the season, continuing this week’s resurgence with a fourth straight win.
Although Falk’s call was the most controversial play of the innings, Los Angeles put together an eighth-inning rally against Abreu, the Astros’ best reliever.
He walked Freddie Freeman, Smith and JD Martinez to start the inning. Heyward cut the deficit to one run with a sacrifice fly. Outman, who was in the midst of his longest slump as a big leaguer until going 3-for-4 on Friday, followed with a clutch RBI double to tie the game. Adding to the weirdness of the inning, Outman’s double looked like a three-run homer in the beginning, but the ball got caught over the right-field fence and was ruled a ground-rule double.
“That tells you what kind of team we are,” said Dodgers outfielder David Peralta, who started the comeback with a two-run homer in the seventh. “We fight till the end. We never give up.
For the Astros, their big 10-game road trip is off to a disappointing start. They have dropped seven of their last nine games. At 41-36, they are in third place in the American League West, a half-game behind the second-place Angels and 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Rangers. A club that has dominated its division for the past seven years is an unusual place to be halfway through the season. Losses like Saturday’s make the situation even more disappointing.
“It was very difficult,” Baker said. “I mean, we’ve had some tough losses this year. Hopefully, this will be the last one, which it probably won’t be, but we don’t need another tough loss for a long time.