Kershaw's strong start gives Dodgers 9-2 win over Astros

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HOUSTON (AP) — Clayton Kershaw pitched into the eighth inning in his first game against Houston since the 2017 World Series, Justin Turner hit a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Astros 9-2 on Tuesday night.

Kershaw (7-3) allowed a run and four hits in 7 2/3 innings and Chris Taylor drove in two runs as the Dodgers got their eighth straight victory.

A crowd of 34,443 piled into Minute Maid Park in the first game open to full capacity since Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, which Houston lost to Washington.

Astros fans made up the bulk of the crowd, but Dodger blue also dotted the stands in the rematch of the 2017 World Series — a title Houston won over Los Angeles that was later tainted when it was revealed the Astros illicitly stole signs en route to the championship.

Loud cheers for LA and louder boos for Houston were heard throughout the game. One man in a Dodgers jersey held a sign that read: “Read This Sign ... You Cheated."

Boos rained down on the Astros when a fan who was given a microphone to get the game going started with: “2017 World Champions” before saying the traditional: “Let’s play ball!”

Kershaw hadn’t faced the Astros in the regular season since 2015 but made two starts and a relief appearance against them in the 2017 World Series. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning Tuesday, and his only run came on a solo shot by Alex Bregman in the seventh.

Mookie Betts, who returned after missing a game with a sore shoulder, walked to start the fourth before Turner sent his homer into the bullpen in right-center field to put the Dodgers up 2-0. Turner was animated as he rounded the bases and hit the top of his batting helmet with his hand three times as he hit second base.

The Astros lost their fourth straight game as Jose Altuve went 0 for 4 to snap a 17-game hitting streak, which was the longest in the majors this season and the second-longest of his career.

Houston starter Zack Greinke (4-2) yielded three hits and four runs in six innings on a night the 18-year veteran became the 135th pitcher in MLB history to reach 3,000 career innings.

There were two outs in the sixth when Taylor singled on a ball that sailed just out of reach of a sprinting Altuve into shallow center field to score two and make it 4-0.

The Dodgers added a run with one out in the seventh when Gavin Lux scored on a wild pitch by Joe Smith. Los Angeles padded the lead by scoring three runs on bases-loaded walks in the eighth.

Joe Kelly took over for Kershaw with two outs in the eighth and retired Altuve. His appearance was much more uneventful than the one he had here last July when benches cleared after he threw high-and-tight pitches to both Bregman and Carlos Correa before mocking Correa.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: CF Cody Bellinger (hairline fracture left leg) homered and played seven innings in his fourth rehabilitation start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. He could return next week. ... RHP Tony Gonsolin (right shoulder inflammation) threw three scoreless innings on Sunday in his first rehabilitation start.

Astros: LHP Framber Valdez, who has been out all season after breaking his left index finger in spring training, made his second rehabilitation start at Triple-A Sugar Land on Sunday. Manager Dusty Baker isn’t sure if Valdez will need another start before returning to the team.

UP NEXT

Los Angeles right-hander Trevor Bauer (5-2, 1.98 ERA) opposes Luis Garcia (2-3, 3.38) when the series wraps up on Wednesday night. Bauer is 8-0 with a 2.90 ERA in nine career starts against the Astros.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press

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