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Tempers flare between Dodgers and sign-stealing Astros

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Benches emptied in the sixth inning between the Dodgers and Astros in a contentious rematch of the 2017 World Series. AFP

Tempers flare between Dodgers and sign-stealing Astros

The Los Angeles Dodgers scored five runs in the fifth inning to beat the Houston Astros 5-2 Tuesday as tempers flared in their first meeting since the Astros were punished for sign stealing.

Dodger pitcher Joe Kelly drew the ire of the Astros as the benches emptied in the sixth inning of the contentious rematch of the 2017 World Series.

Kelly had just struck out Carlos Correa when the two exchanged words, prompting the benches to clear.

Players from both sides argued back and forth on the Dodgers side of the infield, but the coaches and umpires kept them at a respectable social distance and no punches were thrown.

The Astros won the World Series in 2017, and in January they were disciplined by MLB for a sign-stealing scheme used during both the regular season and playoffs. The fallout led to Houston losing its general manager and manager and four draft picks.

So it was likely cooler heads would not prevail on Tuesday. Kelly got the fireworks started by throwing two pitches behind Alex Bregman and Correa, who had hit a home run earlier in the game.

Kelly and Correa jawed at each other and then their teammates joined in. No one was ejected.

The Dodgers got the last word in as Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger hit back-to-back bases-loaded singles in the fifth.

The Dodgers sent 10 batters to the plate in their fifth-run inning, chasing Astros left-hander Framber Valdez.

The Astros took a 2-0 lead against Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler, with shortstop Correa belting his first home run on the season in the second inning, before adding an RBI single that scored Michael Brantley with two outs in the fourth.

The contest was supposed to be the first matchup between future Hall of Fame pitchers Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw, two other holdovers from the 2017 World Series. But injuries have sidelined both.

Dodgers Kershaw was scratched from his Opening Day start and placed on the injured list due to a flare up of his chronically balky back.

Verlander is on the injury list with a forearm strain that will keep him out for a couple of weeks, the Astros said.

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