LOS ANGELES — — Michael Busch doubled into the go-ahead in the fourth inning, Mookie Betts homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Houston Astros 3-2 in an acrimonious game Friday night.
The first interleague meeting since 2021 between the defending World Series champion Astros and the Dodgers, who led baseball with 111 wins last season, was filled with rancor.
Most of Houston’s 2017 championship team players are gone, but that hasn’t stopped Dodgers fans from expressing their lingering resentment over the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that season, when Houston defeated Los Angeles in a seven-game World Series.
“Fans don’t usually forget,” Busch said with a smile.
The Astros’ roster was introduced to boos, with the loudest derision on record for Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman. The crowd of 49,795 chanted “Cheater! Cheater!” between heavy boos during their at-bats. Altuve and Bregman were a combined 0 for 6. Bregman walked twice.
Astros manager Dusty Baker said before the game that he hoped the atmosphere “will be more subdued”.
“They say time heals all wounds and someone has to heal this one,” said Baker, who played for the 1981 World Series champion Dodgers.
The boos quickly turned to cheers when Altuve bounced back in a late-inning double play in the eighth.
Dodgers starter Emmet Sheehan (1-0) allowed two runs and three hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked two.
“Big win,” Sheehan said. “We have to beat these guys. Big series.
Michael Grove pitched two scoreless relief innings and Brusdar Graterol worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the stoppage.
“We’ve got a bullpen loaded up and they’re performing well,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Sheehan made his major league debut with six hitless innings last week against San Francisco. The right-hander gave up his first major league hit, a field single to Chas McCormick in the third, after going eight scoreless innings to start his career.
“I’m just trying to do the exact same things I was doing in the minors,” Sheehan said. “Before the game this time, I felt a lot less nervous.”
After giving up on tying, back-to-back homers to Mauricio Dubón and Kyle Tucker in the fourth, an unfazed Sheehan walked Bregman then retired the next three batters to end the inning.
Dubón’s shot in the top of the inning was the first big league homer given up by Sheehan.
Betts led the Dodgers’ first two races against JP France (2-3). Betts had a 420-foot shot leading first for his 18th homer. His sacrificial fly in the second scored James Outman, who went 3 for 3.
Outman scored a single, stole the second and scored on Busch’s RBI double in the left field corner for a 4-3 lead.
“It was a fun win, a fun game,” Outman said. “The crowd was in it all night.”
France allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked two.
Astros: Transferred Michael Brantley (shoulder) and RHP José Urquidy (shoulder) to the 60-day injured list.
Dodgers: 3B Max Muncy (hamstring) is still feeling some tension and won’t be activated as hoped. … Reinstated RHP Phil Bickford (lower back tightness) from IL after missing 14 games.
The Dodgers honored the oldest infielder in major league history on his 50th birthday.
First baseman Steve Garvey, shortstop Bill Russell and third baseman Ron Cey took their old places on the field before the game. Second baseman Davey Lopes did not travel from his home in Rhode Island.
Russell faked a throw to Garvey first before the men gathered in front of the mound. Garvey and Cey watched their young grandsons throw the first pitches while Russell threw his with Freddie Freeman, Miguel Rojas and Muncy behind the plate.
For 8½ years, Garvey, Lopes, Cey and Russell were a staple of the lineup beginning in June 1973 when they started together. A video was released highlighting their career.
Peter O’Malley, the 85-year-old former Dodgers president, made a rare public appearance. During his tenure, the team appeared in five World Series, winning titles in 1981 and 1988.
He was joined by catcher Steve Yaeger, co-MVP of the 1981 World Series, outfielder Rick Monday (now a team broadcaster), Baker and pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. Baker was treated better than his current team, basking in warm applause after sharing hugs with his old pals. Reggie Jackson, the 77-year-old Hall of Famer, also took to the field.
The Astros acquired pitcher Spenser Watkins from Baltimore for $100,000. It was opted for Triple-A Sugar Land.
The Dodgers moved pitcher Alex Vesia to Triple-A from Oklahoma City, two days after the southpaw pitched a scoreless inning with one strikeout against the Angels. Vesia is 0-4 with a 7.58 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 23 games with LA this season.
Astros: RHP Ronel Blanco (1-0, 4.66 ERA) is making the fourth career start after starting the season as a reliever. He allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings against Cincinnati last week.
Dodgers: RHP Bobby Miller (3-1, 2.83) is coming off his first major league loss, after allowing seven runs and seven hits against San Francisco.