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Saturday October 23rd, 2021 6:41AM

Astros slug 3 homers to end skid with 5-2 win over Dodgers

By The Associated Press
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HOUSTON (AP) — Carlos Correa denied that Houston's win meant more because it came against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Trevor Bauer, who has been one of the loudest critics of the Astros since their sign-stealing scandal was uncovered.

“A lot of people have said a lot and that don’t mean that we go out there every single day and try to win because of what they said," he said. “It don’t mean much to us. We just go out there and try to win games."

Correa, Jose Altuve and Aledmys Díaz homered, and the Astros stopped a four-game slide by topping Bauer and the Dodgers 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Altuve hit a leadoff drive in the first inning, and Correa put Houston ahead to stay with a tiebreaking solo shot off Bauer with two outs in the sixth. Díaz tacked on a two-run shot during the Astros' three-run seventh.

Los Angeles had won eight in a row.

Bauer (5-3) permitted two runs and four hits in six innings. The 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner tied a season high with four walks and struck out a season-low three.

Bauer was 8-0 with a 2.90 ERA in nine career starts against Houston coming into the day.

“I just don’t think he had the feel early," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “To see him get through six innings and still have the ability to keep going is remarkable and a testament to how he competes."

Bauer thought he pitched well, but agreed with Roberts about his struggles early in the game.

“I had a little bit of funk in the first inning where I was off mechanically but I locked it in from there," he said.

Sheldon Neuse homered for the Dodgers, and Max Muncy had a run-scoring single.

Los Angeles put runners at first and second with two outs in the ninth, but Bryan Abreu struck out Albert Pujols for his first save.

Luis Garcia (3-3) struck out seven in six innings in his third straight win. He allowed one run and two hits.

“He was outstanding," manager Dusty Baker said. “He threw great. He was in control most of the game."

The Astros salvaged a split of the two-game set in a rematch of the 2017 World Series — a title Houston won over Los Angeles that became tainted when it was revealed the Astros illicitly stole signs en route to the championship.

“It’s really important that we came tonight, and we turned things around," Altuve said. “It was great to go out there and win against one of the best teams in the big leagues."

There were plenty of LA fans in the crowd of 30,939, but they were decidedly less vocal and rowdy than they were when Clayton Kershaw pitched the Dodgers to a 9-2 victory on Tuesday.

When Díaz homered in the seventh, most of the orange-clad crowd stood up and cheered loudly, drowning out a smattering of boos from Dodgers fans.

Baker loved the energy from the fans.

“We enjoyed them," he said. “They were into the game. ... It was a lot of fun. This is how I remember Houston being."

A night after his 17-game hitting streak ended, Altuve connected for his third leadoff homer this season. It was Altuve’s 139th career homer, tying him with Bob Watson for eighth place in franchise history.

He added an RBI single in the seventh to give him 1,660 career hits, moving him past Cesar Cedeño (1,659) for fourth-most in team history.

Yoshi Tsutsugo singled with one out in the third before Mookie Betts reached on an error by Garcia. The Dodgers tied it when Muncy lined an RBI single into right field.

Yuli Gurriel singled with one out in the sixth inning but was thrown out trying to steal second base. Correa followed with his 360-foot shot to the seats in left field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: CF Cody Bellinger (left leg) was feeling good after his fourth minor league rehabilitation game this week and Roberts said he could return as soon as Saturday. ... Roberts said utility player Zach McKinstry, out since April 22 with an oblique strain, could come off the injured list this weekend.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sunday, with soreness in his right shoulder. ... LHP Framber Valdez, who has been out all season after breaking his left index finger in spring training, will come off the injured list to start Friday night. ... RHP Jake Odorizzi, who has been out since April 26 with a strained muscle in his right arm, is expected to come off the injured list to start Saturday.

OLD NEMESIS

With Pujols at the plate in the ninth, the Astros held their breath. Pujols has 62 career homers against Houston — the most by an opponent in franchise history.

“You start getting flashbacks of some of his highlights here and you don’t want it to happen again in that situation," Correa said.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (3-0, 2.78 ERA), who hasn’t lost since Sept. 21, 2019, is scheduled to start for LA on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series against San Francisco.

Astros: Houston is off on Thursday before starting a three-game interleague series with the San Diego Padres on Friday night with Valdez on the mound.

___

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

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