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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Dodgers score on 9th-inning balk by Kela to beat Rangers 1-0

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dodgers pinch-runner Kike Hernandez scored on a two-out balk by Rangers rookie reliever Keone Kela in the ninth inning, giving Los Angeles a 1-0 victory over Texas on Thursday night.

Kela (4-4), who preserved the Rangers’ 5-3 win Wednesday night with his first major league save, walked Yasmani Grandal and Andre Ethier to open the ninth. First baseman Mitch Moreland then turned Alberto Callaspo’s grounder into a 3-6-3 double play, but Kela was rattled by Hernandez’s bluff toward the plate with Jimmy Rollins at the plate, and was called for the balk.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (2-0) got the victory with a perfect ninth inning.

Los Angeles starter Zack Greinke scattered four hits over seven innings, struck out eight and walked none while lowering his ERA to 1.81. The hard-luck right-hander is 0-2 with a 1.99 ERA in his last eight starts, and the Dodgers have fewer than three runs in six of them — including last Saturday’s 2-1 loss at San Diego, when Greinke went the distance for the first time this season.

Anthony Ranaudo allowed five hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out four in his second spot start of the season after getting recalled by Texas earlier in the day from Triple-A Round Rock to give everyone in the rotation an extra day’s rest. On April 15, he gave up six runs and six hits in just 1 1/3 innings of a 10-2 home loss against the Angels while filling in for an injured Derek Holland.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly challenged a safe call by third base umpire Chris Segal in the seventh, after Elvis Andrus advanced from first base on a two-out single to left field by Robinson Chirinos. Andrus appeared to have beaten the throw from Ethier with a headfirst slide, but TV replays showed that he overslid the bag as Callaspo kept the glove on him.

The Dodgers put runners at the corners in the bottom half with a leadoff single by Andre Ethier and a hit-and-run single by Rollins with one out. Justin Turner pinch-hit for Greinke and flied out to shallow center field on Ranaudo’s 100th and final pitch before lefty Ross Detwiler came in and retired rookie Joc Pederson on a flyout.

The Dodgers wasted a one-out triple in the first inning by Yasiel Puig as Ranaudo retired Adrian Gonzalez on a sharp grounder to first base and Howie Kendrick on a liner to right field. Ranaudo escaped another jam in the fifth, retiring Puig on a liner to center field with runners at first and second after getting a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux.

Greinke retired his first nine batters on 34 pitches without allowing a ball hit to an outfielder. Shin-Soo Choo and Rougned Odor opened the Rangers’ fourth with singles, but the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner struck out Joey Gallo, retired Moreland on a fielder’s choice grounder and got Andrus to fly out.

Chirinos, who beat the Dodgers with a walkoff home run in the ninth inning on Tuesday at Arlington, Texas, was hit by a pitch with one out in the fifth as he checked his swing on a 1-1 delivery. But Hanser Alberto flied out and Ranaudo struck out.

The Rangers got a brief scare in the bottom half when Ranaudo tried to grab a one-out comebacker by Kendrick with his bare hand and fell to his knees after his left foot slipped on the slope of the mound. Kendrick was credited with a hit, but Grandal took a called third strike and Shoo flagged down Ethier’s flyball in the right field corner.

COMINGS AND GOINGS

Rangers: Placed 1B Kyle Blanks was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of inflammation in both Achilles tendons.

Dodgers: Recalled LHP Daniel Coulombe Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned OF Chris Heisey.

UP NEXT

Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (6-3) opposes Chris Sale in the opener of a three-game series at Chicago, having recorded victories in each of his last five starts against the White Sox — and shutouts in each of his last two at U.S. Cellular Field.

Dodgers: RHP Mike Bolsinger (4-1) gets the assignment Friday night for the opener of a three-game set against the Giants at Chavez Ravine. His mound opponent is rookie Chris Heston, who followed up his June 9 no-hitter against the Mets with a 4-0 home loss to the Diamondbacks.

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