Lance McCullers Jr. threw 6 2/3 shutout innings and the Houston Astros withstood the raucous, heckling fans at Dodger Stadium to blank Los Angeles 3-0 Tuesday night.
The crowd of 52,692 — the largest in the majors this season — had waited a long time to let José Altuve, Carlos Correa and the Astros know just how they felt about possibly being cheated out of a 2017 World Series title.
The jeering started early as the crowd in the upper deck and bleachers shouted “Cheaters!” at Houston players during warmups and threw back Astros homers in batting practice.
The booing and chants only got louder, but the fans made more noise than the LA bats. Houston pitchers gave up just five singles and struck out 13 as the AL West leaders ended a two-game losing streak.
This was the first chance Dodgers fans had to jeer the Astros in person at Chavez Ravine since their sign-stealing scandal was revealed late in 2019. Houston beat LA in the 2017 World Series, winning Game 7 at Dodger Stadium.
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Michael Brantley's RBI double in the fourth inning gave Houston a 1-0 lead before Yordan Alvarez's two-run homer over the wall in right center off Victor González provided some much-needed insurance.
McCullers (9-2) — who started that Game 7 in 2017 — struck out nine and allowed four hits and with three walks.
Ryne Stanek retired the side in order in the ninth. for his second save.
Walker Buehler (11-2) threw a career-high 115 pitches in six innings. He was charged with one run on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
The Dodgers left 10 runners on base but had only one reach third. Los Angeles had runners at the corners with two outs in the eighth inning before Chas McCormick struck out Cody Bellinger to end the inning.
Martin Maldonado opened the Houston third with a double to the wall in right-center field. He advanced to third on a two-out wild pitch by Buehler and scored when Brantley lined a double into the right-field corner.
ALTUVE, CORREA GET LOUDEST BOOS
The loud booing began when Houston’s lineup was introduced, and the derisive chants soon followed. The first of six inflatable trash cans came flying out of the right-field stands during the bottom of the first inning — the Astros banged on real trash cans to signal opponents' pitches in their scheme.
When Astros star Carlos Correa hit a foul ball into the first base stands, the souvenir was thrown back onto the diamond — and the fan who chucked it was tossed by security.
Houston visited Dodger Stadium last year when crowds weren’t allowed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Altuve, Correa and the Astros have been heckled throughout the season at ballparks throughout the country, but not when it was played at the capacity that they experienced for the opener of this two-game series.
The vociferous boos didn’t affect Altuve, who had a pair of hits. Correa was 0 for 3, including two strikeouts.
Only four players on Houston’s roster who played in that World Series were active — Altuve, Correa, Yuli Gurriel and McCullers. Fans didn’t boo players who weren’t on the roster.
Los Angeles had six active players remaining who were in uniform — Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger, Kenley Jansen, Corey Seager, Chris Taylor and Justin Turner.
Betts, who was starting at second base for only the second time this season and 17th time in his eight-year career, made a diving leap in shallow right while playing the shift to rob Brantley of a hit in the fifth inning.
Astros: Gurriel was scratched from the lineup before the game due to neck stiffness. ... 3B Alex Bregman (left quad strain) led off and had a double for Triple-A Sugar Land during a rehab appearance Tuesday night. He could be activated when Houston opens a six-game homestand against Minnesota this weekend.
Dodgers: RHP Edwin Uceta was placed on the 10-day injured list for the second time this season due to a right back strain. RHP Brusdar Graterol was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to fill the spot. ... OF Zach Reks was recalled from Triple-A with RHP Yefry Ramírez being optioned.
Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA) makes his Dodgers debut after the right-hander was acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Washington Nationals last Friday. Houston counters with RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30).