HOUSTON — Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball on Wednesday, a day after throwing a fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and mockingly taunting Astros star Carlos Correa.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Minute Maid Park. The game marked the first time the teams had met since it was revealed Houston stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title that came at the Dodgers’ expense.

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts was suspended one game and Astros Manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly elected to appeal and can continue to play until the process is complete. Roberts was serving his penalty Wednesday night when the Dodgers played at Houston.

Kelly, a hard thrower with a touch of wildness, has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The lingering animosity the Dodgers felt toward the Astros – who were penalized by MLB in the offseason after their scam came to light – had been brewing. It bubbled over when Bregman, a star of the Astros’ run to their championship, came to bat in the bottom of the sixth on Tuesday night.

The Dodgers led 5-2 when Kelly, who was with Boston in 2017 and also faced Houston that postseason, zipped a 3-0 fastball behind Bregman’s head. Bregman grimaced after jumping to avoid being hit, then trotted to first base.

There were two outs in the inning when Kelly threw a breaking ball over Correa’s head. Correa, who homered and finished with three hits, took off his batting helmet and stared Kelly down before continuing the at-bat.

Kelly struck out Correa to end the inning, then stuck out his tongue and made a face in his direction. Correa started walking toward him and the players exchanged words, prompting the benches to clear in the first such incident of this pandemic-delayed season.

There was plenty of yelling and crowding – outlawed as MLB tries to play a 60-game season amid the pandemic – but there was no pushing or punches thrown.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He was asked if there was any added motivation Tuesday because his Red Sox team lost to Houston in the AL Division Series in 2017.

“No. When I was with the Red Sox we beat them in ’18,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I pitch competitively. With no fans here, it’s easy to hear some stuff (from the opposing dugout) … there’s something they apparently didn’t take too kind to.”

After the game, Roberts said he wasn’t sure if Kelly’s pitches were retaliation for Houston’s cheating.

“I really don’t know, to be quite honest,” he said. “I know he got behind Bregman 3-0 and lost a fastball. I really don’t think there was intent behind that. I think those guys took a little bit of offense. Even the one to Correa, that was a breaking ball that just backed up.”

“Obviously the expectation going into the series that things were kind of escalated maybe a little, I don’t know if prematurely’s the word, but that’s kind of what happened,” he said.

Said Baker: “Balls get away sometimes but not that many in the big leagues.”

“When you throw a 3-0 fastball over a guy’s head you’re flirting with ending his career,” he said.

Baker said things really got out of hand because of something he said Kelly told Correa after the strikeout.

“We didn’t say anything,” he said. “We don’t start nothing. But we don’t take nothing, either.”

Order was restored after a couple of minutes and there were no ejections, but Baker was still upset before play resumed and got in the face of an umpire.

Bregman avoided questions about the incident postgame and Correa did not speak to reporters.

Houston was punished by the commissioners’ office in January for the sign-stealing scheme, which led to the firing of GM Jeff Luhnow and Manager AJ Hinch.

Many players around the league were unhappy that no players were disciplined for their roles in the cheating. The Dodgers had harsh words for the Astros during spring training, but Roberts said before the game that he didn’t think his team would retaliate.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations. This was his first discipline case since taking over the job from Joe Torre.

PHILLIES: One employee who works in the visiting clubhouse has tested positive for the coronavirus, GM Matt Klentak said

But all Phillies players and on-field staff tested negative for COVID-19 for a second straight day, Klentak said.

NATIONALS: Outfielder Juan Soto was still waiting to be cleared to play by the city government after getting the OK from Major League Baseball to return from the COVID-19 injured list.

INDIANS: Cleveland placed starting catcher Roberto Perez on the 10-day injured list with a sore throwing shoulder.

TRADE: The pitching-strapped Houston Astros acquired right-hander Hector Velazquez from the Baltimore Orioles for a player to named.

The deal comes after the AL champion Astros learned that reigning Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander will be out a while with a strained forearm.

Velazquez went 1-4 with a 5.43 ERA with Boston last year before coming to the Orioles via a waiver claim in March. The 31-year-old was not on Baltimore’s Opening Day roster but was part of the 60-man player pool.

Velazquez will report to Corpus Christi to join the Astros’ reserves at their alternate training site.

JOSE REYES has retired from baseball, almost two years after playing his final game.

The 37-year-old, a four-time All-Star shortstop for the New York Mets, made the announcement on Twitter.

“A young boy growing up in the Dominican Republic, I could have never dreamed of achieving all that I have through this incredible game,” he wrote. “Mets fans, what can I say? We never got the ring we hoped we would get, but I can’t imagine playing in front of any better fans in the whole world. Your passion and energy always lifted me higher and for that I will always be grateful.”

Reyes played for the Mets from 2003-11 and left as a free agent to sign a $106 million, six-year contract with the Miami Marlins. He was traded to Toronto after one season, then was dealt to Colorado in July 2015. Following a domestic violence incident involving Reyes and his wife, Reyes was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, then suspended without pay and wound up missing 59 days.

He was optioned to the minors by the Rockies and then released, and the Mets brought him back.

Reyes hit .283 with 145 homers, 719 RBIs and 517 stolen bases.

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