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Balk call hands victory to Dodgers vs. Rangers

June 19, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Texas reliever Keone Kela was called for a balk with two outs in the ninth inning to turn a scoreless game into a 1-0 victory for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, with pinch-runner Kike Hernandez given credit for inducing the game-ending mistake by the young Rangers pitcher.

The victory maintained the Dodger’s 2-1/2 game lead in the National League West standings, while in the NL East, the leading New York Mets were beaten by Toronto and former Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey but maintained their narrow lead as Washington was defeated by Tampa Bay and lost star slugger Bryce Harper to a leg injury.

The NL Central leader, and overall top team in the majors, St. Louis was beaten when Minnesota’s Kennys Vargas came up with a home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Texas’ Kela (4-4) walked two Dodgers to open the ninth inning, but the scoreless stalemate looked like continuing when first baseman Mitch Moreland seized on a grounder by Alberto Callaspo and turned a double play.

Hernandez was brought on to pinch-run and starting advancing down the third-base line toward home plate. It momentarily distracted Kela, and a slight movement of the shoulders was enough for the umpires to call a balk, and Hernandez trotted into the plate to be mobbed by teammates.

Toronto’s R.A. Dickey pitched into the eighth inning to earn the win against his former team, steering the Blue Jays to a 7-1 victory over the New York Mets.

Dickey (3-6) allowed one run for his first victory in a month. The knuckleballer, who won the NL Cy Young award with the Mets in 2012, didn’t give up a hit until the fifth.

Dickey, 40, beat New York’s 42-year-old Bartolo Colon in the first matchup between two starting pitchers in their 40s since 2008, when Philadelphia’s Jamie Moyer (45) beat San Diego’s Greg Maddux (42).

Chris Colabello hit a solo homer for Toronto, which is 13-3 in June.

Washington star Bryce Harper exited early after hurting his left leg while taking an awkward tumble making a throw, and the Nationals lost 5-3 to Tampa Bay.

There was no announcement by the Nationals during the game on Harper’s injury. The All-Star right fielder slipped and fell on the wet grass while trying to throw home in the sixth inning. Harper held his left leg while down on the ground and then gingerly walked off the field.

Harper’s throw went wildly into the dugout during a four-run inning for Tampa Bay.

Minnesota’s Kennys Vargas ended a batting slump in dramatic style as he hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Twins a 2-1 win against St. Louis.

Vargas, who had been struggling since being called up from the minors, continued his bad run when he grounded into two double plays, ruining a bases-loaded rally on one of those in the seventh inning. He more than made up for that with his game-ending drive off a slow curveball from Carlos Villanueva (3-2).

Houston’s Preston Tucker homered and drove in three runs as the Astros beat Colorado 8-4 to notch a fifth-straight win.

Domingo Santana got his first major league home run as the Astros swept the four-game, home-and-home series with the reeling Rockies. The Astros hit six homers in two games at Coors Field, raising their AL-leading total to 97.

Rockies pitchers struck out 17 times at the plate, a Colorado record for a nine-inning game.

Pittsburgh extended its winning streak to a season-high eight games by edging the Chicago White Sox 3-2, with Gerrit Cole becoming the majors’ first 11-game winner this season.

Cole (11-2) allowed three hits in seven innings, and has won each of his past six starts while giving up two runs or less in each. Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.

Chicago has dropped a season-high seven games.

Cleveland rookie Giovanny Urshela’s seventh-inning single drove in the go-ahead run to lift the Indians past the Chicago Cubs 4-3.

Kyle Schwarber hit his first major league home run for the Cubs, a two-run blast off Danny Salazar in the fifth that had tied the game 3-3.

The Indians bounced back from Wednesday’s 17-0 loss and survived another big night from Schwarber, who had two hits and is 6 for 10 with four RBIs in three games since being called up from the minors.

Los Angeles’ C.J. Wilson struck out a season-high nine in his second straight strong outing, steering the Angels to a 7-1 against Arizona.

Wilson (5-5), after throwing seven scoreless innings in his previous start, gave up one run and no walks in eight innings.

Taylor Featherston hit his first major league home run for the Angels.

San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong and three relievers combined to beat Seattle 7-0, giving the Giants a major league-leading 11th shutout.

New York’s Alex Rodriguez moved within one hit of 3,000 as he got two singles in the Yankees’ 9-4 victory over Miami.

San Diego’s Pat Murphy got his first win as the Padres new manager while Derek Norris homered against his former team in a 3-1 win against Oakland.

Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar had three hits and scored twice as the Royals beat Milwaukee 3-2.

Boston’s Clay Buchholz pitched seven strong innings as the Red Sox ended a run of seven straight road losses by beating Atlanta 5-2.

Philadelphia snapped a nine-game losing skid by edging Baltimore 2-1, with Ryan Howard hitting a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth inning.

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