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Pujols hits two 3-run HRs, helps streaking Angels beat Rangers

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Albert Pujols hit a pair of three-run homers and the Los Angeles Angels remained unbeaten since the All-Star break with their season-best fifth straight victory, 8-6 over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

Pujols connected in the fourth and fifth innings against Kyle Lohse (0-2) for his second multi-homer game in three days, driving in six runs for the first time since 2009.

He propelled the Angels (42-52) to their ninth win in 11 games overall. Pujols even stayed in the game in the seventh inning when Texas reliever Tony Barnette hit him in the helmet, apparently accidentally.

Pujols’ homers were the 578th and 579th of his career, pulling him closer to Mark McGwire (583) for 10th place on baseball’s career list.

Robinson Chirinos hit two early homers for the AL West-leading Rangers, who have lost six of seven.

Tim Lincecum (2-3) had seven strikeouts while winning for the second time in his six starts for the Angels, yielding nine hits and five runs in five innings. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his eighth save – his first since June 14.

Jett Bandy also homered and drove in two runs for the Angels.

One night after the Angels came back from four runs down to beat Texas, they erased an early three-run deficit in the fourth inning with one swing from Pujols.

After Elvis Andrus doubled home the go-ahead run for Texas in the fifth, Pujols put the Angels back ahead with another three-run shot, completing the 54th multi-homer game of his career. Pujols drove in Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout with both of his shots.

Barnette then hit Pujols in the helmet with a 92-mph fastball in the seventh. The reliever appeared to apologize profusely to Pujols, who dusted himself off and ran the bases.

Ian Desmond hit a 462-foot homer, had three hits and reached base four times for the struggling Rangers.

Lohse yielded six hits and seven runs in his second start for Texas before Pujols chased him with the second homer.

Desmond kept it close with his 17th homer in the sixth. Bandy replied with his third homer in the sixth.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

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