Dodgers pitcher Kelly suspended eight games

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly has been suspended for eight games after throwing a pitch that nearly hit the head of a Houston Astros batter and taunting another in Tuesday’s game, Major League Baseball said on Wednesday.

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Kelly’s 96 mile per hour fastball sailed over Alex Bregman in the sixth inning at Minute Maid Park in an apparent attempt to hit the Astros third baseman in retaliation for his team’s past use of sign stealing.

Kelly later exchanged words with and made faces at Astros shortstop Carlos Correa after striking him out to end the inning, which led both benches to clear in the eventual 5-2 Dodgers victory.

Kelly, who MLB noted has previously been suspended for intentional throwing, has appealed the decision so will not immediately serve the suspension.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts received a one-game suspension and Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined for their roles in the incident.

The game was the first meeting between the teams since the Astros sign-stealing scandal broke last offseason.

An MLB investigation found that the Astros improperly used technology to decode signs between opposing pitchers and catchers and relayed the information to batters so they would know what pitches were coming during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The Astros beat the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series in seven games.

The Dodgers and Astros continue their series in Houston later on Wednesday.

MLB began its coronavirus-shortened, 60-game season last weekend.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, editing by Ed Osmond