MLB

MLB playoffs 2021: Red Sox stun Rays to advance, Giants put Dodgers on brink

By Sports Desk October 11, 2021

The Boston Red Sox found more Fenway Park magic Monday, knocking a Tampa Bay Rays team that posted the best record in the American League during the regular season out of the playoffs with a thrilling 6-5 victory. 

Kike Hernandez's sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning brought home pinch-runner Danny Santana with the winning run in Game 4 as Boston took the Division Series 3-1. 

Earlier in the game, it appeared the Red Sox might cruise to victory. Rafael Devers crushed a three-run homer to spark a five-run third inning for the Red Sox with Rays starter Collin McHugh already out of the game after just two innings. 

But the Rays, who went 100-62 during the regular season, were not done yet. They began chipping away with a run in the fifth, then rookie sensation Wander Franco hit a two-run homer in the sixth. 

Run-scoring hits from Kevin Kiermaier and Randy Arozarena tied the game in the eighth and Kiermaier ensured it stayed that way in the bottom of the inning, gunning down Alex Verdugo with an outrageous throw from center field to third base for a double play that ended a Red Sox threat. 

The reprieve was short-lived for the Rays, as Christian Vazquez led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left and Christian Arroyo bunted him to third. A misplayed grounder off the bat of Travis Shaw put runners on the corners and Hernandez drove in Santana to set off a wild celebration at the venerable ballpark.

The Red Sox have won eight consecutive games in which they had a chance to clinch a postseason series. Only the Oakland Athletics have a longer such streak, nine in a row between 1973 and 1990. 

Boston will face the Houston Astros or Chicago White Sox in the American League Championship Series. 

 

Longoria, Giants edge Dodgers in Game 3

Evan Longoria's fifth-inning home run off Max Scherzer was the difference as the San Francisco Giants edged the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 to put the reigning World Series champions on the brink of elimination. 

Longoria homered on a 0-2 fastball to lead off the fifth, virtually the only blemish for the Dodgers pitching staff as they limited the Giants to just three hits in Game 3. But that was enough, as San Francisco's pitching and defence made it stand up.

Starter Alex Wood and three relievers held the Dodgers to five hits with some significant help from their fielders, as Brandon Crawford in particular made a pair of stellar plays to rob Mookie Betts of hits. 

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    Jackson Holliday collected his first major league hit and scored the go-ahead run to help the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

    Holliday, the No. 1 pick of the 2022 MLB draft, was part of a two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning that enabled the Orioles to prevent Milwaukee from sweeping the three-game series.

    The 20-year-old infielder had gone 0 for 13 with nine strikeouts to begin his major league career before recording a single in the seventh.

    Former Brewers ace Corbin Burnes did not factor in the decision in his first meeting against his ex-team since being traded to Baltimore in the offseason. The 2021 National League Cy Young Award winner allowed three runs - two earned - while striking out five in five innings.

    Blake Perkins' solo homer in the top of the seventh gave Milwaukee a 4-3 lead that turned out to be short-lived, as Jordan Westburg, Holliday and Gunnar Henderson all singled off reliever Abner Uribe in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.

    Holliday advanced to third on Henderson's run-scoring hit before crossing the plate on a double-play grounder off the bat of Adley Rutschman.

    Colton Cowser's solo homer in the eighth gave Baltimore some insurance before Craig Kimbrel stranded two runners in a scoreless ninth to earn his third save of the season.

    Burnes was greeted by a leadoff homer from William Contreras in the top of the first inning, though the Orioles answered in their half when Henderson was hit by a pitch by Milwaukee starter Colin Rea and later scored on Ryan O'Hearn's single.

    Cedric Mullins' homer off Rea in the second put Baltimore up 2-1, and O'Hearn sent the Orioles back ahead with a solo shot in the third after the Brewers scratched home a run in the top of the inning. 

    Burnes couldn't protect the 3-2 lead, though, as the Brewers put two on in the fourth before Brice Turang put down a bunt that brought in a run when the Baltimore right-hander threw wildly to first base to allow Willy Adames to score.

    Perkins went 3 for 4 with two runs scored for Milwaukee. Rea lasted 5 2/3 innings and was reached for three runs while striking out six.

     

    Rays slug four homers to spoil Snell's return to Tampa Bay

    Rene Pinto drove in four runs and had two of four Tampa Bay homers as the Rays spoiled Blake Snell's return to Tropicana Field with a 9-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants. 

    Snell was tagged for seven runs in four innings in his second straight lacklustre start since joining the Giants as a free agent in the offseason. The two-time Cy Young Award winner was making his first appearance at Tropicana Field since being traded by the Rays to the San Diego Padres in December 2020.

    The 31-year-old pitched five seasons for Tampa Bay and won the American League's Cy Young Award after going 21-5 with the Rays in 2018.

    Snell took the mound with a 1-0 lead after the Giants scored once in the top of the first inning, but the left-hander was greeted by a leadoff double from Yandy Diaz and a one-out single by Randy Arozarena that quickly tied the game.

    Two batters later, Amed Rosario homered to left to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 advantage.

    Isaac Paredes' two-out RBI single off Snell in the third increased the Rays' margin, and Snell issued two walks in the fourth before Pinto launched a three-run homer to center to extend the lead to 7-1.

    Tyler Fitzgerald doubled in the top of the sixth and scored on Jorge Soler's single to get the Giants closer, though Pinto answered in the bottom of the inning with his second homer of the day.

    A solo homer by San Francisco's Michael Conforto in the seventh was countered by Paredes' solo blast in the Rays' half of the inning as Tampa Bay took a 9-3 lead into the eighth.

    Fitzgerald finished 2 for 4 and knocked in the Giants' final run with a triple in the ninth.

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    Guardians rally for three runs in 10th to stun Yankees

    Andres Gimenez's sacrifice fly capped a stunning 10th rally as the Cleveland Guardians avoided a series sweep by the New York Yankees by rallying for a wild 8-7 win.

    After the Yankees tied the game on Anthony Volpe's RBI double with two outs in the ninth inning and scored twice more in the top of the 10th, Cleveland struck for three runs off reliever Caleb Ferguson in the bottom of the inning to salvage the series finale.

    Jose Ramirez started the comeback with a leadoff single and Josh Naylor followed with a fielder's choice groundout that scored brother Bo Naylor, the Guardians' designated runner to begin their half of the inning. David Fry then doubled to put two men on before Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres threw late to home plate after bobbling a ground ball, allowing Josh Naylor to score and tie the contest at 7-7.

    Gimenez then lifted a fly ball to right deep enough to bring home Fry with the winning run.

    The Yankees were down to their final out in the ninth when Volpe drove a pitch from Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase into the gap in right center field to drive in Oswaldo Cabrera from first and knot the score at 5-5.

    New York then loaded the bases with none out in the 10th to set up Anthony Rizzo's single off Tyler Beede which sent home designated runner Juan Soto and Aaron Judge, who was intentionally walked.

    Judge belted a three-run homer off Cleveland starter Logan Allen in the top of the third inning to open the scoring, though the Guardians countered with Ramirez's two-run shot off Nestor Cortes in their half of the frame.

    Jose Trevino's solo homer in the fourth increased New York's lead to 4-2, but Cleveland again answered with two runs in the fifth.

    Gabriel Arias led off the bottom of the inning with a homer off Cortes before Josh Naylor later tied it with a one-out single that plated Steven Kwan.

    The score remained 4-4 until former Yankee Estevan Florial delivered a pinch-hit solo homer off Luke Weaver in the eighth.

    Ramirez and Josh Naylor each had two hits and two RBIs for Cleveland, while Allen allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings. 

    Volpe went 3 for 4 for New York, which removed Cortes after four-plus innings after the left-hander was reached for four runs despite striking out six. 

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    The procedure was notably a repair of Strider’s existing UCL with an internal brace, not a total reconstruction, also known as Tommy John surgery.

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    The flame-throwing right-hander made two starts in 2024, allowing seven runs in nine innings.

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    Shohei Ohtani homered to tie for the most by a Japan-born player, but Jackson Merrill singled home the go-ahead run in the 11th inning to lift the San Diego Padres to an 8-7 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

    Ohtani took Michael King deep with one out in the first inning for his fourth home run of the season and 175th of his career, tying him with Hideki Matsui, who played 10 seasons in the majors from 2003-12.

    Mookie Betts, Max Muncy and Teoscar Hernandez also homered for the Dodgers, who squandered a 7-3 lead after five innings.

    Jake Cronenworth’s solo home run in the sixth drew the Padres within 7-4 and San Diego scored three in the seventh on a run-scoring groundout before Fernando Tatis Jr.’s two-run blast off Ryan Brasier tied it.

    Manny Machado and Ha-Seong Kim homered as the Padres got back to .500 (8-8) with their third win in four games.

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    De La Cruz singled in the second inning to reach safely for the 18th straight game dating to last season.

    He hit his fourth home run of the season in the third after he had an inside-the-park homer and 450-foot drive during a 10-8 win over Milwaukee on Monday before going deep again in a 7-2 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday.

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    Rangers drop Astros 7 under .500

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    Houston, which has lost four straight and allowed 36 runs in its last three games, fell to 4-11. The Astros are seven below .500 for the first time since they were 22-29 before a Memorial Day win in 2016, a season in which they dropped to 20-29 before a five-game winning streak.

    Texas extended its lead to 12-3 with four runs in the sixth, as Adolis Garcia singled home a run before Heim had a run-scoring groundout and Jared Walsh stroked a two-run single.

    Kyle Tucker homered twice, and Jake Meyers drove in three runs for the Astros.

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