The Houston Astros brushed off any suggestions that they are using 2017's sign-stealing scandal as motivation ahead of their World Series against the Atlanta Braves.

Houston will host the Braves in Game 1 on Tuesday, with the Astros featuring in the third World Series in five seasons.

Houston's 2017 World Series title remains shrouded in controversy the Astros were found to have stolen signs of opposition teams on the way to winning the championship, as well as for part of 2018.

General manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were subsequently fired by the team after they were initially suspended.

The Astros have since regularly been greeted with jeers and boos in road games but manager Dusty Baker, who was appointed in 2020, insisted they were not out to prove people wrong.

"I don't think that's their main source of motivation," Baker told reporters on Monday. "I think people are trying to make it as their main source of motivation. That doesn't motivate you nearly as much as thriving to win and thriving for excellence.

"I think this team is way past that because they know they can play. You can only be driven by 'I'll show you,' or you can only be driven by negative motivation so far."

Houston infielders Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are both holdovers from the 2017 roster but reiterated Baker's stance.

"I don't think the outside noise motivates us at all," said Correa, who has hit .297 with five RBIs and 11 hits this postseason.

"The guys inside [the clubhouse] - we motivate ourselves to just be better every single day, and you see the results on the field.

"I don't think we're playing here in the World Series because we're motivated to prove to people that we're a really good team."

Altuve, who hit .278 with 31 home runs and 83 RBIs across the regular season, said he had not considered the sign-stealing scandal in the lead-up to the World Series.

"I haven't thought about that, but I think we have the same mindset we always have, just going out there and try to win," Altuve said.

"This is a pretty special team. Everybody just talks about winning. We all want to win. There's not a single guy who talks about something else."

Correa and Altuve were both crucial in offense for the Astros in 2017, recording 14 RBIs in the postseason, with both hitting two home runs in the World Series.

Dusty Baker said "there was never a doubt" in the Houston Astros' minds that they would top the Boston Red Sox and reach the World Series.

The Astros will feature in the MLB showpiece for the third time in five years after Friday's 5-0 shutout secured a 4-2 victory in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

Kyle Tucker's three-run homer settled the contest in the eighth inning as the 2017 World Series champions prepare to face either the Atlanta Braves or Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Pitching, defense and timely hitting," veteran manager Baker said of how the Astros came back to claim the series against the Red Sox.

"And plus, these guys always believed that we were going to win. I mean, there was never a doubt in their minds."

Baker is heading back to the World Series for the first time in 19 years – the only manager to go longer between consecutive World Series appearances was Bucky Harris (1925 with the Senators then 1947 with the Yankees).

Baker will be aged 72 years and 133 days old for Game 1 of the World Series, the second oldest manager to reach the Fall Classic behind only Jack McKeon (73 years and 329 days in 2003).

Yordan Alvarez was crowned ALCS MVP after becoming the fifth Astros player with a four-hit game in a potential postseason clincher after driving in the opening run before scoring to double the lead in the sixth inning of the Game 6 clash.

"It means everything," Alvarez told reporters. "I think there are a lot of things that I could say that's behind the trophy, but all I can say is it just means everything."

Luis Garcia starred on the mound for the Astros, allowing just one hit and striking out seven batters across 5.2 innings.

"I felt great," said Garcia, who exited his Game 2 start with a right knee strain. "The adjustment that I made with my leg, I think was the big thing. That helped me a lot, even to throw harder."

Yordan Alvarez was the hero as the Houston Astros topped the Boston Red Sox 5-0 to advance to the MLB World Series.

Alvarez drove in the opening run before scoring to double the lead in the sixth inning to fuel the Astros in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) on Friday.

The Astros sealed the ALCS pennant 4-2 and their first World Series berth since 2019 – third in five years – thanks to Kyler Tucker's three-run homer in the eighth inning.

Houston will face either the Atlanta Braves or defending champions the Los Angeles Dodgers for their second MLB crown and first since 2017.

ALCS MVP Alvarez – the fifth Astros player with a four-hit game in a potential postseason clincher – set the tone in Houston, where he doubled to deep centre, allowing Alex Bregman to score in the first inning.

The tense battle continued before Tucker's grounded into double play at first as Alvarez scored to make it 2-0.

With the Red Sox trying to avoid elimination, the Astros put the result beyond doubt behind Tucker's 357-foot shot in the bottom of the eighth, with Alvarez and Carlos Correa also scoring.

Alvarez (.522) ended the series with the highest batting average in the ALCS, eclipsing Kevin Youkilis (.500 in 2007).

Luis Garcia starred on the mound, allowing just one hit in 5.2 innings while striking out seven batters.

Houston's Dusty Baker is heading back to the World Series for the first time in 19 years – the only manager to go longer between consecutive World Series appearances was Bucky Harris (1925 with the Senators then 1947 with the Yankees).

Baker will be aged 72 years and 133 days old for Game 1 of the World Series, the second oldest manager to reach the Fall Classic behind only Jack McKeon (73 years and 329 days in 2003).

 

Dodgers at Braves

The Braves can secure a date with the Astros when they host the Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) on Saturday. Atlanta lead 3-2.

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora says his side are not suddenly a bad offensive team and brushed off talk of a slump after going down 3-2 in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) to the Houston Astros.

The Astros triumphed 9-1 on Wednesday to move within one game of the World Series, backing up from Tuesday's 9-2 win.

The Red Sox only managed three hits for the game on Wednesday, with Astros pitcher Framber Valdez starring across eight innings.

The defeats mean the Red Sox have allowed nine or more runs and been held to five or fewer hits in back-to-back games for the first time ever at Fenway Park.

"I don’t see it as a slump, it's two games," Cora said during his post-game news conference.

"We've been really good defensively the whole month. Tonight that kid [Valdez] was amazing. We'll keep working and talking. We'll be ready as a group."

Game 6 will take place in Houston on Friday, offering the Red Sox a chance to recoup and reconsider their plans after the Astros flipped the ALCS.

"We know we can hit," Cora added. "Two bad games doesn’t mean that all of a sudden we're not a good offensive team.

"It's a matter of a re-group, make some adjustments and attack from the first pitch on.

"We've got to win two games to go to the World Series, that's the bottom line."

Cora insisted he would not make any personnel changes to his Red Sox line-up for Game 6, backing in Hunter Renfroe who has had a lean ALCS, with only one hit.

Renfroe has not homered all postseason, after blasting 31 with 135 hits and 96 RBIs during the regular season, hitting at .259.

"He's a guy throughout the season who has done an amazing job," Cora said. "He's played great defense for us and he's been good offensively. We'll keep rolling them out there."

Cora was full of praise for Valdez, who had five strikeouts, describing his sinker as "unreal" and claiming he was the difference.

"Their guy was amazing," he said. "He was throwing harder than usual, the ball was moving, we didn’t hit the ball hard at all.

"Credit to him. His sinker was unreal tonight. You tip your hat to him and you move forward."

Eddie Rosario starred as the Atlanta Braves moved within one win of the World Series thanks to a 9-2 victory over defending champions the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Rosario delivered four hits, four RBIs and three runs in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), including a ninth-inning three-run homer to ice the victory, giving the Braves a commanding 3-1 series lead in the MLB playoffs.

Atlanta raced to a 4-0 lead after three innings via solo home runs from Rosario, Adam Duvall and Freddie Freeman, before Joc Pederson drove in Rosario.

A.J. Pollock hit a two-run single in the fifth inning to offer hope of another Dodgers fightback following Tuesday's 6-5 win, but the Braves pulled away again led by Rosario – who became the first-ever player with two four-hit NLCS games. The 30-year-old is hitting at .600 with nine-for-15 in the NLCS.

Rosario needed a double from his ninth inning at-bat to complete a cycle and become the second player in MLB history to achieve the feat, but instead settled for a game-sealing three-run blast. 

According to Stats Perform, Rosario is the first player in major league playoff history to have two four-hit games in a three-game span in a single postseason.

Teams with a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series have won 75 of 89 times. To make matters worse for the Dodgers – who are on the brink of elimination and being dethroned, Justin Turner limped out of the game with an apparent hamstring injury.

The Houston Astros shut down the Boston Red Sox behind Framber Valdez as they delivered a five-run sixth-inning rally to cruise to a 9-1 triumph and a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

Valdez pitched eight innings, allowing only three hits and one earned run with five strikeouts, with the Red Sox only managing three hits for the game at Fenway Park in Boston.

Yordan Alvarez, who had a second-inning homer and finished with three hits, drove in two during the fifth inning, along with Jose Siri with a fly ball to open a 6-0 lead.

The Astros had won 9-2 in Game 4, meaning the Red Sox have allowed nine or more runs and been held to five or fewer hits in back-to-back wins for the first time ever at Fenway Park.

Houston, meanwhile, are the first team in MLB postseason history to be trailing in a series and then win back-to-back games on the road by seven-plus runs, according to Stats Perform.

 

Braves at Dodgers

The Braves can secure their first World Series appearance since 1999 when they face the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday.

Cody Bellinger saved the Los Angeles Dodgers with their season on life support as he crushed a game-tying three-run homer in a 6-5 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS).

World Series champions the Dodgers were facing a 3-0 deficit in the NLCS, with the Braves leading 5-2 in the eighth inning before Bellinger's intervention at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.

With Will Smith and A.J. Pollock on base, Dodgers star Bellinger crushed a Luke Jackson fastball into the right-field bleachers.

Three batters later, Mookie Betts laced a go-ahead double with Chris Taylor touching down, before Kenley Jansen closed out the come-from-behind win.

Jansen moved to outright second most MLB postseason saves with 19.

Only the 2004 Boston Red Sox have ever erased a 3-0 deficit to win a postseason series, so the Dodgers significantly revived their hopes of reaching another MLB showpiece.

The Dodgers had opened a 2-0 lead in the first inning after Corey Seager's two-run homer, but the Braves produced a four-run fourth inning, before Adam Duvall drove in Ozzie Albies in the fifth inning for his second RBI of the game to build a 5-2 advantage.

The Braves held that lead until Bellinger's intervention in the eighth inning, with the Dodgers staying in the NLCS at 2-1.

Meanwhile, the Houston Astros levelled the American League Championship Series (ALCS) after a seven-run ninth inning guided them to a 9-2 rout of the Red Sox in Game 4 at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox had led 2-1 from the first inning after Xander Bogaerts' two-run inning, before Jose Altuve's game-tying home run in the eighth, which marked his 21st playoff home run, behind only Manny Ramirez (29) and Bernie Williams (22) overall.

With two out, Jason Castro hit a go-ahead double in the ninth inning, setting off a rush of runs – including Michael Brantley's three-run double. The Astros' seven-run ninth inning tied the most ever in the ninth inning of a postseason game.

 

Braves at Dodgers

The Dodgers will look to level the NLCS when they host the Braves on Wednesday, with Julio Urias confirmed to start on the mound for the storied Los Angeles franchise in Game 4. Elsewhere, the Red Sox and Astros will meet in Game 5 of the ALCS.

Kyle Schwarber said "these are the moments that you are never going to forget" after hitting a record-making homer in the Boston Red Sox's 12-3 rout of the Houston Astros in Game 3 of their American League Championship Series.

Schwarber hit another grand slam for the Red Sox, who now lead the Astros 2-1, making them the first MLB team to hit three slams in a single series having hit two in Game 2.

The Red Sox are the first team to have three slams in the postseason since the 1998 Atlanta Braves.

J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers achieved slams in the second game, while Schwarber cleared the bases in the second inning on Monday in Boston and he revelled in a moment of glory.

"These are the moments that you are never going to forget as a player," Schwarber said. 

"This is what we live for. We live to be in the postseason. When you get that first taste, that first experience, you want to keep coming. You want more. 

"It's an addictive feeling, and especially where it's just rocking the whole time and it's rowdy.

"That gave me a headache, and I loved it. I loved every second of it."

 

Asked if a slam was on his mind as he stepped up to the plate, Schwarber replied: "You are trying to get at least one, and not going up there thinking home run. 

"That could turn into a pop-up or something like that, so just trying to not be late. You know a heater is coming there, and just go from there."

The Boston Red Sox made more history as they crushed the Houston Astros 12-3 for a 2-1 lead in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

Kyle Schwarber hit another grand slam for the red-hot Red Sox, who are the first MLB team to smash three slams in a playoff series on their way to a Game 3 win on Monday.

The Red Sox hit two grand slams in their Game 2 demolition of the Astros. According to Stats Perform, Boston are the first team in major league history to have three slams within the first two innings over a two-game span.

After J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers celebrated slams against the Astros in the second game, Schwarber cleared the bases in the second inning in Boston.

Martinez and Devers each homered again, while Christian Arroyo also went deep at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox raced out to another 9-0 lead through three innings before Kyle Tucker's three-run homer got the battered Astros on the board on the road.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who gave up five hits and struck out seven, had retired the first six batters prior to Tucker's bomb.

Martinez and Devers extended the Red Sox's lead in the sixth and eighth inning as the latter became the first ever MLB player to hit for the home run cycle (solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam) over his fist four home runs of a single postseason, per Stats Perform.

The Red Sox got to Jose Urquidy, who allowed six runs and a homer on five hits – walking two – over 1.2 rough innings.

Game 4 is back at Fenway Park on Tuesday

 

Braves at Dodgers

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers are back on home turf as they host the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), trailing 2-0.

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora says his side's "humble approach" led to their historic multiple grand slam Game 2 performance as they won 9-5 over the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox levelled the American League Championship Series (ALCS) after J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers delivered grand slams in the first two innings.

Boston became the first team in postseason history with multiple grand slams in a game, while there are only five other occasions when a side has hit grand slams in the opening two innings across any majors game, mostly recently in 1984.

Enrique Hernandez also homered in the fourth inning, continuing his excellent run of recent form, setting records for most XBH (nine), hits (15) and total bases (34) across a five-game postseason span.

In seven games, Hernandez has also already tied the Red Sox record for most home runs (five) in a single postseason.

"I think when we have this humble approach that we're not trying to do too much, then big things happen," Cora said at the post-game news conference.

"And J.D., that was great to see [him] going the other way. Raffy, not trying to do too much and hitting the grand slam. It's a very good approach right now. We're not getting greedy.

"Like I said a few days ago, it's not about hitting 30 home runs or driving [in] 100 runs. It's about winning four games against the Astros. So now we got one, and now we go to Fenway."

Cora also hailed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who improved his record to 8-1 in postseason games for the Red Sox when he plays, including 5-0 when he starts.

Eovaldi lasted five-and-one-third innings, giving up three runs on five hits, one walk and three strikeouts.

"He's been a horse for us, he's been amazing and he went out there and did an amazing job," Cora said.

Cora, whose Red Sox are 5-2 this postseason, was delighted his side would take the series to Boston after splitting the opening two games in Houston.

The Boston Red Sox made history as the first team ever to hit multiple grand slams in a postseason game as they defeated the Houston Astros 9-5 to level the American League Championship Series (ALCS) at 1-1.

J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers delivered the grand slams within the first two innings as the Red Sox, who have won 13 consecutive postseason games when scoring first, opened up an 8-0 lead.

Astros rookie right-hander Luis Garcia saw Martinez homer over right field for the first inning grand slam before he left the game with right knee discomfort after 33 pitches.

Garcia was replaced by Jake Odorizzi but with bases loaded and one out, Devers made it 8-0 with his grand slam.

Enrique Hernandez continued his hot postseason form with a solo home run in the fourth inning, which was his third homer of the ALCS. Hernandez has 15 hits in his past five games, which is the most ever in a five-game span in play-offs history.

The Astros rallied with three runs in the fourth inning, before solo home runs in the ninth inning from Yuli Gurriel – who finished the game with three RBIs and two hits – and Jason Castro.

Austin Riley recorded his first career walk-off hit as the Atlanta Braves claimed Game 1 of the National League Champoinship Series (NLCS) 3-2 over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Riley, who homered in the fourth inning to level the game at 2-2, hit a line drive to left field from Blake Treinen to drive in Ozzie Albies, who had already stolen to second base, for the winning run.

The victory was the Braves' 11th postseason walk-off win, leaving the Dodgers to rue Chris Turner's indecision from Cody Bellinger's hit in the ninth inning allowing a rundown. Atlanta only had six hits for the game, along with 14 strikeouts but found a way.

 

Dodgers at Braves

The Dodgers will look to bounce back from Game 1 defeat in the NLCS at the Braves on Sunday with Max Scherzer returning to the mound for the World Series champions.

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker compared Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa to NFL greats Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski after the star pair helped take down the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

Altuve and Correa each homered for the Astros, who rallied to top the Red Sox 5-4 in Friday's ALCS opener at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The Astros wiped out a 3-1 deficit behind Altuve's two-run homer in the sixth inning – his 20th postseason home run as he became the fourth player to achieve the feat.

Correa then completed the comeback in the seventh with his 18th playoff homer – tied for seven-most all-time, while he recorded his 55th postseason RBI, the most among active players.

Baker hailed Altuve and Correa after the Astros drew first blood in the best-of-seven matchup, likening them to Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstars Brady and Gronkowski.

"It's kind of like Tom Brady and [Rob] Gronkowski," Baker said, with Brady and Gronkowski enjoying great success together with the New England Patriots and now the Buccaneers.

"They know how they think. They know probably what they eat for dinner, what they like and what their kids like."

Altuve became the fastest player (68) to reach 20 playoff home runs.

The World Series winner has now scored 11 runs in Houston's five playoff games this season. According to Stats Perform, that is tied with Carlos Beltran (2004) for the most runs in any five-game span in a single postseason.

"He is just so dangerous," Correa said of Altuve. "His track record in the playoffs is insane, and he just inspires me. He inspires me without saying much."

"When I walk into that clubhouse in spring training and I see this guy that has won MVPs, Silver Sluggers, batting titles, Gold Gloves, Hank Aaron Awards," added Correa. "Every single award you can imagine, he has won it, and then he shows up to spring training wanting to work on different things to get even better."

Correa celebrated his fourth career go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later of playoff games, the most in postseason history.

"He is amazing. He likes this kind of game," Altuve said of Correa. "He wants to go out there and hit big homers. It seems like he expects to go out there and do it, so if you're expecting something, eventually you're going to make it happen, and that's him."

Correa's heroics prompted the Astros star to drop his bat and point to his wrist after homering against the Red Sox.

"It's to my team-mates," Correa explained. "When the playoffs start, they always tell me 'it's your time now to go out there, hit homers.' They told me to hit the watch, when I hit the homer.

"I did it in Chicago [in the ALDS] the first time on my own, and today they told me 'if you hit a homer, hit them with the, it's your time'."

Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve lifted the Houston Astros to a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

Correa and Altuve homered as the rallying Astros drew first blood in the best-of-seven series at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Friday.

The Red Sox, who stunned the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series (ALDS), led 3-1 early on the road – Kike Hernandez the architect with a solo shot in the third inning.

But the Astros wiped out the deficit behind Altuve and 6.1 scoreless innings from their bullpen.

Altuve levelled the game with a two-run homer in the sixth inning – his 20th postseason homer as he became the fourth player to achieve the feat.

The Astros star also became the fastest player (68) to reach 20 playoff home runs. Altuve has now scored 11 runs in Houston's five playoff games this season. According to Stats Perform, that is tied with Carlos Beltran (2004) for the most runs in any five-game span in a single postseason.

Correa then completed the comeback in the seventh with his 18th postseason homer – tied for seventh-most all-time, while he recorded his 55th playoff RBI, the most among active players.

It saw Correa celebrate his fourth career go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later of playoff games, the most in postseason history.

Hernandez – the fourth player to have multiple four-plus hit games in the same postseason, after Albert Pujols (2011), Robin Yount (1982) and George Brett (1985), homered again for the Red Sox in the ninth but it was not enough to prevent the Astros from winning.

Game 2 is back at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.

 

Dodgers at Braves

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers will open their National League Championship Series (NLCS) at the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

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. 

A Christian Vazquez home run in bottom of the 13th inning gave the Boston Red Sox a 6-4 walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays, who believed they had taken the lead in the top half of the inning only to see their hopes dashed. 

Sunday's win gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the American League Division Series (ALDS) in the best-of-five series, and Boston can close it out with a victory at Fenway Park on Monday.

That outcome seemed unlikely in the top of the 13th inning after Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier drove a ball off the top of the wall in right field with Yandy Diaz running from first base. 

With Diaz about to round third and head for home, the ball caromed off Boston right fielder Hunter Renfroe's right hip and back over the wall. 

After all six umpires consulted as a group and two of them talked to MLB replay officials afterward, they put Kiermaier at second base and Diaz at third, and Mike Zunino struck out for the fourth time in the game to end the threat with the scored still tied 4-4. 

The umpires made the correct call, with MLB Rule 5.05(a)(8) stating "the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases" when a fielder deflects a fair ball over a fence, but the Rays felt hard done by considering Diaz would have scored easily on the play.

Umpire Sam Holbrook told reporters afterward it was "very simple from an umpire's standpoint", noting that they would only have been able to exercise their own discretion about where to place the runners if they determined Renfroe knocked the ball out of play intentionally. 

Rays manager Kevin Cash did not argue once umpires explained the situation to him, but his team could not extend the game from there. 

In the bottom of the 13th, Renfroe walked with one out and Vazquez homered to end it, becoming the first Red Sox player to hit a play-off walk-off homer since Marry Ramirez in 2007.

Despite a shaky start in Chicago, the White Sox stayed alive in their best-of-five series with an action-packed 12-6 win over the Houston Astros. 

White Sox starter Dylan Cease recorded only five outs before being pulled from the game as the Astros built a 5-1 lead after the top of the third inning with their eyes on a sweep. 

The Chicago offence suddenly woke up, exploding for five runs in the bottom of the inning on homers by Yasmani Grandal and Leury Garcia, then adding three more the following inning. 

By the time Chicago tacked on an additional three runs in the eighth, every hitter in the White Sox line-up had recorded at least one hit as they scored double-digit runs in a postseason game for the third time in franchise history, after 2005 (14) and 1959 (11).

 

Rays at Red Sox

Tampa Bay (100-62) won five more games than anyone else in the American League (AL) during the regular season, but the Rays' postseason could come to an end with a loss to the Red Sox in Game 4 on Monday. 

The San Francisco Giants shut out the prolific Los Angeles Dodgers led by Logan Webb as they secured a 4-0 win and a 1-0 lead in the National League Division Series on Friday.

The Dodgers, who were shut out just five times in the regular season, could not convert any of their five hits on Friday, while the Giants delivered three home runs.

Seven-time All-Star Buster Posey got the Giants on the board with a two-run blast in the first inning from Walker Buehler, who allowed six hits across six-and-one-third innings.

Buehler still managed five strikeouts on the mound for the Dodgers but he was over-shadowed by Giants right-hander Webb, who tossed down 10 Ks across seven-and-two-thirds scoreless innings.

Kris Bryant, who had three hits to mark an outstanding game, padded the Giants' lead in the seventh inning with a left-field home run from a tiring Buehler.

Brandon Crawford, who had 24 home runs across the regular season added, another in the eighth inning, recording his second career post-season homer to add insurance.

 

Astros launch into 2-0 lead

The Houston Astros produced a five-run rally in the seventh inning to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series (ALDS) against the Chicago White Sox with a 9-4 victory.

But the Astros had to come from behind, trailing 4-2 after Luis Robert, who had two runs, three hits and one RBI for the game, touched down at the top of the fifth inning.

Jose Altuve, who had a great defensive game in the field, and Alex Bregman levelled it from a Yuli Gurriel base hit, before the five-run rally in the seventh underlined by Kyle Tucker's two-run shot.

With two out and two on leading 5-4, Carlos Correa's powerful shot to right-field eluded Leury Garcia, driving in two runs before Tucker padded the advantage.

 

Sale loses his puff

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale endured a nightmare first inning, allowing four hits and five earned runs as the Tampa Bay Rays opened up an early 5-2 lead. Sale was pulled after that before the Red Sox launched an admirable fightback in a run-fest 14-6 victory over the Rays to square up their ALDS. Tanner Houck steadied on the mound, with five strikeouts across five innings allowing only one run and two hits.

 

 

Burnes still on fire

Corbin Burnes continued his excellent regular season form in the Milwaukee Brewers' opening game of their NLDS with six scoreless innings and six strikeouts in a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves. Burnes, who finished the regular season with an MLB-best 2.43 ERA, set up the victory before Josh Hader closed it out, with Rowdy Tellez scoring a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

 

Saturday's results

Houston Astros 9-4 Chicago White Sox
Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 Atlanta Braves
Boston Red Sox 14-6 Tampa Bay Rays
San Francisco Giants 4-0 Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Dodgers at Giants

The Dodgers will look to bounce back in Game 2 against the Giants, with Julio Urias and Kevin Gausman starting on the mound for the respective sides.

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