Athletics

A's drop rain-shortened affair to Royals, 3-0

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A's drop rain-shortened affair to Royals, 3-0

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Any fans who toughed the rain for the first seven innings were defeated in the top of the eighth, when a cell moved over the Coliseum resulting in a substantial downpour. The game officially entered a rain delay at 10:01 p.m. as the tarp was rolled onto the field.The rain didn't stop falling all game, and neither did the A's batting averages. They were overmatched at the plate against power lefty and California native Danny Duffy. Cliff Pennington delivered Oakland's only hit, and Duffy finished with eight strikeoutsGraham Godfrey, making his fifth career start, did not fare as well. He was touched up for six hits and two runs.Persistent rain gave Jim Joyce's umpire crew the incentive they needed to officially call the game at 11:07 p.m.
It was the first rain-shortened game in Oakland since the A's were denied a chance to come back from a 16-7 ninth-inning deficit to the Rangers in 2005.
Starting pitching report: A's fourth starter Graham Godfrey had to wait six games before he got the nod, thanks to scheduling. He had to wait an additional 43 minutes to make his first start, thanks to rain.Three-up, three-down innings in the third and fifth book-ended a troublesome fourth, in which the Royals pushed across two runs. Still, it was a flared single and a defensive miscue that spurred the Royals' rally, and Godfrey did well to limit the damage.Godfrey threw 85 pitches to get through six innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs while walking one and striking out one. He took the loss in the first start of his first full MLB season.Bullpen report: Godfrey lasted six innings, giving way to Jerry Blevins in the seventh. The second pitch Blevins threw, an 89-mph fastball, was turned around by Mitch Maier for a solo home run to right field and a 3-0 Royals lead.At the plate: The A's looked patient against Danny Duffy early. Duffy, a California coast native who earned two wins in Oakland last year, was coaxed into 22 first-inning pitches. Jemile Weeks set the tone for the patient approach, seeing eight pitches before flying out in the A's first at-bat.But patience doesn't score runs. The A's managed just one hit against Duffy -- a double by Cliff Pennington in the nine-hole.Duffy looked good, mixing change-ups in the 70s with curve balls in the 80s and fastballs in the mid-90s over six innings of eight-strikeout baseball. He topped out at 97 mph on his seventh pitch of the game.The A's narrowly avoided instant offense in the sixth inning when Yoenis Cespedes smashed a no-doubter just wide of the left-field foul pole.In the field: Bob Melvin penciled Collin Cowgill and Anthony Recker into the lineup for the first time this season. Cowgill made Melvin look good in the second inning when, with two runners on and two away, Chris Getz roped a ball to right. It looked like the Royals would be on the board with extra bases, but Cowgill, who was playing shallow against the nine-hitter, recovered nicely, racing into the right-field corner to make the over-the-shoulder catch and end the inning.Over in center field, Yoenis Cespedes didn't have the same success on his tough play. Mike Moustakas sent one towards the 400-foot sign in dead center field. Cespedes had a beat on it, and tracked it to his glove, but he couldn't squeeze it. The bobbled ball fell safely to the warning track and the Royals were in business in the fourth.With a runner on and no outs in the seventh inning, Getz sharply grounded a ball to the right of second base. Weeks went down to field it on the backhand with delusions of a highlight-reel double play in mind. He failed to glove the ball cleanly, though, and was forced to bat the ball towards second with his bare hand. Pennington picked up the rolling ball bare-handed to record the force out.On the bases: Pennington, hitting out of the nine-hole, got the A's first knock. Standing on second base after he smacked a double, his mind must have strayed a moment, and Duffy took advantage. The Royals picked off Pennington for the one-four putout, and it was back to the drawing board for Oakland.Attendance: If ever you wanted to communicate with the players on the field, Tuesday was the day to do it.Steady rain delaying the battle between two of the four youngest teams in the majors drove down the attendance numbers as the announced crowd of 10,670 seemed much more sparse.That said, the right-field bleacher crowd -- rowdy on the second unofficial celebration of Bacon Tuesday -- showed ample life and could be heard throughout the stadium.Up next: The A's and Royals are scheduled to take the Coliseum field Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. in a rubber match pitting starting pitchers Brandon McCarthy (0-1, 2.25) and Bruce Chen (0-0, 0.00) against each other.

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

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USATSI

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

C.C. Sabathia couldn't save the Yankees' 2017 season. And now he has a decision to make.

After nine seasons in New York, the 37-year-old hits the free agent market this winter.

With career earnings nearing $250 million and a 2009 World Series ring already on his resume, would the Vallejo-native consider coming home to play for the A's? That's a question that was posed to NBCSportsBayArea.com Insider Joe Stiglich last week.

While it's a possibility, based on comments after Saturday's ALCS Game 7 loss to the Astros, it sounds like Sabathia doesn't want to leave The Bronx.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great. This is my home, and I want to see this thing through," Sabathia told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

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Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

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HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis off Sabathia which made it 1-0.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles after that before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who dropped Game 7 to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS 13 years ago today.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh inning.