Athletics

A's lineup: Cespedes returns

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A's lineup: Cespedes returns

PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's Pregame Live begins at 5:00 on Comcast SportsNet California, followed by A's-Rockies at 5:40, and A's Postgame Live immediately after the final out.A's lineup (27-35)Weeks, 2B
Cowgill, CF
Smith RF
Cespedes LF
Inge 3B
Donaldson C
Moss 1B
Pennington SS
Milone LHP
Instant AnalysisYoenis Cespedes returns to the lineup after straining his left hamstring on Thursday against the Rangers. He has missed 27 games this season, and the A's struggle without him. With Cespedes in the lineup, the A's are 19-16, compared to 8-19 without him. Cespedes will be back in left field, with Collin Cowgill playing center field. Playing in a corner outfield spot should limit the amount of running he will have to do. The A's slugging outfielder has six hits in his last six plate appearances, which hasn't been done since Mark Ellis did it in 2006. The A's record for consecutive plate appearances with a hit is seven. Noticeably absent from the lineup card is right fielder Josh Reddick. He is likely getting routine rest. He hasn't had a game off in a while, and hasn't hit a home run in the month of June, after hitting 10 in May. Top of the orderJemile Weeks went 2 for 4 on Tuesday. He is hitting .302 (19-63) over his last 16 games. He is hitting .429 on breaking pitches in the month of June.Cowgill returns to the A's lineup after sitting for a while in favor of veteran center fielder Coco Crisp. When in the lineup, Cowgill has impressed, hitting .359 (14-39) over his last 11 games. Heart of the orderSeth Smith moves up to the third spot in the lineup. Batting Smith third against a left-handed pitcher appears to be a big leap of faith for A's manager Bob Melvin. Smith is typically a platoon player, and he is only hitting .217 against left-handed pitching this season, while hitting .273 against right-handers. The former Colorado outfielder has been on a tear lately, batting .542 (13 for 24) with four doubles, one triple, one homer, and seven RBIs over his last seven games. He has a five-game hitting streak. Cespedes is batting fourth, with Brandon Inge batting fifth. Inge has a .500 on-base percentage over his last eight games. He is the only hitter in the A's lineup that has faced Outman, going 0 for 1 against him. Bottom of the orderKurt Suzuki gets a day off, with Josh Donaldson catching. Brandon Moss who hit the first third-deck homer of the season in Colorado on Tuesday is in the lineup batting seventh. Moss has four hits since joining the A's one week ago, three of them are home runs.Tommy Milone is the most effective hitter in the A's pitching rotation. Last year with the Nationals, he hit a three-run homer in his first career at-bat. He also got a two-run hit against the Diamondbacks in his first at-bat with the A's. Colorado Rockies (24-36) lineupNote: Carlos Gonzalez is not in the llneupFowler CF
Scutaro SS
Colvin LF
Cuddyer RF
Helton 1B
Pacheco 3B
Rosario C
Nelson 2B
Outman LHP

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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USATSI

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

BOX SCORE

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.