Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 8, Indians 4

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 8, Indians 4

BOX SCORE

These seven late August games against the Cleveland Indians couldn't have come at a better time for the A's. Oakland has won all six games against the Indians this month with one game still remaining. After taking down The Tribe 8-4 on Wednesday, the A's have won five straight games, are a season-high 15 games over .500, and have sole possession of the top American League Wild Card spot. At the PlateWith injured third baseman Brandon Inge nearing a return, Josh Donaldson is making a strong case to stay. With two outs in the fourth inning Donaldson drove a 3-2 pitch into the left field stands for a go-ahead three-run homer. Since returning to the A's on August 14, Donaldson is hitting .350 (20-57) with six doubles, two homers, and six RBI. The A's added to their run total in the sixth inning when the Indians made two mental lapses. Donaldson reached on a force attempt after hitting a grounder to third baseman Jack Hannahan, who threw the ball to second only to see Jason Kipnis completely miss the ball. Derek Norris then grounded out to first baseman Matt LaPorta, who tagged the bag, hesitated, and then threw home instead of getting the third out at second. Josh Reddick, who reached on a single earlier in the inning, easily scored ahead of LaPorta's throw home, giving the A's a 4-2 lead. Seth Smith struck out in his first three plate appearances. In his fourth trip to the plate he stroked a two-out RBI double to give the A's a 6-2 lead. Chris Carter came up next and drove home Smith on the first pitch he saw with an RBI single. The A's scored two insurance insurance runs in the ninth inning. Stephen Drew hit a leadoff double. Cespedes drove him home and ended up on second base after the ball he hit ricocheted off Indians' pitcher Vinnie Pestano's foot, propelling the ball into left field. Josh Reddick drove home Cespedes with an RBI single giving the A's an 8-4 lead. Both Cespedes and Reddick ended up with three hits. Starting Pitching ReportTravis Blackley wasted no time dispatching one of the Indians' best hitters, Asdrubal Cabrera, from the batter's box and the game. After striking out leadoff hitter Jason Kipnis, Blackley struck out Cabrera looking on a 3-2 curveball. Cabrera took exception to the called third strike and voiced his displeasure while gesturing at home plate umpire Gary Darling, who tossed him from the game. Without their starting shortstop the Indians put former A's player Jack Hannahan in at third base and Brent Lillibridge to shortstop. Blackley gave up two runs in the third inning. The first run was the result of a solo homer off the bat of Jason Donald. The blast represented the first run the Indians have scored against the A's in 30 innings. Donald's homer was followed by a Ezequiel Carerra triple. He scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Kipnis, making it 2-0. The A's bats gave the Australian-born lefty the lead in the fourth inning and he responded by firing two and two-thirds innings of shutdown ball. Blackley earned his fifth win of the season. He finished the night with 92 pitches over five and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on three hits, and two walks, with five strikeouts. Not bad for a spot start. Blackley has been a steal for the A's off the scrap heap after he was waived by the Giants. He has been solid out of the bullpen and in the starting rotation. He never did anything to deserve being bounced from the starting rotation. The A's just have too much pitching depth even without Bartolo Colon. Bullpen ReportPat Neshek entered in relief of Blackley in the sixth inning. He struck out Lillibridge to end the frame. He came back out for the seventh but gave up back-to-back hits to start the inning. Sean Doolittle took over for Neshek and pitched his way out of the inherited jam. The hard-throwing rookie lefty got all three hitters he faced in the seventh to fly out, stranding two Indians runners. He came back out for the eighth inning and gave up a walk and a hit to start the inning. Next he got what would have been a groundout but Donaldson misplayed the ball. With the bases loaded and no outs the Indians scored on a sacrifice fly before Doolittle left the game. Two runs ended up scoring in the inning but Doolittle wasn't charged with any earned runs. Jerry Blevins cleaned up the rest of the mess. He induced two groundouts to end the inning. A run scored on the first groundout, though. Ryan Cook finished the game with a scoreless ninth inning. Cook hasn't allowed a run in his past seven games. In the FieldYou have to take the good with the bad in the case of Donaldson, who is a catcher-turned-third baseman. In the eighth inning with runners on first and second he fielded a ball that he could have tossed to second base starting a potential double play. Instead he ran the ball to second, making an attempt to tag the lead runner, but dropped the ball before the tag. This put the A's in a situation where they had to pitch out of a no-out bases loaded jam. Up NextThe A's will attempt to complete a four-game sweep over the Indians in Cleveland with Jarrod Parker (8-7, 3.52 ERA) on the mound. Parker is 1-0 in his last two starts since snapping a three-game losing streak. Parker is the 10th rookie in Oakland history to reach 100 strikeouts -- he has 104.The Indians will counter with Justin Masterson (10-11, 4.60 ERA). He allowed seven runs to the A's on August 19.

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.