Red Sox

Aceves not sharp versus hot White Sox bats

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Aceves not sharp versus hot White Sox bats

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON --@font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; The Red Sox offense fought back to score six runs in thefinal two innings on Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox at FenwayPark, but the damage had already been done.

Alfredo Aceves allowed eight runs, six earned, in five-plusinnings in the Red Sox' 10-7 defeat, giving him his first loss since June of 2009.

Tuesday night was just his third start of the season. Hisusual role is in the bullpen, and it may be a role that hell soon return tonow that John Lackey will officially be back pitching on Sunday.

Whatever Aceves' role, he wasnt nearly as goodin his third start of the season as he was in his first two. In those appearances, he allowed only two earned runs in 11 innings.

Tuesday, however, told a different story.

I dont think he executed like he has certainly in the lastcouple of outings, said Red Sox manager Terry Francona after Tuesday nights10-7 loss to the White Sox. Saying that, there were some balls that foundholes. The two walks, and us not finishing the ground ball to short, certainlydidnt help in that inning. But he wasnt quite as sharp as hes been.

The White Sox scored four runs in the second inning, afterAceves loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of walks and an A.J. Pierzynskisingle. Gordon Beckham singled to left field to score Paul Konerko, and then RedSox shortstop Jed Lowrie booted a Brent Morel grounder in the hole that scoredPierzynski to make it 2-0. Alexei Ramirez topped it off with a two-run singleup the middle to make it 4-0.

Pierzynski added another run with an RBI ground-rule doublein the third to make it 5-0, and then Ramirez drove in Chicagos sixth run inthe fourth to give the White Sox a 6-1 lead.

Aceves was removed from the game with no outs the sixthafter he hit Adam Dunn with a pitch and then allowed a single to Beckham. ScottAtchison came in, and Juan Pierre drove in two more runs that were charged toAceves, giving the White Sox a commanding 8-1 lead.

Though Aceves wasnt as sharp as he wasin his first two starts, everyone involved realized that the White Sox shouldget some credit for having brought their "A" game, as well as a little luck.

It was one of those games where you feel real good, and thethings dont happen that way, said Aceves. You just have to swallow, andprepare myself for the next start.

The White Sox are really good hitters too, and I feel happyfor us because we scored a lot of runs too, added Aceves. That helps us a lotto win a ballgame. Unfortunately, I couldnt hold the team.

They have really good hitters, Konerko and Pierzynski. Itwas a little bit of everything. Sometimes mistakes, sometimes not luck, andsometimes they swung at good pitches, and it was luck for them.

Jason Varitek was behind the plate for Aceves on Tuesdaynight, and while he said hes still learning about him, he agreed with Acevesopinions on what went wrong, and more specifically, what went right forChicago.

I thought the White Sox just swung the bats well, saidVaritek. We werent able to adjust. We werent able to get into a good rhythm.They went from hitting some good pitches, to balls finding holes. We couldntreally ever get ourselves established with anything.

Sometimes you credit the other side, added Varitek. And Ithought today that they did a good job of when he did make pitches, balls foundsome holes. They also did a good job of hitting. That second inning startsoff with a walk, and then A.J. has a really good at-bat and pulls his handsinside on a cutter that was a pretty dog-gone good pitch.

If you have some things going different ways, some resultscan be different.

The results were different for Aceves on Tuesday night, asthe loss was only the second of his career, as opposed to his 16 total wins.

With Lackey returning to the rotation Sunday, Aceves rolecould change in the near future. Whether its staying in the rotation as thefifth starter until Daisuke Matsuzaka comes back, or returning to the bullpen,Aceves is prepared.

Ive been saying it all season, Im a pitcher, saidAceves. Thats what I do. Im a pitcher. It dont matter whats your spot oryour role. Youve got to pitch. Youve got to make outs. Youve got to getouts.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

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ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

HOUSTON -  Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

NLCS: Dodgers win first pennant since 1988 with 11-1 Game 5 rout of Cubs

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NLCS: Dodgers win first pennant since 1988 with 11-1 Game 5 rout of Cubs

CHICAGO -- Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

Fueled by a home run trilogy from their emotional utilityman, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.

Hernandez homered three times and drove in a record seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 rout in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."

After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping these Dodgers after they led the majors with 104 wins during the regular season. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and co-NLCS MVPs Justin Turner and Chris Taylor leading a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Co. to Los Angeles' last championship in 1988.

"Every night it is a different guy," Turner said, "and this is one of the most unbelievable teams I've ever been a part of."

Kershaw will be on the mound again when the Dodgers host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 of the ALCS at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.

Los Angeles made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short of its 22nd pennant each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when his team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.

The ace left-hander was just OK during his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' offense picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts and improved to 6-7 in the playoffs - matching Burt Hooton's club record for postseason wins.

"To get to be on the mound tonight and get to be going to the World Series on the same night, it's a special thing," Kershaw said. "Who knows how many times I'm going to get to go to the World Series? I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there. So, I'm definitely not taking this one for granted."

When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on . The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitors' dugout and chanted "Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!"

On the field, manager Dave Roberts hugged Lasorda and told the iconic skipper the win was for him.

"I bleed Dodger blue just like you," Roberts said. "Thank you, Tommy."

Hernandez connected on the first two pitches he saw, belting a solo drive in the second for his first career playoff homer and then a grand slam in the third against Hector Rondon. Hernandez added a two-run shot in the ninth against Mike Montgomery.

The 26-year-old Hernandez became the fourth player with a three-homer game in a league championship series, joining Bob Robertson (1971 NLCS), George Brett (1978 ALCS) and Adam Kennedy (2002 ALCS). Hernandez's seven RBIs tied a postseason record shared by four other players who all did it in a Division Series.

Troy O'Leary was the previous player to have seven RBIs in a playoff game, for Boston at Cleveland in the 1999 ALDS.

It was a stunning display for a player with 28 career homers who remains concerned about his native Puerto Rico, which is recovering from a devastating hurricane. He delivered a historic performance in front of his father, Enrique Hernandez Sr., who was diagnosed with a blood cancer related to leukemia in December 2015, but got word last November that he was in remission.

"For me to be able to come here and do something like this is pretty special," said Hernandez, who also goes by Kik�. "My body's here, but my mind's kind of back home. It's hard being away from home with what's going on.

"All I want to do right now is go to my dad and give him a big hug."

Kris Bryant homered for Chicago, but the NL Central champions finished with just four hits in another tough night at the plate. Each of their eight runs in the NLCS came via the long ball, and they batted just .156 for the series with 53 strikeouts.

Long playoff runs in each of the last two years and a grueling five-game Division Series against Washington seemed to sap Chicago of some energy, and its pitching faltered against sweet-swinging Los Angeles. Jose Quintana was pulled in the third inning of the final game, and the Cubs never recovered.

"They executed their plan," Bryant said. "They pitched great and the bullpen was lights out. That makes for a tough time scoring runs."

Turner and Taylor helped put it away for Los Angeles, contributing to a 16-hit outburst while closing out a pair of impressive performances.

Turner singled home Taylor in the Dodgers' five-run third, giving him seven RBIs in the series and 24 throughout his postseason career. Taylor finished with two hits and scored two runs as the Dodgers, who have won five straight NL West titles, improved to 7-1 in this postseason.

Taylor's versatility helped Los Angeles cover for the loss of All-Star shortstop Corey Seager, who missed the series with a back injury, but is expected to return in the next round. Coming off a breakout season, the 27-year-old Taylor hit .316 with two homers and scored five times against the Cubs.

"I couldn't be happier to be a part of this and be with these guys," Taylor said. "It's been an unbelievable year, and I'm just super excited."

OUT WITH A BANG

Hernandez joined Kennedy (2002), Adrian Beltre (2011), Reggie Jackson (1977 vs. the Dodgers) and Babe Ruth (1928) as players to hit three home runs in a postseason series clincher.

LIGHTS OUT

Dodgers relievers have thrown 23 consecutive scoreless innings, a postseason record.