Red Sox

Bailey's forgettable season continues with blown save

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Bailey's forgettable season continues with blown save

NEW YORK -- Andrew Bailey's season began with disappointment. Now that it's ending, it isn't getting any better.

Bailey suffered a freak thumb injury in the final week of spring training, leading to surgery that sidelined him for the first 4 12 months of the season.

Then, after a series of initial strong appearances, Bailey's season turned ugly again with a blown save two weeks ago in Tampa and another Tuesday night in New York.

Bailey came in for the bottom of the ninth, with the Red Sox leading 3-1, but immediately gave up a single to Curtis Granderson and then a two-run, game-tying homer to pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez.

Three innings later, Ibanez struck again with a walkoff single off Andrew Miller for a 4-3 Yankee victory.

"(Jon) Lester threw a great ballgame and the bullpen came in and did their job. I didn't," said Bailey. "That's it. I let the team down. Two-run lead, (I've) got to get the first guy out. I made a bad pitch to Ibanez on a 1-and-2 count, left the ball middle. I've got to get back to just making better pitches."

Bailey wanted the 1-and-2 pitch to Ibanez "off the plate. (But) I threw it right down the middle. Nothing else to it. He did his job. There's nothing fun about letting guys just run around the bases. Unfortunately, I'll have a long off-season to think about that."

The loss stung more because of the circumstances. Dustin Pedroia forced his way back into the lineup despite a broken finger and helped drive in the first run of the night. Lester, meanwhile, allowed only an unearned run in five innings and was in line for his 10th win until Bailey imploded.

"You have guys like Pedroia, playing with broken fingers, and Jonny throwing a hell of a ballgame," sighed Bailey. "I've got to get back to just getting people out."

Two weeks ago, as the Sox wrapped a series in Tampa Bay, Bailey also was victimized in the ninth by the long ball.

"No one likes losing," he said. "I've let the team down a few times and it's my fault. There's no one else to blame. (It's) a mixture of not getting ahead of guys and making bad pitches when I have to put people away. (Tonight) was a situation where I've got to put (Ibanez) away and I didn't."

Bailey has watched video and reviewed his outings and is convinced that the problems aren't related to his delivery.

"Everything feels good," he said. "I'm just not executing pitches when I need to. That's really the bottom line. There's just no excuse."

Bailey figures to be haunted by a loss like Tuesday's, but it might serve as winter-long incentive.

"Unfortunately, we have a long off-season," Bailey said. "This game is what's going to keep me pushing forward to next year. Everybody fought today and I went out there and blew it. It doesn't feel good, but these last two weeks are definitely going to keep me motivated enough to do more than I ever have."

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, 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 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.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.