Red Sox

Bats carry Sox to fourth straight win

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Bats carry Sox to fourth straight win

CHICAGO - A four-game road winning streak at their backs, the Red Sox are bashing teams into submission of late.
The Sox erupted for 10 runs Thursday night in the first game of a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox and have scored 34 runs in the last four games, an average of 8.5 runs per contest.
What's more, the Red Sox are scoring early. They've scored first in all four games on the trip, and in three of the games, they've scored in the first inning.
Thursday, en route to a 10-3 win, the Sox had a 7-1 lead by the third inning. The long ball accounted for seven of the 10 runs they scored.
What's more, they're getting contributions from two players -- Kevin Youkilis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- who weren't providing much at the plate through the first two or so weeks of the season.
Youkilis had a three-hit night, featuring the second grand slam of his career. Over the four games on the trip, he has six hits.
"I'm having better at-bats and doing little things here and there,'' said Youkilis. "I always look at it like it's a long season and you're going to go through stuff. Hopefully, the bad at-bats are a thing of the past and I can keep making strides going forward.''
Bobby Valentine, who was critical of Youkilis's performance two weeks ago, said it was a good sign that Youkilis's grand slam in the third went to the opposite field, a sign, the manager said, that he's starting to get locked in at the plate.
"Anytime I hit a home run is a good sign,'' said Youkilis. "I don't know if it's 'oppo,' or left field -- just taking goodswings and having good at-bats is the key to success. If you have good at-bats as many times as you can, good things will happen. Hitting to right field, left-center... I don't think that's a big deal as much as having great at-bats and putting them together.''
Saltalamacchia, who was hitting under .100 on the last homestand, hit two homers Thursday, giving him three in his last three games.
Over his last five games, the catcher is hitting .476 with two doubles, three homers and seven RBI over his last five games while lifting his average to a more respectable .261.
"Right now,'' said Saltalamacchia, "I'm just trying to put good wood on the ball and stay consistent with my approach. I feel good at the plate. My main focus is obviously trying to work with the pitchers and get us through the games. Those guys are working so hard that I want to be able to help them out as much as I can behind the plate and whatever I can do offensively helps.''

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.