Red Sox

Red Sox blow lead in eighth, fall to Yankees, 5-4

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Red Sox blow lead in eighth, fall to Yankees, 5-4

NEW YORK - Aaron Hicks awoke a dormant offense with a two-run homer that sparked a five-run eighth inning, then threw out a runner at third in the ninth inning to help Aroldis Chapman get out of trouble, and the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Red Sox 5-4 Friday night and stop Boston's winning streak at eight.

Hanley Ramirez and Andrew Benintendi homered off Jaime Garcia, and Eduardo Rodriguez handed a 3-0 lead to his bullpen in the seventh. But in the first of 10 key games between the AL East rivals in 24 days, Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier followed Hicks' home run with RBI singles and Ronald Torreyes hit a sacrifice fly as the Yankees took a 5-3 lead and rebounded to close within 3 1/2 games of the Red Sox.

Boston and New York met while 1-2 in the division this late in the season for the first time since 2011. A sellout crowd filled Yankee Stadium in anticipation, but it was quieted by Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez, who allowed two hits in six scoreless innings.

Matt Barnes pitched a hitless seventh that extended the scoreless streak by Boston's bullpen to 19 innings.

And then the drama began.

Pinch-hitter Brett Gardner was nicked on his back foot by a pitch from Addison Reed (0-1) leading off the eighth, a call originally missed by plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth and overturned on video review. Reed had gone 1,005 batters without hitting one since plunking the Dodgers' Dee Gordon on March 23, 2014.

Hicks returned Thursday from an oblique injury that been sidelined him since June 25, and he followed with a high drive down the right-field line that stopped the Yankees' shutout streak at 16 innings.

Gary Sanchez singled, went to second on a wild pitch and Aaron Judge walked.

Joe Kelly relieved, Gregorius blooped an opposite-field hit to left, and Frazier was strong enough to muscle another single to left on a pitch that jammed him. Torreyes added a sacrifice fly.

Adam Warren (3-2) allowed one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and Chapman walked the bases loaded with no out.

Benintendi, whose bases-loaded walk against Chapman gave Boston a July 14 win at Fenway Park, hit a sacrifice fly to left that Hicks caught in front of the left-field warning track. The strong-armed Hicks made a one-hop throw to Frazier at third base, and he tagged out former Yankee Eduardo Nunez trying to advance from second.

Mitch Moreland flied out, giving Chapman his 15th save in 18 chances.

Boston got off to a quick start when Mookie Betts walked with one out in the first and Ramirez drove a fastball into the Boston bullpen in left-center with two outs. Benintendi homered into the second deck in right field in the fifth. His 16th major league home run was his first off a left-handed pitcher.

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.

The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.

Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:

"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."

After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.


 

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.

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