Red Sox

Buchholz downplays significance of golf day with Beckett

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Buchholz downplays significance of golf day with Beckett

BOSTON Clay Buchholz believes Josh Beckett, who played golf on Thursday, even though he had been scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday because of a sore right lat, would not do anything to jeopardize his health or the team.

The one thing I said about Josh Beckett is hes a professional, said Buchholz, who was Becketts golf partner that day. Hes not going to do anything to make him not be ready to do his job. Been around him for a while now, thats just the way he goes about his business. Thats an offday and thats something that gets him away from the field. If he likes to do that, then thats what he likes to do. I think thats his decision. I dont think hes going to do anything to make himself unable to go out and pitch and help his team win.

Buchholz does not understand why there might be so much enmity directed at Beckett.

Not really, he said. I dont think it was a big deal at all butpeople feel differently than I do, I guess.

Asked if there is a carry-over from the September fallout that bothers him, Buchholz replied:

Thats nothing to me right now. That was so much blown out of proportion just because of the organization we play for. So it is what it is. I dont think anybodys made mistakes as far as that. But as far as baseball goes, trying to get back in the grind of pitching every five days.

If the team had a winning record, perhaps nothing would be said about Becketts round of golf.

Just like last year, Buchholz said. The whole beer and chicken wouldnt have been a story if we would have won and we would have went to the playoffs. Its just theres always got to be something to talk about and I think thats what it comes down to.

Asked if it makes him feel like he has to think twice about his actions away from the field, Buchholz replied:

I think everybody does. But to a point, to where if they think its going to be something thats going to hurt the team or anything, nobodys going to do it. But that was an offday. I believe that an offday is a day that guys can get away from the field. Theres only a couple of them throughout a season. If JB was hurting really bad, then that wouldnt have been an issue.

NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

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NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

CHICAGO - Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Baez hit solo drives in the second and fifth after going hitless in his first 20 playoff at-bats. Contreras added a long homer against Alex Wood.

Davis entered with a 3-1 lead in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff homer to Turner, who went 2 for 2 and drew two walks.

Maddon became incensed that a swinging strike three against Curtis Granderson was ruled a foul after the umpires discussed the play. Maddon got tossed, and Granderson struck out swinging at the next pitch.

And after walking Yasmani Grandal to put runners on first and second, Davis struck out Chase Utley, who is hitless in his last 24 postseason at-bats.

All seven of Chicago's runs in this series have come on homers. And long drives in the second by Contreras and Baez made it 2-0.

Contreras' homer banged off the left-field videoboard and Baez's landed beyond the left-field bleachers on Waveland Avenue.

Bellinger cut it to 2-1 with his drive to right in the third. But Baez got the lead back up to two with a shot to the left-field bleachers in the fifth, the raucous crowd chanting "Javy! Javy!" for the flashy young star who was co-MVP of the NLCS last year.

No Cubs player had hit two in a playoff game since Alex Gonzalez went deep twice in Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS against Miami.

Arrieta exited with runners on first and second in the seventh after walking Chris Taylor on a 3-2 pitch. He tipped his hat as fans gave him a standing ovation, a fitting show of appreciation for a pitcher with an expiring contract.

Arrieta turns 32 in March and figures to land a huge deal in free agency. The trade that brought him from Baltimore helped fuel Chicago's rise, with the right-hander capturing the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and contributing to last year's drought-busting championship run.

Limited by a right hamstring injury in the final month of the season, he threw 111 pitches. Brian Duensing retired Bellinger on a fly to end the seventh.

Turner made it a one-run game with his homer off the left-field videoboard against Davis in the eighth.

A career-high 16-game winner, Wood gave up three runs and four hits in 42/3 innings.

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ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

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ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

NEW YORK - Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans.

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