Red Sox

Pomeranz, Benintendi lead Red Sox to 6-2 victory over A's

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Pomeranz, Benintendi lead Red Sox to 6-2 victory over A's

BOSTON -- Drew Pomeranz knew it was likely the last batter he'd face. He figured he had to make one of his best pitches.

Pomeranz threw six innings of one-run ball, finishing by striking out Matt Olson with the bases loaded, and Andrew Benintendi had three hits and drove in three runs to lead the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox past the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Thursday.

With two outs, a full count and the game tied at 1, Pomeranz got Olson swinging on a high, 92 mph fastball.

"In that big situation, making a big pitch is a huge deal when you can wiggle your way out of a jam," Pomeranz said. "He wasn't chasing the curveball. I got 3-2 on him and I gave all that I have left to make one good pitch and he swung. Luckily, he missed it and that's what I wanted."

The added reward was that his teammates took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning, setting him up for the win.

"Another quality start on his part," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "There was a number of big moments in this game and for Drew himself, probably the last pitch he threw today, the strikeout to Olson, that was going to be his last pitch of the day."

Pomeranz (16-5) allowed five hits, walking three and striking out five to raise his record to 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last six starts in Fenway Park. He also tied teammate Chris Sale and two others for the AL lead in victories.

Christian Vazquez hit a solo homer and Mitch Moreland added an RBI double for the Red Sox, who have won six of eight. Boston began the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees.

Ryon Healy hit a solo homer for the A's, who fell for just the second time in eight games. The loss assured Oakland (64-82) of a losing record for the third straight season.

"We had some opportunities, and we had a couple base running mistakes early in the game that cost us," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

Benintendi doubled high off the Green Monster, chasing Daniel Gossett (4-9) and scoring Dustin Pedroia to make it 2-1 in the sixth.

Trailing 1-0, Boston tied it when Vazquez's drive completely left Fenway over the Monster seats leading off the fifth.

The A's had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning on Josh Phegley's sacrifice fly.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: OF Khris Davis left the team to be with his girlfriend for the expected birth of their first child.

Red Sox: LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) was activated off the 10-day disabled list. He had been sidelined since July 28. Farrell said the plan is for him to work out of the bullpen. ... Farrell inserted 2B Pedroia into the DH spot to get him off his troublesome left knee that landed him on the DL for nearly two weeks last month and sat struggling regular DH Hanley Ramirez.

STREAK CONTINUES

Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 27 games against Oakland. During the streak, which started July 14, 2013, he's batting .421.

FIRST IMPRESSION

Gossett gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his first career Fenway start.

"It was awesome. Great environment, tons of people. Historic park," he said. "I got to be a part of something special. Not everybody can say that they pitched at Fenway. I got to sign the (Green) Monster, do everything. So that was special."

RUNNING MISTAKES

The A's had two runners cut down on the bases - Chad Pinder in the third and Mark Canha in the fifth - both on cutoff plays on balls hit to the outfield.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Daniel Mengden (0-1, 7.07 ERA) is set to make his first career start against Philadelphia on Friday when the A's face RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-5, 4.84) and the Phillies.

Red Sox: LHP Sale (16-7, 2.76 ERA) is in line to start against Tampa Bay RHP Matt Andriese (5-3, 4.46) Friday when the Red Sox open their final road trip of the regular season. It's scheduled to be the Rays' first home game since Hurricane Irma hit the area last weekend.

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.