Red Sox

Eight ejected from nasty Yankees-Tigers game

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Eight ejected from nasty Yankees-Tigers game

DETROIT -- Once slugger Miguel Cabrera wrestled Yankees catcher Austin Romine to the ground at home plate, an afternoon game at Comerica Park collapsed into total chaos.

All the testiness that had been building between the Detroit Tigers and New York finally boiled over. The toll of Thursday's fury - three bench-clearing altercations, eight ejections, one beaning and a lot of angry words.

"I'm sure there are going to be suspensions on both sides," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after a 10-6 loss.

The winning and losing pitchers - Detroit's Alex Wilson (2-4) and New York's Dellin Betances (3-5) - were among those tossed. So were Girardi and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

At one point, the ill will carried over to the Detroit dugout, where star pitcher Justin Verlander and teammate Victor Martinez appeared to get into some sort of dispute.

"I was actually on the field, so I haven't seen it and haven't talked to them about it," Ausmus said. "I'm aware of it, but I couldn't tell you what it was about."

Perhaps the only positive thing: This was the final time the Yankees and Tigers were scheduled to play this season.

James McCann and Justin Upton homered for Detroit, and Gary Sanchez went deep for the Yankees, but that all became secondary on a day when the umpires had their hands full trying to maintain order. Major League Baseball now figures to be busy, too, sorting out likely penalties that could especially hurt the playoff-contending Yankees.

Girardi contended an early warning would've cut off the trouble before it escalated. He blamed the umps for letting things go wild, saying, "Just a very poor job on their part."

Much later, Betances was ejected after he hit McCann in the helmet. Betances seemed to be indicating he had thrown a breaking ball instead of a fastball, and wound up shouting at the Tigers and the umps.

"I threw him out and that was to keep control of the game," umpire crew chief Dana DeMuth said. "And the reason why it took a minute or so, was because I wanted to get the players apart. Once I got Detroit going to their dugout and New York going to their dugout, then I informed him that he was ran."

"It wasn't necessarily of him intentionally beaning the batter, but to keep control of the situation, I deemed it necessary that he went," he said.

Although Cabrera vs. Romine was the peak of the hostilities, McCann's beaning was the most frightening.

"You don't want to see people hit in the head. You don't want to see fighting on the field," Cabrera said. "But people have to understand we're human."

The problems between these teams began well before Tommy Kahnle threw behind Cabrera in the sixth inning. Last month, they had a game at Yankee Stadium in which four batters were hit.

This time, Michael Fulmer hit Sanchez with a pitch in the fifth, an inning after Sanchez had homered for the fourth time in this three-game series.

"If you can't see that Fulmer clearly hit Sanchez on purpose, there's something wrong," Girardi said.

Fulmer looked like he might be hurt after throwing that pitch, and he was checked by the trainer before staying in the game. He said he had no intention of hitting Sanchez.

"I respect Gary Sanchez, I really do," said Fulmer, who beat out Sanchez for last year's American League Rookie of the Year award. "I would never throw at anybody that hit a homer off of me, just because they hit a home run."

Kahnle was ejected after his pitch behind Cabrera, and Girardi was tossed after he came out to argue.

"When they throw at me, it was OK. ... I was cool with that," Cabrera said. "When they started arguing with the umpire, I said to Romine, `Calm down.'"

The game was finally about to resume when Cabrera stepped toward Romine, and the New York catcher took off his mask. Cabrera gave him a two-handed push to the chest.

"He said, `You have a problem with me?' And I said, `This isn't about you,'" said Romine, whose brother Andrew plays for the Tigers. "And then he pushed me. It felt like he wanted a confrontation there and I just tried to defend myself the best I could."

Cabrera appeared to take a couple of swings at Romine, and the two ended up on the ground as players from both teams spilled onto the field. Sanchez later appeared to take a swing at someone at the bottom of the pile.

Cabrera and Romine were ejected, and Romine was so incensed by his dismissal that he threw his mask when he entered the dugout.

An inning later, Betances hit McCann in the helmet with a pitch, causing benches to empty again, and Betances and bench coach Rob Thompson were tossed. Betances said he didn't hit McCann on purpose, and McCann seemed to agree afterward.

"I don't think it was intentional," McCann said. "At that point in the game, Miggy was thrown at, Sanchez had been hit, and at least in my mind, the retaliation was over. I don't think that he was trying to hit me on purpose."

Wilson and Ausmus were ejected in the eighth after Wilson hit Todd Frazier around the thigh with a pitch. The benches cleared for a third time.

"With me hitting a guy in the leg, it's what I have to do and that's what I did," Wilson said. "Fortunately for me I know where my pitches are going, and I hit a guy in the leg today to take care of my teammates and protect them."

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 -- Jose Altuve embraced Justin Verlander as confetti rained down. An improbable thought just a few years ago, the Houston Astros are headed to the World Series.

Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. combined on a three-hitter, Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Astros reached the World Series for only the second time by blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Verlander, the ALCS MVP , and fellow Houston ace Dallas Keuchel will have plenty of rest before the World Series begins at sweltering Dodger Stadium.

"I love our personality," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We have the right amount of fun, the right amount of seriousness, the right amount of perspective when we need it. This is a very, very unique group. To win 100 games and still be hungry is pretty remarkable."

The Astros will try for their first World Series title, thanks in large part to Altuve , the diminutive second baseman who swings a potent bat, and Verlander, who switched teams for the first time in his career to chase a ring.

Four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees on consecutive nights after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

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.

Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first crown, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

"This city, they deserve this," McCullers said.

Clutch defensive plays by third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer helped Houston improve to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and become the fifth team in major league history to capture 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. A noted curveballer, McCullers finished up with 24 straight breaking pitches to earn his first major league save.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron JudgeGary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

"I know people are going to talk about how we didn't win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven't won many games on the road, either. We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The Astros also eliminated New York in the 2015 postseason, with Keuchel winning the AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia entered 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. He snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night in a 7-1 win.

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 went 1-6 on the road this postseason.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who lost to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS exactly 13 years earlier.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh.

With McCullers in charge, the Astros soon closed it out.

"It's not easy to get here. And I don't take any of this for granted. And this is what we play for," Verlander said. "These are the experiences that you remember at the end of your career when you look back, winning these games, just playing the World Series. Hopefully winning the World Series."

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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.