Red Sox

Germano silver lining during Saturday loss

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Germano silver lining during Saturday loss

It wasn't easy to find a bright spot in the Red Sox' 6-1 loss to the New York Yankees, the team's fifth straight defeat.

The Sox were punchless offensively, being held to two runs or fewer for the seventh time in the last nine games and starter Franklin Morales was pounded for four homers and six runs in just 3 13 innings.

There was a silver lining. His name was Justin Germano.

Germano took over for Morales with one out in the fourth and pitched shutout ball the rest of the way, allowing five hits over the final 5 23 innings while striking out seven and walking just two.

It was his first appearance for the Red Sox, and it resulted in Germano getting a standing ovation as he came off the mound after the top of the ninth.

"He did exactly what he was doing at Triple A,'' said Bobby Valentine, "and I'm glad that it translated here. They said that he had used all of his pitches, thrown strikes and gotten outs
and give you a chance to win. In today's game, he was very valuable in that he was the second pitcher and the last pitcher.''

Indeed, Germano's outing -- excellent as it was -- was also noteworthy since it meant the Sox didn't have to burn the bullpen. On a day in which they were playing a doubleheader, and coming just after a night in which starter Josh Beckett lasted only five innings, there's no telling how important that was.

"I was just trying to go out there and eat as many innings as I could,'' said Germano. "I'm glad I was able to finish it and save the bullpen. It's tough, because you don't want things to
get out of control. You want to just go out there and try to make your pitches and try to keep the score as close as you can and keep your team in there.''

Ordinarily, in a long-relief, mopup stint, pitchers would focus on throwing strikes and making them hit the ball. But against a lineup as fearsome as New York's, such a basic approach has its own dangers, since the Yankees are capable of piling on.

"You want to attack the zone,'' said Germano, "but you have to throw qualilty strikes. You really have to try to keep them off balance and mix it up the best you can.''

The appearance ended a whirlwind week for Germano, who was pitching at Pawtucket but ready to utilize a July 1 opt-out clause in his contract to go elsewhere if the Sox didn't add him to the major league roster.

He flew cross-country Tuesday afternoon, then returned home from Oakland to Boston the very next afternoon before making his Boston debut Saturday.

"I knew it was going to be tough for them to make room for me (on the roster),'' he said. "I honestly didn't think they were going to, but I'm glad they did. It's a great organization to be
a part of and I'm glad I got the chance to come up here and show them what I can do.''

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.