Red Sox

May 4, 2011: Angels 5, Red Sox 3


May 4, 2011: Angels 5, Red Sox 3

By Sean McAdam

BOSTON -- Bobby Abreu's two-run single to right in the top of the 13th inning gave the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim a 5-3 victory over the Red Sox in one of the longest and strangest games in recent Fenway Park history.

The game took 7 hours and 35 minutes from start to finish to complete, ending at 2:45 a.m. Thursday. It included a rain delay of 2 hours and 35 minutes when play was halted with one out in the fifth inning.

Abreu's game-winner came off Daisuke Matsuzaka, who came into the game in the top of the 13th for his first major-league relief appearance.

It was the Angels' first win over the Sox in seven tries this season and only their second in 17 meetings between the two clubs since the start of the 2010 season.

The Sox appeared to have the game won in the bottom of the 12th when Kevin Youkilis doubled high off the left-field wall. But Marco Scutaro, running from first base, was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from left fielder Vernon Wells to shortstop Erick Aybar to catcher Jeff Mathis.

Trailing by two in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox staged an improbable comeback and might have won the game then if not for an overly-aggressive baserunning move by Mike Cameron.

The Sox had Jed Lowrie at second and Cameron atfirst when Jordan Walden threw a wild pitch. As both runners advanced, catcher Hank Conger scrambled and threw the ball to third in an attempt to cut down Lowrie. The errant throw hit third-base umipre John Hirschbeck and rolled toward short, allowing Lowrie to score but Cameron was gunned down trying to advance from second to third.

Carl Crawford followed with a double and, after a strikeout by Jason Varitek, Jacoby Ellsbury singled home the tying run.

The Angels had grabbed the first lead of the game in the seventh when Vernon Wells launched a massive shot to left off Dan Wheeler, scoring Howie Kendrick ahead of him.

The Sox, held hitless until Lowrie singled with two out in the seventh, got on the scoreboard in the eighth on a dribbler by Adrian Gonzalez and a throwing error by reliever Fernando Rodney.

Neither starting pitcher -- Josh Beckett for the Sox, Ervin Santana for the Angels -- returned after the long rain delay.

Player of the Game: Bobby Abreu

Since coming over to the American League, Abreu has had a knack of doing damage to the Red Sox, so why should this game be any different?

With the bases loaded in the top of the 13th, Abreu slapped a two-run single to right off Daisuke Matsuzaka, snapping a 3-3 tie and giving the Angels a 5-3 victory.

Honorable Mention: Trevor Bell

Pitching was in short supply for both teams as the night wore on, but Bell gave manager Mike Scioscia four scoreless innings, buying his teammates time to regain the lead they lost in the bottom of the ninth.

Bell wiggled out of a second-and-third jam in the 10th and stranded the potential winning run on second in the bottom of the 12th before getting credit for the win.

The Goat: Diasuke Matsuzaka

Maybe it was unfair to expect much from Matsuzaka, who had never pitched in relief in the big leagues until Wednesday nightThursday morning.

But once in the game, the burden fell on him to keep the Angels from scoring. Instead, he yielded three hits and a walk, resulting in two runs for the Angels.

Turning Point: Youkilis nearly ends it

In the 12th inning with Marco Scutaro at first and one out, Kevin Youkilis banged a double high off The Wall. Scutaro, running all the way, was gunned down at the plate on a perfect relay by the Angels and you were left with the feeling that the Sox' last best chance had come and gone.

By the Numbers: 5

At exactly five hours of actual playing time, the game was the longest at Fenway Park since a 14-inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 10, 2008, a game which took 5 hours and two minutes.

Quote of Note:

"When I showed up today, I didn't think I'd be talking to you guys at 3 a.m.'' -- Terry Francona in his post-game press conference with the media.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0


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."


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'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.