Red Sox

Middlebrooks leads Sox to 6-5 victory over Marlins, series sweep

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Middlebrooks leads Sox to 6-5 victory over Marlins, series sweep

BOSTON -- For the past month, Will Middlebrooks and Kevin Youkilis have essentially been sharing playing time. But Thursday night, Middlebrooks may have put an end to the job-share.
Middlebrooks delivered two of the first three Red Sox runs with RBI singles, then blasted a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, setting the stage for a dramatic Red Sox comeback win, 6-5, over the Miami Marlins.
Daniel Nava, who had four hits Wednesday night, added two more, the second of which scored Ryan Kalish from third base with the winning run. Kalish had shown great hustle immediately prior to Nava's at-bat, speeding from first to third on a groundout to the right side.
The win was the fifth in a row and gave the Red Sox their first sweep of a series three games or longer at Fenway since last July.
Alfredo Aceves notched the save, his 18th of the season.
The Sox had fallen behind quickly when starter Daisuke Matsuzaka had one of his typically rocky first innings, needing 33 pitches to escape after allowing three runs on three hits and a walk and three stolen bases.
Matsuzaka self-corrected after that, retiring 14 in a row before a solo homer by Giancarlo Stanton ended his night with one out in the sixth. The Marlins added another run off Andrew Miller that inning, setting the stage for Middlebrooks' heroics in the eighth.
The Sox chipped away at Miami's 3-0 edge when Middlebrooks singled home baserunners in the fourth and fifth. A sacrifice fly from Mike Aviles accounted for the other Red Sox run.
Scott Atchison got the win with two shutout innings of relief.

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.