Red Sox

Notes: Buchholz (back) throws from 60 feet

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Notes: Buchholz (back) throws from 60 feet

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list since June 17 with a lower back strain, threw for the first time today. He made 25 throws from 60 feet.

Which is probably not, in the grand scheme of things, exciting, but it was for us, said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Obviously, were going to go slow, kind of deliberate. But the fact that he did so well in his core work and in that step of the program is really exciting. Whether this turns into him pitching or not we dont know bit its still exciting in the fact that hes done so well to this point. And well just continue that and like I said, pretty deliberate, and well see where it goes.

Francona said Buchholz would probably throw every-other day for a while.

You won't see this escalate in a hurry, he said.

I think Ive said this probably multiple times: If you see him pitch, hes fine andit would be with anybody. Doesnt matter who they are. Were going to take this very deliberate and hes going to pass tests. The good news is he feels good. So whether he pitches this year or not, wed hate like heck for him to go into the offseason not feeling well.

Buchholz was satisfied with his outing.

"Yeah, just to pick up a ball and mess around, yeah, he said. Seems like its been all season. So definitely good to get out there.

I felt good. There was no pain, nothing holding me back. Obviouslyit was a light day, but it was good.

Buchholz is still unsure if he will pitch in the regular season.

I dont know, he said. I think its going to depend on whenever I actually start doing the pitching motion and see how that feels and see how it feels the day after that. But it felt good today, no restrictions, and no pain. So that was definitely a good thing.

The Sox stranded at least one runner in every inning and 16 total, tying a season high, which they set on April 10 against the Yankees. The Sox went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

At 3:59 it was the longest nine-inning game of the season for the Sox.

Ortiz extended his season-high hit streak to 13 games. He is batting .520 (26-for-50) with seven doubles, six home runs, 14 RBI, and seven walks in that stretch. His seventh-inning walk was the 751st of his career, moving him past Dom DiMaggio into seventh place on the Sox all-time list.

Jed Lowrie went 3-for-5 and his now hitting .329 (26-for-79) against the Yankees in his career. It is his third-highest average against an American League club, behind .333 against the Royals and .359 against the Rangers.

J.D. Drew and Kevin Youkilis each played a rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket. Drew played right field and went 3-for-3 with a run scored. Youkilis served as the designated hitter and went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

Youkilis is expected to play third base Wednesday night for the PawSox while Drew serves as the DH. If all goes well, Drew could be back Thursday with Youkilis coming back Friday.

With those two returning, the Sox are not likely to do anything immediately when rosters expand on Thursday, except to possibly add a pitcher. Ryan Lavarnway would also be called up next week.

General manager Theo Epstein and I talked about this numerous times, Francona said. I think were kind of on the same page. In fact, I know we are. You never want to get caught short. At the same time, just calling guys up to put them in the bullpen or sit on the bench, Im not sure thats in anybodys best interest. If we ever run short, we can get somebody up here the next day and these guys can continue to do what theyre doing. So, I think thats kind of how we look at it.

Francona has set his rotation for the three-game series with the Rangers beginning Friday at Fenway Park. Left-hander Andrew Miller is scheduled to pitch the first game, followed by lefty Eric Bedard, and John Lackey, who starts Tuesday night against the Yankees. Tim Wakefield is expected to start one of the games in the three-game series in Toronto beginning Monday, but Francona would not say which one yet.

This schedule gives Bedard a couple days rest, Francona said. Were going to back Wake up a little bit. Hes not going to pitch until Toronto. Just talked to him before I spoke to the media so he can figure out how to proceed and we can get him in the bullpen for a few days and as we get closer to that start he can start preparing for that, too. We also have a doubleheader coming up on the 19th against the Orioles at Fenway Park.

The Rangers have scheduled Derek Holland for Friday, followed by Colby Lewis on Saturday, with Sundays starter undecided.

Francona on Yankees starter CC Sabathia, who was 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against the Sox this season before getting the win Tuesday night, while going 17-3 (2.40) against everyone else:

I really dont know why. Maybe I should. Certainly respect how good CC is and what he can do. Weve done pretty well against him. When hes made mistakes weve made him pay for it. Weve made him work really hard. Saying that, I dont think everybody woke up this morning saying, Yeah, we get to face CC. hes one of the best in the game and we still respect that. But weve done a pretty good job up to this point against him. Well see again tonight.

Bobby Jenks, on the DL since July 8 with left back tightness, is back with the Sox. He had been scheduled for a rehab game on Saturday with Single-A Salem, but was scratched when he became ill.

Hes kind of having a day where hes getting reevaluated and were kind of sifting through how to get him back on his feet, when to do it, how do to it, where to do it, Francona said. Hopefully well have some answers the next couple of days.

He got sick in Salem. We were going to send him to Scranton with Pawtucket. Then, we couldnt get him anywhere with the hurricane. It was kind of a mess.

Condolences to pitching coach Curt Young, who father died. Bullpen coach Gary Tuck will serve as the pitching coach in Youngs absence.

The Red Sox have announced the players they are sending to the Arizona Fall League, along with Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler, who will manage the Scottsdale Scorpions (comprised of players from the Red Sox, Angels, Giants, Nationals, and Phillies). Pitchers Brock Huntzinger, Jeremy Kerht, and Wil Latimer, catcher Dan Butler, infielder Will Middlebrooks, and outfielder Alex Hassan are expected. The Sox have one additional pitching spot on the Scottsdale roster they can fill.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

NLCS: Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs

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NLCS: Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have a tough lineup, a talented pitching staff and a manager making all the right moves.

Yup, it's beginning to look a lot like 1988.

Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles improved to 6-0 in this postseason, setting a franchise record for consecutive playoff wins. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip - on a long foul ball in the first inning.

"The focus has certainly been heightened in the postseason," manager Dave Roberts said.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Co. to the club's last championship 29 years ago.

Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

"I think we've won four games in a row before," Chicago slugger Kris Bryant said. "Obviously, it's going to be a tougher road. But it'll make the story that much better. Can you imagine that?"

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. Their patient lineup is coming up big in key spots and the pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline.

Not even a return to Wrigley could get the Cubs back on track after a rough stay in Los Angeles. Chicago manager Joe Maddon juggled his lineup, inserting Kyle Schwarber into the No. 2 slot and benching slumping second baseman Javier Baez, but the defending World Series champions were shut down by another Dodgers starter and more stellar relief from the NL West champions.

"I really didn't change much approach-wise from first inning until the end of the game," Darvish said through a translator. "I just kept pitching the same way."

Making their third straight appearance in the NLCS, the weary Cubs also hurt themselves with a couple of big mistakes. Carl Edwards Jr. walked Darvish on four pitches with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, continuing a rocky postseason for the reliever and leading to a round of boos from a frustrated crowd of 41,871.

A passed ball brought home another run in the eighth, and pinch hitter Kyle Farmer hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.

Darvish departed after striking out Addison Russell in the seventh, pausing for congratulations from his whole infield before heading to the dugout. The Japanese right-hander allowed six hits, including Schwarber's first-inning homer, in his second career playoff win - both this year. He struck out seven and walked one.

Tony Watson got two outs, Brandon Morrow worked the eighth and Kenley Jansen closed it out after Ross Stripling gave up two hits in the ninth. With Roberts pushing the right buttons, Los Angeles' bullpen has yet to allow a run in the series.

"I think everybody's just been attacking," Morrow said. "That's the No. 1 thing."

The only four-game postseason sweep for the Dodgers came in the 1963 World Series against the New York Yankees. If Los Angeles can finish off Chicago on Wednesday, the Dodgers would have five days off before hosting the Yankees or Houston Astros in the World Series opener.

"We knew today was the most important game, and now tomorrow's the most important game," Ethier said. "We're going to come out and figure out how to get the job done again."

Schwarber's sixth career postseason homer got Chicago off to a fast start, but Jon Jay struck out with two on to end the inning. The Dodgers responded with Ethier's leadoff drive in the second and Taylor's second homer of the series in the third, a mammoth shot to center off losing pitcher Kyle Hendricks.

"We had a chance obviously, early," Maddon said. "We hit some balls well early in the game, and then he settled in."

Ethier had two hits in his first start of this year's playoffs after he missed most of the season with a herniated lumbar disk. Taylor also had two hits and is 4 for 14 for the series, helping make up for the loss of All-Star shortstop Corey Seager to a back injury.

ON THIS DAY

Tuesday was the 13th anniversary of Roberts' memorable stolen base for Boston in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the New York Yankees. The Red Sox were three outs from elimination when Roberts ran for Kevin Millar, swiped second and scored on Bill Mueller's single.

Boston went on to rally past New York and sweep St. Louis for its first World Series championship since 1918. Roberts said he never mentions the steal to his players, but it comes up occasionally.

"Yu Darvish about two weeks ago I guess was surfing the internet, and there was an `aha' moment," Roberts said. "He ran across the stolen base and kind of put two and two together and didn't realize that was his manager. So he proceeded to kind of awkwardly approach me about it and talked about my goatee and how I could steal a base."

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Wood, who had a career-high 16 wins this season, will make his first appearance since Sept. 26. He was lined up for Game 4 of the NLDS, but the Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks in three games.

Cubs: Arrieta has pitched just 14 1/3 innings since Aug. 30, including four innings of two-hit ball against Washington in Game 4 of the NLDS. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner was hampered by a right hamstring injury at the end of the season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

ALCS: Judge leads way as Yanks rally from 4-0 deficit, tie series with 6-4 win

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ALCS: Judge leads way as Yanks rally from 4-0 deficit, tie series with 6-4 win

NEW YORK -- With a soaring shot headed for Monument Park, Aaron Judge got New York back on course for another memorable October.

Yankee Stadium sounds like it's ready, too.

"That ballpark is alive," Judge said after this latest rousing rally.

Judge ignited a comeback with a home run , then hit a tying double during a four-run eighth inning to spur the unflappable Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and tie the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Baby Bombers trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored when Gary Sanchez hit a go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

"I didn't know what to do after I touched home plate," Judge said. "I can't describe it."

The Yankees overcame three errors and have roared back from a second straight 0-2 series deficit - they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth to cap a three-hitter and get the save . Before a sellout crowd of 48,804, New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and won for the 18th time in its last 21 home games.

"Every home game has been special," manager Joe Girardi said. "I just feel like the fans are back. And I see things that I haven't in a while, and it reminds me a lot of when I was playing here."

Yankee Stadium will be rocking again when Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday. It's a rematch of the series opener, when Keuchel outdid the Japanese right-hander in a 2-1 Astros win.

An AL MVP candidate mired in a sluggish October, Judge sparked the Yankees by chasing McCullers, who baffled the Yankees with his power breaking ball.

Except for the last one.

Judge launched a curveball into the netting above center field's Monument Park for New York's second hit.

"I thought Aaron's home run just lit a little spark," Girardi said.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch pulled McCullers after 81 pitches, Didi Gregorius tripled off Chris Devenski and Sanchez brought Gregorius in with a sacrifice fly.

Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a single to left, and pinch-hitter Chase Headley, in a 1-for-18 postseason slide, singled. He lost his balance stepping on first, fell en route to second, then took a step back before continuing on and getting his left hand in ahead of Jose Altuve's tag.

"Just stumbled and stumbled and stumbled and finally went down," Headley said. "I went from one of the best feelings of my career to one of the worst in just a matter of seconds."

Headley was awarded second after a video review, and the ballpark boomed when crew chief Gary Cederstrom gave the signal. It got so loud that on-deck hitter Brett Gardner said he "kind of blacked out for a second."

Gardner brought in Frazier on a groundout, and Judge came to bat with the bundled, buzzing crowd on its feet.

He lunged for a low slider and drilled a double high off the left-field wall as a fan in a longsleeve yellow shirt reached down and touched the ball. Pinch-runner Jacoby Ellsbury came home with the tying run, and Gregorius grounded a single just beyond shortstop Carlos Correa's reach to put runners at the corner. Sanchez, who had been 0 for 13 in the series, scored them both with a slicing drive that skipped to the wall in right-center.

"Those guys came up big for us today," Girardi said.

Judge had multiple hits for the first time since the AL wild-card game against Minnesota. He's still just 7 for 37 with 22 strikeouts in the playoffs, but he's 4 for 13 (.308) with three walks in the ALCS. He also homered in an 8-1 Game 3 win.

Judge said he used to dream about postseason at-bats in Yankee Stadium as a minor leaguer.

"The dreams aren't the same as reality," he said. "To be out with the crowd and the atmosphere, it was unbelievable."

The 35-minute bottom of the eighth was the latest stunning comeback for New York, which has overcome deficits of three or more 11 times this year, including in the wild-card game against Minnesota.

Houston had not lost consecutive games since Sept. 8-10 at Oakland and had the major leagues' best road record during the regular season. The Astros are hitting .153 in the series.

"We're not going to hit the panic button because we lost two games in a row," Correa said. "We got Keuchel going tomorrow."

McCullers cruised in his first start since Sept. 30 and turned over a 4-1 lead to his bullpen.

"He was awesome," manager A.J. Hinch said. "And really proud of him because I know how important this start was for him."

Yankees starter Sonny Gray pitched one-hit ball through five innings. His teammates have yet to score for him in four career postseason starts while he's still on the mound, including twice with New York this year.

Houston took a 3-0 lead in the sixth after George Springer walked leading off and Josh Reddick reached on catcher's interference by Austin Romine - inserted into lineup for his defense.

Yuli Gurriel lined a three-run double off David Robertson for a 3-0 lead in the sixth and second baseman Starlin Castro misplayed Brian McCann's seventh-inning grounder for his second error, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score from second.

Winner Chad Green gave up an unearned run over two innings.

"All of a sudden, the pressure's back on the other team," Frazier said. "It's the best place to play and the loudest place in baseball to play. No doubt about it."

OUT, SAFE, OUT

The fourth inning ended strangely . Judge was doubled off first on Sanchez's popup, but the Yankees successfully challenged that Judge beat first baseman Gurriel to the base. Houston then appealed that Judge missed retouching second on his way back to first. Judge - realizing he would be called out on the challenge - decided to race McCullers' appeal throw to second and was tagged out. He would have voided the appeal attempt if he had beaten the throw.

"The coaching staff kind of gave me a heads up," Judge said. "So I said, `All right, let's go. Got to try something.'"

Adding to the strangeness: throughout the challenge, McCullers was digging around the mound with his hands, scooping up beads off his necklace, which broke during the play.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Tanaka has been receiving treatment on his leg after being struck by Reddick's liner in Game 1. He did not expect it to be an issue Wednesday.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE