Red Sox

Notes: Red Sox switch things up versus Price

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Notes: Red Sox switch things up versus Price

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Manager Terry Francona shuffled his lineup to get as many right-handed batters against Rays ace David Price as possible. In his career, lefties are hitting .218 (69-for-316) with one home run against Price, while righties are batting .232 (243-for-1049) with 32 home runs. The one left-handed home run was hit by Chase Utley in 2009. In his career, the Red Sox are hitting .248 (32-for-129) combined with six home runs.

Switch-hitters Led Lowrie and Jason Varitek are playing third and catching, respectively. Mike Cameron is playing center field in place of Jacoby Ellsbury and Darnell McDonald is in right instead of J.D. Drew. Kevin Youkilis is serving as the designated hitter instead of David Ortiz.

Wanted to get about as many right-handed hitters in as we could, Francona said. Weve got Jed Lowrie playing third and Youk DHing just because Jed gives us some versatility or in case something happened we could move him out of the infield.

Saltalamacchia knew a few days ago he would not be catching tonight. His wife delivered their third child at 6:23 this morning. The baby (to be named later) is the third girl for the couple, weighing in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and 20 inches long. Saltalamacchia said his wife and daughter are fine, but he was pretty tired after a night of no sleep.

Salty knew two days ago. Francona said. His wife had the baby and he had his hands full. He knew going in he wasnt going to catch tonight."

The move keeps Youkilis bat in the lineup while also giving him a bit of rest.

Thats the hope, Francona said. On a night like tonight Id like to use it to his advantage. He could swing the whole game as much as he wants. It might be good for him and it allows us to free up Lowrie where we could move him around.

Francona had considered using Lowrie at first base and Adrian Gonzalez as the DH.

We went back and forth, he said. One of those guys was going to DH tonight.

Francona had not had a chance to check in with Daisuke Matsuzaka after the right-handers disastrous outing Monday night.

I didn't see him yet, he said. Pitching coach Curt Young will talk to the pitchers every day. The hard thing for me is I can't have a casual conversation with Dice. Its easy to have one with anybody. John Lackey walks into the clubhouse or Jon Lester or whoever. You can't do that with Dice-K besides saying hello. Thats frustrating. That doesnt mean he can't pitch but its hard to have that casual conversation where you can ask, Hey, what are you thinking? Everything has to go through a translator.

Francona said Matsuzaka has been working on his English.

Hes done a good job, Francona said. Hes done a real good job. Its not like Spanish to English where we could all pick a word and kind of fake your way through it a little bit. This is a completely differentNo, hes actually done a real good job. And around the field especially theres a lot that he can understand, which really helps.

He understands. He knows whats going on.

Francona said Matsuzakas latest outing would not change the managers perspective.

He had a horrendous second inning. Francona said. I think if we do do things like that well set ourselves up for some really bad mistakes. It was tough to watch. But if you make decisions based on emotions and after a bad start, we wouldnt have a team left. You cant do that.

Carl Crawford, who entered Tuesdays game hitting .163, said he is not frustrated by his slow start. But, he is disappointed. He went 2-for-5 Monday night, and Francona saw him take good swings in Sundays game, although he went hitless.

I guess itll come together for me when my average gets back over .300, Crawford said. Thats when itll be together. Right now, its still a work in progress.

Im not frustrated by it because its just too early to get frustrated. I know the people watching are frustrated. Im not because I understand whats going on. Im disappointed by it but Im not upset or frustrated. Just have to keep playing it out.

Crawford said he is still adjusting to batting lead-off. He has primarily hit second. Last season, he had not plate appearances in the No. 1 slot.

Im starting to get a little comfortable there, he said. As time goes on Im pretty sure Ill get more comfortable with it, so I can play better.

Its not really an adjustment. Its just like leading off an inning, you have to do that sometimes, so I just treat it like that because really thats the only time you really lead off.

Crawford said he has not considered bunting to get on base yet.

Not really, he said. I might try to bunt maybe if I got comfortable with it. But, I dont know, for the most part I need to try to get my swing right.

Rays left fielder Sam Fuld doesnt even have a Twitter account. But, the legend of Sam Fuld was the talk of Twitterland after his performance Monday night when he went 4-for-6 with three runs scored, three RBI, and a two-run home run. He fell a single shy of the cycle, doubling down the left field line in the ninth inning. He also had a spectacular diving catch off Dustin Pedroia, which made all the highlight shows. Fuld grew up in Durham, NH, and went to Phillips Exeter Academy. He had a group of 25 to 30 family in friends at Fenway to watch his performance.

To have that kind of game setting career highs in hits, RBI, runs scored, and total bases with 11 at Fenway Park was a highlight for him. Fuld, 29, was a 10th-round pick of the Cubs out of Stanford in 2004. He went to the Rays as part of the Matt Garza trade in January.

Its even better, he said. Even if I had gone 0-for-6, I would have been the happiest 0-for-6 player in the game, just to be playing out here. So, combine playing in this great ballpark, that I grew up going to and having a game like that, its been amazing.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp: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.

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

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ALCS: Judge leads way as Yanks come back 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.

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