Red Sox

Notes: Youkilis, Ellsbury out tonight vs. Royals

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Notes: Youkilis, Ellsbury out tonight vs. Royals

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON The dog days of August are right around the corner, and that means some of the Sox regulars will be getting a little bit of rest over the next few weeks.

Kevin Youkilis tightened up his hamstring when his heal caught on the bag at first base during Monday nights 14-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals, and hes sitting out Tuesday nights second game of the four-game series.

Hes a little sore, said Francona.

Terry Francona was quick to point out that Youkilis probably would have had the night off from third base duties anyway, but the Sox skipper also opted to give red-hot centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury a night off against Kansas City southpaw Danny Duffy.

While its a little difficult benching a leadoff man smoking the ball at a .411 clip during the homestand, Ellsbury's had little rest during the recently sweltering hot days at the ballpark.

Francona decided it was time.

Ellsbury is fine. I just think in the next couple of days it would be give guys a couple of days and let Yamaico Navarro and Darnell McDonald get some at bats against lefties. Jacoby has played a lot, said Francona. I think he wanted to play which is great but I think a day off would do him some good.

Its not that big a deal. We talk to Jacoby. I said to him in the second inning that Im going to check with you after the game, and he didnt fight. Guys get tired sometimes and a little beat up, and a day off really does them some good. We know these guys well enough to try and not get in the way.

Instead .160-hitting McDonald will play centerfield and bat leadoff against the lefty pitcher and .185-hitting Navarro gets the start at third base for the Sox in a lineup that looked more Grapefruit League than mid-summer dream.

While theres been plenty of speculation about relief help coming to Boston and another starter potentially slotting in should Clay Buchholz continue to suffer through back woes, the bench would seem to be the logical place to benefit from a trade. The current group of right-handed hitting non-starters isn't even average.

One thing the Sox and Francona are unwilling to do, however, is give up young prospects in exchange for a spare part capable of minimal contributions over the final two months of regular season and the playoffs. With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, thats the stance voiced by the manager, and upheld by the rest of the front office staff.

I like our team. Ive been around here long enough to know that Theo is going to be on the phone doing his due diligence that way hes supposed to, said Francona. I dont need to sit up here and say what we need because my job is to get the most out of these guys. But I like them a lot.

I also know Theo is going to make them better if he can. I do feel pretty strongly that I like the young players in our system, so Im not voting or saying to go do this because I like our young guys too. I really like the idea of our young guys helping us.

J.D. Drew is officially on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder impingement while infielder Drew Sutton has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for another tour of duty with the Red Sox. Francona said that Navarro could potentially play left field if the Sox get desperate for another outfielder during the game, but he didnt see that becoming a pressing issue.

Buchholz was experiencing general soreness in his back the day after his 30-pitch bullpen session, and Francona said that the righty would be checking in with the two teams of medical staff before they begin quickening the pace of his rehab process.

We still view it as a very positive day yesterday. Hes going to revisit the medical people hes talked to and review where he thinks he is and where they think he is, Francona said. Well do it so that when we start moving fast and aggressive with things pretty quickly that hell feel good about it.

Itll be getting pretty aggressive from now on, so we just want to cover everything.

Nothing new with Bobby Jenks or Jed Lowrie over the last couple of days. Jenks isnt feeling any better and Lowrie is still working his troublesome shoulder toward taking batting practice.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

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ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

NEW YORK -  With a soaring shot headed for Yankee Stadium's Monument Park, Aaron Judge got New York back on track for another memorable October.

Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the unflappable New York 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.

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. New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and won for the 18th time in their last 21 home games.

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 marred 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.

"Once we're within striking distance like that, anything can happen," Judge 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.

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

Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a double to left, and pinch hitter Chase Headley then did the same - only after falling between first and second base, taking one step back, then heading for second and sliding in ahead of Jose Altuve's tag.

"Panic," Headley recalled. "I went from one of the best feelings of my career to one of the worst in just a matter of seconds, but fortunately it worked out."

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

He reached down to stay with a 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. Gardner 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.

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

Yankees starter Sonny Gray pitched one-hit ball through five innings but again had no run support. 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.

Robertson walked Altuve and struck out Carlos Correa before Yuri Gurriel lined a three-run double past Frazier and all the way to the wall. Gurriel got hung up between second and third as Altuve scored, and he was tagged out by Judge to end a rundown.

Houston added a fourth run when second baseman Starlin Castro misplayed Brian McCann's grounder in the seventh, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score from second. It was Castro's second error of the game.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

BOSTON — Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire's interview for Red Sox manager is scheduled for Wednesday, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston. He'll be the third to interview for John Farrell's old job, following favorite Alex Cora on Sunday and Brad Ausmus on Monday — and may be the last to interview as well. 

The Sox could move quickly from here. Announcing hiring is tricky this time of year, because MLB doesn't want personnel moves to detract from the playoffs. 

But if Cora ends up the choice, as is most likely, his introduction is further complicated by the fact that his team, Houston, is still playing — and could be playing in the World Series.

MORE:

Cora, who would be a first-time manager unlike Ausmus and Gardenhire, is close with Red Sox second baseman and leader Dustin Pedroia and is drawing interest across the game.

Gardenhire would be something of a safe hiring, considering his 13 years as manager of the Minnesota Twins. A few days shy of his 60th birthday, Gardenhire would have to prove he could handle a vastly different market than Minnesota, and also connect with players despite being older than both Ausmus (48) and Cora (41). 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE