Red Sox

Pedroia (thumb) out of the lineup vs. Oakland


Pedroia (thumb) out of the lineup vs. Oakland

OAKLAND -- Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup in the road trip finale, advised by the training staff to not swing a bat, having jammed his thumb in Tuesday night's walkoff loss to Oakland.

The soreness is in a different area than the spot that has bothered Pedroia since early May and forced him to miss a week's worth of action earlier this season.

"It's pretty frustrating," said Pedroia, who's expected to be examined Thursday when the Sox return from the West Coast. "It was fine during the game (Tuesday night), and then I was sore after the game and today Im pretty sore. Maybe its from when I dove for that ball in right field. I dont know what happened.

"I just think he needs these two days (Wednesday and the day off that follows)," said Bobby Valentine. "And so does he. He's a little stiff here and there."

With Pedroia sidelined, Nick Punto is playing second, with Mauro Gomez at third for the first time in the big leagues.

Gomez was signed as a third baseman, but hasn't played much there above Single A, where he made 39 errors in 71 games. And with sinkerballer
Aaron Cook pitching for the Red Sox, Gomez is likely to get plenty of action at an unfamiliar position.

"It is what it is," shrugged Valentine. "What are we going to do?"

Will Middlebrooks is not an option for Wednesday. He's missed three games now with a strained left hamstring, suffered Sunday in Seattle.

"Will felt better, a little better than yesterday," said Valentine.

The Sox are still hopeful that they can avoid placing Middlebrooks on the DL.

Valentine has to hope that Wednesday's makeshift lineup can do better. Over the first six games of the trip, the Sox have scored just 12 runs -- and five of those came in one game.

In the five other games, the Red Sox have scored two runs or fewer.

"I think we're ready to break out," said Valentine. "The bad news is we haven't hit. The good news is we will."

NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1


NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

CHICAGO - Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Baez hit solo drives in the second and fifth after going hitless in his first 20 playoff at-bats. Contreras added a long homer against Alex Wood.

Davis entered with a 3-1 lead in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff homer to Turner, who went 2 for 2 and drew two walks.

Maddon became incensed that a swinging strike three against Curtis Granderson was ruled a foul after the umpires discussed the play. Maddon got tossed, and Granderson struck out swinging at the next pitch.

And after walking Yasmani Grandal to put runners on first and second, Davis struck out Chase Utley, who is hitless in his last 24 postseason at-bats.

All seven of Chicago's runs in this series have come on homers. And long drives in the second by Contreras and Baez made it 2-0.

Contreras' homer banged off the left-field videoboard and Baez's landed beyond the left-field bleachers on Waveland Avenue.

Bellinger cut it to 2-1 with his drive to right in the third. But Baez got the lead back up to two with a shot to the left-field bleachers in the fifth, the raucous crowd chanting "Javy! Javy!" for the flashy young star who was co-MVP of the NLCS last year.

No Cubs player had hit two in a playoff game since Alex Gonzalez went deep twice in Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS against Miami.

Arrieta exited with runners on first and second in the seventh after walking Chris Taylor on a 3-2 pitch. He tipped his hat as fans gave him a standing ovation, a fitting show of appreciation for a pitcher with an expiring contract.

Arrieta turns 32 in March and figures to land a huge deal in free agency. The trade that brought him from Baltimore helped fuel Chicago's rise, with the right-hander capturing the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and contributing to last year's drought-busting championship run.

Limited by a right hamstring injury in the final month of the season, he threw 111 pitches. Brian Duensing retired Bellinger on a fly to end the seventh.

Turner made it a one-run game with his homer off the left-field videoboard against Davis in the eighth.

A career-high 16-game winner, Wood gave up three runs and four hits in 42/3 innings.


ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead


ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

NEW YORK - Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans.