Red Sox

Pomeranz, Betts power Red Sox past Rays, 9-3

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Pomeranz, Betts power Red Sox past Rays, 9-3

BOSTON -- Drew Pomeranz takes pride in his newfound role as a pillar in the Boston Red Sox's rotation, all because of the impact his success has on his teammates in the bullpen.

Pomeranz, who manger John Farrell likened to a stabilizing structure before the game, lived up to the billing when he took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and gave up two runs over six to help the Red Sox rout the Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 on Friday night.

"I take a lot of pride in it," Pomeranz said. "I like to go out there (in the bullpen) and let those guys know that they can rest, give them some time to settle in."

Pomeranz (15-5) struck out seven, allowed two hits and walked two en route to tying Chris Sale for the team lead in victories.

"Chris is the best pitcher in baseball. I don't really feel too competitive with him because he's unreal," Pomeranz said when asked if there was any friendly competition between the two pitchers.

Mookie Betts hit a three-run home run for the Red Sox (80-61), who moved 4 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees atop the AL East. Tampa Bay (70-72) fell 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card spot.

Jesus Sucre slugged a two-run homer for the Rays, who have homered in a season franchise record 18 straight games.

"That's how we're built, to hit the ball out of the ballpark," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Ideally, we do that with men on base."

Chris Archer (9-9) was roughed up for a season-high eight runs, six earned, and nine hits and struck out five in three-plus innings.

"They found a way to hit balls hard and hit balls soft and find hits," Archer said. "If I execute at a higher level, I'm at least able to limit the damage."

Boston chased Archer from the game with five runs in the fourth to build an 8-0 lead.

Pomeranz's no-hit bid was broken up by Brad Miller's one-out single in the fifth. Sucre added his two-run blast over the Green Monster in left field.

A PESKY FIRST

Betts blasted his homer around Pesky's Pole in right field in the first inning, marking the first time he has hooked a ball around the famous foul pole.

"First (time) for everything," Betts said. "It's tough to hit them over there, but I was lucky enough to get it."

ESCAPING IRMA

Tampa Bay's upcoming three-game series against the Yankees, scheduled to begin Monday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been moved to Citi Field in New York because of Hurricane Irma.

"Wherever we need to play, we'll go play and hope for the best back home," Cash said.

JetBlue Park, the Red Sox's spring training home in Fort Myers, Florida, will serve as a headquarters for first responders during the storm.

JERRY'S BACK

Red Sox TV analyst Jerry Remy returned to the booth to broadcast Friday's game after undergoing surgery and treatment for lung cancer. The 64-year-old was diagnosed with a fifth recurrence of the cancer and stepped aside in June.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: RF Steven Souza Jr. left the game in the fourth inning after suffering a left knee bruise during a collision with the right-field wall. Initial tests revealed no structural damage and he will be re-evaluated Saturday. "As soon as it happened, I had a pretty sharp pain running through my kneecap," Souza said. ... RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Tommy John surgery recovery) and LHP Xavier Cedeno (forearm) will pitch for Double-A Montgomery in the Southern League playoffs Saturday.

Red Sox: INF/OF Eduardo Nunez experienced minor mid-back spasms during Wednesday's game and was out of the lineup. He is expected to return Saturday. ... LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) will throw two simulated innings of 15 to 18 pitches each on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Matt Andriese (5-2, 3.78 ERA) hopes to replicate the success of his last start at Fenway Park on May 14, when he tossed five two-run innings. Andriese is 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA lifetime against Boston.

Red Sox: LHP Sale (15-7, 2.85 ERA) looks to break out of his recent funk after going 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA in his last four starts. Sale is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in four starts against Tampa Bay this season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

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.