Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Sox continue to struggle with RISP

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Red Sox notes: Sox continue to struggle with RISP

By Jessica Camerato and Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - The bases were loaded twice. There were runners in scoring position 11 times. The Boston Red Sox had plenty of opportunities to beat the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night at Fenway Park, where they had not been shutout in over a year.

But they didnt. For the third time this season, they failed to score a single run.

The Red Sox know they have to fix this.

Were just not getting the job done, said Adrian Gonzalez. Theres been plenty of games where weve had an opportunity to put the game away and we havent been able to make it happen.

The Red Sox (11-15) connected on seven hits, just one less than the Mariners (13-15), but left 11 men on base in their 2-0 loss. It was the most men left on base in a shutout since a June 15, 2005 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Its a lot of the same thing, said Terry Francona. We get in situations like that and were swinging at a lot of off-speed pitches and not staying in the middle of the field . . . We had a few opportunities and didnt do anything.

After starting off the season 0-6, the Red Sox finished the month of April with 11 wins. Even though Kevin Youkilis noted an improvement, that still isnt good enough for a team with such high expectations.

We havent played anywhere close to where we want to play, he said. And were going to play great ball at some point and we just hope everyone stays patient with us. Its very frustrating for everybody. Everyone in this clubhouse is frustrated, we want to win more than anyone else.

We understand the frustrations out there and people pay a lot of good money to come to these games. We know theyre frustrated. Just so everyone knows, were really frustrated too.

The Red Sox are now tied for the league lead in getting shutout (three times), with the Angels and White Sox. John Lackey has taken the loss in the last two, despite throwing quality starts in both.

The Red Sox are now 52-for-245 (.212) with runners in scoring position.

Youkilis left the game with stiffness in his hip. He injured his hip on slide earlier this week. Francona is uncertain if he will play in Sundays game. Its all right, said Youkilis. Its a little tight and hopefully overnight itll be a little better.

Mariners left fielder Milton Bradley was ejected in the top of the third inning by second-base umpire Gerry Davies for arguing the call after catcher Miguel Olivo was called out at first on a throw from Youkilis. It was the 18th ejection of Bradleys career and the first since April 16, 2009 as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Two Red Sox extended hitting streaks of note on Saturday:

Jacoby Ellsbury (1-3, 2 BB): 9-games, batting .385 during streak

Adrian Gonzlaez (1-3, BB): 7 games, batting .433 during streak

Dustin Pedroia drew his 18th walk of the season - and the month of April - on Saturday. His previously monthly high was 17 walks in May of 2009.

J.D. Drew connected on his 1,400th career hit with a double in the bottom of the sixth. With a walk in the same inning, Carl Crawford is now two walks shy of the 300 mark.

Reliever Dan Wheeler made his ninth appearance of the season in the eighth inning. Earlier in the day, threw out the first pitch for the Westside Little League, his former Little League program in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Clay Buchholz was sent home from Fenway on Friday when he was not feeling well. As a result, he will be pushed from his schedule start, Sunday against the Ms at Fenway, to face the Angels Monday. Tim Wakefield will take Buchholzs place Sunday. Matsuzakas next scheduled start would be Wednesday against the Angels. Francona, though, is reserving a decision.

Buchholz went home and had a pretty good night sleep but well give him a day to get some strength under his belt, Francona said. Then well get by another day or two to kind of watch these guys and see where everybody is and then well kind of put it together. Whether its on Dices day, we have to ability to do a few things so well see how Dice is feeling.

Were up to Monday. Thats kind of where were at.

How Wakefields start will play out how deep he will go into the game is uncertain. Since throwing 3 13 innings against the Rays at Fenway on April 11, Wakefield has pitched a total of two innings one each on April 18 against the Blue Jays and April 27 in Baltimore.

We dont know, Francona said. I actually talked to Wake about that earlier. I said, Stay with me tomorrow, because of all people Wakes a little hard to read. His velocitys always the same. That doesnt mean hes not tired or his legs arent going. So well stay with him.

Who will catch him is uncertain. Varitek caught Friday and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is in the starting lineup tonight. Conventional wisdom day game after a night game would put Varitek behind the plate.

I dont know quite what were going to do yet, Francona said. Obviously there's a lot of moving parts today.

On this date in 1901, the Boston Americans, as the franchise was then known, earned the first victory in team history, beating the Philadelphia Athletics 8-6 in 10 innings in Philadelphia. Cy Young earned the complete-game win. The team was renamed the Red Sox before the 1908 season.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

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.

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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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