Red Sox

Sox lose 14-inning game to Royals, 3-1

191542.jpg

Sox lose 14-inning game to Royals, 3-1

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON Apparently the Red Sox cant just beat up on the pathetic Mariners every single night.

The Sox certainly didnt play well enough to beat the Kansas City Royals, and played just badly enough in a rain-delayed 14th inning marathon session to lose by a 3-1 score at Fenway Park.

Mike Aviles pushed a run across with a squeeze bunt and an Alcides Escobar sacrifice fly to center field gave KC an insurance run while saddling reliever Randy Williams with his first loss as a member of the Sox.

The Sox had three chances in the final five innings to win the game with a runner on third base and less than two outs, but frustratingly came up empty each time in an impressive show of extra inning futility.

The Red Sox scored their lone run in the bottom of the second inning with two outs after Carl Crawford reached on a fielders choice. Crawford scampered to second base for his 11th stolen base of the season and then scored on a Josh Reddick double that was smoked to the gap between right field and center field.

Lester protected the one-run lead for nearly his entire return outing from a strained left lat, but faltered in the sixth inning as fatigue caught up to him. Melky Cabrera opened the frame up with a single and then scored all the way from first base on a Billy Butler double into the left field corner. Butler was gunned down trying to advance to third base, and Lesters night was over after 89 pitches when he walked Eric Hosmer as the next batter he faced.

Lester finished with 5 13 innings pitched and was strong in his first outing back from the left lat injury. He fanned Alex Gordon three times in three at bats and finished with six strikeouts and seven hits allowed while working into the sixth frame before handing things over to Matt Albers.

The Sox flirted with opportunities to win in the earlier innings, but Carl Crawford fanned with chances to win it for Boston in the ninth and eleventh inning. Marco Scutaro appeared to miss a squeeze signal with the winning run on third base in the bottom of the 12th frame, and Josh Reddick was gunned down between third base and home plate. Scutaro compounded the error by getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double for the third out of the inning.

Player of the Game: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer collected three hits and scored the game-winning run in the 14th inning on a successful squeeze bunt by third baseman Mike Aviles. Hosmer got the decisive rally going by clubbing a double to left field off left-hander Randy Williams to lead off the final frame, and gave Kansas City some legitimate danger in the middle of their offensive lineup.

Honorable Mention: Melky Cabrera ended up on the winning side of things, but he rapped our four hits and was the most consistent offensive force for either team in the first game of the four-game series. Cabrera has been mentioned as a possible trading chip for the Royals with July 31 approaching, and perhaps his offensive outburst provided a little bit of a showcase for a Red Sox team searching for a right-handed hitting outfielder. It was Cabreras second four-hit game of the season. It also bears mentioning that he was thrown out twice attempting to steal by Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

The Goat: Marco Scutaro had a golden chance to end the game in the bottom of the 12th inning with Josh Reddick at third base and only one out. The Sox dugout called for a squeeze play and Scutaro failed to get the bunt down with Reddick charging in hard from third base on an inside fastball from reliever Louis Coleman. Reddick was dead between third base and home plate, and Scutaro worsened the situation by scorching a ball to left field and getting gunned down at second base for the third inning. Carl Crawford fanned with chances to win the game in the bottom of the ninth and 11th innings, but it was Scutaro that botched the golden opportunity.

Turning Point: Twice Carl Crawford came to the plate in the ninth and 11th innings with the winning run at third base, and twice the left fielder fanned to throw cold water on the rally. The at bat in the ninth inning was his poorest plate appearance since coming off the DL as he waved weakly at a pair of pitches before going down on a checked swing strike three call. If Crawford comes through in one of those two opportunities then nobody is talking about Scutaros botched squeeze play or the 14th inning.

By the Numbers: 2:21 the time of rain delay before the Red Sox and Royals finally got down to business after 9:30 p.m. at Fenway Park on an unseasonably chilly July evening at the ballpark.

Quote of Note: I bleeped it up. We had a lot of opportunities to win this game today and we didnt do the little things. We missed signs and we didnt get runs home from third base. We threw this one away pretty much. Marco Scutaro when asked what was going through his mind after he realized that he missed a squeeze sign and Josh Reddick was in no mans land between third base and home plate in the bottom of the 12th inning.

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

ALCS: Judge, Sabathia lead Yankees past Astros, 8-1

yankees_aaron_judge_catch_101617.jpg

ALCS: Judge, Sabathia lead Yankees past Astros, 8-1

NEW YORK -- Back in the Bronx, the big guys delivered.

Greeted by an array of "All Rise" signs in a ballpark that fits their style, Aaron Judge hit a three-run homer and made a pair of sparkling catches, leading CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 8-1 Monday night and cutting their deficit to 2-1 in the AL Championship Series.

Todd Frazier hit a go-ahead, three-run homer into the short porch in right field in the second inning against Charlie Morton.

The 6-foot-7 Judge entered in a 4-for-31 (.129) postseason slump that included one home run, four RBIs and 19 strikeouts. The slugger capped a five-run fourth with a laser of a drive to left field off Will Harris and robbed Yuli Gurrieland Cameron Maybin of extra-base hits.

"You see a guy put his head basically through the wall and then dive," Frazier said. "The ground is going to shake when he hits the ground."

Sabathia, almost as big at 6-foot-6, allowed three hits over six scoreless innings for his first postseason win in five years. The Yankees stopped a seven-game ALCS losing streak dating to Sabathia's victory over Texas in 2010 - when Judge had just started his freshman year at Fresno State.

After a pair of 2-1 losses in Houston, the Yankees led 8-0 after four innings.

"Just the energy, the fans," Sabathia said. "We can kind of feed off their energy."

New York improved to 4-0 at home this postseason. The Yankees were an AL-best 51-30 at home this season.

"We're somewhat built for this ballpark," manager Joe Girardi said.

Houston scored on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth before postseason star Jose Altuve grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.

Sonny Gray starts Game 4 for New York in the best-of-seven series on 11 days' rest Wednesday against Lance McCullers Jr.

Frazier got the Yankees rolling, taking an awkward hack at a low, outside fastball and slicing an opposite-field drive over the right-field scoreboard.

"You don't think it's going, just because how unorthodox the swing was," Frazier said.

Judge used his height and long left arm to make a leaping catch with his left shoulder slamming into the right-field wall against Gurriel starting the fourth.

Being a rookie, he politely waited outside the dugout for all the veterans to descend the steps after the third out - as he always does - then capped a five-run bottom half with a laser of a line drive that just cleared the left-field wall.

Then in the fifth, he sprinted into short right for a diving backhand catch on Maybin.

On the first chilly night of the autumn with a game-time temperature of 57, Sabathia relied on the sharp, slow slider that has helped revive the former flamethrower's career.

Pitching with caution to Houston's dangerous lineup, he walked four, struck out five and pitched shutout ball for the first time in 21 career postseason starts. During the regular season, he was 9-0 in 10 starts following Yankees' losses.

"It's weird, me being 37, smoke and mirrors, getting a shutout," Sabathia said.

Adam Warren followed with two hitless innings, Dellin Betances walked his only two batters and Tommy Kahnle finished. Houston had four hits, leaving it with just 15 over the first three games, and is batting .169 in the matchup.

Morton was chased after 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs and six hits: three infield singles, a bloop single to center, a double that Maybin allowed to fall in left and Frazier's homer.

'"'If you were to show me a video of the swing, show the pitch speed and the location, I would have never thought that," Morton said. "That was unbelievable."

A New Jersey native who grew up a Yankees fan, Frazier entered 7 for 18 against Morton with two home runs. With Frank Sinatra's version of "Fly Me to the Moon" as his walk-up music, Frazier hit not-quite a moonshot, driving a pitch just 18 1/2 inches above the dirt 365 feet with pretty much just his left arm. That gave the Yankees their first lead of the series.

Frazier motioned to his family in the stands and looked at his left wrist.

"I'm pointing to them and saying: What time is it? It's my time," he said.

He remembers sitting in the seats at old Yankee Stadium watching Jim Leyritz's 15th-inning home beat Seattle in the 1995 playoffs.

"It's such a cool feeling," Frazier said. "I wish everybody could feel basically what I'm going through."

Houston loaded the bases with two outs in the third on a pair of two-out walks around Alex Bregman's single. But Carlos Correa popped out on a fastball in on his fists.

"I know he likes to get his hands extended," Sabathia said.

Sabathia raised both arms and pointed toward Judge after his catch in the fourth.

"I don't know what got hurt worse, the wall or him," plate umpire Gary Cederstrom was heard to say by one of Fox's microphones.

New York broke open the game in the bottom half. Chase Headley hit a run-scoring infield single - ending an 0-for-28 slide by New York designated hitters in the postseason. Brett Gardner was hit on a leg by a pitch, loading the bases, and Harris came in and threw a wild pitch that allowed Frazier to come home from third.

"Judge did what Judge has done 50-plus times, which is hit the ball out of the ballpark when he gets a pitch to hit," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

ALTUVE'S WEB GEMS

Altuve made two fine stops on Did Gregorius, first a backhand stop on his third-inning grounder and then a shuffle pass to Harris covering first for the final out of the fourth after a hard grounder off first baseman Marwin Gonzalez's glove.

APPLAUSE

Girardi, booed by fans after failing to call for a replay in Game 2 of the Division Series, was cheered when introduced.

"It's a reminder of how quickly things can change in your life," he said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: RHP Luis Severino is on track to pitch a Game 6. He was removed after four innings and 62 pitches in Game 2 because Girardi felt he was "underneath" the ball. Girardi said Severino did not need any tests and is OK.

Asked whether Severino was understanding, Girardi said: "I think two days later, yes, a little bit more."

"I asked him if he still hated me, and he said, `no,'" Girardi added.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

BOSTON — Brad Ausmus was the second person to interview to replace John Farrell as Red Sox manager, baseball sources confirmed Monday afternoon. The Sox are expected to interview Ron Gardenhire, the Diamondbacks' bench coach, as well.

But the net might not be cast too wide. More and more, it sounds like the Sox already know who they want.

Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who met with Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in New York on Sunday, appears the frontrunner to take the reins next year. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal has reported that to be the case multiple times, and for some inside the Sox organization, that's a growing feeling as well.

MORE:

The criteria the Sox value most isn't hard to guess: a strong connection with players, an ability to incorporate data and analytics; and someone who can handle the market.

"I knew Alex for a couple of years before getting a chance to work with him and had tried to recruit him to work a few years ago and he had other options," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday in New York, before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. "To watch him develop relationships with the players, he's all about baseball. He's all about the competition and small advantages within the game, one of the brightest baseball intellects that I've been around. And to see him pass some of that on and transition from player to TV personality to coach, he's had a ton of impact.

"He challenges people. He challenges me. He's someone who's all about winning. And I think to watch our players respond to him, he's got a lot of respect in that clubhouse because of the work he puts in and the attention to detail that he brings. That's why he's the hottest managerial candidate on the planet and deservedly so."

Cora joined the Astros before this season.

Ausmus, whom Dombrowski hired in Detroit ahead of the 2014 season, grew up in Connecticut and went to Dartmouth. The 48-year-old spent 18 seasons as a big-league catcher, the last in 2010. He was working for the Padres before Dombrowski gave him his first shot at managing the Tigers. 

Ausmus went 314-332 in four years managing the Tigers, a more veteran team than might have been ideal for him as a first-time manager.

Ausmus pulled out of the running to interview with the Mets, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag while Cora was expected to interview with the Mets on Monday or Tuesday, per the New York Post's Mike Puma.

What could change from here? One baseball source indicated a second interview with Cora was expected. Asked if he plans a second round of interviews generally, Dombrowski did not say.

"We have started the interview process," Dombrowski wrote via email. "I do not have any specific time frames at this point. Will wait and evaluate as we go through the process."

The Boston Herald's Chad Jennings first reported Ausmus' interview.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE