Red Sox

Sox plundered by Pirates, 6-4

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Sox plundered by Pirates, 6-4

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH The Red Sox continued their stumble through Interleague play, dropping their second straight game to the Pirates, 6-4, and fourth straight to National League teams.

In his second start against his former team, Tim Wakefield took the loss, falling to 4-3, with a 4.54 ERA.

Wakefield went six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks (one intentional), with two wild pitches, two strikeouts, and a home run. He threw 86 pitches, 49 strikes.

He was done in by a four-run fourth inning, when he faced eight Pirates batters. With a two-run lead, Wakefield gave up a 3-run homer to Lyle Overbay and an RBI single to pitcher Jeff Karstens.

Wakefield gave up another run in the next inning, when Chase dArnaud led off with a single followed by Garrett Jones double. DArnaud scored on Dustin Pedroias fourth error of the season, as Andrew McCutchens ground ball went through his legs.

The Pirates added another run in the seventh. Matt Albers, who started the inning, gave up a one-out solo homer to Jones. It was the first home run Albers has allowed since June 8, 2010, spanning 60 games and 77.i innings.

Jeff Karstens earned the win, improving to 5-4 (2.66). He went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts and three home runs. He threw 109 pitches, 68 strikes.

The Sox opened the scoring in the first when Dustin Pedroia walked with one out, stole second and went to third on catcher Mike McKenrys throwing error. He then scored on Adrian Gonzalezs groundout to shortstop Ronny Cedeno.

Solo home runs by Gonzalez in the third, and Josh Reddick and Jacoby Ellsbury in the seventh accounted for the rest of the Sox runs.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lyle Overbay
With the Pirates trailing by two runs in fourth, Overbays three-run homer in the fourth inning was the big blow they needed. Overbay, who went 1-for-3 with three RBI and an intentional walk, has more home runs, 13, against the Sox than he does against any other team. Although he entered the game hitting .231 for the season, he is batting .307 in his career against the Sox.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jeff Karstens
Karstens had not faced the Red Sox since 2007, while with the Yankees. He went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts, improving his record to 5-4 with a 2.66 ERA. Although he gave up three home runs, they were all solo shots, limiting the damage by the Sox. The Sox had runners on in every inning but the fourth, but could build no momentum against Karstens. In 11 Interleague games (six starts), he is 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA.

THE GOAT: Tim Wakefield
Given a 2-0 lead after three innings, Wakefield could not hold onto it, relinquishing the lead and the game in the fourth. He faced eight Pirates batters in the inning, giving up four runs on four hits and a walk. Wakefield went six innings, giving put five runs on seven hits and four walks (one intentional) with two strikeouts and two passed balls. His record fell to 4-3 with a 4.54 ERA.

THE TURNING POINT
After the Sox got out to an early 2-0 lead, with single runs in the first and third, the Pirates took the lead for good in the fourth. With one out, Andrew McCutchen singled, and Neil Walker walked, setting up Lyle Overbays three-run blast. Ronny Cedeno followed with a double. After Mike McKenry fouled out to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, pitcher Jeff Karstens singled up the middle, scoring Cedeno with his first RBI of the season. Jose Tabata grounded out to end the rally, but the Pirates took a lead they would not relinquish.

STAT OF THE DAY: 1-for-4
David Ortiz entered the game batting 1-for-3 with a home run as a pinch-hitter this season. He has not been in the starting lineup the last two games, as manager Terry Francona has had the difficult decision of sitting Ortiz. In each of the last two games, though, Ortiz has been called up in the late innings to pinch-hit in a crucial spot. Friday he came up in the eighth inning with the tying runs on second and third. On Saturday night, he led pinch-hit to lead off the ninth. Both times he was unsuccessful, making him 1-for-4 in pinch-hit situations this season. Francona said he is unlikely to start Ortiz at first base and Adrian Gonzalez in right field on Sunday, meaning Ortiz could be called on for similar pinch-hit situations.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
Weve lost six in a row before. Weve been 2-10 before. Were human. Everyone puts us out there to win 120 but we got, I dont know how many wins we have now, but whatever we have, we have to get one more.

-Kevin Youkilis on the Sox four-game losing streak

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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