Red Sox

Sox will not acquire Blanton from Phillies


Sox will not acquire Blanton from Phillies

By Sean McAdam

Overnight talk of a deal that would send pitcher Joe Blanton to the Red Sox appears to be grossly overstated.

A source familiar with the discussions betweenthe Phillies and Red Sox said Tuesday that the Monday talks neverprogressed to the pointwhere the clubs exchanged potential names from the Red Sox organization.

While numerous reports had Blanton heading to the Sox, a source familiar with the talks dismissed that out of hand.

"(I) don't know where this is coming from,'' said the source.

Sources confirm that the Phillies called the Red Sox Monday in an attempt to move Blanton and his remaining 17 million in salary, helping to clear the way for the signing of free agent Cliff Lee.

Readying to land Lee for five years, 120 million the Phils were desperate to shed salary. Blanton is scheduled to make 17 million over the next two seasons.

Naturally, the Phils called some big-market teams to determine interest in Blanton and, sources said, the Phils and Red Sox talked twice Monday regarding Blanton.

But failing to have a deal in place to move Daisuke Matsuzaka elsewhere, acquiring Blanton never made much sense for the Red Sox.

The Sox could use some starting pitching depth, with their reserve options down to 46-year-old Tim Wakefield. Junichi Tazawa is recovering from Tommy John surgery and may not be ready to start the year and Felix Doubront is, for now, ticketed for the bullpen.

Still, Blanton's 8.5 million was high for a "depth'' starter. The Red Sox weren't about to take on that kind of money and then have Blanton as a swingman, waiting around in case someone in the rotation went down with an injury or failed to perform.

Blanton, who just turned 30, was 9-6 with a 4.81 ERA in Philadelphia last year. Lifetime, he's a 72-60 with a 4.13. His best season was 2007 when he won 14 games and posted a 3.30 for Oakland. He pitched 4 12 season for the A's, working with current Red Sox pitching coach Curt Young, then the A's pitching coach.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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.