Red Sox

Texeira rips Padilla

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Texeira rips Padilla

BOSTON -- Not many people fire up Mark Teixeira quite like Vicente Padilla. And following the 10-8 Yankees win on Friday night, in which Teixeira drove in the eventual winning run off Padilla with a seventh-inning triple, the Yankees first baseman ripped the Red Sox reliever for his history of throwing at hitters.

"He doesn't have a lot of friends in the game," said Teixeira after the game. "But, it was just a big win against an arch-rival, and the first game of a long series. We know it's going to be a very tough series. It feels good to get this first one."

Their history dates back to 2005, when Teixeira -- while with the Texas Rangers -- hit two home runs in his first two at-bats of the game against Padilla -- who was then pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies. In Teixeira's third at-bat of the game, Padilla hit him with a pitch.

The two were also teammates in Texas in 2006 and 2007, and had an uncomfortable encounter when Teixeira had to ask Padilla to stop purposely going after opposing players, because Teixeira thought that he was receiving most of the retaliation from opposing pitchers.

Then, when Teixeira was with the Yankees in 2009 and Padilla was still with the Rangers, Padilla hit Teixeira twice in the same game, causing Teixeira to lose his cool while heading down to first base.

On Friday night, with the Red Sox holding a 7-6 lead in the top of the seventh inning, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine brought in the right-hander Padilla to face the switch-hitting Teixeira, with runners on first and second and one out.

That one out came the at-bat prior, as big lefty Andrew Miller struck out Robinson Cano.

"I didnt care about the personal stuff and I knew Teixeira was 2-for-10 with a couple of home runs," said Valentine the game "But that wasnt this year with the way Padillas been throwing."

Teixeira said that he wasn't even expecting to see Padilla in that spot.

"I didn't even really notice Padilla warming up, because I was worried about Miller throwing 97," said Teixeira. "I mean, this guy's a big lefty, throwing 97, just struck out Cano. I wasn't even thinking that they were going to bring in somebody else. So I was kind of getting in my right-handed mode, to think about how I was going to hit against Miller. I was very surprised that they brought in Padilla."

Padilla came in, and this time, Teixeira was able to get the last laugh, as he ripped a 3-and-2 pitch into the triangle in center field, scoring two runs and giving the Yankees an 8-7 lead with a one-out triple.

Given the history of the two, still, Teixeira was "100 percent" convinced that Padilla wasn't going to throw at him in that spot.

"He's not going to want to mess around in this at-bat," said Teixeira. "Almost every at-bat he tries to throw at your head or tries to throw behind you or something screwy. But, with first and second and the game on the line, he's not going to do it then. So, I could actually dig in and look for a good pitch to hit.

"He's been pitching really well, too. So, I don't think he's going to be messing around there. It was definitely one of those at-bats where I knew I was going to get a pitch to hit.

"If no one is on, and if they have a three-run lead, then yeah, I'm probably thinking he's going to try to mess round and do what he does," he later added. "But in that situation, I don't think he's trying to put any more players on. He's not trying to let the runners advance. The game's on the line there. he's trying to get outs."

The triple started a four-run inning that ended up being the deciding factor. And when first asked about how much more satisfying it was to get that big of a hit off of Padilla, Teixeira gave the politically correct answer.

"I don't hit a lot of triples," he said. "I had a triple and a stolen base today. I don't think that's ever happened. I'll have to look at the Elias Sports Bureau for that one. But, it was just a big hit. It didn't matter who it was off of. It was a long game, and when you have a chance to win the game, it's just always a good feeling."

But when asked again, he admitted to that triple being even sweeter, coming against Padilla.

"A little bit. I mean, the guy throws at people," said Teixeira. "The fact of the matter. I'm not saying anything that's news. It is what it is. I've always just been someone that wants to play the game the right way. You play hard, but you don't play cheap. And, I've always just kind of lived that way too. Some guys decide to take matters into their own hands.

"In the NFL, he'd probably be suspended by Roger Goodell eight games or a whole season. But this is baseball."

While it wasn't the first time Teixeira had words for the way Padilla goes about his business on the mound, it sounds as if his passion for the subject won't make it his last.

"There's only one guy in baseball," said Teixeira. "No one else does this. That's the thing that's unbelievable to me. No one else in baseball does this. Whether he's changed his ways or whatever, I hope he does. And that's great, because he's a good pitcher. The guy's got really good stuff. And it'd be nice to just talk to him as a baseball player, not as someone who throws at people."

ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

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ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

HOUSTON -  Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

NLCS: Dodgers win first pennant since 1988 with 11-1 Game 5 rout of Cubs

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NLCS: Dodgers win first pennant since 1988 with 11-1 Game 5 rout of Cubs

CHICAGO -- Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

Fueled by a home run trilogy from their emotional utilityman, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.

Hernandez homered three times and drove in a record seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 rout in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."

After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping these Dodgers after they led the majors with 104 wins during the regular season. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and co-NLCS MVPs Justin Turner and Chris Taylor leading a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Co. to Los Angeles' last championship in 1988.

"Every night it is a different guy," Turner said, "and this is one of the most unbelievable teams I've ever been a part of."

Kershaw will be on the mound again when the Dodgers host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 of the ALCS at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.

Los Angeles made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short of its 22nd pennant each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when his team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.

The ace left-hander was just OK during his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' offense picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts and improved to 6-7 in the playoffs - matching Burt Hooton's club record for postseason wins.

"To get to be on the mound tonight and get to be going to the World Series on the same night, it's a special thing," Kershaw said. "Who knows how many times I'm going to get to go to the World Series? I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there. So, I'm definitely not taking this one for granted."

When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on . The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitors' dugout and chanted "Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!"

On the field, manager Dave Roberts hugged Lasorda and told the iconic skipper the win was for him.

"I bleed Dodger blue just like you," Roberts said. "Thank you, Tommy."

Hernandez connected on the first two pitches he saw, belting a solo drive in the second for his first career playoff homer and then a grand slam in the third against Hector Rondon. Hernandez added a two-run shot in the ninth against Mike Montgomery.

The 26-year-old Hernandez became the fourth player with a three-homer game in a league championship series, joining Bob Robertson (1971 NLCS), George Brett (1978 ALCS) and Adam Kennedy (2002 ALCS). Hernandez's seven RBIs tied a postseason record shared by four other players who all did it in a Division Series.

Troy O'Leary was the previous player to have seven RBIs in a playoff game, for Boston at Cleveland in the 1999 ALDS.

It was a stunning display for a player with 28 career homers who remains concerned about his native Puerto Rico, which is recovering from a devastating hurricane. He delivered a historic performance in front of his father, Enrique Hernandez Sr., who was diagnosed with a blood cancer related to leukemia in December 2015, but got word last November that he was in remission.

"For me to be able to come here and do something like this is pretty special," said Hernandez, who also goes by Kik�. "My body's here, but my mind's kind of back home. It's hard being away from home with what's going on.

"All I want to do right now is go to my dad and give him a big hug."

Kris Bryant homered for Chicago, but the NL Central champions finished with just four hits in another tough night at the plate. Each of their eight runs in the NLCS came via the long ball, and they batted just .156 for the series with 53 strikeouts.

Long playoff runs in each of the last two years and a grueling five-game Division Series against Washington seemed to sap Chicago of some energy, and its pitching faltered against sweet-swinging Los Angeles. Jose Quintana was pulled in the third inning of the final game, and the Cubs never recovered.

"They executed their plan," Bryant said. "They pitched great and the bullpen was lights out. That makes for a tough time scoring runs."

Turner and Taylor helped put it away for Los Angeles, contributing to a 16-hit outburst while closing out a pair of impressive performances.

Turner singled home Taylor in the Dodgers' five-run third, giving him seven RBIs in the series and 24 throughout his postseason career. Taylor finished with two hits and scored two runs as the Dodgers, who have won five straight NL West titles, improved to 7-1 in this postseason.

Taylor's versatility helped Los Angeles cover for the loss of All-Star shortstop Corey Seager, who missed the series with a back injury, but is expected to return in the next round. Coming off a breakout season, the 27-year-old Taylor hit .316 with two homers and scored five times against the Cubs.

"I couldn't be happier to be a part of this and be with these guys," Taylor said. "It's been an unbelievable year, and I'm just super excited."

OUT WITH A BANG

Hernandez joined Kennedy (2002), Adrian Beltre (2011), Reggie Jackson (1977 vs. the Dodgers) and Babe Ruth (1928) as players to hit three home runs in a postseason series clincher.

LIGHTS OUT

Dodgers relievers have thrown 23 consecutive scoreless innings, a postseason record.