Red Sox

Tigers' Cabrera banned seven games, Yankees' Sanchez four for fight

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Tigers' Cabrera banned seven games, Yankees' Sanchez four for fight

NEW YORK - Two of baseball's biggest hitters were suspended Friday after taking some menacing swings with their fists.

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was banned seven games and New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez got barred four games for their actions on a fight-filled afternoon at Comerica Park.

Major League Baseball handed out the penalties one day after the Yankees and Tigers got into a trio of beanball-related clashes during Detroit's 10-6 victory.

Also suspended were Tigers reliever Alex Wilson (four games), New York catcher Austin Romine (two games) and Detroit manager Brad Ausmus (one game). All four players were appealing and remain eligible until the process is complete.

Sanchez, an All-Star bopper on a powerful tear at the plate lately, was in the lineup for Friday night's home game against Seattle, catching and batting third for the playoff contenders.

"It's going to be four games that I'm not going to be able to help the team and I know they need me, so it's not a good feeling," he said through a translator.

New York began the day 4+ games behind first-place Boston in the AL East but leading the wild-card race.

Cabrera and Wilson also contested their penalties, keeping them available for Friday night's game at the Chicago White Sox. Ausmus can still manage until Wilson's situation is decided.

Detroit entered 55-71, far out of the playoff chase in the American League.

Cabrera, who squared off with Romine at home plate in the most furious fight of the day, was annoyed that 6-foot-7, 282-pound Yankees rookie Aaron Judge was not punished. The two-time AL MVP said Judge and Sanchez tried to hit him while he was on the ground.

"There was a lot of people going after me over there and I got a suspension," Cabrera said in Chicago. "I'm not surprised. They're MLB, they do whatever they want and they have to control this situation. But be fair. See the video, see the people who throw punches, see the people who were after me when I was on the floor. That's it."

Replays clearly showed Sanchez throwing punches at prone Tigers players who were down near the bottom of piles.

"Things got out of control pretty quickly there," Sanchez said. "I have a really good relationship with Romine. In the moment of everything, instinct takes over. I went out there to defend my teammate, my team. Definitely the situation got out of control a little bit there, but at the end of it all, what you're trying to do is you're trying to go out there and protect your team."

Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, ejected after hitting Tigers catcher James McCann in the helmet with a pitch, was not suspended or even fined.

Detroit starter Michael Fulmer also avoided any punishment despite hitting Sanchez with a pitch after he homered off the right-hander.

The announcement was made by Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager who is now Chief Baseball Officer for MLB. In all, there were eight ejections in the game.

All five individuals who got suspended also were fined an undisclosed amount. Others fined for their actions included Yankees manager Joe Girardi, bench coach Rob Thomson, outfielder Brett Gardner, reliever Tommy Kahnle and Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias.

Kahnle was ejected for throwing behind Cabrera after Sanchez was plunked by Fulmer.

"The guy threw at me," Cabrera said, not buying Kahnle's explanation that the pitch simply got away. "C'mon, why didn't you say you threw? Be a man and say you threw."

Wilson and Ausmus were ejected in the eighth inning after Wilson hit Todd Frazier around the thigh with a pitch, prompting the benches to clear for a third time.

Wilson essentially acknowledged he drilled Frazier on purpose to "take care" of his teammates and "make a stand." The pitcher felt as though that contributed to his suspension.

"In this case, I think, honesty was not the best policy," Wilson said, adding that he was only surprised by the length of his ban. "It's amazing to me. I tell the truth versus not saying anything, and somebody watches the video, that it's a difference. But obviously, it is at this point. I guess lesson learned."

"I really don't think I did anything wrong. I didn't hurt anybody. I put a bruise on the guy's leg - and that's the first ball that was below the waist on the day," he added. "From where I stand, it could have been a lot worse. But lesson learned on speaking the truth in certain situations and we'll move on."

MLB said Cabrera was suspended for "inciting the first bench-clearing incident and fighting," while Sanchez was penalized "for fighting, including throwing punches."

The news release also said Wilson was punished "for intentionally throwing a pitch" at Frazier "while warnings were in place for both sides." Romine was banned for "fighting, including throwing punches," and Ausmus got barred "for the intentional actions of Wilson while warnings were in place."

"I still think I was defending myself," said Romine, whose brother, Andrew, plays for the Tigers.

A pair of Yankees players, first baseman Garrett Cooper and outfielder Clint Frazier, received fines for going onto the field while they were on the disabled list.

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.