Red Sox

Wakeup call: A CC of optimism for the Yankees

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Wakeup call: A CC of optimism for the Yankees

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, September 27:

BASEBALL
Now that's the CC Sabathia the Yankees are going to need in the postseason. (AP)

The Orioles blasted out of their mini-slump last night. (CSN Baltimore)

You lose seven of eight down the stretch -- and walk 12 guys in that seventh loss -- then you probably don't deserve to be in first place. Right, White Sox? (CSN Chicago)

And they're not. (AP)

Their championship predecessors of the '70s were called The Swingin' A's. These A's can claim the same nickname, though for a different reason . . . but still, they appear bound for the postseason, too. (CSN Bay Area)

Here come the Angels. (AP)

Tim Bogar won't be leaving the Red Sox. Not for Houston, anyway. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Davey Johnson isn't quite ready to commit to returning to the Nationals' dugout next season. (Hardball Talk)

Careful, Theo. Last time you trolled the free-agent waters for starting pitching, you came up with John Lackey. (CSN Chicago)

Well, well. Looks like the other Marlins players didn't take too kindly to Heath Bell's blasting of Ozzie Guillen. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Tom Osborne's calling it quits at Nebraska. (AP)

What is it with these college coaches and the media? (NBC's College Football Talk)

How daunting must your off-field problems be if you're the leading rusher on a winless team and they get rid of you anyway? (College Football Talk)

It appears new commissioner Mike Aresco has gotten the Big East a seat at the postseason playoff table. (AP)

GOLF
The Marked Man of Medinah. (AP) Sounds like a gothic novel, doesn't it?

HOCKEY
Wonder if Todd Bertuzzi's days begin with Sonny and Cher singing, "I got you, babe" . . . (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Apparently there'll be at least some players singing "I got mine, babe" despite the lockout. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Chris Bosh is healthy and very happy these days. (AP)

Sorry, Lakers. Dorell Wright says the Sixers got the real jewel of the offseason. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Youth is being served in Oklahoma City. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Praise the heavens. (AP)

Against all odds, we've found some folks who aren't dancing for joy at the return of the regular refs. (CSN Bay Area)

According to the guy who trained him, the replacement ref who messed up the final call in Monday night's game isn't good enough to officiate in Division I, let alone the NFL. (NBC's Off The Bench)

Who says there are no hearts in Vegas? (AP)

The Cardinals will have to go without Beanie Wells for a while. (AP)

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