Red Sox

Wakeup call: Derek Lowe, Yankee; Metta World Peace, sex-crazed vampire

844023.jpg

Wakeup call: Derek Lowe, Yankee; Metta World Peace, sex-crazed vampire

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, August 14:

BASEBALL
That decision to pass on Derek Lowe isn't looking so hot now, Ben. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

On the other hand, trading Anibal Sanchez way back when wasn't such a bad idea. (Hardball Talk)

The Rays have won seven in a row, 10 of their last 12, and are taking charge of the wild-card race. (AP)

Craig Calcaterra finds it "mind-boggling" that the Nationals, adhering to a strict innings limit, plan to shut down Stephen Strasburg for the playoffs. (Hardball Talk) That makes all of us, Craig.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
And the hits just keep on coming: Penn State now has accreditation problems as a result of the Sandusky scandal. (AP)

Those responsible for putting Julius Peppers' transcript on a University of North Carolina Web site, take one step forward. (AP)

A UCLA linebacker is giving up football because of concussions. (AP)

GOLF
The Rory McIlroyTiger Woods comparisons have begun. (AP)

Yeah, your missing the cut at the PGA was all their fault, Lee. (AP)

HOCKEY
From the Do-As-I-Say-Not-As-I-Do playbook: Crying poverty in labor talks in the same year you get a raise. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) Well played, Bettman.

No wonder Alex Ovechkin is worried about a lockout. (CSN Washington)

Whether we get one or not may become clearer today, when the NHLPA makes its counteroffer. (AP)

Gear up, Bruins Nation: You'll be seeing Max Pacioretty in the bleu, blanc and rouge for at least six more years. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Turns out the Magic could have gotten Andrew Iguodala and Andrew Bynum in the Dwight Howard trade, but that would have messed with their we-want-to-suck strategy. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Metta World Peace, sex-crazed vampire elder. Sounds about right. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
Justin Tuck's had just about enough of this "the-Giants-didn't-win-it-we-lost-it" talk coming out of Green Bay and San Francisco. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Go figure: Joe Philbin didn't think Chad Johnson and the Dolphins were a good fit. (AP)

The news isn't all bad in New Orleans. The Saints were cleared by the state police and the FBI in their potential Spygate scandal. (AP)

Hey, Rex: We know you're going to run the wildcat with Tebow. No need for the Cone of Silence routine. (AP)

ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

yankees_aaron_judge_101717.jpg

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