Red Sox

Wakeup call: Magic in Baltimore, melee in Washington

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Wakeup call: Magic in Baltimore, melee in Washington

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, September 7:

BASEBALL
Attention, skeptics (and I'm at the head of that list): It's looking more and more like the Orioles are for real. (AP)

The magic is back -- in the stands as well as on the field -- at Camden Yards. (CSN Baltimore)

These Orioles are so exciting they've even got Cal Ripken interested again. (CSN Baltimore)

Mark Teixeira doesn't look like the cavalry, but he could be coming to the Yankees' rescue. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The Cubs-National brawl from the Chicago point of view. (CSN Chicago) Boiled-down version: Stop rubbing it in.

The Cubs-National brawl from the D.C. point of view. (CSN Washington) Boiled-down version: Stop crying, Sally.

They're having a hard time in Cubs Nation trying to figure out how the Red Sox passed up Dale Sveum for Bobby Valentine. (CSN Chicago)

Jered Weaver's tendinitis will force him to miss a start tonight against Detroit. (AP)

It turns out Brandon McCarthy suffered an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture when he was hit by the line drive Wednesday. (CSN Bay Area)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Attention, Billy Gillispie: It's never a good sign when your A.D. says he's "very concerned" about how you run your program. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Wait . . . I was sure I heard Ron from Vegas tell Felger & Mazz yesterday that Pitt was a good bet against Cincinnati. (AP)

GOLF
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods seemed to get a kick out of their mano-a-mano showdown in the first round of the BMW Championship. (golfchannel.com)

HOCKEY
At last, ultimate recognition for the Maple Leafs. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

If it's any consolation, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr won't get paid during the lockout, either. (Pro Hockey Talk) It's not? Well, I didn't think it would be.

PRO BASKETBALL
Sister joins brother in the Hall of Fame tonight. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Bountygate will rear its ugly head again today, when Judge Helen G. Berrigan issues her ruling on the NFLPA's motion to lift the suspensions of the Saints' players. (NBC's Pro Football Talk) Not that it will have any affect on this weekend, since the players -- who haven't practiced at all -- are unlikely to suit up Sunday even if they're reinstated.

Adrian Peterson says he's ready to go. (AP) We'll find out soon if the Vikings agree.

I just have a hard time getting my arms around Peyton Manning as a gang symbol. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Whaddya know. There's at least one guy in the NFL that Tim Tebow can "rattle". (Pro Football Talk) Too bad he's on the same team.

Yes, those were gasps of worry you heard yesterday afternoon from Houston. (Pro Football Talk)

The Lambeau Leap isn't all fun and games. (Pro Football Talk)

NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

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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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

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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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE