Red Sox

Wakeup call: The Yankee slide continues

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Wakeup call: The Yankee slide continues

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, September 4:

BASEBALL
They call it schadenfreude, and, personally, I'm not very big on it. Still, Red Sox fans looking for something, anything, to cheer about in these dark days may only have to look about 200 miles to the south. (AP)

One game out on September 4. This is one time where Castiglione-speak -- "Can you believe it?!?" -- actually applies. (CSN Baltimore)

Even though the baseball season has flatlined hereabouts, some recent Sox are finding it quite exciting. Right, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett? (AP)

Right, Kevin Youlkilis? (CSN Chicago)

Right, Marco Scutaro? (CSN Bay Area)

It's not really the optimal time for Jared Weaver to come down with shoulder problems. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Ditto the Rays' Jeff Niemann. (Hardball Talk)

The Red Sox can't do it, but someone's able to beat the A's. (CSN Bay Area)

The Giants -- again (or is it still?) -- wish Pablo Sandoval would push away from the table every once in a while. (Hardball Talk)

For the first time in 43 years, we have a winner in Washington. (CSN Washington)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
All's well that ends well, eh Virginia Tech? (NBC's College Football Talk)

Florida State's two-time All-ACC defensive lineman, Brandon Jenkins, is out for the season. (College Football Talk) Quite a price to pay for beating Murray State, 69-3.

Honey Badger's staying at LSU. (AP)

GOLF
That third-place finish in Norton made Tiger Woods the first 100 million man in PGA history. (AP)

Someone really ought to teach Luke Donald how to use Twitter. (AP)

HOCKEY
Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert are tying the knot. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Judging by how Magic fans are reacting, Dwight Howard should have saved the money he spent on that full-page ad. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

His NBA days may be over, but Allen Iverson is still in the headlines . . . albeit for all the wrong reasons. (CSN Philly)

PRO FOOTBALL
The Patriots are 10 million under the cap as the season begins. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Who needs training camp? Mike Wallace says he's good to go. (AP)

Maurice Jones-Drew is "ready to roll", too, but the Jaguars are going to limit his rolling on Sunday to third down. (AP)

And Brian Urlacher, who also missed most of camp (but for non-financial reasons), says he's playing Sunday as well, though no one's promising how effective he'll be. (AP)

The David Garrard Era in Miami may prove to be spectacularly short. (AP)

Tim Tebow. Jets. Wildcat. Getcher popcorn ready, Buffalo. (AP)

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