Red Sox

Yankees soldier on without captain Jeter

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Yankees soldier on without captain Jeter

NEW YORK -- And on the day after, the Yankees kept playing.

Hours after Derek Jeter, their starting shortstop and longtime captain, saw his season end with a gruesome ankle fracture in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS, the Yankees had no choice but to go about their business, even as Jeter underwent further tests to determine if surgery was necessary.

Sunday marked the first time since 1995 that Jeter wasn't in the lineup for a Yankees post-season game and the first time since 1981 that both Jeter and Mariano Rivera have been absent from a playoff lineup card.

"It's not a player you want to lose,'' said manager Joe Girardi. "There's no secret to that. He means a lot to this club and we understand that. There are other guys that we have lost during the course of the season that meant a lot to our club and we found a way. That's what we need to do.

"I know you're probably hearing me say it a lot today. But if you want to move on, you have got to find a way. You're still throwing nine guys out there in the lineup that are very capable.''

In the short term, the Yankees activated Eduardo Nunez to take Jeter's spot on the 25-man roster, but Girardi went with Jayson Nix as his choice at shortstop for Game 2.

"I'll just go day-by-day,'' said Girardi, "which I always do. I don't like getting ahead of myself. I don't think there is a lot of value in that. Yet (Nunez) can provide some excitement. Does anyone remember how (Nix) swung the bat in the last series? Pretty darned good. He missed winning one game with a home run, he had a double. I like his at-bats and he's a grinder.

"He's one of the guys that got us here, and that's what I'm doing it.''

As for the batting order, Girardi elevated Ichiro Suzuki from second to leadoff, Jeter's customary spot.

Suzuki hit a two-run homer in the ninth Saturday night to key the Yanks' four-run comeback rally and had three other hits.

"Eventually, I had to move somebody up,'' explained Girardi. "If you lose somebody in the fifth spot, there are only four guys below you. But when you lose the guy in the one spot, you have move everybody up. That's basically what we did.''

As crushing as the loss of Jeter is to the Yankees, it's not their first injury of this magnitude. Early in the season, closer Mariano Rivera went down for the year with a knee injury while shagging fly balls in batting practice in Kansas City.

"We had to move on from a lot of different things this year,'' Girardi said. "We've lost the greatest closer of all-time where people left us for dead . . . And what would Derek say? 'I'm great, let's go.' And that would be his message. We have to find a way. We've done it all year long and we're going to have to do it again.''

Meanwhile, Joe Torre, who managed Jeter to four world championships, said the Yankees must find a way to solider on without him.

"They have to,'' said Torre. "That's the mentality of teams that play in the post-seaosn. This is obviously a setback that good clubs in the post-season have to fight their way back from.''

Torre, who works for Major League Baseball, was on hand Saturday and knew immediately that the injury was serious when Jeter didn't get up off the infield dirt.

"He lays there for a while, and you know it's something more than getting the wind getting knocked out of you,'' said Torre.

He recalled Opening Day 2003 when Jeter suffered a separated shoulder after Toronto catcher Ken Huckabee landed on Jeter at third base. Jeter ended up missing two months.

"I went out there at third base,'' recalled Torre, "and he turned over and said, 'I'll be in there in tomorrow.' I said, 'OK.' It takes a lot for him to be helped off the field.''

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve embraced Justin Verlander as confetti rained down. An improbable thought just a few years ago, the Houston Astros are headed to the World Series.

Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. combined on a three-hitter, Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Astros reached the World Series for only the second time by blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Verlander, the ALCS MVP , and fellow Houston ace Dallas Keuchel will have plenty of rest before the World Series begins at sweltering Dodger Stadium.

"I love our personality," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We have the right amount of fun, the right amount of seriousness, the right amount of perspective when we need it. This is a very, very unique group. To win 100 games and still be hungry is pretty remarkable."

The Astros will try for their first World Series title, thanks in large part to Altuve , the diminutive second baseman who swings a potent bat, and Verlander, who switched teams for the first time in his career to chase a ring.

Four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees on consecutive nights after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first crown, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

"This city, they deserve this," McCullers said.

Clutch defensive plays by third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer helped Houston improve to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and become the fifth team in major league history to capture a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four. A noted curveballer, McCullers finished up with 24 straight breaking pitches to earn his first major league save.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron JudgeGary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

"I know people are going to talk about how we didn't win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven't won many games on the road, either. We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The Astros also eliminated New York in the 2015 postseason, with Keuchel winning the AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia entered 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double. He snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night in a 7-1 win.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York went 1-6 on the road this postseason.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who lost to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS exactly 13 years earlier.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh.

With McCullers in charge, the Astros soon closed it out.

"It's not easy to get here. And I don't take any of this for granted. And this is what we play for," Verlander said. "These are the experiences that you remember at the end of your career when you look back, winning these games, just playing the World Series. Hopefully winning the World Series."

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Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.