Celtics

McDonald gets hot in chilly Chi-Town

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McDonald gets hot in chilly Chi-Town

CHICAGO -- On a bitterly cold night, with temperatures hovering near freezing at U.S. Cellular Field, no one needed to get hotter more than Darnell McDonald.

McDonald came into Friday's game with a batting average of .100, and his playing time had been reduced ever since the acquisition of Marlon Byrd.

But getting into the lineup against lefty John Danks, McDonald made the most of his opportunity. With the bases full in the sixth inning, he laced a three-run double to left. Then, in his final at-bat in the ninth, he added a solo homer, giving him a career-best four RBI.

"It's definitely better than going 0-for,'' said McDonald. "It's a crazy game. You go from feeling so good in spring training and starting the season off to not feeling good up there at the plate. I had two at-bats tonight where I didn't feel good and I just told myself, 'Just simplify things. Just go up there and try to see the ball, hit the ball and just go back to Little League.

"You start thinking about too many things and it's tough to hit that way.''

As an extra outfielder, McDonald has gone from regular, almost daily at-bats in spring training to playing only a couple of times per weeks. It's never an easy adjustment.

"It's tough,''acknowledged McDonald. "But that's my role, so I try to do the best I can to prepare myself for my at-bats. I think the toughest part is you have to sleep on those (unsuccessful) at-bats and wait until your next go-around. But hitting is contagious and guys have been swinging the bats really well and I was able to get in there and get a couple of knocks tonight.''

In the sixth, with three baserunners aboard, McDonald abandoned his approach to take the perfect swing and instead focused on being aggressive.

"I was able to put the barrell on the baseball,'' he said.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.

7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.

11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far. 

16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

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ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

HOUSTON -  Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE