Red Sox

ALDS: Tanaka, Bird keep Yankees alive with 1-0 win in Game 3

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ALDS: Tanaka, Bird keep Yankees alive with 1-0 win in Game 3

NEW YORK - Good thing for Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees that Aaron Judge is 6-foot-7.

Judge prevented a home run to save Tanaka's seven-inning gem, Greg Bird homered off relief ace Andrew Miller and New York edged the Cleveland Indians 1-0 Sunday night in Game 3 to extend their AL Division Series.

"He was brilliant," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about Tanaka, who earned his first postseason win. "He gave us everything we needed."

Aroldis Chapman got a five-out save as the Yankees avoided a three-game sweep by the defending AL champions. With two on in the ninth, Chapman struck out cleanup hitter and former Reds teammate Jay Bruce before Carlos Santana flied out to end it.

New York got a splendid performance from Tanaka in an old-fashioned October pitching duel with Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco. Tanaka received a big boost when Judge robbed Francisco Lindor of a two-run homer in the sixth.

Bird came through with the huge hit New York had to have when he connected against Miller in the seventh.

"I was really excited, I'm not going to lie," said Bird, who was pumped up as he returned to the dugout.

Game 4 is Monday night at Yankee Stadium, with young ace Luis Severino scheduled to start for New York. Cleveland will go with Game 1 winner Trevor Bauer on three days' rest, though there's rain in the forecast.

"I consider this normal rest for me. I enjoy pitching on short (rest)," Bauer said. "If I could draw it out, personally, this is how I'd pitch every time."

New York rebounded from a bruising, 13-inning loss Friday in Game 2 that led to heavy criticism of Girardi, booed Sunday night by the home crowd during pregame introductions.

"Not the first time. I kind of expected it," Girardi said, acknowledging it's no fun to hear catcalls. "I've seen them boo players and managers that have a lot more status than I do. So I prepared for it. I prepared my family for it."

This was the Yankees' first 1-0 postseason victory since Game 3 of their 2001 ALDS against Oakland, when Derek Jeter's backhanded flip beat Jeremy Giambi to the plate for a crucial, memorable out.

Judge's grab was the big defensive play Sunday. With a runner on first in a scoreless game, Lindor lofted a sixth-inning drive toward the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. Judge backed up to the wall and barely needed to jump to extend his glove above the fence and make the catch, just to the right of the auxiliary scoreboard.

"Who better to reach up there and grab it than him?" Bird said.

The sellout crowd of 48,614 roared and Judge flashed a bright smile. It was the first time the rookie had robbed an opponent of a home run and the first time Lindor had ever been so denied, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Tanaka tipped his cap in appreciation and held Cleveland down until he was done. The right-hander, beaten 3-0 by Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros in the 2015 AL wild-card game, struck out seven, walked one and allowed three hits.

He whiffed three of his first four batters and was aided by two double plays.

"That's the best performance that I've seen from him," Girardi said.

The biggest test for Tanaka came in the fourth, after Jason Kipnis' one-out triple glanced off the thumb of Judge's glove in deep right field and rolled away.

Tanaka beared down and fanned No. 3 batter Jose Ramirez and Bruce, then turned to shout and slapped his mitt in excitement.

"I came here to pitch in these type of games," Tanaka said through a translator.

Bruce struck out four times batting fourth in place of injured slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who sat out after leaving Game 2 with a sprained right ankle. Michael Brantley filled in for Encarnacion as the designated hitter and went 0 for 2 with a walk.

Tanaka delivered under pressure in his second career playoff start. After going 13-12 with a 4.74 ERA during an inconsistent season, he was pitching on eight days' rest but looked plenty sharp.

In his previous outing, he struck out a career-high 15 over seven scoreless innings in his final regular-season start against Toronto.

Carrasco matched Tanaka into the sixth.

The right-hander, who was 11-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 17 road starts this season, gave up three hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. Also helped by two double plays, he struck out seven and was lifted with the bases loaded.

Miller retired Starlin Castro on a popup to end the inning.

"That's two of the better starting performers you're going to see," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

J.D. Martinez's deal makes Dave Dombrowski, John Henry look good

J.D. Martinez's deal makes Dave Dombrowski, John Henry look good

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The marriage felt arranged. The engagement was definitely too long. At the altar, they proved a perfect match.

J.D. Martinez’s five-year, $110 million contract with the Red Sox, which isn’t yet official but has been confirmed to NBC Sports Boston, created a night that was uncommon for the Red Sox in the last year: nothing but love.

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in October took responsibility for providing a subpar offense in 2017. At last, he addressed an admitted shortcoming with the best available option, at a reasonable price to boot.

In front of the microphones Monday morning, Red Sox ownership did not acknowledge their most basic of obligations: to improve every winter. John Henry and Tom Werner suggested they had made sufficient changes.

Later in the day, Henry and Werner put their money where their mouth earlier was not.

MORE J.D. MARTINEZ:

Doling out dollars is not always the solution, as the Red Sox and many teams have learned over the years. But in this case, a situation where the Sox were so clearly missing one thing — a bat capable of 40 home runs, someone whose production might come close to David Ortiz’s — dipping into free agency made sense. The depressed market and the state of the Sox farm system made a signing even more logical compared to a trade. There was greater impetus to act now, too, because of the likelihood this group looks somewhat different in coming years.

Missing out on Martinez would have been problematic. The posturing throughout the negotiations was constant from both sides, and sometimes downright aggravating to listen to. But the Sox did what they had to, and Martinez is still positioned to get a full slate of at-bats with the Sox this spring to be ready for Opening Day. Long wait, no foul.

One has to hope, and assume, that the Sox dug in on Martinez’s background, personality and character to best predict how he’ll fit in Boston. He’s not an Eric Hosmer, center-of-the-clubhouse figure. He’s a thoughtful and confident hitter, someone who was released four spring trainings ago by the Astros and signed with the Tigers on a minor league deal — Dombrowski’s old Tigers. Martinez handled the pressure of a pennant race last season in Arizona, although Arizona is a wee bit different.

The contract can work out well for both sides. Martinez surely wanted more, but he’s getting $50 million over the first two years and $72 million in the first years if he chooses not to take one of his two potential opt outs. He can become a free agent after Year 2 or Year 3, and has the insurance of two more years if he doesn’t want to test the market again.

Dombrowski has taken a lot of flack here and elsewhere for being an inefficient spender, for not squeezing out value when he can and should. He took the Martinez pursuit right up to the first day of full workouts at JetBlue Park (and Martinez’s agent, Scott Boras, took it there as well). But Dombrowski squeezed out value.

Martinez’s production at the plate is on par with some of the absolute best, even if he is a late-blooming star who isn’t as well known as say, Giancarlo Stanton.

From 2014-16, Ortiz had a .937 OPS. From 2014-17, Bryce Harper had a .937 OPS. Martinez had a .936 OPS.

The top slugging percentages from 2014-17, with a minimum of 1,500 plate appearances: Mike Trout, .579, Martinez .574, Stanton .573 and Ortiz .564.

Via BaseballSavant.com creator Daren Willman, Martinez barreled up 19.5 percent of batted balls last season, third most in the majors behind Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo.

Speaking of Judge — he has a partner in the lineup in Stanton. The Astros added top pitcher Gerritt Cole. Finally, the Red Sox added a big piece of their own. They did what they had to, and Dombrowski, Sam Kennedy and the Sox owners should be applauded for that.

Now, can they upgrade the bullpen? Just kidding. Mostly.

MORE J.D. MARTINEZ:

Twitter reacts to Red Sox signing J.D. Martinez

Twitter reacts to Red Sox signing J.D. Martinez

Here's how Twitter reacted to the Boston Red Sox finally signing J.D. Martinez. The slugger agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal, according to multiple reports.

As you could imagine, the reaction on social media was somewhat tumultuous among Sox fans.