Red Sox

Red Sox beat Astros 10-3, avoid elimination in ALDS Game 3

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Red Sox beat Astros 10-3, avoid elimination in ALDS Game 3

BOSTON -- Hanley Ramirez waved a "Believe in Boston" flag during pregame introductions, drawing cheers from a Fenway Park crowd fearful of a second straight postseason sweep.

Then he gave the Red Sox exactly what they wished for: more October baseball.

"I just tried to wake everybody up," Ramirez said after delivering four hits and three RBIs to lead the AL East champions to a 10-3 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the AL Division Series on Sunday.

"I think that's my job: Find a way to come through in big situations," the designated hitter said. "It's the playoffs. It's go time."

David Price pitched four scoreless innings after another Boston starter faltered, and 20-year-old Rafael Devers hit the go-ahead homer to help the Red Sox snap a five-game postseason losing streak.

Mitch Moreland had three of Boston's 15 hits - matching its combined total from Games 1 and 2, a pair of 8-2 losses. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first postseason homer, a three-run shot in a six-run seventh that put the game away.

UP NEXT

Game 4 of the best-of-five series is Monday in Boston. First pitch will be at 1:08 p.m. - it would have been moved to 7:08 p.m. if Cleveland had finished its ALDS sweep of the Yankees later Sunday.

Houston right-hander Charlie Morton will start against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello.

Rain is in the forecast.

"We've been watching The Weather Channel for a couple of months now," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch, whose team was forced to play a home series in Tampa Bay in August when Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston. "So that's not unusual for us."

EARLY TROUBLE

Carlos Correa homered for the Astros as they took a first-inning lead for the third straight game. Up 3-0 with two on and one out in the second, Houston chased Doug Fister and Joe Kelly retired George Springer before Josh Reddick hit a long fly ball to right field that Mookie Betts caught at the top of the short wall to end the inning.

"It would have been a great spot for us to get another three runs and big momentum for us. And that seemed to be big momentum for those guys," Reddick said. "They come up after that and they take the lead. So I just l wish the park was a little bit shorter."

RED SOX RELIEF

Kelly pitched the third, and then Price scattered four hits and a walk while throwing 57 pitches in his longest outing since July. Since going to the bullpen in September after missing most of the season with elbow problems, Price has made seven straight scoreless appearances.

"He's a machine. He's a competitor. And when he's on the mound he's going to give everything he has," Ramirez said. "That's him. That's his attitude. And that's why he's here."

EARLY TROUBLE II

Astros starter Brad Peacock escaped the second inning with a 3-1 lead despite loading the bases with nobody out, but he ran into bigger trouble in the third.

After Peacock struck out Boston's No. 3 and 4 hitters, Andrew Benintendi and Betts, Moreland doubled and scored on Ramirez's line drive over left fielder Marwin Gonzalez's outstretched glove. Francisco Liriano gave up Devers' two-run homer to right that gave Boston a 4-3 lead - its first in 44 postseason innings dating to Game 1 of the 2016 ALDS.

Peacock allowed three runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings. Liriano got just one out while allowing one run and two hits for the Astros, who have never swept a postseason series.

YOUNG GUNS

Devers, who turns 21 on Oct. 24, is the youngest Red Sox player to homer in the postseason and one of only six players in major league history to hit a postseason home run before their 21st birthday.

The others: Mickey Mantle, Andruw Jones, Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.

BACKING IT UP

Ramirez, who was on the bench to start Game 1, drove in two more runs with a seventh-inning double before Bradley's homer bounced off Reddick's glove and into the stands behind the Pesky Pole.

"You like any player that is willing to step up and speak and then back it up," Red Sox manager John Farrell said, noting that Ramirez vowed Saturday that the team would not be swept in two straight years. "He had that energy ... it was fantastic. He had a big day."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Houston reliever Lance McCullers took a hard comebacker off his ankle in the fourth, but needed only one warmup pitch to test it and stay in the game.

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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