Red Sox

Sweeney making his mark quickly

724416.jpg

Sweeney making his mark quickly

TORONTO -- It''s admittedly a short sample size, but outfielder Ryan Sweeney has made a quick impact for the Red Sox -- especially when it's mattered most.
On Opening Day, Sweeney tripled home the tying run as the Sox came back against the Detroit Tigers and closer Jose Valverde.
Monday night, Sweeney came through again in the ninth, singling home the go-ahead run as the Sox rallied against the Toronto Blue Jays and closer Sergio Santos.
"I think everybody wants to be in those situations,'' said Sweeney. "In those situations, I'm just trying to do whatever the job presents. The last couple of times, it's been having a guy on second base and trying to get him in with two outs and fortunately I've had that happen.''
Sweeney said he's benefited from watching fellow left-handed hitters like David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez.
"Just the way they go about it and the way they approach certain pitchers helps,'' said Sweeney. "Just having a game plan going up there helps.''
After hitting in one of the league's worst lineups the last few years in Oakland, Sweeney feels fortunate to be surrounded by some of the game's better hitters.
"I think anybody would like to hit in this lineup,'' he said. "I said at the beginning of the spring, just put me at the end of the lineup and let me do little things to help us win. Having their presence in the lineup -- pitchers want to face me rather than having to face guys like that.
"One thing I've noticed with those guys, when they get their pitch and they're looking for it, they don't miss it. To see that and hopefully develop into one of those players, eventually that could be something that could happen.''
Manager Bobby Valentine noticed Sweeney's swing coming together in the final week of spring training and has watched him carry that into the first four games of the season.
Sweneey has hit safely in all four games at a .467 (7-for-15) clip.
"He's getting big hits late in the game and swinging well against left-handers and hitting the ball all around the ballpark,'' said Valentine.
Valentine said Sweeney worked with hitting coach Dave Magadan early in camp on finding a better rhythm.
"He was a little still,'' said Valentine. "I think it took him a little while, but now, it looks like he's right on time.''

ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

yankees_gary_sanchez_didi_gregorius_101817.jpg

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

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

BOSTON – Gordon Hayward will have surgery on his left ankle tonight, according to a league source.

Hayward, who suffered a left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday night, was considering having the surgery in Boston or back in Indiana by a doctor who had operated on him when he played at Butler.

MORE: 

It’s too soon to determine a timetable for Hayward’s return, although the Celtics anticipate he will most if not all of the remainder of this season.

Hayward’s injury delivers a major blow to a Celtics team that were considered a top-two team in the East by most.

With Hayward out for an extended period of time, teams like Washington and Toronto are likely to get more serious consideration as another strong threat to Cleveland which has advanced to the NBA Finals each of the last three seasons.

Replacing Hayward in the Celtics starting lineup was Marcus Smart who joined Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE