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Best of MLB: Cardinals win game marred by scary injury to Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray

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Best of MLB: Cardinals win game marred by scary injury to Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis starter Michael Wacha pitched six innings and Jedd Gyorko drove in the lone run with one of his three hits Friday night, leading the Cardinals to a 1-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Wacha (8-4) allowed three hits. He has won five of his last six starts and improved to 7-1 in 12 starts at Busch Stadium this season.

Wacha finished strong. He pitched out of a jam in the sixth. He gave up a single and double with two outs before striking out David Peralta to end his night.

Trevor Rosenthal, the third reliever for St. Louis, earned his fifth save with two innings of work.

Arizona starter Robbie Ray left the game in the second inning after getting hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of rookie Luke Voit. The ball caromed in the air into foul territory where third baseman Daniel Descalso caught it for the out.

Ray lay prone on the mound for several minutes before sitting up with his teammates surrounding him. He was driven off the field on a cart and was taken for an examination (see full recap).

Royals down Red Sox to win 9th in a row
BOSTON -- Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas homered off emergency starter Rick Porcello, who took over when David Price went back on the disabled list because of inflammation in his left elbow, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Red Sox 4-2 Friday night for their season-high ninth straight win.

Boston has lost five of six and nine of 14, dropping out of the AL East lead for the first time since June 29 and falling a half-game behind the New York Yankees.

Price started the season on the DL and didn't make his first start until May 29. The 31-year-old left-hander, winner of the 2012 AL Cy Young Award, is 5-3 with a 3.82 ERA.

Porcello (4-14), who had been scheduled to pitch Saturday, leads the major leagues in losses. He allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings.

Jason Vargas (13-4) gave up one run and five hits in six innings. Vargas, who had been winless in three starts since June 30, is one shy of his career high for wins, set in 2012 with Seattle.

Kelvin Herrera pitched a one-hit ninth for his 22nd save in 25 chances, getting rookie Rafael Devers to hit into a game-ending forceout after Andrew Benintendi's two-out single (see full recap).

Brewers beat Cubs to open crucial series
MILWAUKEE -- Brent Suter tossed seven scoreless innings and the Milwaukee Brewer slipped past the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Friday night to move within one-half game of first place in the National League Central.

Suter (2-1) limited the Cubs to four hits. He struck out five and walked one in a career-long outing.

Milwaukee pushed across a run in the second on Manny Pina's run-scoring groundout.

In the fourth, Hernan Perez led off with a sharp grounder to the right side that Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo fielded cleanly. Rizzo was slow to get to his feet, however, and his feed to Jose Quintana covering the base was late. Initially called out, Perez was awarded first after a brief review.

Perez later scored on a fielder's choice.

Javier Baez's solo homer with one out in the eighth off newly acquired reliever Anthony Swarzak cut the lead to 2-1.

Quintana gave up four hits and two runs in six innings.

Corey Knebel notched his 18th save in 23 attempts (see full recap).

Tanaka stifles Rays as Yanks win 5th straight
NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka took a perfect game into the sixth inning and struck out a career-high 14, pitching the New York Yankees past the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 Friday night for their fifth straight win.

Brett Gardner hit a leadoff home run, Aaron Judge lined his AL-leading 33rd homer and Clint Frazier added a three-run shot to boost Tanaka (8-9). With their spurt, the Yankees were poised to move past Boston and into the AL East lead for the first time in a month.

On Thursday night, Gardner won the opener of this four-game set between playoff contenders with a homer in the 11th. Judge wound up losing half of his front left tooth in the celebration -- he got a temporary fix earlier in the day.

Tanaka struck out the first five batters, all swinging. He set down 17 in a row before Adeiny Hechavarria grounded a sharp, two-out single up the middle, past diving shortstop Didi Gregorius. Tanaka impassively watched the ball roll into center field and, after a brief ovation from the fans, went back to work (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Justin Turner hits walk-off HR to give Dodgers 2-0 lead over Cubs

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MLB Playoffs: Justin Turner hits walk-off HR to give Dodgers 2-0 lead over Cubs

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- Justin Turner hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

The red-bearded slugger connected on the 29th anniversary of the Dodgers' last game-ending postseason homer: Kirk Gibson's famous pinch-hit drive to beat Oakland in the 1988 World Series opener.

"One of my earliest baseball memories, I was 4 years old at my grandma's house watching that game in `88 and seeing Gibby hit that homer," a smiling Turner said. "So yeah, it feels pretty cool. I thought about doing the fist pump around the bases, but we'll wait until we get to the World Series for that, hopefully."

Turner drove in every run for Los Angeles, going the other way for a tying single in the fifth before sending a long shot to center field off John Lackey in the ninth. A fan wearing a blue Dodgers jersey reached over a railing to catch the ball on the fly.

Turner's second homer of the postseason ended another dramatic night for the Dodgers, who remained unbeaten in these playoffs and moved within two wins of their first World Series appearance since 1988.

"It's very cool, and J.T., we were talking about it in there after the game," manager Dave Roberts said. "Twenty-nine years to the day. It was special. Our guys feel it."

Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Midseason acquisition Yu Darvish starts for the Dodgers against Kyle Hendricks.

Yasiel Puig drew his third walk of the game leading off the ninth, and Charlie Culberson bunted him to second. After losing pitcher Brian Duensing struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer, Chicago manager Joe Maddon went to the bullpen for the 38-year-old Lackey, who pitched on consecutive days for the first time in his 15-year career.

Lackey got the call over All-Star closer Wade Davis, and the veteran starter walked Chris Taylor on six tense pitches.

Turner stepped up and ended it with his fourth career playoff homer. He's been at his best in October, batting .377 with 22 RBIs in the postseason.

"We've been doing it all year long," Turner said. "We're never out of a game. As long as we have outs left, we're going to keep fighting."

Completing the poetry of the moment, a fan in a Chase Utley jersey in the center-field bleachers caught the ball in his glove.

Addison Russell homered in the fifth for the Cubs, who are down early in this rematch of the 2016 NLCS. Chicago won that series in six games and went on to its first World Series championship since 1908, while the Dodgers have been absent from the Fall Classic since 1988.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen got the victory with a hitless ninth despite hitting Anthony Rizzo on the hand with a one-out pitch. That ended the Los Angeles bullpen's impressive streak of 22 straight Cubs retired to begin the NLCS, but the Dodgers have thrown eight hitless and scoreless innings of relief in the NLCS.

After a collective offensive effort drove the Dodgers to a 5-2 win in Game 1, Turner did it all in Game 2. He has 10 RBIs in the Dodgers' five postseason games, getting five in the playoff opener against Arizona.

Jon Lester yielded three hits and five walks while failing to get out of the fifth inning in the shortest start of his long postseason career, but the Dodgers couldn't take advantage of a rare shaky night by the Cubs' star left-hander.

Rich Hill struck out eight in five more impressive innings for the Dodgers, but he was pulled for pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson in the fifth in a debatable decision by Roberts.

Russell was off to a 4-for-22 start in the postseason with nine strikeouts before the slugging shortstop put a leadoff homer into the short porch in left field.

Turner evened it moments later by poking a single to right after a leadoff double by Culberson, the Dodgers' improbably successful replacement for injured All-Star shortstop Corey Seager.

The Dodgers chased Lester with two outs in the fifth, but reliever Carl Edwards Jr. came through after several recent postseason struggles, striking out pinch-hitter Chase Utley and then pitching a strong sixth.

Lester was the co-MVP of last season's NLCS, winning Game 5 at Dodger Stadium and yielding two runs over 13 innings in the series. He had nothing near the same success against the Dodgers' revamped lineup in this one, issuing four walks in the first four innings and repeatedly escaping jams.

Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward held up Turner in the third when it appeared he could have scored from first on Cody Bellinger's double to the gap.

Javier Baez, the other co-MVP of last season's NLCS for Chicago, got to third base in the third with one out but also was stranded.

Up next
Cubs: Hendricks dominated Chicago's playoff opener with seven scoreless innings against the Nationals, but yielded four runs in four innings during the team's wild Game 5 victory in Washington. He is starting on normal rest.

Dodgers: Darvish was outstanding in Game 3 against the Diamondbacks, earning his first career postseason victory with seven strikeouts over five innings of two-hit ball. He was acquired 

MLB Playoffs: Altuve's dash lifts Verlander, Astros over Yanks in Game 2

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MLB Playoffs: Altuve's dash lifts Verlander, Astros over Yanks in Game 2

HOUSTON — Jose Altuve raced home on Carlos Correa's double in the ninth inning, Justin Verlander struck out 13 in a complete game and the Houston Astros beat the New York Yankees 2-1 Saturday for a 2-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Correa also homered, but Houston needed a daring dash from Altuve to get Verlander a win. The 5-foot-6 AL MVP front-runner reached with a one-out single against closer Aroldis Chapman , then sprinted around from first base on Correa's shot to right-center field, sliding past catcher Gary Sanchez as he misplayed a short-hop. Altuve had two more hits and is 13 for 23 (.565) this postseason.

Verlander pitched another gem for the Astros, setting a postseason career best for strikeouts and allowing five hits in his second career complete game in the postseason. He threw a season-high 124 pitches and retired baby Bronx Bombers Aaron Judge, Sanchez and Greg Bird in the top of the ninth.

In the bottom of the inning, Judge picked up Correa's hit in right field and threw toward second base. Shortstop Didi Gregorius fielded there, and his throw beat Altuve to the plate by a few steps. But Sanchez bobbled the one-hop as Altuve slid by, and the Astros mobbed Correa in shallow center field. Altuve pointed toward Correa and his teammates from behind the plate (see full recap).

Puig, Taylor power Dodgers past Cubs in NLCS Game 1
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Taylor hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning, Yasiel Puig added a homer and an RBI double to his dynamite postseason, and the Los Angeles Dodgers overcame a short start by Clayton Kershaw for a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night in the NL Championship Series opener.

Charlie Culberson doubled, drove in the tying run and scored another while replacing injured All-Star shortstop Corey Seager for the resourceful Dodgers, who improved to 4-0 in this postseason.

With another collective offensive effort and four innings of perfect relief pitching, Los Angeles calmly overcame an early two-run deficit and took the first game of this rematch of the 2016 NLCS, won in six games by Chicago on the way to its first World Series championship in 108 years.

Game 2 is Sunday, with Rich Hill starting at home against Chicago's Jon Lester (see full recap).