Phillies

Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4

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The Phillies almost sent their Father's Day crowd home happy. Almost.

Hector Neris blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning, and Jeanmar Gomez allowed a solo homer to Rey Fuentes in the 10th as the Phillies lost, 5-4, to the Diamondbacks.

It was Fuentes' first career home run.

The Phils were swept this weekend for the eighth time in 2017 and the fourth time in their last seven series.

They had taken a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning on Ty Kelly's pinch-hit RBI double but couldn't hold on as they dropped yet another one-run game. 

The Phillies have played four more one-run games than any team in the majors and are 10-17 in them.

They're 22-46. No National League team since the 2013 Marlins has had a worse start through 68 games.

Starting pitching report
Four starts, four quality starts for Ben Lively, who allowed three runs in six innings.

It looked like Lively was in store for a short afternoon when Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Drury took him deep in the first inning, but he held the D-backs to 4 for 20 thereafter.

Lively struck out six after whiffing just five total in his first three starts. Those swings-and-misses Sunday were the difference in his staying in the game and getting out of jams.

He was also aided by great plays from Freddy Galvis (running, over the shoulder grab in shallow left field) and Maikel Franco (barehanded pickup and rocket to first).

Lively is 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA.

The Phillies made D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray work hard all afternoon, placing at least one man on base in every inning. Ray, who entered 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA, allowed four runs and 12 baserunners in 5⅓ innings with seven strikeouts.

Ray had allowed just one run in 37 innings in his prior five starts.

Bullpen report
Neris blew his second save in eight attempts. He walked light-hitting Nick Ahmed to start the ninth then allowed back-to-back singles before retiring three in a row.

The ever-reliable Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless seventh inning but needed 28 pitches because the D-backs fouled off 10 in the inning.

Neshek has allowed two runs in 27 innings this season for a 0.67 ERA. No pitcher in the majors within even 4⅓ innings of Neshek has done that. Dellin Betances is closest with two runs in 21⅔ innings.

At the plate
The Phils had a chance to walk it off in the ninth but Tommy Joseph struck out with runners on first and second, then Maikel Franco popped out after a 10-pitch battle with hard-throwing Archie Bradley.

The Phillies scored in each of the first three innings to answer the Diamondbacks' three-spot in the first.

Aaron Altherr hit a no-doubt home run in the first off Ray, his seventh this season against a left-handed pitcher. That ties Nolan Arenado, Joey Votto and George Springer for the MLB lead.

Franco added an opposite-field, line-drive homer in the second. It broke his stretch of 57 plate appearances without a home run. 

Kelly has just four RBIs on the season but his run-scoring double was his third go-ahead RBI in the sixth inning or later.

For Arizona, Paul Goldschmidt hit his 16th home run of the season, a towering shot into the left-field seats off Lively. Chris Owings hit his eighth homer of the year two batters later.

On the bases
Juan Samuel aggressively sent Galvis on Kelly's go-ahead double in the sixth and Galvis was narrowly thrown out at home. Galvis was originally called safe when it appeared he eluded catcher Chris Herrmann's tag but he was ruled out after an Arizona challenge.

The Phillies counter-challenged that Herrmann violated the collision rule by not giving Galvis a lane to slide but had no such luck on a reversal.

Fatherly love
Vince Velasquez's dad, Leonard, threw out the first pitch, a strike to his son on the inside corner. In a scene that was serious for Leonard Velasquez but funny to everyone else, he spent a good five minutes warming up with his son before taking the mound.

Up next
The Phillies are off Monday before beginning a three-game series at home against the Cardinals, who swept them last week in St. Louis.

The Phils are finished with the Cards after this series.

Tuesday night at 7:05: Jeremy Hellickson (5-5, 4.91) vs. Mike Leake (5-6, 3.14)

Wednesday night at 7:05: Nick Pivetta (1-3, 4.46) vs. Michael Wacha (3-3, 4.78)

Thursday afternoon at 1:05: Aaron Nola (3-5, 4.76) vs. Carlos Martinez (6-5, 2.86)

MLB Playoffs: Dodgers crush Cubs to reach 1st World Series in 29 years

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MLB Playoffs: Dodgers crush Cubs to reach 1st World Series in 29 years

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CHICAGO -- Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an L.A. story three decades in the making.

Fueled by a home run trilogy from their emotional utilityman, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.

Hernandez homered three times and drove in a record seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 rout in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."

After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping these Dodgers after they led the majors with 104 wins during the regular season. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and co-NLCS MVPs Justin Turner and Chris Taylor leading a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Co. to Los Angeles' last championship in 1988.

"Every night it is a different guy," Turner said, "and this is one of the most unbelievable teams I've ever been a part of."

Kershaw will be on the mound again when the Dodgers host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 of the ALCS at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.

Los Angeles made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short of its 22nd pennant each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when his team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.

The ace left-hander was just OK during his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' offense picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts and improved to 6-7 in the playoffs -- matching Burt Hooton's club record for postseason wins.

"To get to be on the mound tonight and get to be going to the World Series on the same night, it's a special thing," Kershaw said. "Who knows how many times I'm going to get to go to the World Series? I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there. So, I'm definitely not taking this one for granted."

When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on . The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitors' dugout and chanted "Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!"

On the field, manager Dave Roberts hugged Lasorda and told the iconic skipper the win was for him.

"I bleed Dodger blue just like you," Roberts said. "Thank you, Tommy."

Hernandez connected on the first two pitches he saw, belting a solo drive in the second for his first career playoff homer and then a grand slam in the third against Hector Rondon. Hernandez added a two-run shot in the ninth against Mike Montgomery.

The 26-year-old Hernandez became the fourth player with a three-homer game in a league championship series, joining Bob Robertson (1971 NLCS), George Brett (1978 ALCS) and Adam Kennedy (2002 ALCS). Hernandez's seven RBIs tied a postseason record shared by four other players who all did it in a Division Series.

Troy O'Leary was the previous player to have seven RBIs in a playoff game, for Boston at Cleveland in the 1999 ALDS.

It was a stunning display for a player with 28 career homers who remains concerned about his native Puerto Rico, which is recovering from a devastating hurricane. He delivered a historic performance in front of his father, Enrique Hernandez Sr., who was diagnosed with a blood cancer related to leukemia in December 2015, but got word last November that he was in remission.

"For me to be able to come here and do something like this is pretty special," said Hernandez, who also goes by Kik?. "My body's here, but my mind's kind of back home. It's hard being away from home with what's going on.

"All I want to do right now is go to my dad and give him a big hug."

Kris Bryant homered for Chicago, but the NL Central champions finished with just four hits in another tough night at the plate. Each of their eight runs in the NLCS came via the long ball, and they batted just .156 for the series with 53 strikeouts.

Long playoff runs in each of the last two years and a grueling five-game Division Series against Washington seemed to sap Chicago of some energy, and its pitching faltered against sweet-swinging Los Angeles. Jose Quintana was pulled in the third inning of the final game, and the Cubs never recovered.

"They executed their plan," Bryant said. "They pitched great and the bullpen was lights out. That makes for a tough time scoring runs."

Turner and Taylor helped put it away for Los Angeles, contributing to a 16-hit outburst while closing out a pair of impressive performances.

Turner singled home Taylor in the Dodgers' five-run third, giving him seven RBIs in the series and 24 throughout his postseason career. Taylor finished with two hits and scored two runs as the Dodgers, who have won five straight NL West titles, improved to 7-1 in this postseason.

Taylor's versatility helped Los Angeles cover for the loss of All-Star shortstop Corey Seager, who missed the series with a back injury, but is expected to return in the next round. Coming off a breakout season, the 27-year-old Taylor hit .316 with two homers and scored five times against the Cubs.

"I couldn't be happier to be a part of this and be with these guys," Taylor said. "It's been an unbelievable year, and I'm just super excited."

Out with a bang
Hernandez joined Kennedy (2002), Adrian Beltre (2011), Reggie Jackson (1977 vs. the Dodgers) and Babe Ruth (1928) as players to hit three home runs in a postseason series clincher.

Lights out
Dodgers relievers have thrown 23 consecutive scoreless innings, a postseason record.

MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

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MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (see full recap).

Tanaka, Yankees blank Astros to take ALCS 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 (see full recap).