Phillies

Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 3

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Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 3

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Yasiel Puig’s first-inning homer off the Phillies’ Aaron Harang pushed the Dodgers out to a quick three-run lead and they never looked back on the way to a 4-3 victory Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Jeff Francoeur smacked a two-run homer with one out in the eighth inning to help the Phillies crawl within a run with Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf waiting to hit, but that was as close as the Phillies got.

The loss is just the Phillies’ fourth in 17 games since the All-Star break. The team has not lost back-to-back games since July 12, but it faces the majors’ top pitcher in Zack Greinke on Thursday afternoon.

Starting pitching report
Like Jerome Williams a night earlier, Harang was hardly the model of efficiency on the mound. The big righty needed 104 pitches to get through five innings in which he allowed four runs on seven hits and five walks. Luckily for Harang only one of those walks came around to score.

However, a pair of first-inning singles set the table for a two-out homer for Puig, which was the shot that did the most damage.

Dodgers starter Brett Anderson held the Phillies in check for six innings, allowing a run on four hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out five.

Bullpen report
Hector Neris turned in two shaky, yet scoreless innings before turning it over to Elvis Araujo for the eighth and ninth.

Araujo pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a walk with a strikeout.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save of the season.

At the plate
Puig’s two-out homer in the first was all the offense the Dodgers needed, though they added a run in the fifth when Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to drive home Jimmy Rollins.

Howie Kendrick had three hits for the Dodgers and Andre Either, Alberto Callaspo and Puig added a pair of hits each.

Francoeur’s 10th homer of the season brought the Phillies to within a run in the eighth, but aside from the long ball and Maikel Franco’s RBI double in the third, there wasn’t much offense.

Certainly the Phillies had some chances. Twice the Phillies reached on a fielding error and followed it with a walk, but couldn’t cash in, going 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.

The return of Rollins
Rollins led off again for the Dodgers and was again greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd at Citizens Bank Park. In five plate appearances, Rollins popped out twice, grounded out, walked twice and scored a run.

Milestone
Francoeur’s homer was the 150th of his career.

Up next
The Phillies and Dodgers close the three-game series on Thursday afternoon when David Buchanan (2-5, 6.44) takes on ace Zack Greinke (10-2, 1.41). Buchanan faced the Dodgers once last season, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings for a win.

Greinke has been pretty good against the Phillies during his career with the Royals, Brewers and Dodgers. In seven appearances (six starts), Greinke is 5-1 with a 2.03 ERA against the Phils, while holding the team to a .189 batting average. He last faced the Phillies on July 9 when he allowed a hit — and that’s it — over eight innings for a win.

MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

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HOUSTON — Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

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Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

WASHINGTON -- Dusty Baker's time as the manager of the Washington Nationals is over after two seasons, two NL East titles and zero playoff series victories.

The Nationals announced Friday that they would not be bringing Baker back. His two-year deal with the club is expiring.

The contracts for the members of Baker's coaching staff also are finished. The team said it will work with its new manager to fill those positions.

The moves come the week after Washington was eliminated from its NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs with a 9-8 loss at home in Game 5. The Nationals also were bounced from the postseason in the NLDS round in 2016 -- also with a Game 5 loss at home by one run, that time against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This outcome, essentially, is what Baker was worried about as far back as spring training in February, when he made clear his desire for a new contract, knowing his was up after 2017.

Before the series against the Cubs began, Baker was asked about his possible future in Washington.

"I've given some thought to some things, but we were told that we were waiting until after the season to make a determination," he said at the time. "There's a good chance I'll be back."

He expected negotiations to pick up after the season ended (see full story).

Turner, Taylor repay Dodgers' patience by sharing NLCS MVP
CHICAGO -- Justin Turner and Chris Taylor shared MVP honors in the NL Championship Series, repaying a Dodgers organization willing to roll the dice on players whose big league careers were stalled.

In Turner's case, it was then-bench coach Tim Wallach who rediscovered him playing in a Cal State-Fullerton alumni baseball game four years ago, after his career appeared all but over.

In Taylor's case, it was Los Angeles' willingness to gamble that an offseason of grueling workouts would enable the young utilityman to rebuild his swing in a matter of months.

The co-MVPs turned up in the interview room together after the Dodgers eliminated the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs 11-1 in Game 5. They were champagne-soaked with hats turned backward, a pair of goggles still perched on Turner's head. Fittingly, they doused each other with praise.

"He's a dynamic player and a table setter," said Turner, who hit .333 for the series, with two home runs and seven RBIs. "When he goes, we usually go as a team."

"I talk to him as much as I can. He's one of the reasons I decided to make the changes I did," said Taylor, who finished at .316 with two homers and three RBIs. Both men also walked five times, as many as the entire Cubs roster (see full story).

Rare Jackie Robinson rookie jersey up for auction
NEW YORK -- A rare jersey from Jackie Robinson's historic rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers 70 years ago could be available for someone with a few spare millions.

The jersey, part of a Heroes of Sports offering by Heritage Auctions, has been certified by Mears, one of the top memorabilia authentication companies. It is accompanied by a letter from Robinson's widow, Rachel, saying it is the one brought home by the Hall of Famer at the end of the 1947 season, when he became the first black player in the majors and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

"This is the only one known from the `47 season, the only one that survived," Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "It stayed in his closet for five decades plus until it was eventually sold to a private collector in the early 2000s."

The online auction opened Friday and closes at 11 p.m. on Nov. 19. The entire collection is from one owner and can be viewed on Heritage's website. Other items available for bidding include Babe Ruth's pants from the Hall of Fame induction in 1939, Keith Hernandez's 1978 Gold Glove award, a Wilt Chamberlain jersey from 1966, Bill Vukovich's Indianapolis 500 trophy from 1953 and Muhammad Ali's shoes from his fight against Ken Norton in 1973.

Ivy said the Robinson jersey has been valued at more than $3 million. He wouldn't be surprised to see it exceed that.

"It's tough to estimate a piece like this -- it's a one of a kind," he said. "As far as collectibles a rookie (jersey) is always sought after, something that's significant."