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MLB Notes: Indians have Andrew Miller go on DL, lose Josh Tomlin for 6 weeks

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MLB Notes: Indians have Andrew Miller go on DL, lose Josh Tomlin for 6 weeks

BOSTON -- The Cleveland Indians' pitching staff has taken two big hits: All-Star reliever Andrew Miller is on the disabled list, and starter Josh Tomlin is out six weeks.

Miller was put on the DL on Wednesday with right knee tendinitis, an injury that could explain his recent wildness.

"We talked last night after the game. His knee's been bothering him for a while," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said before the AL Central leaders took on the Red Sox at Fenway Park. "The hope was you can manage it, and he was certainly more than willing.

"But, you know, not just he's yanking pitches, but then I watched him come down the steps and I was like, `man.' So we grabbed him after the game and talked for a while and then we said let's sleep on it. I kind of knew where this was going, and I think he did, too," he said (see full story).

Dodgers: Darvish eager to fit in with new teammates
ATLANTA -- Yu Darvish is eager to avoid making a bad first impression with his new Dodgers teammates.

Darvish, traded from Texas to Los Angeles for three prospects on Monday, joined the Dodgers on Wednesday. The four-time All-Star right-hander threw a bullpen session before Wednesday night's game against Atlanta and settled into his new clubhouse.

Speaking through a translator, the Japanese pitcher said he doesn't want to arrive at midseason, "do whatever you want to do and you're a bad teammate."

Added Darvish: "I don't want to be that guy."

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, currently on the DL with a lower back strain, chatted with Darvish at last month's All-Star game. The conversation including a prediction from Kershaw that the two soon would be teammates.

"When I was talking with him he told me, `I'll be looking for you in about three weeks,' and it actually happened," Darvish said. "It's amazing" (see full story).

Nationals: All-Star closer Kintzler joins club, bolsters ‘pen
MIAMI -- All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler joined the Washington Nationals on Wednesday and shared with manager Dusty Baker his backstory, including three seasons pitching -- and even selling tickets -- in independent leagues.

"It was a very interesting conversation," Baker said. "This guy is probably the independent leagues' pinup boy. He has been through the bushes. I've always heard he's fearless, and now I see why. He has nothing to lose."

The Nationals barely beat the trade deadline Monday to acquire Kintzler, who made the AL All-Star team this season and saved 28 games for the Minnesota Twins. He joins a team with championship aspirations that has built a big lead in the NL East despite the league's worst bullpen ERA.

Kintzler was anticipating a chance to pitch Wednesday night against the Marlins. He spent seven years in the minors before making the majors, and said he was mindful of that while pitching in the All-Star Game last month, also in Miami.

"When I got traded over here I thought, it's going to be the same thing," he said. "I get to come to the big stage with a great team. You never know -- pitching in the World Series is a privilege we all work for."

Brewers: Jeffress glad to rejoin club … again
MILWAUKEE -- Jeremy Jeffress and the Milwaukee Brewers just can't seem to quit each other.

Jeffress was back in the Brewers' clubhouse Wednesday for his third stint with the team. Milwaukee reacquired him on Monday from Texas in exchange for minor-league pitcher Tayler Scott.

"It's definitely a homecoming, man," Jeffress said. "I've always felt comfortable when I'm in this atmosphere in this place. Milwaukee's been nothing but good to me. I'm just glad to be back."

The 29-year-old right-hander, who was with the club in 2010 and from 2014-2016, was traded to the Rangers along with catcher Jonathan Lucroy last August. The Brewers brought him back to bolster their bullpen for a playoff push (see full story).

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).

MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and level the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Yankees trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored on Gary Sanchez's go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees have rallied from a second straight 0-2 series deficit -- they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth, and New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday and rematch of the opener, won by the Astros 2-1 (see full recap).

Dodgers on brink of World Series after shutout
CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive playoff win. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip -- on a long foul ball in the first inning.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd NL pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since their last championship in 1988. Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. The lineup is patient and pesky and the pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline (see full recap).