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MLB Notes: Red Sox reportedly used Apple Watch to steal signs

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MLB Notes: Red Sox reportedly used Apple Watch to steal signs

NEW YORK -- Looking for any edge in an age-old rivalry, the Boston Red Sox got called out in a high-tech sign-stealing scheme they ran on the New York Yankees.

The first-place Red Sox admitted to Major League Baseball that they used an Apple Watch to relay signals from opposing catchers to Boston players, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Sign stealing has long been a part of the game, but employing electronic gadgets to do it is against the rules.

MLB is looking into allegations levied by the Yankees after a series between the teams last month in Boston. The Times said the Red Sox told MLB investigators that Boston manager John Farrell, general Dave Dombrowski and other team executives were not aware of the operation, which had been going on for weeks.

Commissioner Rob Manfred, who was at Fenway Park on Tuesday night as part of a previously planned visit, said he wanted to get the matter resolved quickly. He didn't comment about possible penalties.

"The only thing that I can tell you about repercussions is that to the extent that there was a violation on either side -- and I'm not saying that there was -- to the extent that there was a violation on either side, we are 100 percent comfortable that it is not an ongoing issue -- that if it happened, it is no longer happening," he said (see full story).

Pirates: Manager Hurdle, GM Huntington get extensions
PITTSBURGH -- Neal Huntington arrived in Pittsburgh a decade ago confident he had the right plan to turn around the floundering Pirates. Three years later, the general manager hired Clint Hurdle to take the building blocks the front office put in place and mold it into finished -- and winning -- major-league product.

Together, Huntington and Hurdle oversaw the franchise's end to a generation of misery. While the buzz provided by three straight playoff berths from 2013-15 has dulled with Pirates entering the final month of a wildly uneven 2017 season well out of things in the NL Central, the resolve of the men who oversaw baseball's renaissance in Pittsburgh has not.

Rather than panic or split, Huntington and Hurdle are doubling down. The Pirates signed both to four-year contract extensions on Tuesday that will keep them in Pittsburgh through 2021.

"We were able to accomplish some things in the last seven years that have meaning," Hurdle said Tuesday. "There are things out there that have more meaning that we want to accomplish together" (see full story).

Cubs: Arrieta undergoes MRI, iffy for next start
PITTSBURGH -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta underwent an MRI on his achy right hamstring on Tuesday, and manager Joe Maddon says his team's ace could have his next start pushed back.

Arrieta left with one out in the third inning of Monday's loss to Pittsburgh after experiencing what he described as a cramp in the hamstring. Arrieta said afterward he felt fine, but the team opted for an MRI as a precaution.

Arrieta is scheduled to start on Saturday when the first-place Cubs host second-place Milwaukee at Wrigley Field. Maddon said it's likely the team will exercise some caution regardless of the MRI results.

If Arrieta can't go on Saturday, Chicago would likely use Mike Montgomery to fill in.

Arrieta had been 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA since the All-Star break before Monday's shortened outing.

Marlins: Families travel with team as Irma looms
MIAMI -- With Hurricane Irma bearing down on South Florida, the Miami Marlins are allowing families of players and staff to travel with the team on their upcoming road trip.

"Jeffrey (Loria) ultimately made the decision that all the families are going to get to go with us, travel the whole trip, kids and the whole thing, and really provide a service for our families, which is really very nice of the organization," manager Don Mattingly said, referring to the Marlins' owner.

The Marlins will be leaving Miami after Wednesday night's game against the Washington Nationals for a seven-game road trip to Atlanta and Philadelphia.

"We all feel the same way, you all feel the same way too. If you had your kids here and you're leaving on a trip, it's not the best feeling to leave your family somewhere," Mattingly said. "We really don't have a family trip so it is actually probably a good thing. To me, I would like to see us have a couple trips where the families could travel with us and be a part of it. So it's a pretty good opportunity to see what it looks like" (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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USA Today Images

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).