New York Yankees

MLB Playoffs: Yankees win 3rd straight to finish improbable comeback

uspresswire-yankees-team-celebrate.jpg
USA Today Images

MLB Playoffs: Yankees win 3rd straight to finish improbable comeback

CLEVELAND -- Didi Gregorius, following in the October footprints left by Derek Jeter, homered twice off Corey Kluber as the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2 in Game 5 on Wednesday night to complete their comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the Division Series and dethrone the AL champions.

These bend-but-don't-break Yankees staved off elimination for the fourth time in this postseason and advanced to play the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series starting Friday at Minute Maid Park.

The AL West champion Astros, led by 5-foot-6 second-base dynamo and MVP candidate Jose Altuve, went 5-2 against the wild-card winners this season.

After winning twice in New York, the Yankees -- with little offensive help from rookie star Aaron Judge -- came into Progressive Field and finished off the Indians, who won 102 games during the regular season, ripped off a historic 22-game streak and were favored to get back to the World Series after losing in seven games a year ago to the Chicago Cubs.

Cleveland's Series drought turns 70 next year -- baseball's longest dry spell (see full recap).

Strasburg, Nationals blank Cubs to force Game 5
CHICAGO -- Stephen Strasburg shook off an illness and all doubts about his mettle to pitch seven dominant innings, Michael A. Taylor hit a late grand slam and the Washington Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 5-0 on Wednesday to send their NL Division Series to a decisive Game 5.

The teams packed up at Wrigley Field and headed back to Washington for Game 5 Thursday night. Kyle Hendricks starts for the Cubs after throwing seven sharp innings in a 3-0 victory over Strasburg in Game 1. Gio Gonzalez is the likely starter for the Nationals, with Max Scherzer lurking in the bullpen.

Strasburg got sick after his terrific performance in the playoff opener on Friday, and the Nationals had planned to go with Tanner Roark even after a persistent rain washed out Game 4 on Tuesday. That led to a flurry of comments and criticism about whether the ace had the stuff to pitch in big moments.

But Strasburg felt better when he woke up Wednesday and told manager Dusty Baker he wanted the ball with Washington's season on the line (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Astros beat Red Sox, advance to ALCS

uspresswire-astros-ken-giles.jpg
USA Today Images

MLB Playoffs: Astros beat Red Sox, advance to ALCS

BOSTON -- Justin Verlander outpitched Chris Sale in a relief role reversal of aces, and the Houston Astros advanced to their first AL Championship Series, rallying past the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Monday in Game 4 of their playoff matchup.

Houston will open the ALCS on Friday, either at Cleveland or at home against the New York Yankees. The Indians held a 2-1 edge over the Yankees going into Game 4 of the AL Division Series on Monday night.

With Verlander and Sale -- the Game 1 starters -- both pressed into relief, the Astros prevailed to win the ALDS 3-1.

Alex Bregman homered off Sale to tie it in the eighth and Josh Reddick hit an RBI single off closer Craig Kimbrel later in the inning.

The Astros last reached the league championship series in 2005 as a National League team, and were swept in the World Series by the White Sox.

Carlos Beltran added to his legacy of postseason success with an RBI double in the Houston ninth for a 5-3 lead. Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers opened the bottom of the ninth with an inside-the-park homer off Ken Giles, the ball hitting above center fielder George Springer's leap and bouncing off the angled Green Monster.

Giles retired the next three batters for a six-out save (see full recap).

Bellinger, Dodgers sweep Diamondbacks to reach NLCS
PHOENIX -- Cody Bellinger homered, drove in two runs and flipped over a dugout railing to steal an out for a dominant Yu Darvish, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 Monday night to finish a three-game sweep in their NL Division Series.

Darvish, acquired from Texas in a trade deadline deal, struck out seven over five innings to outpitch Arizona's Zack Greinke and earn the big Japanese right-hander his first postseason victory in three tries.

Four Los Angeles relievers combined to preserve a three-hitter. Kenley Jansen worked around a single by David Peralta for a three-out save, striking out Paul Goldschmidt to end it. Only four batters reached base all night for the Diamondbacks, including Daniel Descalso's homer.

The Dodgers, who won 104 games for the best record in baseball and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, face the winner of the Nationals-Cubs series for the NL championship. Los Angeles lost to Chicago in last year's NLCS.

Bellinger hit his homer in the fifth, then made a daring catch to end the bottom of the inning. The rookie first baseman fell into the Dodgers dugout as he snagged Jeff Mathis' popup, nearly dropping into the lap of manager Dave Roberts (see full recap).

Severino, Yankees beat Indians to force deciding Game 5
NEW YORK -- Luis Severino bounced back from his playoff debacle, slumping Aaron Judge delivered a big hit and the New York Yankees took advantage of shoddy defense by Cleveland to beat the Indians 7-3 Monday night and push their AL Division Series to a decisive Game 5.

Gary Sanchez homered and Judge laced an early two-run double for his only hit of the series to go with 12 strikeouts in 15 at-bats.

Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer struggled on three days' rest and was chased in the second inning. But it was on the wet Yankee Stadium field where the Indians really flopped, committing a season-high four errors that marked a franchise record for a postseason game and led to six unearned runs. The defending AL champions made only 76 errors all season, the lowest total in the league.

After preventing a three-game sweep with a 1-0 win Sunday night, the wild-card Yankees will start CC Sabathia in Game 5 at Cleveland on Wednesday. Indians ace Corey Kluber gets the ball in a rematch from Game 2, when he was hit hard by New York (see full recap).

Cubs rally past Scherzer, Nationals for series lead
CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the eighth inning and the Chicago Cubs overcame Max Scherzer's brilliant performance to beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Monday for a 2-1 lead in their NL Division Series.

Scherzer was dominant in his return from a right hamstring injury, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh. But just like in Game 1, when Chicago was held hitless into the sixth by Stephen Strasburg, the World Series champion Cubs showed off their resilience on the way to a stirring victory.

Game 4 of the best-of-five series is Tuesday. Jake Arrieta returns from his own hamstring injury for the Cubs, while Tanner Roark gets the ball for the Nationals.

Albert Almora Jr. had a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh for Chicago, and Jose Quintana tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his postseason debut (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Red Sox, Yankees avoid elimination with ALDS Game 3 wins

usa-yankees-red-sox.jpg
USA Today Images

MLB Playoffs: Red Sox, Yankees avoid elimination with ALDS Game 3 wins

NEW YORK  -- Masahiro Tanaka's seven-inning gem was saved when Aaron Judge prevented a home run in right field, and Greg Bird homered to give the New York Yankees a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 on Sunday night, extending their AL Division Series.

Aroldis Chapman got a five-out save as New York avoided a three-game sweep by the defending AL champions. With two on in the ninth, Chapman struck out cleanup hitter and former Reds teammate Jay Bruce, and Carlos Santana flied out to center.

The Yankees got a splendid performance from Tanaka in an old-fashioned October pitching duel with Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco. Tanaka got a boost when Judge robbed Francisco Lindor of a two-run homer in the sixth.

Bird came through with the huge hit New York had to have when he connected against loser Andrew Miller in the seventh.

New York rebounded from a bruising loss Friday in Game 2 that led to heavy criticism of manager Joe Girardi, booed Sunday night by the home crowd during pregame introductions.

Game 4 is Monday night at Yankee Stadium, with young ace Luis Severino scheduled to start for New York. Cleveland might go with Game 1 winner Trevor Bauer on three days' rest (see full recap).

Red Sox rout Astros, avoid elimination in ALDS Game 3
BOSTON -- Hanley Ramirez waved a "Believe in Boston" flag during pregame introductions, drawing cheers from a Fenway Park crowd fearful of a second straight postseason sweep.

Then he gave the Red Sox exactly what they wished for: more October baseball.

"I just tried to wake everybody up," Ramirez said after delivering four hits and three RBIs to lead the AL East champions to a 10-3 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the AL Division Series on Sunday.

"I think that's my job: Find a way to come through in big situations," the designated hitter said. "It's the playoffs. It's go time."

David Price pitched four scoreless innings after another Boston starter faltered, and 20-year-old Rafael Devers hit the go-ahead homer to help the Red Sox snap a five-game postseason losing streak.

Mitch Moreland had three of Boston's 15 hits -- matching its combined total from Games 1 and 2, a pair of 8-2 losses. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first postseason homer, a three-run shot in a six-run seventh that put the game away (see full recap).