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).

Phillies take opener in crucial series with NL East rival Braves

Phillies take opener in crucial series with NL East rival Braves


If this is the most important series that the Phillies have played since 2011 — the last time they made the playoffs — then this was their most important win since 2011.

Nick Pivetta pitched brilliantly again, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr both hit home runs and catcher Jorge Alfaro was a defensive standout as the Phillies shut out the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, 3-0, at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.

The win improved the Phillies to 27-18 and pulled them within a half game of the Braves in the division. The two teams play again on Tuesday and Wednesday nights as the Phillies, who haven’t had a winning season since 2011, look to move into first place in the division.

OK. OK. OK. It’s still May and there are more than four months remaining in the season. There are many miles to go before this team establishes itself as a legitimate postseason threat or not. Nonetheless, this was a pretty nice win for the Phillies in front of 21,284.

Pivetta pitched seven shutout innings, gave up just four hits and a walk and struck out seven.

He got all the run support he needed in the fourth inning when Williams smacked an opposite-field homer to left. Williams started for the third time in four games in right field in place of Altherr. Altherr entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and crushed a two-run homer to left to make it a 3-0 game.

Seranthony Dominguez pitched a scoreless eighth inning, running his scoreless streak to seven appearances and 7 2/3 innings since debuting in the majors earlier this month.

Manager Gabe Kapler went to Hector Neris in a three-run game in the ninth and Neris picked up the save.

Though first baseman Carlos Santana was charged with his third error in as many games, the Phillies did have some defensive standouts. Third baseman Maikel Franco made a big play in the fourth. Leftfielder Rhys Hoskins made a nice diving catch on a sinking liner by Freddie Freeman to open the sixth. An inning later, in a one-run game, Alfaro gunned down Johan Camargo trying to steal second with a howitzer throw and made a nice play in front of the plate on a swinging bunt to get Dansby Swanson at first.

Alfaro ended the game with another defensive gem, gunning down Ender Inciarte on a dribbling bunt up the third-base line.

Pivetta is on a terrific roll. Featuring a power fastball and sharp slider, he has won three straight starts. He has pitched 19 innings of one-run ball over that span. He has given up 10 hits, walked two and struck out 25. Pretty impressive.

The Phillies had eight hits. Cesar Hernandez walked and singled. He has reached base safely in 25 straight games.

Another injury, more missed time for prospect Roman Quinn

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Another injury, more missed time for prospect Roman Quinn

Oft-injured Phillies prospect Roman Quinn is on the shelf again. The team announced Monday night that Quinn had surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn ligament in his right middle finger. Quinn will be out six to eight weeks, the team said.

Quinn, who turned 25 last week, has long been one of the Phillies’ most exciting prospects, mostly for the electricity he generates on the bases and in the outfield. His career, however, has been marked by one injury after another. The team’s second-round draft pick in 2011 has missed time over the years with a torn Achilles tendon, a torn left quadriceps, a concussion and a strained elbow ligament.

Quinn suffered his latest injury diving into a base last week while playing for Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Quinn has been a standout in big-league spring training for the Phillies. The team considered carrying him as an extra man on the opening day roster this season, but sent him back to Triple A to play every day. Quinn spent some time in the majors in September 2016. He had 15 hits in 57 at-bats (.263) and recorded a .373 on-base percentage. In one memorable play, Quinn threw out a runner at home plate from center field. The throw registered 96 mph to the plate on MLB’s Statcast. That’s some serious heat. Now, Quinn is on ice again.