Connect with us

Sports

Astros earn third straight win over Rays, force Game 7 in ALCS – Sportsnet.ca

Published

 on


SAN DIEGO — The blowback from a sign-stealing scandal three years ago and a losing record during the pandemic-shortened regular season don’t mean a thing to Dusty Baker and the Houston Astros.

Like them or loathe them, the Astros are on the cusp of a third World Series in four seasons and joining the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only teams to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series.

George Springer and Jose Altuve delivered big hits, Framber Valdez pitched six brilliant innings and the Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the third straight time, 7-4 Friday to force a deciding Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

It’s been a stunning turnaround in a series that had been going the Rays’ way as they opened a 3-0 lead.

“We’re not through writing history,” Baker said. “We’re hoping we can have a happy ending to this historic season and historic year.

“This team’s battled back big time,” added Baker, hired to bring some stability to a team rocked by a sign-stealing scandal it used en route to the 2017 title that was uncovered last off-season. “You’ve got to love this team, or some people hate this team, but I mean you’ve at least got to respect this team, the way that they’ve worked.”

Houston chased starter Blake Snell in the fifth before Springer hit a go-ahead, two-run single and scored on Altuve’s double. Carlos Correa, who hit a walkoff home run in Thursday night’s 4-3 win, added an RBI single.

“We’re relentless and when we said we didn’t want to go home, we really meant that,” Correa said. “We want to keep playing baseball and we don’t want this to be the end of our season. We took care of these three games and now we’ve got to take one more. If we don’t win that game, then it’s all meant nothing. We’ve got to go out there tomorrow and get that win. It’ll be great.”

Earlier this week, some of the Astros watched a documentary on the 2004 Red Sox, who after falling behind 3-0 won four straight games to stun the New York Yankees for the AL pennant before winning their first World Series in 86 seasons.

Otherwise, big league clubs leading 3-0 in a best-of-seven post-season series are 37-1.

Houston also is trying to become the first team to win a pennant with a losing regular season record (29-31). The Astros have been criticized for their role in a cheating scandal en route to the 2017 title that was uncovered last off-season.

Manuel Margot homered twice and drove in three runs for the Rays. Despite blowing a 3-0 series lead, they remain one win from the second World Series in franchise history — and one loss from joining the 2004 Yankees in ignominy.

Game 7 on Saturday night will feature the pitchers who started and finished Houston’s Game 7 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. Lance McCullers Jr. will go for the Astros while 36-year-old Charlie Morton will start for the Rays.

They are the first pair to pitch in the same winner-take-all post-season game as teammates and later start against each other in a winner-take-all game.

In the decisive Game 7 in 2017, McCullers started and went 2 1/3 scoreless innings while Morton pitched the final four innings for the victory. Morton signed with Tampa Bay prior to the 2019 season.

It’s also a rematch of Game 2 of this series, won 4-2 by Morton and the Rays.

“We’ve just got to bounce back,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “This isn’t the scenario that we wanted leading 3-0, but this is a resilient group. Encouraged that the offence kind of got going there. Look for some carryover.

“There’s no doubt the momentum has shifted, but I would bet on this team being very capable of bouncing back,” he said.

Valdez, who lost the opener of this series 2-1 to Snell, held the Astros to one run and three hits while striking out nine and walking three in his third career post-season start. He allowed Willy Adames RBI double in the second.

Astros closer Ryan Pressly pitched for the third straight day and got three outs for his second save to go with a win in Game 5. He allowed Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s one-out single, then induced Mike Brosseau’s game-ending double-play grounder, a call upheld in a video review. Pressly threw nine pitches, all for strikes, raising his three-day total to 39.

The 71-year-old Baker, who led NL teams for the first 22 seasons of his 23-year managerial career, used some old-school baseball to outfox the 42-year-old Cash and overturn a 1-0 deficit in the fifth. The rally had only one hard-hit ball. The Astros had been frustrated in the first three games when they scalded balls right to fielders.

Snell walked Yuli Gurriel opening the fifth and allowed a single to Aledmys Diaz on his 82nd pitch. Cash, whose team was built around analytics, pulled Snell before he could face the No. 9 batter, Martin Maldonado, and leadoff hitter Springer, who had struck out twice.

Maldonado laid down a sacrifice bunt against Diego Castillo and Springer punched a two-run single to centre through a hole in Tampa Bay’s drawn-in infield that also was in a shift. Altuve followed with a double into the left-field corner that brought in Springer, who might have been out if Brandon Lowe had thrown to the cutoff man instead of second base.

After Michael Brantley walked, Correa singled to bring in Altuve.

Snell allowed two runs and three hits in four-plus innings, struck out four and walked four.

Baker, hired after AJ Hinch was fired following the revelation of the sign-stealing scandal, is the first manager to take five different teams to the playoffs. He has yet to win a World Series as a manager. His San Francisco Giants reached the 2002 Fall Classic before losing in seven games to the Angels. As a player, he helped the Los Angeles Dodgers win four straight World Series games in 1981 after falling behind the New York Yankees 0-2.

Houston’s Kyle Tucker homered off rookie Shane McClanahan leading off the sixth. In the seventh, Brantley hit an RBI single and Tucker a sacrifice fly.

Margot homered off Andre Scrubb leading off the Rays’ seventh and hit a two-run shot off Cristian Javier with two outs in the eighth.

“We’re all frustrated, but I don’t think they’re tensing up,” Cash said. “I think they recognize we’ve got an opportunity for the fourth time to do something special and find ways we can really compete, get the bats going, score some runs for Charlie and find a way to win.”

MODERN BALL

There were 33 pitches in the top of the eighth, and none put in play, The Astros loaded the bases on three walks and then had three strikeouts. Baker said they were lucky that inning didn’t come back to haunt them.

UP NEXT

Astros: McCullers struck out 11 in seven innings in taking the loss in Game 2. He allowed four runs, only one earned, and four hits.

Rays: Morton pitched five scoreless innings in winning Game 2.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

FOLLOW LIVE: Dodgers blowing out Rays in Game 1 – TSN

Published

 on


It all comes down to this. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays are just four wins away from a championship as they meet in Game 1 of the World Series. Clayton Kershaw makes his fifth World Series start, while Tyler Glasnow makes his Fall Classic debut. Keep up with the action all game long with TSN.ca’s Game 1 live blog.

Rays – 3

Dodgers – 8

Final


11:14pm – Pedro Baez enters the game for the Dodgers in the eighth inning and gets a 1-2-3 inning of his own. Dodgers lead 8-3 going into the bottom of the eighth.  

11:04pm – Josh Fleming gives the Rays exactly what they need with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh to hold the Dodgers at eight runs and Tampa Bay remains fives runs back with two innings to play.

10:58pm – Mike Zunino fires a 105.6 mph line drive right up the middle of the field, but Gonzalez snags it and turns to double off Brosseau at second base and escape the jam.

10:54pm – Kevin Kiermaier follows up the Brosseau single with a single of his own to score Wendle from third, the Rays now trail by five.

10:52pm – Brosseau singles on a 3-2 slider to cut the Dodgers lead to six.

10:49pm – More gamesmanship from the Rays, as Mike Brosseau will now hit for Choi.

10:46pm – Joey Wendle doubles to give the Rays a runner of second and third with one out. Ji-Man Choi enters the game to pinch hit with the Rays down seven, and the Dodgers counter with brining in lefty Victor Gonzalez.

10:40pm – Dylan Floro takes the mound for the Dodgers to start the seventh inning, meaning Clayton Kershaw‘s night is over. Kershaw finishes the night with eight strikeouts and gives up just one run on two hits.

10:32pm – Justin Turner and Max Muncy hit back-to-back doubles to extend the Dodgers lead to 8-1.

10:30pm – MOOKIE NUKE – In the fifth Mookie Betts did it with his legs, in the sixth he leads off the inning with a home run to right field.

10:26pm – The long wait between innings means nothing for Kershaw as he comes out for the sixth inning and needs just nine pitches to retire the Rays in order.

10:18pm – Los Angeles adds two more runs before Austin Barnes flies out to end the inning. The Dodgers score four in the fifth to extend their lead to five runs.

10:07pm – DODGERS CHASE GLASNOW – Will Smith singles in another run and Tyler Glasnow‘s night has come to an end. He leaves with one out in the fifth, two runners on base and trailing 4-1.

10:00pm  – MOOKIE MAGIC – Mookie Betts walks to lead off the fifth inning, steals second and third and scores from third on a ground ball hit to the first baseman. The Dodgers regain their two-run and now are up 3-1.

9:43pm – KIERMAIER GOES DEEP – Kevin Kiermaier cuts the Dodgers lead in half with a home run to right field.

9:38pm – Glasnow walked the next batter following the Bellinger home run, but limits the damage by striking out the final two batters of the inning. The Dodgers lead 2-0 heading to the fifth inning.

9:25pm – BELLI BOMB – Cody Bellinger opens the scoring with a two-run home run to right field. It’s his second in two games.

9:18pm – Another three up-three down inning for Kershaw. He now has six strikeouts after four innings and has not given up a hit since the leadoff single to start the game.

9:09pm – GLASNOW ANSWERS – Tyler Glasnow gives up a walk to Corey Seager but strikes out the side. The 26-year-old now has five strikeouts after three innings.

8:57pm – KERSHAW CRUISING- Clayton Kershaw has retired eight-straight Rays players and picks up his third and fourth strikeouts. The 32-year-old has given up just two base runners through three innings.

8:51pm – Glasnow gives up his first hit of the night, but nothing more and we’re headed to the third inning tied 0-0.

8:40pm – ABC, easy as an 1-2-3 inning for Kershaw. The southpaw needed just 11 pitches to get through his second inning of work.

8:34pm – Glasnow gives up a walk to Corey Seager and nothing more. Off to the second inning we go.

8:26pm – Just like his Kershaw, Glasnow opens his night with a first-pitch fastball for a strike.

8:23pm – Díaz leads off the game with a single and Randy Arozarena reaches on a walk, but the Rays fail to capitalize and we’re headed to the bottom of the first tied 0-0.

8:11pm – We are underway, Clayton Kershaw fires a first pitch strike to Yandy Díaz to begin the World Series.

*All times EST*


Over his six World Series appearances, Kershaw is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 26.2 innings. The southpaw has made three starts in the 2020 playoffs, picking up wins over the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres. But he struggled in his only start of the NLCS, giving up four runs in five innings to the Atlanta Braves, getting tagged with the loss.

Glasnow, 26, starts the first World Series game for the Rays since 2008. Like his counterpart, Glasnow picked up a win in the opening two rounds of the playoffs, shutting down the Toronto Blue Jays, and holding the New York Yankees to four runs through 7.1 innings. The righty was tagged with the loss in his only ALCS start when he tossed six innings, giving up eight hits and four earned runs.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Behind Ilya Mikheyev’s last-minute RFA contract with Maple Leafs – Sportsnet.ca

Published

 on


TORONTO – Fewer than 24 hours before Wednesday’s scheduled arbitration case, restricted free agent Ilya Mikheyev and the Toronto Maple Leafs found common ground Tuesday night — although it did mean a last-minute financial concession on the player’s part.

The Russian winger and the club agreed to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $1.645 million that will see Mikheyev in blue and white through the 2021-22 season and walk him to unrestricted free agency at age 27.

“Ilya decided to step off a little bit from an already agreed number to help the team fit under the cap,” Mikheyev’s agent, Dan Milstein, told Sportsnet after tweeting news of the signing.

“For Ilya, it was less about the money, but more about the role in the organization. He wishes to win the Stanley Cup. It’s been a lifelong dream.”

Mikheyev’s two-year pact carries a $1.1 million salary in 2020-21 and $2.19 million in 2021-22.

According to Milstein, the sides had initially agreed to a cap hit slightly higher than $1.645 million.

The agent was on the phone explaining the bridge deal’s terms to Mikheyev when the Maple Leafs quickly called back requesting the forward take slightly less so they could be cap compliant for 2021’s opening night.

The Leafs and Mikheyev discussed the sophomore’s position in a winger-loaded roster “extensively” during the negotiations, which had been ongoing for weeks.

“We know what they have going. We know what the goals are. Toronto and both camps communicated very clearly,” Milstein said. “We feel very comfortable about the next season, and Ilya is very excited about the next season as well.”

The 26-year-old Mikheyev — fast a fan favourite — appeared in only 39 games as a rookie with the Maple Leafs in 2019-20, scoring eight goals and adding 15 assists.

Returning for post-season action after suffering a gruesome wrist injury in late December, Mikheyev failed to register a point during the club’s five-game playoff qualification series versus Columbus.

“He would’ve liked to help the team get past Columbus, but overall this was a good first-year experience for him,” Milstein said. “He’s adjusted. He’s adapted. And I expect him to have a better season next year.”

He elected to file for salary arbitration to buy time, and a deadline, for amicable negotiations.

Mikheyev filed for one year at $2.7 million; the Leafs requested two years at $1 million.

But, Milstein maintains, the strongest efforts on both sides have long been directed at striking a two-year pact that worked to provide Mikheyev and his family a little more certainty in uncertain times.

The player affectionately known as “Mickey” to his teammates and “Souperman” to fans stayed up to the wee hours in Russia, where he’s training, in order to sign the paperwork.

“The first season didn’t go as well as planned, due to the injury, but it was never a question of whether he was coming back or not,” Milstein said. “He stayed up through the night, and we took care of business.”

Milstein has a tight working relationship with general manager Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs.

The agent is quick to note that 12 of his players have been welcomed into the Toronto system over the past three years, including winger Egor Korshkov (currently on loan to Yaroslav Lokomotiv of the KHL), 2020 first-round pick Rodion Amirov and new KHL import Alexander Barabanov.

“While we were negotiating (Mikheyev’s contract) and perhaps disagreeing a little bit, I had to stop and talk to (the Leafs) about another player,” Milstein said. “We try to have good relationships with everybody, but a client comes first.”

Barabanov, 26, will join Mikheyev in trying to secure ice time from coach Sheldon Keefe in a competitive forward group that has added Wayne Simmonds, Joe Thornton, Jimmy Vesey, Joey Anderson and Travis Boyd to the mix since free agency opened.

Barabanov flew to Toronto in early September and is preparing for his first North American campaign on this side of the pond.

Make no mistake: Like Mikheyev before him, Barabanov has his sights in the NHL, not the AHL.

“I feel good about his prospects. He’s a world-class player,” Milstein said. “I’m not a coach. I’m not going to make any predictions. But I feel good about it. You can quote me on that. I feel good about it. Barabanov is an Olympic champion.

“He is a phenomenal player, and I expect him to do well here in North America.”

With Mikheyev signed, the Maple Leafs only need to reach agreements with RFAs Travis Dermott and Anderson.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs sign winger Ilya Mikheyev to two-year deal

Published

 on

TORONTO — The Maple Leafs have avoided an arbitration hearing on Wednesday with restricted free agent winger Ilya Mikheyev, settling instead on a two-year, $3.29 million contract extension Tuesday night.

Mikheyev had exercised his right for an arbitration hearing earlier this month after the Leafs extended a qualifying offer to the pending RFA but then failed to find common ground with his camp on a new extension. The 26-year-old had been looking for a one-year, $2.7 million deal from Toronto, while the Leafs initially countered with a two-year contract, averaging $1 million per season.

According to CapFriendly, the Leafs are now exceeding the NHL’s flat salary cap of $81.5 million, with RFA Travis Dermott still left to be signed. General manager Kyle Dubas said in a conference call on Sunday he was waiting for Mikheyev’s deal to be done before turning the team’s attention to Dermott. Toronto can be 10 per cent over the cap until the 2020-21 regular season begins, at a date still to be determined.

Mikheyev’s case was an especially interesting one to consider from both sides, given how the forward’s promising rookie season was cut short by a gruesome injury.

Never originally drafted by an NHL club, Mikheyev’s stock built slowly over four seasons in his native Russia with the KHL’s Omsk Avangard. By the end of his career-best 45-point campaign in 2018-19, several NHL clubs were making offers, but it was the Leafs who landed Mikheyev in May 2019 on a one-year, entry-level contract.

Starting out in a third-line role for the 2019-20 season, Mikheyev scored in his NHL debut, and put up seven points in his first 10 games. He continued to show versatility from there, able to play on either wing and hold his own in the top-six when necessary.

Mikheyev had amassed eight goals and 23 points in his first 39 games when his freshman year took a brutal turn. Facing the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 27, he suffered ligament damage when Jesper Bratt’s skate blade accidentally cut into his right wrist. The injury required surgery to repair and Mikheyev was not able to return before the NHL hit pause in March amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

He was back to full health for Toronto’s qualifying-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets in early August, but Mikheyev was ineffective and failed to register a single point through those five games, as the Leafs fell three games to two.

Despite that poor showing, Mikheyev’s speed, hockey sense and hard shot make him a valuable addition to the Leafs’ offence going forward and he projects to play in the top-six again next season.

Source:- TSN

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending