NEW YORK (AP) — Growing up in the Bronx, Andrew Velazquez remembers attending plenty of Yankees games — though not any specific ones against Boston.
“Those tickets were probably too expensive,” he said.
Velazquez had much more than a good view Wednesday night.
Playing in the big leagues for his neighborhood team, the substitute shortstop delivered a pair of RBI singles and combined with first baseman Anthony Rizzo on a terrific defensive play for the dramatic final out as New York beat the Red Sox 5-2 for its sixth straight victory.
“’I’ve dreamt of doing what we just did,”’ Velazquez said he told teammates during his postgame speech in the clubhouse. “So, in real life it was way better.”
Andrew Heaney pitched seven smooth innings, Rizzo hit a two-run single in his return from COVID-19, and the Yankees matched their longest winning streak of the season.
“You come here, you want to be a part of something,” said Velazquez, the championship belt for the night slung over one shoulder. “Apparently I gave a pretty good speech, which was shocking.”
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, just activated from the injured list, was pulled by manager Aaron Boone with two outs and two on in the ninth. Lucas Luetge retired Kevin Plawecki on a grounder for his third major league save and first since his 2012 rookie season with Seattle.
Luetge became the sixth different New York reliever to earn a save in the past eight days as the Yankees finished a three-game sweep of their longtime rivals that vaulted them into playoff position ahead of struggling Boston.
“We got beat in every aspect of the game,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It’s that simple.”
New York, which has won 18 of 23, now holds the first of two AL wild cards in a tight three-way race that includes the Red Sox and Oakland Athletics.
“I think it’s just belief,” Rizzo said. “Every day is a different story.”
Xander Bogaerts and Hunter Renfroe homered for Boston, which has dropped 14 of 20. Nick Pivetta (9-6) was chased in a four-run second, and the Yankees improved to 6-10 in the season series after losing the first seven matchups.
The teams meet one more time, Sept. 24-26 in Boston.
“It’s very quiet in the clubhouse, and understandably so,” Cora said. “It’s not a good feeling.”
Perhaps in jeopardy of losing his spot in the rotation, Heaney (8-8) permitted just two hits — including Bogaerts’ opposite-field solo homer on an 0-2 pitch in the first. The left-hander, acquired from the Angels at the July 30 trade deadline, rebounded nicely in his fourth start for the Yankees after getting roughed up by the White Sox in the Field of Dreams game last week.
“Got some very timely groundballs,” Heaney said. “Just avoided trouble.”
Zack Britton pitched a perfect eighth and Chapman gave up a long home run to Renfroe before exiting with runners at the corners.
Plawecki grounded a full-count pitch into the hole between shortstop and third base. Velazquez, filling in for injured Gleyber Torres, made a sliding stop, popped up and fired a one-hop throw to Rizzo that barely nipped Plawecki at first base.
“I’m gonna throw it as hard and as low as I can so Rizzo can pick it,” said the 27-year-old Velazquez, who added that he’s staying with his parents during this homestand partly because it’s cheaper than Manhattan.
“If not, I would have thrown it in the family section in the second deck.”
The out call was upheld following a replay review that lasted 2 minutes, 20 seconds.
“Probably too close to overturn,” Cora said.
New York loaded the bases with nobody out in the second before Brett Gardner hit a sacrifice fly and Velazquez, batting ninth, grounded an RBI single up the middle.
“He’s been fun to watch,” Rizzo said. “It’s special stuff.”
Rizzo, sidelined since Aug. 8 after testing positive for the coronavirus, drove in two runs with a grounder that deflected off the glove of Bobby Dalbec as he attempted to make a sliding play behind first base.
“If you ask Bobby, probably he’ll tell you he needs to make that play,” Cora said.
Red Sox: DH Kyle Schwarber, who returned from a strained right hamstring last Friday, was rested against the left-hander but was available off the bench. The goal is for Schwarber to play the outfield this weekend, Cora said. … INF Christian Arroyo (left hamstring strain) was scheduled for a day off in the minors after going 0 for 2 with a hit by pitch as the DH in his first rehab game Tuesday night for Triple-A Worcester. He’ll play second base Thursday at Worcester. … RHP Ryan Brasier is close to joining the Red Sox, Cora said. Brasier, hit in the head by a line drive while rehabbing from a left calf strain, was set to pitch in back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday for Worcester. … Bench coach Will Venable, who tested positive for the coronavirus while the team was in Toronto and was forced to quarantine in Canada, will rejoin the Red Sox at home Friday.
Yankees: Chapman had been sidelined since Aug. 6 with left elbow inflammation. … RHP Corey Kluber (right shoulder strain) threw 56 pitches over three innings Tuesday in a rehab outing with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after struggling in his first one last week, at Double-A Somerset. The next step for Kluber will be another rehab game as he keeps building up. … RHP Domingo German (shoulder inflammation) threw a bullpen. … Boone said he hoped to have an update Thursday on RHP Luis Severino, who received a second opinion on his tight right shoulder.
Red Sox: After an off day, LHP Chris Sale (1-0, 3.60 ERA) makes his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery when Boston opens a three-game series at home Friday night against Texas. RHP Dane Dunning (5-7, 4.06 ERA) pitches for the Rangers.
Yankees: RHP Jameson Taillon (7-4, 3.89 ERA) takes the ball Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series against Minnesota. Taillon is 6-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 11 starts since June 18.
Canucks keep surprising with ‘inexplicable’ comeback vs. Canadiens
VANCOUVER – Two weeks into his Calder Trophy season four years ago, Elias Pettersson was thrown violently to the ice in Florida by defenceman Mike Matheson, who had been embarrassed by the rookie Vancouver Canuck earlier in the shift.
Pettersson suffered a concussion, Matheson a two-game suspension and the incident set off an inferno of debate about the culture of both the Canucks and the National Hockey League.
But even then, as a 19-year-old with the physique of a 2-iron, Pettersson was tougher than he seemed. Tougher mentally and physically. Four years later for Pettersson and two teams later for Matheson, the Canucks’ elite two-way centre victimized the Montreal Canadiens’ defenceman in overtime to give Vancouver an inexplicable 7-6 victory in front of fans who have rarely been so entertained.
Pettersson may or may not have caused Matheson to blow a tire and lose the puck by touching the defenceman’s leg with his stick, but there was little doubt about the significance of the goal it caused – for the Canucks and Pettersson.
Stronger in every sense than he was four years ago, Pettersson skated the puck to the net from a sharp angle as Matheson retreated and tucked a forehand deke through the pads of Montreal goalie Sam Montembeault.
Asked after the game if he realized in the moment whom he had just pilfered and embarrassed, Pettersson looked a long time at the questioner before deadpanning: “I’m going to say, ‘No comment.’” He knew.
This was Pettersson’s revenge.
At least that’s the storyline we’re going with in a game that could have spawned an alternate universe. For the first time since 1973, the Canucks rallied from a four-goal deficit to win. After the Canadiens scored four times in the first period, the Canucks eventually blew a 5-4 lead late in the third, trailed 6-5, then tied it on Andrei Kuzmenko’s power-play goal with Vancouver relief netminder Collin Delia on the bench for an extra attacker.
And then Pettersson won it 13 seconds into overtime.
“If they had called a penalty there, I would have been upset,” he said. “I didn’t touch his skates. I saw that I had an open lane (to the net). And I saw their goalie had one knee down at the post and it looked like if I made a long move, I might be able to get it through.”
Later, in his press scrum, Pettersson told reporters: “I don’t know if it was relief to score a goal or whatever, but just, overall, the emotion all game, to be down four and come back, be down one again and then tie it at the end, it was a game that had a lot of emotions and I’m glad we came up on top tonight.”
A game with 13 goals deserves that many clauses in one sentence.
“Man, we got the two points; that’s all I can say,” Canuck captain Bo Horvat said. “At the end of the day, I don’t care how we did it, we got it done. Obviously, it was not pretty. We made it pretty hard on ourselves but we showed a lot of resilience tonight. And Dells stepping in (for starting goalie Spencer Martin) and playing as well as he did … it was a fun one. It was a Monday Night Football game.”
Maybe the Canucks would be good at football. They appear to have some flaws as a hockey team.
Unable to figure how to defend leads and win, now they don’t even know how to lose properly. Canuck teams don’t come back from 4-0 late in the second period. They don’t score seven goals in the final 23½ minutes.
They don’t finish a four-game homestand at 2-2 when they led for less than seven minutes in more than four hours of hockey.
“That’s just the rollercoaster of emotions — kind of how you do not want to play the game, really,” Canuck veteran J.T. Miller said. “You want to play even-keel. But when you give up four that quickly, it was kind of a shell shock because … we had been absolutely dominant. Shots were 9-0 (at the start). A couple breakdowns and we’ve just got to get out of that habit of giving them up bang, bang, bang, bang. You’re not going to come back from 4-0 every day. But we talked about getting two in the second (period). But we had so many guys step up. Petey’s line was awesome; Petey was dominant.”
After Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win against Arizona, when the Canucks chased the mighty Coyotes all game, Pettersson’s line was reconfigured by desperate coach Bruce Boudreau. Brock Boeser, who went from being a healthy scratch to outed on the trade block to goal-scoring hero in one eventful Saturday, was deployed Monday alongside Pettersson and winger Ilya Mikheyev.
Mikheyev scored twice on perfect passes from Pettersson, who finished with three points, giving him 32 in 26 games this season.
Horvat, Conor Garland and Jack Studnicka, with the Canucks’ first go-ahead goal at 8:49 of the third period, also scored for Vancouver.
It was impossible to foresee when the score was 4-0 that Studnicka and Delia would become key figures in a Canuck victory. But most of their season has been a surprise. The Canucks are Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates.
“It’s funny, I feel like every game, it’s so live or die,” Miller said. “It’s 82 games. We’ve won a lot of games in the last 15 or 20 (but), it’s a process. It’s not going to be pretty every night. I’m just proud of the group. We had a lot of different guys step up tonight, which is awesome.”
The Canucks have lost seven games this season after leading by two or three goals. But now they’ve won one when they trailed by four.
Darnell Nurse sounds off on Edmonton Oilers slow starts after Stuart Skinner faces 50 shots
Another slow start for the Edmonton Oilers wasn’t their undoing against the Washington Capitals in Monday’s 3-2 loss, but it certainly didn’t help either.
The Oilers were outshot 22-12 in the opening frame, with Stuart Skinner turning aside all 22 in his eventual 47-save performance in the loss.
“We come in here and we talk about it every day,” Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse said of his team’s starts. “We sit here after the game, talk about it over and over and over. … We want to have good starts each and every night but, you know, we’re sitting here and it’s a part of our game. We’re almost a quarter of the way through the season.
“The more we just talk away and pester at it, we need to just show up and play. Relax, pin our ears back and come out on the on the attack.”
The Oilers were outshot 50-30 on Monday, including 19-7 in the second period, when Skinner allowed two goals.
“We weren’t as quick and physical as we wanted to be in the defensive zone,” Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said. “Our goalie stood tall. We’re 2-2 going into the third period. We made a critical error, and it ended up in the back of our net.”
Skinner Unfazed as Oilers Allow 50 Shots
Skinner, who has moved into the starting role ahead of Jack Campbell over the past month, saw his record drop to 7-6 on the season, with a .916 save percentage and a 2.93 goals-against average.
The 50 shots faced against the Capitals were a season high for Skinner, who said the early barrage helped put him the zone.
“I think if you get a few [early] chances on you and make all the saves, it’s a little bit of a confidence booster,” Skinner said. “They got on the power play and I got a few shots on the power play, so after that I was ready to go.”
The loss dropped the Oilers to 14-12-0 on the season as the team currently sits in the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Recap: Brazil vs South Korea – World Cup 2022
Neymar has returned from injury to help Brazil thump South Korea 4-1, setting up a World Cup quarter-final clash against Croatia.
Four unanswered Brazilian goals in the first half at Stadium 974 on Monday set an imperious tone for a team with their sights firmly on a sixth World Cup title.
And while the game settled in the second period, it was never sluggish or scrappy, and a spirited South Korea fought hard to score a consolation goal in the 76th minute.
It took just seven minutes for Brazil to get off the mark, with Raphinha picking up the ball just outside the box and rushing in on the right side, sending in a pass to Neymar. The Paris Saint-Germain number 10 was brought down by his marker and the ball ended up at the feet of Vinicius Jr, in acres of space.
The Real Madrid star steadied himself before placing it to the right of Kim Seung-gyu in the South Korean goal.
Just three minutes later, Richarlison was brought down by Jung Woo-young inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar, who had reportedly flown his barber out to Qatar to dye his hair blonde following previous victories over South Korea with bleached hair, wasted no time in slotting it into the bottom-right of the net. Brazil was up two-nil with less than 15 minutes on the clock.
South Korea had their share of chances, with Hwang Hee-chan, fresh off scoring the winner against Portugal, having a go from a distance but sending the ball comfortably over the bar. Moments later, Allison was forced to make a diving save to his left, his first save of the tournament.
But Paolo Bento’s men were simply outclassed in every part of the pitch.
A remarkable piece of skill in the 26th minute saw Richarlison juggling the ball, heading it to himself three times while evading defenders on the edge of the South Korean box. He then passed the ball before running through on goal to receive the return, firing the ball in for Brazil’s third.
Just 10 minutes later, Vinicius Jr set up Lucas Paqueta with a cheeky chip, and the midfielder shot low and right. Kim Seung-gyu could do little but look at the ball nestling in the back of the net.
With four goals before half-time, Brazil was putting down a marker for any teams who think they might have a chance of lifting the trophy on December 18.
Son Heung-min nearly clawed one back for South Korea straight after the restart, but Alisson — who must, through this game alone, be in contention for the Golden Glove — got enough of his arm onto the shot to tip it wide.
Faced with the intensity of Brazil’s onslaught, South Korea tried to slow the game, but more chances for Raphinha and Vinicius Jr followed despite the best efforts of the men in red.
Then came the 77th minute, and out of nowhere, Paik Seung-ho scored from outside the box. A free kick for South Korea was bundled clear by the Brazilian defence, falling to Paik, who belted it past Alisson’s dive to find the top-right corner. Finally, the South Korean fans had something to cheer about.
South Korea continued to work hard in defence and create chances in attack, but that goal was to be their only score, and they head home having been soundly beaten by one of the best teams in the world.
Brazil will face Croatia in the quarter-finals at Education City on Friday.
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