Baseball

MLB Playoffs: Ishikawa’s 3-run HR sends Giants to World Series

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) It was the Shot That Shook the Bay.

Travis Ishikawa hit the first homer to end an NL Championship Series, a three-run drive that sent San Francisco to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 on Thursday night.

These every-other-year Giants will face the Royals in an all wild-card World Series that begins Tuesday night in Kansas City.

A journeyman who began the season with Pittsburgh, Ishikawa connected for the first game-ending home run that sent the Giants into the World Series since perhaps the most famous drive in baseball history – Bobby Thomson’s ”Shot Heard `Round the World” in a 1951 playoff.

”It’s gratifying,” Ishikawa said. ”If there’s an organization I’d want to do it for, it would be this one.”

A role player during the Giants’ World Series win in 2010, Ishikawa was with Milwaukee in 2012… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Giants rally to beat Cardinals in NLCS Game 4; one win from World Series

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(PhatzRadio / AP)    —    Three thoughts from the Giants’ come-from-behind, 6-4 win over the Cardinals in Game 4 of the National League Championship, which puts them one win away from the World Series.

1. Battle Of The Bullpens: It was obvious early on that Game 4 would not be a tightly contested pitcher’s duel. Playoff hero Ryan Vogelsong, who had allowed just four earned runs in 30 1/3 career postseason innings, didn’t even make it into the fourth on Thursday night, giving up four runs on seven hits, including three doubles and a homer. Shelby Miller wasn’t much better, getting chased after 3 2/3 innings with three earned runs to his name. With neither starter providing length, Bruce Bochy and Mike Matheny were forced to go to their bullpens early, though only Matheny went often.

For Bochy, the plan to… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Cain wins ALCS MVP

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lorenzo Cain capped the AL Championship Series with his best catch yet: an MVP trophy.

The smooth center fielder snagged MVP honors after helping the Kansas City Royals to a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with a 2-1 victory Wednesday.

Along with making a series of splendid defensive plays, Cain batted .533 in the series and scored five runs. He had eight hits, matching the franchise record for an ALCS set by Willie Wilson — who also wore No. 6 and roamed center field — in 1985 against Toronto.

“Unbelievable feeling,” Cain said. “I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”

Indeed, what a month it’s been for Cain, who went home to Oklahoma between playoff series to be with his wife, Jenny, for the birth of their first child, Cameron Loe.

Cain rejoined the team in plenty of time to torment the Orioles… Continue reading

Breaking News: Kansas City Royals sweep Baltimore Orioles to reach World Series for first time since 1985

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Crown these Royals the American League champions.

After nearly three decades spent trying to return to the playoffs, Kansas City is taking its perfect postseason ride all the way to the World Series.

With more dominant defense, an opportunistic offense that plated two runs in the first inning, and a bullpen that shut down the Baltimore Orioles once again, Greg Holland and the wild-card Royals wrapped up a sweep of the AL Championship Series with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.

Next stop: The Royals’ first Fall Classic since 1985. They’ll face the winner of the NLCS between the Giants and Cardinals. San Francisco leads 2-1.

“It’s been an amazing run. This is great,” said left fielder Alex Gordon, who made another jarring catch. “We’ve been playing pretty good baseball. It’s nothing better than when you win. Today, same old story: good pitching,… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Royals edge Orioles 2-1 to take 3-0 lead in ALCS / Giants beat Cardinals in 10th on Choate wild throw in NLCS

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals have embraced the bloop, bunt and sacrifice fly all postseason.

Add in more sparkling defense and that dominant bullpen, and the wild-card Royals are suddenly one win from the World Series.

Billy Butler drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, and the Royals’ steel-curtain bullpen shut down the Baltimore Orioles the rest of the way for a 2-1 win Tuesday night and a commanding 3-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas made two marvelous plays as the picture-perfect Royals won their 10th straight postseason game, including all seven this year. Making its first playoff appearance in 29 years, the only thing that’s slowed Kansas City so far was a rainout Monday.

Kansas City will send Jason Vargas to the mound for Game 4 on Wednesday, trying to advance… Continue reading

MLB Payoffs: ALCS Game 3 postponed because of rain

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KANSAS CITY (AP) — The last two times the Kansas City Royals played a postseason game at home, rain fell after the final out. This time, it started well before the first pitch.

Game 3 of the AL Championship Series between the Royals and Baltimore Orioles was postponed Monday because of steady rain that saturated Kauffman Stadium. The game was rescheduled for 7:07 p.m. today.

Along with steady rain, wind gusts of 25 mph were buffeting the ballpark. The forecast for today is cold and windy but dry, with weather improving the rest of the week.

“We want a game we know we can get through nine innings, hopefully play dry baseball, not risk player safety or uncomfortable fans,” Major League Baseball senior vice president Peter Woodfork said about 4 hours before the scheduled first pitch.

The Royals, who lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, will keep… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Wong homers in 9th, Cards edge Giants to tie NLCS

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ST. LOUIS (AP) Kolten Wong ended Game 2 of the NL Championship Series with a big swing for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Now, they can only hope the season isn’t over for Yadier Molina.

Wong hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and the resilient Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 Sunday night, tying the best-of-seven series at one game apiece with their latest postseason power show.

The Cardinals came back after losing Molina to a strained oblique muscle in the sixth. The All-Star catcher was getting further tests and manager Mike Matheny said it ”didn’t look real good.”

”We’ll wait and see and right now we’ll just go ahead and keep celebrating a very tough, hard-fought win. I am real proud at how these guys kept coming,” Matheny said.

St. Louis didn’t stay down too long, getting a home run… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Orioles lose to Royals 6-4, behind 2-0 in ALCS / Bumgarner tames Cardinals, Giants take NLCS lead

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BALTIMORE (AP) — If Adam Jones was deflated after his Baltimore Orioles dropped the opening two games of the AL Championship Series at home against the Kansas City Royals, he was not about to let on.

“Let’s get back after it. We’re going to go to K.C. We’ve been a very good team on the road,” Jones said. “So let’s go there and have some fun, eat some barbecue.”
Video
Cain’s diving catch

Jones’ first career postseason homer went for naught Saturday, as closer Zach Britton and the rest of Baltimore’s suddenly shaky bullpen picked a terrible time to lose consecutive home games for the first time since June. Erasing deficits but unable to take a lead, the Orioles were beaten by the wild-card Royals 6-4 when Britton gave up the tiebreaking hit in the ninth inning.

The series shifts to Kansas City for Game 3 on… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Gordon-led Royals beat Orioles 8-6 in ALCS

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BALTIMORE (AP) — These Kansas City Royals, and Alex Gordon in particular, are way more than just speed and singles.

Gordon hit a tiebreaking homer in the 10th inning, Mike Moustakas added a two-run shot and the Royals defeated the Baltimore Orioles 8-6 Friday night in the opener of the AL Championship Series.

Earlier, Gordon doubled in three runs, was picked off first base, made a great catch in left field and got hit in the neck with a pitch.

But his most memorable moment came when he lined a pitch from Darren O’Day into the right-field seats. That was enough to provide the Royals with their fourth extra-inning victory in five games this postseason.

As the ball soared over the wall, O’Day flung his cap to the ground in frustration.

Moustakas followed with another shot to right, this one off Brian Matusz with a runner on.… Continue reading

MLB: NLCS teams set rosters – Pierzynski, Morse added to clubs

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(PhatzRadio / AP)    —   ST. LOUIS — The San Francisco Giants expect to add Michael Morse to the roster for the NL Championship Series, while the St. Louis Cardinals strengthened their bench by including catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Friday that Morse looked good playing in the instructional league, saying he had homered. Morse was en route to St. Louis, where the best-of-seven series starts tonight.

“Really encouraged with his at-bats down there,” Bochy said. “Once we see him and talk to him, all is fine. He is on the roster, then the first game he will be used off the bench.”

Morse was not on the division series roster. He hit .279 with 16 homers and 61 RBI this season, but he’s had only two at-bats since Aug. 31 because of a strained oblique muscle.

The 37-year-old Pierzynski replaces… Continue reading

MLB: A capsule look at Royals-Orioles playoff series

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(PhatzRadio / USA Today)    —   A look at the best-of-seven American League Championship Series between the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles:

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Schedule: (All times EDT) Game 1, Friday, at Baltimore (8:07 p.m.); Game 2, Saturday, at Baltimore (4:07 p.m.); Game 3, Monday, Oct. 13, at Kansas City (8:07 p.m.); Game 4, Tuesday, Oct. 14, at Kansas City (8:07 p.m.); x-Game 5, Wednesday, Oct. 15, at Kansas City (4:07 p.m.); x-Game 6, Friday, Oct. 17, at Baltimore (8:07 p.m.); x-Game 7, Saturday, Oct. 18, at Baltimore (8:07 p.m.). (All games on TBS).

x-if necessary.

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Season Series: Royals won 4-3.

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Projected Lineup:

Royals: SS Alcides Escobar (.285, 3 HRs, 50 RBIs, 31 SBs), RF Nori Aoki (.285, 1, 43, 17 SBs), CF Lorenzo Cain (.301, 5, 53, 28 SBs), 1B Eric Hosmer (.270, 9, 58), DH Billy Butler (.271, 9, 66), LF… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Homegrown talent key to another NLCS

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Changing cast, same old hit show for the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the NL Championship Series for the fourth straight year, the Cardinals used just five players from their 2011 World Series champions in the just-completed four-game Division Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sixteen players carried over from the roster in last year’s World Series loss to Boston.

“We wanted to make sure we could do this internally and have the depth to be successful and build from within,” general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday night amid the ruckus of yet another champagne spraying celebration. “You’re seeing that pay off now.”

Fifteen of the 25 players active against the Dodgers were Cardinals’ amateur draft picks, the most among the 10 playoff teams. Along with the savings of carrying so much youth, there’s camaraderie, too, with players who came up together.… Continue reading

MLB News and Notes: Beckett retires at 34

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett, facing surgery for a torn labrum in his left hip that caused him to miss most of the last three months of the season, has retired at 34, ending a 14-year career that included two World Series championships.

He threw a no-hitter in May but landed on the disabled list for the third time in early August with a left hip impingement after being on the DL in July for the same injury. He was 6-6 with a 2.88 ERA in 20 starts, including the no-hitter May 25 at Philadelphia.

Beckett’s first time on the DL was in March, when he had a bruised right thumb.

He announced his decision to retire in St. Louis after the Dodgers were eliminated in the National League Division Series on Tuesday night, according to MLB.com.

 

Report: Royals plan to… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Hosmer, Moustakas leading Royals into ALCS

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KANSAS CITY (AP) — The expectations that accompanied Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer were largely unfair, and anybody in the Kansas City Royals front office would probably be willing to admit it.

Moustakas was the second overall pick in the 2007 first-year player draft. Hosmer went third overall the following year. Together, the third baseman and first baseman were general manager Dayton Moore’s cornerstones in his plan to build a contender.

Yet even through this summer, they struggled. Moustakas spent months trying to get his batting average over .200, even getting banished to the minor leagues. Hosmer experienced a power outage, rarely taking a pitch deep.

Perhaps now, they are finally living up to those expectations.

Moustakas hit the go-ahead home run in the 11th inning in Game 1 of their AL Division Series against the Angels. Hosmer hit a two-run shot in the 11th inning the… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Cardinals sink Kershaw again, head to another NLCS

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Matt Adams could barely contain his enthusiasm — and he didn’t really try, either. He thrust both arms in the air while still in the batter’s box and added a couple of big hops to his home run trot as he approached first base.

A stunned Clayton Kershaw, bent over at the waist with his hands on his knees, watched from the mound as the long drive off Big City’s bat propelled St. Louis to a fourth straight NL Championship Series.

“Some people are calling it the Big City Leap,” Adams said. “I was just super-excited, I didn’t know what I was doing … I knew I was jumping for joy.”

The Cardinals tagged Kershaw in the seventh inning for the second straight time, riding Adams’ go-ahead, three-run homer to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday for a… Continue reading

MLB Playoff Roundup – NLDS: Cardinals use long ball to get victory / Doug Fister keeps Nationals postseason hopes alive

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(PhatzRadio / AP)    —   ST. LOUIS — Kolten Wong hit a two-run homer to snap a seventh-inning tie, Matt Carpenter went deep for the third straight game and John Lackey lived up to his big-game reputation as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five NL Division Series.

Facing elimination in St. Louis for the second consecutive postseason, the Dodgers will turn to ace Clayton Kershaw on short rest tonight in Game 4. Shelby Miller makes his first career postseason start for the Cardinals, one win from a fourth straight trip to the NL Championship Series.

The Cardinals finished off Los Angeles in a six-game NLCS last fall, knocking out Kershaw in the fifth inning of a 9-0 blowout in the final game.

Two runners reached against Trevor Rosenthal… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Kemp’s HR lifts Dodgers over Cards, NLDS tied at 1 / Belt HR in 18th, Giants beat Nats, lead NLDS 2-0

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Kemp yanked the Dodgers from the depths of despair with one swing.

Kemp hit a go-ahead home run leading off the eighth inning, lifting Los Angeles to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night and evening their NL Division Series at a game apiece.

Kemp practically skipped down the first base line, appearing to coax the ball fair as it sailed inside the foul pole and landed in the lower left field seats while the crowd of 54,599 erupted in cheers. Bubbles percolated into the hot night air from a machine in the dugout that the Dodgers turn on to celebrate homers.

No one looked happier greeting Kemp in the dugout than a once-distraught J.P. Howell, who had served up a tying, two-run homer to Matt Carpenter in the top of the inning after relieving Zack Greinke. Kemp… Continue reading

MLB Playoff Roundup: Royals beat Angels 4-1 in 11, lead ALDS 2-0 / Cardinals beat Dodgers 10-9 after Kershaw wilts

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning, and the surprising Kansas City Royals took a 2-0 lead in the AL Division Series with a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

Alex Gordon had an early run-scoring single and Salvador Perez added an RBI infield single in the 11th for the Royals, who became the first team in major league history to win three straight extra-inning playoff games.

In its first postseason appearance since 1985, Kansas City’s playoff roll just can’t be slowed by the majors’ best regular-season team. Hosmer had three hits and scored two runs as the Royals moved to the brink of the AL Championship Series.

Game 3 in the best-of-five series is Sunday in Kansas City, where Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson faces James Shields.

After 10 innings of intense, pitching-dominated baseball, the Royals broke… Continue reading

MLB AL Playoffs: Cruz, Hardy HRs carry Orioles past Tigers 12-3 / Moustakas’ HR in 11th puts Royals past Angels, 3-2

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Baltimore Orioles’ J.J. Hardy (2) is met at the plate by Ryan Flaherty (3) after his solo home run in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game 1 of baseball’s AL Division Series, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

 

BALTIMORE (AP) — The way Nelson Cruz and the Baltimore Orioles are hitting this season, it may not matter much who pitches for the other guys.

Cruz and J.J. Hardy homered, and the Orioles hammered out 12 hits in defeating Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers 12-3 Thursday in the opener of their AL Division Series.
Video
J.D. Martinez throws out Pearce

Rookie Jonathan Schoop had two hits and two RBIs for the Orioles, who turned a close game into a rout with an eight-run eighth inning against Scherzer and three ineffective relievers.

The 12 runs set a postseason record… Continue reading

MLB – AL Division Series: Breaking down Tigers vs. Orioles / Breaking down Angels vs. Royals

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(PhatzRadio / USA Today)     —    A look at the best-of-five American League Division Series between the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers:

  • Game 1: Tonight, Chris Tillman vs. Max Scherzer, 5:37 p.m. ET, at Baltimore
  • Game 2: Friday, Wei-Yin Chen vs. Justin Verlander, 12:07 p.m. ET, at Baltimore
  • Game 3: Sunday, Miguel Gonzalez vs. David Price, 3:37 p.m. ET, at Detroit
  • Game 4: Monday (if necessary), Bud Norris vs. Rick Porcello, TBD, at Detroit
  • Game 5: Wednesday (if necessary), Tillman vs. Scherzer, TBD, at Baltimore
  • (Note: Orioles have not officially announced pitchers beyond Game 1.)

In the Orioles’ favor: The Orioles are certain there indeed is a home advantage in the playoffs. They have it and a full house can make cozy Camden Yards seem even smaller. The major leagues’ most prolific home run team can take advantage of the dimensions,… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Bumgarner, Giants silence Pirates 8-0 to advance

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — The San Francisco Giants know what it takes to win this time of year. The Pittsburgh Pirates are still learning.

Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Crawford provided a powerful lesson on the difference during the National League wild-card game.

Bumgarner pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts, Crawford hit the first grand slam by a shortstop in postseason history and the Giants routed the Pirates 8-0 on Wednesday night.

“That’s crazy,” Crawford said. “With all the great shortstops that have played before, that’s pretty special. I’m happy to be able to do it.”

After silencing a black-clad crowd hoping for another Pittsburgh playoff run, San Francisco will face NL East champion Washington in the best-of-five Division Series beginning Friday.

This one fizzled by the middle innings — one night after Kansas City edged Oakland in a thrilling start to baseball’s postseason.

Crawford’s shot over the… Continue reading

2014 MLB Playoff: Postseason almost old hat now for the Pirates

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Madison Bumgarner thrived on the road this season, going 11-4 with a 2.22 ERA.(Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports)

 

(PhatzRadio / USA Today)    —-    PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates, who couldn’t even cobble together a winning season for two decades, have suddenly become postseason veterans.

The Pirates will play in the National League wild card game for the second consecutive year tonight when they host the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park. The back-to-back postseason appearances come on the heels of 20 consecutive losing seasons, the record for major North American professional team sports.

After so much losing, the Pirates aren’t taking playing in October for granted. All-Star left-handed reliever Tony Watson laughed when asked if the playoffs were becoming old hat.

“I can’t imagine this ever getting old,” Watson said Tuesday before the Pirates held a workout. “I know everyone in… Continue reading

MLB Playoff Roudup: Royals beat A’s 9-8 in 12 in AL wild-card thriller

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Photo courtesy of Canadian Press / AP

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals had waited 29 years to reach the postseason. They weren’t going down without a fight.
Video
Royals win Wild Card game

Salvador Perez singled down the left-field line with two outs in the 12th inning, allowing Christian Colon to score from second base and giving the long-suffering Royals a 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics in a wild AL wild-card game Tuesday night.

Quite a start to October baseball — even if this one appeared to be over in September with plenty of time to spare.

The A’s raced out to a 7-3 lead by the sixth inning, but the Royals countered with three runs in the eighth. Nori Aoki’s sacrifice fly off Sean Doolittle in the ninth forced extra innings.

Kansas City, appearing in its first playoff game in 29 years,… Continue reading

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