ALDS: Chad Pinder’s homer helps rally A’s past Astros; Rays beat Yankees
Chad Pinder tied the score with a three-run homer in the seventh inning, Sean Murphy hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth and the Oakland Athletics rallied past the Houston Astros 9-7 on Wednesday to avoid elimination in their AL Division Series.
Houston leads the best-of-five series 2-1 and can advance to its fourth straight AL Championship Series with a victory in Game 4 on Thursday.
The Astros wasted leads of 2-1 and 7-4, and the Athletics bounced back after giving up advantages of 1-0 and 4-2.
Houston’s bullpen had stifled Oakland in the first two games with seven shutout innings of one-hit relief, but Pinder ended that dominance.
Houston led 7-4 when Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella had back-to-back singles off Josh James starting the seventh. Pinder hit a first-pitch slider to the opposite field for Oakland’s fifth homer, a drive chased by right fielder Kyle Tucker until he ran out of room at the short wall.
La Stella, Mark Canha, Matt Olson and Semien also homered for the A’s, whose entire infield went deep. Teams outhomering opponents are 18-0 in the postseason.
The teams have combined for 18 homers — including seven in Game 3 — in the neutral-site series at Dodger Stadium featuring all day games. After two straight days in the 90s, the temperature cooled to 81 degrees.
Loser Brooks Raley walked Robbie Grossman leading off the eighth, and Ramon Laureano doubled. Murphy’s sacrifice fly put Oakland ahead, Semien walked,
La Stella was hit on his right forearm, loading the bases and forcing La Stella from the game. Pinder, who went 3 for 4 with four RBIs, followed with another sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Winner Liam Hedricks pitched three innings of one-hit, scoreless relief.
Carlos Correa singled leading off the bottom of the eighth and Tucker reached on catcher’s interference by Murphy, a call the A’s challenged unsuccessfully.
Yuli Gurriel popped out, Aedmys Diaz advanced the runners with a groundout, and pinch-hitter Josh Reddick struck out, smashing his bat on the ground and breaking it over a knee.
Houston took a 7-4 lead with five runs in the fifth, when the Astros sent 10 batters to the plate. Diaz hit a tying, two-run homer off rookie starter Jesus Luzardo, and Brantley, Bregman and Tucker drove in runs. Houston was slowed when Jose Altuve was thrown out on a relay by Olson at first when he tried to go from first to third on Brantley’s single.
Both starters allowed up four runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings Luzardo and Houston’s Jose Urquidy.
Rays 8, Yankees 4
Randy Arozarena homered for the third straight game and Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez also went deep for the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the New York Yankees 8-4 Wednesday night to move within one victory of reaching the AL Championship Series for the first time in 12 years.
New York’s Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer off rookie Shane McClanahan to center field in the eighth inning to become the first player with a home run in each of his team’s first five games of a single postseason. Stanton has six homers in those five games. McClanahan made his major league debut in Game 1 on Monday night.
The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Division Series. Game 4 is Thursday night at Petco Park, which has yielded 16 home runs in three games — nine by Tampa Bay.
The Rays are looking to advance out of the ALDS for just the second time. They reached the 2008 World Series before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Arozarena, a 25-year-old rookie from Havana who’s nicknamed “The Cuban Rocket,” is having a breakout postseason. He homered off Gerrit Cole in the first inning of Game 1, a 9-3 Yankees win, and off rookie Deivi Garcia in the first inning of Game 2, a 7-5 Rays win.
He hit a shot deep to left leading off the fifth Wednesday night to chase Masahiro Tanaka and give the Rays a 5-1 lead.
Arozarena went 3 for 4 with a walk. He leads all players in the postseason with 12 hits in five games. He went hitless in five postseason plate appearances in 2019 for St. Louis, which traded him to Tampa Bay in January.
“He has to be the best baseball player on earth right now,” Rays starter Tyler Glasnow said after Tuesday night’s win. “What he’s doing is phenomenal.”
Kiermaier hit a three-run shot into the home run deck in right off Tanaka with no outs in the fourth to make it 4-1. Joey Wendle was aboard on a leadoff single and Willy Adames on a walk.
Perez hit a two-run shot to left off Chad Green in the sixth. Kiermaier was aboard on a leadoff double. It was the 11th home run by a No. 9 hitter this postseason, the most all-time.
Charlie Morton got the win after holding the Yankees to two runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked two in winning his fifth straight postseason decision.
Tanaka took the loss after allowing five runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. He struck out four and walked one.
The Yankees loaded the bases twice in the third inning and got only a sacrifice fly by Aaron Judge. Aaron Hicks hit an RBI double in the fifth.
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