Wash­ing­ton com­pletes NLCS sweep

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Rick Hum­mel

WASH­ING­TON — The Car­di­nals were swept in a four-game post­sea­son series for only the third time in their his­tory Tues­day night when they spot­ted the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als seven runs in the first in­ning in Game 4 of the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Series.

Un­like Game 3, the Car­di­nals showed more spunk in this one, ral­ly­ing to make the game rel­a­tively close and they had the po­ten­tial go-ahead run at the plate in the eighth in­ning. But pinch hit­ter Matt Car­pen­ter, one of base­ball’s top bats­men ever with the bases loaded, grounded out into the shift.

The Wash­ing­ton bullpen, worst sta­tis­ti­cally in the ma­jors dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, fired four score­less in­nings in re­lief of Pa­trick Corbin, who fanned 12, and the Na­tion­als held on for a 74 win to com­plete a four-game sweep.

Wash­ing­ton ad­vanced to its first World Series in the 51-year his­tory of the fran­chise (Mon­treal/Wash­ing­ton). The Car­di­nals, af­ter out­last­ing At­lanta in five games to win the di­vi­sion series, fin­ished their 2019 post­sea­son ex­pe­ri­ence with a 3-6 record.

The other times they were swept in a fourgame post­sea­son series were in the 2004 World Series by Bos­ton and in the 1928 World Series by the New York Yan­kees. They never led in a game in 2004 and they never led in a game in this series ei­ther.

Rookie Dakota Hud­son was pasted for five hits and seven runs, four earned, in a 15-pitch first in­ning that was marked by a cou­ple of Car­di­nals’ de­fen­sive prat­falls in­volv­ing Kolten Wong and Jose Martinez.

The Car­di­nals, re­lief corps, start­ing with vet­eran Adam Wain­wright, worked 7 2/3 score­less in­nings. But 14 more Car­di­nals strike­outs, on top of the 16 they had on Mon­day, did them in. Nine of those strike­outs were by their three top of­fen­sive play­ers — Paul Gold­schmidt, Mar­cell Ozuna and Paul DeJong.

Yan­kees bested by Astros, Ger­rit Cole to go down 2-1 in the ALCS

NEW YORK — There was a heart-stop­ping mo­ment in the Hous­ton Astros’ dugout, dur­ing the fifth in­ning of Tues­day’s Game 3.

As Didi Gre­go­rius sent a fly ball to deep right field, the pos­si­bil­ity of a go-ahead three-run homer briefly elec­tri­fied Yan­kee Sta­dium, un­til Josh Red­dick set­tled un­der it at the warn­ing track.

A sell­out crowd groaned. The Astros ex­haled.

That’s about as close as the Yan­kees got to Ger­rit Cole, who tossed seven score­less in­nings and gave the Astros con­trol of the AL Cham­pi­onship Series.

Hous­ton’s co-ace over­came five walks and stranded nine Yan­kees on base, five in scor­ing po­si­tion, in a 4-1 Astros win be­fore 48,998 fans.

Af­ter win­ning 7-0 in Game 1, the Yan­kees have scored just three runs in their last 20 in­nings, al­low­ing Hous­ton to take a 2-1 lead in games in this best-of-seven.

And Wed­nes­day’s Game 4 car­ried a threat of post­pone­ment, due to a fore­cast of con­tin­ued rain. That could push Game 4 to Thurs­day and Game 5 to Fri­day, eras­ing the sched­uled travel date if the series re­quires Games 6 and 7 at Hous­ton.

At least, the Yan­kees – who planned to uti­lize their bullpen in Game 4 – could bring back Masahiro Tanaka on reg­u­lar rest if Game 4 is pushed to Thurs­day. Hous­ton could make it a Game 1 re­match by bring­ing back starter Zack Greinke.

Still, “I don’t think we’ve played the game all year for what-ifs, or what if it rains to­mor­row,” said re­liever Chad Green, who had a chance to be the Yan­kees’ Game 4 “opener” on Wed­nes­day.

“You play the game to win to­day and that’s it.”

Cole sur­vived a first in­ning scare, get­ting Gre­go­rius on a ground­out and strand­ing the bases loaded af­ter Hous­ton pro­vided him a 1-0 lead.

Yan­kees starter Luis Sev­erino barely got through a shaky first in­ning, load­ing the bases on two walks and an in­field sin­gle af­ter Jose Al­tuve’s solo shot — his fourth homer of this post­sea­son and first in the ALCS.

Fol­low­ing Red­dick’s lead­off homer in the sec­ond, on a 1-and-2 pitch, Sev­erino re­tired 10 of the next 12 bat­ters he faced; he ex­ited in the fifth, forc­ing Green to (suc­cess­fully) get out of his first-and-sec­ond, one-out jam.

Cole stranded two run­ners in the sec­ond, fourth and fifth in­nings, with that hold-your-breath mo­ment on Gre­go­rius’s deep fly pre­serv­ing a 2-0 lead.

In three post­sea­son starts, Cole – who grew up a Yan­kees fan and was drafted by the team out of high school – has yielded just one run in 22.2 in­nings, fol­low­ing a reg­u­lar sea­son that could net him, or team­mate Justin Ver­lan­der, the AL Cy Young award.

Once more, re­liever Adam Ot­tavino was off his game and it proved costly for the Yan­kees.

Ot­tavino opened the sev­enth in­ning by walk­ing Ge­orge Springer and yield­ing a per­fect hit-and-run sin­gle to Al­tuve, putting run­ners at the cor­ners and end­ing the right-han­der’s night, another brief out­ing.

Zack Brit­ton wound up let­ting in two in­her­ited runs, on a wild pitch and a Yuli Gur­riel sac­ri­fice fly.

In the Yan­kees’ eighth in­ning, Ed­win En­car­na­cion was erased at first base on a suc­cess­ful Hous­ton re­play chal­lenge. The next bat­ter, Gley­ber Tor­res, belted a homer off re­liever Joe Smith, the Yan­kees’ lone run.

En­car­na­cion snapped an 0-for-16 since Game 2 of the AL Di­vi­sion Series with a fifth-in­ning dou­ble. Gary Sanchez (0-for-4) heard the boos af­ter strik­ing out twice; he’s 2-for-21 with­out an ex­tra-base hit or an RBI this post­sea­son.

The game was de­layed 15 min­utes be­fore the top of the fifth; plate um­pire Jeff Nel­son ex­ited af­ter suf­fer­ing a con­cus­sion on a fourth-in­ning foul ball off his mask.

Sec­ond base um­pire Kerwin Dan­ley went be­hind the plate and the game re­sumed with­out a left field um­pire.

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