Red Sox Emerge From a Chaotic Day With Commanding Lead in A.L.C.S.

HOUSTON — Wednesday was not a typical game day in the American League playoffs. The day started with talk of sign-stealing, cellphone cameras and counterespionage. Later, the ace of the Boston Red Sox was scratched from his next start because of a stomach illness, sending their pitching plans into chaos. Then the game began, and things really got crazy. It began with an umpire’s controversial call in the first inning that turned what appeared to be a two-run home run for the Houston Astros into an out, and what followed…

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MLB — Inside Chris Taylor’s trip around the bases that ignited the Dodgers’ offense

LOS ANGELES — Everyone around Chris Taylor was seemingly being ushered to one media obligation or another after the Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 to take a 3-2 lead in the National League Championship Series and put themselves one win away from the World Series. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, third baseman Justin Turner and catcher Austin Barnes were going to the media conference room. Yasiel Puig, Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger were being taken to a backdrop in the center of the clubhouse for a scrum with reporters. Meanwhile,…

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MLB — Clayton Kershaw rides curve to Game 5 win in NLCS

LOS ANGELES — Erik Kratz swung through a Clayton Kershaw curveball as if he had never seen a baseball move before. It was a 1-1 count in the top of the fourth inning Wednesday. The Milwaukee Brewers were leading by a run in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, and Kratz was noticeably jumpy. Kershaw’s pitch began parallel with his chest and quickly dropped like an anvil, prompting an awkward half-swing and a deep exhale. It was the type of 12-to-6 curveball that made Kershaw a legend and…

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Fan interferes with attempt by Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts to catch ball

HOUSTON — Controversy came early in Wednesday night’s Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. In the bottom of the first inning, Houston Astros designated hitter Jose Altuve launched a fly ball to the right-field wall that prompted Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts to go into a full jump. As Betts extended his arm high over the 7-foot wall, the ball bounced back onto the field of play. Replays appeared to show that Betts’ left arm stretched over the wall and into the sea of fans. As…

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Clayton Kershaw Carries the Dodgers to the Brink of a World Series Berth

Both teams arrived at the stadium on Wednesday morning with bleary eyes and exhausted bullpens, hoping, it seemed, for deep turns from their starters, Kershaw and Wade Miley, the Brewers left-hander who had spun five and two-thirds scoreless innings against the Dodgers in Game 2. But this has been a season increasingly defined by creative uses of pitchers and the refashioning of traditional roles. After Miley walked the left-handed leadoff hitter Cody Bellinger on five pitches to begin the game, Brewers Manager Craig Counsell strode to the mound. He signaled…

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In the Majors, the Postseason Is Paranoia Season

The Astros are said to be especially skilled at sign stealing, a reputation that Luhnow attributed to curiosity about his team’s success. The Astros are one of baseball’s most tech-savvy teams; everywhere you look at their spring training complex, it seems, you will see a camera. But Luhnow said the Astros know the rules and stay within them, while also trying to keep rivals honest. “Our players and coaches are constantly observing stuff and they pick up things all the time, anything that’s unusual,” Luhnow said. “So we don’t have…

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Yankees’ Didi Gregorius has Tommy John surgery, return uncertain

NEW YORK — Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has undergone Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and is expected to be out of action for much of next season. The Yankees said Wednesday’s surgery went as expected. It was done by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Gregorious’ return to the lineup could come sometime between June and August, general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday on the Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York. Gregorius, 28, broke his own club record for home…

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Manny Machado, Los Angeles Dodgers, fined for Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee Brewers incident

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado was fined an undisclosed amount of money, but not suspended, for the way he ran through first base on Tuesday night, an industry source confirmed to ESPN. “He’s a player that has a history of those types of incidents,” Brewers star Christian Yelich said of the Dodgers’ Manny Machado. The Athletic first reported that Machado was fined. The incident prompted both benches to clear in the 10th inning of Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, an eventual 2-1 win…

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Milwaukee Brewers replace Gio Gonzalez with Zach Davies on NLCS roster

The Milwaukee Brewers have added RHP Zach Davies to the National League Championship Series roster, replacing LHP Gio Gonzalez, who left Tuesday night’s game with a high left ankle sprain. Zach Davies has been added to the Brewers’ NLCS roster after LHP Gio Gonzalez was injured Tuesday night. AP Photo/Benny Sieu The move means that if the Brewers make it to the World Series, Gonzalez cannot be on the roster, as a player replaced due to injury in one playoff series is required to sit out the next one. Davies was…

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MLB — Ryan Brasier, Nathan Eovaldi rise to moment for Boston Red Sox

HOUSTON — Forget the final score. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s grand slam in the eighth inning Tuesday put an exclamation point on Game 3 of the American League Championship Series and the Boston Red Sox‘s 8-2 win over the Houston Astros. But the most riveting drama came an inning earlier, when an obscure 31-year-old rookie who had signed a minor league contract in March faced the toughest out in the sport. From the first pitch of every series to the last out of Game 7, you can catch the entire MLB…

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