Nathan chokes, A-Rod comes through in Game 2

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Just because a guy has a lousy postseason reputation, it’s still probably not the best strategy to start grooving fastballs.
The Twins had Game 2 of the ALDS in control when they took a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning Saturday. They even picked up the last run after Mariano Rivera entered, and they went on to get a scoreless bottom of the eighth from Matt Guerrier. All that was left was for closer extraordinaire Joe Nathan to shut the Yankees down in the ninth.
Of course, it didn’t work out that way. Alex Rodriguez, who drove in the Yankees’ only previous run when he took a Nick Blackburn fastball left right over the heart of the plate into left field for a single, got a 3-1 fastball left up in the zone and teed off, taking it over the wall in center for a two-run homer.
It was another postseason failure for Nathan, who has given up seven runs in 7 1/3 innings in October action. He has two losses and a blown save to go along with his one save in seven appearances.
For A-Rod, it was even more redemption following his two-RBI game on Wednesday. He has five RBI in the ALDS, matching his high for a postseason series. He also had give in the 2000 ALCS and the 2004 ALCS, both of which were losses for his teams.
The Twins still had a chance from there, but the brutal call from Phil Cuzzi to deny Joe Mauer a leadoff double in the 11th really hurt. The Twins went on to load the bases with no outs anyway, but David Robertson retired Delmon Young, Carlos Gomez and Brendan Harris to escape the jam.
It was quickly over then. Mark Teixeira scorched a ball to left to begin the bottom of the 11th. A foot lower and he might have been held to a single. Instead, it skipped off the top of the wall for a game-ending homer.
The Yankees will travel to the Metrodome for Sunday’s Game 3 with a commanding 2-0 lead. Andy Pettitte and Carl Pavano are the scheduled starters, and it now appears as though the Twins might go down without ever throwing their best starter (Scott Baker).

Royals place Luke Hochevar on the disabled list

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 29: Reliever Luke Hochevar #44 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on June 29, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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The Royals announced on Thursday evening that reliever Luke Hochevar has been placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 25) as he’s showing signs of thoracic outlet syndrome, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports. Reliever Brooks Pounders has been recalled from Triple-A Omaha.

Thoracic outlet syndrome, simply put, is the compression of blood vessels and nerves between the neck and the shoulder. As we’ve seen lately, the fix for this often involves surgery to remove the pitcher’s upper rib.

Hochevar, 32, has compiled a 3.86 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings. The right-hander, who can become a free agent after the season if either he or the Royals decline his 2017 option, was a potential trade candidate recently mentioned by Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.

Jeurys Familia blew another save

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 26: Pitcher Jeurys Familia #27 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth inning during game two of a doubleheader at Citi Field on July 26, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 3-1.(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Usually, a pitcher blowing two saves isn’t noteworthy, even if it’s on back-to-back days. But Mets closer Jeurys Familia had successfully saved 52 consecutive games before the Cardinals put an end to that on Wednesday night.

The Mets opened up a four-game home series against the Rockies on Thursday afternoon. Because Familia had appeared in consecutive games, manager Terry Collins told the media, including MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, after last night’s game that the right-hander would get a day off and Addison Reed would serve as the fill-in closer.

The Mets rode a 1-0 lead through eight innings and wouldn’t you know it, Familia took the hill to start the ninth inning. Things quickly got out of hand. Trevor Story led the inning off with a single, then stole second base. David Dahl drew a walk, and Daniel Descalso followed up by loading the bases with a bunt single thanks in large part to a mental error by catcher Rene Rivera.

Familia then got Cristhian Adames on what could’ve been a game-ending 1-6-3 double play. But first baseman James Loney booted the ball, allowing a run to score and everyone else to advance safely. Even if Loney got the ball, though, Familia wasn’t anywhere close to first base to cover on a double play attempt. Charlie Blackmon stepped to the plate and Familia uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 fastball, allowing the go-ahead run to score.

Collins ordered Familia to load the bases by intentionally walking Blackmon, then brought in Hansel Robles, who escaped the inning without any further damage by striking out D.J. LeMahieu and getting Nolan Arenado to pop up. The Mets were unable to get any offense going against Rockies closer Carlos Estevez, who set the side down in 1-2-3 fashion to lock up the 2-1 victory.

After Thursday’s outing, Familia is now 36-for-38 in save situations on the season with a 3.14 ERA and a 49/22 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings.