After shopping around, Gomes re-signs with Reds

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Jonny Gomes spent the weekend searching for a better offer, but ultimately couldn’t land a major-league deal elsewhere and has decided to settle for re-signing with the Reds.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer say Gomes’ last-minute shopping coaxed the Reds’ into giving him a major-league deal, while Mark Sheldon of MLB.com says general manager Walt Jocketty told him it was a minor-league pact. And they’re all reporting from the same clubhouse!
Whatever the case, Gomes is essentially certain to be on the Opening Day roster regardless of the contract type and coming back to Cincinnati represents his best chance for semi-regular playing time. He’ll likely platoon with the left-handed-hitting Chris Dickerson in left field and should get 300 or so trips to the plate.
He ranked second on the Reds in OPS last season, batting .267/.338/.541 with 20 homers in 314 plate appearances, but was non-tendered in December and the market for right-handed platoon bats with limited defensive ability was extremely lacking this offseason. Jermaine Dye is still looking for work and the Gomes-like Marcus Thames managed only a minor-league deal from the Yankees.
UPDATE: Sheldon had it wrong. Gomes gets a big-league deal and a spot on the 40-man roster.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).