Tough break: Pablo Sandoval has fractured hamate bone

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Pablo Sandoval’s redemption story is temporarily on hold.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Pablo Sandoval has a fractured hamate bone in his hand. The report has been confirmed by Buster Olney of ESPN.com. The injury typically requires surgery and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that Sandoval will likely be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

Sandoval worked his butt off to lose nearly 40 pounds during the offseason and it looks like the hard work paid off, as he was batting .313/.374/.530 with five homers and 14 RBI over his first 91 plate appearances this season. While this isn’t a season-ending injury, it will be interesting to see whether his power suffers upon his return.

While the injury is a tough blow, Giants trainer Dave Groeschner told the Associated Press that Sandoval plans to use the time off to get in even better shape.

“The one positive he’s trying to take out of it is that he still wants to lose a few more pounds. And he’s like, ‘That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to work out.’ He can work out his legs. He can still run,” Groeschner said. “He’s motivated to do that. So this is an opportunity to work on that part. He’s going to have plenty of time, so that’s what we’re going to push.”

If today’s lineup is any indication, the Giants will likely move ahead with Miguel Tejada at third base and Mike Fontenot at shortstop. Emmanuel Burriss, who was recalled from Triple-A Fresno earlier this week, will likely share time with Fontenot.

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).