Rockies-Cubs game first in five years to feature three multihomer guys

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The final score was a modest 7-3, but Monday’s Rockies-Cubs game at Wrigley, won by Chicago, was the first in five years to include three multi-homer performances.

The Cubs’ Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez and the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez all went deep twice in the contest.  Gonzalez led off the top of the first with his homer and later ended winning pitcher Matt Garza’s afternoon with another solo shot in the eighth.

Ramirez and Pena, despite batting back-to-back in the orders, never did go back-to-back in the game. Ramirez homered in the first and seventh, while Pena hit his in the fourth and fifth innings.

Today’s outcome was fueled by a modest breeze out to left at Wrigley Field.  Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin, who had allowed a total of three runs in four starts this month, gave up three homers for the first time in his career.

The last such game with three multihomer guys took place on July 14, 2006, at Petco Park of all places.  The Braves beat the Padres 15-12 in that one, with Adam LaRoche, Chipper Jones and Adrian Gonzalez all going deep twice.

The last game to have four different players hit multiple homers took place at a much more likely location, Coors Field, on Aug. 14, 1999.  Dante Bichette, Todd Helton and Edgard Clemente all homered twice for the Rockies, while the Expos got two homers from Geoff Blum.  The Rockies won that one 11-8.

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).