Justin Timberlake makes everyone feel uncomfortable

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Well, not me. I loved Mark Grace’s interview with Justin Timberlake during the All-Star Game last night. It may have been more entertaining than the game, actually.

The MLBAM people have already had the video of it taken down from YouTube — and I have this feeling that neither Fox nor MLB.com will be featuring it at their websites today —  but you can get a full transcript over at Amazin’ Avenue. (UPDATE II: I was wrong! It’s at MLB.com. Apologies for suggesting that they’d Pravda-it out of history).

Everyone is talking about how Timberlake — be it sarcastically or drunkenly or both — “praised” Joe Buck’s announcing abilities multiple times.  But whether or not that was really a slam on Buck, I don’t think that was even the most awkward part of it.  No, I found the most awkward part of it was JT’s ode to beer and his praising of it as “the perfect food.”

Mark Grace: It’s a pretty good spot. Now you wanted ballpark food. Peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, which one’s your favorite?

Justin Timberlake: My favorite? Just beer.

Mark Grace: Really? Beer! It’s kind of the perfect food.

Justin Timberlake: It goes with the hot dog, it goes with nachos, it goes with peanuts. Beer’s perfect. Beer never got mad at me because I didn’t call beer back.

Mark Grace: That’s a very good point. That is a very good point.

He said this, remember, to Mark Grace, who was busted for a DUI a month ago.  And on a broadcast which, about ten minutes before, had recounted the untimely death of Nick Adenhart at the hands of a drunk driver. Of course, given that the very first pitch of the game was sponsored by Budweiser, I guess mixed-messages involved with the relationship between alcohol and baseball are something with which Fox and MLB aren’t too uncomfortable.

I did feel kind of bad for Grace, though, whose lawyer probably doesn’t need him yukking it up with pop stars about the glories of beer at the moment.

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).