Oddities from Wednesday’s Indians-Mariners game

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Sure, Felix Hernandez did his usual thing, striking out 10 as Seattle bested Cleveland 9-2 on Wednesday.  But this was no ordinary game:

We mentioned last month that Josh Tomlin broke Daisuke Matsuzaka’s major league record for outings of at least five innings to begin a career.  That streak was snapped at 37 today, as he was charged with six runs in 4 2/3 innings.  Tomlin broke the record with his 29th straight appearance of at least five innings on July 4.

– The incomparable Wily Mo Pena went 3-for-3 with a homer, a double, four RBI, a walk and a HBP.  Yes, that’s right, a walk.  It was his first in 23 games this season.  His previous major league walk came on July 29, 2008.  It was also his first three-hit game since Sept. 14, 2007, and it marked the first time in 583 career games that he’s reached base five times.

– Kyle Seager went 4-for-4 with three doubles and three runs scored.  Chris Coghlan on April 6 and Ben Zobrist on June 11 are the only other two players to collect four hits, three doubles and three runs scored in a game this season.  Including Tuesday’s doubleheader, Seager now has a remarkable 10 hits in two days, raising his average from .224 to .312.  He’s the 12th player this year to have three straight games with three hits.  No one has made it to four.

– Jamey Wright fanned five in two scoreless innings out of the pen.  It was his high strikeout game since Aug. 3, 2007 and the first time he’s ever fanned so many batters without throwing at least four innings.

– Mariners pitching as a whole fanned 16 batters, the team’s most in a nine-inning game since Aug. 8, 1997.  The team did have 16 strikeouts in a 14-inning win over the White Sox on Aug. 12, 2009.

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).