Nyjer Morgan

Brewers beat Diamondbacks in 10, advance to NLCS


8:49 p.m.update: Nyjer Morgan singled in Carlos Gomez with one out to advance the Brewers to the NLCS.

Gomez singled off J.J. Putz and stole second to get into scoring position before Morgan hit a groundball single up the middle. Chris Young’s throw from center field wasn’t nearly in time.

8:40 p.m. update: Axford rebounded from his poor ninth to retire the Diamondbacks in order in the 10th. Craig Counsell, Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan due up for Milwaukee.

8:32 p.m. update: We’re going to extra innings. David Hernandez has retired all six Brewers he’s faced.

Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Young and the pitcher’s spot are due up for the Diamondbacks in the 10th. Lyle Overbay figures to hit for Hernandez unless it’s a bunting situation.

8:28 p.m. update: Poor Jerry Hairston. He was robbed by Chris Young on his bid for a two-run double in the sixth and he just cranked another to left-center that was grabbed by Gerardo Parra.

8:25 p.m. update: Blanco grounds out to end the top of the ninth with the score tied 2-2. It was pretty impressive the way Axford bounced back, particularly after he botched the squeeze bunt.

Worth remembering now: the Brewers have taken out their third- and fourth-best hitters for defense. Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks were replaced by Carlos Gomez and Craig Counsell.

Jerry Hairston Jr., Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy are due up against David Hernandnez in the bottom of the ninth.

8:23 p.m. update: Upton taps out to Axford. Now it’s Henry Blanco up after the Diamondbacks chose to run for Miguel Montero with two outs in the eighth.

8:20 p.m. update: Axford finally gets his first out, striking out Aaron Hill. Justin Upton up.

8:17 p.m. update: A Willie Bloomquist safety squeeze ties it up. Even bigger, no out was recorded on the play after Axford got in Prince Fielder’s way, giving the Diamondbacks two on with none out.

The Brewers were 81-1 when leading after eight innings this season.

8:16 p.m. update: Burroughs pulled back the bunt and flared a 3-2 pitch into shallow right. Runners on first and third, no outs.

8:12 p.m. update: Previously hitless in 17 at-bats for the series, Gerardo Parra took John Axford’s first pitch of the ninth into right-center for a double. This is getting good.

Sean Burroughs is in looking to drop down a bunt.

8:10 p.m. update: Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez retired Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks in order in the eighth, so it’s 2-1 Brewers headed to the ninth.


Francisco Rodriguez loaded the bases in the top of the eighth before getting Ryan Roberts to groundout to end the inning. The Brewers will take at least a 2-1 lead into the top of the ninth in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks.

While K-Rod was shaky right from the start — he walked Aaron Hill to start the inning — Brewers manager Ron Roenicke never moved to warm up closer John Axford or anyone else in the Milwaukee pen. Rodriguez gave up a single to Miguel Montero with one out and walked Chris Young to load the bases with two outs, but he appeared in control while dealing to Roberts. Roberts guessed fastball on the first pitch and got the slider. He was then late on a fastball on the second pitch, and pitch No. 3 was a routine grounder for an easy out.

The Brewers will turn to Axford in the ninth. Due up are Gerardo Parra, Sean Burroughs and Willie Bloomquist. Parra is hitless today and 0-for-17 in the series.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.