Justin Verlander had made 13 career starts at Kauffman Stadium and never given up more than four runs. Of course, he was facing the Royals in those outings.
The NL All-Stars roughed up Verlander in the first inning Tuesday, scoring five runs on four hits and two walks. Ryan Braun started the scoring with an RBI double, but Pablo Sandoval’s three-run triple was the big blow. Sandoval went on to score on a Dan Uggla single.
The plan was for Verlander to pitch two innings tonight, but Joe Nathan replaced him to start the second. Verlander is the fourth starter to allow five runs in an All-Star Game, joining Jim Palmer (AL, 1977), Tom Glavine (NL, 1992) and Roger Clemens (NL, 2004).
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.