The Yankees lead in the AL East is down to one

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The Yankees haven’t been in first place all season. As late as June 10 they were a half game back. But starting then they began to build a lead. By July 18 it was a ten game lead.  Since July 18 it has been whittled down to a single game.

The Orioles, fresh off taking two of three from New York, beat the Blue Jays in convincing fashion today, shutting them out behind a strong outing from Joe Saunders.  Meanwhile, down in Tampa, the Yankess lost 4-3 despite having their ace on the hill.

New York has a couple more against Tampa Bay — themselves only two and a half out — then a four game series against the Orioles. Oh, and then three more against the Rays after a quick trip to Boston.  Oh, and Robinson Cano is hurting too, having done something bad to his hip in this game, which will most likely cause him to miss tomorrow’s.

Are they going to escape this stretch alive?

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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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.