Russell Martin helps Pirates walk off in 14th for ninth consecutive win

12 Comments

After a rain delay halted this afternoon’s series finale between the Pirates and Brewers by nearly two and a half hours, the two teams battled through 14 innings to decide a winner. The Pirates, entering the game with baseball’s best record, walked off in the bottom half of the 14th when Russell Martin snuck a ground ball up the middle, scoring Gaby Sanchez. The victory allowed the Pirates to maintain their MLB-best record at 51-30 and bolster their lead over the second-place Cardinals to two games.

Of all the improbable things that have happened so far — Chris Davis getting to 30 home runs before July and Yasiel Puig logging 44 hits in his first 100 at-bats among them — the Pirates emerging as baseball’s best team through the first three months has to top the list. However, the Pirates know well not to rest on their laurels after what happened in 2011.

World Series Game 1 will feature Dallas Keuchel vs. Clayton Kershaw

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Dodgers and Astros have selected their starters for Game 1 of the World Series. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the series for the Astros, while fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the first of two home games at Dodger Stadium.

Keuchel, 29, has been a steady presence for the Astros this postseason. He clinched Game 2 of the ALDS with 5 2/3 innings of one-run, seven-strikeout ball against the Red Sox and returned for his second postseason win with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS. He was outmatched in Game 5 of the Championship Series, however, scattering four runs and eight strikeouts across 4 2/3 innings while the Yankees worked their way up to a 5-0 shutout. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps the Astros’ strongest arm behind ALCS MVP Justin Verlander and has not surrendered a single home run in 17 1/3 consecutive innings this postseason.

Kershaw, on the other hand, has had a less consistent track record in the playoffs. While his postseason yips have been well-documented thus far, his struggles on the mound haven’t always led to disaster — at least not this time around. The Dodgers are 3-0 in all three of Kershaw’s starts this month and enjoyed a quality start from their ace during Game 5 of the NLCS last Thursday. The 29-year-old southpaw recorded his second win of the playoffs with a run, three hits, a walk and five strikeouts over six innings. Unlike Keuchel, he’s given up a home run in each of his outings to date (and four homers in Game 1 of the NLDS).

Game 1 is set for Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM ET. The Dodgers have home field advantage through Games 1 and 2 before the series moves to Houston, and will try to capitalize on that advantage in order to extend their postseason winning streak at Dodger Stadium. They’re 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road this October, while the Astros boast a 6-0 advantage in Houston and a significantly less impressive 1-4 record away from home.