The Red Sox were responsible for the fourth lead-change of the night as they knotted Game 3 up at four apiece with a two-run rally in the bottom of the eighth against the exalted Cardinal bullpen. Carlos Martinez put the first two batters he faced on base, allowing a lead-off single to Jacoby Ellsbury, then hitting Shane Victorino in the thigh with a slider. Dustin Pedroia advanced both runners with a weak grounder to shortstop Pete Kozma. With a base open, Martinez intentionally walked David Ortiz before manager Mike Matheny removed him from the game.
The flamethrowing Trevor Rosenthal entered the game with the bases loaded and one out, a tall task for anyone, even those that can hit 100 MPH. Nava slugged a line drive into the ground just in front of Kolten Wong, who just entered the game as a defensive substitute, who played the ball on a hop and fired to shortstop Kozma to attempt the double play. Kozma’s toss to first was a second too late, so Ellsbury scored to cut the score to 4-3. Xander Bogaerts followed up with a high chopper up the middle which Kozma couldn’t corral. Victorino scored the tying run. Saltalamacchia grounded out to end the inning.
Will the Cardinals summon up their black magic to pull off a last-ditch victory at home? Will the beard power of the Red Sox push them through a tough game on the road? Buckle up, folks.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.