Baltimore Orioles

Orioles pitcher Miguel Elias Gonzalez dies at 21 in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Orioles minor league pitcher Miguel Elias Gonzalez died from injuries sustained in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, the team announced on Monday. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a statement, “Our organization is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Miguel Gonzalez. Miguel was beloved by his teammates and coaches in the Dominican Republic. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this very difficult time.”

The Orioles signed Gonzalez, 21, out of the D.R. on September 28, 2014. He pitched parts of three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, making 13 starts and 25 relief appearances.

Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte were killed in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, and Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident in the D.R. in October 2014. Three minor leaguers also died in 2016 in similar fashion. The dangers of driving in the D.R. are well known now and teams now speak to their players about the issue. For instance, back in January, Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post reported that the Nationals had vice president of international players Johnny DiPuglia tell his players at the club’s academy in Boca Chica, D.R., “You drink and drive and there’s a very good chance you’re going to have a grave issue on your hands.” In 2015, the World Health Organization rated the Dominican Republic as the deadliest country in which to drive in the western hemisphere due to lax enforcement of driving laws.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).