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Max Scherzer loses no-hit bid against Cubs in seventh inning of NLDS Game 3

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Update (6:31 PM ET): Ben Zobrist broke up the no-hitter with a double to left-center field with one out in the bottom of the seventh. That brought Baker out to the mound with Scherzer at 98 pitches. After a 30-second chat with Scherzer, he brought in lefty Sammy Solis to face the left-handed-hitting Kyle Schwarber. Cubs manager Joe Maddon then had the right-handed-hitting Albert Almora, Jr. pinch-hit for Schwarber.

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So much for that hamstring injury. The Nationals pushed back ace Max Scherzer‘s debut in the NLDS until Game 3 because of a “tweaked” hamstring he sustained in his final start of the regular season. He was aiming for around 100 pitches on Monday.

Scherzer has held the Cubs hitless through six innings thus far in Game 3 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. He’s issued three walks and struck out six on 90 pitches.

The Nationals gave Scherzer the lead in the top half of the sixth. Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber failed to catch a fly ball, then booted it away trying to reclaim it in left field, allowing Daniel Murphy to get to third base with two outs. Ryan Zimmerman then launched a two-out double to right field to plate Murphy. The Cubs, by the way, have committed four errors in this contest.

Don Larsen (1956) and Roy Halladay (2010) are the only pitchers to throw a no-hitter in the postseason — Larsen’s was a perfect game. We’ll keep you updated as Scherzer attempts to navigate the final three innings. Given that he’s already at 90 pitches, manager Dusty Baker may not want to risk the right-hander’s health by asking more out of him than he’s physically capable of giving.

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).