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Yankees stun Astros with late comeback, win 6-4 to draw ALCS even at 2-2

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The Yankees faced a 4-0 deficit going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but scored a total of six unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to stun the Astros with a 6-4 victory in Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday night. The ALCS is now even at two games apiece.

The Astros put up a three-spot in the sixth inning, which appeared at the time to be more than enough offense. George Springer led off with a walk and Josh Reddick followed up by reaching on catcher’s interference, bringing up Jose Altuve. Starter Sonny Gray threw a first-pitch ball to Altuve, which brought manager Joe Girardi out to the mound to make a rare mid-at-bat pitching change. David Robertson came in and ended up walking Altuve to load the bases. After Carlos Correa struck out, Yuli Gurriel ripped a hanging curve down the left field line, clearing the bases to make it a 3-0 game. He was caught between second and third for the second out of the inning.

Gray, by the way, has now pitched 21 1/3 innings in the postseason and has received exactly zero runs of support. That explains his 0-3 record despite a 2.95 ERA.

In the top of the seventh, the Astros tacked on one more run to make it 4-0. Marwin Gonzalez doubled, then came around to score on a fielding error by Starlin Castro.

Aaron Judge put the Yankees on the board leading off the bottom of the seventh, hitting a monster solo home run to center field. That chased McCullers from the game, who gave up the one run on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts spanning 81 pitches. Chris Devenski relieved McCullers and immediately gave up a triple to Didi Gregorius. Gary Sanchez brought him home with a sacrifice fly to right field, cutting the score to 4-2. Devenski then walked Greg Bird before giving way to Joe Musgrove. He got Castro to ground out and Aaron Hicks to fly out to escape the inning.

Musgrove started the eighth but immediately got into trouble. Todd Frazier led off with a single down the left field line and moved to third when Chase Headley hit a double into the left-center field gap. Headley stumbled between first and second and got caught in a rundown, but was able to reach second base safely somehow. Closer Ken Giles entered, but couldn’t keep his inherited runners from scoring. Brett Gardner brought Frazier home with a ground out and Judge brought pinch-runner Jacoby Ellsbury home with a double to left-center, tying the game at four apiece. Gregorius then singled to left field, moving Judge to third. Sanchez lined a double to center field, plating both runners to put the Yankees up 6-4. Giles intentionally walked Bird before exiting. Luke Gregerson entered and immediately walked Castro to load the bases for Hicks. At long last, the inning came to a close as Hicks grounded into a fielder’s choice and Frazier grounded out to third.

Aroldis Chapman took the hill in the ninth and got through the inning with ease. He struck out Gurriel and Alex Bregman, then got Evan Gattis to pop out to shallow left field to end the game.

With the series evened up at two games apiece, the two clubs will do battle again on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. The Astros will send Dallas Keuchel to the hill and the Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: