Author: Bill Baer

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Mets defeat Cubs 4-2 behind Matt Harvey’s stellar outing to take the first game of the NLCS


Matt Harvey pitched 7 2/3 dominant innings for the Mets as they took down the Cubs 4-2 on Saturday night in the opening game of the NLCS at Citi Field. It’s the Mets’ first Championship Series win since Game 6 in 2006 against the Cardinals.

Daniel Murphy opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run off of Cubs starter Jon Lester. Curtis Granderson broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth with an RBI single. Travis d'Arnaud tacked on a monster solo homer in the sixth and Granderson contributed a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Harvey hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch to open up the fifth, then gave up a double to center field off the bat of Starlin Castro in the top of the fifth, leading to the first of his two runs. With two outs in the eighth, Harvey served up a no-doubt solo homer to right-center to Kyle Schwarber before exiting the game. He finished allowing the two runs on four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts. Lester lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Closer Jeurys Familia took over for Harvey with two outs in the eighth and walked Kris Bryant, but got out of the inning when Anthony Rizzo grounded out to shortstop. In the ninth, Familia got Starlin Castro to pop up and Jorge Soler to strike out for two quick outs. Miguel Montero kept hope alive with a single, which ended a streak of 18 consecutive batters retired in the post-season by Familia. Daniel Murphy made an outstanding play on a Tommy La Stella well-struck one-hopper to end the game with a 4-2 win for the Mets.

Murphy’s homer was his fourth this post-season, tying a Mets post-season record.

The two squads will face off in Game 2 of the NLDS on Sunday at 8:00 PM EDT. Jake Arrieta will start for the Cubs against Noah Syndergaard of the Mets.

Jose Bautista, Ryan Goins discuss dropped pop-up that led to ALCS Game 2 loss

Jose Bautista
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista and second baseman Ryan Goins couldn’t get on the same page on a Ben Zobrist pop-up at the start of the seventh inning in Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday. The pop-up fell to the ground between both players, and the Royals would use it as a catalyst for a five-run inning.

In discussing the play after the game, the two players handled it in polar opposite ways. Goins accepted fault for the mistake, while Bautista didn’t think there was an issue. Via’s Gregor Chisholm:

Bautista, already on thin ice with a sizable percentage of baseball fans for his bat flip and his souvenir deke, isn’t likely to win over any new fans with this.

Cubs plate a run vs. Mets, tie NLCS Game 1 at 1-1

AP Photo/Elsa Garrison
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Mets starter Matt Harvey pitched four perfect innings to begin Game 1 of the NLCS against the Cubs, but faltered in the fifth inning. After getting ahead 0-2 on Anthony Rizzo, Harvey plunked him with a fastball. Starlin Castro followed up with a double over the head of center fielder Juan Lagares to bring Rizzo home.

Jorge Soler grounded out for the first out of the inning. The next batter, Javier Baez, ripped a ground ball single to left field. Cubs third base coach Gary Jones waved Castro around, mistakenly, as Yoenis Cespedes fired a one-hopper to catcher Travis d'Arnaud. The throw was a bit off-line, but the tag was still applied easily. Baez stole second and advanced on a throwing error by d’Arnaud, and David Ross was intentionally walked so Harvey could face pitcher Jon Lester. Lester, as expected, struck out to end the inning.

Harvey has allowed the one run on two hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, throwing 61 pitches. Lester has allowed a run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts, tossing 63 pitches.

Daniel Murphy homers to give Mets an early NLCS lead over the Cubs

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Following a perfect, nine-pitch top of the first inning by starter Matt Harvey, Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy gave his team a 1-0 lead over the Cubs when he drilled a Jon Lester breaking ball for a no-doubt solo home run with two outs in the bottom half.

Murphy has now gone yard four times in the playoffs this year, including in each of his last three games. His home run in the sixth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS was the deciding factor as the Mets clinched the series against the Dodgers.

Murphy, 30, is eligible for free agency after the post-season.


Update:  Here’s video of the homer.

Video: Royals rally for five runs to beat the Blue Jays

Alex Gordon; Alcides Escobar
The Associated Press
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A minor defensive miscue between Jose Bautista and Ryan Goins became the catalyst for a game-changing, five-run seventh inning for the Royals as they won Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday. The Royals now own a comfortable 2-0 lead as the series heads to the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Jays starter David Price, prior to the Royals’ rally in the seventh, had retired 18 consecutive batters to set a new Blue Jays post-season record.