Tim McCarver needs “minor” heart procedure, Terry Francona to fill in for early ALCS games

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UPDATE: Francona’s role will be a big one, as Ben Grossman of Broadcasting and Cable reports that he’ll be partnered with Joe Buck for Game 1 and Game 2 of the ALCS because Tim McCarver is undergoing a “minor” heart procedure.

Quite a first broadcasting gig for Francona. McCarver, who’ll be 70 years in two weeks, is expected back for Game 3 of the ALCS.

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Terry Francona has no shortage of job opportunities. And unlike the offer from the New England Collegiate Baseball League, he’s actually taking this gig.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the former Red Sox manager will serve as a guest analyst on FOX for the remainder of the playoffs.

It’ll be interesting to see if the FOX crew is willing to press Francona about his future as various rumors swirl. If nothing else the national spotlight would give him a chance to further explain his side of the story and presumably there’s less beer drinking on a television set than in the Red Sox’s clubhouse.

The biggest downside for Francona is that he’ll have to interact with A.J. Pierzynski.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.