A’s sweep Yankees, win fifth straight by one run

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It took them 12 innings this time, but the A’s completed a four-game sweep of the Yankees on Sunday, this time winning 5-4. They’ve won five straight games by exactly one run.

The A’s are the first team since the 1999 Marlins to win five straight by the slimmers of margins.

The streak started with a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Thursday. They then beat the Yankees four straight: 4-3, 3-2, 2-1 and 5-4.

The Yankees actually jumped out to a 4-0 lead today, but the A’s came all of the way back. Brandon Inge and Kurt Suzuki homered in the fifth, and the A’s got another run in the sixth on an RBI groundout. Down 4-3 in the ninth, they got a game-tying home run from Seth Smith off Rafael Soriano. Coco Crisp won it in the 12th by singling in Derek Norris.

The victory improved the surprising A’s to 51-44, putting them into a tie with the Angels for second place in the AL West before the Angels play Texas tonight. The Angels, A’s and Orioles are all currently tied for the two wild card spots, with the White Sox one back.

A flipped-script NLCS moves to Los Angeles for Game Three

Associated Press
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The book heading into the series was that the Dodgers’ starters needed to come up big for them due to questions in the bullpen and that the Brewers’ bullpen was going to dominate Dodgers batters, so they had best do what they can to score off of Milwaukee’s starters. So, of course, the Dodgers starters turned in performances of three and four and a third innings and eight of their nine runs the Brewers have given up have come from their relievers. I dunno, man. It’s baseball. It lends itself to anticipatory analysis worse than any other sport.

All I do know for sure is that this series has been as close as it gets so far, with each game being decided by a run and the outcome being determined late. The first two games have given me a sense that the teams are just feeling each other out and that the next three, in Los Angeles, will provide a bit more coherence to all of this. Not that there isn’t something a bit fun about incoherence when it comes to a playoff series.

Your viewing guide:

NLCS Game 3

Brewers vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:39 PM Eastern
TV: FS1
Pitchers: Jhoulys Chacin vs Walker Buehler
Breakdown:

Jhoulys Chacin had an excellent NLDS start against the Colorado Rockies, turning in five scoreless innings. If he does something approaching that tonight the Brewers will be in pretty good shape given that Josh Hader — who pitched three shutdown innings in Game one — is available again tonight. To the extent Craig Counsell needs to dig more deeply into his reliever corps, however, things could get dicey. Corbin Burnes, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and Joakim Soria have combined to allow seven earned runs in four innings. Brandon Woodruff, who has been dominant thus far, throwing five scoreless innings, stands a good chance of being the opener for Game 4, so Counsell will likely try to keep him off the mound tonight. That puts a decent amount of pressure on Chacin to get the game to Hader with as few innings remaining as possible.

For Los Angeles, it’s Walker Buehler who, the grand slam he gave up to Ronald Acuña in the NLDS notwithstanding, was the Dodgers’ most dominant starter down the stretch. In keeping with the somewhat flipped script so far, however, the Los Angeles bullpen has been solid, allowing just two runs over their ten and two-thirds innings in Games 1 and 2. Not that Dave Roberts wouldn’t love to see Buehler go deep tonight too.