The back-and-forth continues, Red Sox knot the game at 4-4 in the eighth

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The Red Sox were responsible for the fourth lead-change of the night as they knotted Game 3 up at four apiece with a two-run rally in the bottom of the eighth against the exalted Cardinal bullpen. Carlos Martinez put the first two batters he faced on base, allowing a lead-off single to Jacoby Ellsbury, then hitting Shane Victorino in the thigh with a slider. Dustin Pedroia advanced both runners with a weak grounder to shortstop Pete Kozma. With a base open, Martinez intentionally walked David Ortiz before manager Mike Matheny removed him from the game.

The flamethrowing Trevor Rosenthal entered the game with the bases loaded and one out, a tall task for anyone, even those that can hit 100 MPH. Nava slugged a line drive into the ground just in front of Kolten Wong, who just entered the game as a defensive substitute, who played the ball on a hop and fired to shortstop Kozma to attempt the double play. Kozma’s toss to first was a second too late, so Ellsbury scored to cut the score to 4-3. Xander Bogaerts followed up with a high chopper up the middle which Kozma couldn’t corral. Victorino scored the tying run. Saltalamacchia grounded out to end the inning.

Will the Cardinals summon up their black magic to pull off a last-ditch victory at home? Will the beard power of the Red Sox push them through a tough game on the road? Buckle up, folks.

Aaron Judge out of Yankees starting lineup for finale after No. 62

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t in the starting lineup for New York’s regular-season finale, a day after his 62nd home run that broke Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League single-season record.

When Judge homered in the first inning Tuesday night, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, it was his 55th consecutive game. He has played in 157 games overall for the AL East champions.

With the first-round bye in the playoffs, the Yankees won’t open postseason play until the AL Division Series starts next Tuesday.

Even though Judge had indicated that he hoped to play Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday night’s game that they would have a conversation and see what made the most sense.

“Short conversation,” Boone said before Wednesday’s game, adding that he was “pretty set on probably giving him the day today.”

Asked if there was a scenario in which Judge would pinch hit, Boone responded, “I hope not.”

Judge went into the final day of the regular season batting .311, trailing American League batting average leader Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315. Judge was a wide leader in the other Triple Crown categories, with his 62 homers and 131 RBIs.

Boone said that “probably the one temptation” to play Judge had been the long shot chance the slugger had to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.