David Ortiz seems to be the only consistent source of offense for the Red Sox thus far in the World Series. He led off the fifth inning of Game 4 with a double to right-center, their first extra-base hit of the night against Cardinals starter Lance Lynn. Lynn started to unravel, walking Jonny Gomes, and then walking Xander Bogaerts.
Stephen Drew, who has had an awful World Series at least with the bat, muscled a fly ball to left fielder Matt Holliday. Holliday fired home but catcher Yadier Molina was unable to corral the ball to apply the tag to Ortiz. With the score tied 1-1, Molina made several trips to the mound to coach Lynn through the final two batters of the inning, striking out David Ross and getting an inning-ending ground out from Mike Carp.
Carp was pinch-hitting for Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, whose night ends with a line that reads: 4 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 3 H, 3 BB, 2 K. Lefty Felix Doubront has taken over for him on the mound.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.