UPDATE: The Pirates announced that Kang had surgery tonight for a displaced lateral tibial plateau fracture and also required a lateral meniscal repair. The estimated recovery time is 6-8 months, so he could miss the early part of the 2016 season.
7:18 p.m. ET: When Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was injured on a takeout slide from Chris Coghlan in today’s game against the Cubs, it was easy to think the worst. Unfortunately for the Pirates, the worst-case scenario has been confirmed.
Dejan Kovacevic of DKPittsburghSports.com reports (via Bob Nightengale of USA Today) that Kang will miss the remainder of the season due to a fractured tibial plateau and a torn MCL in his left knee. The injury will require surgery.
The injury is obviously a brutal blow for the Pirates. Kang has had an excellent first season stateside, batting .287/.355/.461 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI over 126 games. He has also held his own defensively between shortstop and third base. Jordy Mercer will function as Pittsburgh’s regular shortstop the rest of the way.
As for the takeout slide from Coghlan, Kang issued the following statement through his agent:
The Red Sox plated five runs in the top of the eighth inning to put Game 3 of the ALCS out of the reach, taking an 8-2 victory over the Astros on Tuesday night in Houston. Four of those eighth-inning runs came on a grand slam to right field by Jackie Bradley, Jr. off of reliever Roberto Osuna, turning their two-run deficit into a back-breaking six-run deficit.
Both teams traded blows in the first inning, with the Red Sox plating two runs on a J.D. Martinez double and a Xander Bogaerts ground out against starter Dallas Keuchel. The Astros got a run back in the bottom half against starter Nathan Eovaldi when Marwin González brought home Jose Altuvé with a single.
Keuchel settled down from there. He ultimately gave up the two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and no strikeouts across five innings. Eovaldi wouldn’t give up another run until the fifth, when Alex Bregman doubled home Altuve. Eovaldi yielded the two runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
Steve Pearce, added to the lineup because of the left-handed Keuchel, smashed a solo home run down the left field line in the sixth against right-handed reliever Joe Smith, breaking the 2-2 tie. Two innings later, all hell broke loose against Osuna. Osuna got Martinez to fly out for the first out, allowed a single to Bogaerts, then got the second out when Pearce gorunded out to third base. Rafael Devers kept the inning alive with a single. Osuna loaded the bases by hitting Brock Holt with an 89 MPH slider, then forced in a run when he hit Mitch Moreland with a 96 MPH fastball. Bradley came up and worked a 1-1 count before depositing a 94 MPH fastball into the right field seats to drastically create space between the Red Sox and Astros.
In the bottom of the eighth, with a healthy five-run cushion, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly combined to keep the Astros off the board. Eduardo Rodríguez got the ball to start the ninth with a pair of lefties slated to bat. Tyler White pinch-hit for Brian McCann but struck out. Evan Gattis then pinch-hit for Tony Kemp and grounded out. Rodríguez cleaned out the inning by striking out George Springer, ending the game in an 8-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox will take their 2-1 series lead into Houston on Wednesday night. Rick Porcello will oppose Charlie Morton for an 8:39 PM ET start. A Red Sox win tomorrow would bring them one win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2013 and it would leave the defending champion Astros one loss away from elimination.