Indians eke out a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox in ALDS Game 1

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It looked like the Red Sox were off and running when they led off Game 1 of the ALDS against the Indians with a double followed by a single. But they managed just one run in the top of the first against Indians starter Trevor Bauer, who slithered out of the inning with a strikeout and a pop-up, then got the third out at home on a bang-bang tag play.

The Indians tied the game in the bottom of the second after Jose Ramirez led off the frame with a double and scored on a Lonnie Chisenhall single. The Red Sox retook the lead in the third on an Andrew Benintendi solo homer off of Bauer. But then the Indians’ offense would explode. In the bottom half of the third, Roberto Perez led off with a solo homer. After Carlos Santana grounded out, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor hit back-to-back solo homers of their own, pushing the lead to 5-2.

The Red Sox cut into the deficit with a Sandy Leon solo homer to lead off the fifth but the offense would stop there. Interestingly enough, Indians manager Terry Francona chose to bring All-Star reliever Andrew Miller into the game with two outs in the fifth, taking Bauer out of the game. The move almost backfired as Brock Holt greeted Miller with a double and Mookie Betts drew a walk, putting runners at first and second with two outs for David Ortiz. Miller, however, was able to strike Ortiz out swinging.

Miller came back out for the sixth, striking out Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts before inducing an inning-ending pop-up from Jackie Bradley, Jr. In the seventh, Miller again took the mound, getting Leon to ground out and Benintendi to strike out. With the right-handed-hitting Dustin Pedroia coming up, Francona lifted Miller for righty Bryan Shaw, who got Pedroia on an inning-ending ground out. We’ll have more on Francona’s use of Miller in an upcoming article.

Holt chipped into the deficit again, drilling a solo home run to lead off the eighth inning, making it a 5-4 game. After Betts popped out, Francona brought closer Cody Allen into the game for a five-out save. Allen gave up a double to Ortiz but ended the eighth with a ground out and a strikeout. In the ninth, Allen fanned Bradley and Leon, then worked around a two-out single by Benintendi by striking out Pedroia on a controversial checked-swing call by first base umpire Phil Cuzzi.

Game 2 between the Red Sox and Indians takes place on Friday at 4:30 PM EDT. David Price will oppose Corey Kluber.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).