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The Dodgers are one win away from clinching the NLDS

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The Dodgers are one win away from securing their ticket to the National League Championship Series next week. They battled their way to an 8-5 finish in Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday, taking a 2-0 lead in the series with a smattering of base hits and productive outs against Arizona lefty Robbie Ray.

Fellow left-hander Rich Hill took the mound for the first time this postseason, eking out three hits, two runs and three walks over four innings. That’s about par for the course for a Rich Hill postseason appearance: prior to Saturday’s outing, he made four appearances with the 2007 Cubs and 2016 Dodgers and only tossed a quality start once. This time, both of his runs came in the first inning when Paul Goldschmidt engineered a two-run homer. Hill didn’t allow another runner past second base for the remainder of his start and set down a perfect fourth inning before Dave Roberts yanked him for Tony Cingrani in the fifth.

That didn’t appear to faze the lefty, who started moonlighting as the club’s hype man for the rest of the night.

The real entertainment, however, lay with one Yasiel Puig, whose fourth-inning at-bat encapsulated the zaniness of playoff baseball fever. Puig did a little dance around the plate as Robbie Ray worked an 0-2 count, then drove a single into center field to load the bases. He, uh, may have gotten a little carried away in the process:

Ray, on the other hand, didn’t look like he was having quite as much fun. He barely outlasted Hill on the mound, taking his first loss of the postseason with 4 1/3 innings of four-hit, four-run, four-walk ball. Rookie right-hander Jimmie Sherfy was no better, issuing three additional runs in the fifth to boost the Dodgers’ lead to 7-2.

The Diamondbacks finally found their mojo in the seventh inning with another home run from Brandon Drury, who plated Jake Lamb and Ketel Marte with a first-pitch cutter from Brandon Morrow. That wasn’t nearly enough to overturn the Dodgers’ advantage, though, and the D-backs dropped their second consecutive game after Josh Fields and Kenley Jansen tag-teamed for a scoreless eighth and ninth.

They’ll get one more chance to stay alive in the NLDS on Monday, when Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20 ERA) goes up against Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86) for Game 3 at 10:00 PM ET. If they manage to stun the Dodgers with three straight wins, it’ll be the first time they’ve advanced to the Championship Series since 2007. If not, however, the Dodgers will be looking at their second NLCS appearance since 2016 and fifth since 2008.

Red Sox place Chris Sale on 10-day injured list

Chris Sale
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Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.

Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.