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Yankees chase Charlie Morton in the fourth inning of ALCS Game 3, but he actually pitched decently

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Astros starter Charlie Morton was taken out with two outs in the fourth inning of Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday night. Morton surrendered three runs in the second and was on the hook for another four in the fourth, but he actually threw a decent game.

Morton got the first two outs in the second in short order, but Starlin Castro kept the inning alive with a very weakly hit single down the third base line. The exit velocity on that one, according to Statcast, was 57 MPH. Aaron Hicks then blooped a 2-2 splitter into shallow left-center field. Exit velocity: 74 MPH. After working a 1-1 count against Todd Frazier, Morton threw a fastball low and away, but Frazier was somehow able to muster enough strength to push it over the fence in right-center for a three-run homer.

In the fourth, Greg Bird led off the inning with a ground-rule double to left field on a ball that left the bat at 78 MPH. Unfortunately for Morton, Cameron Maybin just horribly misplayed the ball and because he didn’t touch it, he didn’t get charged with an error.

Morton rebounded by getting a couple of outs. He didn’t appear to be pitching around Frazier, but walked him on five pitches. Morton then got Chase Headley to hit a ground ball (88.4 MPH), but second baseman Jose Altuve was shaded a bit too far to the right. Though he was able to corral it in the shallow outfield, he had no play, and the Yankees got their fourth run of the game. Morton hit Gardner, the next batter, with a 0-1 curve, loading the bases. That was the final straw for manager A.J. Hinch, who brought in Will Harris to relieve Morton. Facing Aaron Judge, Harris uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Frazier to score to make it 5-0. After working the count to 2-2, Judge ripped an up-and-in fastball that just barely got over the wall in left field for a three-run homer to up the score to 8-0.

Morton’s final line: 3 2/3 innings, seven runs (all earned), six hits (the one not listed here was a bunt single in the first), two walks, one hit batsman, three strikeouts. Here are the hit probabilities of five of those hits (excluding the bunt), according to Baseball Savant:

  • Castro single: 10 percent
  • Hicks single: 70 percent
  • Frazier homer: 55 percent
  • Bird double: 4 percent
  • Headley single: 12 percent

Unfortunately for Morton, he was a victim of bad luck, bad timing, and bad relief. He pitched much, much better than the box score indicates.

The Astros, meanwhile, hit into some bad luck. Yuli Gurriel crushed a fastball to right field in the second inning off of CC Sabathia, but Judge made a fantastic leaping catch that caused him to crash into the wall and tumble backwards. That had a hit probability of 59 percent and was “barreled,” according to Baseball Savant. Maybin “barreled” a ball in the fifth that Judge dove in on and caught. That would be a hit 77 percent of the time.

This isn’t to make excuses for the Astros. The Yankees have outplayed them this game. But contrary to the score, the Yankees haven’t been blowing the Astros out of the water. This is the kind of game the Astros shouldn’t read to much into looking ahead the rest of the series.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 3, Rays 0: This was a big game for the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka came up big, shutting out the Rays on two hits while striking out ten in a complete game performance. D.J. LeMahieu hit a two-run homer and Cameron Maybin had a solo shot. With the win the Yankees up their lead in the AL East to a game and a half.

Angels 10, Blue Jays 5: The Halos put up a seven spot in the second thanks to homers from solo homers from Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun, a three-run homer from Shohei Ohtani and a two-run double from Mike Trout. Trout would add a solo shot of his own in the sixth and got four hits on the day. Cavan Biggio went deep twice for the Jays but one man can’t do it alone. Well, he wasn’t totally alone as Randal Grichuk hit a two-run shot but two men can’t do it alone either, especially when their friends on the pitching staff took the day off.

Reds 3, Astros 2: Luis Castillo allowed two over six — he actually worked into the seventh, allowing only two hits, but walking six — and he was backed by RBI singles from Nick Senzel and Eugenio Suárez. This one featured a nearly one-hour rain delay that gave us this vision of rainbow and lightning:

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Braves 12, Mets 3: Brian McCann, Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuña Jr. all went deep as the Braves win in a laugher. McCann has been hotter than a two dollar pistol lately, having gone 8-for-16 with four homers and nine driven in in the past week. Albies went 3-for-4 and knocked in four. The Braves have won 10 of 11 and have scored 90 runs in that stretch. That kind of outburst makes it easy for starters like Mike Soroka, who won his eighth straight decision.

Rangers 7, Indians 2: Mike Clevinger came back from the injured list and the Rangers treated him quite rudely, scoring five runs in less than five innings. Danny Santana hit a two-run homer. Meanwhile, his counterpart Lance Lynn allowed one run over seven innings, striking out nine and not walking a batter.

Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Home runs come in buckets these days but we had a good old pitchers duel in Minneapolis last night, with Rick Porcello (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K) outdueling José Berrios (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 10 K). A J.D. Martinez RBI single in the first was all the scoring this one saw until the Sox added an insurance run on a Xander Bogaerts RBI double in the ninth. Boston runs its season-high win streak to six straight.

Cardinals 5, Marlins 0: Miles Mikolas and three relievers combine for an eight-hit shutout while Dexter Fowler hit a three-run homer and Matt Carpenter had a solo shot and scored on an error. Mikolas had lost five straight decisions before this one. Miami has been shut out 13 times this year.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2: Tyler Beede held he mighty Dodgers lineup to one run over six despite walking five guys, picking up his first big league win in his seventh big league start. An early Bandon Crawford two-run double and an unearned run in the sixth was all the scoring the Giants needed.

Athletics 3, Orioles 2: Mike Fiers allowed two, both unearned, in six innings of work. The A’s scored two unearned runs themselves, both on the same play. The only earned run in the game came via a first inning double from Matt Olson. The best defense on the day came from this couple in the stands who got two foul balls and didn’t even have to get out of their seats to get ’em:

No one scored after the third inning here. It’s like one of those days when you go into work and finish off some report or something before 9:30 and then spend the rest of the day screwing around on the Internet. Or, as I like to call it “every day at work for me in 2008.”

Padres 2, Brewers 0: All kinds of nice pitching performances last night, including this one from Joey Lucchesi, in which he tossed seven shutout innings, making a run on a wild pitch and a Manny Machado solo homer hold up. The Brewers were shut out on four hits.

Royals 6, Mariners 4: Jorge Soler hit a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth inning to bring the Royals back from a 4-3 deficit and Martin Maldonado hit a ninth inning solo shot for some insurance. Soler somehow has 19 dingers on the season. He’s got ’em pretty quietly, but then again I suppose everything that happens with the Royals happens pretty quietly these days.

Phillies vs. Nationals — POSTPONED:

I stood out in the rain
Holding my breath
Waiting for you
You never came
You broke my heart
You broke my heart
I know who’s to blame
You’re to blame

And I don’t care about you
If you don’t care about me
We can go our separate ways
If you want to
The ties of love are strong
But they can be undone
And we’ll go our separate ways
If you want to