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Yankees stun Astros with late comeback, win 6-4 to draw ALCS even at 2-2

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The Yankees faced a 4-0 deficit going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but scored a total of six unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to stun the Astros with a 6-4 victory in Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday night. The ALCS is now even at two games apiece.

The Astros put up a three-spot in the sixth inning, which appeared at the time to be more than enough offense. George Springer led off with a walk and Josh Reddick followed up by reaching on catcher’s interference, bringing up Jose Altuve. Starter Sonny Gray threw a first-pitch ball to Altuve, which brought manager Joe Girardi out to the mound to make a rare mid-at-bat pitching change. David Robertson came in and ended up walking Altuve to load the bases. After Carlos Correa struck out, Yuli Gurriel ripped a hanging curve down the left field line, clearing the bases to make it a 3-0 game. He was caught between second and third for the second out of the inning.

Gray, by the way, has now pitched 21 1/3 innings in the postseason and has received exactly zero runs of support. That explains his 0-3 record despite a 2.95 ERA.

In the top of the seventh, the Astros tacked on one more run to make it 4-0. Marwin Gonzalez doubled, then came around to score on a fielding error by Starlin Castro.

Aaron Judge put the Yankees on the board leading off the bottom of the seventh, hitting a monster solo home run to center field. That chased McCullers from the game, who gave up the one run on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts spanning 81 pitches. Chris Devenski relieved McCullers and immediately gave up a triple to Didi Gregorius. Gary Sanchez brought him home with a sacrifice fly to right field, cutting the score to 4-2. Devenski then walked Greg Bird before giving way to Joe Musgrove. He got Castro to ground out and Aaron Hicks to fly out to escape the inning.

Musgrove started the eighth but immediately got into trouble. Todd Frazier led off with a single down the left field line and moved to third when Chase Headley hit a double into the left-center field gap. Headley stumbled between first and second and got caught in a rundown, but was able to reach second base safely somehow. Closer Ken Giles entered, but couldn’t keep his inherited runners from scoring. Brett Gardner brought Frazier home with a ground out and Judge brought pinch-runner Jacoby Ellsbury home with a double to left-center, tying the game at four apiece. Gregorius then singled to left field, moving Judge to third. Sanchez lined a double to center field, plating both runners to put the Yankees up 6-4. Giles intentionally walked Bird before exiting. Luke Gregerson entered and immediately walked Castro to load the bases for Hicks. At long last, the inning came to a close as Hicks grounded into a fielder’s choice and Frazier grounded out to third.

Aroldis Chapman took the hill in the ninth and got through the inning with ease. He struck out Gurriel and Alex Bregman, then got Evan Gattis to pop out to shallow left field to end the game.

With the series evened up at two games apiece, the two clubs will do battle again on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. The Astros will send Dallas Keuchel to the hill and the Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka.

MLB suspends Tim Anderson for using the n-word

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This is weird.

As you no doubt recall, on Wednesday White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hit a two-run home run off of Royals starter Brad Keller. Anderson celebrated by throwing his bat back towards his dugout. The next time Anderson stepped to the plate Keller threw a fastball at him. The benches emptied. Keller and Anderson were ejected, as was White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

Why Anderson was ejected was something of a mystery. He did not charge the mound. He did not throw a punch and he did not shove anyone or anything. At most you figure he said something intemperate and, sure, saying intemperate things can sometimes get you ejected. Only sometimes, of course, as many a blue streak-swearing manager has gotten a pass as long as he doesn’t say some magic words “Bull Durham” taught us about. But that’s usually the end of that.

MLB just announced via press release that Keller has been suspended for five games for throwing at Anderson. We’ve argued that that’s too light a sentence for pitchers in the past, but let’s leave that aside for now. What’s interesting is that Anderson has been suspended too. For one game.

Why? Major League Baseball’s press release merely says “for his conduct after the benches cleared.” Which isn’t very helpful as, again, there was nothing apparent in his conduct that seemed to warrant a suspension. Before the release came out, however, Jeff Passan reported that it was “language”:

I can’t recall a player ever being suspended merely for “language” before. Guys drop F-bombs and say aggressive things to one another fairly often when tempers flare, but that’s not the stuff of suspensions. What has been the stuff of suspensions — two games, specifically — are homophobic slurs, with players such as Kevin Pillar and Matt Joyce, among others paying the price for saying such things. There has been no report at all, however, that Anderson said such a thing. And, if he did, why would he only get one game?

There’s gotta be more to this. A player getting one game just for cussing makes no sense. If we hear any more about it, we’ll certainly provide an update.

UPDATE: And here it is:

Again, specifics definitely matter, and I presume we’ll get them soon, but I strongly suspect that this is a case where Anderson, who is black, used a word that is historically acceptable when used by and among black people and always unacceptable when used by non-black people. If that is the case, MLB has thrown itself into the insanely controversial and likely indefensible position of presuming that it can and should police a black person’s use of that term. I hope I’m wrong about this, but I feel like I’m not.

UPDATE: Nope, I’m not.

Bold move, MLB. But not a wise one I don’t think.

And it goes without saying that you all had best mind yourself in the comments on this one.