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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.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.