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Adrián Beltré hits 475th career homer, tying Musial, Stargell on all-time list

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Rangers third baseman Adrián Beltré drilled a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the fourth inning against Rays pitcher Ryan Yarbrough. The dinger made a marginal dent in the Rangers’ deficit, making the score 8-2, but put Beltré into a tie with Stan Musial and Willie Stargell on the all-time home run list at 475 homers.

Beltré, 39, is a free agent after the season. If he chooses to continue playing, he will have a chance to ascend higher on the all-time home run leaderboard. His next targets would be Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff at 493, followed by Eddie Murray at 504.

Beltré has been bothered by injuries for most of the year. Still, he’s managed a .273/.333/.426 triple-slash line along with 13 homers, 56 RBI, and 45 runs scored in 453 plate appearances.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

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The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.