Gary Sanchez
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Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge power Yankees to Game 2 win in ALDS

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The Yankees suffered no shortage of power when they took the field at Fenway Park for Game 2 of the ALDS. After squandering an early lead and narrowly losing Game 1 to the Red Sox on Friday night, they found their mojo again with some help from homegrown sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, both of whom were instrumental in boosting the club to a 6-2 win to tie the series.

Judge kicked things off for the Yankees in the first inning. He clobbered a cutter from Boston left-hander David Price and parked it 445 feet away in the seats atop the Green Monster. Price recovered to retire Luke Voit and Giancarlo Stanton, but it wasn’t long before he found himself in hot water again. In the top of the second inning, Gary Sanchez returned another cutter to the Green Monster for the Yankees’ second long ball of the night. After a pair of back-to-back walks to Gleyber Torres and Brett Gardner, Andrew McCutchen got in on the fun, too, this time with an RBI single that inflated the Yankees’ lead to 3-0.

Price was yanked off the mound after logging just 1 2/3 innings; per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, it was the first outing of his career during which he failed to record even one strikeout. The Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka, on the other hand, mowed down the Red Sox’ lineup inning after inning. Boston didn’t manage to catch a break until the fourth inning, when Xander Bogaerts jumped on a first-pitch fastball and postmarked it straight out to the center field stands for a solo home run.

Tanaka wrapped up his outing with one run and four strikeouts scattered over five innings, and with the bullpen holding down the fort, the Yankees blew the game wide open in the seventh. Judge hit a leadoff single out to first base, then advanced to third on a walk from Voit and a force out from Stanton. With Judge and Stanton at the corners, Sanchez stepped up to bat and unloaded a mammoth home run — this one a three-run, 479-footer off of Eduardo Rodriguez that left Fenway entirely.

Not only was it a tremendous home run, the likes of which hadn’t yet been seen in the 2018 playoffs, but it earned a place on the Statcast regular season and postseason leaderboards as well (the longest postseason home run in the Statcast era currently belongs to Willson Contreras‘ 491-foot homer in the 2017 NLCS):

With a 6-1 lead behind them, the Yankees cruised through the remaining three innings. Ian Kinsler plated another run for Boston on a one-out double off of Dellin Betances in the bottom of the seventh, but the right-hander managed to squeeze out of the inning without doing any additional damage to the Yankees’ lead. Betances and Zach Britton combined for a scoreless eighth, and Aroldis Chapman subbed in to close out the ninth with a leadoff walk to Steve Pearce, a three-pitch strikeout to Eduardo Nunez, and Kinsler’s game-ending double play to secure the 6-2 win.

The AL East rivals have an off day on Sunday, but will pick up the series again when it shifts to New York on Monday. Right-hander Luis Severino is scheduled to meet Boston righty Rick Porcello on the mound at 7:40 PM EDT, when they’ll each try to gain a much-needed advantage in the ALDS.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
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With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.