Video: Manny Machado, Brandon Woodruff trade home runs in Game 1 of the NLCS

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The Brewers kept Gio Gonzalez on the mound for just two innings as they kicked off Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers on Friday. Gonzalez expended 32 pitches in that span and fired off a 1-2-3 inning to retire the side in the first. In the second inning, he wasn’t quite so lucky:

The blistering line drive home run from Manny Machado clocked in at a whopping 115.6 MPH and needed just 173 feet to clear the fence and land in the right-field bullpen. According to Statcast, the 25-year-old slugger hasn’t hit a harder home run since the beginning of the Statcast era in 2015.

With Clayton Kershaw on the mound and Gonzalez gone, it looked as though the Dodgers had a chance of keeping their slim lead over the Brewers, at least for a little while. Right-hander Brandon Woodruff replaced Gonzalez at the top of the third inning and retired the next three batters, polishing off the top half of the inning with a three-pitch strikeout to Justin Turner.

And then, on a 2-2 fastball from Kershaw in the bottom of the inning, he punched a leadoff home run of his own:

The massive 407-footer not only evened the score, but placed Woodruff in rare company as well. Per Christopher Kamka of NBC Sports Chicago, the last relief pitcher to register a postseason home run was Travis Wood, who logged a solo homer for the Cubs during the 2016 NLDS. Prior to that? Rosy Ryan did it in the World Series… for the 1924 New York Giants.

The Brewers currently lead 2-1 in the fourth following Hernan Perez‘s go-ahead sac fly off of Kershaw.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.