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Red Sox continue see-saw affair with Astros, take 5-4 lead in third inning of ALCS Game 2

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Third inning (bottom): With two outs and the bases loaded, Bradley hit an opposite-field double that caromed high off of the Green Monster, plating all three base runners. The Red Sox continue the see-saw affair, taking a 5-4 lead in the third.

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Third inning (top): Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the third after working a full count against Price, breaking the tie to put the Astros up 4-2.

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Second inning: The Astros reclaimed both runs to knot the game at two apiece in the top of the second inning. In Price’s defense, it wasn’t really a result of bad pitching. Bogaerts misplayed what should have been a routine ground ball that allowed Carlos Correa to reach safely. Martin Maldonado then ripped a double down the left field line. Price found light near the end of the tunnel by getting Josh Reddick to pop up for the second out, but then George Springer inside-outed an inside fastball that barely stayed fair near the right field foul line just past first base, which allowed both runs to score.

Get your “David Price in the postseason” narrative heated up, folks.

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The Red Sox, trailing 1-0 in the ALCS, wasted no time jumping on Astros starter Gerrit Cole, taking the lead in the bottom of the first inning of Game 2.

Mookie Betts led off with a double to straightaway center field that was just a few feet shy of becoming a solo home run. Betts was thinking about three bases but settled for two. Andrew Benintendi promptly brought him in with a line drive single to right-center.

Cole got J.D. Martinez to line out to second base and then induced a weak comebacker from Xander Bogaerts. Cole, however, made a poor throw over the head of first baseman Yuli Gurriel, allowing Benintendi to advance to third and Bogaerts to second. With first base open, Cole walked Steve Pearce to load the bases. Rafael Devers followed up by slapping a single into the hole between shortstop and third base to bring home another run. Cole bounced back, striking out Ian Kinsler and getting Jackie Bradley, Jr. to ground out.

All told, the Red Sox sent eight batters to the plate. They saw 25 pitches, registering three hits and a walk to take a 2-0 lead after the first frame.

Cole’s performance in the first inning was a far cry from how he looked in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Indians. In that game, he limited the opposition to a lone run on three hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts across seven innings.

Red Sox starter David Price was hot and cold in his first inning against the Astros. He walked two with one out, then responded with back-to-back three-pitch strikeouts of Gurriel and Tyler White. Still plenty of game left in this one before the narratives take hold.

A’s players, staff support coach after gesture, no penalty

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Major League Baseball has been in touch with the Oakland Athletics about their bench coach making a gesture that appeared to be a Nazi salute following a win over the Texas Rangers.

No discipline has been announced against coach Ryan Christenson, who has apologized for the gesture.

“Ryan Christenson is fully supported by everybody in our clubhouse and they know who he is. So do I. Obviously it didn’t look great but that was not his intent at all. I know that for a fact,” manager Bob Melvin said Friday before a game against Houston.

“He’s just not that guy. I’d say he’s progressive, very progressive as a person. Everybody feels bad for him right now `cause they know who he is,” Melvin added.

A short team meeting was all that the A’s needed because Christenson had full support, Melvin said.

Christenson apologized late Thursday for raising his arm during the postgame celebration. He made the gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks following a 6-4 win over the Rangers.

Hendriks immediately pushed Christenson’s arm down. Cameras showed Christenson laughing and briefly raising his arm a second time.

Christenson faced criticism after video of the gesture circulated on social media.

“I made a mistake and will not deny it,” Christenson said in a statement issued through the team. “Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of COVID, I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players. My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”

The A’s called the gesture “offensive” and apologized for it.

“We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it,” the team said in a statement. “This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a club and so many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country. We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field.”

The 46-year-old Christenson played six years in the majors from 1998-2003. He later spent several years coaching in the minors before becoming bench coach for the A’s in 2018.