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Red Sox offense leads way in 8-4 win over Dodgers in World Series Game 1

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For the sixth time in 10 games this postseason, the Red Sox offense managed to score at least seven runs. On Tuesday night in Boston, the club defeated the Dodgers 8-4 to take a 1-0 lead in the World Series, thanks in part to a three-run home run by Eduardo Núñez in the seventh inning when the score was 5-4.

The Red Sox opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, plating a run each on singles by Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez. The Dodgers responded as Matt Kemp slugged a solo home run to left field off of Chris Sale in the second and Manny Machado tied the game at two apiece in the third with a single. In the third, J.D. Martinez gave the Red Sox the lead back, knocking in a run with a double to straightaway center field that was mere feet from crossing the fence.

In the top of the fifth, the Dodgers chased Sale after he issued a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier. Dozier came around to score, tying the game at three-all, when Manny Machado grounded out up the middle against Matt Barnes. Again, the Red Sox offense responded, matching the momentum by chasing Kershaw with no outs in the bottom of the fifth after he also issued a leadoff walk followed by a single. Xander Bogaerts knocked in the go-ahead run with a ground out and Rafael Devers added an insurance run with a single to make it 5-3.

Neither Kershaw nor Sale, two of the absolute best pitchers baseball has to offer, could record an out in the fifth. The duo of aces combined for eight innings, yielding eight combined runs on 12 hits and five walks with 12 strikeouts. Hardly a pitcher’s duel as was expected.

Both teams put up zeroes in the sixth, but the Dodgers clawed back for a run in the top of the seventh when Machado lifted a sacrifice fly to center field for his third RBI of the game. Yet again, the Red Sox had an answer in the bottom half. It started with Andrew Benintendi hitting a ground-rule double off of Julio Urías for his fourth hit of the game — all four hits came against lefties, by the way. (During the regular season, Benintendi had a .694 OPS against lefties and .877 against righties.) Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to bring in the right-handed Pedro Báez to face Steve Pearce, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to counter by pinch-hitting Mitch Moreland, who struck out. Báez intentionally walked J.D. Martinez, then struck out Xander Bogaerts before departing in favor of lefty Alex Wood to face the left-handed Rafael Devers. Cora again played the matchups, pinch-hitting Núñez for Devers and it worked out this time. Núñez ripped a 1-0 knuckle curve into the seats above the Green Monster in left field, breaking the game wide open at 8-4.

Nathan Eovaldi took over the top of the eighth, working a 1-2-3 frame by inducing three ground outs from Kemp, Enrique Hernández, and Yasiel Puig. The Red Sox went down with not much of a scare in the bottom half to send the game into the ninth. With the four-run cushion, Cora called on Craig Kimbrel to close it out despite his 7.11 ERA and 18.75 percent walk rate this postseason. He was apparently tipping his pitches. Kimbrel had an easy time, getting Joc Pederson to ground out, then striking out Max Muncy and Justin Turner.

With Game 1 in the books, the Dodgers will look to even things out in Game 2 on Wednesday night. Hyun-Jin Ryu is slated to oppose David Price in another battle of lefty starters.

Yankees keep ALCS hopes alive with 4-1 win over Astros

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The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.

In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.

Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).

Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.

With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.