Manny Machado isn’t the only one who wishes his single off the wall in the sixth had actually been a home run. Down 1-0 with two outs in the top of the eighth inning, Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. crushed a 2-0 pitch from Kenley Jansen to tie the Game 3 of the World Series 1-1:
It’s the first postseason home run to come off Bradley’s bat since Game 4 of the ALCS, and the third he’s hit so far this fall. According to MLB Stat of the Day, all 10 RBI he’s collected in the playoffs have come with two outs — and this was no exception. The Red Sox didn’t seize the opportunity to add to their total, however, as Christian Vazquez pounced on a cutter from Jansen and popped out to second base to end the inning.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, are still looking for their first win of the World Series. They took an early lead in the third inning of Game 3 when Joc Pederson collected a solo shot off of Rick Porcello, and appeared to hold the upper hand as Walker Buehler set down seven shutout innings.
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.