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Dodgers move Cody Bellinger off first base due to ailing shoulder

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Cody Bellinger returned to the Dodgers’ lineup on Monday night against the Braves, playing right field rather than first base. That will be the case going forward, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports, due to Bellinger’s ailing right shoulder. Bellinger partially dislocated his right (non-throwing) shoulder on Friday night diving for a ball. Presumably, Bellinger is less likely to exacerbate his shoulder injury in the outfield than at first base.

Manager Dave Roberts said, “I do think, going forward, him being an outfielder makes the most sense. Being at first base, a potential dive, we’ll see how that goes as time goes by.”

Bellinger, 23, is no stranger to the outfield. He’s logged 1,072 defensive innings there since 2017, compared to 1,616 1/3 innings at first base and has played in the outfield more often this year.

The Dodgers understandably want to do anything they can to keep Bellinger’s bat in the lineup, as he entered Monday’s action batting .412/.486/.840 with 14 home runs, 38 RBI, and 32 runs scored in 142 plate appearances. He leads all of baseball in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS (1.326), adjusted OPS (248), total bases (100), RBI, runs scored, and hits (49).

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.