Michael Pineda
Getty Images

Twins place Michael Pineda, Byron Buxton on injured list

2 Comments

The Twins made several roster moves on Saturday, placing both right-hander Michael Pineda and outfielder Byron Buxton on the 10-day injured list with a right triceps strain and left shoulder subluxation, respectively.

It’s another rough break for Pineda, whose recovery from 2017 Tommy John surgery has not gone as smoothly as expected. The 30-year-old righty hit the IL earlier this season with a case of right knee tendonitis, and managed another 10 starts before his most recent setback. So far in 2019, he holds a 7-5 record in 21 starts with a 4.15 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.9 SO/9 across 117 innings. A return date has not been specified yet.

Buxton, meanwhile, partially dislocated his left shoulder after running into the wall during Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Marlins. No set timetable has been given for his return, either, and this will mark his third IL assignment following a wrist contusion in June and a concussion in July. Despite his ongoing battle to remain healthy, the 25-year-old outfielder is having a strong year: through Thursday, he’s batting .262/.314/.513 with 10 home runs, 14 stolen bases (in 17 chances), and an .827 OPS over 295 PA.

In a series of corresponding roster moves, the Twins reinstated first baseman C.J. Cron from the IL (right thumb inflammation), recalled outfielder Jake Cave and righty reliever Zack Littell from Triple-A Rochester, and optioned lefty Lewis Thorpe to Triple-A.

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

Astros
AP Images
20 Comments

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.