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Dodgers ride big sixth inning to 10-4 win over Nationals in NLDS Game 3

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The Dodgers got to Patrick Corbin in the sixth inning, but not in the way one would imagine upon first reading that phrase. They scored six runs off of Corbin coming out of the bullpen in the sixth inning and another one off of Wander Suero, who came in after Corbin. That provided the bulk of their offense in a 10-4 win over the Nationals in Game 3 of the NLDS, taking a 2-1 series lead.

The Nationals opened up the scoring against Cy Young candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu thanks to a two-run home run to straightaway center field by Juan Soto in the first inning. Meanwhile, starter Aníbal Sánchez was excellent, only relenting a run to the Dodgers in his final inning of work in the fifth when Max Muncy lifted a solo homer to right-center field.

Rather than rely on one of the many problematic traditional relievers in the bullpen, Nationals manager Dave Martinez called on Patrick Corbin in the sixth, working on three days’ rest after starting Game 1. Corbin was slated to face a handful of Dodger lefties at the top of the lineup, but he wasn’t able to take advantage of the platoon advantage. Cody Bellinger led off with a single, and pinch-hitter David Freese added a two-out single to spark a rally. Russell Martin crushed a Corbin slider out to deep left-center field, allowing Bellinger and Freese to score to take a 3-2 lead. The two-out rally continued as Chris Taylor walked and Kiké Hernández hit a two-out, two-run double of his own to bring home Martin and Taylor to make it 5-2. Martinez called for an intentional walk of Muncy before removing Corbin from the game in favor of Wander Suero. Suero, however, served up a no doubt, three-run home run to Justin Turner to extend the Nationals’ lead to 8-2, the cherry on top of the seven-run sundae of an inning.

To the Nationals’ credit, they didn’t take the shellacking in silence. They responded by loading the bases with no outs, on two walks and a single, to begin the bottom of the sixth against Joe Kelly. Kelly uncorked a wild pitch, allowing a run to score, then walked Yan Gomes to re-load the bases. Julio Urías entered to plug the leak. He did the job, but got some help from the Nationals. Asdrúbal Cabrera lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, which easily plated Soto to make it 8-4. However, Kendrick was caught trying to advance to third base, getting thrown out by Hernández rather easily. Michael A. Taylor popped out to end the threat.

Urías pitched a second inning of relief in the seventh, working around a two-out single in a scoreless frame. Manager Dave Roberts went to another lefty, Adam Kolarek, to face Juan Soto to begin the eighth. Kolarek has been on Soto duty and emerged successful again, ending the at-bat in a strikeout. In the NLDS so far, Soto is 0-for-3 against Kolarek. Kenta Maeda entered after that at-bat, getting two quick at-bats to send the game to the ninth inning.

Martin added some more offense in the top of the ninth with a two-run home run off of Hunter Strickland, who is no stranger to giving up home runs in the playoffs.

Roberts went to Kenley Jansen, making his 2019 postseason debut, in the bottom half of the ninth to protect the six-run lead. Jansen struck out Cabrera and Taylor before getting pinch-hitter to weakly ground out to shortstop to end the game. Dodgers win 10-4.

The Dodgers will attempt to close out the series in Game 4 Monday night in Washington, D.C. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM ET. Max Scherzer will square off against Rich Hill. If the Dodgers win, they will advance to the NLCS for a fourth consecutive year, an impressive feat.

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.