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Cardinals walk off in 10th inning of Game 4 to send NLDS to rubber match

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The Cardinals rallied late twice against the Braves’ bullpen, in the eighth and 10th innings, to stave off elimination and send the NLDS to a decisive Game 5.

Dallas Keuchel started on short rest for the Braves and wasn’t great, surrendering three solo home runs including two to Marcell Ozuna. At least they were solo homers. Paul Goldschmidt and Ozuna hit back-to-back solo shots with two outs in the first inning and Ozuna followed up with another one in the fourth.

Keuchel gave up the three runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings. Luke Jackson got the final two outs of the fourth inning as the bullpen carousel started powering up.

The Braves got on the board against Dakota Hudson in the third inning when Ozzie Albies hit a sacrifice fly. Hudson — and the Cardinals’ defense — faltered in the fifth. Dansby Swanson hit a one-out double, moved to third base on a passed ball, and scored when Matt Carpenter misplayed an Adam Duvall grounder. Later in the inning, with the Braves trailing 3-2, Albies smacked a two-run homer just over the fence in right field to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.

Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina kept the Cardinals’ hopes alive in the bottom of the eighth as Goldschmidt hit a one-out double and Molina poked a single to right field to bring home the game-tying run, knotting the game at 4-4.

The Braves, throwing away a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity in the seventh, wasted a leadoff ground-rule double by Ronald Acuña Jr. off of Carlos Martínez in the ninth.

In the 10th inning, Braves manager Brian Snitker brought in Julio Teheran. Teheran, you may recall, was left off the original NLDS roster and only added when Chris Martin went down with an oblique injury. He showed why on Monday.

Kolten Wong led off with a ground-rule double to left field. Goldschmidt was intentionally walked to bring up Ozuna. Ozuna hit a grounder to the left of the mound. Teheran, a good defensive pitcher, quickly got to the ball and fired a perfect strike to second base for the force out, but Ozuna was able to just barely beat the throw to first base, putting the winning run on third base with one out. Molina, the reason the Cardinals were still alive, lifted a deep fly ball to left field. Duvall put all of his might behind his throw home but Wong scored easily for the walk-off 5-4 win.

The NLDS will be decided on Wednesday in Atlanta. That game is scheduled for a 5:02 PM ET first pitch and will be broadcast on TBS.

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.