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Shaky Zack Greinke walks three, allows one run in first inning of ALCS Game 4

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Astros starter Zack Greinke didn’t have his best stuff in the first inning of ALCS Game 4 against the Yankees in the Bronx. The right-hander walked DJ LeMahieu to open the inning. Aaron Judge lined out, Aaron Hicks blooped a single into shallow right-center, and Gleyber Torres popped out, revealing light at the end of the tunnel for the Astros. However, Greinke proceeded to issue back-to-back walks to Edwin Encarnación and Brett Gardner, forcing in a run to open the scoring. Greinke rebounded, striking out Gary Sánchez on three pitches to escape trouble.

It was a 28-pitch first inning for Greinke, of which only 13 were strikes. If you’re the Astros, it’s not what you want. All things considered, though, it could have been a lot worse.

Greinke has not been his best self in the postseason, entering Thursday night’s start with a career 4.58 ERA in October. In his two previous starts this postseason, he allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings to the Rays in Game 3 of the ALDS, and three runs in six innings to the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS.

Update: George Springer gave the Astros a 3-1 lead in the third inning with a three-run home run off of Masahiro Tanaka.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.