The Chicago White Sox beat Tampa Bay 5-3 to trim the Rays’ lead in their Major League Baseball playoff series to 2-1 on Sunday.
Game 4 in the best-of-five American League Division Series was to be played yesterday in Chicago, with Gavin Floyd facing Tampa Bay’s Andy Sonnanstine.
Less than 24 hours after the Cubs were swept out of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Dodgers, dashing Chicago’s hopes for a crosstown World Series, the White Sox avoided elimination before a black-shirted, white towel-waving crowd of 40,142 in their home park.
John Danks, who beat Minnesota 1-0 last Tuesday in the tiebreaker for the AL Central title, shut down the Rays for 6 2-3 innings. The 23-year-old lefty gave up five hits and a run before B.J. Upton hit a long, two-run homer with two outs in the seventh that made it 5-3.
Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth, striking out Carlos Pena with a nasty curveball with a runner on for his fifth postseason save. He had four in 2005, including two in the World Series victory over Houston.
After the Rays won 6-4 and 6-2 at home, the White Sox were revived at US Cellular Field, where they were 54-28 this season.
Matt Garza, pitching on eight days’ rest, was popping his fastball in the mid-90s (mid-140s kph) and trying to keep the homer-reliant White Sox off balance by changing speeds. The White Sox caught up with him in the fourth.
Jim Thome opened with double off the center-field fence, Paul Konerko walked and Ken Griffey Jr. hit a sharp single that loaded the bases. Alexei Ramirez, who hit a record four grand slams as a rookie this season, hit a sacrifice fly to center for a 2-1 lead DeWayne Wise followed with a two-run, opposite-field double to left.
Garza lasted six innings, allowing seven hits and five runs.
ANGELS 5, RED SOX 4, 12 INNINGS
At Boston, Francisco Rodriguez wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th inning and Mike Napoli hit two early homers before scoring the go-ahead run in the 12th as Los Angeles avoided another playoff sweep by beating Boston.
Boston had beaten Los Angeles in 11 consecutive AL playoff games, including three-game sweeps in 2004 and last year en route to a pair of World Series titles. But the Angels chased Red Sox ace Josh Beckett early, then got six scoreless innings from five relievers to keep them in the game.
Napoli hit a mammoth homer off the Green Monster light stanchion to tie the game 3-all in the third, then gave Los Angeles a lead with his second homer before the Red Sox tied it 4-all in the fifth.
It stayed that way until Napoli singled to lead off the 11th, went to second on Howie Kendrick’s sacrifice bunt and scored when Erick Aybar blooped a single to left-center.
Jered Weaver, making his first career relief appearance, pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
Winners of a major league-best 100 games in the regular season, Los Angeles was in danger of the shortest possible stay in the playoffs against the wild-card Red Sox. After losing the first two at home, the Angels came to Boston needing to beat Beckett, who has been virtually unbeatable in October.
But Beckett struggled from the start, giving up a double on the first pitch of the game and needing 30 pitches to get through the first half-inning, which took 22 minutes. Meanwhile, the Angels left the bases loaded in the first and fourth — stranding eight in the first four innings.
AP, MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin
Pat Burrell hit two home runs to power the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-2 win that eliminated the Milwaukee Brewers from the Major League Baseball playoffs on Sunday.
One of Burrell’s homers was a three-run shot, and Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth added solo homers for the Phillies to win the National League Division Series 3-1 and clinch their first trip to the NL Championship Series since 1993.
The teams have met for the NL pennant three times before: The Dodgers won in 1977 and 1978, while the Phillies took the flag in 1983.
Overshadowed by the offensive barrage was a pitching gem by Joe Blanton, who held the Brewers to one run in six innings after an eight-day layoff.
Rollins led off Sunday’s game with a homer, turning on a 3-2 pitch from Jeff Suppan and depositing it into the first row of seats in right field.
Two innings later, the Brewers opted to walk Ryan Howard to put two men on base and face Burrell, whose single in the second was his first hit of the postseason. Burrell made the Brewers pay, lofting Suppan’s 2-2 pitch deep into the left-field stands. Werth hit a solo homer to make it 5-0 and the sellout crowd at Miller Park booed Suppan.
The Brewers head for an offseason of uncertainty after their first playoff appearance in 26 years. Ace pitcher CC Sabathia, who almost single-handedly salvaged Milwaukee’s postseason hopes, is a free agent and isn’t expected back. Ben Sheets, the team’s second-best starter, might be gone, too.
And the Brewers need a manager after firing Ned Yost with 12 games left in the regular season.
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
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