Wed, Oct 11, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Dodgers, Astros advance to next round

AFP, NEW YORK

Ken Giles of the Houston Astros celebrates his side’s victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of their American League Division Series in Boston, Massachusetts, on Monday.

Photo: AP

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros on Monday punched their tickets to the next round of the Major League Baseball playoffs as the Dodgers swept Arizona and the Astros eliminated Boston in four games.

The Astros rallied for a wild 5-4 victory over the Red Sox in Boston to win the best-of-five American League Division Series 3-1.

“We felt like that we could win this series, but we knew it was going to be tough,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We get out to a 2-0 [series] lead, and then you come to Fenway and it’s just a different animal, but our guys just stayed the course.”

Astros infielder Alex Bregman belted a game-tying home run off Red Sox ace hurler Chris Sale — pitching in relief — to lead off the eighth inning and Josh Reddick delivered a two-out run-batted-in single later in the inning off of Red Sox closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel that put the Astros up 4-3.

The Red Sox gave disheartened, rain-soaked fans at Fenway Park a last glimmer of hope in the bottom of the ninth when Rafael Devers led off the inning with a drive to deep-left center field. It bounced off the wall and gave Devers an inside-the-park home run.

However, it was not enough as the Astros reached a championship series for the first time since 2005 — when they were in the National League.

George Springer and Jose Altuve drove in one run each for the Astros.

Andrew Benintendi hit a game-tying two-run homer in the fifth inning and Xander Bogaerts smacked his first career playoff homer, a solo blast in the first, for the Red Sox.

In Phoenix, Arizona, rookie Cody Bellinger homered and drove in two runs, and Yu Darvish pitched five strong innings as the Dodgers swept their way into the National League Championship Series with a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Game 3.

Bellinger and Austin Barnes homered off Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke, while Darvish gave up one run and struck out seven in five-plus innings.

Bellinger, the likely National League Rookie of the Year, had 39 regular-season homers, but was one-for-12 in the series before his opposite-field homer made it 2-0 in the fifth inning.

“I have been trying to hit it the other way so it felt good,” Bellinger said. “We got to keep going and stay sharp.”

Elsewhere, World Series champions the Chicago Cubs gained the upper hand in their National League Division Series with a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals, while Aaron Judge capped a four-run second inning with a two-run double at Yankee Stadium as New York clobbered the Cleveland Indians 7-3 to even their American League Division Series at 2-2.

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