MLB·Roundup

Athletics rally with 5 unanswered runs to stay alive in series against Astros

Chad Pinder tied the score with a three-run homer in the seventh inning, Sean Murphy hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth and the Oakland Athletics rallied past the Houston Astros 9-7 on Wednesday to avoid elimination in their AL Division Series.

Rays rout Yankees; Dodgers escape Padres; Atlanta overcomes Miami

Oakland pitcher Liam Hendriks reacts after closing out the Athletics' 9-7 win against the Houston Astros in Game 3 of their ALDS series on Wednesday. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/The Associated Press)

Chad Pinder tied the score with a three-run homer in the seventh inning, Sean Murphy hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth and the Oakland Athletics rallied past the Houston Astros 9-7 on Wednesday to avoid elimination in their AL Division Series.

Houston leads the best-of-five series 2-1 and can advance to its fourth straight AL Championship Series with a victory in Game 4 on Thursday.

The Astros wasted leads of 2-1 and 7-4, and the Athletics bounced back after giving up advantages of 1-0 and 4-2.

Houston's bullpen had stifled Oakland in the first two games with seven shutout innings of one-hit relief, but Pinder ended that dominance.

Houston led 7-4 when Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella had back-to-back singles off Josh James starting the seventh. Pinder hit a first-pitch slider to the opposite field for Oakland's fifth homer, a drive chased by right fielder Kyle Tucker until he ran out of room at the short wall.

La Stella, Mark Canha, Matt Olson and Semien also homered for the A's, whose entire infield went deep. Teams outhomering opponents are 18-0 in the post-season.

The teams have combined for 18 homers — including seven in Game 3 — in the neutral-site series at Dodger Stadium featuring all day games. After two straight days in the 90s, the temperature cooled to 81 degrees.

Loser Brooks Raley walked Robbie Grossman leading off the eighth, and Ramon Laureano doubled. Murphy's sacrifice fly put Oakland ahead, Semien walked,

La Stella was hit on his right forearm, loading the bases and forcing La Stella from the game. Pinder, who went 3 for 4 with four RBIs, followed with another sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Winner Liam Hedricks pitched three innings of one-hit, scoreless relief.

Houston took a 7-4 lead with five runs in the fifth, when the Astros sent 10 batters to the plate. Diaz hit a tying, two-run homer off rookie starter Jesus Luzardo, and Brantley, Bregman and Tucker drove in runs. Houston was slowed when Jose Altuve was thrown out on a relay by Olson at first when he tried to go from first to third on Brantley's single.

Dodgers escape Padres for Game 2 victory

Cody Bellinger homered and robbed Fernando Tatis Jr. of a go-ahead shot, and Joe Kelly got the final out with the bases loaded in a tension-filled ninth inning as the Los Angeles Dodgers barely held off the San Diego Padres 6-5 Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in their NL Division Series.

Kelly retired Eric Hosmer on a grounder to earn the save after Dodgers All-Star closer Kenley Jansen wobbled in the ninth. Los Angeles can sweep the best-of-five set from its NL West rival Thursday night.

Bellinger nearly went to a knee to hit a long home run and then kept the Dodgers ahead with a spectacular, leaping catch at the centre-field fence.

The Padres were down one with a runner on and two outs in the seventh when Tatis hit a towering drive to centre. Bellinger ran nearly 100 feet while watching the ball, then jumped and extended his gloved right hand above the 8-foot wall to make the catch.

Brusdar Graterol, the second Dodgers reliever after starter Clayton Kershaw, slung his glove and cap away and thrust both arms into the air to celebrate.

Game 3 is Thursday night, when with a win the Dodgers would advance to the NL Championship Series for the fourth time in five seasons. They went to the World Series in 2017 and 2018 before losing in a five-game Division Series to the Washington Nationals last October.

Corey Seager put the NL West champion Dodgers ahead to stay with his two-run double in the third and scored on the first of Max Muncy's two RBI singles in the game. Leading off the next inning, Bellinger went after a low pitch and drove it 433 feet to centre to make it 4-1.

Kershaw followed up his gem in the clinching game of the first round against Milwaukee with six strikeouts and no walks over six solid innings to et the win. The lefty allowed three runs, including back-to-back solo homers by Manny Machado and Hosmer in the sixth, in his first start near his Texas home in a 13-season career.

Following walks to Tatis and Machado that loaded the bases, Kelly retired Hosmer for his first save this post-season after Jansen allowed two runs in the ninth, on a pinch-hit RBI double by Mitch Moreland before he scored on Trent Grisham's single. Kelly came on with two outs and walked Tatis, the 21-year-old budding superstar, and Machado before Hosmer's groundout.

Rays crush Yankees in Game 3

Randy Arozarena homered for the third straight game and Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez also went deep for the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the New York Yankees 8-4 Wednesday night to move within one victory of reaching the AL Championship Series for the first time in 12 years.

New York's Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer off Shane McClanahan to centre field in the eighth inning to become the first player with a home run in each of his team's first five games of a single post-season. Stanton has six homers and 13 RBIs in those five games. McClanahan made his major league debut in Game 1 on Monday night.

The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Division Series. Game 4 is Thursday night at Petco Park, which has yielded 16 home runs in three games — nine by Tampa Bay.

The Rays are looking to advance out of the ALDS for just the second time. They reached the 2008 World Series before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Arozarena, a 25-year-old rookie from Havana who's nicknamed "The Cuban Rocket," is having a breakout post-season. He homered off Gerrit Cole in the first inning of Game 1, a 9-3 Yankees win, and off rookie Deivi Garcia in the first inning of Game 2, a 7-5 Rays win.

He hit a shot deep to left leading off the fifth Wednesday night to chase Masahiro Tanaka and give the Rays a 5-1 lead.

Arozarena went 3 for 4 with a walk. He leads all players in the post-season with 12 hits in five games. He went hitless in five post-season plate appearances in 2019 for St. Louis, which traded him to Tampa Bay in January.

"He has to be the best baseball player on earth right now," Rays starter Tyler Glasnow said after Tuesday night's win. "What he's doing is phenomenal."

Kiermaier hit a three-run shot into the home run deck in right off Tanaka with no outs in the fourth to make it 4-1. Joey Wendle was aboard on a leadoff single and Willy Adames on a walk.

"To be quite honest, I think my homer really got us going and then it was a snowball effect after that," Kiermaier said.

Atlanta blanks Miami

Rookie Ian Anderson pitched like a poised veteran, right fielder Nick Markakis made a nifty defensive play late and Atlanta threw another playoff shutout, beating the Miami Marlins 2-0 Wednesday for a 2-0 lead in the NL Division Series.

The winners have pitched three shutouts in four games this post-season. Travis d'Arnaud and Dansby Swanson each homered for the second straight day, putting Atlanta one win away from a sweep in the best-of-five matchup.

The 22-year-old Anderson scattered three hits and struck out eight over 5 2/3 innings. The lanky right-hander who made his major league debut in late August added to his impressive outing last week in the wild-card series when he fanned nine in six scoreless frames against Cincinnati.

The 36-year-old Markakis helped preserve the shutout and the lead in the eighth.

Corey Dickerson reached on an error by Swanson at shortstop to start the inning, setting up Markakis' heads-up play. Jon Berti sliced a high fly down the line that Markakis alertly plucked on one hop and, with Dickerson holding up to see if the ball would be caught, threw to Swanson for a forceout at second base in a close play.

Will Smith retired the next two batters and Mark Melancon, Atlanta's fifth pitcher of the game, closed the combined three-hitter for a save.

Swanson and d'Arnaud provided the offence in this one, with both players hitting solo shots a day after the two hit multi-run homers in a huge seventh inning for Atlanta in its Game 1 win.

Game 3 is Thursday in Houston.

Players from both teams behaved themselves a day after tempers flared in the opener when Atlanta star Ronald Acuna Jr. was nailed by a 98 mph fastball. Acuna had a quiet afternoon, going 0 for 4 and striking out all four times.

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