Instant Replay: Rangers 3, Phillies 2


Instant Replay: Rangers 3, Phillies 2


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Phillies’ bullpen could not protect a late one-run lead in a 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

The Rangers won it on a base hit by Adrian Beltre with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Beltre also tied the game with a double in the seventh inning after the Rangers had been down, 2-0.

B.J. Rosenberg gave up Beltre’s game-winning hit after rookie Mario Hollands walked two batters.

The Phillies are 1-1.

Starting pitching report
A.J. Burnett allowed just one run over six innings in his Phillies’ debut.

Texas lefty Martin Perez did not allow a run through the first five innings. He gave up four hits and two runs in the sixth as the Phillies took a 2-0 lead. Perez walked none and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings.

Bullpen report
Hollands took the loss.

Jake Diekman came in with a one-run lead in the top of the seventh and failed to protect it. He allowed a leadoff single and a two-out double to Beltre.

Antonio Bastardo got two strikeouts in a scoreless eighth.

Texas lefty Neal Cotts struck out Ryan Howard on a breaking ball off the plate with two men on base to end the top of the eighth inning and preserve a 2-2 tie.

At the plate
The Phillies scored both their runs in the sixth inning. Jimmy Rollins had an RBI single and Howard a two-out RBI double.

Howard hit fifth in the lineup, his first time out of the cleanup spot since June 2008. He batted cleanup in his previous 665 starts.

Howard struck out twice swinging at breaking balls out of the strike zone from left-handers.

In the field
Rightfielder Marlon Byrd gave Burnett a huge assist when he made a long run and a diving catch to start a key 9-3 double play one batter after the Rangers had cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth.

Health check
Cole Hamels continued his recovery from shoulder tendinitis by pitching three innings in a minor-league game in Clearwater on Tuesday. Hamels threw 44 pitches. He allowed two hits, a run, walked two and struck out three. Hamels probably has four more minor-league outings left before he’s ready to rejoin the Phillies.

A first
Replay was used to check a call for the first time in a Phillies game. The call went against the Phillies as Ben Revere, initially ruled safe on a pickoff play at second base, was ultimately called out.

The play occurred in the top of the sixth and cost the Phillies a run as the next two hitters, Byrd and Howard, both had hits.

As it turned out, the run would have been huge.

Up next
The Phillies and Rangers close out the interleague series Wednesday night. Kyle Kendrick pitches against lefty Robbie Ross.

MLB Playoffs: Indians reach 1st World Series since 1997

MLB Playoffs: Indians reach 1st World Series since 1997

TORONTO -- For the Cleveland Indians, the script was the same every game -- hope for the best from whoever they started, then count on Andrew Miller and the bullpen to close it out.

That plan seemed especially dicey in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series, with lightly used Ryan Merritt on the mound.

But out of nowhere, the rookie delivered.

Merritt coolly kept the Indians ahead until reinforcements arrived, and Cleveland earned its first trip to the World Series since 1997 by blanking the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 Wednesday.

The 24-year-old lefty defied expectations, shutting down the powerful Blue Jays before exiting in the fifth inning. Thanks to a most unlikely pitching performance, a most unexpected team won the ALCS 4-1.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Terry Francona's team will try to augment what's already been a scintillating year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first major pro sports championship since 1964.

The Indians' title drought dates to 1948. In 1997, they let a one-run lead get away in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 and lost to the Florida Marlins in the 11th.

"We always said if we could do it with this group it would be so special because this is as close to a family feel as you can get in a professional setting. So for that part of it, it is beyond feeling good," Francona said (see full recap).

Cubs' bats come alive to even series
LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and the rest of the Chicago Cubs' bats broke out in a big way.

Rizzo homered and ended a postseason slump with three RBIs, Russell's two-run drive highlighted a four-run fourth that stopped Chicago's 21-inning scoreless streak as the Cubs routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday to even the NL Championship Series at 2-all.

Kenta Maeda is set to pitch for the Dodgers in Game 5 on Thursday against Jon Lester. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he will not start Clayton Kershaw on short rest after the Los Angeles ace threw a bullpen session Wednesday.

Chicago ensured the NLCS will return to Wrigley Field for Game 6 Saturday.

To break out of his prolonged slump, Rizzo used teammate Matt Szczur's bat.

"I know Szczur's bat has a lot of hits in it," Rizzo said. "I've done it a few times this year, just switching up the bat, switching up the mindset."

Following consecutive shutout losses, the Cubs rapped out 13 hits on an 80-degree (26 degree Celcius) night with the warm Santa Ana winds fluttering the flags in center field.

Rizzo and Russell had three hits each. Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters -- a combined 2 for 32 in the first three games -- busted out. Every Cubs starter got at least one hit except Kris Bryant, who walked twice (see full recap).

For first time all season, Cubs not the World Series favorite

For first time all season, Cubs not the World Series favorite

For the first day, and perhaps the only day all season, the Chicago Cubs are not the World Series favorite.

Down 2-1 to the Dodgers in the NLCS with Game 4 Wednesday night in L.A., the Cubs' World Series odds are now 5/2, according to Bovada.

The Dodgers have the best odds of the final four teams at 7/4. The Indians, up 3-1 on the Blue Jays in the ALCS, are next at 2/1. Toronto is the longshot at 8/1.

Veteran John Lackey starts for the Cubs tonight against 20-year-old rookie Julio Urias. Jon Lester goes for the Cubs Thursday in Game 5; the Dodgers haven't yet named a starter.

In any event, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and Joe Blanton are just two wins away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2009. 

Utley is 3 for 24 with eight strikeouts this postseason. 

Ruiz contributed in the NLDS with a pinch-hit two-run homer in Game 3 and a pinch-hit, game-winning RBI single in Game 5.

Blanton, who had a great season as a reliever, has made six appearances in the playoffs and five have been clean. In the other, he allowed five runs in two-thirds of an inning as the Dodgers dropped Game 1 to the Cubs.

Phillies fans still keep tabs on former players from their Golden Era and applaud them when they return, but seeing Utley, Chooch and Kentucky Joe in the Fall Classic wearing Dodger blue might be too much for some to take.