Hughes, Yankees stifle Red Sox, 2-0


Hughes, Yankees stifle Red Sox, 2-0

BOSTON The Red Sox wrapped up their dismal six-game homestand with a 2-0 loss to the Yankees Thursday night. The loss dropped the Sox to 1-5 on the homestand after being swept over the weekend by the Blue Jays. They are 33-43 at home this season, have 12 of their last 14 games overall, and have not won consecutive games since Aug. 26-27. It was the sixth time the Sox have been shut out this season.Manager Bobby Valentine said after Felix Doubronts last start he would consider shutting down or resting the left-hander. That did not happen. And while Doubront pitched better Thursday against the Yankees than he has in recent outings, the result was the same as it has been in his last four decisions over his last seven starts since July 23. A loss.Doubront took the loss, falling to 10-9 with a 5.11 ERA. He went 6 13 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and five walks with five strikeouts. It was the first quality start he has recorded since he went 6 13 innings against the Yankees on July 29, six starts ago.The Yankees used the long ball to beat the Red Sox on Wednesday, scoring all their runs on home runs. But on Thursday, just one a double by No. 9 hitter Eduardo Nunez leading off the fifth of their five hits went for extra bases, but it was not involved in the scoring.In the fourth, Doubront loaded the bases with no outs. Alex Rodriguez led off with a single up the middle, stole second and took third when Doubront walked Robinson Cano and Russell Martin. Andruw Jones sacrifice fly scored Rodriguez, putting the Yankees up, 1-0.With one out in the seventh, Doubront walked Steve Pearce before giving up a single to No. 9 batter Eduardo Nunez, ending Doubronts outing. Junichi Tazawa entered, giving up a single to Derek Jeter, scoring Pearce for the 2-0 Yankees advantage.Meanwhile, despite outhitting the Yankees 6-5, the Sox offense could do little with Yankees pitching. They had just seven baserunners in the game, on six hits and a walk. The Sox did not get their first baserunner against starter Phil Hughes until Scott Podsednik walked with one out in the fourth. They had four hits, all singles, through seven innings. Pedro Ciriacos double leading off the eighth was the Sox first extra-base hit of the night. Ciriaco took third on Jacoby Ellsburys fly out to right but was stranded there when Ryan Lavarnway, pinch-hitting for Scott Podsednik, also flew out to right. The Red Sox were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.Hughes earned the win for the Yankees, improving to 15-12. Rafael Soriana earned his 38th save with a scoreless ninth.The Sox have lost 13 of their last 19 games against the Yankees dating back to Sept. 1, 2011, They have lost seven of nine games at Fenway Park this season.

STAR OF THE GAME: Phil HughesHughes went 7 13 innings, giving up five hits and one walk with seven setrikeouts. He improved to 15-12. It was the first time he has held the Red Sox scoreless in a start. He did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning, the deepest he has ever gone into a game without allowing a hit since he held Tampa Bay hitless until the fifth inning on Sept. 15, 2010. The seven strikeouts were a personal high against the Red Sox.Hughes threw 95 pitches, 68 strikes, the fewest number of pitches hes thrown in an outing of at least seven innings.HONORABLE MENTION: Alex RodriguezRodriguez went 2-for-5 with a run scored. he scored the first run of the game when he led off the fourth with asingle up the middle, stole second, went to third when Doubront walked Robinson Cano and Russell Martin and scored on Andruw Jones sacrifice fly.The run was the 1,888th of his career tying him with Lou Gehrig for ninth place all-time.THE GOAT: The Red Sox offenseThe Sox offense did not get its first hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning. The Sox had just seven baserunners in the game, on six hits and a walk. They had just one extra-base hit Pedro Ciriacos double leading off the eighth. The had runners on third twice in the fourth and in the eighth, with two outs and could not score. Sox batters were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
THE TURNING POINTWith one out and runners on first and second in seventh, Derek Jeter fisted a pitch from Felix Doubront and blooped a single into short center field, scoring Steve Pearce. Althought it put the Yankees up by just two runs, the difference was insurmountable for the Sox.
STAT OF THE DAY: 16With the loss, the Sox fall to a season-worst 16 games under .500. It is the sixth time they have been shutout this season.
QUOTE OF NOTEIts up there. Last year was tough for me obviously, defending the World Series and then not making it to the playoffs. But this is tough. Its not easy to come here and get beat every day. We got to try to turn it around and finish on a positive note. Cody Ross, on the level of frustration this season

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.