Reigning MLB World Series champions the Chicago Cubs staved off elimination with a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
Entering the game down 3-0 in the National League Championship Series, the Cubs had to apply some magic from last year's World Series-winning run. The offence perked up just enough to get that done in game four.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected for the second time this series after a ruling was overturned. Dodgers' Curtis Granderson was originally called for a third strike, but umpires reversed the unchallengeable play.
Maddon then stormed onto the field, and was tossed for his actions at Wrigley Field.
The New York Yankees are on the cusp of a World Series after shutting out the Houston Astros 5-0 in game five of the American League Championship Series.
Masahiro Tanaka became just the third Yankees pitcher to complete multiple seven-inning scoreless starts in the same postseason when he blanked the Astros in seven innings with eight strikeouts on Wednesday.
Normally reserved, Tanaka showed multiple displays of exuberant emotion while cruising through Houston's slumping line-up as the Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
BAEZ HEARD MADDON'S MESSAGE
Maddon pleaded with his hitters to produce some runs after Tuesday night's defeat. Javier Baez must have heard him because he hit two solo home runs to help keep the Cubs' fading World Series hopes alive.
Baez, one of the most notorious free swingers in MLB, connected on an Alex Wood offering in the second inning, shortly after Willson Contreras went deep. Baez trotted around the bases again in the fifth inning after hitting his second home run off Wood. The Cubs still need Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant to get going, but this was a good start.
JUDGE AND SANCHEZ ARE BACK
All-Star Aaron Judge went one for three with a run, RBI and a walk. He had just one hit against the Cleveland Indians, but he has rediscovered his form of late in the ALCS. Judge is an AL MVP contender after bashing 52 home runs during the regular season. He has been more patient this series, which has given him better pitches to hit.
Gary Sanchez went two for four with a towering home run in the seventh inning. It was his second hit of the night and just his third of the series. The 24-year-old catcher played a key role in the AL wildcard game and the AL Division Series, but he was struggling to make contact against the Astros.
ARRIETA CAN STILL BE AN ACE
The 2015 NL Cy Young award winner has steadily declined since his near-perfect form two seasons ago, but he can still deliver in the clutch. Jake Arrieta proved reliable when Maddon needed him most on Wednesday, allowing just one run with nine strikeouts in 6.6 innings.
Arrieta did have five more walks, proving his command is sporadic, but he has allowed just one earned run in 10.6 innings this postseason.
The Cubs needed hits and runs and they got them from Baez.
DODGERS AT CUBS, ASTROS RETURN TO HOUSTON
The Dodgers will try again to clinch a World Series berth on Thursday. Chicago held on to a slender lead to force game five, but Los Angeles will likely send ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound to try and take care of business this time around.
Heading back to Houston, the Astros will try to stave off elimination on Thursday. Verlander, who has not lost in an Astros uniform, will try to lead his team in the right direction by forcing a decisive game seven.
|Allegri satisfied with draw against ´extraordinary´ Barcelona|
|Nainggolan reaffirms Roma commitment after Simeone praise|
|Chiefs sign veteran CB Revis|
|England choose to bat as Warner, Marsh cleared to play for Australia|
|Beathard, not Garoppolo, named 49ers starter v Seahawks|
|Simeone hails Griezmann´s ´extraordinary´ volley|
|Emery hails Neymar after stunning Celtic win|
|Freeney joins Lions day after being cut by Seahawks|
|Championship Review: Wolves thrash 10-man Leeds, Middlesbrough cruise|
|Goncharenko delighted for clean sheet star Akinfeev|
|I hope Barcelona rest Messi – Jesus|
|Broncos name Lynch starting QB for Raiders game|
|Thiago suffered a serious injury, says Heynckes|
|Valverde explains decision to bench Messi|
|Coleman the latest to join Rebels revolution|
|LeBron: Defensive consistency key to Cavs winning streak|
|Bills revert to Tyrod Taylor as starting QB after Nathan Peterman disaster|
|Absent Stokes wishes England well|
|Iniesta hails ´splendid´ Ter Stegen as Barcelona seal last-16 spot|
|Griezmann shrugs off goalless streak after wonderstrike keeps Atletico´s hopes alive|
|We should have been 5-0 up – Mourinho unimpressed with wasteful United|
|Toure reveals Guardiola anger with City´s Feyenoord display|
|Warriors star Durant says he will play against Thunder|
|Paris Saint-Germain set Champions League scoring record in Celtic rout|
|Sporting CP 3 Olympiacos 1: Dost on target as hosts stay in contention|
|Bielsa suspended by struggling Lille|
|Anderlecht 1 Bayern Munich 2: Lewandowski and Tolisso give visitors win|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Roma 0: Griezmann returns to form with wondergoal|
|Basel 1 Manchester United 0: Late Lang goal leaves Mourinho´s men with work to do|
|Paris Saint-Germain 7 Celtic 1: Cavani and Neymar score braces in sparkling win|
|Juventus 0 Barcelona 0: Messi benched but Valverde´s men in last 16|
|Bennett backs New Zealand to recover from World Cup exit|
|No Samoa donation from England squad - Borthwick|
|Conte pleased to take pressure off Atletico clash|
|Success in Europe will help Milan´s league form, Montella claims|
|Bauza sacked by Saudi Arabia|
|Browns´ Josh Gordon returns to practice|
|Azarenka confirms place at ASB Classic|
|Willian: For me, it was a penalty|
|Akinfeev keeps first Champions League clean sheet since November 2006|
|Messi rested by Barcelona side for Juventus clash|
|CSKA Moscow 2 Benfica 0: Goncharenko´s men boost progression hopes|
|Qarabag 0 Chelsea 4: Hazard, Willian lead Blues into last 16|
|Wood not giving up hope of Ashes role|
|If he´s fit, he will go – Wenger backs Welbeck for World Cup call|
|Gatland delighted by North´s return|
|Pressure the key to beating All Blacks, says Gregan|
|FIA president Todt to run unchallenged for re-election|
|Niasse banned over diving charge after FA rejects Everton appeal|
|Sri Lanka want Tigers head coach Hathurusingha|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton hunting more records - Abu Dhabi GP in numbers|
|North to leave Saints and return to Wales|
|Real Madrid´s Carvajal faces UEFA investigation over APOEL booking|
|Dimitrov never lost belief in own ability|
|Everton fined €30,000 over fan trouble against Lyon|
|No change in Everton manager hunt, says Unsworth|
|Chiellini to miss Barcelona match with thigh injury|
|McIlroy to make return in Abu Dhabi|
|Maitland among four Scotland changes for Wallabies clash|
|Former Everton and Nigeria striker Yakubu retires|
|Robinson talks up England World Cup chances|
|The Ashes: Series predictions vary wildly ahead of first Test|
|Liverpool looking into claims of Seville police assault against fans|
|Smith surprised by Australia selections - Cowan|
|Toure hails Foden as the ´future´ of Manchester City|
|Record Ronaldo nomination as Real Madrid dominate UEFA Team of the Year candidates|
|Williams call on Kubica for Abu Dhabi testing|
|Heynckes stay is ´best solution´ for Bayern, says Robben|
|Racing allow O´Gara to join Crusaders|
|Courtois parks Chelsea contract talks|