MLB Postseason Recap, Day 7: Guardians fight back while Dodgers, Braves suddenly on the brink

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI/Shutterstock (13465741k) Philadelphia Phillies Rhys Hoskins reacts after hitting a three-run home run in the third inning to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead over the Atlanta Braves in a National League Division Series game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Friday, October 14, 2022. Nlds Phillies Braves, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States – 14 Oct 2022

MLB Postseason Recap, Day 7: Guardians fight back while Dodgers, Braves suddenly on the brink

AL Division Series, Game 2: Guardians 4, Yankees 2 (10 innings) (Series tied, 1-1)

The New York Yankees took a 1-0 series lead over the Cleveland Guardians all the way back on Tuesday night, resuming the series Friday afternoon after a planned off day Wednesday and a Thursday night rainout. Despite eliminating the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Series, the Guardians entered Friday’s Game 2 having scored only four total runs in three Postseason games. Needing desperately to get off to a good start against New York starting pitcher Nestor Cortes, Cleveland picked up two first inning hits to start a rally right out of the gates – but after a tough-luck lineout became an inning ending double play, the threat was silenced.

The Yankees responded by striking first in the bottom of the inning, taking the lead on a two-run homer by Giancarlo Stanton over the short porch in right field. New York and Cleveland would combine to leave four runners stranded through the second and third innings, but the Guardians would finally break through with a two-out rally in the fourth. After an infield single by Josh Naylor and an Owen Miller walk, Andres Gimenez would single in Cleveland’s first run of the game to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.

Nestor Cortes would escape the inning with an incredible defensive play, fielding a comebacker in acrobatic fashion and firing to first while on his back to retire speedster Myles Straw. After Shane Bieber hurled a scoreless bottom of the fourth to keep Cleveland within a run, Guardians’ shortstop Amed Rosario drove a solo home run to center field with one out in the top of the fifth to tie the game at two. 

Nestor Cortes’ would be replaced by Lou Trivino in the sixth, who worked through a scoreless inning to keep the game tied. After a walk and a single in the bottom of the sixth, Terry Francona would pull starting pitcher Shane Bieber in favor of Trevor Stephan, who was greeted by pinch hitter Matt Carpenter with two on and two out. Stephan struck out Carpenter swinging to escape the inning, sending the game into the seventh tied at two. He and Jonathan Loaisiga for the Yankees would combine to pitch a scoreless seventh as well, as tension built at Yankee Stadium following Aaron Judge’s fourth strikeout of the afternoon. Cleveland’s bullpen had worked 14 ⅔ scoreless Postseason innings entering the bottom of the eighth, but two walks with one out by James Karinchak put the Yankees in business with pinch runner Tim Locastro’s elite speed on second base. Another walk would load the bases with two outs, forcing Terry Francona’s hand as he turned to All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase to successfully escape the jam and send the game into the ninth.

New York would escape the top of the ninth despite two Guardians’ baserunners, as Wandy Peralta eventually gave way to Clay Holmes. After a full scoreless frame in the bottom of the ninth by Clase, the game would continue into extra innings at 2-2. Cleveland found themselves in business immediately against Jameson Taillon in the top of the tenth following a bloop double to shallow left field by Jose Ramirez and a throwing error that allowed him to advance to third with nobody out. Oscar Gonzalez followed with a soft fly ball single of his own to shallow right, scoring Ramirez and putting the Guardians ahead 3-2. Josh Naylor would extend the lead moments later, driving a ball deep into the right-center gap for a double to score Gonzalez from first. Emmanuel Clase finished the game with relative ease in the bottom half, finishing 2 ⅓ scoreless innings and sending the ALDS to Cleveland in a 1-1 series tie. 

Game 3: Saturday, 6:37pm CT

NL Division Series, Game 3: Phillies 9, Braves 1 (Phillies lead series, 2-1)

The Braves and Phillies split the first two games of their All-NL East NLDS in Atlanta, helping create an absolutely electric environment at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for Game 3. The much-anticipated pitching matchup between Aaron Nola and Spencer Strider lived up to the hype in the early going, keeping the game scoreless into the bottom of the third. Philadelphia would then strike first, as a walk by Brandon Marsh and throwing error by Spencer Strider set the stage for Bryson Stott’s RBI double. Braves’ manager Brian Snitker would elect to intentionally walk Kyle Schwarber, but Rhys Hoskins would immediately make him pay with a long home run into the left field seats that ignited the sellout crowd and put the Phillies ahead 4-0. Bryce Harper would then crush a two-run homer of his own to right center just two batters later off new pitcher Dylan Lee, as Citizens Bank Park nearly came off its foundation with the Phillies ahead 6-0. 

Aaron Nola settled in comfortably with the generous run support, taking his scoreless start into the sixth inning before finally surrendering an RBI single to Michael Harris II to make it 6-1. Nola would receive a standing ovation from the Philadelphia faithful when he was removed in the seventh, turning a sizable lead over to the embattled Phillies’ bullpen to take care of. After Jose Alvarado pitched a scoreless seventh, the Phillies’ offense would once again put a crooked number on the board – this time against Atlanta reliever Jesse Chavez. Bryce Harper’s double to center drove in Matt Vierling, and Nick Castellanos would follow with a two-run single to drive in both Harper and JT Realmuto extending the Philadelphia lead 9-1. Brad Hand and Connor Brogdon would finish the evening quietly for the Phils, polishing off the win and giving them a 2-1 series lead with a chance to put the Braves out of their misery tomorrow afternoon. 

Game 4: Saturday, 1:07pm CT

NL Division Series, Game 3: Padres 2, Dodgers 1 (Padres lead series 2-1)

Fans at Petco Park in San Diego were chomping at the bit heading into Saturday night’s Game 3 between the hometown Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. Their first opportunity to cheer on their team at home in the Postseason since 2006. San Diego would excite their crowd further with a run in the first inning off L.A. starter Tony Gonsolin, as a Juan Soto double followed by a Jake Cronenworth single would put the Friars on top. Gonsolin struggled mightily while he was in the game, recording a total of four outs before being removed with two runners on in the second inning. Regular season starter Andrew Heaney was brought on to escape the jam, and he did so effectively by retiring Jurickson Profar and Juan Soto to keep the deficit at one. Los Angeles would load the bases themselves in the top of the third, but Blake Snell would wiggle out of it thanks to an infield pop-up by Will Smith, the Dodgers’ 15th straight hitless at bat with runners in scoring position dating back to Game 1. The tightrope act continued a half inning later, when Andrew Heaney escaped the bottom of the third despite runners on first and second for San Diego as well. Trent Grisham turned on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the fourth, crushing a no-doubt solo home run into the stands in right to extend San Diego’s lead 2-0. 

Back-to-back hits by Trayce Thompson and Austin Barnes put runners on second and third with nobody out in front of the top of the Dodgers’ order in the fifth, once again applying pressure to Padres’ starter Blake Snell. Mookie Betts hit a sac fly deep to right to drive in the Dodgers’ first run of the night, but Los Angeles would once again strand a runner at third to end the frame. Los Angeles would then knock Blake Snell out of the game in the top of the sixth with a one-out double, as Bob Melvin turned to Nick Martinez looking to escape yet another jam. Justin Turner’s ensuing strikeout and Chris Taylor’s groundout would end the threat and made it 19 straight at bats with runners in scoring position without a hit for Los Angeles. Both bullpens would come up with huge outs to move the game through the seventh and eighth, and suddenly the Dodgers were down to their final three outs of the night against Padres’ closer Josh Hader. Hader mowed down the bottom of the Los Angeles order in the ninth, sending the Padres to a 2-1 series lead and leaving the Dodgers on the brink of extinction despite an incredible 111-win season.

Game 4: Saturday, 8:07pm CT

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