The magic number for the Boston Red Sox to clinch their third straight division title is down to two, and now the focus shifts to the health of two of their star players.
Chris Sale is one of those. He pitched three scoreless innings while giving up just one hit in Boston's 4-3 win over the NY Mets at Fenway park yesterday, and hopes are that his shoulder inflammation woes are behind him.
But the Red Sox will be watching closely MVP candidate Mookie Betts, who left the game after experiencing soreness in his side following a long throw from right field. He told reporters after the game it's not a serious injury and he should be ready to play Tuesday against the Yankees in New York with a day off today, but the guess here is that manager Alex Cora keeps Mookie on the bench Tuesday with the division title well within grasp.
The Red Sox need to win just one game from the Yankees in the Bronx series to claim the division and avoid a one-game wild card playoff.
Andrew Benintendi's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning proved to be the game winning hit, bringing home Tzu Wei-Lin, who filled in for Betts and led off the 8th with a double.
The Mets played rather well in this series against Boston, dropping two out of three but making the Red Sox work for their wins, and the large contingent of Mets fans at Fenway endeared themselves to their hosts by starting a time-honored chant regarding the Yankees, describing them in terms normally used to explain what a vacuum cleaner does.
Those Yankees, meanwhile, fell 3-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays when Dellin Betances came on the 8th with a 2-1 lead and gave up five hits to turn that advantage into a 3-2 deficit, and that was the final as the Jays took two out of three from the Yankees in the Bronx.
But the Tampa Bay Rays did the Yankees a solid by taking two out of three from the Oakland A's, including a 5-4 win yesterday, and that allows the Yankees to maintain their slim one and a half game lead over Oakland for the first wild card spot, which delivers home field advantage for that one game winner take all wild card. The A's will no doubt be temporary fans of the Red Sox when Boston begins their series in the Bronx tomorrow night.
Rough day for the New England Patriots. The defense looked positively porous against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Florida. Blake Bortles threw four touchdown passes, three in the first half, in a 31-20 win for the Jags. Tom Brady threw two touchdowns, both to Chris Hogan, but was also sacked twice and the Pats are now 1-1 on the year.
The NY Giants are still winless after a 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, who sacked Giants quarterback Eli Manning six times in that one.
Don't look now but it's the Miami Dolphins sitting atop the AFC East at 2-0 after their 20-12 win over the NY Jets. Frank Gore passed Curtis Martin on the NFL's all-time rushing list in the win, and now trails only Barry Sanders, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith for most career rushing yards.
How bad are things in Buffalo? So bad that Bills veteran cornerback Vontae Smith retired from the NFL at half time, calling it a career before Buffalo went on to lose 31-20 loss against the L.A. Chargers.
Both the UVM men's and women's soccer teams suffered losses yesterday. The women held scoreless in a 1-0 defeat against Bryant, while them men fell to Colgate 2-1. The women of Northern Vermont Johnson were shut out 4-0 by Bay Path in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.