The NY Yankees scored just two runs in consecutive losses to open the American League championship series, but back in the Bronx for game three, their bats could not be contained.
The Yankees put up eight runs by the fourth inning and cruised to an 8-1 win that cuts the Houston Astros lead in the ALCS in half, and much of the barrage came as rookie phenom Aaron Judge shrugged off a slump like Godzilla swatting a rowboat off his shoulder. Judge hit a three run homer and also contributed defensively with two outstanding catches in right field that would have been extra bases for Yuli Gurriel and Cameron Maybin. Todd Frazier also went deep, his go-ahead home run in the second inning clearing the short porch in right, and giving CC Sabathia more than he needed to pick up his first playoff victory since 2012.
The big lefty veteran has emerged as the Yankees' most reliable starter in the post season, and last night went six innings, yielding just three hits to get the Yankees right back in the series.
And it sets up a critical game four late this afternoon with Lance McCullers getting the start for Houston and Sonny Gray scheduled to make his biggest start in a Yankee uniform since being acquired from the Oakland A's at this year's trade deadline. Gray has been at best adequate for the Yankees, certainly not resembling the ace he was in Oakland, but he can turn all that around in a New York minute if he wins today to even up the series.
The Chicago Cubs need to hold serve at Wrigley Field tonight to avoid going into a 0-3 hole against the L.A. Dodgers in game three of the National League championship series. The Dodgers are still buzzing about their game two win via walk-off home run by Justin Turner in the bottom of the ninth on the anniversary, no less, of Kirk Gibson's game winning walk off in game one of the 1988 World Series. Yu Darvish gets the start for L.A. tonight against Kyle Hendricks for the Cubs.
Just one game in the NHL last night, as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. The Lightning are off to a torrid start, with ten points good for first place in the Atlantic. The Montreal Canadiens are sluggish out of the gate with just one win so far, and tonight they're on the west coast to skate against the San Jose Sharks.
The Tennessee Titans went into last night's game against the Indianapolis Colts having lost their last eleven contests against the Colts, tied for the longest losing streak for one NFL team againstg another, but they would not end the night with the record.
Marcus Mariota threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Taywan Taylor late in the fourth quarter and the Titans went on to beat Indy 36-22 in Nashville. Mariota threw the ball 32 times, connecting on 23 of those attempts and finished with a season high 306 yards, the quarterback known for his scrambling and running prowess relying more on his arm than his legs while trying to protect a recently injured hamstring. The win evens Tennessee's record to 3-3 on the year and they're tied now for first in the AFC South with Houston and Jacksonville. The Colts drop to 2-4 on the season, with former Patriots back-up quarterback Jacoby Brissett unable to rally the Colts late in the loss.
The NBA tips off its new season tonight with two games on the docket and with all due apologies to the Houston Rockets and the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the real drama and intrigue will be focused on Cleveland, where the Cavaliers will host the Boston Celtics right out of the starting blocks, hot on the heels of the blockbuster off-season trade that saw both franchises trade superstars for each other. One of those stars, Isaiah Thomas, will not be on the floor tonight for Cleveland, with IT still recovering from off-season hip surgery. He's expected back some time in January. LeBron James has been dealing with a pre-season injury, but is expected to play tonight.
But Kyrie Irving will be in Celtic green, and may get a very chilly reception from the fans in Cleveland, despite his heroics two years ago that helped them win their first ever NBA title. Irving wanted out of Cleveland, mostly to escape the shadow of the game's best player, LeBron James, but he didn't do himself any PR favors when he remarked recently that he's excited to finally be in a "real sports city" now that he's in Boston. That may be a misreading of the passion Cleveland fans have for their sports teams on par with the manager of Spinal Tap telling the band not to worry about their show being canceled in Boston because it's "not a big college town."
Finally, catching up with a former St. Michael's College standout, Matt Bonds, who's now playing for Horsholm in the Danish pro league. Bonds was named Player of the Week after his latest double-double, a 28-point game to go with eleven rebounds, numbers St. Mike's fans got used to seeing Bonds deliver on a regular basis. Bonds leads the Danish league this year, averaging 23.5 points per game.