You have to back to 1996 to find the last time the Vermont Lake Monsters played for the NY Penn League Championship, and they weren't even called the Lake Monsters then.
But the team then known as the Expos has punched a ticket to the title series after sweeping Mahoning Valley in the semi-finals, winning 3-0 in Ohio last night behind a brilliant combined pitching performance that allowed just one hit to the Scrappers all night.
Jesus Luzardo retired fifteen of the seventeen batters he faced over five scoreless innings and relievers Wyatt Marks, Logan Salow and Michael Danielak kept Mahoning Valley from mounting any comeback. The Lake Monsters scored three in the third to give the pitchers all the support they would need with Logan Farrar going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI double to get Vermont its first and eventual winning run. Now the Lake Monsters wait to see whether they'll face the Staten Island Yankees or the Hudson Valley Renegades for the championship. If it's the Yankees game one will be at Centennial Field in Burlington starting tomorrow night. If it's the Renegades, Hudson Valley will have home field advantage, also beginning Wednesday night.
As for the Staten Island parent club, well, they beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 last night playing at Citi Field in Queens, a not-so-neutral site that served as Tampa Bay's home field because the two clubs couldn't play at the Trop in St. Petersburg due to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma. Whether or not actually playing at their home dome would have done the Rays any good is debatable, even though the crowd of about 15,000 lustily booed the team that was only technically speaking the home team when they ran onto the field.
The Yankees trailed 1-0 before a five-run fourth made possible by an error committed by Tampa's Trevor Plouffe with two outs. The error on a grounder at third allowed the Yankees to score the go-ahead run and then Todd Frazier put the game out of reach with a three-run homer. CC Sabathia started fro the Yankees but was taken out in the fifth and David Robertson picked up the win going two and two thirds in relief. With the win the Yanks moved to within three games of the Boston Red Sox for first place in the A.L. east with the Red Sox idle last night. And former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury passed Pete Rose for an obscure major league record last night, reaching base on catcher interference for a 30th time in his career, once more than Rose.
The Mets themselves were off last night while the Yankees used their field to beat up on the Rays. In Toronto, Ryan Goins homered and Marco Estrada won for the third consecutive time as the Blue Jays edged the Orioles 4-3, further dampening hopes for the O's to catch the Yankees for the wild card. The closest team in that chase is the Minnesota Twins, who are four games behind New York.
And that team in Cleveland may not lose another game the rest of the year. The Indians won again last night, making it nineteen victories in a row and the Detroit Tigers didn't show much interest at all in trying to put the skids on history, losing 11-0 in Cleveland. If the Indians win their next game, and since it's against the Tigers again there's no reason to believe they won't, they'll have tied the Oakland A's for the longest consecutive winning streak in major league history, poised to break the record as they cut a swath through the league like a knife through hot butter.
The Los Angeles Chargers--and it's going to be quite some time before those words sound even close to right to me--mounted a close-but-no-cigar comeback against the Denver Broncos in Monday Night Football action last night, losing 24-21 only when a potential game-tying 41-yard field goal was blocked with one second left in regulation by Denver's Shelby Harris.
Trevor Siemian threw three touchdown passes for Denver to build a 24-7 lead by the third quarter before the Chargers, who in a batter world would still be representing San Diego, pulled to within three to make the Broncos fans sweat in the thin air of Mile High Stadium.