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Astros Take 3-1 Lead vs. Yankees in Game 6: Live Updates

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The Yankees clawed back a run and chased Brad Peacock out of the game as Gary Sanchez struck a single up the middle with a runner in scoring position, no less.

Peacock recorded five outs, but he started to lose command when his pitch count rose. (Relatively speaking, of course. He only threw 27 total, but he is not a starter.) With two outs, Didi Gregorius doubled to right field. Peacock statistically has greater success against right-handed batters, who only hit .197 against him in the regular season. He clearly began to tire and walked Gio Urshela, so A.J. Hinch made the first of what should be many pitching changes in this game, asking Josh James to face Brett Gardner. James got out of the jam when he caught Gardner looking a dubious strike three call. The pitch looked outside and maybe high.

The Yankees turned to the former Astros lefty J.A. Happ in the bottom of the second, and he had a nice, quiet inning. It was just what the Yankees needed. Martin Maldonado, Houston’s catcher, squared up one ball and hit a sharp line drive down the third base line, but Urshela caught it.

This game is going to get more fascinating as it progresses with all the matchups and decisions. James is still in for Houston.

Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run home run off opener Chad Green to give the Astros a 3-0 lead. Green struck out George Springer to start the inning, but he labored after that, giving up a double to Jose Altuve and then one out later he walked Alex Bregman. Gurriel connected on the first pitch — with Altuve breaking for third base — and lined it over the wall in left field as the crowd erupted. The Astros were borrowing from the script the Yankees provided in Game 5, when they scored four runs in the first inning on home runs by D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks.

For the Astros, Brad Peacock picked up where he left off last night, setting down the Yankees in order on 7 pitches (he needed 8 to get through the 8th inning of Game 5 on Friday). Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said before the game that he liked the idea of using Peacock because of his measured demeanor. Hinch acknowledged that the game could end up being chaotic with all the pitching changes and matchups.

“And who better to kick off the chaos of a bullpen day than a calm Brad Peacock,” he said. Chad Green

YANKEES

1. D.J. LeMahieu, 1B

2. Aaron Judge, RF

3. Gleyber Torres, 2B

4. Aaron Hicks, CF

5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH

6. Didi Gregorius, SS

7. Gary Sanchez, C

8. Gio Urshela, 3B

9. Brett Gardner, LF

Chad Green, P

ASTROS

1. George Springer, CF

2. Jose Altuve, 2B

3. Michael Brantley, LF

4. Alex Bregman, 3B

5. Yuli Gurriel, 1B

6. Carlos Correa, SS

7. Yordan Alvarez, DH

8. Martin Maldonado, C

9. Josh Reddick, RF

Brad Peacock, P

Encarnacion, who is mired in a 1-for-19 slump in his last five games, is back in the lineup as the designated hitter instead of Giancarlo Stanton. Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said the long flight was a factor for Stanton, who is recovering from a quad injury, and added that he thought Encarnacion would do well.

Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said he was opening with Peacock because he felt Peacock matched up well with the top of the Yankees’ order. Peacock pitched the eighth inning of Game 5 Friday, and got Gardner, LeMahieu and Judge in order on eight pitches.



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Penn State holds off Indiana to set up Ohio State showdown in Big Ten

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When everything hung in the balance at the end of this sloppy, mistake-prone afternoon, No. 11 Penn State showed an impressive dose of toughness and resolve.

With all of the their problems before, who would have expected the Nittany Lions to drive 75 yards when absolutely needed, chewing nine minutes of clock in the process?

Without their best playmaker and rugged runner.

With everything to lose coming off a debilitating defeat.

Sean Clifford and his running backs did most of the heavy lifting on the fourth-quarter drive that sealed what became a desperate defeat of No. 25 Indiana on Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

The 34-27 decision was not the finely tuned recovery act desired before heading to Columbus with the Big Ten East title on the line.

Not when next week’s Ohio State Buckeyes look like the most dominating team in the nation on offense and defense.

But this will certainly do for now.

BLAME GAME: It’s not Nick Saban’s fault Tua Tagovailoa got injured

TOUGH LOSS: Alabama’s Tagovailoa carted off field with hip injury

BIG DAY: Wisconsin’s Taylor makes NCAA history against Nebraska

It was the roughest of days, though, to get to that impressive final offensive drive.

The Lions didn’t seem to play with coach James Franklin’s hopeful “urgency” with the ball for much of the day.

Their vaunted defense displayed multiple holes and weak spots yet again. Pass defense and open-field tackling was a misadventure from the beginning.

So maybe it was a good thing they were playing Indiana, after all?

More than anything, the pass-happy Hoosiers were more giving than expected. And the Lions were more than pleased to take advantage. 

After an abysmal opening series on offense, the Lions punted away the ball — only to have Indiana’s top player, Whop Philyor, inexplicably let the bouncing ball hit him before backing away.

The Lions recovered and scored five plays later.

Even worse, the Hoosiers badly bungled and fourth-and-1 situation in the third quarter. They called a timeout, then attempted a fake punt run that was doomed from the start.

The Lions scored two plays after that.

Even more painful? When Indiana got the ball back again it drove deep, only to have receiver Donavan Hale drop the ball in the end zone. The Hoosiers settled for a field goal.

Certainly, Penn State ran the ball more effectively for a second straight week behind Journey Brown and Clifford (combined 155 yards).

But the thin pass game took a huge hit when star receiver and returner KJ Hamler was lost for the game in the first quarter after landing awkwardly on a kickoff return, possibly suffering a concussion.

Meanwhile, promising tailback Noah Cain did not play yet again with an apparent ankle injury, even though Franklin had said he was “90 percent” last week.

It got to the point where Clifford and the offense were trying to hold on in the fourth quarter with runs from Brown and hopeful passes … to someone. Even heralded tight end Pat Freiermuth could not find space or any type of groove (one catch).

Clifford was not prolific by any means but, once again, played smart and gutsy, running when the opportunity arose, eluding pass rushers to find receivers downfield and throwing the ball away when necessary. 

He took some hard hits and got up each time.

The defense played to hold on at the end, too.

Indiana came into the game known as possibly the most improved passing team in the Big Ten and beyond. Penn State planned for this and still struggled to stop it.

Peyton Ramsey completed 31-of-41 passes for 371 yards, spreading the ball among nine receivers. He produced all three touchdowns (one passing, two running) and kept the Lions scrambling and lunging all afternoon.

The Lions answered last, though. Clifford took the final snap on fourth down of that drive and barreled in for the clinching score with less than two minutes to play.



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Yu Darvish, Christian Yelich Spar on Social Media as Controversy Swirls Over Sign Stealing

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Major League Baseball may be in its offseason, but Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich took to social media to discuss one of the league’s hot button issues.

In a recent report, The Athletic alleged that the Houston Astros were using technology to steal signs during the 2017 season, during which the team won the World Series.

The story has generated shockwaves throughout the sport and has sparked an investigation by the league, and one of the players most affected by the alleged sign-stealing happens to be Darvish.

At the time of the incident, Darvish was pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and was shelled during two World Series starts against the Astros, giving up eight earned runs in just three innings of work in the series.

Darvish, in a video posted to his YouTube page earlier this week, didn’t blame the alleged “sign-stealing” for his struggles, but said he was never satisfied with the Astros’ explanation that he was tipping his pitches.

“I feel that if I absolve myself and say it was the Astros’ fault I was bad in Game 7, in the World Series, I can’t develop as a person,” he said in the video. “Because I had that experience, I was able to work hard these last two years and become the person I am now.”

After the Astros’ story broke, the spotlight turned toward other potential instances of sign stealing. The popular Cubs blog Bleacher Nation published a tweet showing Darvish step off of the mound while Yelich was batting during a game at Milwaukee’s Miller Park, and while some alleged that it was evidence that Darvish suspected that the Brewers’ slugger was stealing signs, Darvish wasn’t as sure:

“I’m not sure what he is trying to do,” he said. “But to be clear his eyes move first. That’s why I stepped off.”

As some fans pointed out in replies to the tweet, the bullpen at Miller Park is in left-center field, the same direction that Yelich appeared to look in the video. In a follow-up tweet, Darvish said that he did not mean to say that the Brewers were conclusively stealing signs, but Yelich did not take too kindly to the inference, saying that “nobody needs help facing you” and calling on Darvish to “be better:”

Darvish replied to Yelich’s tweet:

“Easy man,” he said. “I’m not saying you are stealing signs.”

The sign-stealing discussion will likely last through the remainder of the offseason and into the regular season, but Atlanta Braves slugger Josh Donaldson tried to inject some levity into the situation by replying to Yelich’s tweet:

After Donaldson asked Yelich for help in facing Darvish, the Cubs pitcher responded, saying that he didn’t think Donaldson “needed help” in the batter’s box.

With the sign-stealing story seemingly generating new headlines every day, this likely won’t be the last time that a team has to face questions about its practices, but the Brewers have not been formally scrutinized. 





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Saturday’s Sports Transactions – The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Claimed RHP Eric Yardley off waivers from San Diego.

COLLEGE PARK SKYHAWKS — Waived G Ronshad Shabazz. Claimed F Nick Ward off waivers.

FOOTBALL
National Football League

ARIZONA CARDINALS — Signed TE Maxx Williams to a two-year contract extension.

CINCINNATI BENGALS — Placed CB Dre Kirkpatrick on the IR. Signed LB Hardy Nickerson and WR Damion Willis from the practice squad.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS — Released OT Gerhard de Beer from the practice squad. Signed OT Cedrick Lang to the practice squad.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS — Placed DT Cortez Broughton on the non-football illness list. Signed LS Matt Overton.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES — Placed RB Darren Sproles on IR. Signed RB Jay Ajayi.

HOCKEY
National Hockey League

WASHINGTON CAPITALS — Assigned G Ilya Samsonov and D Tyler Lewington to Hershey (AHL). Recalled F Travis Boyd and G Vitek Vanecek from Hershey.





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