Yankees coach Aaron Boon said the decision to seat Kiner-Falefa was mainly motivated by the fact that he was not playing with his usual confidence. Kiner-Falefa, 27, made a mistake in the opener and looked faltering in routine plays.
“I feel like in some big pressure points throughout the season he made big plays,” Boone said. “So he always responded very well to the bell after a mistake. This time, I feel like it snowballed a bit on him in this series, so that’s kind of in there.
Cabrera, who was brought up as an inside midfielder, left Myles Straw’s bloop in the ninth inning leaps past him and turns into a double in Game 3 as the Guardians overcome a two-run deficit to win, 6-5.
Hicks did not play in the playoffs. He was hitless in his last 14 regular-season at-bats.
Hicks, who batted ninth, played in 28 playoff games, batting .223 with two home runs and 12 RBIs.
Oscar Gonzalez delivered the hit in Game 3, hitting a two-out two-run single in the ninth.
Gonzalez, a playoff hero just a week ago, doubled down 1-2 from Clarke Schmidt through the middle to score a rookie Steven Kwan and Amed Rosario as the young Guardians, who showed no fear this storybook season, rallied once again and pushed the Yankees to the brink of elimination.
Judge Aaron hit a two-run homer for New York, which led 5-3 in the ninth before its bullpen collapsed and the Guardians staged another comeback win.
As Rosario ran through the plate, Gonzalez threw his helmet in the air as his teammates rushed onto the field to harass him.
The win followed a familiar formula for the Guardians, who led the Majors with 29 wins in their final batting and have now done so twice in a week – both times with Gonzalez delivering the game-winning hit.
The 24-year-old outfielder had a hit in the 15th inning last week to sweep the Rays in the wild card round.
Prior to Cleveland’s return, the Yankees were 167-0 in the playoffs entering the ninth inning with a multi-run lead.
Gonzalez joined the Hall of Famer and fellow Dominican Republic native David Ortiz (2004) as the only players to have three or more hits in the ninth inning or later in a single postseason.
With one in the ninth, Myles Straw blooped a single Wandy Peralta and scampered off in second when the ball went past the left fielder Oswaldo Cabrera, who missed it with a dive. Kwan then dropped a left field hit and the Yankees brought in Schmidt.
Rosario followed with an RBI single to make it 5-4 before Jose Ramirez hit an open field single on the open left side that shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa stopped with a slide, preventing the tying run from scoring.
Schmidt disbarred Josh Naylor on three courts before Gonzalez had his second monumental moment this October.
Jeremy Peña gives Astros a boost
Jeremy Pena and the Astros continued. Scoreless inning after scoreless inning, as day turned to night in front of a cheering crowd in Seattle.
They eventually found a way. This is how the Astros reached the AL Championship Series for the sixth consecutive year.
Peña homered in the 18th inning and the Astros beat the Mariners, 1-0, on Saturday for a three-game sweep of their AL Division series.
Peña drove a slider from Penn Murfee deep to left center for the rookie’s first postseason homer, providing the only run in a game full of dominating throws and empty trips to the plate.
The 18 innings was the longest game in playoff history and the 6 hours and 22 minutes was the third longest in time.
Spoiling Seattle’s first playoff appearance on home soil since 2001, Houston continued their ALCS streak that began with their 2017 World Series title. Next up will be the Yankees or Guardians in Game 1 of the ALCS on Wednesday. .
Whereas Yordan Alvarez got the big hits in the first two games in Houston, it was Peña who set the stage for Alvarez’s opportunities. As Game 3 entered its sixth hour, Peña delivered another painful blow to the Mariners that ended their short playoff comeback.
After 21 years, Seattle fans have welcomed playoff baseball inside T-Mobile Park. They got what they paid for, and more.
Seattle’s best scoring chance was by Julio Rodriguez line player who hit the wall in the eighth. The Mariners had runners in scoring position at 13th and 17th, but couldn’t get a key hit at two against Houston’s superb bullpen.
Unlike baseball’s regular season, there is no auto-runner when playoff games are played in extra innings.
Luis Garcia worked five innings for the win. The Astros bullpen allowed five hits and struck out 15 after the starter’s six innings Lance McCullers Jr.
Seattle’s bullpen was almost as good. After the rookie George Kirby pitched seven innings, nine Mariners relievers combined for 11 five-hitter innings.
The teams combined to bat 42 times, topping the postseason record of 39 set by the Guardians and Rays last week in their AL wildcard game that was scoreless for 15 innings before home Oscar Gonzalez’s run sends Cleveland to the ALDS.
The brave look to the future
The season came to an unimaginable end for the World Series champion Braves with two dismal performances in Philadelphia, where the Braves were outscored 17-4 and lost the Division Series 3-1 to a wild-card Phillies side. which they beat by 14 games during the regular season.
But the future certainly looks bright, with most young core players locked into long-term contracts and almost everyone expected to return in 2023.
“We have a great team. We really do,” General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “You have to turn the page at some point.”
Administrator Brian Snitkertoo, is excited about what the future holds.
“We have talented players”, coach Brian Snitker said. “We will meet again in March and the objective will be to win the division again.”
Biggest question heading into the offseason is shortstop status Dansby Swansonwho is about to become a free agent.
The Braves and Swanson have expressed a desire to reach a new agreement.
This was the case with Freddie Freeman last year, but now plays for the Dodgers.
Braves have top two candidates for NL Rookie of the Year – outfielder Michael Harris II and pitcher Spencer Strider — and signed them to long contracts even though they were years away from being eligible for free agency.
The 21-year-old Harris was brought up from Double A to bolster the team’s defense and ended up being one of the Braves’ best all-around players. He hit .297 with 19 home runs, 64 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.
Strider, who throws hard, days shy of his 24th birthday, solidified the rotation while becoming the first pitcher in baseball history to record 200 strikeouts and give up fewer than 100 hits.
Kenley Jansen led the NL with 41 saves after signing a one-year, $16 million contract.
Anthopoulos said he would like to bring Jansen back, but the Braves have options if the 35-year-old signs elsewhere.
The ancient angels draw near Raisel Iglesias was acquired at the trade deadline and thrived in a set-up role for Jansen. He had a pair of 30-stop seasons and is under contract for three more years at $48 million.
Another option is Kirby Yates, who struggled in limited appearances returning from Tommy John surgery but has experience as a closer. He was an All-Star who led the NL with 41 saves as he pitched for San Diego in 2019.
Kyle Wright led the majors with 21 wins, Max fried had another solid season and Strider looks set to have a bright future.
Beyond that, there are question marks in the rotation.
charlie morton will return to a one-year, $20 million deal, offering experience but needing to improve on an up and down season.
Former All Star Mike Soroka hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2020 after tearing his Achilles tendon twice, while Ian Anderson endured a miserable season that led to the Braves sending the once budding star back to the minors