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After a five-year absence, the Yankees are back in the Division Series following Tuesday’s thrilling come-from-behind 8-4 win over the Minnesota Twins.

These Baby Bombers, led by Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez, played like seasoned vets as they fought out from under a first-inning three-run deficit in the one-and-done wild-card playoff.

MVP candidate Judge contributed with a dinger — naturally enough, since he just set the MLB rookie home-run record with 52 homers for the season.

And the bullpen was golden, combining for 13 strikeouts in 8 ²/₃ innings — tying a major league record.



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Aaron Judge and the Yankees celebrate after their 1-0 victory Sunday night in Game 3 of the ALDS.

You could feel the big ballpark shift, viscerally, tangibly, 48,614 sets of eyes following a baseball as it traced a white path against the black night sky. Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor had launched it there, and Yankees fans had already had just about enough of Lindor and his magic bat.

Two days earlier, it was Lindor’s grand slam that came immediately after the Non-Challenge Heard Round the World, and it vaulted the Indians back into a game most of Cleveland had already written off. Now, in the teeth of a scoreless game, top of the sixth inning, he’d hit another blast aimed straight at the Yankees’ heart.

Carrying and carrying right to the short porch in right.


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The Astros’ Carlos Correa and George Springer celebrating an 8-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday in Game 2 of their American League division series. CreditRonald Martinez/Getty Images

HOUSTON — No team in baseball slugs like the Houston Astros. Their hitting coach, Dave Hudgens, tells them not to swing unless they think they can hit a home run. In the first two games of these playoffs, they have slammed six. Their ballpark locomotive, which clangs merrily above left field after every big hit, has been rolling.

The Astros have blitzed the Boston Red Sox with consecutive 8-2 victories, sending the visitors trudging back to Fenway Park with train whistles ringing through their skulls. The Red Sox had by far the fewest homers of any playoff team, and have added none here. They could be swept from this division series on Sunday at Fenway Park.

“We can only be ourselves,” said Mookie Betts, Boston’s star right fielder. “We can’t go out and bang like them. We can’t do a whole lot of things that they can do, but we can do what we can do. And what we do got us in the playoffs, and I’m pretty sure it can win us the World Series, too.”

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Greg Bird after he hit a long home run in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie in Game 3 of the division series between the Yankees and the Cleveland Indians. CreditBen Solomon for The New York Times

Greg Bird has long carried himself with a poise that belies his years. His high school teammates joked that he was 16 going on 40, asking him when he arrived for early-morning practices if he had already had his morning coffee and checked his stock portfolio.

So, as frustrated as Bird may have been when his progress was derailed by injuries for a second straight season, he remained patient, believing that with the Yankees headed toward the playoffs, he had an opportunity to salvage his season.

On Sunday night, Bird salvaged the Yankees’ season — at least for a day — by blasting a seventh-inning homer off the redoubtable reliever Andrew Miller to lift the Yankees to a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of their American League division series.

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Major leaguers set records in 2017 for home runs, strikeouts and relief innings. The top eight teams in slugging percentage all reached the postseason. So did the top eight pitching staffs in strikeouts.

Now, a season of extremes hurtles into October.

With the wild-card games complete, the best-of-five division series are set: Boston at Houston; the Yankees at Cleveland; the Chicago Cubs at Washington; and Arizona at the Los Angeles Dodgers. The American League games start Thursday, the National League Friday.

“You could make the argument the field is as strong as it’s been in recent memory – and not just with one or two defined strengths, but really well-rounded teams,” Chris Antonetti, the Indians’ president of baseball operations, said last week. “Anyone’s really capable of winning.”

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The Syracuse Chiefs hosted a rare sellout during their game against Pawtucket at NBT Bank Stadium on Friday July 4, 2014. The team’s attendance was up 11.5 percent in 2017 over the previous season. Stephen D. Cannerelli | D. Cannerelli)

The New York Mets have reached an agreement to buy the Syracuse Chiefs and make the International League baseball team its top minor league affiliate, according to two sources briefed about the deal.

Under terms of the agreement, the Mets will acquire ownership of the Triple-A Chiefs from the Community Baseball Club of Central New York Inc., and continue to play its games at NBT Bank Stadium starting in 2019, the sources said.

The Mets would own and operate the Syracuse Chiefs, the sources said, bringing in the resources necessary to build a franchise that struggled in recent years with its finances.

The deal would end almost six decades of community ownership of the Syracuse Chiefs, dating back to 1961, and cut off the team’s nine-year affiliation with the World Series-contending Washington Nationals.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney plan to announce the agreement Tuesday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium, one source said.



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While the loss of Markus Golden hurts, the Arizona Cardinals have a rookie linebacker who could quite possibly fill in nicely

Arizona Cardinals’ rookie Haason Reddick is no stranger to opposing quarterbacks. As a defensive end at Temple University in Philadelphia, the Cards’ inside linebacker recorded nine and a half sacks during his senior year. There’s a good chance that the 13th-overall pick of this season’s draft will be getting reacquainted with passers again real soon.

Last Sunday’s loss of outside linebacker Markus Golden to a torn ACL is a significant one. The third-year Cardinal was coming off of a huge 2016, when he led the squad with 12.5 sacks. Sacks that will be not easy to replace now that Golden has been placed on injured reserve.

There’s been talk this week about Reddick moving from his inside slot to the outside. The pass-rushing prowess that the Camden, New Jersey native showed during his last year in school makes one think he’ll have success. The 6’1″, 235 pounder got to signal-callers in his first three college campaigns as well, totalling eight sacks from 2013-15.

Reddick has done an admirable job at inside ‘backer through the first quarter of the current season. He has accumulated 18 tackles, showing superb tackling technique and quickness while doing so.

However, the return of starter Deone Bucannon from injury will obviously cut into the first-year player’s snaps. The other starter in the middle, Karlos Dansby, will most likely remain in his current role. The 35-year old is playing like he’s 25, having tallied 26 tackles through four contests.

These factors make Reddick sliding over into Golden’s spot even more logical. If he is moved, the presence of a great sack artist like Chandler Jones on the opposite side will make his transition smoother. The attention Jones garners should help Riddick put up sack stats in the same way Golden was able to.

Arizona defensive coordinator James Bettcher does have another option. Kareem Martin had an excellent preseason. The fourth-year Cardinal has been biding his time for an opportunity like this, and may also be given a chance to shine.

Golden’s replacement will be revealed on Sunday when the Cards meet the Philadelphia Eagles. Whoever can supply the most pressure from the edge will be on the field. Reddick the rookie has a solid shot of being that guy.

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The Arizona Cardinals offensive line is currently a mess, but there’s an array of available players who could provide help

Things have gone from bad to worse for the offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals. For the fans who feel that the group’s performance against the Dallas Cowboys was putrid, you should probably brace yourselves. If ever the club needed head coach Bruce Arians’ “next man up” mantra to ring true, it’s now.

Starting left guard Mike Iupati’s proclamation that he’s “100% sure” that he’ll play this weekend has turned out to be hogwash. A bone spur in the veteran’s elbow is cutting a tendon, and will most likely require surgery. An operation that could effectively end Iupati’s season, and possibly his career with the Cardinals as well.

The latest news on left tackle D.J. Humphries ailing knee has caused uncertainty. Just a couple of days ago, it looked as if the franchise’s 2015 first-round draft pick would return this Sunday. But when asked about it at the end of the week, Arians could only answer “we’ll see”.

Add in the injury to the recently-signed Alex Boone, and the Cards’ blocking unit has the makings of a disaster. There’s a strong possibility that the left side of the line will feature journeyman John Wetzel and rookie Will Holden versus the San Francisco 49ers. Certainly not an ideal scenario for quarterback Carson Palmer’s health or the squad’s running game.

While it’s too late to do anything about it for the Niners matchup, there’s help available for the final three quarters of the 2017 campaign. Time for general manager Steve Keim and his cronies to get to work.

Former Cardinal Earl Watford is available after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. His knowledge of Arizona’s offense and versatility make him attractive. The exact same thing can be said of Cole Toner, a former Card who was just cut from the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad.

Former New York Jet Nick Mangold is an intriguing name who’s still looking for work. He’s made the Pro Bowl seven times as a center, but there was offseason talk that he can also play guard. The same goes for 2016 Pro Bowler Jeremy Zuttah, an available free agent who can also play both center and guard.

John Greco, a veteran of 70 starts who played for the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns, also remains jobless. There are also two possible call-ups currently on Arizona’s practice squad. Dorian Johnson, this year’s fourth-round pick, and Vinston Painter, a former Denver Broncos’ draft selection, are the candidates.

All of the players mentioned in this article could provide help. Keim needs to attack this brutal situation aggressively. Before the losses pile up and there’s no point in righting the ship.

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What stood out in the Cardinals 18-15 win over the 49ers?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In the ugliest game so far in this young season, the Cardinals somehow managed to eek out a win. Like, I literally had this entire article ready to go, assuming the Cards were going to lose (because that’s what I’ve been conditioned to after 20 years of Cardinals football).

With that shameful admission, I deflect with this: Larry Fitzgerald, I am so glad the Cardinals drafted you. The greatest Cardinal to ever wear the uniform.

The Good:

Well somehow they won. Phil Dawson was perfect on the day.

The J. Browns had a fantastic day. Having John back was huge for the passing game, and Jaron had an incredible day. Tough catches and forcing penalties are a big reason the Cardinals won today.

Andre Ellington should have had a TD, and if the offensive line wasn’t an assembly of bums off Van Buren, he would have had a career day. The 9 receptions (including a sick 1 hander), 86 yards in the air, plus a paltry 18 on the ground got the re-surging Ellington over a 100 yards on the day.

The Bad:

The offensive line is going to get a lot of hate this week. I really like my “bums from Van Buren” comment so I want to highlight that. They aren’t in the ugly column because they had a first time starter at LG and a backup LT and somehow did enough to give Palmer enough time to hit Larry for the game winning TD.

The secondary looks good on paper, but if you add in all those easy drops the 49ersWRs/TEs/Rbs had, it could have been an even uglier day. The defense is too predictable at times but did enough, against a better QB they would have been spit roasted.

The run game. Read: Offensive line, bums, etc, above.

Palmer taking that many hits is scary. Just what else is there to say.

The Ugly:

Markus Golden’s injury. I really hope it’s a sprain and not what we all dread. He hasn’t been racking up sacks, but he’s been getting pressures and solid in the run game. Would be a big loss.

Penalties: Almost cost the Cardinals the game in overtime. Just too many dumb penalties.

The Cardinals chances at a winning season. If they can barely squeak by an 0-3 team at home, then what hope is there to win against the EaglesBuccaneers and Rams in the next three games? The offensive line needs to be figured out, but with the injuries, it doesn’t look good.

What was your good, bad and ugly this week?

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Notes: Handful of Cardinals return home to Philly; Watford can step in if Boone not ready

Rookie linebacker Haason Reddick will try to get after the quarterback as an outside linebacker after Markus Golden‘s injury.
Yes, James Bettcher knows rookie Haason Reddick is smaller for a typical outside linebacker, weighing about 235 pounds.But the Cardinals defensive coordinator still has confidence Reddick will be fine in that regard. To that end, he talked Thursday about former Colts Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis, whom Bettcher once coached when he was in Indianapolis.

“Robert Mathis, I had him on the scale one time,” Bettcher said. “He was like 212 pounds. He’d probably

wrestle with me if I told somebody that, but that’s what he really was – 212 on the scale. But no one could block him, and he could power and bull anyone.“(Size) doesn’t matter. When you have speed and you have power, you can rush on the edge. Learning how to use the speed and how to use the power will be the next thing for (Reddick.)”

No one is comparing Reddick to Mathis at this point. Reddick was just learning how to play inside linebacker when Markus Golden’s season-ending knee injury changed the plans. Now, Reddick will split time with Kareem Martin as Golden’s replacements.


Bettcher said Reddick’s role on the outside will be similar to what they did with him as an inside linebacker – certain packages at first, with an increasing role as time goes on. As for using him inside as well, Bettcher only said “there will be packages where you will see him doing different things.”

That’s fine with Reddick, who has maintained all week he is prepared for whatever happens.

“I was asked to help out there, which I am willing to do,” Reddick said. “How much I’m expected to play or how often I’m there, that I don’t know.”

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