The Yankees' championship hopes are alive and well, but the Cubs' plans for a repeat seem to be fading.Trailing the Astros by four runs in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, New York scored twice in the seventh inning and added four in the
The Yankees' championship hopes are alive and well, but the Cubs' plans for a repeat seem to be fading.
Trailing the Astros by four runs in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, New York scored twice in the seventh inning and added four in the eighth. Those two innings spurred a 6-4 victory on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium that evened the best-of-seven series against Houston at two games apiece.
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It was the first time the Yankees erased a four-run deficit to win a postseason home game since the "Aaron Boone Game," in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox, when Boone's 11th-inning walk-off home run ended a game New York had trailed, 4-0, in the fifth.
Tuesday's victory sets up a crucial Game 5 on Wednesday in the Bronx. In best-of-seven Championship Series tied at 2, the team that has captured Game 5 has taken the series 13 of 16 times.
The Cubs now face much steeper odds, as they will try to become only the second team in history to rally from a 3-0 series deficit, joining the Red Sox against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. Such a feat became necessary with Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World.
Los Angeles remained undefeated this postseason, setting a franchise record with its sixth straight playoff win, to surpass its previous mark of five, set between the 1959 and '63 postseasons. The franchise's previous best within one postseason was four, set in 1981.
Here are some other notable facts and figures from Tuesday's LCS action.
• NLCS Game 4: Tonight, 9 p.m. ET/8 CT/6 PT on TBS
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Dodgers bring lumber to Chicago
• Chris Taylor's go-ahead home run in the second inning traveled a projected 444 feet to center field, according to Statcast™, making it the longest home run hit by any player this postseason and the longest homer Taylor has hit since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Taylor became the first player to hit homers as both a shortstop and an outfielder in the same postseason.
• When Corey Seager had to be dropped from the Dodgers' NLCS roster with back pain, it was thought to be a serious blow to Los Angeles' chances. But so far the combination of Charlie Culberson and Taylor has assuaged those doubts, with the pair going 4-for-10 with four extra-base hits while manning shortstop in Seager's absence this series.
• Justin Turner, the Dodgers' Game 2 hero, finished 0-for-3 with two walks Tuesday to lower his career postseason batting average from .377 to .363. Still, that .363 mark ties for the fifth best of any player in history with at least 75 postseason plate appearances.
In reaching in two out of his five plate appearances, Turner's career on-base percentage in the postseason is now .474. That keeps Turner second behind Lou Gehrig (.483) for the highest career postseason OBP ever out of that same group of players with at least 75 plate appearances.
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• Beset by injuries in both of the past two years, Andre Ethier has homered a total of five times. But two of those have come in the playoffs, against the Cubs in the NLCS. The first came in 2016 and the second in Tuesday's second inning, when Ethier tied the game with a solo shot.
Darvish, Dodgers 'pen a formidable combo
• Dodgers starter Yu Darvish allowed three hits in the first inning -- including Kyle Schwarber's solo home run -- but settled down after that. The righty held the Cubs to one run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts. Going back to the regular season, Darvish is 4-0 with a 0.88 ERA over his past five outings.
• With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts elected to let Darvish hit for himself against Cubs reliever C.J. Edwards Edwards, improbably, walked Darvish on four pitches for just the seventh bases-loaded walk to a pitcher in postseason history. The last occurrence was when Dodgers pitcher Burt Hooton walked Phillies pitcher Larry Christenson in Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS.
From 1978 until Tuesday, pitchers had batted with the bases loaded 94 times in the postseason without a walk, going 12-for-90 (.133) with two extra-base hits, four sacrifice flies and 35 strikeouts.
• Through three games and 10 2/3 innings, the Dodgers bullpen has allowed just four baserunners and zero runs against the Cubs. The all-time record for fewest baserunners allowed by a team's bullpen in any series in which it pitched at least 10 innings is six, done four times.
• Closer Kenley Jansen came on with a pair of runners on second and third in the ninth inning, and proceeded to rack up three outs in quick order. Jansen has allowed one hit while striking out 18 hitters in 9 1/3 postseason innings against the Cubs, dating back to last year's NLCS.
Cubs on the brink
• The Cubs went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Tuesday, an ongoing trend for Chicago this postseason. The Cubs are hitless in 10 such situations in this series and 1-for-27 since Game 4 of the NLDS vs. Washington.
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• In surrendering home runs to Ethier and Taylor, Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks has given up four homers in his last two outings this postseason. In five starts (25 1/3 innings) during the 2016 postseason, he gave up only one homer. Hendricks had never allowed multiple homers in back-to-back starts at any point in his regular-season career.
• Hendricks gave up more runs by the third inning than he did across both of his NLCS starts against the Dodgers last season. The right-hander held L.A. to just one run through 12 2/3 innings in that series, but surrendered four runs (three earned) over five-plus frames Tuesday.
• With his homer off Darvish, Schwarber tied Anthony Rizzo for most career postseason home runs in franchise history (six). The homer to left-center field broke a tie with Kristopher Bryant and William Fowler. All five of Schwarber's previous postseason home runs came in 2015.
The Judge and Sanchez Show
• Aaron Judge got the Yankees on the board in a big way with an impressive solo home run to center field leading off the bottom of the seventh. Traveling a projected 427 feet by Statcast™, the 111.6-mph shot was the hardest-hit home run of this postseason and the seventh hardest-hit in the postseason since Statcast™ debuted in 2015.
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• Judge's RBI double off Astros closer Ken Giles in the eighth inning was the Yanks' first game-tying hit that late in a postseason game since Raul Ibanez's ninth-inning two-run homer off Detroit's Jose Valverde in Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS.
• Gary Sanchez followed up with a game-deciding two-run double off Giles to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead in the eighth. Struck with an exit velocity of 113.1 mph, Sanchez's double is the second-hardest base hit recorded by any player so far in the postseason, per Statcast™.
• The double was a huge breakthrough for Sanchez, who was stuck in an 0-for-18 slump -- the longest of his career thus far -- with nine strikeouts since his homer in Game 4 of the AL Division Series presented by Doosan against the Indians.
Gray, McCullers spin stellar frames
• New York's Sonny Gray entered ALCS Game 4 with 16 1/3 career postseason innings and zero runs of support over three starts (two with the A's and one in this year's ALDS). That streak was extended by five more innings on Tuesday night, extending his total to 21 1/3 frames without a run of support. Gray is the only active starting pitcher with more than 7 1/3 postseason innings pitched and zero runs of support (the Dodgers' Alex Wood has 7 1/3). The active pitcher with the second-lowest run support average (runs per nine innings) in the postseason with at least 18 innings pitched is Gray's teammate, Masahiro Tanaka (one run of support over 18 postseason innings).
• Lance McCullers gave the Astros everything they could have asked for on Tuesday, keeping the Yanks scoreless until Judge's leadoff homer in the seventh ended his night. It was McCullers' first time completing at least six innings since he went seven at Kansas City on June 8. Battling injuries and ineffectiveness down the stretch, he posted a 7.29 ERA in nine regular-season starts after that game.
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• McCullers joined Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan as the only Houston pitchers with at least two career postseason starts of at least six innings pitched and two or fewer hits allowed. McCullers allowed two runs on two hits over 6 1/3 innings in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS against the Royals.
• In the first 113 years of postseason play, only two games had seen both starting pitchers end up with no-decisions after recording at least five innings and allowing two or fewer hits. We've now seen this happen twice in the 2017 postseason, with the Cubs' Jose Quintana and Nationals' Max Scherzer in Game 3 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile and Gray and McCullers on Tuesday.
Yuli clears the bases
• Yuli Gurriel's three-run sixth-inning double, which broke a scoreless tie, was the third bases-loaded extra-base hit in Astros postseason history. Morgan Ensberg hit a two-run double in Game 3 of the 2004 NLDS against the Braves, and Lance Berkman hit a grand slam in Game 4 of the '05 NLDS, also against Atlanta.
• Prior to Gurriel's two-bagger, Houston was 1-for-12 with a walk and five strikeouts in bases-loaded plate appearances this postseason, including Carlos Correa's strikeout right before Gurriel delivered.
• Gurriel's double had an exit velocity of 107.6 mph, according to Statcast™. That made it Gurriel's hardest-hit ball of the postseason. It was also Gurriel's 217th hard-hit ball in 2017 -- with Statcast™ defining "hard-hit" contact as exceeding a 95-mph exit velocity -- tying him for the fourth most of any hitter in baseball.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.