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Friday, October 20, 2017

Baseball

Kike Hernandez ties record with three home runs in Game 5

Kike Hernandez homer

Kike Hernandez was already having a special game during Game 5 of the NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, and that was before he hit his third home run of the game.

The Dodgers outfielder belted three home runs in Game 5 against the Cubs, tying an MLB record with 7 RBIs and setting a Dodgers playoff record with the three dingers in the game. The 7 RBIs also tied a Dodgers postseason record.

Hernandez hit a solo shot in the second off Jose Quintana, a grand slam off Hector Rondon in the third, and then he hit a 2-run home run in the 9th against Mike Montgomery.

The last home run made it 11-1 for the Dodgers and went a long way towards sending the franchise to its first World Series since 1988.

To put the monster game in context, Hernandez entered the game with 28 career regular season home runs, and no postseason homers.

Kike Hernandez blows Game 5 open with grand slam (Video)

Kike Hernandez

Kike Hernandez’s first two at-bats in Game 5 of the NLCS really couldn’t have gone much better.

Hernandez smacked a solo home run in his first at-bat off Jose Quintana to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead over the Chicago Cubs. An inning later, he blasted a grand slam to put the Dodgers up 7-0. The second home run came off Hector Rondon, who came in to relieve Quintana.

The power surge was unexpected from the 26-year-old. He was 2-for-8 in the postseason entering the game before busting out. That’s not bad power production from your No. 6 hitter.

Tigers to hire Ron Gardenhire as manager

Ron Gardenhire

The Detroit Tigers are planning to hire Ron Gardenhire as their next manager, according to a report.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says the Tigers will hire Gardenhire after finalizing a contract with him. The team began with around 50 names on their list and conducted multiple interviews.

One reason they chose Gardenhire is because GM Al Avila reportedly wanted a manager with MLB experience. Gardenhire certainly has plenty of that. He was the Minnesota Twins’ manager from 2002-2014, posting a .507 winning percentage and reaching the playoffs six times, though his teams only won one postseason series.

The 59-year-old served as bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. He was also a candidate for the Red Sox job, but Boston appears to be going with Alex Cora.

Report: Red Sox to name Alex Cora manager after ALCS

The Boston Red Sox have reportedly worked quickly to decide on a new manager, and it is believed that they are simply waiting for the ALCS to end to officially announce the move.

A source told Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston that there is “not a doubt” the Red Sox are planning to offer their managerial job to Alex Cora. With the Houston Astros and New York Yankees currently battling it out in an exciting ALCS, the belief is that Boston will announce the hiring after the series ends, which will be no later than Saturday. Cora currently works as a bench coach for Houston.

On Thursday, a Puerto Rican news outlet had a similar report to Drellich’s, but the tweet ended up being deleted.

Cora has no previous managerial experience, but there are numerous teams who are reportedly interested in him in that capacity this offseason. The 41-year-old is said to have gotten a strong recommendation from Astros manager A.J. Hinch.

Joe Maddon nearly came running out in jock strap over Curtis Granderson call

Joe Maddon ejection

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected from Game 4 of the NLCS Wednesday night after a third strike call was overturned and allowed Curtis Granderson to see another pitch. And had the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder belted a home run after umpires allowed his at-bat to continue, the scene would have been a lot uglier.

Fortunately for the Cubs, Granderson struck out anyway after the umpiring crew determined that he foul tipped a 2-2 pitch rather than missing it. Maddon says he would have come sprinting out of the clubhouse if the result was different.

That’s a site nobody wants to see, so we’re all glad Granderson swung and missed on the next pitch.

The Cubs eventually came away with a 3-2 win to avoid being swept. Maddon has been in a particularly sour mood throughout the series, as he was also ejected in Game 1 after going ballistic over a call involving the Posey Rule.

Javy Baez hits two home runs, one while blowing bubble

Javy Baez broke out of his postseason slump in the biggest way possible.

Baez entered Wednesday’s Game 4 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers 0-for-20 in the postseason. The Chicago Cubs kept faith in their slick-fielding second baseman and left him in the lineup. The decision paid off.

Baez smacked two home runs and drove in two of his team’s three runs in a 3-2 win over the Dodgers to extend the series to a fifth game.

One amusing detail that must not be overlooked is that Baez hit one of his homers while blowing a bubble with his chewing gum:

“I was struggling a lot this series and the series before. I just said let it go, don’t try too hard, and that’s what happened,” Baez said after the game in an interview with TBS.

Not to be overlooked is Jake Arrieta, who allowed just one run over 6.2 innings to pick up the win.

Clayton Kershaw and Jose Quintana are expected to square off in Game 5 with the Cubs again facing elimination.

Joe Maddon loses his mind after umpires overturn strikeout

Joe Maddon ejection

Joe Maddon was ejected from Game 4 of the NLCS Wednesday after a strikeout was overturned by the umpires.

Curtis Granderson was up with a runner on first and one out in the top of the eighth and his Los Angeles Dodgers trailing the Chicago Cubs 3-2.

Granderson swung at a 2-2 breaking ball that bounced in the dirt and was caught by Willson Contreras. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf initially said Granderson had struck out to make it two outs in the inning. But Granderson would not go quietly and kept insisting that he fouled off the pitch.

Replays seemed to show he missed the pitch, but manager Dave Roberts came out to fight on Granderson’s behalf anyhow.

Wolf ended up asking the rest of his crew for help, and third base umpire Joe Cooper reportedly said Granderson had tipped the ball. After conferring with his crew, Wolf declared it a foul tip, which brought Granderson back up with a 2-2 count.

Maddon was furious over the call and came roaring out of the dugout. He lost his mind, got his money’s worth arguing with the umpires and was eventually ejected.

Granderson returned to finish his at-bat and whiffed on the next pitch to officially strikeout. Wade Davis stayed in the game for the Cubs and eventually escaped the inning without allowing a run to keep it at a 3-2 score.

The incident marked Maddon’s second ejection of the series, as he was tossed in Game 1 for arguing a Buster Posey ruling.

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