By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, watching my 170th baseball game this season when Nadine walked by, plucked a Bai out of the refrigerator and said, “I’ll be glad when this is all over.”
It is far from over. Four teams remain in the post-season and when two are eliminated there is the World Series to follow.
—The National League Championship Series is tied, two games apiece, after the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers, in spite of themselves, in 13 innings, 2-1. The Boston Red Sox have a two games to one lead in the American League Championship Series after ripping the Houston Astros, 8-2.
LOS ANGELES 2, Milwaukee 1 (13 innings)
—The Dodgers were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners heading into the 13th inning. And they had set a post-season record by striking out 17 times.
But Manny Machado singled with one out in the 13th, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Cody Bellinger’s sharp two-out single to right field, ending a game that lasted 5 hours and 15 minutes.
—The unfortunate victim was Milwaukee pitcher Junior Guerra, who had pitched three perfect innings in relief heading into the 13th. Both teams used all their bench players and the Dodgers were down to their last relief pitcher, 22-year-old Julio Urias, who was awarded the win with a scoreless 13th.
—The Brewers were as helpless as the Dodgers on offense — 15 strikeouts, 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and 10 runners stranded.
—When the Brewers-Dodgers were tied, 1-1, both teams put their leadoff man on base in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. And neither scored.
—Left hander Rich Hill, 39, started for the Dodgers and what a ride he has taken. He was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1999 but didn’t sign. He signed with the Chicago Cubs and has pitched for 10 different teams. Just call him Mr. Free Agent. He was signed as a free agent 12 times.
—Gio Gonzalez started for Milwaukee and was knocked out of the game. Literally. He tried to field a ball that glanced off his glove in the second inning and twisted his ankle when he landed. He threw one pitch after that and limped off the field.
But getting into the Milwaukee bullpen is not a fun thing to do. Freddy Peralta, a 22-year-old rookie, pitched three hitless and struck out six. He was followed by Corbin Burnes and two hitless innings with three strikeouts. He was followed by Joakim Soria and one scoreless inning with one hit. And he was followed by Josh Hader, who gave up two hits in the eighth but struck out pinch-hitter Matt Kemp to prevent any runs.
He pitched five innings and gave up one run and three hits with three walks and six strikeouts. When manager Dave Roberts took him out he destroyed a box of candy and gum sitting harmlessly on the dugout bench. It drew ‘Snickers’ from his teammates.
—Cody Bellinger played only 12 innings in right field all season, but was put out there in mid-game. And it was fortuitous for the Dodgers. Lorenzo Cain led the 10th inning with a drive to right and Bellinger sprinted toward right center and made a sliding, diving catch, the defensive play of the series so far.
—There was some near extra-curriculars in the bottom of the 10th. LA’s Manny Machado grounded out to short and when he crossed the bag he kicked the leg of first baseman Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar took umbrage and some words were exchanged and the two teams gathered on the field for further discussion, but not pushing or shoving.
Machado, an immense talent, is earning a reputation as a flash point for controversy. He made two rough slides into second base in Game 3 Monday and was called on one of them for an illegal slide.
BOSTON 8, HOUSTON 2
—Houston manager A.J. Hinch brought in closer Roberto Osuna in the eighth inning, trying to keep the game close at 3-2. It end up with, “Houston, we have a problem.”
With two outs and two on, Osuna hit pinch-hitter Brock Holt with a pitch, loading the bases. Amazingly, he then hit pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland with a pitch, forcing in a run.
Then a disaster of historic baseball proportions. Jackie Bradley Jr. crushed a grand slam home run. The Red Sox had hit 10 grand slams this year, the same as the Cincinnati Reds. Bradley did not hit one during the season. That was on Osuna’s 27th pitch of the inning, and his last.
—Boston starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is from Alvin, Tex., just 30- miles from Houston and the home of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
And Ryan was sitting behind home plate, watching Eovaldi pitch six innings and give up two runs and six hits.
—The score was 2-2 in the sixth when Wright State University’s Joe Smith replaced Houston starter Dallas Keuchel. With one out, Smith gave up a go ahead home run to Steve Pearce, a blast that landed on top of the railroad viaduct above the Crawford Boxes.
Smith, a side-arming right hander, is in his 11th season and signed a two-year $15 million deal with the Astros. Smith has pitched for the New York Mets, Cleveland, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago Cubs, Toronto, Cleveland again and Houston.
—The defensive play of the game came early when Boston had two on and two outs. Steve Pearce hit a high and deep drive to left. Tony Kemp drifted to the wall, timed his leap perfectly and snagged the ball, saving two runs. But he couldn’t snag the home run Pearce hit off Smith.
—Houston’s streak of hitting at least one home run in 14 straight post-season games (29 total) came to an end Tuesday.