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Division Series Day 5: Late Inning Drama!

View of baseball infield from center field grass under bright stadium lights

Thanksgiving Monday in Canada was originally scheduled to feature a full slate of Division Series games, but the contest between the White Sox and Astros was postponed due to rain. This was a disappointing development given that the comments from White Sox pitcher Ryan Tepera following Sunday’s game were practically guaranteed to lead to fireworks.

However, the other three games offered plenty of dramatic moments to tide us over until the next meeting between the White Sox and Astros, including an elimination walkoff and nailbiting six-out save.

Braves 3, Brewers 0

Atlanta leads 2-1

W: Ian Anderson
L: Adrian Houser
S: Will Smith

This was the second Atlanta shutout of the series, giving them a 2-1 edge over Milwaukee. Anderson threw five scoreless innings before handing the ball over to the pen. Brewers reliever Houser was not so successful. In the 5th inning, Joc Pederson drilled Houser’s high fastball into the right field bleachers at Truist Park to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead. Milwaukee managed only five hits in another low-scoring affair between the Central and East division champions.

Red Sox 6, Rays 5

Red Sox win 3-1

W: Garrett Whitlock
L: J.P. Feyereisen

Boston scored five runs in the 3rd inning, but Tampa clawed back with runs in the 5th, 6th and 8th. After tying the game in the 8th with no outs, the Rays stranded Randy Arozarena at second base without gaining the lead.

Game 3 hero Christian Vázquez led off the Boston 9th with a single, moved to second base on a Christian Arroyo sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on Travis Shaw’s single. Postseason nightmare Kiké Hernández delivered a sacrifice fly to walk off the Rays once again and win the series. The Red Sox will now await the winner of the Chicago-Houston series in the American League Championship Series round.

This was a disappointing result for the #1 seeded Rays, who probably could have stood to loosen the purse strings for some additional starting pitching when they transferred Tyler Glasnow to the 60-day Injured List in June after he suffered a partial UCL tear. Glasnow ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery in August. Canadian MLB fans will await further updates on the team’s potential move to Montreal on either a full or part-time basis.

Giants 1, Dodgers 0

Giants lead 2-1

W: Tyler Rogers
L: Max Scherzer
S: Camilo Doval

The Dodgers’ 9-2 Game 2 victory has been the anomaly of this series so far, as both of the Giants victories have been shutouts. On Monday, four San Francisco pitchers combined to hold L.A. to just five hits. Scherzer allowed all three Giants hits in 7.0 innings, but one of those hits was Evan Longoria‘s 5th inning solo shot to center field.

With a tenuous lead heading into the late innings, San Francisco called on rookie closer Doval to face the 2-3-4 hitters of the Dodgers lineup in the 8th inning in a six-out save attempt. He retired the side in order and returned for the bottom of the 9th. After striking out AJ Pollock to record the second out, pinch-hitter Gavin Lux stepped in against Doval. Lux made solid contact with a 99.4 Doval fastball. While his drive had an exit velocity of 106.9 mph and an expected batting average of .890 according to Statcast, to my eye, the contact was a bit too close to the end of the bat to drive the ball out of the yard. The ball got caught in the wind, which allowed Steven Duggar to make the catch in center field to secure a Giants victory for a 2-1 series lead. As the San Francisco players exited the dugout to celebrate, a bewildered Lux looked on from beside first base.

The series between the Astros and White Sox will resume tomorrow afternoon at 2:07 PM, with two National League elimination games as a nightcap. Game 4 between Atlanta and Milwaukee will start at 5:15 PM. The Giants and Dodgers will finish off the evening at 9:07 PM ET.