There were more than a few raised eyebrows when Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona elected to start Trevor Bauer over Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber in Game 1 of their AL Division Series against the New York Yankees. Francona's strategy worked on Thursday as Bauer led the Indians to a 4-0 shutout of the Yanks.
Bauer was outstanding over 6 2/3 innings, holding New York to a pair of hits and one walk while striking out eight. He had a no-hitter until Aaron Hicks lined a one-out double in the sixth.
Bauer was lifted right after Starlin Castro singled in the seventh.
Jay Bruce sparked Cleveland's offense, scoring the first run on a double-play grounder and slamming a two-run homer. He added a sacrifice fly that put the Indians ahead 4-0 in the fifth.
Yankees starter and loser Sonny Gray was pulled after 3 ½ innings, charged with three runs on three hits and four walks.
The series remains in Cleveland for Game 2 on Friday.
In Houston, the American League's reigning batting champion showcased his power in leading the Astros to a rout of the Red Sox in Game 1 of their division series.
Jose Altuve banged out three solo shots to support Justin Verlander as Houston rolled to an 8-2 win over Boston at Minute Maid Park. The 5-foot-6 Altuve went deep twice against Red Sox starter Chris Sale and became the ninth player in postseason history to homer three times in a game when he sent an Austin Maddox pitch over the wall in the seventh inning.
Altuve is the first player to homer three times in a postseason game since Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval against the Tigers in the 2012 World Series. Babe Ruth did it twice.
Verlander picked up the win and remains unbeaten since the Astros acquired him from Detroit on Aug. 31. The right-hander was reached for two runs and six hits over six innings after going 6-0 with a 1.06 ERA for Houston in September.
Marwin Gonzalez broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run double in the fourth inning. Alex Bregman hit a solo homer and Brian McCann added a two-run single.
Most of the damage came against Sale, who gave up three homers and was tagged for seven runs and nine hits over five-plus innings.
Game 2 is Friday in Houston.
Friday, October 6
ALDS Gm 2
Pomeranz (17-6) at Keuchel (14-5)
ALDS Gm 2
Sabathia (14-5) at Kluber (18-4)
NLDS Gm 1
Hendricks (7-5) at Strasburg (15-4)
NLDS Gm 1
Walker (9-9) at Kershaw (18-4)
Red Sox designated hitter Eduardo Nunez will miss the rest of the AL Division Series against Houston series after reinjuring his right knee in the first inning of Thursday's loss to the Astros.
Nunez missed 19 of the Red Sox's last 20 regular-season games with a knee injury and was wearing a heavy brace when he pulled up running to first base on a groundout. Nunez had to be carried off the field.
MLB has allowed the Red Sox to replace Nunez with outfielder Chris Young on the series roster.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Taijuan Wagner has been named the Diamondbacks' starting pitcher for Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Dodgers. Walker went 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 starts during his first season with Arizona.
— Diamondbacks coach Ariel Prieto says it was a mistake for him to wear an Apple Watch in the dugout during Wednesday's NL wild-card game against Colorado. Prieto told reporters that he didn't use the watch for any illicit purpose and that it was on "airplane mode" during the game.
— Mets third baseman David Wright has undergone back surgery, one month after undergoing a procedure to repair his right rotator cuff. Wright is trying to revive his career after a 1 ½-year layoff due to back and shoulder issues.
It was a good night for quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, but a miserable evening for Tampa Bay kicker Nick Folk.
Brady passed for 303 yards and a touchdown as the Pats pulled out a 19-14 win over the Buccaneers. The defending Super Bowl champs bounced back from a last-second loss to Carolina despite Brady's first interception in eight regular-season games. He also fumbled on one of the Bucs' three sacks, but neither turnover led to Tampa Bay points.
The Patriots surrendered 409 total yards but just two scores after entering the game with the NFL's worst defense.
Folk missed three field goals, including a 31-yarder that would have cut a nine-point deficit to six in the closing minutes. He missed two field goals and an extra-point before beating the Giants on a last-second kick last weekend.
Jameis Winston rallied Tampa Bay with an 18-yard TD pass to Cameron Brate, trimming New England's lead to 16-14 with 2:09 remaining. Stephen Gostkowski capped the scoring with one of his four field goals before Winston threw an incompletion from the New England 19 on the game's final play.
Bills @ Bengals Sunday 1 PM
Jets @ Browns Sunday 1 PM
Giants vs. Chargers Sunday 1 PM
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has returned to the practice field just four days after breaking a bone in his back.
Carr took snaps and threw a few light passes during Thursday's open period of practice.
E.J. Manuel is expected to start Sunday for the Raiders against Baltimore in a matchup of 2-2 teams.
In other NFL news:
— Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford has rejoined the team for practice for the first time in two weeks, raising the possibility of him coming back as the starter for the upcoming game at Chicago. He has been kept out of the past three games because of a sore left knee.
— Minnesota has placed rookie Dalvin Cook on injured reserve with a torn ACL in his left knee and signed fellow running back Stevan Ridley. Cook already had 444 total yards and two touchdowns in a little more than three games before getting hurt last Sunday against Detroit. Ridley was in training camp with Denver this year, but the Broncos released him during the final cuts before the regular season.
— New York Jets running back Matt Forte remains sidelined with turf toe and a knee ailment, and could miss his second straight game. Coach Todd Bowles says it would be unlikely Forte will play at Cleveland on Sunday if he doesn't participate in practice on Friday.
— Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has apologized for sexist comments he made to a female reporter, saying he understands that his word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful. The apology came a day after a female reporter from the Charlotte Observer asked him about the route running of receiver Devin Funchess. Newton laughed following the question and said, "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes. It's funny."
— Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee missed a second consecutive practice Thursday, raising questions about his availability Sunday at Pittsburgh. Lee injured ribs on the right side of his body when Jets linebacker Demario Davis tackled him in the fourth quarter last Sunday.
— The Chargers have re-signed kicker Nick Novak, waiving rookie Younghoe Koo after just four games. Novak is a 13-year NFL veteran who has kicked for eight franchises, including the Chargers from 2011-14.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-NC STATE/LOUISVILLE
The North Carolina State Wolfpack now have two victories against top-25 ACC opponents this season.
Nyheim Hines ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns as the 24th-rated Wolfpack downed No. 17 Louisville, 39-25. Ryan Finley factored in N.C. State's 520 yards of offense, throwing for 367 and hitting Kelvin Harmon for a 48-yard TD.
Lamar Jackson's second scoring run pulled the Cardinals within 32-25 with 4:10 left. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner got the ball back with a chance to tie it, but linebacker Germaine Pratt picked up a deflected pass and returned it 25 yards for a clinching score with 2:52 to play.
The defending Stanley Cup champions suffered their most lopsided loss in over a quarter-century on Thursday.
Brandon Saad registered a hat trick in his return to Chicago and Ryan Hartman chipped in a goal and four assists as the Blackhawks crushed the Penguins, 10-1. Nick Schmaltz added two goals and an assist to the rout, while teammate Patrick Kane provided a goal and three assists in the Hawks' highest scoring game since a 10-1 pounding of Winnipeg in October 1988.
It was the Pens' biggest loss since an 11-1 setback to Montreal in February 1990.
Also in the NHL:
— Alex Ovechkin registered a hat trick in a 6 ½-minute span of the third period before Evgeny Kuznetsov notched the shootout winner in the Capitals' 5-4 win over the Senators. Mark Stone scored twice for the Senators and Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists.
— The Canadiens rallied twice before Jonathan Drouin scored the lone shootout goal to complete Montreal's 3-2 win over Buffalo. Max Pacioretty and Phillip Danault had game-tying goals for the Habs following tallies by Jason Pominville.
— In their first regular-season game at Little Caesars Arena, the Red Wings blew a 2-0 lead in the third period before Henrik Zettterberg and Martin Frk scored 3 ½ minutes apart to push Detroit past the Wild, 4-2. Anthony Mantha had a goal and two assists for the Wings.
— Mika Zibanejad scored twice for the Blueshirts, but Semyon Varlamov stopped 37 shots as the Colorado Avalanche earned a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Tyson Barrie provided the tiebreaking goal late in the second period.
— Third-period goals by Andrew Cogliano and Rickard Rakell completed the Ducks' comeback from a 4-1 deficit in a 5-4 triumph over the Coyotes. Corey Perry had two goals and an assist for Anaheim, which trailed by three until Perry and Ondrej Kase tallied 31 seconds apart late in the second period.
— The Kings were 2-0 winners over the Flyers as Jonathan Quick handled 35 shots in his first season-opening shutout. Trevor Lewis and Tyler Toffoli scored for Los Angeles.
— Jake DeBrusk had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut as the Bruins beat the Nashville Predators, 4-3. Boston's Charlie McAvoy added a goal and assist in his first regular-season appearance.
The Carolina Hurricanes' didn't have a captain last season. Now they have two — forward Jordan Staal and defenseman Justin Faulk.
Coach Bill Peters says Staal will begin the season as the captain at home while Faulk will fill that role on the road before the two switch at midseason. The player not serving as captain during a particular game will join forward Jeff Skinner as an alternate captain.
The Hurricanes haven't had a captain since Eric Staal was traded in February 2016.
The Raptors have signed guard Norman Powell to a four-year extension that begins next season and is reportedly worth $42 million.
The 24-year-old Powell averaged 8.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 76 games last season. The former UCLA player was taken in the second round of the 2015 draft and averaged 5.6 points in 49 games as a rookie.
Checking out other NBA news:
— Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum (bah-TOOM') will miss at least six to eight weeks with a left elbow injury. The team announced that an MRI on Thursday revealed the nine-year NBA veteran tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his non-dominant arm in the first quarter of Charlotte's preseason game against the Pistons on Wednesday.
— Joel Embiid participated in a full practice with the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time Thursday. It was his first full practice since having surgery March 24 for a meniscus tear in his left knee. The Sixers are hopeful Embiid will be in the lineup on opening night.
Brendan Steele has opened his Safeway Open title defense with a 7-under 65 for a share of the lead with Tyler Duncan and Tom Hoge.
Steele's round included an eagle, six birdies and a bogey, one year after he birdied the final three holes to erase a four-shot deficit and beat Patton Kizzire to take the tournament.
Lucas Glover, Chez Reavie, Emiliano Grillo and Jamie Lovemark were two shots back at 67 in the PGA Tour's season opener.
SOCCER-WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
Defending champion Germany and England have clinched spots in next year's World Cup by winning their qualifying matches on Thursday.
The Germans are 9-0 in qualifying after getting goals from Sebastien Rudy, Sandro Wagner and Josh Kimmich in a 3-1 victory over Northern Ireland.
England was a 1-0 winner over Slovenia behind Harry Kane's goal in stoppage time.