Justin Verlander returned to Oakland and no-hit the A's for 6 2/3 innings Thursday, and though Oakland broke up the no-no, it couldn't snap his shutout streak as the righty helped send the Tigers through to the ALCS with eight shutout innings in a 3-0 win in Game 5 of the ALDS.
With the support of another elimination-game home run from David Freese and stingy defense behind him, Adam Wainwright went the distance and pitched the Cardinals to a 6-1 win over a Pirates team that had pestered them all season. It was the third victory the Cardinals needed to move out of the NL Division Series and on to a NL Championship Series showdown with the Dodgers.
Juan Uribe became part of franchise lore Monday night with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Dodgers clinched the best-of-five National League Division Series with a stirring 4-3 comeback win over the Braves.
Mike Matheny makes a persistent effort to deflect attention from himself. This effort is frequently successful. But the success of his team, the St. Louis Cardinals, is going to make that an increasingly difficult task.
For the Red Sox, having one of baseball's best rotations is just one part of the story. Yeah, look closely at these Red Sox. Raise the hood and poke around. Slide underneath and check out the various moving parts. This is as close to a perfect baseball team as there is on earth right now.
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