17hDavid Schoenfield

Monday's Top 5: A day of big bats

Oh, just another day with four playoff games, hours upon hours of hours of baseball excitement, and plenty of offense.

Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images

Padilla: Royals shock Astros to force a Game 5

Facing a four-run deficit with six outs left in their season, the Royals rallied for five runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth to stun the Astros with a 9-6 win in Game 4 to stave off elimination.

USA TODAY Sports, Getty Images

Caple: Blue Jays hold nothing back to return to Toronto

With their backs against the wall, the Blue Jays came out swinging in their 8-4 Game 4 win against the Rangers. But by pulling R.A. Dickey early for ace David Price, did they handicap their chances of winning Game 5?

1dBuster Olney

MLB sends message with Utley suspension

MLB's suspension of Chase Utley is a message that it wants to get rid of plays in which baserunners go out of their way to crash into fielders.

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

California bans tobacco in stadiums under new law

California lawmakers have taken the first step toward accomplishing something Major League Baseball could never do on its own: Stop players from using smokeless tobacco.


Utley's appeal hearing set for Oct. 19

Chase Utley's appeal of his two-game suspension is officially scheduled to be heard on Oct. 19. He'll be active for the remainder of the NLDS. "We argued for a hearing date (Tuesday) or (Wednesday). The union wanted longer time to get ready and [hearing officer] John [McHale] decided that he would give them until Monday in order to get ready," commissioner Rob Manfred told USA Today.

Gregory Bull / AP

Cubs bullpen coming through

After replacing Jason Hammel in the fourth, Justin Grimm struck out the side. Then Travis Wood took over in the fifth and retired the first two hitters he saw before getting Matt Holliday to fly out to preserve the 4-2 lead. Follow live


Doug Padilla ESPN Staff Writer 

The Royals' Eric Hosmer send out condolences to the KC Fire Department and to the families and friends of the two firefighters killed while fighting a blaze Monday night. Hosmer's father was a firefighter for 29 years in the Miami area. "I was fortunate to never have a phone call from the fire department saying something crazy happened, so I can only imagine what the families are going through," Hosmer said.

keithlaw @keithlaw

Had a moment there where I saw the back of the uniform and thought "Kerry Wood is pitching?"

Salvador Perez likely will start Game 5

The Royals catcher left Monday's game early after taking a foul ball to the mask and later was hit by a pitch in his left side. He passed concussion tests after the game.


Harvey unavailable for rest of NLDS

Mets manager Terry Collins said Matt Harvey won't be available out of the bullpen if there is a Game 5, but should be available for multiple starts if they make the NLCS. Harvey pitched 5 innings, getting the win, in Game 3 in his only NLDS appearance.

Eddie Matz ESPN Senior Writer 

Adam Wainwright retires the side 1-2-3 in the 4th. If you're wondering how long Wainwright can go, here's what he said after throwing 1.2 innings in game 2: "I’m cleared for 2 or 3 innings now. That number could change as we go further into playoffs, so we’ll wait and see how my role evolves...I feel great. I could certainly have gone three tonight no problem."

Lackey done after three innings

The Cardinals used Tommy Phan as a pinch hitter for John Lackey in the 4th inning. Lackey finishes the game allowing 4 runs to the Cubs and striking out 5 over 3 innings, down 4-2. Adam Wainwright is now in for his third appearance in this series. Follow live


Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs

What an inning for Grimm. Strikes out the side after a walk by Hammel and error by Bryant. 4-2 Bot 4

Jayson Stark Senior Writer, ESPN.com 

Great note from the Elias Sports Bureau. That Javier Baez HR was the first postseason HR allowed by John Lackey in 8 years & 74 2/3 IP. Longest postseason streak by a starter since Whitey Forc's 82 1/3-IP streak from 1956-62!

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Joe Maddon pulled Jason Hammel after a leadoff walk in the 3rd while leading 4-2. Least surprised might be Hammel. Maddon has done this to him several times in the 2nd half w early hooks.

Cubs give Hammel early hook

Cubs starter Jason Hammel is out of the game in the 4th inning after allowing a leadoff walk to Jhonny Peralta. Justin Grimm is now in, looking to preserve Chicago's 4-2 lead over St. Louis. Follow live

Baez breaks up Lackey's streak

Prior to allowing a HR to Javier Baez, John Lackey had not allowed a homer in his last 74 2/3 postseason innings. It's the longest homerless streak in postseason play by a pitcher who was primarily a starter since Whitey Ford (82 1/3) from 1956 to 1962. (via Elias)


Youth bringing big bats for Cubs

With Javier Baez's dinger, Chicago is the first team in postseason history to have four different players, age 23 or younger, homer in a single postseason.


Mark Saxon ESPN Staff Writer 

J.P. Howell said the dodgers aren't thinking about anything but the first pitch and getting the series back to L.A.


Jerry Crasnick ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer 

Astros manager A.J. Hinch played it coy today when asked if staff ace Dallas Keuchel could pitch in relief in Game 5 of the ALDS. "I'm going to have all hands on deck," Hinch said. "We know it's a win-or-go-home game. Whether or not Keuchel is available or what the plan is, we'll have to tune in tomorrow night to find out.'' Keuchel threw 124 pitches in a 4-2 win over the Royals Sunday.

Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs

Starting SS can't start cause of an injury and back-up hits a 3 run shot in first AB of the day. Depth upon depth here

Cubs storm into lead in second inning

After allowing two runs in the first, Jason Hammel helped himself out with an RBI single. Then Javier Baez put Chicago in the lead with a three-run homer -- his first postseason HR. The Cubs lead 4-2. Follow live

Piscotty makes early splash for Cards

Stephen Piscotty became the first Cardinal with three HRs in his first four postseason games and soaked some Cubs fans in the process. St. Louis leads 2-0 in the second inning. Follow live