LEADING OFF: Astros, Indians seek sweeps; HR-happy playoffs

A look at what’s happening all around the majors Sunday:



Jose Altuve and the Astros are at Fenway Park, trying to finish off a sweep of the Red Sox in the AL Division Series. Houston won the first two games by identical 8-2 scores, powered by the top of its lineup. George Springer, Alex Bregman, Altuve and Carlos Correa — the first four hitters — are a combined 12 of 32 (.375) with six home runs and 10 RBIs.

Brad Peacock starts for the Astros against Doug Fister. The Red Sox are aiming to avoid getting swept in the ALDS for the second straight year after losing to Cleveland last season.


Following a frightening injury Friday, Indians slugger Edwin Encarnacion is hoping to play again this postseason — and could even pinch hit in Game 3 of Cleveland’s ALDS against the Yankees.

Encarnacion was on crutches and wearing a boot on his sprained right ankle Saturday, but manager Terry Francona said the designated hitter hadn’t been ruled out of Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium. At the very least, it seems Encarnacion should remain on the roster with hopes of contributing in the AL Championship Series if Cleveland advances.

The Indians can ensure a second straight ALCS appearance by taking Game 3. They lead their best-of-five ALDS 2-0 and send right-hander Carlos Carrasco to the mound. New York tries to avoid elimination behind Masahiro Tanaka.


The Year of the Home Run is heating up even more in the postseason. The late-inning shots by Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper in Washington on Saturday boosted the total to a whopping 31 homers in just nine playoff games. Big leaguers launched a record 6,105 longballs in the regular season, breaking the mark of 5,963 hit in 2000. The Yankees, who led the majors with 241 home runs this year, have connected six times in three games so far.


The Cubs and Nationals take a break before resuming their NL Division Series in Chicago, tied at 1. Max Schezer, who was pushed back in the rotation because of an injured right hamstring, starts Game 3 for Washington on Monday vs. Jose Quintana, who went 7-3 for the World Series champions after being acquired from the White Sox during the All-Star break.


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