Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Mets' Murphy wins MVP after HR binge

CHICAGO — This postseason has its own take on Murphy's Law: If something can go right for Daniel Murphy, it will.

Often, over the outfield fence.

Murphy won NL Championship Series MVP on Wednesday night after homering for a postseason-record sixth straight game, leading the Mets over the Cubs 8-3 to complete a four-game sweep.

A contact hitter known for inconsistent fielding and occasional lapses on base, Murphy has been the driving force in the Mets' push for their first pennant 15 years.

Murphy set the record with his eighth-inning blast. He added a double and two singles and has hit safely in each of the Mets' nine postseason games.

He'd homered in back-to-back games just once in his six-year career.

Murphy, who played for his hometown Jacksonville University before being drafted in the 13th round by the Mets in 2006, went 9-for-17 with four homers and six RBIs in the NLCS after homering 14 times during the season. In nine playoff games, he has seven homers and is 13-for-38 with eight RBIs.

He has also played sharp defense at second and made all the right moves on the bases.

HEADED HOME: If the Royals are going to clinch a trip to their second straight World Series, it'll happen in front of their home fans.

Kansas City couldn't get anything going against Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrada in a 7-1 loss Wednesday, but they remain confident heading into Game 6 of the AL Championship Series. "We're excited to go home," Royals LHP Danny Duffy said. "We wish we could have got it done (Wednesday) but we didn't."

1B Eric Hosmer echoed Duffy's upbeat vibes. "Nothing but positivity," Hosmer said. "We've got a 3-2 lead and we're heading back to Kansas City. That's where we play our best baseball, so everyone is still feeling pretty good."

T.C. TO T.C.: Mets manager Terry Collins has been getting encouragement from a New York coach who knows a thing or two about winning. The Giants' Tom Coughlin has texted him several times during this run. "I'm extremely impressed he would take the time," Collins said. "He's got a lot going on his plate right now to take the time. But he called me when we won the division, congratulating me."

CESPEDES HURT: Mets CF Yoenis Cespedes left Game 4 of the NLCS in the second inning with left shoulder soreness. There was no word on the severity.

BAD BLOOD: Rangers LHP Derek Holland called Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista a "tired act" when asked about Bautista's dramatic bat flip during the ALDS. "He's the most animated player I've ever seen. After watching him in the outfield cry about every single thing, it's unbelievable," Holland said in a radio interview. "You hit a home run? Yeah, you can pimp it. That's fine. But the way he did it, I just think that one — that's a bit much." Holland, the losing pitcher in Game 4 of the ALDS, also said "I actually respected the guy" before seeing him up close.

MARTIN SITS: The Jays didn't have C Russell Martin in the starting lineup, instead turning to former Rays All-Star Dioner Navarro because he has worked well with Estrada. The pair teamed up in 20 of Estrada's 28 starts.

AROUND THE MAJORS: The Mariners hired Andy McKay as director of player development overseeing their farm system. McKay had served as peak performance coordinator for the Rockies' minor-league system since September 2012.

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