LEADING OFF: Astros try to clinch trip to World Series

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

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BACK ON THE HILL

Astros rookie Luis García will start against the Red Sox in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series with a trip to the World Series on the line.

García started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee. Manager Dusty Baker announced Thursday that García would get the ball for Game 6, saying the Astros are confident the problem is behind García and he’ll be 100% healthy for Friday’s start.

Houston leads the series 3-2.

Nathan Eovaldi will start for Boston. He came through on Saturday in Game 2, pitching 5 1/3 innings for the win, but he faltered out of the bullpen in Game 4 on Tuesday and allowed four runs while retiring just two batters.

“I don’t think there’s any limitations,” he said. “My arm feels good, and mentally I’m going to be ready and prepared for this game.”

PRODUCING PUJOLS

Albert Pujols is doing his part to extend the season for the Dodgers.

The 41-year-old slugger had two hits and scored two runs as Los Angeles, boosted by Chris Taylor’s three home runs, routed Atlanta 11-2 Thursday night, cutting the Braves’ lead in the NL Championship Series to 3-2.

Signed by the Dodgers in mid-May after being released by the Angels, Pujols is 5 for 15 in eight games this postseason. In 9 1/2 seasons with the Angels, Pujols had a total of two hits in three playoff games.

Pujols is a two-time World Series champion with St. Louis and a career .323 hitter in 85 postseason games.

“I don’t take anything for granted. I take my at-bats. I take my game like it’s my last game of my career,” Pujols said.

Game 6 will be Saturday in Atlanta.

POWER DOWN

Boston’s bats have gone ice cold after a blistering couple of games in the ALCS. The Red Sox tallied 21 runs on 22 hits over Games 2 and 3, including seven homers.

They added two more runs in the first inning of Game 4, then seemingly hit a wall, scoring one run on seven hits in 17 innings since.

Kiké Hernández, who had 18 hits in his first eight games this postseason, has dropped into a 1-for-10 slide, and Kyle Schwarber is 1 for 12 over the past three games.

HIP-HIP, JORGE

Jorge Soler is back in the fold trying to help the Braves chase a World Series title after missing time following a positive COVID-19 test.

Soler struck out as a pinch-hitter Thursday night as the Braves lost to the Dodgers 11-2 in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series.

Atlanta leads the matchup 3-2.

Soler, who is vaccinated, was pulled from the lineup for Game 4 of the NL Division Series against Milwaukee last week. The Braves beat the Brewers 5-4 to clinch the best-of-five playoff and advanced to the NLCS.

Soler hit a combined .223 with 27 homers and 70 RBIs with Kansas City and the Braves during the regular season.

“That’s a great weapon off the bench,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s been working out on his own, so I think he’s good to go.”

SORRY SKIP

Yankees manager Aaron Boone lost a fourth member of his staff when New York announced Thursday that first base coach and outfield instructor Reggie Willits will leave at the end of the year to become a volunteer assistant for Oklahoma’s college baseball program.

A native of Chickasha, Oklahoma, Willits played for Oklahoma in 2002-03 and coached Binger-Oney High School to Oklahoma state championships in 2013-14.

A former major leaguer, Willits had been with the Yankees for seven years, the last four as first base coach and outfield instructor.

Following the Yankees’ loss to Boston in the AL wild-card game, the team fired third base coach Phil Nevin, hitting coach Marcus Thames and assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere.

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