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Nick Pivetta heroic in relief, Christian Vazquez walks it off in 6-4 win over Rays

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Nick Pivetta heroic in relief, Christian Vazquez walks it off in 6-4 win over Rays

It’ll go down as one of the luckiest breaks in postseason history, and the Red Sox weren’t going to waste it.

Tied 1-1 in the American League Division series and 4-4 in Game 3, the Rays appeared to take a lead in the top of the 13th inning, when Kevin Kiermaier hit a shot to the right-field wall that would’ve scored Yandy Diaz easily, but the ball bounced off the wall, ricocheted off Hunter Renfroe’s leg and hopped over the wall as a ground-rule double, by MLB rule, keeping Diaz at third base.

Extra-innings hero Nick Pivetta escaped the jam to keep the game tied, then the Red Sox took advantage in the bottom of the inning.

Renfroe drew a one-out walk and then Christian Vazquez, who didn’t even start the game, mashed a two-run homer off Luis Patino over the Green Monster to walk it off with a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Afterwards, manager Alex Cora said the star of the game was Pivetta, who threw 67 pitches on three days’ rest to get the win.

“We were all in, and they know it,” Cora said. “We texted all the starters yesterday, and we put spikes on, and they understand what that is. We might do it differently than other teams, but when you get to that stage, you take it day by day.

“Nick understands that, and he did an amazing job in Tampa. Today he was amazing. Very, very similar to Nate (Eovaldi) in Game 3 of the World Series a few years ago. He was locked in, good fastball, good breaking ball, with traffic, with no traffic, very emotional. These people, wow, that was better than Tuesday, to be honest with you. That was fun.”

The win put the Red Sox ahead, 2-1, in the ALDS with a chance to win the series in Fenway Park at 7:07 p.m. Monday night.

Vazquez’s two-run shot in essence negated the run that Diaz would’ve scored in the top of the 13th, since the Sox would’ve won the game regardless, though the loss of momentum certainly has to be taken into account.

“Christian, he works so hard on his craft,” Cora said. “He cares so much about this organization that for him to be in that spot and put a good swing and hit the ball out of the ballpark, I know it means a lot to him. It means a lot to us. It was a big swing, but we’re up 2-1. We’ve still got work to do.

“We’re in a great spot, but that’s a good baseball team. Let’s be ready for tomorrow.”

Nathan Eovaldi started the game and brought his best in the postseason once again.

It was one of those nights Eovaldi needed an inning to settle in. He hung an early curveball to Wander Franco, who smoked it for a single. And a first-pitch fastball on the inner half to Austin Meadows was hit a long way over the right-field fence for a two-run shot that gave the Rays a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

But that was all the Rays could do against the Red Sox ace.

The first six outs he recorded were all strikeouts. The Rays worked his pitch count, but Eovaldi put them away when it counted and made it through five innings with just the two runs allowed, striking out eight. He threw 85 pitches, 58 for strikes.

In two starts against the Yankees and Rays this postseason, Eovaldi has fanned a remarkable 16 batters over 10 1/3 innings.

After scoring 14 runs on 20 hits on Friday, the Sox offense came down to earth in this one, doing most of their damage early in the game.

Kyle Schwarber is looking like a natural hitter for the confines of Fenway Park. He got a hanging breaking ball and, rather than trying to crush it 500 feet to right, stayed back and hit a chip shot over the Green Monster for a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first.

The Sox used four singles, including a pair of RBI singles by Kiké Hernandez and Rafael Devers, to move ahead, 3-2, in the bottom of the third.

There isn’t a hotter hitter in baseball right now than Hernandez. His final four at-bats in Tampa on Friday and first three at-bats in Boston on Sunday went as follows: home run, double, double, single, single, single and home run. He finally hit a lineout in the eighth inning to snap his streak, but his eight hits in two games are the most ever by a player in consecutive postseason games.

The surprise of the third inning was when Devers tried dropping a bunt down on the first pitch. He looks to be in a lot of pain whenever he swings and misses, but the bunt play surely confused the Rays, too. Two pitches later, they threw him a fastball down the middle and Devers smoked it to center for the go-ahead RBI single, making it 3-2.

Hernandez then destroyed one over the Monster for a solo shot in the fifth to give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead.

“We’re going to grind it out, we’re going to be relentless, we’re going to do whatever it takes to win a ballgame,” Hernandez said. “We’ve been able to do that, and we’re sitting here in a really good spot to win a series against one of the best teams in the American League, if not the best team the last two years.”

With the left-handed hitting Meadows due up to start the sixth, it was an easy call for Cora to replace Eovaldi with lefty Josh Taylor.

Taylor, Ryan Brasier and Austin Davis maneuvered their way to the eighth inning with the Red Sox in front.

It got interesting in the eighth, when the red-hot Hansel Robles entered the game having not allowed a run since Aug. 29, a span of 17 consecutive scoreless appearances. But Franco led off and Robles started him with three straight balls to fall behind 3-0. He threw two straight fastballs down the pipe and Franco, a Rookie of the Year candidate who has looked every bit as good as he was projected to be, hammered the second one into the Monster seats to cut the deficit to one.

Robles left because he was ill, not injured, Cora said afterwards.

Meadows then doubled to put the tying run on second, and Robles was seen clutching his right arm and stretching out his shoulder after the at-bat. But he stayed in to face Nelson Cruz, got a weak groundout, then Randy Arozarena, the Rays’ other Rookie of the Year candidate, doubled to left-center to tie the game, 4-4.

Cora called on his own rookie sensation, Garrett Whitlock, to clean up the inning and pitch a scoreless ninth, giving the Sox a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the frame.

Schwarber hit a one-out single to put the game-winning run on base and was replaced by Bobby Dalbec as a pinch-runner. But neither Hernandez nor Devers could come through to push him across.

At that point, Cora turned the game over to Pivetta.

Back in February, it wasn’t even certain that Pivetta would have a spot on the Red Sox’ roster, much less become a key contributor.

But he became a key member of the Sox’ rotation all year and on Sunday, on just two days rest after throwing 73 pitches in Game 1 on Friday, the 28-year-old right-hander was electric, holding the Rays quiet in the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th to earn the win.

“I just gave it my all, to be honest with you,” Pivetta said. “I just competed with the strike zone, competed with those guys, and my energy just shows what this means to me and means to our team. It’s really exciting. It’s fun to be here. It’s a moment in time for me and for our team.

“So I think it’s just me showing my emotions. It’s just excitement, and that’s just the way it goes.”

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Missouri adds 5,380 COVID cases after holiday break

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Missouri records 1,987 new COVID cases; fifth straight day below 2,000

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After taking the last few days off for the Thanksgiving break, Missouri health officials announced more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the state has recorded 738,823 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 5,380 positive cases (PCR testing only)—and 12,529 total deaths as of Monday, Nov. 29, an increase of 9 over yesterday. That’s a case fatality rate of 1.70%.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all cases and deaths recorded occurred in the last 24 hours. The state health department did not report new data from Nov. 25 through Nov. 28.

State health officials report 57.8% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Approximately 69.3% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process.

The first doses were administered in Missouri on Dec. 13, 2020.

The state has administered 106,282 doses—including booster shots—of the vaccine in the last 7 days (this metric is subject to a delay, meaning the last three days are not factored in). The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

Joplin, St. Louis City, and Kansas City, as well as St. Louis, St. Charles, Boone, and Atchison counties are the only jurisdictions in the state with at least 50% of its populations fully vaccinated. Thirty-five other jurisdictions in the state are at least 40% fully vaccinated: Cole, Jackson, Franklin, Greene, Cape Girardeau, Jefferson, Nodaway, Cass, Ste. Genevieve, Carroll, Andrew, Callaway, Gasconade, Christian, Benton, Adair, Clinton, Dade, Livingston, Ray, Lafayette, Montgomery, Shelby, Osage, Henry, Clay, Camden, Warren, Howard, Cooper, Phelps, Stone, St. Francois, and Chariton counties, as well as the city of Independence.

Vaccination is the safest way to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity for COVID-19 requires 80% to 90% of the population to have immunity, either by vaccination or recovery from the virus.

(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

The Bureau of Vital Records at DHSS performs a weekly linkage between deaths to the state and death certificates to improve quality and ensure all decedents that died of COVID-19 are reflected in the systems. As a result, the state’s death toll will see a sharp increase from time to time. Again, that does not mean a large number of deaths happened in one day; instead, it is a single-day reported increase.

At the state level, DHSS is not tracking probable or pending COVID deaths. Those numbers are not added to the state’s death count until confirmed in the disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 1,197; yesterday, it was 528. Exactly one month ago, the state rolling average was 709. 

The 10 days with the most reported cases occurred between Oct. 10, 2020, and Nov. 18, 2021.

Approximately 49.9% of all reported cases are for individuals 39 years of age and younger. The state has further broken down the age groups into smaller units. The 18 to 24 age group has 89,422 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 62,444 cases.

People 80 years of age and older account for approximately 41.9% of all recorded deaths in the state.

Trending: Missouri senator pushing to eliminate personal property taxes 

Month / Year Missouri COVID cases*
(reported that month)
March 2020 1,327
April 2020 6,235
May 2020 5,585
June 2020 8,404
July 2020 28,772
August 2020 34,374
September 2020 41,416
October 2020 57,073
November 2020 116,576
December 2020 92,808
January 2021 66,249
February 2021 19,405
March 2021 11,150
April 2021 12,165
May 2021 9,913
June 2021 12,680
July 2021 42,780
August 2021 60,275
September 2021 45,707
October 2021 33,855
November 2021 35,903
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri has administered 7,842,004 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and as of Nov. 28, 16.9% of those tests have come back positive. People who have received multiple PCR tests are not counted twice, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, “A PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated method of testing when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state is now only using the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. That number is calculated using the number of tests taken over the period since many people take multiple tests. Under this way of tabulating things, Missouri has a 10.6% positivity rate as of Nov. 26. Health officials exclude the most recent three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

The 7-day positivity rate was 4.5% on June 1, 10.2% on July 1, and 15.0% on Aug. 1.

As of Nov. 26, Missouri is reporting 779 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 1,063. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 24% statewide. The state’s public health care metrics lag behind by three days due to reporting delays, especially on weekends. Keep in mind that the state counts all beds available and not just beds that are staffed by medical personnel.

On July 6, the 7-day rolling average for hospitalizations eclipsed the 1,000-person milestone for the first time in four months, with 1,013 patients. The 7-day average for hospitalizations had previously been over 1,000 from Sept. 16, 2020, to March 5, 2021.

On Aug. 5, the average eclipsed 2,000 patients for the first time in more than seven months. It was previously over 2,000 from Nov. 9, 2020, to Jan. 27, 2021.

The 2021 low point on the hospitalization average in Missouri was 655 on May 29.

Across Missouri, 179 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 24%.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is available at 877-435-8411.

As of Nov. 28, the CDC identified 48,106,615 cases of COVID-19 and 776,070 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.61%.

How do COVID deaths compare to other illnesses, like the flu or even the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009? It’s a common question.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data on the 2018-2019 influenza season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; that would mean a case-fatality rate of 0.09 percent. Case-fatality rates on previous seasons are as follows: 0.136 percent (2017-2018), 0.131 percent (2016-2017), 0.096 percent (2015-2016), and 0.17 percent (2014-2015).

The 1918 H1N1 epidemic, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” is estimated to have infected 29.4 million Americans and claimed 675,000 lives as a result; a case-fatality rate of 2.3 percent. The Spanish Flu claimed greater numbers of young people than typically expected from other influenzas.

Beginning in January 2009, another H1N1 virus—known as the “swine flu”—spread around the globe and was first detected in the US in April of that year. The CDC identified an estimated 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a 0.021 percent case-fatality rate.

For more information and updates regarding COVID mandates, data, and the vaccine, click here.

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Winning $800,000 Illinois lotto ticket sold in Pontoon Beach

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College visit road trip results in $50,000 Powerball win for St. Charles family

PONTOON BEACH, Ill. – Someone hit the jackpot at Casey’s General Store in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. The Illinois Lottery reports that a player matched all five numbers Sunday night. The winning “Lucky Day Lotto” ticket is worth $800,000.

Jackpots in the Lucky Day Lotto game start at $100,00 and increase in size until someone matches all five numbers. The game costs one dollar to play and the chances of hitting the jackpot are around one in 1,221,759. This makes it one of the best odds of any Illinois Lottery draw game.

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Mother tosses 3-year-old from second-story window during apartment fire

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Mother tosses 3-year-old from second-story window during apartment fire

ST. LOUIS – Five people were treated following a fire at an apartment building on the 5800 block of Selber Court in north St. Louis.

Our partners at the Post-Dispatch report a mother tossed her 3-year-old daughter from a second-story window to a neighbor on the ground at the Hillvale apartments.

The fire department says one of those patients includes a child. Three people were taken to the hospital.

The paper also says the fire started in a vacant, boarded-up unit. The Bomb and Arson squad was called to the scene as well.

Firefighters can be seen on the roof trying to knock out the flames. There is also smoke pouring out of the roof.

Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX is over the scene. Authorities appeared to be walking with at least one resident who made it out of the burning building.

The Red Cross is helping 3 residents.

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