#SportsReport: Yankees Sweep Twins; Nationals Beat Dodgers
Gleyber Torres got New York going with a second-inning home run, scored on each of his two doubles and made a pair of sparkling defensive plays, fueling the Yankees to a 5-1 victory over Minnesota Monday night to finish yet another sweep of the Twins and advance to the AL Championship Series.
Didi Gregorius hit two RBI singles for the Yankees, who stretched their postseason winning streak over the Twins to 13 straight games. Minnesota has lost 16 consecutive postseason games, matching the North American major sports record held by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL from 1975-79. New York starts the AL Championship Series on Saturday, at home against Tampa Bay or at Houston.
The Tampa Bay Rays homered four times to back another clutch playoff pitching performance by Charlie Morton and avoid elimination in the American League Division Series with a 10-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday. Facing the team he helped win the World Series two years ago, Morton allowed one run and three hits while striking out nine over five innings to force Game 4 in the best of five matchup at Tropicana Field on Tuesday. Kevin Kiermaier got the wild-card Rays going with a three-run homer off Zack Greinke in the second inning. Ji-Man Choi and Brandon Lowe hit solo shots off the Astros starter, who has never beaten Tampa Bay on the road, and Willy Adames added a solo blast off Wade Miley in the sixth.
Max Scherzer's season-saving, seven-inning pitching performance and Ryan Zimmerman's three-run homer lifted the wild-card Washington Nationals to a 6-1 victory over the league-best Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday to force a deciding Game 5 in their NL Division Series. Scowling and muttering to himself in his third appearance of this postseason, Scherzer allowed one run and four hits while striking out nine. Most importantly for Washington, he and the Nats prevented LA from closing out the NLDS after taking a 2-1 lead into Game 4. Game 5 will be Wednesday in Los Angeles, with Stephen Strasburg set to start for the Nationals against Walker Buehler.
Yadier Molina pushed the St. Louis Cardinals to a deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series, hitting a tying single in the eighth inning and a winning sacrifice fly in the 10th to beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4 Monday. Molina slung his bat far into the outfield after his winner, and the packed crowd at Busch Stadium roared along with him. Game 5 will be Wednesday back in Atlanta. The Cardinals will have ace Jack Flaherty on the mound, and the Braves will go with Mike Foltynewicz.
Matt Breida ran 83 yards for a touchdown on San Francisco's first play from scrimmage, Baker Mayfield was harassed into his worst game as a pro, and the 49ers stayed unbeaten for their best start in nearly 30 years, beating the Cleveland Browns 31-3 Monday night. Tevin Coleman added a 19-yard score as part of a dominant ground game on a day when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 181 yards and kicker Robbie Gould missed a pair of field goal attempts and had a third try blocked. San Francisco, now 4-0, joined the 5-0 New England Patriots as the only remaining undefeated teams in the NFL. It's the first time the 49ers have won their first four games since 1990. The Browns, with 2 wins and 3 losses, are headed the opposite direction after losing two of three, with fresh concerns about their young quarterback.
In NFL news, Jay Gruden was fired as head coach of the Washington Redskins today after an 0-5 start to the sixth season of a tenure that featured only one playoff appearance. The Redskins have gone 35-49-1 overall under Gruden, whose brother, Jon, coaches the Oakland Raiders. A person familiar with the team's plans told The Associated Press that offensive line coach Bill Callahan would replace Gruden on an interim basis. Callahan has coached the Raiders in the NFL and Nebraska in college football. Owner Daniel Snyder and team president Bruce Allen informed Gruden he was out early this morning, a day after a 33-7 loss to the New England Patriots.
A person familiar with the move confirms to The Associated Press that the Buffalo Bills have agreed to trade receiver Zay Jones to the Oakland Raiders. Buffalo will acquire a fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity on Monday because the trade has not been announced.
The Patriots have released tight end Ben Watson. The team announced the move shortly after Watson tweeted that he didn't do enough to earn a roster spot. Watson was eligible to make his regular-season debut for the Patriots against Washington. But the 38-year-old wasn't activated after serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance following the 2018 season.
The New York Giants are probably going to be without wide receiver Sterling Shepard for their Thursday night game against the New England Patriots. Giants coach Pat Shurmur said that Shepard is back in the concussion protocol for the second time this season after playing in Sunday's 28-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Los Angeles Rams linebacker Clay Matthews is expected to be out four to six weeks with a broken jaw. Coach Sean McVay says Matthews' jaw is wired shut, and he won't return until after the Rams' bye in early November. Matthews was hurt when Seattle running back Chris Carson inadvertently kicked him in the face during the fourth quarter of the Rams' 30-29 loss to the Seahawks.
The Tennessee Titans have released kicker Cairo Santos a day after he missed three field goals and had a fourth blocked. Santos missed field goals from 50, 36 and 53 yards with a 36-yarder blocked by Darryl Johnson in a 14-7 loss to Buffalo. The Titans still are three weeks away from veteran kicker Ryan Succop being eligible to be activated off injured reserve.
Rookie Alexandre Texier scored 2:08 into overtime to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night. Texier beat Linus Ullmark from the right circle off a quick pass from Nick Foligno to give the Blue Jackets their first win of the season.
Alex Pietrangelo scored the winner in the third period as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Monday night. Oskar Sundqvist and Brayden Schenn had the other goals for St. Louis. Jordan Binnington made 32 stops for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
In NHL news, the New York Rangers traded forward Vladislav Namestnikov to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for defenseman Nick Ebert a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. The 26-year-old Namestnikov, acquired from Tampa Bay at the 2018 trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller to the Lightning, had 13 goals and 22 assists in 99 games with the Rangers.
Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad will be out indefinitely with injuries. Coach Mike Sullivan says Malkin's lower-body injury will require a longer recovery than Bjugstad's but added it is not season-threatening. The team has not described Bjugstad's injury Both centers were injured during a 7-2 victory over Columbus.
Zion Williamson may not be quite as tall as billed. He still soared in his first NBA preseason game Monday night. Showing off the high-flying talents that made him one of the most anticipated rookies in years, Williamson turned in a ferocious slam less than 2 minutes into his debut with the New Orleans Pelicans and dunked it two more times before the first half was done against the Atlanta Hawks. Williamson finished the first half with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists, helping the Pelicans to a 75-61 lead over the Hawks before a much larger crowd than what normally be expected in Atlanta for an exhibition between two teams that failed to make the playoffs last season.
Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors have agreed on a $31 million, one-year extension that could keep him with the NBA champions through the 2020-21 season. Agent Mark Bartelstein has confirmed the agreement, which was first reported by ESPN. Lowry and the Raptors had been talking for some time about this, so the extension was not unexpected.
Pistons owner Tom Gores says keeping Andre Drummond in the fold is a top priority, and that the team needs to take another step forward after making the playoffs a season ago. Gores was on hand at the opening of the team's new training center and corporate headquarters in midtown Detroit.
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