#SportsReport: Nationals Top Astros; Bruins Down Sharks
It remains road-sweet-road in the World Series after the Washington Nationals forced a Game 7 against the Astros in Houston. Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg carried the Nationals to a 7-2 win over the Astros to stretch the Fall Classic to the limit.
Rendon went 3-for-5 with five RBIs to back Strasburg, who limited Houston to a pair of runs and seven hits while striking out seven over 8 1/3 innings. The Nationals made it six straight wins by the road team in the series. Rendon opened the scoring with an RBI single in the top of the first, but Alex Bregman’s solo blast put the Astros ahead, 2-1 later in the inning. Adam Eaton and Juan Soto belted solo shots in the fifth to put the Nationals ahead to stay before Rendon padded the lead with a two-run homer in the seventh and a two-run double in the ninth. That was more than enough support for Strasburg, who improved to 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in this postseason. Justin Verlander’s World Series struggles continued after he carried a 2-1 lead into the top of the fifth. The home runs by Eaton and Soto left him 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA in seven career World Series starts.
Game 7 is Wednesday night in Houston. Max Scherzer has been given the green light to start for the Nationals after receiving a cortisone shot in his neck to alleviate an irritated nerve. Scherzer was scratched from Game 5, but manager Dave Martinez deemed him fit to start after Scherzer threw to a catcher in the outfield on Tuesday. Zack Greinke is scheduled to pitch for the Astros, who have been outscored 24-9 at home in the series. Visiting teams have won three straight Game 7s in the Series since the Cardinals defeated Texas at home in 2011.
In other MLB news, the Minnesota Twins have picked up their $12 million option on Nelson Cruz for next season. The 39-year-old designated hitter agreed in January to a contract with a $14 million salary for 2019 and the club option. Cruz hit .311 with a team-high 41 homers and had 108 RBIs in 120 games. He spent two stints on the injured list for a wrist problem that led to a torn tendon.
David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins have continued their torrid start by whipping the San Jose Sharks. Pastrnak notched his NHL-leading 12th goal and the Bruins improved to a league-best 9-1-2 with a 5-1 verdict over the Sharks. David Krejci provided a goal and an assist in his first game since missing five straight with an injury. Chris Wagner also had a goal and an assist as the Bruins won their fourth straight and improved to 6-0-2 in their last eight. Tuukka Rask made 16 saves while the Bruins outshot the Sharks, 41-17.
The Rangers scored three times in 6 1/2 minutes late in the third period to beat the Lightning, 4-1. Filip Chytil scored the tiebreaking goal in his season debut before Adam Fox and Ryan Strome added late tallies. Strome also had an assist, rookie Kaapo Kakko also scored and Alexandar Georgiev stopped 29 shots as New York won for only the second time in its last eight games.
Sidney Crosby, Dominik Simon and Dominik Kahun each had a goal and two assists as the Penguins hammered the Flyers, 7-1. Crosby’s goal put the Penguins ahead 4-0 just over 14 minutes into the game. Matt Murray stopped 29 shots to win for the sixth time in his last seven starts.
Alex Ovechkin had two goals and two assists, including the game-winner in the Capitals’ 4-3 triumph over the Maple Leafs. Ovechkin tied it early in the third period and won it with a power-play tally four minutes into OT. John Carlson also scored twice in Washington’s sixth victory in seven games.
Andrei Svechnikov scored twice in the final 10:47 to lead the Hurricanes to a 2-1 victory against the Flames. Svechnikov tied it by bringing the puck behind the net, scooping it up on his stick blade, lifting it to chest-level and tucking it over goalie David Rittich's right shoulder. He followed that by netting a power-play goal with 7:25 remaining to send Carolina to its second straight win.
The Stars spotted the Wild a 3-0 lead before Alexander Radulov recorded a hat trick to lead Dallas to a 6-3 victory. The Stars didn’t get on the board until Radulov's first goal with 48 seconds left in the second period. Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin also scored for Dallas, which has won four of five since a 1-7-1 start.
The Predators posted a 3-0 win over the Blackhawks as Nick Bonino had a hat trick and Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for his second consecutive shutout and 57th of his career. Rocco Grimaldi had the primary assist on all three goals for his first three-point game. Craig Smith added two assists in Nashville’s fourth consecutive victory.
The Ducks stopped a four-game slide as Cam Fowler, Ryan Getzlaf and Derek Grant each had a goal and an assist in a 7-4 downing of the slumping Jets. Fowler’s goal was his 61st as a Duck to set a record for the most by a defenseman in team history. Nikolaj Ehlers had two goals and an assist for the Jets, who have dropped five of their last seven.
In NHL news, the Predators have signed captain Roman Josi to an eight-year, $72.4 million deal worth $9.05 million a season. The Predators will take Josi off the free agent market next July. The deal starts with the 2020-21 season. Josi is one of only four defensemen with at least 40 points in each of his last six seasons for Nashville. He was an All-Star last season and played for Switzerland at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He is tied for second with five goals and 13 points among NHL defensemen and tied for 12th among all skaters.
The Avalanche say captain Gabriel Landeskog is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Colorado's top line already is missing forward Mikko Rantanen after he suffered a lower-body injury last week.
The Dallas Mavericks are showing tremendous improvement since finishing 33-49 last season. The Mavs are 3-1 after turning an 11-point, third-quarter deficit into a 109-106 victory at Denver. Maxi Kleber had 14 points, seven rebounds and a key block late in the game to help Dallas hand the Nuggets their first loss in four games. Nine Mavericks players scored in double figures on a night their two top scorers were held in check. Luca Doncic finished with just 12 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 10 with 14 rebounds. Denver’s Nikola Jokic had his second triple-double of the season with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Paul Millsap contributed 23 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
Anthony Davis set a franchise record by nailing 26 free throws while scoring 40 points and grabbing 20 boards in the Lakers’ 120-91 rout of the Grizzlies. It was his first 40-20 game since 2016 and the first by a Laker since Shaquille O’Neal in 2003. LeBron James added 23 points for the Lakers, who actually trailed 65-59 in the third quarter before ripping off a 27-2 run.
Jimmy Butler hit his first four shots and scored 21 points as the Heat downed the Hawks, 112-97. Butler was 5 for 11 from the floor, and went 10 for 15 from the line in his team debut after missing Miami’s first three games following the birth of a daughter. Tyler Herro scored 19 of his 29 points in the second quarter to help the Heat build a 10-point halftime lead.
In NBA news, former NBA player, coach and executive Al Bianchi has died at 87. Bianchi was an original member of the 76ers, starting his 10-year career with the Syracuse Nationals in 1956-57 and remaining with the team following its move to Philadelphia. The New York Knicks said Bianchi died in Arizona of natural causes. He was the team's general manager from 1987-91.
A Rockets fan is charged with punching a Pelicans coach at the end of a Saturday’s game in Houston. Prosecutors charged Manuel Garcia with misdemeanor assault for allegedly punching Pelicans assistant coach Joe Boylan in the face.
The NCAA Board of Governors has taken the first step toward allowing athletes to cash in on their fame. The board has voted unanimously to clear the way for the amateur athletes to "benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness." Pay for play would still be banned. California passed a law last month that would prevent schools from prohibiting college athletes from being compensated for their names, images and likenesses. That law goes into effect in 2023, but other states are moving on similar legislation that could go into effect as soon as next year.
The NCAA has launched an investigation into the basketball program at 12th-ranked Seton Hall. The university announced the probe, saying coach Kevin Willard is sitting out at least two games. Assistant coach Grant Billmeier will run the team in the games Willard misses. The Asbury Park Press reports the investigation involved transfer tampering, and the New York Post says it involved the transfer of Taurean Thompson from Syracuse in the fall of 2017. Seton Hall didn't say what the NCAA enforcement staff was investigating.
The Patriots have released kicker Mike Nugent and tight end Eric Tomlinson. A person familiar with the deal says New England has signed veteran Nick Folk to replace Nugent.
Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor has decided to bench quarterback Andy Dalton, ending his nine-season run as a starter. The move came two days after a 24-10 loss to the Rams in London left Cincinnati 0-8 for the first time in 11 years. The first-year coach decided to use the bye week to get rookie Ryan Finley ready to face the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 10 at Paul Brown Stadium. Finley was a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina State. Dalton has completed 60.4% of his passes this season for 2,252, eight interceptions and only nine touchdowns while throwing to a depleted receiving corps. He tops the NFL with 204 completions, but he also leads the league with 29 sacks.
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press left tackle Trent Williams has reported to the Redskins. Williams held out all season because of a dispute over the handling of a medical situation.
The Rams have traded injured cornerback Aqib Talib and a fifth-round pick to the Dolphins for an undisclosed future draft choice. Talib is on injured reserve with a rib injury and might not play again this season. Miami also decided to place Xavien Howard on injured reserve with a knee injury that bothered him in recent weeks.
The Jaguars have placed receiver Marqise Lee on injured reserve for the second straight season, likely signaling the end of his time in Jacksonville. Lee sustained a shoulder injury in Sunday's victory against the New York Jets.
The Falcons have released kicker Matt Bryant and will bring in Younghoe Koo as his replacement. Bryant missed five of 14 field goal attempts this season, as well as a crucial extra point that was the difference in a 34-33 loss at Arizona.
Vikings safety Jayron Kearse has been charged with multiple gun and alcohol counts after authorities say he was driving while impaired and had a loaded gun in his car. Kearse was arrested early Sunday in Minneapolis. Charges include drunken driving and carrying a pistol without a permit.
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