#SportsReport: Heat Beat Celtics; Rays Clinch AL East Title
Tyler Herro shot his age – and then some – in helping the Miami Heat take a three-games-to-one lead in the NBA's Eastern Conference finals. The 20-year-old Herro set a Miami rookie playoff record by pouring in 37 points in a 112-109 victory over the Celtics.
He was 14 of 21 from the floor and 5 of 10 from 3-point range in joining Magic Johnson as the only 20-year-olds in NBA playoff history to score at least 37 in a game. Herro delivered 17 points in the fourth quarter, including five straight to push Miami ahead, 91-85. Goran Dragic added 22 and Bam Adebayo had 20 with 12 rebounds for the Heat. The Celtics erased a double-digit deficit and took a one-point lead in the fourth quarter before fading. Jayson Tatum scored all 28 of his points in the second half. Jaylen Brown provided 21 points and Kemba Walker added 20 for the Celtics, who will try to stave off elimination on Friday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are two wins away from their second Stanley Cup after knocking off Dallas in Game 3. Steven Stamkos scored in his return to action as the Lightning whipped the Stars, 5-2. Stamkos played for the first time since undergoing core muscle surgery in early March, but he didn't hit the ice for the final 46 minutes of the game. Goals by Nikita Kucherov and Stamkos put Tampa Bay ahead 2-0 just seven minutes into the contest. Victor Hedman, Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat added second-period goals to make it 5-1. Dallas netminder Anton Khudobin was pulled just before the third period. Jason Dickinson and Miro Heiskanen did the scoring for the Stars, who have dropped two straight since taking the series opener.
Randy Arozarena homered twice and the Rays clinched their first AL East title in 10 years with an 8-5 victory over the Mets. Joey Wendle and Brandon Lowe also went deep for Tampa Bay.
Elsewhere around the majors:
Danny Jansen homered twice and the Blue Jays reduced their magic number for clinching an AL wild card berth to one by crushing the Yankees, 14-1. New York committed four errors and are in danger of playing its wild-card series on the road.
Bryce Harper homered twice against his former team to lead the Phillies' 12-3 thrashing of the Nationals. Zach Eflin earned his fourth win by giving up three runs in eight-plus innings.
Rafael Devers furnished a three-run double that capped a six-run third in the Red Sox's 9-1 pounding of the Orioles. Boston hurler Nathan Eovaldi fanned eight over six shutout innings.
The San Diego Padres dropped a game and may have lost one of their top starters for an undetermined period. Mike Clevinger was suddenly pulled after only one inning of the Padres' 5-2 setback against the Angels. The team said Clevinger's departure wasn't planned, adding that he was sent for an MRI on his right biceps. Clevinger's start had been pushed back from Saturday night because of tightness in the biceps. Manager Jayce Tingler said on Tuesday that Clevinger threw a bullpen session the previous day and seemed good to go for Wednesday's start. San Diego also was unable to clinch home-field advantage in the wild-card series that begins next week. Second-inning homers by Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton and Anthony Bemboom led Los Angeles to victory. Five Angels pitchers combined to blank the NL's second-best team after Manny Machado hit a two-run homer in the first inning.
Trevor Bauer was dominant on short rest as he allowed four hits and struck out 12 over eight innings of the Reds' ninth win in 11 games, 6-1 against the Brewers. Joey Votto was 0-for-22 versus Milwaukee this season before homering to give Cincinnati a 2-0 lead in the opening inning.
The Pirates were 2-1 winners over the Cubs as Adam Frazier and Ke'Bryan Hayes led off the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back homers off Kyle Hendricks. Chicago has scored just nine times in dropping four of its last five games.
Salvador Perez and Franchy Cordero each slammed two-run homers and collected five RBIs in the Royals' 12-3 thrashing of the Cardinals. Cordero added a solo shot in the seventh for his second career multi-homer game, helping Kansas City keep St. Louis 3 1/2 games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals.
Logan Webb came out of the bullpen to fire 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball as the Giants picked up a 7-2 win over the Rockies. Mauricio Dubón ripped a tiebreaking, three-run home run to cap a four-run fifth and help San Francisco improve its postseason hopes.
Dansby Swanson belted a three-run homer as the Braves cruised to their third straight win over the Marlins, 9-4. But Atlanta finished the game without Max Fried, who lasted just one inning after tweaking an ankle while fielding a bunt down the third-base line by Starling Marte.
Shane Bieber finishes his regular season with an AL-leading eight wins and a major league-best 1.63 ERA by allowing an unearned run and two hits in five innings of the Indians' 3-2 triumph over the White Sox. Jordan Luplow's walk-off homer dropped Chicago into second place in the AL Central.
The Twins top the AL Central by a half-game after Jake Cave smacked a pair of home runs in a 7-6 decision over the Tigers. Kenta Maeda allowed three runs and four hits while fanning nine over six innings to help Minnesota regain the division lead for the first time since Aug. 11.
Ramon Laureano blasted a tiebreaking, two-run homer into the night at Dodger Stadium to lift the Athletics over Los Angeles, 6-4. Laureano's RBI single put Oakland ahead, 4-2 in the seventh before the NL West champs tied it on solo blasts by Cody Bellinger and Edwin Rios.
Nick Margevicius tossed six shutout innings and Ty France drove in a pair of runs in the Mariners' 3-2 verdict over the Astros. Houston starter Zach Greinke was reached for three runs and eight hits over 4 2/3's to drop his third consecutive start.
Wyatt Mathisen hit his first two career homers and fellow rookie Daulton Varsho tripled home the go-ahead run as the Diamondbacks dumped the Rangers, 7-3. Arizona wiped out a 3-1 deficit with a six-run sixth.
Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers has died at age 77. Sayers made his mark as one of the NFL's best all-purpose running backs and was later celebrated for his enduring friendship with a Bears teammate with cancer. Nicknamed "The Kansas Comet," Sayers was considered among the best open-field runners the game has ever seen. He was selected by Chicago with the fourth pick overall in 1965. He tied one NFL record with six touchdowns in a game and set another with 22 touchdowns in his first season: 14 rushing, six receiving, one punt and one kickoff return. Sayers followed that by being voted an All-Pro during the first five of his seven NFL seasons from 1965-71. But he was stuck on a handful of middling-to-bad Bears teams and, like Dick Butkus, another Hall of Fame teammate selected in the same 1965 draft, he never played in the postseason. Sayers' rock-steady friendship with a teammate with cancer, Brian Piccolo, marked him as more than a sports star, inspiring the 1971 film "Brian's Song." Relatives have said that Sayers had been diagnosed with dementia. In 2017, his wife, Ardythe, said she partly blamed his football career.
In other NFL news:
Two-time Pro Bowl halfback Devonta Freeman has signed with the Giants. He replaces 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley, who was placed on injured reserve with a torn right ACL.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor missed last Sunday's game because a team doctor accidentally punctured his lung. That's according to a person familiar with the case who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because of medical restriction issues. Coach Anthony Lynn said Taylor is still not 100% and that rookie Justin Herbert will get his second NFL start on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Herbert was the Chargers' surprise starter in last Sunday's 23-20 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Packers wide receiver Davante Adams says he doesn't know yet whether he'll be able to play Sunday night at New Orleans after leaving Green Bay's previous game early with a hamstring injury. Adams was pulled from last Sunday's 42-21 victory over the Detroit Lions in the second half and didn't practice Wednesday.
The Panthers have placed Christian McCaffrey on short-term injured reserve, meaning the All-Pro running back will miss at least three games. McCaffrey suffered a high ankle sprain in Carolina's 31-17 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday, an injury that normally requires a 4 to 6 week recovery period.
The Raiders have put starting left guard Richie Incognito on injured reserve with an Achilles issue, the latest injury to their offensive line. Incognito left Monday's 34-24 win over New Orleans in the first quarter with the injury that slowed him in practice the previous week.
The Jaguars will be without kicker Josh Lambo for at least the next three games. The team placed Lambo on injured reserve Wednesday with a hip injury and called up rookie Brandon Wright from the practice squad to make his NFL debut Thursday against the Dolphins.
Former Georgia defensive back Otis Reese says he left the school because of racist treatment on campus. He also says coach Kirby Smart manipulated him to continue playing after he expressed his desire to leave the Bulldogs. Georgia issued a statement denying the allegations. Reese transferred to Mississippi in January after two seasons at Georgia.
The Houston Cougars are still waiting to play their season opener as more major college football games were wiped out by COVID-19 issues. Houston is again without a game to play after a third consecutive opponent had to pull out because of COVID-19 tests or contact tracing made players unavailable. This time it was North Texas. The number of FBS games canceled or postponed since Aug. 26 is now 21.
The postponed football game between No. 7 Notre Dame and Wake Forest will be moved to Dec. 12, while the Demon Deacons also are moving their nonconference game against Campbell a week earlier to Oct. 2. The ACC's revamped scheduling model allows for 11 games to be played over 13 weeks through Dec. 5, as well as the possibility of playing Dec. 12.
Ohio State says it is cutting a handful of jobs, furloughing hundreds of other employees and asking coaches to take pay cuts to deal with a budget shortfall expected to be over $100 million because of the pandemic. Athletic director Gene Smith says none of the 36 sports will be cut and athlete support services will be maintained.
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