#SportsReport: Rays Top Yankees; Braves Beat Marlins
The Rays are up 2-1 in their AL Division Series after blasting three more home runs in an 8-4 trouncing of the Yankees.
Kevin Kiermaier provided the big blow with a three-run homer off losing pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to break a 1-1 tie. Randy Arozarena added a solo shot to chase Tanaka an inning later, and Michael Perez smacked a two-run shot against Chad Green in the sixth. Charlie Morton gave Tampa Bay five strong innings, striking out six and allowing one earned run and four hits. Giancarlo Stanton slammed a two-run blast in the eighth for the Yankees. He's the first player in major league history to homer in each of his first five games of a postseason. The Rays can finish off the Bombers on Thursday.
The Oakland Athletics forced a Game 4 in their AL Division Series by downing the Houston Astros, 9-7. Chad Pinder supplied the Athletics' fifth and final home run of the day, a three-run blast in the seventh. The A's went ahead to stay in the eighth when Sean Murphy and Pinder lifted sacrifice flies. Tommy La Stella, Mark Canha, Matt Olson and Marcus Semien also homered for the Athletics. The Astros suffered their first loss of this postseason despite longballs from Jose Altuve and Aledmys Diaz.
The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers have moved within one victory of a showdown for the National League pennant. Rookie Ian Anderson combined with four relievers on a three-hitter as the Braves blanked the Marlins, 2-0. Anderson struck out eight over 5 2/3 innings before the Atlanta bullpen tossed no-hit ball the rest of the way. Atlanta is the third team in major league history and first since the 1966 Orioles to open a postseason with three shutouts in its first four games. Dansby Swanson and Travis d'Arnaud both homered for the second straight day to help the Braves take a 2-0 lead in the NL Division Series. Marlins starter Pablo Lopez struck out eight and gave up three hits over five innings, including the two home runs. The Braves can wrap up the series on Thursday.
The Dodgers also can finish up a three-game sweep on Thursday following a 6-5 win over the Padres. Corey Seager delivered three hits for Los Angeles, including a two-run double in the third inning to put the Dodgers ahead to stay. Cody Bellinger padded the lead with a solo shot in the fourth and also robbed Fernando Tatis Jr. of a potential go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh. Clayton Kershaw was sailing until Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer hit back-to-back homers in the sixth. Kershaw got the win after allowing three runs and six hits over six innings. Kenley Jansen gave up a pair of ninth-inning runs and Joe Kelly walked a pair before retiring Eric Hosmer with the bases loaded to end it. Losing pitcher Zach Davies was reached for four runs and nine hits over five frames.
In MLB news:
Major League Baseball will eliminate the separate ruling body of minor league baseball. It is moving governance of the farm teams to the commissioner's office in New York as it moves forward with plans to shrink affiliations from 160 to 120. The Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues expired Sept. 30 without a successor deal following a year of acrimonious negotiations. The National Association was founded in 1901.
Mike Clevinger has been replaced by fellow pitcher Dan Altavilla on San Diego's playoff roster because of his elbow injury. The move will keep Clevinger from pitching again this postseason unless the Padres make it to the World Series. That would also depend on if his ailing right elbow is healthy enough to get back on the mound. He went only two pitches into the second inning of the NL Division Series opener against the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
Indians manager Terry Francona has revealed he underwent several surgeries in a four-day span and spent time in intensive care while dealing with major health issues that sidelined him for most of this season. Francona missed 48 of Cleveland's 62 games during the pandemic-shortened season. The 61-year-old Francona hopes to manage next season.
Reds president Dick Williams has resigned to pursue interests outside of baseball. The 50-year-old worked in Reds baseball operations for 15 years and has been president since 2016.
Gonzalo Higuain scored his first MLS goal off a free kick in the 81st minute to lift Inter Miami past the New York Red Bulls 2-1 on Wednesday night. Miami goalkeeper John McCarthy came to the near post to stop Jared Stroud, but Stroud crossed to Omir Fernandez for a goal for the Red Bulls in the 53rd minute. Two minutes later, Miami’s Lewis Morgan lofted a cross from distance that bounced over a couple of defenders to Matias Pellegrini, who beat goalkeeper David Jensen from close range for his first goal this season.
Also, Ayo Akinola scored and Toronto FC beat the New England Revolution 1-0 on Wednesday night to tie Eastern Conference rival Columbus for the MLS lead. Akinola, a 20-year-old homegrown, has eight goals in 10 appearances this season. He sprinted onto a through ball and outmuscled defender Andrew Farrell before flicking in a side-netter in the 29th minute. Toronto has won four in a row and is unbeaten in its last six games.
Fourth seed Sofia Kenin and No. 7 Petra Kvitova have advanced to the French Open semifinals. Kenin was pushed to a third set for the fourth time in five matches at Roland Garros before coming away with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 win over fellow American Danielle Collins. Kvitova rained down aces to earn a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Laura Siegemund and her first semifinal spot at Roland Garros since 2012.
On the men's side, Novak Djokovic overcame a bothersome left arm and an early deficit to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros for the 10th time. The tournament's top-seeded man came back to beat Pablo Carreño Busta, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. Stefanos Tsitsipas is into his first French Open semifinal. The fifth-seeded Greek player beat 13th-seeded Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 to avenge a loss in the Hamburg final less than two weeks ago. Rafael Nadal faces Diego Schwartzman in the other men's semifinal.
The NFL's investigation into how Tennessee turned into the league's first COVID-19 outbreak found "several specific incidents" of the Titans possibly breaking protocols dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. That's according to a person with knowledge of the probe. Also, the headmaster of a private school in Nashville confirmed to the AP that several Titans, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill, practiced there a day before the NFL first postponed Tennessee's game with Pittsburgh before rescheduling the game to Oct. 25. The Titans' outbreak is now up to 22 people, with 20 positive tests returned since Sept. 29. Tennessee is set to host Buffalo next and already has had a game with Pittsburgh rescheduled. Commissioner Roger Goodell warned all 32 teams that protocol violations forcing changes in the schedule could lead to forfeiting games. The NFL is trying to play a full schedule amid the pandemic without isolating teams in bubbles as other sports have done.
In other virus-related developments in the NFL:
The Chiefs are in a precarious spot after learning that a player from the Patriots tested positive for COVID-19, two days after Kansas City beat New England. Perhaps the biggest concern lies with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who spent about 30 seconds face-to-face after the game speaking with New England defensive back Stephon Gilmore, the player that reportedly tested positive Wednesday. The Raiders are the Chiefs' scheduled opponent this Sunday, but Las Vegas also had to place a player on the COVID-19 list.
Aaron Rodgers and his Packers teammates won't get a chance to celebrate their fast start by leaving town during their week off. Players and coaches aren't allowed to leave the city where the team is located during the off week because they must provide daily specimens for COVID-19 testing. The rule also affects the Detroit Lions, who are in their bye week.
In other NFL news:
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold will sit out against the Cardinals on Sunday with his sprained right shoulder. Darnold was injured last Thursday night against Denver and is week to week. Coach Adam Gase says veteran Joe Flacco will get the start at home in Darnold's place.
The Bills have put starting cornerback Levi Wallace on injured reserve and signed cornerback Cam Lewis off their practice squad.
Dwayne Haskins is being benched by the Washington Football Team and replaced at quarterback by Kyle Allen for this week's game against the Los Angeles Rams. Washington's team Twitter feed announced the QB switch, which comes after just four games under new head coach Ron Rivera. Washington is off to a 1-3 start and currently on a three-game losing streak. Haskins was a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft out of Ohio State. He has thrown for 939 yards and has completed 61% of his passes this season, with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since injuring his throwing shoulder in a Week 2 loss at Pittsburgh. Brett Rypien who took the snaps with the starters while Lock eases his way back in after a 17-day layoff.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has returned to practice on a limited basis for the 49ers after missing two games with a sprained ankle. Head coach Kyle Shanahan isn't ready to reveal which backup will start in his place if Garoppolo isn't ready to play Sunday against the Dolphins.
The NFL and the Saints are working on contingency plans for Monday night's scheduled game against the Los Angeles Chargers in New Orleans. The planning comes as forecasts indicate Hurricane Delta will come ashore on Louisiana on Friday. But some predictions take the storm as far west as the Texas border.
The Jaguars have placed cornerback D.J. Hayden on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury.
Trade action is heating up on the second day of the NHL draft. The Pittsburgh Penguins got the action started by trading goaltender Matt Murray to the Ottawa Senators for forward prospect Jonathan Gruden and a second-round pick in the 2020 draft. Murray became expendable when Pittsburgh rewarded All-Star Tristan Jarry with a three-year contract over the weekend. Murray went 117-53-19 with a 2.67 goals against average and a .914 save percentage in five seasons with the Penguins, winning Stanley Cups in 2016 and '17.
In other NHL news:
Promising young forward Dominik Kahun is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after the Sabres chose not to issue a qualifying offer to retain his rights. Kahun's agent told The Associated Press his client hasn't ruled out rejoining the team.
The Predators have traded center Nick Bonino to the Wild for forward Luke Kunin. The swap also sends two picks to the Wild and one back to the Predators. Bonino tied for second on the Predators with 18 goals in 67 games this past season, while Kunin had 15 goals in 63 games for the Wild.
Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur is facing a recurrence of lung cancer. The former Montreal Canadiens star underwent an operation in November 2019 to remove the upper lobe of a lung and lymph nodes. He's been closely monitored since by his medical team.
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