#SportsReport: Dodgers Top Rays; Ownership Committee Approves Mets Sale
The Los Angeles Dodgers are three wins away from their first World Series title in 32 years. Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts homered to support Clayton Kershaw as the Dodgers whipped the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-3 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
The Dodgers went ahead, 2-0 on Bellinger's two-run homer in the fourth before tacking on four more runs in the fifth. Bellinger was fit to play after suffering a right shoulder injury while celebrating his tiebreaking home run in Game 7 of the NLCS two nights earlier. Bellinger went deep off Tyler Glasnow, who struggled with his command. Glasnow was reached for six runs on three hits and six walks in 4 1/3 innings. Kevin Kiermaier's solo blast in the fifth pushed Tampa Bay within a run before Betts scored on a fielder's choice in the bottom half to restore L.A.'s two-run lead. Will Smith, Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez followed with RBI singles. Betts led off the bottom of the sixth with a blast to widen the gap. Justin Turner and Max Muncy added consecutive doubles to give Los Angeles an 8-1 lead. Kershaw limited the Rays to two hits and a walk while striking out eight over six innings. Kershaw is 3-1 this postseason.
In MLB news:
A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press that the proposed purchase of 95% of the New York Mets by an entity of billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has been approved by Major League Baseball's ownership committee. Baseball's executive council will consider the deal next and is expected to forward it for a vote by all owners. Final approval is likely to take place in the next month. The sale values the franchise at $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says he hopes to keep two of this year's innovations: expanded playoffs and starting extra innings with runners on second base. Manfred also says the 30 teams combined for $3 billion in operating losses due the pandemic, which caused all 898 regular-season games to be played in empty ballparks without fans. After opening day was delayed from March 26 to July 23, MLB and the players' association agreed to expand the number of teams in the playoffs from 10 to 16. Manfred has previously advocated a future expansion of the playoffs to 14 teams.
Former major league umpire Derryl Cousins has died at 74. Cousins got his spot in the big leagues during the umpires' strike in 1979 and stayed on the job through the 2012 season. He called the World Series in 2005, 1999 and 1988 and also worked seven League Championship Series, five Division Series and three All-Star Games. Craig Cousins said his brother died at home Monday after a bout with cancer.
The Indiana Pacers have hired Nate Bjorkgren as their new coach. The decision ends a search that began when the Pacers fired longtime coach Nate McMillan on Aug. 26. Bjorkgren spent the past two seasons as an assistant to Toronto coach Nick Nurse and was part of the Raptors 2018-19 title run.
Also, the Los Angeles Clippers have confirmed their hiring of Tyronn Lue to replace Doc Rivers as head coach. Lue spent last season working as a Clippers assistant under Doc Rivers, who was L.A.'s head coach for seven years before going to the Philadelphia 76ers a couple weeks ago. Lue was on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff when he replaced the fired David Blatt during the 2015-16 season. Under Lue's guidance, the Cavs and LeBron James went on to win their first-ever NBA championship.
Rookie Tua Tagovailoa has been named the Miami Dolphins' starting quarterback. A person with knowledge of the decision says the former Alabama star will make his first NFL start on Nov. 1 against the Los Angeles Rams following the team's bye week. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been demoted despite leading the Dolphins to consecutive victories and throwing for three touchdowns in Sunday's 24-0 shutout of the New York Jets. Miami is 3-3 this season.
In other NFL news:
The Bears have signed former Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Teo to their practice squad. Th 2012 Heisman finalist has made 48 starts and 62 appearances over seven seasons with Chargers and Saints, recording 307 tackles and 22 for loss along with 13 pass breakups and two interceptions.
The Rams have signed veteran kicker Kai Forbath from the Bears' practice squad after a rocky start to the season for rookie Samuel Sloman. Los Angeles drafted Sloman in the seventh round last spring, but he has missed three of his 18 extra-point attempts this season.
Panthers starting safety Juston Burris and reserve wide receiver Keith Kirkwood will miss at least the next three games after both were placed on injured reserve. Burris injured his ribs in Carolina's 23-16 loss to the Bears on Sunday, and Kirkwood re-injured a shoulder that had kept him out of action the first five weeks.
The Saints will start having fans in the stands for home games beginning Sunday against the Panthers. The team and the mayor agreed to a phased plan that will start with 3,000 tickets for Sunday's. Attendance would increase to 6,000 fans for November games with San Francisco and Atlanta and up to 15,000 in December for games against Kansas City and Minnesota. The plan is subject to any changes in local health and safety guidelines.
The Mountain West football game between New Mexico and Colorado State has been canceled due to COVID-19. The Lobos were scheduled to play the Rams on Saturday in Fort Collins, Colorado, but there's a prevalence of the virus in the New Mexico county of Bernalillo. There is no plan to reschedule the game.
Meanwhile, Florida's COVID-19 outbreak seems to be contained. The 10th-ranked Gators reported four new positives since the middle of last week, when they postponed two games because of the novel coronavirus.
EMPIRE STATE WINTER GAMES
The Empire State Winter Games are off due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers of the games held annually in Lake Placid announced Tuesday that due to the pandemic the events planned for January 28-31, 2021 will not take place. Athletes compete in more than 30 sports during the Empire State Winter Games. Organizers said the challenges and uncertainty of COVID-19 prevent appropriate planning and production of events but they are hopeful a virtual or social media event for participants can be created.
The University of Connecticut has agreed to pay a total of just under $250,000 to seven women, including four members of Geno Auriemma’s 2014 women’s basketball coaching staff, after the U.S. Labor Department found they had been underpaid when compared with men in similar positions. The women were identified by the Labor Department as two law professors and five women in the athletic department. Responding to an email request from The Associated Press, UConn said those employees included women’s associate head basketball coach Chris Dailey and the team’s two assistant coaches in 2014, Shea Ralph and Marisa Moseley.
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