Update on the latest sports
Rays win wild-card game
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Tampa Bay Rays are going to the American League Division Series after taking care of the Oakland Athletics in the wild-card game.
Yandy Diaz homered twice and Avisail (av-ih-sah-EEL’) Garcia unloaded a two-run shot as the Rays downed the A’s, 5-1 in Oakland. Diaz became the third player to homer twice in a wild-card game, leading off the contest with a blast and adding a solo shot in his next at-bat. In between, Garcia delivered a two-run homer off Sean Manaea (mah-NY’-ah), who was tagged for all three homers and four runs in just two-plus innings.
Tommy Pham also homered to cap the scoring.
Charlie Morton picked up the win by limiting the A’s to an unearned run and five hits over five innings.
Oakland’s run came on Ramon Laureano’s sacrifice fly in the third following a three-base throwing error by infielder Michael Brosseau.
Brosseau had just moved from second the third base at the start of the inning.
The outcome sends the Rays to Houston to take on the Astros, who finished with a major league-leading 107 wins during the regular season.
The ALDS begins on Friday.
The Athletics have lost nine straight winner-take-all games since 2000, going 1-15 with a chance to advance to the next round.
Braves’ Freeman and Acuna say they are ready for NLDS
UNDATED (AP) – Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna (ah-KOON’-yah) Jr. say they are healthy for the Braves’ NL Division Series against the Cardinals.
Acuna’s status for Thursday’s Game 1 was the bigger concern. The 21-year-old outfielder has not played since Sept. 24 due to tightness in his left hip, ending his chase for a rare 40-40 season. He finished with 41 homers and 37 steals.
Freeman has struggled with bone spurs in his right elbow and at one point last month could not straighten his right arm. He returned for Atlanta’s final regular season series at the Mets.
Acuna and Freeman played in a simulated game Tuesday. Acuna says he is “back to 100 percent” and Freeman says he felt no pain in the elbow.
In other MLB news:
– Astros manager A.J. Hinch expects shortstop Carlos Correa (kor-AY-ah) to play on Friday the AL Division Series opener. Correa missed the last week of the regular season because of a sore back. Hinch says Justin Verlander will start Game 1 on Friday against Oakland or Tampa Bay, followed by Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke (GREHN’-kee).
– The Indians are exercising ace Corey Kluber’s (KLOO’-burz) $17.5 million option for next season. The right-hander was limited to just seven starts after breaking his right arm on May 1, when he was hit by a line drive during a start in Miami. The team is declining options on second baseman Jason Kipnis and reliever Dan Otero.
Blues raise banner, fall to Caps
UNDATED (AP) – The St. Louis Blues hoisted their first Stanley Cup banner to the rafters Wednesday night before falling to the 2018 champions.
Jakub Vrana (vah-RAH’-nah) scored at 2:51 of overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 victory at St. Louis.
Sammy Blais (blayz) and Alex Pietrangelo (peh-TRAN’-jeh-loh) scored in the first eight minutes to give the Blues a 2-0 led over Washington. Blais scored on the Blues’ first shot 53 seconds into the game, and Pietrangelo added a power-play goal.
But reigning goal-scoring champ Alex Ovechkin got the Capitals within 2-1 later in the first period before Dmitry Orlov tied it in the second.
Ryan O’Reilly had the secondary assist on the two St. Louis goals. Lars Eller set up the Caps’ first two tallies and John Carlson also finished with two assists.
Elsewhere on the NHL’s opening-night schedule:
– Auston Matthews scored twice while the Maple Leafs put four shots past Craig Anderson in the second period of a 5-3 victory against the Senators. The game was tied 2-2 until Matthews tallied twice in a 6:48 span, giving him nine goals in his four season-opening games since being drafted first overall in 2016. Ilya Mikheyev (EEL’-yah mih-KY’-ehv) provided a goal and an assist in his NHL debut, and Tyson Barrie had two assists in his first game for Toronto.
– The Golden Knights were 4-1 winners over the Sharks as Reilly Smith scored twice for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves to earn the win in the 799th game of his career. Marcus Sorensen provided San Jose’s lone tally and Martin Jones turned back 31 shots.
– Connor McDavid’s goal with 5 1/2 minutes left snapped a 2-2 deadlock in the Oilers’ 3-2 win over the Canucks. Leon Draisaitl (DRY’-sy-tul) had a goal and two assists to help Edmonton win its opener for the sixth consecutive season. Zack Kassian also scored and Mike Smith made 31 saves in his first game with the Oilers.
Coyotes’s Kuemper gets extension
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – The Arizona Coyotes have signed goalie Darcy Kuemper (KEHM’-pur) to a two-year, $9 million contract extension that runs through the summer of 2022.
The 29-year-old Kuemper had been a career backup until Arizona’s No. 1 goalie Antti Raanta (AN’-tee RAHN’-tah) suffered a season-ending injury last year. Kuemper is expected to share time with Raanta this season after going 27-20-8 with five shutouts and a 2.33 goals-against average.
Season over for Browns’ Kirksey, Panthers’ Short
UNDATED (AP) – Cleveland Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey has undergone season-ending surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Kirkesy was injured against the New York Jets on Sept. 16 and placed on injured reserve five days later.
The Browns expect Kirksey to make a full recovery. Rookie Mack Wilson is starting in Kirksey’s spot.
In other NFL news:
– Panthers two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kawann Short will miss the remainder of the season after being placed on injured reserve with a partially torn rotator cuff that will require surgery. Short injured the shoulder in Week 2 against Tampa Bay and has missed the past two games.
– The Patriots have placed kicker Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve without disclosing his ailment. Gostkowski has appeared in every game for New England since 2011. But he’s struggled thus far in 2019, missing four extra points.
– The Bengals have placed receiver John Ross III on injured reserve. Ross landed hard on his right shoulder during a 27-3 loss in Pittsburgh on Monday night. He’s eligible to return later in the season if the shoulder heals. Ross led the Bengals with 328 yards receiving and three touchdown catches.
– Defensive back Morris Claiborne has returned to the practice field with the Chiefs after serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. The 4-0 Chiefs also welcomed back wide receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Damien Williams from injuries, although it’s uncertain how much the three will play Sunday against the Cubs. Hill has been sidelined since Week 1 with a collarbone injury, and Williams has been nursing an ankle issue.
– Bears linebacker Roquan Smith says he plans to play against the Raiders on Sunday. Smith missed the Bears’ 16-6 victory over the Vikings for what coach Matt Nagy had termed a “personal issue,” His status had been uncertain on Monday.
– Bills quarterback Josh Allen remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, opening the possibility of backup Matt Barkley starting Sunday against the Titans. Allen was the recipient of a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jonathan Jones in the fourth quarter of Buffalo’s 16-10 loss to England last weekend. Barkley finished 9 of 16 for 127 yards and a game-sealing interception that ended Buffalo’s final drive.
– Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is practicing for the first time since being diagnosed with mononucleosis three weeks ago, although his status for the team’s game at Philadelphia remains uncertain. Coach Adam Gase says Darnold has still not been cleared for contact or lifting weights, but can throw passes and participate in individual and team drills. Gase says Darnold will have additional tests Friday.
– Falcons six-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack missed practice Wednesday with an elbow injury that briefly sidelined him in Sunday’s home loss to Tennessee. Mack returned to the game after sitting out a few snaps, but is on the injury report for this week’s game at Houston. Mack has made 68 consecutive starts and hasn’t missed a game since 2014 with Cleveland.
– Jaguars disgruntled cornerback Jalen Ramsey missed his fifth consecutive practice and was listed on the injury report Wednesday with a back injury. Ramsey missed one practice last week because of an illness, another because of his back and then two more to be home for the birth of his second child. Ramsey told a weekly podcast featuring NFL players last week that his trade request stands.
– NFL ratings through the first four weeks of the regular season have shown a 5% increase over last season. According to the league and Nielsen, games are averaging 16.6 million viewers on television and digital platforms. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” has shown the biggest jump among the weekly packages with a 6% increase.
– Former Cardinals owner William V. Bidwill has died at 88, according to the team. The bowtie-wearing Bidwill headed a family operation that dated to 1932, when his father Charles purchased the Chicago Cardinals, reportedly for $50,000. Young Bidwill was a ballboy for the 1947 team that won the franchise’s lone NFL championship.