Update on the latest sports
Astros beat Rays to advance to face Yankees
HOUSTON (AP) – The Houston Astros have survived an unexpectedly tough series with Tampa Bay to advance to the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.
Gerrit Cole worked eight strong innings and the Astros continued their playoff charge by downing the Rays, 6-1 in Houston. Cole followed his 15-strikeout performance in Game 1 of the ALDS by fanning 10 while limiting the wild-card champs to one run and two hits. He blanked the Rays after Eric Sogard’s second-inning homer.
Houston took control with a four-run first as Jose Altuve (al-TOO’-vay) and Yuli Gurriel (YOO’-lee gur-ee-EHL’) sandwiched RBI singles around Alex Bregman’s two-run double. Michael Brantley and Altuve added back-to-back homers in the bottom of the eighth to cap the scoring.
Losing pitcher Tyler Glasnow was reached for four runs and five hits over 2 2/3 innings.
Houston will host Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday.
Phils boot Kapler
UNDATED (AP) – The Phillies have fired manager Gabe Kapler, nearly two weeks after a disappointing finish to a season of big expectations. Kapler went 161-163 in two years. The Phillies failed to live up to the hype following an offseason spending spree highlighted by Bryce Harper’s arrival. They were 81-81, the club’s first non-losing season since 2012. Phillies managing partner John Middleton says “some changes are necessary to achieve our ultimate objective” of winning the World Series.
In other baseball news:
– Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks could make a surprise return from elbow injury to start in AL Championship Series. The switch-hitter has not played since Aug. 3. CC Sabathia also could be back on the roster after missing the Division Series sweep of Minnesota because of a sore pitching shoulder. The 39-year-old left-hander is retiring after this year.
– Athletics rookie catcher Sean Murphy has undergone surgery on his left knee and is expected to be fully recovered for the start of spring training in February. Murphy batted .245 with four home runs and eight RBIs in 20 games after being recalled last month.
– Padres pitcher Jacob Nix has been arrested and accused of breaking into a suburban Phoenix home through a doggie door last Sunday morning before being shot with a Taser by the homeowner. Nix was released this week from the Maricopa County jail on $100 bond and faces two counts of criminal trespassing. Charging documents indicate the 23-year-old Nix was under the influence of either alcohol or drugs during the incident.
Brady passes Peyton as Pats whip Giants
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Tom Brady moved up the NFL’s all-time list for passing yards for the second straight game and helped the New England Patriots improve to 6-0 for the first time in four years.
Brady finished 31 of 41 for 334 yards as the Patriots dumped the Giants, 35-14. The 42-year-old quarterback moved ahead of Peyton Manning for second place for aerial yardage and also ran for two scores as New England took advantage of the mistake-prone Giants.
The reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and forced four turnovers, including a fumble return for a score. Julian Edelman had his second straight 100-yard receiving game, catching nine passes for 113 yards.
New York QB Daniel Jones had his worst game since taking over for Eli Manning in Week 3, completing just 15 of 31 passes for 161 yards and three interceptions.
The Giants are 2-4 following their second straight loss.
Jaguars owner expects Ramsey to play Sunday
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan expects cornerback Jalen Ramsey to play this week.
Khan told a financial news site, The Street, he had a “heart to heart” with the disgruntled defender earlier this week and said Ramsey is scheduled to play against New Orleans.
Ramsey has practiced on a limited basis the last two days after missing seven straight because of illness, back tightness and the birth of his second daughter. His back caused him to miss the past two games. He saw a specialist Monday in Houston.
In other NFL news:
– Saints linebacker Demario Davis says being fined for wearing his “Man of God” headband helped his cause in the long run. Davis says he’d worn the headband expressing his faith for several games before the NFL took note of the uniform violation and fined him about $7,000. The New Orleans defensive captain was able to successfully appeal the fine by arguing that he was not aware that expressing his faith in that way violated NFL policies.
– The Raiders have cut wide receiver J.J. Nelson after he missed three of the past four games with injuries. Nelson hurt his knee early in the opener and sat out the next game. He returned in Week 3 and caught a TD pass against Minnesota but missed the past two weeks because of the knee.
Nets win with patchwork backcourt
UNDATED (AP) – It was a short day’s work for the Nets’ starting backcourt in Thursday’s 114-111 win over the Lakers.
Newly acquired Kyrie Irving had to sit out after aggravating his facial fracture 66 seconds into the game. Irving injured the left side of his face during a pickup game last month and was wearing a clear mask as protection before taking an inadvertent elbow from Rajon Rondo (RAH’-zhahn RAHN’-doh).
Moments later, Caris LeVert had to leave after being poked in the right eye, causing him to miss the rest of the game.
Spencer Dinwiddie replaced Irving and scored a team-high 20 points in the game at Shanghai.
In other NBA news:
– The NBA has decided to stay silent for the remainder of its trip with the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets in China. The Lakers and Nets will play on Saturday in Shenzhen as planned but no news conferences for either team are scheduled to be held before or after the game. It’s part of a rift that began last week when Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.
– The Pacers have exercised contract options on TJ Leaf and Aaron Holiday. Leaf was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2017, one year before Holiday was selected by Indiana in the opening round.
Bolts blast Leafs
UNDATED (AP) – The Tampa Bay Lightning have ended a two-goal skid with a convincing win in Toronto.
Nikita Kucherov (KOO’-cheh-rahv) scored twice and had two assists in the Lightning’s 7-3 romp over the Maple Leafs. Steven Stamkos added a goal and three assists for the Bolts, who chased Frederik Andersen after scoring seven times on 28 shots.
Tampa Bay’s top line of Brayden Point, Stamkos and Kucherov finished with 11 points in their first action together this season.
Anthony Cirelli had three assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy (va-sih-LEHV’-skee) made 25 saves for Tampa Bay.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– The Predators erased a 4-2 deficit in the third period and beat the Capitals, 6-5 on Mattias (mah-TEE’-uhs) Ekholm’s goal with 4:40 remaining. Alex Ovechkin (oh-VEHCH’-kihn) scored twice for Washington, which led 5-4 until Nick Bonino and Ekholm tallied 28 seconds apart.
– The Oilers are 4-0 after Leon Draisaitl (DRY’-sy-tul) scored once in regulation and provided the lone shootout tally in a 4-3 win at New Jersey. James Neal followed up his career-high four-goal performance by netting his seventh of the season, but Edmonton needed Connor McDavid’s power-play goal with 66 seconds left in regulation to extend the game.
– David Perron’s (peh-RAHNZ’) second goal of the night was the game-winner in the Blues’ 6-4 verdict over the Senators. Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and three assists in support of Jake Allen, who made 25 saves in his season debut.
– The Bruins had two goals disallowed through video review before Andre Burakovsky scored the go-ahead goal with 7:06 remaining to send the Avalanche to a 4-2 victory against Boston. Philipp Grubauer made 39 saves as Colorado improved to 3-0 for just the second time since the franchise moved from Quebec in 1995.
– The Coyotes had been 0-4 all-time at home against the Golden Knights before Conor Garland scored twice in Arizona’s first win of the season, 4-1 against Vegas. Nick Schmaltz and Niklas Hjalmarsson each had a goal for the Coyotes, who scored just once in their first two games.
– Patrik Laine (LY’-nay) scored twice and added a pair of assists as the Jets dumped the Wild, 5-2. Laine set up Kyle Connor’s tiebreaking goal and Blake Wheeler recorded a goal and one assist.
– Patrick Marleau scored twice in his return to the Sharks and Barclay Goodrow furnished the deciding goal in the third period of a 5-4 victory at Chicago. Brent Burns scored his 200th career goal as San Jose won for the first time in five games this season.
– Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau (guh-DROH’) delivered shootout goals to complete the Flames’ rally in a 2-0 win against the Stars. Calgary trailed 2-0 until Lindholm and Hanifin scored less than three minutes apart early in the third period.
– Anthony Mantha scored his sixth goal of the season and the Red Wings snapped a nine-game losing streak against Montreal by spoiling the Canadiens’ home opener, 4-2. Darren Helm, Tyler Bertuzzi and Luke Glendenning also scored as Detroit improved to 3-1.
– Matt Murray turned back 31 shots and Jake Guentzel (GEHNT’-sul) broke a 1-1 tie with 12:36 remaining in the Penguins’ 2-1 win over the Ducks. Sidney Crosby scored a power-play goal and assisted on the game-winner to help Pittsburgh finish 2-2 on its season-opening, four-game homestand.
Martinook out with core injury
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a core muscle injury that will require surgery.
Martinook has an assist in four games this season, his second with the team and first as an alternate captain. He had a career-best 15 goals plus 10 assists while playing all 82 regular-season games with Carolina a year ago, then added four assists in 10 playoff games.
Mystics take title
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Washington Mystics have captured their first WNBA title by taking the deciding fifth game against the Connecticut Sun.
Emma Meesseman dropped in 22 points and league MVP Elena Delle Donne added 21 as the Mystics downed the Sun, 89-78. Delle Donne scored four points during a decisive 8-0 run that gave the Mystics an 80-72 lead with under three minutes left.
Cook, Gooch share Houston Open lead
HUMBLE, Texas (AP) – Austin Cook and Talor Gooch are co-leaders through one round of the PGA’s Houston Open.
Cook had four birdies and an eagle during a five-hole stretch on the front nine before completing an 8-under 64.
Sepp Straka is one stroke back and one ahead of Russell Henley, Lanto Griffin and Tyler McCumber.
Biles takes another world title
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) – Simone Biles has won her fifth all-around title at the gymnastics world championships, underlining her status as the clear favorite for next year’s Olympic gold medal.
The U.S. gymnast scored 58.999 points to finish 2.1 points ahead of China’s Tang Xijing, who was entered as a late replacement for a teammate.
No other woman has won more than three all-around titles. Biles’ victory makes it seven wins in a row for the United States in the women’s all-around, matching the Soviet Union’s record streak at world championships in the 1970s and 1980s.
Spence seriously injured in crash
DALLAS (AP) – Welterweight boxing champion Errol Spence was badly injured after crashing a speeding Ferrari in Dallas, but police say he is expected to survive.
Spence’s vehicle crossed a median into oncoming traffic and flipped over several times early Thursday morning. Police say he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the car.
Spence was taken to a hospital and placed in the intensive care unit. His family says he sustained facial lacerations but no fractured bones.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-MARY HARDIN-BAYLOR-NCAA SANCTIONS
Mary Hardin-Baylor to vacate title
BELTON, Texas (AP) – The NCAA has ordered Mary Hardin-Baylor to vacate its 2016 Division III football national championship because the head coach let a player use his car for more than 18 months, which was improper benefit for a student-athlete. The NCAA says it would vacate any victories in which any ineligible athletes played.
The school said that includes 29 victories over the 2016-2017 seasons and the 2016 championship.
School officials said they’ll appeal that punishment.
NIKE-OREGON PROJECT CLOSING
Nike closing Oregon Project in wake of Salazar ban
BEAVERTON, Oregon (AP) – Nike says it is closing its Oregon Project track and field program following Alberto Salazar’s four-year ban.
Nike says “uninformed innuendo and unsubstantiated assertions has become an unfair burden for current OP athletes. That is exactly counter to the purpose of the team. We have therefore made the decision to wind down the Oregon Project to allow the athletes to focus on their training and competition needs.”
Salazar was banned last week for possessing and trafficking testosterone while coaching top runners at the Nike Oregon Project, an elite training program bankrolled by the company that was launched in 2001.
Salazar is appealing against the decision.
Nike says “we will help all of our athletes in this transition as they choose the coaching set up that is right for them. We will continue to support Alberto in his appeal.”