Update on the latest sports
Dodgers blast Braves 15-3, score record 11 runs in 1st inning
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Max Muncy’s grand slam capped a record-setting 11-run first inning for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who coasted to a 15-3 rout of the Atlanta Braves that cut their National League Championship Series deficit to 2 games to 1.
Muncy’s slam was the third homer in the first inning and among a franchise-record five in a postseason game for the Dodgers. Joc Pederson and Edwin Rios went deep on consecutive pitches in the first.
Atlanta now has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Braves last October gave up a 10-run first to St. Louis in the NL Division Series finale.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw could start Game 4 Thursday if the left-hander’s back continues to improve. Kershaw was scratched from his Game 2 start because of back spasms, and manager Dave Roberts decided to stick with left-hander Julio Urias for Game 3 against Atlanta on Wednesday night.
Springer, Altuve homer to keep Astros alive in ALCS
SAN DIEGO (AP) – George Springer broke a tie with a two-run homer, Jose Altuve (al-TOO’-vay) also went deep and hit an RBI double, and Zack Greinke (GREHN’-kee) escaped a bases-loaded jam for the Houston Astros, who beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 to stay alive in the AL Championship Series.
With Altuve atoning for his poor defense in this series, the Astros finally got their offense going after being pushed to the brink of a sweep. Seeking their third pennant in four seasons, they trail 3-1 going into Game 5 on Thursday afternoon.
Greinke pitched six effective innings for the Astros, who held a meeting before the game. Houston manager Dusty Baker said he had no idea what was brought up, but he also addressed the team.
The Rays remain one win from going to the World Series for the second time in franchise history.
Cam Newton expected to practice Thursday
UNDATED (AP) – The New England Patriots activated quarterback Cam Newton from the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve list on Wednesday. Newton is expected to practice with the team on Thursday, which likely would lead to his starting on Sunday against Denver.
New England was 2-1 with Newton as its starter, then lost at Kansas City when he was sidelined after testing positive for the coronavirus. Newton had tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 2.
Three Patriots remain on the COVID-19 reserve list: cornerback Stephon Gilmore, defensive tackle Byron Cowart and practice squad DT Bill Murray.
In other NFL news:
– Arizona Cardinals All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones is out for the season because of a biceps injury that requires surgery following an injury during the first half of the team’s 30-10 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. The recovery time is expected to be three to four months. Candidates to replace Jones include Hasson Reddick, rookie Isaiah Simmons and backup Dennis Gardeck, who had his first two sacks against the Jets after Jones was hurt.
– The Carolina Panthers are taking enhanced precautions against the coronavirus following their exposure to Falcons defensive tackle Marlon Davidson during Sunday’s win at Atlanta. The Falcons placed Davidson on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. Carolina has entered the NFL’s “intensive protocol.” Under the new protocols established this week, all coaches and staff must wear masks at practice and all players must wear a face shield or mask. Players can remove their helmets for breaks but must be more than 6 feet away from one another. Carolina plays the Bears on Sunday.
– Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield’s ribs are still sore and he is being limited in practice as Cleveland prepares to play unbeaten Pittsburgh. Mayfield says his entire right side remains tender after he took a big hit in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the Colts. But he says he’s confident he’ll be ready for this week’s AFC North matchup between the 4-1 Browns and the 4-0 Steelers. Case Keenum is Cleveland’s No. 2 quarterback.
– Jimmy Garoppolo (gah-RAH’-puh-loh) was back on the practice field for the San Francisco 49ers a few days after getting pulled at halftime because of a bum ankle and bad performance. The defending NFC champions will need more than just better play from their quarterback if they want to get back on track after losses at home the past two weeks.
– Former starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins remains away from the Washington Football Team because of an illness that’s not considered COVID-19 related. Haskins was demoted from starter to third on the depth chart last week, so the plan was for him to be inactive against L.A. Kyle Allen is expected to start for Washington at the New York Giants this weekend with Alex Smith backing up.
– Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III wasn’t at practice Wednesday after being cited for driving under the influence and speeding by Denver police the night before. Police records show Gordon was driving between 25 and 39 mph over the posted speed limit when he was pulled over in downtown Denver. Gordon joined the team last offseason when he signed a two-year free agent contract worth $16 million.
-The Jacksonville Jaguars will set an NFL record by using their fifth kicker in as many games when they host Detroit on Sunday. Only four teams have used five or more kickers in a single season, with the Los Angeles Chargers doing it most recently in 2017. But none of them switched it up weekly like Jacksonville has been forced to do because of injuries. Quarterback Gardner Minshew says “it’s crazy.” Jon Brown will make his NFL debut against the Lions, following Josh Lambo, Brandon Wright, Aldrick Rosas and Steven Hauschka.
– The NFL has canceled next January’s Pro Bowl scheduled for Las Vegas. During an owners meeting held virtually on Wednesday, the league opted to call off the all-star game, hoping to replace it with a variety of virtual activities. The NFL needs flexibility in January in case it needs to move regular-season games to that month because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Pro Bowl, set for Jan. 31, a week before the Super Bowl, has lost much of its attractiveness in recent years. If there is a Pro Bowl in 2022, the 32 owners voted to return it to the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
– The next Super Bowl in New Orleans has been pushed back from 2024 to 2025 in order to avoid a conflict with the city’s traditional Mardi Gras celebrations. The NFL announced the change Wednesday, saying it was approved by all 32 clubs during a virtual league meeting. New Orleans was initially named the 2024 host city in 2018, but the NFL’s decision to lengthen the regular season schedule from 16 to 17 games in 2023 created a conflict in 2024 with Mardi Gras, which annually draws millions to the city for parades and balls during a several-week Carnival season that ends on “Fat Tuesday.”
Coastal Carolina knocks off No. 21 La.-Lafayette 30-27
UNDATED (AP) – Massimo Biscardi made a 40-yard field goal with 4 seconds left to give Coastal Carolina a 30-27 victory over No. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday night in A Sun Belt matchup of unbeaten teams. Freshman Grayson McCall threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score to help the Chanticleers beat a ranked team for the first time. The 4-0 start is their first in FBS play.
Coastal drove 60 yards in the final 5:30 to set up Biscardi. McCall was 17 of 24 for 202 yards. He has 11 TD passes in four games.
The Ragin’ Cajuns rallied three times with tying touchdowns, two by Elijah Mitchell. His 1-yard burst with 12:44 left tied it at 27.
The Cajuns, who were one of only three Group of Five teams in the rankings, will likely drop out of the Top 25 poll. They may be replaced by the Chanticleers, who were seventh among teams receiving votes after getting poll votes for the first time in school history two weeks ago.
Coastal Carolina returns home to face Sun Belt East Division rival Georgia Southern on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Saban tests positive, LSU-Florida game postponed as Gators deal with outbreak
UNDATED (AP) – Alabama coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne have tested positive for COVID-19, three days before the Southeastern Conference’s biggest regular-season showdown.
Both said their tests Wednesday morning came back positive, but Saban said he didn’t have any symptoms by late afternoon. Saban says he “immediately left work and isolated at home.”
The second-ranked Crimson Tide is set to face No. 3 Georgia on Saturday, and may be without their iconic 68-year-old coach. Saban said he immediately left the football building to isolate at home.
In other college football news:
– The Southeastern Conference has postponed Saturday’s game between No. 10 Florida and defending national champion LSU after the Gators had 19 players test positive for COVID-19. The game was tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12, the league’s built-in bye week before its title game. It’s the second SEC game bumped this week. Missouri-Vanderbilt already was postponed. Florida hosts Missouri next, on Oct. 24, and that game also could be in jeopardy. LSU’s next scheduled game is also Oct. 24, when the Tigers are slated to host South Carolina.
– Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said his Rebels are dealing with their first COVID-19 issue of the season but they have enough players available to play. He didn’t give any specifics. The Rebels are scheduled to visit Arkansas on Saturday. They’re coming off a 63-48 loss to No. 2 Alabama.
– Conference USA has pushed its football championship game back two weeks. The switch to Dec. 18 gives the league additional time to make up any games postponed because of the coronavirus. The title game had been scheduled for Dec. 5. Three games matching C-USA opponents have been postponed the last two weeks. Two of those games included Rice, which is scheduled to play its season opener Oct. 24. The C-USA championship game matches the champions of the East and West divisions. The team with the highest league winning percentage hosts the game.
– Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte says he expects players to “stand together as a unified group” to show appreciation for the school and fans during the playing of the school song “The Eyes of Texas.” The song has become a controversy within the Texas program. Some players say they no longer want to sing it because of connections to racist elements in school history. Del Conte’s remarks are the most forceful yet from the administration. Football coach Tom Herman has said he’ll encourage players to join in but will respect those who didn’t want to.
Vegas to host NCAA Tournament men’s regional for first time
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Las Vegas will host an NCAA Tournament men’s regional for the first time after the NCAA changed a policy that prevented states with sports wagering from hosting championships. The city will host the 2023 NCAA Tournament men’s regional.
Nevada will host 11 events, including the 2026 men’s Frozen Four, after the NCAA changed its stance on cities with sports betting last year.
Dayton, Ohio will continue to host the NCAA First Four through at least 2026. It has served as the site for the start of the NCAA Tournament since 2001.
The 2020 Final Four in Atlanta was wiped out by the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In other NCAA news:
– An NCAA proposal to permit college athletes to earn money from endorsements and sponsorships deals will go up for vote in January. But that will not be the last word on how name, image and likeness compensation will work. Federal lawmakers are still expected to weigh in. The Division I Council also approved a proposal that would permit all NCAA athletes to transfer one time without having to sit out a season of competition. Currently, football, basketball, baseball and hockey players must sit out a year after they transfer as an undergraduate. Athletes in other sports have already had access to a one-time exception. Both proposals will now go to membership for comment and feedback.
Canadiens give 2-year extension to goaltender Jake Allen
UNDATED (AP) – The Montreal Canadiens have given a two-year contract extension to goaltender Jake Allen. The deal is worth $2.875 million per season and keeps Allen under contract through the 2022-23 season.
Montreal acquired Allen in a trade with St. Louis on Sept. 2. The Canadiens hope he can be a reliable backup to All-Star Carey Price. The 30-year-old Allen played 24 games with the Blues this past season and posted a 12-6-3 record with a 2.15 goals-against average and .927 save percentage and two shutouts.
In other NHL news:
– The Winnipeg Jets have signed defenseman Nelson Nogier to a two-year, two-way contract. The deal carries an average annual value of $725,000 in the NHL. The 24-year-old played 58 games for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose last season and recorded nine points and 45 penalty minutes. Nogier has appeared in 11 games for the Jets since Winnipeg selected him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft.