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We review the highlinghts of the day with the “Roundup”!! Covering all sports: MLB, NBA, NFL, College Basketball, College Football, Hockey, Tennis, Horse Racing, NASCAR, UFC/MMA, Poker, Soccer, MLS, WNBA, Rugby and more…
We review the highlinghts of the day with the “Roundup”!! Covering all sports: MLB, NBA, NFL, College Basketball, College Football, Hockey, Tennis, Horse Racing, NASCAR, UFC/MMA, Poker, Soccer, MLS, WNBA, Rugby and more…
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — For the second straight year, Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher will meet in a mentor-mentee matchup.
All signs point toward Saban teaching him another lesson when top-ranked Alabama hosts 22nd-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday in one of two games between Top 25 teams. The other has No. 7 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon.
Fisher was Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-06, and they met in the highly anticipated kickoff to the 2017 season in Atlanta. The Tide was in total control while winning 24-7 against Fisher’s third-ranked Florida State Seminoles.
Fisher moved on to A&M, where his charge is to challenge Saban and the Tide’s supremacy in the SEC West. No small task. The Tide has outscored their first three opponents 170-28 and are 27-point favorites to beat the Aggies for a sixth straight time.
Five things to know about college football’s Week 4:
Stanford at Oregon
Washington came into the season all the rage in the Pac-12, but the winner of this game has gone on to win the North five times since 2011.
Oregon QB Justin Herbert has put up great numbers, and the defense has held the last two opponents under 100 yards rushing. The nonconference schedule was cushy, though, so this game will be a truer indicator of what first-year coach Mario Cristobal has in Eugene.
Stanford’s Bryce Love , the 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up, returns after sitting out last week’s game against UC-Davis with an undisclosed injury. The Cardinal defense has allowed a total of 23 points in three games.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Tagovailoa is a model of efficiency. In the first three games, 14 of the 20 drives he’s quarterbacked have resulted in touchdowns and a 15th in a field goal. Alabama was 15 for 19 on third downs on those possessions. Going back to the national championship game against Clemson, Tagovailoa’s 29 series have ended with 17 touchdowns and three field goals.
The sophomore left-hander made a big move up in the Heisman polls after his performance against Mississippi, and he’s in position to put up monster numbers against a Texas A&M defense struggling against the pass.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
10: Florida State’s point total in eight quarters against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents (Virginia Tech, Syracuse).
25: Number of rushing yards Iowa has allowed in its last two games. Next up for the Hawkeyes is Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, No. 2 in the nation at 171.7 yards per game.
40: Boston College has scored at least that many points in an ACC game five times. Four of those five are in BC’s past six conference games.
593: Consecutive carries without a fumble by Arizona State running backs.
1945: The last time Nebraska started 0-3 if it loses at Michigan. The Cornhuskers are 18-point underdogs.
1961: The last time Oklahoma played Army. The Sooners won 14-8 at Yankee Stadium.
OFF THE RADAR
Florida at Tennessee
Seems like a long time ago this was one of the most entertaining rivalries in the nation, let alone the Southeastern Conference. For the first time since 1970, both teams go into this game with first-year head coaches as they look to recapture their mojo.
Florida’s Feleipe Franks got booed at home last week after opening 0 for 6 with an interception. He recovered to complete 8 of his next 9 in a win over Colorado State. Last year, Franks hooked up with Tyrie Cleveland on a 63-yard Hail Mary to beat the Volunteers 26-20 in Gainesville, but he’s 1-3 as a starter away from home.
Tennessee is holding a 20-year reunion for its 1998 national championship team, QB Jarrett Guarantano is completing 72 percent of his passes and the defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in its last eight quarters. But the Volunteers have played overmatched competition the last two weeks. Though the Vols are 4 ½-point underdogs, this is their best chance for their first SEC win since 2016. The four-game gauntlet of Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and South Carolina awaits.
HOT SEAT WATCH
Clay Helton, Southern California
Helton won the Rose Bowl two years ago, the Pac-12 last year and had his contract extended to 2023. Thanks, Sam Darnold.
The capital Helton built is being diminished by the Trojans’ 1-2 start with back-to-back road losses to Stanford and Texas. Now comes Washington State (3-0) and its “Air Raid” offense to the Los Angeles Coliseum on Friday night.
The deficiencies on this USC team are apparent. Poor offensive line play and lack of a running game are putting all kinds of pressure on true freshman quarterback JT Daniels, and Helton is feeling it, too.
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not quite finished with racing.
The NASCAR fan favorite got back behind the wheel Friday night, led 96 laps and finished fourth in an Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway. It was his first race since he retired from the Cup Series after last season and became a father earlier this year.
“I’m probably going to run one more next year,” Earnhardt said, primarily because the revenue he brings in from racing allows him to support another car for 8-to-10 races. “It’s worth it for me to get out there, have a little fun, run a race.”
It was especially fun, he said, before the green flag ever dropped because his wife, Amy, and infant daughter Isla were with him.
“I was thrilled to have Isla there,” he said. “She won’t remember what happened today, but if I never run another race, I got to have her at one event and we got a picture at the car before the race that she’ll be able to have the rest of her life. It doesn’t matter to me if she ever thinks that’s a big deal, but I want her to have some understanding, I guess, of what I did before she was born.”
It was a moment, he said, that was “weird, but pretty cool.”
Now working as an analyst for NBC Sports, Earnhardt said he doesn’t want to cheat his new career.
“I love to drive and I just don’t want to do a ton. I want to be great in the booth. I know that this helps a little bit, but it also takes away from my ability to … see the weekend as a whole, understand what’s going on across the board.
“That’s where I want to be. I want to be in the booth for a long, long time,” he said.
Earnhardt had the lead until Matt Tifft beat him off pit road with about 30 laps to go. Christopher Bell then passed Tifft after a restart with 13 laps to go and won the first of seven playoff races in the series. It was Bell’s fifth victory this season, and he completed a season sweep at Richmond.
“To be able to come out here and win on a late race restart like that is really special,” said Bell, who won last year’s championship in the truck series. Justin Allgaier’s 32nd-place run also gave Bell the series points lead.
Ross Chastain rallied to finish second, followed by Daniel Hemric.
For Chastain, succeeding in a race where one of the sport’s biggest stars also contended had an extra cool factor.
“There is, man. I live close to him. I help pay the bills over there at JR Motorsports with my rent check every month — I make a small contribution — and we pass each other on the road now and then,” Chastain said. “I don’t think he knows what I drive, but I wave to him just like I wave at everybody else down that bumpy, bumpy road.”
It wasn’t Chastain’s first on-track encounter with Earnhardt.
“I raced with him at Dover in my first Cup race,” he said. “One run, we had our car really good, his car was really bad and I was able to clear him and I waved to him. About 10 laps later, I burned my front tires off, he went back by me and he waved back to me and I was like, ‘Wow. That’s Dale Jr. waving.'”
The race was the 31st in the series for Elliott Sadler, a Virginia native who grew up about 70 miles away and regularly attended races at the track. Sadler, who is retiring at the end of the season, was hoping to capture his first career victory on the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval. He ran in the top 10 most of the race and finished sixth.
Friday At Richmond Raceway, Richmond, Va.
Lap length: 0.75 milesv(Start position in parentheses)
1. (1) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 250 laps, 0 rating, 58 points.
2. (3) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 43.
3. (6) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 52.
4. (2) Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 51.
5. (10) Matt Tifft, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 44.
6. (13) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 40.
7. (14) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 36.
8. (9) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 250, 0, 29.
9. (8) Shane Lee, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 28.
10. (21) Ryan Reed, Ford, 250, 0, 27.
11. (7) Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 30.
12. (16) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 25.
13. (11) Austin Cindric, Ford, 250, 0, 27.
14. (17) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 23.
15. (4) Cole Custer, Ford, 250, 0, 24.
16. (20) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 21.
17. (18) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 20.
18. (12) Ryan Preece, Toyota, 250, 0, 19.
19. (22) Mason Diaz, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 18.
20. (27) David Starr, Chevrolet, 249, 0, 17.
21. (19) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 248, 0, 16.
22. (23) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 248, 0, 15.
23. (26) Ray Black Jr, Chevrolet, 248, 0, 14.
24. (29) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 248, 0, 13.
25. (28) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 246, 0, 12.
26. (34) Chad Finchum, Chevrolet, 245, 0, 11.
27. (25) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 244, 0, 10.
28. (32) Katherine Legge, Chevrolet, 242, 0, 9.
29. (31) Bayley Currey, Toyota, 242, 0, 0.
30. (39) Josh Bilicki, Toyota, 242, 0, 7.
31. (24) Quin Houff, Chevrolet, 231, 0, 6.
32. (5) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, accident, 226, 0, 17.
33. (30) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, accident, 160, 0, 4.
34. (15) Ty Majeski, Ford, accident, 145, 0, 3.
35. (38) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, overheating, 122, 0, 2.
36. (40) Carl Long, Chevrolet, overheating, 98, 0, 1.
37. (37) Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, engine, 91, 0, 1.
38. (36) Timmy Hill, Dodge, electrical, 85, 0, 1.
39. (35) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, vibration, 28, 0, 1.
40. (33) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, handling, 22, 0, 1.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 91.348 mph.
Time of Race: 2 hours, 3 minutes, 8 seconds.
Margin of Victory: 0.566 seconds.
Caution Flags: 5 for 40 laps.
Lead Changes: 11 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C.Bell 1-7; J.Allgaier 8-34; C.Bell 35; J.Allgaier 36-45; D.Hemric 46-79; C.Bell 80-123; D.Earnhardt 124-152; C.Bell 153; D.Earnhardt 154-220; D.Hemric 221; M.Tifft 222-236; C.Bell 237-250
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): D.Earnhardt, 2 times for 94 laps; C.Bell, 5 times for 62 laps; J.Allgaier, 2 times for 35 laps; D.Hemric, 2 times for 33 laps; M.Tifft, 1 time for 14 laps.
Wins: J.Allgaier, 5; C.Bell, 5; R.Chastain, 1; S.Gallagher, 1; R.Preece, 1; T.Reddick, 1.
Top 10 in Points: 1. C.Bell, 2095; 2. D.Hemric, 2063; 3. J.Allgaier, 2056; 4. R.Chastain, 2053; 5. E.Sadler, 2051; 6. M.Tifft, 2047; 7. T.Reddick, 2046; 8. C.Custer, 2035; 9. B.Jones, 2035; 10. R.Truex, 2033.
(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — Sassuolo moved into second place in Serie A with a 3-1 comeback win over Empoli on Friday.
After Empoli’s Francesco Caputo scored just 18 seconds in, Sassuolo responded with goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng — his third in five matches — Gianmarco Ferrari and Federico Di Francesco.
Sassuolo is two points behind Juventus, which will look to extend its perfect record at Frosinone on Sunday, and one point ahead of Spal and Napoli.
Spal visits Fiorentina on Saturday and Napoli plays at Torino on Sunday.
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Stuttgart again failed to score Friday in a 0-0 draw against promoted Fortuna Duesseldorf in the Bundesliga.
Former Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler was on form for Stuttgart, producing a fine reflex reaction to deny a deflected effort from American midfielder Alfredo Morales late on, having already done well to stop the visitors taking the lead.
Stuttgart’s main problems are at the other end of the pitch. It was the fourth match in five competitive games that the side had failed to score.
The result increases the pressure on coach Tayfun Korkut after claiming just two points from the opening four league games. Stuttgart’s first-round loss in the German Cup has added to the sense of unease.
MONACO (AP) — Monaco’s poor start to the French league season continued Friday after being held to a 1-1 home draw by promoted Nimes.
Leonardo Jardim’s side has only one win from the opening six games and is nine points behind league leader Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the defending champion’s trip to Rennes on Sunday.
Monaco finished runner-up to PSG last season.
It might have been even worse for Jardim’s team, with Antonin Bobichon going close in injury time as Nimes threatened an upset.
The visitors went ahead through Anthony Briancon in the 19th minute, but Colombian striker Radamel Falcao equalized eight minutes later.
WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM
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CLEVELAND (AP) — For the first time in 635 days, the Cleveland Browns won.
Baker Mayfield showed them how.
The No. 1 overall pick replaced injured starter Tyrod Taylor and sparked the Browns, who got two 1-yard touchdown runs from Carlos Hyde and beat the New York Jets 21-17 on Thursday night for their first win since Dec. 24, 2016.
“I’ve just been waiting for my moment,” Mayfield said. “I’m just getting started.”
And so ends Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak, the NFL’s second-longest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
The Browns (1-1-1) trailed 14-0 in the first half before Mayfield came in for Taylor and led four scoring drives while winning an unexpected matchup against Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. Cleveland passed on taking Darnold in the draft and instead chose Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma.
Mayfield finished 17 of 23 for 201 yards in a little more than a half after coming in after Taylor suffered a concussion.
Darnold had one last chance, but was intercepted by Terrence Mitchell with 11 seconds left.
When the final seconds ticked off the clock, Cleveland fans, who had endured a 0-16 season and waited nearly two years to see their Browns win, erupted in celebration.
Refrigerators around the city stocked with Bud Lights were finally unlocked, and there figured to be more than a few beverages consumed in the hours ahead.
This was just one win, and while it was an ending, it also felt like a beginning — because of Mayfield.
“Dilly, dilly to the Cleveland fans,” Mayfield said, using the beer’s commercial slogan. “It’s not the only win we’re going to celebrate.”
Isaiah Crowell had two touchdown runs for the Jets (1-2), who seemed in control when they took a 14-0 lead and knocked Taylor from the game.
Newly signed Browns kicker Greg Joseph made field goals of 45 and 27 yards after being signed just three days ago.
Browns coach Hue Jackson got just his second win in 35 games since being hired by owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, and this win will ease some of the pressure he’s been feeling to get Cleveland turned around. Jackson could also be faced with a difficult choice — either stick with Mayfield or go back to Taylor when he’s healthy.
The decision might not be as tough now.
Jackson wouldn’t commit to staying with Mayfield, but referred to the performance as “his coming out party” several times.
Mayfield made his NFL debut with 1:42 left in the second quarter, replacing an injured Taylor after Cleveland’s starter was sacked for the third time. Taylor struggled getting to his feet after being dragged down by linebacker Avery Williamson, but he had absorbed several hard blows before that — and had been ineffective.
With Cleveland’s crowd roaring, Mayfield completed a 14-yard pass to Jarvis Landry on his first pass as a pro and then found tight end David Njoku for 17 yards. Mayfield drove Cleveland into field-goal position and Joseph, who signed with the team on Monday following a tryout, drilled a low line drive to pull the Browns within 14-3.
Cleveland’s plan was to have Mayfield watch and learn this season.
Taylor’s injury may change everything.
For Darnold, a promising start ended with his second loss in three games. He completed 15 of 31 passes for 169 yards, but threw two picks late in the fourth as he tried to rally the Jets.
“I feel like I’ve got to play better and make better reads,” Darnold said. “I need to be more decisive. We’ve got to make them pay and put the ball in our playmakers’ hands.”
Hyde’s 1-yard TD run pulled the Browns within 14-12 and Cleveland tied it with a trick 2-point play .
Mayfield shifted to the left and the ball was snapped directly to running back Duke Johnson, who ran right and gave the ball to Landry on a reverse. Landry then lofted a pass into the end zone to Mayfield, whose conversion tied it and sent Cleveland fans into a frenzy.
Crowell scored his second TD with 7:54 left in the second quarter, and was flagged for excessive celebrating when he squatted and wiped the ball on his backside before flinging it into the crowd.
Crowell’s untouched 7-yard run TD run came five plays after Jets linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis got a hand on Britton Colquitt’s attempted punt and New York took over at Cleveland’s 28.
On the first play of the second quarter, Crowell took an inside handoff and raced into the end zone before firing the ball into the stands in celebration. Crowell spent four seasons with the Browns before signing a three-year, $12 million free agent contract with New York as a free agent in March.
Hyde arrived late for pregame warmups because his wife was giving birth. Jackson said as of late Thursday night the child had not yet been delivered.
Joseph stayed on the field and kicked by himself during the opening coin toss, and each of his makes drew a rousing ovation from Cleveland fans. Just a few days ago, Joseph was relaxing in South Florida with friends while Gonzalez missed four kicks in New Orleans and then got booted by the Browns.
The Browns suspended radio reporter Nathan Zegura eight games for his conduct on the sideline during last Sunday’s loss at New Orleans. Zegura, who also co-hosts the team’s in-house radio broadcast, can’t work a game until Nov. 25. He has also been removed from the team’s afternoon show for two weeks.
Jets: CB Trumaine Johnson left in the first quarter with a suspected head injury, but returned. …. WR Charone Peake sustained a hamstring injury. … CB Buster Skrine injured his knee in the first and did not return. … WR Robby Anderson injured his nose in the third quarter, but came back.
Browns: S Jabrill Peppers hurt a shoulder in the first half, and Landry replaced him on punt returns.
Jets: Play at Jacksonville on Sept. 30.
Browns: Visit the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 30.
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox won their third consecutive AL East championship Thursday night, clinching on enemy turf with an 11-6 victory over the rival New York Yankees.
Betts homered, doubled twice and drove in five runs, finishing with four hits as the Red Sox overcame Giancarlo Stanton’s go-ahead grand slam in the fourth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a tying home run in the seventh and Xander Bogaerts put Boston ahead with a sacrifice fly.
With the best record in baseball and a playoff berth already secured, Boston (104-49) closed out a once-tight division race with nine games to spare. J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox, alone in first place since July 2, will open the postseason at home on Oct. 5 against an opponent to be determined.
Never before had Boston finished in first place three years in a row. The club needs one victory to match the franchise record held by the 1912 World Series champions.It took three tries, but these Red Sox finally earned their chance to celebrate at Yankee Stadium under rookie manager Alex Cora.
After starter Eduardo Rodriguez walked a career-high seven in 3 2/3 innings, knuckleballer Steven Wright (3-1) worked three shutout innings for the win.
Brock Holt also homered for the Red Sox, and Martinez increased his major league-leading RBI total to 124 in a game that took 4 hours, 2 minutes.
Luke Voit hit a two-run homer for New York. Chad Green (8-3) was the loser.
ATHLETICS 21, ANGELS 3: At Oakland, California, Marcus Semien had three hits and a career-high five RBIs, Stephen Piscotty homered and drove in four runs and Oakland hammered Los Angeles.
The Athletics reduced their magic number for clinching a playoff berth to five. Since June 15, Oakland is a major league-best 58-25.
Going into Thursday, Oakland trailed Houston by four games in the AL West, led Tampa Bay by 5 1/2 games for the second wild card, and was 2 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees for the first wild card.
Catcher Francisco Arcia pitched the last two innings for the Angels, and also homered in the ninth.
Piscotty was 2 for 3 with a three-run homer. He’s 4 for 6 with two home runs and nine RBI in his last two games. Matt Chapman was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI. He leads the majors with 24 doubles since the All-Star break and has 41 on the year.
Mike Trout hit his 36th home run for the Angels.
Edwin Jackson (6-3) struck out seven and gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball. Matt Shoemaker (2-2) was the loser.
BRAVES 8, PHILLIES 3: At Atlanta, Luca Duda’s pinch-hit double drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh, and Atlantatook an important step toward winning the NL East by beating Philadelphia.
Atlanta leads the second-place Phillies by 6 1/2 games following the opening game of the four-game series. The teams close the season with three games at Philadelphia, but the Phillies need to win at least three of four in Atlanta to retain hope of making the final series meaningful. The Braves have a magic number of four over Philadelphia to clinch their first division title since 2013.
Freddie Freeman had two hits and scored two runs. He has eight hits in his last three games.
Tommy Hunter (4-4), the Phillies’ fifth pitcher, gave up a leadoff double to Dansby Swanson in the seventh. The left-handed hitting Duda pulled the run-scoring double into the right-field corner, giving Atlanta the 4-3 lead. Jesse Biddle (6-1), the Phillies’ 2010 first-round pick, gave up one hit while recording two outs in the seventh.
BLUE JAYS 9, RAYS 8: At Toronto, Justin Smoak homered with two outs in the ninth inning to lift Toronto past Tampa Bay, dealing a blow to the Rays’ wild-card playoff hopes.
Smoak hit his 25th homer of the season and third career walk-off blast. Sergio Romo (3-4) blew his eighth save in 30 opportunities. David Paulino (1-0) pitched an inning for the victory as Toronto won for the fourth time in its past five.
Trailing 8-2 to begin the ninth, the Blue Jays roared back to snap Tampa Bay’s five-game winning streak. Tellez hit an RBI double and Danny Jansen chased Jamie Schultz with a three-run homer. Romo came on and struck out Richard Urena, but pinch hitter Kendrys Morales singled and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. tied it with a two-run homer to left. Smoak followed with a first pitch drive to right.
Jonny Chirinos (5-5) was the loser.
WHITE SOX 5, INDIANS 4, 11 INNINGS: At Cleveland, Matt Davidson hit a run-scoring single with two out in the 11th inning to lift Chicago past Cleveland for the White Sox’s first victory at Progressive Field this season.
The White Sox were outscored 58-19 in dropping their first eight games in Cleveland, including a 4-1 loss Wednesday when Jason Kipnis hit a grand slam in the ninth.
Yolmer Sanchez doubled off Adam Cimber (0-3) to start the 11th and moved to third on a groundout. After Avisail Garcia was intentionally walked, Ryan Cordell struck out before Davidson singled to right.
Hector Santiago (6-3) pitched three scoreless innings. Eric Haase was hit by a pitch to start the 11th, but Santiago retired Fransico Lindor on a fly ball, struck out Michael Brantley and got Jose Ramirez on a groundout to end the game.
TIGERS 11, ROYALS 8: At Detroit, Christin Stewart hit his first two big league homers and drove in six runs, leading Detroit past Kansas City.
Stewart, a September call-up playing in his 11th game, became the first Tigers rookie to drive in six runs in a game since Ryan Raburn had seven against the White Sox on July 25, 2007.
Six Tigers had at least two hits and Detroit snapped a seven-game home losing streak. Kansas City has lost five in a row. Zac Reininger (1-0), the second of seven Detroit pitchers, picked up his first major league victory. Nicholas Castellanos also homered for Detroit.
Jorge Bonifacio, Hunter Dozier and Adalberto Mondesi homered for Kansas City. Jorge Lopez (2-5) gave up seven runs without getting an out in the second.
METS 5, NATIONALS 4, 12 INNINGS: At Washington, Jose Lobaton hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly against his former team in the 12th inning and New Yorks beat Washington.
Lobaton, who spent the previous four years in Washington before signing with the Mets in December, lofted a one-out fly ball off Jefry Rodriguez (3-3) with the bases loaded to score Amed Rosario.
Jacob Rhame (1-2) worked two scoreless innings, and Paul Sewald pitched the 12th for his second save.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was ejected in the 12th for arguing home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn’s called third strike.
Washington starter Max Scherzer pitched seven innings, allowing three runs while striking out 13. He has 290 strikeouts this year, the most for a National since the franchise relocated from Montreal before the 2005 season. Scherzer set the previous mark of 284 in 2016.
REDS 4, MARLINS 2: At Miami, Cody Reed won for the first time as a starter in the majors, and Scooter Gennett homered and doubled to lead Cincinnati past Miami.
Reed (1-2) allowed five hits and struck out six in six shutout innings. The left-hander joined the starting rotation Aug. 30 and has thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings.
Gennett’s two-run home run in the seventh gave Cincinnati a 4-0 lead.
Jeff Brigham (0-3) was the loser.
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ATLANTA (AP) — The crowd at East Lake was larger and louder than it has been in five years, which was the last time Tiger Woods was at the Tour Championship.
It was no coincidence.
Woods played one of his best rounds of the year in his return to the FedEx Cup finale and caused the biggest cheer of a sun-baked Thursday afternoon by making an eagle putt from just over 25 feet on the par-5 18th for a 5-under 65 and a share of the lead with Rickie Fowler.
It was the second time in as many FedEx Cup playoff events that Woods was tied for the 18-hole lead. He shot a 62 at Aronimink in the opening round of the BMW Championship two weeks ago on a rain-soaked course that allowed just about everyone to go low.
This felt even better on a dry, tougher East Lake course.
“This was by far better than the 62 at Aronimink,” Woods said. “Conditions were soft there. This, it’s hard to get the ball closer. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can’t get the ball close. You just can’t control it.”
Fowler, who missed two playoff events recovering from an injury to his right oblique, putted for birdie on all but two holes for his 65 as he tries to avoid ending the season without winning.
Justin Rose, in his debut as the No. 1 player in the world, got up-and-down from the bunker for birdie on the 18th for a 66 and was tied with Gary Woodland. Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau, all of whom will be in France next week for the Ryder Cup, were another shot behind.
Woods already considers this a successful year just by making into the 30-man field at East Lake for the FedEx Cup finale, where everyone has a mathematical shot at capturing the $10 million bonus. He started the season in January after a fourth back surgery that limited him to only 16 PGA Tour events in the previous four seasons.
“To be able to play golf again and to earn my way back to this level is something that I was hoping I would do at the beginning of the year, but I didn’t know,” Woods said. “And I’ve done it?”
What would winning mean in this comeback?
“It would enhance the year,” he said.
Woods still has 54 holes remaining. Two weeks ago, he went from a share of the first-round lead to five shots behind on a course where attacking flags on soft greens was the only option for low scoring.
This was more about precision, and Woods felt in total control. He opened with a three-putt bogey from 25 feet, and he twice ran birdie attempts farther beyond the hole than he would have liked. But after making birdie putts from 25 feet on No. 5 and from 15 feet on No. 6, he figured out the speed of the greens and was on his way.
“I hit so many quality shots all day, whether it was tee-to-green or it was putts,” Woods said. “I didn’t really mishit a single shot today. The only shot I can honestly say that I necked pretty bad was the tee shot at 17. Hit a 3-wood there, and with an iron, I probably would have shanked it. But ended up in the fairway and made par.”
Woods will play in the final group Friday with Fowler, who has seen plenty of him at home in Florida in the months before Woods returned to golf. He had finished his round and was doing interviews when he heard the head-turning roar of Woods making eagle.
They will be teammates next week at the Ryder Cup. Fowler has other objectives at East Lake.
“The biggest win for him is just staying healthy and being out here all year consistently,” Fowler said. “Definitely happy for him. It’s obviously great for our sport. It’s great to have him as part of the team next week. We hope he continues to play well. I just want to play a little bit better and beat him.”
Sixteen players in the 30-man field broke par on a hot afternoon with only a light breeze, and Thursday was all about staying in the game, especially as it relates to the chase for the FedEx Cup.
Bryson DeChambeau, the No. 1 seed after the points were reset, had to birdie two of the last three holes for a 71. For someone like Woods or Fowler to win the FedEx Cup, they would need the top five seeds to falter.
Rose and Thomas didn’t go along with that with strong opening rounds. Finau overcame a pair of early bogeys for his 67.
The key for Woods could be Friday. Only once this year, at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook, has he stayed consistently in the thick of it all tournament. He figures to have plenty of support. Houses along the side streets outside East Lake, and even one funeral home, offered parking and their yards were packed. It hasn’t been like that in several years.
“I hadn’t played this tournament in five years, and some of the people said they haven’t been out here in five years,” Woods said. “That’s kind of nice that they’re coming out and supporting this event and supporting me, as well.”
After 46 years, the European Tour finally has its first round of 59.
English golfer Oliver Fisher was sprayed with champagne beside the 18th green after two-putting for par from 40 feet to complete a 12-under round containing an eagle and 10 birdies on a par-71 course at the Portugal Masters on Friday.
It was the first sub-60 round on the European Tour. There have officially been 10 on the U.S. PGA Tour, with one of them a 58 by Jim Furyk in 2016 at the Travelers Championship.
“I obviously knew I was in with a shout of shooting a low one when I made a good start,” said Fisher, who reached the turn in 28 after five birdies and an eagle at the par-5 fifth hole at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura.
“It was important to keep reminding myself that I was out there to have some fun, enjoy it, and not get too tentative. When you’ve got a good round going, it’s easy to do that.”
He birdied Nos. 10-12, then No. 15, before saving par with a 20-foot putt at the 16th. He tapped in for birdie from three feet at No. 17 and held his nerve down the last, hitting his tee shot down the middle of the fairway and safely finding the green with his approach.
“Very different to a couple of years ago on this green,” Fisher said beside No. 18, “when I was fighting to keep my card. I had that in the back of my mind, thinking, ‘You know what, things could be worse.’ It was fun, I tried to enjoy it.”
There have been 19 rounds of 60 on the European Tour. Eighteen players have done so, with Darren Clarke achieving it twice.
The 59 left Fisher leading the tournament midway through the second round. His only title came in 2011 at the Czech Open.
“A special moment for such a special guy,” tweeted Thomas Bjorn, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain. “Couldn’t be prouder of you.”
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.
The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.
“I think just all around was really good,” Paisley said. “I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.”
The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.
“The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,” said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. “I’ve got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I’m in those. I’m not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife’s American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.”
Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.
“I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,” Silverman said. “Actually, it could have been lower, but I’m not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I’m not complaining at all, it was a great round.”
Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162
The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.
Another trip across the Atlantic turned into another failure for the Americans in the Ryder Cup. At least on paper.
What emerged that Sunday night after their 16½-11½ loss to Europe four years ago in Scotland was enough frustration, mainly from Phil Mickelson, to overhaul a broken system. It brought Mickelson and Tiger Woods closer together in the search for a winning formula. It led to players having more input in picking their captain and forming their team. The hope was that it would create more continuity.
And for one Ryder Cup, it seemed to work.
Every player contributed at least one point for the first time since 1975 in a 17-11 victory at Hazeltine in Minnesota in 2016, the widest margin for the Americans in 35 years.
Now comes the real test.
The 42nd Ryder Cup matches are Sept. 28-30 at Le Golf National outside Paris, and U.S. captain Jim Furyk is well aware that Europe has not lost at home since 1993, the year Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau were born.
“We started changing the culture in 2014, and I think 2016 was a huge step,” Furyk said. “But in order to take the next step … we wanted to have a winning record in 10 Ryder Cups over 20 years. The math is pretty simple. You have to win on the road. Eventually, we’re going to have to do that. We have our first opportunity this year.”
That opportunity involves Woods.
Furyk selected him as a vice captain in late February, when Woods was just returning following a fourth back surgery and had yet to break 70 in the six rounds and two PGA Tour events he had played. Since then, Woods contended on the back nine at two majors, had six top 10s and finished 11th in the Ryder Cup standings, making him an easy choice as a captain’s pick for his first Ryder Cup since 2012.
He hasn’t won a tournament in five years. His only winning Ryder Cup team as a player was in 1999. But he hasn’t lost his presence.
“He brings so much greatness to the game of golf, and he is the one person that probably sticks his nose a little outside the golfing environment and reaches a lot of people,” European captain Thomas Bjorn said. “It will be exciting in France to see him there.”
Woods and Mickelson, a captain’s pick for the first time in his record 12th appearance in the Ryder Cup, represent the old guard on a U.S. team that is built around fresh faces who already have achieved plenty on golf’s biggest stages.
Nine of the 12 players on the American team are major champions, and they have combined to win 10 of the last 16 majors since the last Ryder Cup in Europe.
It’s a strong team, no doubt.
“I’ve been part of Ryder Cups since 1997, and I’ve not gone into a Ryder Cup where the United States don’t have a great team,” Bjorn said. “So it doesn’t come as a surprise to me or to the team that’s going to play for the European side, but the American team is going to be great.”
Then again, the Americans have taken strong teams to Europe over the last two decades and didn’t return home with the gold trophy.
They had two previous chances to end this European streak.
Furyk lost the decisive match to Paul McGinley, and Mickelson lost to Phillip Price (No. 119 in the world) at The Belfry in 2002. And in 2010 at rain-plagued Celtic Manor, the Americans lost five of six matches — the other was halved — to fall too far behind to catch up in singles.
Both times, the Ryder Cup was on courses where the European Tour had played tournaments. They know those courses well, and Le Golf National is no exception. It is considered one of the best courses on tour and has staged the French Open 26 times.
Alex Noren and Tommy Fleetwood won the last two French Opens, and both make their Ryder Cup debut.
The daunting aspect for Bjorn is a team filled with five rookies, though that list includes Fleetwood and Jon Rahm, both among the top 12 players in the world. Two years ago, Europe had six Ryder Cup rookies — none made it back onto this team.
Europe has four-time major champion Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, who became No. 1 in the world two weeks before the Ryder Cup. Francesco Molinari surged past five Americans when he won the British Open at Carnoustie. Ian Poulter is back on the team for the first time since 2014, and while he wasn’t much of a factor in Scotland, Americans won’t forget how he went 4-0 and single-handedly turned European fortunes in the “Miracle at Medinah.”
The wild card is Sergio Garcia, who had such a poor year that the former Masters champion didn’t even finish among the top 125 on the PGA Tour this year. Bjorn picked him anyway, mainly because of the passion he brings and his experience in winning points.
“He’s the heartbeat of the team,” Bjorn said. “It’s like a football team going without their captain. Not only is he a fantastic golfer and does what he does in Ryder Cups — and we’ve seen it time after time — but what he also brings is that he makes everyone around him better.”
Mickelson has been part of the Ryder Cup for so long that he made his debut at Oak Hill in 1995 in a fourballs session that included Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer. At age 48, this likely will be his last chance to win a Ryder Cup in Europe.
It was Mickelson’s latent criticism of U.S. captain Tom Watson and the PGA of America that led to change. He wanted experience in the leadership, and the U.S. has that now. Davis Love III, the winning captain in 2016, is a vice captain. So is Steve Stricker, the captain of the Presidents Cup team last year. Woods and Furyk were vice captains last year. Six players are back from the ’16 team. Seven players are back from the Presidents Cup team.
“We have a different momentum, direction,” Mickelson said. “Now we’ve got a nice road map to success. We’re going to have a great decade-plus run.”
That requires winning away from home. That starts in France.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR promoted Steve Phelps to president on Thursday in the latest leadership change for the slumping motorsports series.
Phelps will replace Brent Dewar on Oct. 1. Dewar is stepping down and transitioning to an advisory role next year.
“As a life-long fan of NASCAR, the opportunity to provide league-wide leadership is something I am looking forward to,” Phelps said. “I am confident that the strong team of leaders here at NASCAR and across the industry will accelerate the necessary changes to grow the sport and engage our passionate fans.”
Phelps will oversee all competition and business operations and report to Chairman and CEO Jim France, who replaced his nephew in August following Brian France’s arrest for driving under the influence. The France family owns both NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., which owns many of the tracks used by NASCAR.
Phelps has been a NASCAR executive since 2005 and negotiated partnership agreements with Coca-Cola, Monster Energy, Comcast and Camping World. He was also part of NASCAR’s acquisition of digital and social rights and many marketing platforms. He replaces Dewar as NASCAR tries to steady itself during a prolonged downturn. Attendance and television ratings have dropped, and teams are struggling to find high-dollar sponsorship.
NASCAR’s playoffs continue Saturday night in Richmond, Virginia. Brad Keselowski has won three consecutive races to ignite excitement as NASCAR hits its final stretch of the year.
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — Chelsea maintained its perfect start to the season when Brazil forward Willian scored in a 1-0 Europa League victory at PAOK Thessaloniki on Thursday.
Two goals from Ever Banega and Wissam Ben Yedder led Sevilla, the most successful team in Europa League history, to a 5-1 thrashing of Standard Liege while Eintracht Frankfurt opened its campaign by upsetting Marseille 2-1.
Arsenal, with former Sevilla coach Unai Emery now in charge, defeated Ukraine’s Vorskla 4-2 thanks to a double from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and AC Milan edged past Dudelange of Luxembourg 1-0.
Sitting atop the Premier League with five wins from five games, Chelsea rested Eden Hazard after the Belgium playmaker registered a hat trick in a 4-1 win against Cardiff on Saturday.
Two Chelsea supporters were injured in an attack by suspected local fans shortly before dawn. Police said the two Englishmen were beaten by three assailants in central Thessaloniki.
An ambulance crew provided first aid but the men declined to be taken to hospital. The three assailants escaped and police said the fans of the London club did not wish to press charges.
Here’s a look at Thursday’s games:
WILLIAN LIFTS CHELSEA
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri made five changes to his starting line-up against PAOK and his dominant team should have scored a hatful of goals.
The out-of-form Alvaro Morata wasted several chances after captain Willian had finished off a speedy counter-attack in the seventh minute following good work from Ross Barkley.
“We played very well, were in control of the match, and it would have been difficult for anybody to play against us this evening,” Sarri said.
Also in Group L, BATE Borisov of Belarus won 2-0 at Hungary’s Vidi.
SEVILLA ON FIRE
Sevilla, Europa League winners in 2014, 2015 and 2016, went ahead in the eighth minute against Standard thanks to a curling free kick by Banega.
Standard leveled through Moussa Djenepo before Franco Vazquez made it 2-1 for the Spanish hosts in the 41st minute. Ben Yedder added two second-half goals and Banega completed the rout with a penalty.
Also in Group J, Russian club Krasnodar won 1-0 at Turkey’s Akhisar Belediyespor.
AUBAMEYANG’S ARSENAL JOY
Aubameyang opened the scoring for Arsenal against Vorskla in the 32nd minute when he converted an Alex Iwobi cross.
Danny Welbeck headed in a center from Henrikh Mkhitaryan before Aubameyang made it 3-0 with a precise shot from outside the area.
Substitute Mesut Ozil added the fourth goal from close range but Vorskla reduced the arrears thanks to captain Volodymyr Chesnakov and Vyacheslav Sharpar.
For Emery, the Europa League is familiar territory, after he guided Sevilla to its three straight titles earlier this decade.
Also in Group E, Sporting Lisbon scored twice in the second half to sink Qarabag 2-0.
DAVID VS GOLIATH
It was a case of David vs Goliath when seven-time European champion Milan took on Dudelange, the first team from Luxembourg to reach the Europa League group stage.
Dudelange did well to keep out Milan until Gonzalo Higuain struck the only goal of the game in the 59th minute.
Also in Group F, Olympiakos and Betis drew 0-0.
LATE EINTRACHT WINNER
Substitute Luka Jovic struck one minute from time as German Cup winner Eintracht Frankfurt came back from a goal down to defeat last year’s Europa League runner-up Marseille 2-1 in a game played behind closed doors in France.
Marseille went ahead in the third minute at the Stade Velodrome as Florian Thauvin crossed from the right for Lucas Ocampos to score.
Frankfurt equalized in the second half through Lucas Torro before Jovic’s late winner.
In the other Group H match, Lazio defeated Apollon 2-1.
Rangers, managed by former England midfielder Steven Gerrard, recovered from conceding a first-minute goal to draw 2-2 at Villarreal, while Rapid Vienna beat Spartak Moscow 2-0 in the other Group G game.
In Group I, Genk defeated Malmo 2-0 and Besiktas eased past newcomer Sarpsborg 3-1.
In Group A, Bayer Leverkusen rallied from two goals down to win 3-2 at Ludogorets Razgrad in Bulgaria.
In a matchup between the champions of Scotland and Norway, Celtic beat Rosenborg 1-0. Also in Group B, Fredrik Gulbrandsen scored a minute before the end to give last year’s semifinalist Salzburg a 3-2 victory at Leipzig.
WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM
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(PhazRadio Sports / AP / USA TODAY SPORTS) — Heading into the third week of the NFL season, it’s time to begin wondering if we’re experiencing mere tremors to the league’s power structure or actual seismic shifts as unfamiliar players make claims to greatness and once unsung teams position themselves to overtake last season’s Super Bowl entries, the Eagles and Patriots, both Week 2 losers.
Here are the nine biggest questions entering Week 3:
1. Will Florida stay undefeated? Once upon a time, news of the Sunshine State’s top three teams being unscathed after two weeks would have engendered a yawn — the assumption, of course, being that Florida State and the Universities of Miami and Florida formed the state’s premier football trio.
But while the Seminoles, Hurricanes and Gators have all suffered losses in 2018, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are off to a collective 6-0 start for the first time since 1997. All three clubs are home in Week 3 and have a reasonable shot at their first 9-0 cumulative burst. The Dolphins will host the Raiders, who draw the unenviable combo of a 1 p.m. ET start coupled with a cross-country flight. Upstate and riding high after spanking New England, the Jags will welcome the battered Titans.
But Monday’s matchup is the most compelling as Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick tries to cement his grip on the starting job during the final week of suspended Jameis Winston’s absence. But can he sustain “Fitzmagic” against what’s sure to be a desperate Steelers (0-1-1) squad that tends to overcome its oft self-inflicted turmoil? We’ll soon see while finding out if Fitzpatrick makes history as the first player ever to pass for 400 yards and four TDs in three straight games.
2. How many TD passes will Patrick Mahomes throw? Dan Marino threw a then-record 48 touchdowns in 1984, his second season. Mahomes is on pace for 80 in his sophomore campaign. (Yes, it’s entirely premature to project this kind of thing after two weeks.)
So let’s shift the September hyperbole — Sunday will be the most highly anticipated 49ers-Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium … since Steve Young and Joe Montana square off 24 years ago. (Sorry. Again.)
Still, the Kansas City faithful will be revved up for their prodigy’s first regular-season start at home. Mahomes and his undefeated mates will be taking aim at a San Francisco pass defense ranked 25th after being carved up by Matthew Stafford in Week 2. And if Mahomes connects for three more TDs to boost his total to 13, he’ll break Peyton Manning’s record for the most in his team’s first three games.
3. How will Carson Wentz look? The Eagles get their franchise quarterback back for the first time since he tore two knee ligaments Dec. 10. Wentz, who only received clearance to return Monday, should get a boost playing in front of Philadelphia fans for the first time since Nov. 26. The reigning champs’ offense could certainly use a lift after generating a middling 39 points (and just one TD through the air) so far.
A matchup with the Colts initially looked inviting. But Indianapolis rolls into town with a top-10 defense and coach Frank Reich, Philly’s offensive coordinator in 2016 and 2017 and a man who will have deep state knowledge of Wentz’s tendencies. Still, this is a necessary step for Wentz, who is going to face even tougher defenses (Minnesota, Carolina, Jacksonville) in October.
4. Who wins the Battle of Los Angeles? The Rams host the Chargers at the L.A. Coliseum on Sunday for what could be a Super Bowl LIII preview.
The Rams, metrically, are settling in as early front runners after winning their games by a collective 54 points (three TDs better than the next-best differential). But the Chargers (1-1) will present their first legitimate test, featuring the league’s third-ranked offense and a trio of weapons (Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen) rivaling the Rams’ skill players.
The Bolts still won’t have their best defender, pass rusher Joey Bosa, but this matchup should still be one of the weekend’s juiciest — and an interesting barometer of how the city reacts to its newest football transplants, who will eventually be co-tenants of the Inglewood football palace, as they square off for the first time since relocating.
5. Will running backs finally run rampant? So far, seven rushers have cracked the 100-yard barrier in a game. Only two — Todd Gurley and Saquon Barkley — were anywhere near the top of your fantasy draft. Just 10 are on track for 1,000-yard seasons, and Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon is about to fall off the pace following knee surgery.
It doesn’t help that Le’Veon Bell is MIA or that David Johnson plays for an Arizona team that hasn’t been competitive. But this is also part of the new normal, where the passing game dominates and tailbacks are often deployed in space as frequently as they take handoffs. Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey (20) and Washington’s Chris Thompson (19) rank second and third, respectively, league-wide in terms of receptions. Barkley hauled in 14 passes Sunday, and New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara has more than twice as many yards receiving (165) as rushing (75).
6. What will the Patriots get from Josh Gordon? Probably not much this week, and maybe not at all. Even if Gordon gets his personal life under control and begins displaying more professional responsibility than he apparently did in Cleveland, New England’s advanced playbook is notoriously difficult to absorb. Chad Johnson didn’t master it. Phillip Dorsett basically needed a full year. And we’ve seen how quickly the Pats cycle through receivers while trying to mine proper fits.
Still, Gordon is an overpowering mismatch when he’s right — the type of player who necessitates certain play installations to immediately leverage his gifts. His presence would overtake the Bill Belichick-Matt Patricia reunion as the primary subplot of Sunday night’s Patriots-Lions tilt if he’s active.
7. How many times will Russell Wilson get sacked? The Seahawks star has been bagged a league-high 12 times and is well on his way to going down 40-plus for the sixth straight season after the Bears got him six times Monday. This Sunday, Seattle will host the Cowboys, whose nine sacks are one off Chicago’s league-leading pace.
Some of the fault lies with Wilson, whose propensity to hold onto the ball and extend plays creates occasional magic but works against him when things aren’t going well. And he remains saddled with a subpar line — right tackle Germain Ifedi is a turnstile — and miserable run game. Dallas’ Demarcus Lawrence will surely be licking his chops.
8. Who wins de facto elimination game? Start your season 0-2, and there’s an 88% chance you miss the playoffs. The Giants and Texans are facing that stark reality, and one of them is headed to 0-3 after Sunday’s showdown in Houston.
J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus are each seeking their first sack of 2018, though a breakthrough may come against a still-suspect Giants O-line. But if Houston can’t pressure Eli Manning, then New York possesses the firepower to get off the mat against a Texans team that has fallen behind by at least 14 points in the first half the past two weeks.
9. Will the Browns break though? If they beat the Jets on Thursday night, Cleveland fans will rejoice with a W (and free beer) for the first time in 635 days.
There are reasons for optimism:
► The Browns have a league-high eight takeaways and will be facing rookie quarterback Sam Darnold
► Cleveland is running the ball effectively and has only committed two turnovers of its own
► The Browns are catching a Jets club playing its third game in 11 days and second on the road
► New Cleveland kicker Greg Joseph can’t be worse than Zane Gonzalez was … right?
If the stars were ever going to align for a break by the Lake …
We sure have been waiting for this Thursday night showcase. Top overall draft pick Baker Mayfield vs. No. 3 selection Sam Darnold, a mano a mano between the rookie quarterbacks.
Oh, wait. Mayfield is a bench jockey in Cleveland right now, while Darnold is winging touchdowns and interceptions for the Jets.
Enthusiasm peaked after Darnold destroyed Detroit in New York’s opener, then came to a near halt when he struggled against Miami. The Browns have a developing defense led by the NFL’s No. 1 draft choice in 2017, Myles Garrett. If Darnold can stay upright and cool, New York could win.
But that’s hardly the history for the Jets. You know, just when things are looking up …
The Jets, ranked 21st in the AP Pro32, are 3-point underdogs to No. 26 Cleveland. That’s the value of a field goal, or three extra points. Maybe in the Browns’ case, we shouldn’t go there considering what happened in New Orleans with all the flubbed kicks.
Of course, they have a new kicker — and will get their first win of the century. Well, not quite that long.
Yes, we survived with the Rams after the Saints let us down in Week 1. Can’t ignore that huge spread in Minnesota, so the VIKINGS are the choice.
No. 20 San Francisco (plus 6 1-2) at No. 4 Kansas City
This line appears a bit low given the Niners’ struggles at times with the lowly Lions. Like the Ma-HOME-s team here.
BEST BET: CHIEFS, 31-20
No. 18 Pittsburgh (minus 2) at No. 8 Tampa Bay, Monday night
Obviously, the oddsmakers don’t believe in FitzMagic. Against this leaky secondary and turnover-prone opponent, we do.
UPSET SPECIAL: BUCS, 30-26
No. 32 Buffalo (plus 17) at No. 3 Minnesota
Buffalo once was an even bigger underdog at 17½ points vs. Miami in 1985. Dolphins won 28-0.
FYI, 80 teams have been 16-point or more underdogs and, forgetting the spread, went 5-75 on the scoreboard.
No. 14 Los Angeles Chargers (plus 7) at No. 1 Los Angeles Rams
Remember when La La Land had no NFL teams?
No. 17 Chicago (minus 6) at No. 31 Arizona
Some will tell you the desert has no team this year.
No. 24 Indianapolis (plus 6) at No. 7 Philadelphia
Looks like Carson Wentz will be back for Eagles, but don’t expect too much so soon.
No. 15 New Orleans (plus 3) at No. 9 Atlanta
Saints are struggling, Falcons are banged up. Key early NFC South matchup.
No. 29 New York Giants (plus 6) at No. 28 Houston
Now Eli has to avoid J.J. and Jadeveon? SACK ALERT!!!
No. 27 Oakland (plus 3) at No. 13 Miami
Dolphins are one of league’s most pleasant surprises and remain unbeaten.
No. 10 Cincinnati (plus 3) at No. 12 Carolina
Bengals are one of league’s most pleasant surprises and don’t remain unbeaten.
No. 6 Green Bay (minus 3) at No. 22 Washington
We now are sure even a hobbled A-Rod is an elite quarterback. But that secondary is woeful.
No. 11 Denver (plus 5) at No. 16 Baltimore
Return of the Orange Crush. This could be defensive gem.
No. 19 Dallas (minus 1) at No. 25 Seattle
Cowboys can rush QB, Seahawks can’t protect QB. Seems simple.
No. 5 New England (minus 6 1-2) at No. 30 Detroit
Will Belichick go easy on former assistant Patricia in prime time? Doubtful.
No. 23 Tennessee (no line) at No. 2 Jacksonville
Just when we were ready to make Jags the BEST BET, there’s no line.
Last Week: Against spread (9-6). Straight up (9-6-1)
Season Totals: Against spread (17-13-1). Straight up: (19-11-2)
Best Bet: 1-1 against spread, 2-0 straight up
Upset special: 1-1 against spread, 0-1-1 straight up
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — Heisman Trophy winners need Heisman moments and at least a few big-stage games to bolster their resumes on the way to New York.
The early season chatter has mostly been dominated by first-year starting quarterbacks from highly ranked teams: Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.
A couple of Pac-12 stars have a chance to put themselves into the mix on Saturday night when No. 7 Stanford visits No. 20 Oregon. Cardinal running back Bryce Love was last year’s Heisman runner-up behind Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield, but he is off to a slow start. Love was held in check by San Diego State in Stanford’s opener — though all the attention paid to Love allowed the Cardinal’s passing game to flourish. Then Love sat out last week’s tune-up against UC Davis because of an undisclosed injury that doesn’t seem to have been particularly serious.
Love already is way behind the field in the Heisman race, but the speedster can make up ground during a nationally televised night game.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has put up nice numbers in the first three weeks of the season, with 10 touchdown passes, no interceptions and 10.4 yards per attempt. He is not quite at the Tua level, but he’s not that far off.
The problem for Herbert is Oregon’s nonconference schedule might have been the weakest in the country. Texas A&M bailed on a home-and-home with the Ducks a few years backs and left Oregon without a Power Five nonconference opponent. And the way the Pac-12 schedule lays out for the Ducks, this Stanford game could be one of Herbert’s few times in the spotlight. Oregon hosts Pac-12 North rival Washington in three weeks, but the Ducks’ Pac-12 South games are against UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State. Maybe the Sun Devils will be good?
But it starts with Stanford. If Herbert and the Ducks don’t impress, the Heisman talk is moot.
No. 10 Penn State (minus 28) at Illinois
Nittany Lions are playing their first regular-season Friday game since 1982. This is weird … PENN STATE 35-14.
FAU (plus 13½) at No. 16 UCF
Lane Train vs. the defending “national champions” … UCF 42-24.
No. 22 Texas A&M (plus 27) at No. 1 Alabama
Nick Saban is 12-0 against former assistant Jimbo Fisher, including 1-0 against Fisher while he was at Florida State … ALABAMA 48-17.
No. 2 Georgia (minus 14½) at Missouri
Another quarterback with a chance to get some Heisman attention: Mizzou’s Drew Lock … GEORGIA 48-28, BEST BET.
No. 3 Clemson (minus 17) at Georgia Tech
Tigers have won five of six in the series, all by at least 14 points … CLEMSON 35-16.
Tulane (plus 35½) at No. 4 Ohio State
Buckeyes preseason All-America DE Nick Bosa (abdominal strain) is out indefinitely … OHIO STATE 56-10.
Army (plus 31½) at No. 5 Oklahoma
The storied programs have met three times. Army beat OU in 1946 behind Heisman winners Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, and Oklahoma won in 1959 and ’61 by a combined 14 points. This probably won’t be like that … OKLAHOMA 42-21.
Louisiana Tech (plus 20) at No. 6 LSU
Tigers are the only team in the country that has not committed a turnover … LSU 42-17.
No. 7 Stanford (minus 2) at No. 20 Oregon
For a few seasons, this was THE rivalry in the Pac-12; Cardinal have won the last two by a combined score of 101-34 … OREGON 31-28.
No. 8 Notre Dame (minus 7½) at Wake Forest
ND is one of 17 FBS teams that have thrown more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes and the only one still unbeaten … WAKE FOREST 28-24, UPSET SPECIAL.
Arkansas (plus 30) at No. 9 Auburn
Tigers have won four of last five and averaged 47 points in those games … AUBURN 47-13.
Arizona State (plus 17½) at No. 10 Washington
In one of the strangest results of last season: Sun Devils 13, Huskies 7 … WASHINGTON 28-13.
Kansas State (plus 16½) at No. 12 West Virginia
Last four meetings have been split and decided by an average of three points … WEST VIRGINIA 35-21.
No. 13 Virginia Tech (minus 27½) at Old Dominion
Hokies leave the mountains and visit the other side of the state … VIRGINIA TECH 45-14.
No. 14 Mississippi State (minus 10) at Kentucky
Second best team in the SEC West vs. the second best team in the East? Maybe … MISSISSIPPI STATE 31-20.
Texas Tech (plus 13) at No. 15 Oklahoma State
Cowboys have won nine straight meetings, averaging 48 points per game … OKLAHOMA STATE 49-31.
No. 17 TCU (minus 3½) at Texas
Average score of last four meetings, all won by the Horned Frogs: TCU 38, Texas 8 … TCU 31-28.
No. 18 Wisconsin (minus 3½) at Iowa
Badgers’ offensive line vs. Hawkeyes’ defensive line is a delightful Big Ten slugfest … WISCONSIN 23-18.
Nebraska (plus 18½) at No. 19 Michigan
Huskers hope to have QB Adrian Martinez (knee) back … MICHIGAN 28-17.
FIU (plus 26½) at No. 21 Miami
First game against the Hurricanes for former Miami coach Butch Davis, now with FIU … MIAMI 48-20.
No. 23 Boston College (minus 6½) at Purdue
Boilermakers have lost three homes games by a total of eight points and could be due to catch a break … PURDUE 35-31.
No. 24 Michigan State (minus 5) at Indiana
Hoosiers are 3-0 for the first time since 2015 … MICHIGAN STATE 27-20.
Northern Illinois (plus 10) at Florida State — @StuartROwens
Seminoles desperately need a low-drama victory to calm things down in Tallahassee, Florida … FLORIDA STATE 24-7.
Florida (minus 4½) at Tennessee — @jfried_95
Gators have taken 12 of 13 in a once-great rivalry … FLORIDA 24-16.
North Carolina State (minus 5) at Marshall — @kmo11
Both teams had their games last week canceled by Hurricane Florence … NORTH CAROLINA STATE 31-24.
South Carolina (minus 2½) at Vanderbilt — @CrustyBeard
Gamecocks have won nine straight, but plenty of competitive games in there … SOUTH CAROLINA 24-20.
Last week: 16-6 straight; 10-12 against the spread.
Season: 49-13 straight; 33-28-1 against the spread.
Upset specials: 2-1 (straight up).
Best bets: 2-1 (against the spread).
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — Luke Voit hit two homers off David Price, Miguel Andujar popped another one barely into the right-field seats and the New York Yankees stalled Boston’s division-clinching celebration by beating the Red Sox 10-1 on Wednesday night in New York.
Luis Severino (18-8) pitched seven innings of one-run ball, and the Yankees had no need for All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman on the day they activated him from the disabled list. Chapman had been out since Aug. 21 with left knee tendinitis.
Mookie Betts had two strikeouts and no hits in his return to Boston’s lineup. He pulled a possible grand slam just foul in the ninth before grounding into a game-ending double play. The American League MVP contender sat out Tuesday after injuring his left side two days earlier, but came back to bat leadoff as the designated hitter.
The Yankees will try to send Boston packing Thursday with the East still undecided. The Red Sox lead the division by 9 1/2 games and entered this three-game series needing one victory to lock up the division. New York started Wednesday with a 2 1/2-game lead over Oakland for the top A.L. wild card.
Price (15-7) surrendered three homers this time, each aided by Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch. Andujar hit his 25th just over the wall for a 1-0 lead in the second, and Voit added solo shots in the fourth and sixth to nearly the same spot.
Indians 4, White Sox 1: In Cleveland, Jason Kipnis hit a grand slam with one out in the ninth inning and Cleveland beat Chicago.
Kipnis hit a 3-2 pitch from Ian Hamilton into the right field seats for his 1,000th career hit and was doused with buckets of water by his teammates as he conducted a postgame television interview.
The A.L. Central champions were held to two hits through eight innings before their comeback.
Josh Donaldson started the inning with an infield hit. Pitcher Juan Minaya fielded the ball that rolled about 30 feet up the third base line, but Donaldson beat the throw to first. Pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz bounced a single through the left side that moved pinch-runner Rajai Davis to second.
Melky Cabrera popped up a bunt attempt to the mound that was caught by reliever Caleb Frare (0-1).
Hamilton replaced Frare, but hit Yan Gomes with the first pitch to load the bases.
Oliver Perez (1-1) recorded the final out in the ninth for the Indians.
Daniel Palka homered for the White Sox.
Phillies 4, Mets 0: In Philadelphia, Rhys Hoskins became the seventh-fastest player to hit 50 career home runs and Philadelphia beat New York to keep pace in the N.L. East race.
Zach Eflin and five relievers combined on a six-hitter and Odubel Herrera added two-run homer for the Phillies. They won consecutive series for the first time since July 25 and stayed 5 1/2 games behind division-leading Atlanta.
Seven of Philadelphia’s final 11 games are against the Braves, including a four-game series beginning Thursday night in Atlanta.
Hoskins’ opposite-field solo shot against Noah Syndergaard (12-4) in the first inning was his 32nd homer of the season and 50th in 192 career games. Only Rudy York (153), Mark McGwire (161), Gary Sanchez (161), Ryan Braun (171), Aaron Judge (174) and former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard (182) reached 50 quicker, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The 25-year-old Hoskins later added his 35th double, and Jose Bautista had a pinch-hit RBI double in the fifth off Jerry Blevins. Eflin (11-7) struck out nine and allowed three hits in five innings. Luis Avilan, Victor Arano and Adam Morgan each went one inning.
Braves 7, Cardinals 3: In Atlanta, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs, Touki Toussaint pitched into the sixth inning and N.L. East-leading Atlanta beat St. Louis to snap a four-game skid.
The Braves have a magic number of six over Philadelphia to clinch their first division title since 2013. St. Louis, which had won three straight, began the day leading Colorado by 1 1/2 games for the second wild card.
Closer A.J. Minter, working in a non-save situation in the ninth, walked two to load the bases, but he struck out Jose Martinez and got Paul DeJong to pop up.
Freeman’s 23rd homer, an opposite-field shot to left-center, put the Braves up 2-0 in the fourth against Jack Flaherty (8-8). Toussaint (2-1) allowed five hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Brewers 7, Reds 0: In Milwaukee, Gio Gonzalez pitched six smooth innings on his 33rd birthday and Jesus Aguilar hit a three-run homer in Milwaukee’s victory over Cincinnati.
Manny Pina also had a three-run shot and Aguilar finished with four RBIs. They helped the Brewers boost their lead for the top N.L. wild card to three games over St. Louis.
Gonzalez (9-11) was acquired in a trade with Washington on Aug. 31 in an effort to bolster the Brewers’ starting rotation. The left-hander has picked up a victory in two of his three starts with Milwaukee, and the Brewers have won all three games.
Reds right-hander Matt Harvey (7-9), a pitcher the Brewers nearly acquired a few weeks ago before a proposed deal fell through, gave up Aguilar’s game-changing home run.
Mariners 9, Astros 0: In Houston, Robinson Cano drove in three runs, Kyle Seager, Mitch Haniger and Guillermo Heredia homered and seven pitchers combined for a five-hitter in Seattle’s victory over Houston.
The Mariners took two of three in this series from A.L. West-leading Houston.
Rookie Matt Festa made his first career start on a bullpen day for the Mariners and threw a perfect first inning before Casey Lawrence (1-0) took over and allowed one hit in three innings. Adam Warren, Shawn Armstrong, Zach Duke, Justin Grimm and Roenis Elias pitched an inning each to close it out.
Dallas Keuchel (11-11) was the loser.
Rays 9, Rangers 3: In Arlington, Texas, Tommy Pham homered twice and extended his on-base streak to 21 games and late-surging Tampa Bay completed a three-game sweep of Texas.
The Rays have won 14 of 17 games in September. They have 11 remaining and entered the day 5 1/2 games behind Oakland for the American League’s second wild card.
Adrian Beltre hit his 13th homer for the last-place Rangers. It was the 475th of his career to match Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 30th on the career lost. He’s 15th with 3,159 hits.
Ryan Yarbrough (15-5), the second of five Tampa Bay pitchers, went four innings for the win.
Jake Bauers had a two-run single and scored on Willy Adames’ single in the second off lefty Yohander Mendez (2-2) to put the Rays ahead to stay at 3-0. Pham hit his 18th homer leading off the third, and Matt Duffy’s two-run double in the fourth made it 8-1.
Pham went deep again in the eighth for his seventh career multihomer game. The homer was off 45-year-old Bartolo Colon, who was pitching in relief for the first time since his last start Sept. 5.
Twins 8, Tigers 2: In Detroit, Stephen Gonsalves threw six scoreless innings, and Minnesota pounded Detroit’s pitching.
Gabriel Moya started for Minnesota, but was replaced by Gonsalves in the second inning, marking the sixth time this season the Twins used an “opening pitcher.” Gonsalves (1-2) allowed one hit and a walk while striking out four.
Ehire Adrianza was 3 for 4 with three runs scored, Tyler Austin was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored and Willians Astudillo was 2 for 4 with three RBIs for the Twins, who swept the three-game series against the Tigers. Spencer Turnbull (0-1) made his first major league start, allowing six runs and six hits and a walk in four innings.
Pirates 2, Royals 1: In Pittsburgh, Chris Archer pitched seven strong innings, and Pittsburgh beat Kansas City to complete a three-game sweep.
Archer (5-8) allowed one run on six hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. The Pirates remain marooned in fourth place in the N.L. Central despite a five-game winning streak.
Felipe Vazquez allowed a walk in the ninth en route to his 35th save.
Adam Frazier broke a 1-1 tie with a homer to right-center with two outs in the fifth inning off rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer (3-2). Adalberto Mondesi homered for Kansas City.
Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1: In Baltimore, rookie DJ Stewart hit his first major league home run and Baltimore used five pitchers to beat Toronto.
The Orioles bounced back a night after their 108th loss of the season, the most since moving to Baltimore in 1954. They remained three away from the franchise mark set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns.
Jimmy Yacabonis started for Baltimore and threw four scoreless innings, followed by Mike Wright (4-2), who blanked the Blue Jays over two innings. Miguel Castro allowed a solo homer to Billy McKinney in the eighth that cut the lead to 2-1 before Tanner Scott managed the final out of the inning. Mychal Givens finished for the save. Marco Estrada (7-13) was the loser.
Diamondbacks 9, Cubs 0: In Phoenix, Christian Walker and Chris Owings homered off Cole Hamels, and Robbie Ray held Chicago to one hit over six innings in Arizona’s win.
Walker and Owings, mainly used off the Arizona bench, were part of a Diamondbacks lineup that featured only two regulars in the field players – Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte. The group did most of its damage against Hamels (9-10), who had yet to lose a start since joining the Cubs via trade from Texas on July 27.
Ray (6-2) struck out eight and walked four. Walker and Owings drove in three runs each.
Jeff Mathis added a two-run home run off Cubs reliever Allen Webster, who’d been called up from Triple-A Iowa earlier in the day.
The Cubs’ lead in the N.L. Central dropped to 2 1/2 games over Milwaukee.
Padres 8, Giants 4: In San Diego, Wil Myers and Freddy Galvis homered, Robbie Erlin pitched five solid innings and San Diego beat San Francisco to avoid a three-game sweep.
Myers’ two-run homer highlighted a five-run second inning. Galvis added a three-run shot in the eighth as San Diego won for the second time in 10 meetings against San Francisco.
Erlin (4-7) beat the Giants for the first time and snapped a career-high four-start losing streak. The left-hander allowed three runs on five hits, with two walks and three strikeouts. His last victory came against the Rockies on Aug. 21.
Athletics 10, Angels 0: In Oakland, California, Stephen Piscotty hit a three-run homer and matched his career high with five RBIs, and Oakland beat Los Angeles to snap a three-game losing streak.
Oakland moved within four games of first-place Houston in the A.L. West and stayed 2 1/2 behind the New York Yankees for the top wild card. The A’s are 5 1/2 games ahead of streaking Tampa Bay for the second wild card with 10 to play.
Jed Lowrie and Piscotty each hit a two-run double in a six-run fourth inning to back Brett Anderson (4-5).
Ramon Laureano added an RBI single and a sacrifice fly for the A’s, who had lost four of five.
Anderson pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up three hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Three relievers finished the four-hitter as Oakland’s 14th shutout of the season took just 2 hours, 23 minutes.
Dodgers 5, Rockies 2: In Los Angeles, pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig slugged a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning that sent the Dodgers past Colorado to increase their N.L. West lead to 2 1/2 games.
Walker Buehler struck out a career-high 12 and the Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the second-place Rockies, giving the defending N.L. champions their largest division lead this season. They outscored Colorado 16-6 in the series, with homers proving to be the difference in each game.
After falling into a 2-0 hole in a 36-pitch first inning, Buehler settled down and showed why he has become a dependable complement to Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The rookie right-hander allowed three hits and one walk over six innings, and neither run he gave up was earned.
ATLANTA (AP) — Tiger Woods is facing long odds of capturing the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus.
That’s all relative this year.
Just having his own parking spot at East Lake, being back at the Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, even feeling lost during a practice round because the nines were flipped, were all reminders that his greatest accomplishment this year was being part of the 30-man field.
“I think the season itself has been amazing, to be able to have played this well,” Woods said Wednesday. “I didn’t know how many tournaments I’d play in, and next thing you know, here I am in the Tour Championship. … To have come back from where I’ve come back from and to get here has been a pretty tall order.”
He didn’t make it in 2014 because of his first back surgery and his ill-advised attempt to return too early.
He missed the entire FedEx Cup playoffs in 2015 when he couldn’t chip the ball onto the green from 20 feet away early in the season, and then his back started acting up late in the season. He missed all of 2016 while recovering from two more back surgeries, and all but one PGA Tour event in 2017 because of a fourth back surgery.
Never mind that Woods is at No. 20 in the FedEx Cup standings, having started no worse than No. 3 in his four previous FedEx Cup finales.
This is one tournament where it’s more about the start than the finish.
“It’s great to have accomplished one of the goals I set out at the beginning of the year: to make it back to East Lake to be part of the Tour Championship and part of these top 30 guys,” he said. “I’ve exceeded a lot of my expectations and goals because so much of it was an unknown.”
The only thing left to cap off a remarkable comeback would be a trophy.
This is his last chance.
That still probably wouldn’t be enough for Woods to win the FedEx Cup for the third time — no one else has won it more than once.
The better odds are with the top five seeds — Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas — who only have to win the Tour Championship to take home the richest bonus in golf.
Thomas has even more at stake. No one, not even Woods, has won the FedEx Cup in successive years. Thomas was runner-up at East Lake a year ago, which was enough for him to move past Jordan Spieth and capture the cup.
“I’m excited to have an opportunity to do something that no one has ever done, which is pretty cool,” Thomas said. “I’m not sure if it was true or not, but I heard that no one had been in the top five after winning the FedEx Cup.”
Woods never followed a FedEx Cup title with a top-5 seed because he was recovering from knee surgery in 2008, and he was putting his personal life back together in 2010. Spieth won in 2015 and was No. 7 going into the Tour Championship the following year.
Spieth didn’t make it back this year, finishing at No. 31 after a poor week at the BMW Championship.
It was an example that even some of the best in the world can’t bank on making it back to East Lake without playing great golf.
Woods was good enough, and better than he thought.
He was in the mix on the back nine at the last two majors. He came to the 18th hole at Innisbrook needing a birdie to tie for the lead. He had six finishes in the top 10. And the number that means the most might be the tournaments he played. The Tour Championship is his 18th event, his busiest schedule to date since 2012.
Woods first showed signs of back trouble in the final round of the 2013 PGA Championship, though he revealed Wednesday that his back first started acting up a year earlier in the Ryder Cup at Medinah, and that he asked to play as late as possible.
“That’s the only wave I’ve ever missed,” said Woods, who sat out the Saturday morning session, and ended up halving the last of 12 singles matches as Europe rallied from a four-point deficit to win.
East Lake is only part of the reward. Woods will be on the charter Sunday night to France for his first Ryder Cup since 2012. He finished 11th in the standings and was as easy choice as a captain’s pick by Jim Furyk.
Spieth is the only American on the Ryder Cup team not at East Lake. For the other 11, along with six players on the European team, the focus is on the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize this week, followed by a cup with no prize at all next week.
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GENEVA (AP) — Real Madrid managed to win easily in the Champions League without Cristiano Ronaldo. So did Juventus, after its superstar signing was tearfully sent off within 30 minutes.
Three-time defending champion Madrid eased to a 3-0 win over Roma on Wednesday, with Francisco “Isco” Alarcon scoring from the kind of free kick only Ronaldo got to take in his nine years with the club.
Ronaldo, making his Juventus debut in a competition he has won five times, also had a new experience — getting a red card against Valencia for tangling with Jeison Murillo.
Seemingly frustrated that Murillo went to ground too easily, Ronaldo reached down to tug or ruffle the defender’s hair.
German referee Felix Brych did not have access to a video review but showed a red card after consulting his assistant behind the goal.
It was Ronaldo’s first sending off in 154 games in the competition and left him in tears.
Still, Juventus went on to win 2-0, scoring twice from penalties despite designated spot-kick taker Ronaldo not being there. Miralem Pjanic scored both times.
Elsewhere, one of the favorites to dethrone Madrid this season, Manchester City, lost at home and Manchester United won away to further dispel its uneasy start to the season.
City was lackluster in a 2-1 loss to Lyon, while rival United had little trouble winning 3-0 at Swiss champion Young Boys.
Here’s a look at Wednesday’s games:
It could have been tricky for Madrid. No Ronaldo on the field, no Zinedine Zidane in the dugout, and facing Roma, a semifinalist last season.
But it was business as usual for the 13-time European champion under new coach Julen Lopetegui.
Isco, Gareth Bale — who seemed sure to leave if Zidane stayed — and Mariano Diaz got the goals.
Bale finished off an accurate pass by Luka Modric, and goalkeeper Keylor Navas kept a clean sheet after being preferred to new signing Thibaut Courtois.
Also in Group G, CSKA Moscow trailed 2-0 at halftime, but a stoppage time penalty from Nikola Vlasic made it 2-2 at Czech champion Viktoria Plzen.
A troubled opening half hour for Juventus in Valencia saw Mario Mandzukic and Sami Khedira miss clear chances before Ronaldo left the field in tears.
Just before halftime, Joao Cancelo hit the crossbar with a shot and was then fouled by a high boot to the face while chasing the rebound.
Miralem Pjanic converted that penalty kick, and scored again six minutes into the second half when Murillo was penalized for a foul.
There was a third penalty in stoppage-time, but Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved Daniel Parejo’s kick to preserve the 2-0 win.
Paul Pogba scored twice and set up Anthony Martial for Man United’s third goal in a comfortable win at Swiss champion Young Boys.
Though Pogba has been unsettled at United this season, his curling shot and trademark slow-trot penalty within eight first-half minutes suggested he is feeling happier now.
United had lost on its last two trips to Switzerland, both against Basel, but is in a good position to welcome Valencia in two weeks’ time.
Old Trafford could also be denied a reunion with Ronaldo for Juve’s Oct. 23 visit depending on the ban UEFA imposes.
With coach Pep Guardiola watching in the stand, serving a ban carried over from last season, Man City was surprisingly beaten 2-1 by visiting Lyon.
City trailed by two goals at halftime, when errors were punished by Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir, a member of France’s World Cup squad.
The manner of City’s Premier League title win last season has persuaded many that Guardiola can add to his two Champions League crowns with Barcelona.
But the stadium was far from full Wednesday, and City only managed to pull one goal back in the 67th from Bernardo Silva.
The other Group F game saw Hoffenheim make its Champions League debut in Ukraine. Playing at its adopted home city Kharkiv, Shakhtar Donetsk got a late leveler in a 2-2 draw.
Renato Sanches has often looked like a lost talent since helping Ronaldo and Portugal win the 2016 European Championship.
Then 19, a move from Benfica to Bayern Munich seemed to happen too soon and he was sent to Premier League struggler Swansea on loan.
Back in Lisbon on Wednesday, Sanches scored Bayern’s second goal in a 2-0 win after Robert Lewandowski got Bayern’s early opener.
Also in Group E, Ajax marked its return after a four-year absence to join Madrid as the only home teams winning Wednesday, also by 3-0.
In the Johan Cruyff Arena, Ajax dispatched AEK Athens with the help of two goals from Argentina defender Nicolas Tagliafico.
WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM
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The preseason edition of bowl projections had Penn State in the College Football Playoff field. A close scare against Appalachian State led to the Nittany Lions being removed in favor of Wisconsin.
A shocking loss by the Badgers to BYU last week opened the door back up to Penn State, which has posted dominant wins against Pittsburgh and Kent State since its struggles on opening day.
What about Ohio State after its defeat of TCU? The Buckeyes will visit State College in two weeks and the winner looks to be great position to reach the Big Ten title game. For now, the Nittany Lions have a slight edge in what will be the first massive game of the season.
Alabama, Clemson and Georgia each keep their playoff spots. It continues to look like the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs could be unbeaten by the time the SEC championship game rolls around. A loss wouldn’t be disqualifying if expected upsets occur in other conferences.
A reminder: Some conferences may not fulfill their bowl allotment. Asterisks denote a replacement pick.
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NEW YORK (AP) — And the winner is …. the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams, who have looked dominant in the first two weeks of the regular season, have grabbed the top spot from the New England Patriots in the latest AP Pro32 poll on Tuesday.
The Rams received nine of the 12 first-place votes and 380 points in balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
The Rams are coming off a 34-0 rout of the listless Arizona Cardinals and will host the Chargers at the Coliseum on Sunday in an All-LA matchup.
“(Coach) Sean McVay rested most of his starters in the preseason, but the Rams already look like they’re in midseason form after another dominating win, albeit over a woeful Cardinals team,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.
The Jacksonville Jaguars earned the remaining three first-place votes for 375 points. The Jaguars moved up three spots after their impressive 31-20 win over the Patriots, who fell to No. 5.
“At least for now, the AFC’s early season torch has been passed to the Jaguars after last Sunday’s thumping of New England,” said Alex Marvez of The Sporting News.
The Minnesota Vikings stayed at No. 3 after rallying to tie the rival Green Bay Packers 29-29 at Lambeau Field.
“The Vikings got better when they signed (kicker) Dan Bailey,” said Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.
Bailey was signed after the Vikings waived Daniel Carlson following his missed three field-goal attempts. The fifth-round draft pick from Auburn missed field goals of 48, 49 and 35 yards, with the last two failed tries coming in overtime.
The Packers also kept their spot at No. 6 after the league’s second consecutive week with a tie.
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who are off to a 2-0 start, moved up three places to No. 4.
Mahomes had six touchdown passes for the Chiefs, who are coming off a 42-37 victory over Pittsburgh and will face the San Francisco 49ers in their home opener on Sunday.
“The thrilling Pat Mahomes Show is covering up some serious defensive deficiencies at the moment,” said Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by a resurgent Ryan Fitzpatrick, vaulted seven spots to No. 8 after topping the Philadelphia Eagles 27-21.
The Buccaneers will face another challenge when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.
“Need to beat Steelers now,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said of the Bucs.
The Eagles, who will get back quarterback Carson Wentz following his knee injury when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, dropped five spots to No. 7.
The Atlanta Falcons inched up a spot to No. 9 after earning their first win of the season with a 31-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
And the surprising Cincinnati Bengals rounded out the top 10 after topping Baltimore 34-23. The Bengals will be without running Joe Mixon for a few weeks following his knee surgery. They will face the Panthers and Falcons on the road in the next two weeks.
Los Angeles Rams (9)
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Batting from the left side, Walker golfed a no-doubter in the seventh inning off Ryan Brasier for the Yankees’ third hit of the game and a 3-1 lead. Walker dropped his bat, admired the shot for a moment and then pointed into the Yankees dugout as he jogged to first base.
Aaron Judge returned to New York’s lineup for the first time since breaking his right wrist July 26, while AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts got a day off for Boston after injuring his left side Sunday. Judge hit a pop fly to the warning track but finished 0 for 4.
New York entered the night with a 1 1/2-game lead over Oakland for the top AL wild card. The A’s hosted the Angels later.
Boston is trying to clinch the AL East at Yankee Stadium for the second time in three years. The Red Sox lead the Yankees by 10 1/2 games and entered the night with a magic number of four over the Astros to lock up baseball’s best record.
The game started about six hours after it was supposed to begin. Originally scheduled for 1:05 p.m., it was pushed back earlier in the morning because heavy rain was in the forecast.
Chad Green (8-2) and David Robertson relieved J.A. Happ and got the ball to Britton, who capped a five-hitter for his sixth save.
Boston reliever Brandon Workman (6-1) walked two in the seventh before Walker took Brasier deep. The Red Sox bullpen wasted six scoreless innings of two-hit ball from hard-throwing starter Nathan Eovaldi.
Cardinals 8, Braves 1: At Atlanta, Paul DeJong hit a two-run homer, Yadier Molina added a two-run single in a four-run eighth inning and St. Louis won its third straight game.
Austin Gomber pitched five effective innings for St. Louis, which holds a slim lead for the second NL wild card. The Cardinals top the National League with 36 victories since All-Star break, and their 43 road wins this season rank second.
Atlanta’s division lead dropped to 5 1/2 games over Philadelphia as the Braves lost their fourth in a row after a season-best six-game winning streak. They are 38-38 at SunTrust Park and have dropped 14 of 18 at home.
The Braves’ magic number remained at seven as they try to clinch a division title for the first time in five years. Philadelphia beat the New York Mets 5-2.
Anibal Sanchez (6-6) allowed four hits and two runs and struck out six in five innings.
Gomber (6-1) gave up six hits, one run and three walks while striking out five for his fifth victory in his last six decisions.
Blue Jays 6, Orioles 4: At Baltimore, The Orioles fell to Toronto, dropping their 108th game, a team record for losses in a season since they arrived in Baltimore in 1954.
The 1988 Orioles, who opened the season 0-21, held the previous team record for losses with a 54-107 finish. The overall franchise record for defeats is 111, set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns – a mark this year’s team could still eclipse.
The Orioles led 4-2 in the seventh before a throwing error by third baseman Steve Wilkerson on a grounder by Teoscar Hernandez allowed two runs to score. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. followed with a two-RBI single off reliever Paul Fry that that gave Toronto a 6-4 lead.
Reliever Jake Petricka (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings. Tyler Clippard held the Orioles in the eighth, and Ken Giles earned his 23rd save.
Pirates 2, Royals 1, 11 innings: At Pittsburgh, Pinch-hitter Ryan Lavarnway drove in the winning run with a single in the 11th inning and Jameson Taillon struck out a career-high 11 for Pittsburgh.
It was just the second at-bat of the season for the 30-year-old Lavarnway, the Pirates’ fourth-string catcher. He hit .288 in 77 games in with Triple-A Indianapolis. Lavarnway has played 142 career games with five teams.
Starling Marte led off the 11th with an infield single off Burch Smith (1-6). Josh Bell walked and Burch struck out Francisco Cervelli before Adam Frazier was intentionally walked to load the bases, setting up Lavarnway’s walk-off hit to shallow center.
Pinch-hitter Hunter Dozier tied the game in the ninth with a double off Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez that scored Jorge Bonifacio. Left fielder Corey Dickerson threw to shortstop Jordy Mercer, who relayed home to throw out Salvador Perez and preserve the tie.
Kyle Crick (3-2) retired the side on 10 pitches in the 11th to earn the win.
Reds 3, Brewers 1: At Milwaukee, Jose Peraza capitalized on Chase Anderson’s home run troubles with a drive in the first inning and Cincinnati dealt Milwaukee its third loss in four games.
The Brewers’ edge for the top NL wild-card spot was cut to two games by St. Louis, with Colorado also in close contention.
Milwaukee managed only three hits against five Cincinnati pitchers. It was the third low-scoring loss for the Brewers in four games – they fell to Pittsburgh 3-1 on Saturday and 3-2 on Sunday.
Michael Lorenzen, making his first start since 2015 after 151 relief appearances, allowed one unearned run on one hit in four innings. Sal Romano (8-11) followed with 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the victory.
Raisel Iglesias struck out three in the ninth after a leadoff walk for his 28th save.
Anderson (9-8) gave up three runs on six hits with two walks in 3 2/3 innings, matching his shortest start of the season. Six relievers blanked the Reds the rest of the way.
Phillies 5, Mets 2: At Philadelphia, Jorge Alfaro hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning and Philadelphia boosted its faint playoff hopes.
Philadelphia overcame an uneven outing from ace Aaron Nola and a home run by starter Steven Matz that made him the third Mets pitcher to homer in consecutive appearances.
The Phillies won for the third time in 10 games and moved within 5 1/2 games of Atlanta in the NL East. The Braves lost 8-1 to St. Louis.
Wilson Ramos and Justin Bour delivered pinch-hit RBI hits in a five-run sixth before Alfaro drilled a curveball from Drew Smith (1-1) to left-center for his 10th homer.
And with that, Matz’s eventful performance was wasted by the Mets.
The other Mets pitchers to homer in back-to-back outings were Hall of Famer Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).
Pat Neshek (3-1) relieved Nola and got the final out of the sixth. Seranthony Dominguez, Tommy Hunter and Hector Neris each pitched a scoreless inning as the Phillies improved to 7-11 against the Mets this season.
Nationals 4, Marlins 2: At Miami, Stephen Strasburg matched his season-high with 11 strikeouts and Bryce Harper tied a season high with five walks to lead Washington.
Anthony Rendon drove in two runs for the Nationals (77-75), who moved to within 6 1/2 games of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, who lost 8-1 to St. Louis.
Strasburg (9-7) pitched six innings and allowed two runs and five hits with two walks. At one point, he struck out six consecutive batters.
Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save in 26 opportunities.
Sandy Alcantara (2-1) pitched four innings for the Marlins and allowed six hits, six walks, and three runs.
Twins 5, Tigers 3: At Detroit, Chris Gimenez homered and Tyler Austin drove in three runs to lead the Twins.
The Twins have won three straight, while the Tigers have lost seven of nine.
Mikie Mahtook drove in all of Detroit’s runs.
Jake Odorizzi (7-10) allowed two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out six in his first start since losing a no-hitter in the eighth inning against the New York Yankees.
Trevor Hildenberg pitched the ninth for his seventh save, allowing Mahtook’s two-out RBI single.
Daniel Norris (0-5) pitched a season-high 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks.
Indians 5, White Sox 3: At Cleveland, Corey Kluber struck out 11 in eight innings to record his career-high 19th win for Cleveland.
Kluber (19-7), who allowed three runs, topped 200 strikeouts for the fifth straight season. Kluber won 18 games in three of the previous four seasons, including his two AL Cy Young Award-winning years, 2014 and 2017.
Omar Narvaez walked and Matt Davidson singled with two outs in the eighth, but Kluber retired Ryan LaMarre on a groundout.
Indians All-Star second baseman Jose Ramirez was hit on the left arm by Carlos Rodon’s pitch in the fifth inning and walked from the plate in obvious pain. Ramirez spoke with manager Terry Francona and a team trainer, but stayed in the game.
Carlos Rodon (6-6) allowed five runs in seven innings. Palka and Narvaez hit solo homers in the sixth for the White Sox.
Rays 4, Rangers 0: At Arlington, Texas, Blake Snell became the major leagues’ first 20-game winner in two years, pitching Tampa Bay past Texas.
Snell (20-5) threw one-hit ball for five innings and tied the Tampa Bay record for victories in a season. David Price also won 20 in his Cy Young Award season of 2012.
Snell won his eighth straight start. The 25-year-old lefty struck out five, walked two and threw 92 pitches, exiting with a 1.97 ERA.
Tampa Bay has won four straight and 13 of 16 this month in a last-ditch attempt to wrest the AL second wild-card playoff berth from Oakland. The Rays began the day trailing the A’s by 6 1/2 games.
The Rays scored three times in the fourth against Yovani Gallardo (8-6). Willie Adames hit a two-run homer and Joey Wendle had an RBI double.
Astros 7, Mariners 0: At Houston, Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in a four-run third inning that helped Houston eliminate Seattle from contention for the AL West title.
Houston entered the day four games ahead of Oakland atop the division standings. The Athletics played later against the Angels.
Rookie starter Josh James (1-0) struck out seven and scattered four hits over 5 1/3 innings for his first major league win. Four relievers completed the shutout. Seattle starter Mike Leake (10-10) yielded six hits and five runs in 6 1/3 innings to snap a two-game winning streak.
ATLANTA (AP) — Justin Thomas is one of three Americans who will make his Ryder Cup debut, even though he doesn’t seem like a rookie.
He already has a major. He won the FedEx Cup last year. He has reached No. 1 in the world.
And this won’t be his first Ryder Cup, anyway.
“I was with my dad when he was working for the PGA,” Thomas said of the 2008 matches at Valhalla, when he was 15. “I played in the Junior Ryder Cup when it was at Celtic Manor. So I’ve been to three of them. I know how crazy it is.”
He also knows it doesn’t really count until he gets to Le Golf National outside Paris at the end of the month.
Thomas is the latest American who made his professional team debut in the Presidents Cup, and now gets to experience playing a Ryder Cup that contains more energy, more volume, more nerves, more everything.
And away from home, no less.
“It’s going to be a lot different,” Thomas said. “Not even close.”
He plans to rely on his U.S. teammates, especially those who have gone through the change from starting in the Presidents Cup and going to the Ryder Cup the following year. One of those teammates he knows quite well. Jordan Spieth made his team debut in the 2013 Presidents Cup, and then went to Gleneagles the next year.
“It helped a little bit, but not much,” Spieth said. “That first tee-shot feel at the Ryder Cup for an away game made the Presidents Cup look like nothing else. And maybe it was the away game.”
Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson and Fred Funk also had nothing but Presidents Cup experience before their first matches against Europe.
Thomas is the most accomplished of that lot, and Spieth says he will have another element in his favor.
“This team and the guys around us are going to be a different feel from right this very minute until we hit that first tee shot,” Spieth said. “I felt like I was in a tryout every practice round (in 2014). It didn’t feel like there was a camaraderie like there is now.”
Angela Stanford’s victory in the Evian Championship made it six straight years that Americans have won at least one major on the LPGA Tour. There’s still a long way to go to match the record of 71 consecutive years of Americans winning a major.
Then again, that was when it was nearly exclusively an American tour.
The LPGA Tour was way out front in being the first golf circuit to attract the best from around the world, and it’s reflected in its major championships.
From the first major in 1930 (Women’s Western Open) through 2000, Americans won 90 percent of the 207 majors played in women’s golf. Since then, Americans have won just 23 percent of the 78 majors.
Here’s one other way to look at the change.
For the first 71 years of LPGA majors through 2000, champions came from 10 countries outside the United States. Australia had six titles (three each by Jan Stephenson and Karrie Webb), followed by England with five and Sweden with four.
Since 2001, major champions have come from 13 countries. South Korea leads the way with 26 majors, followed by the United States at 18 and Sweden with 11.
Ariya Jutanugarn left France with at least one trophy. The No. 1 player in women’s golf captured the Annika Major Award for having the best record among the five major champions this year on the LPGA Tour.
Players have to win a major, and then receive points based on finishes in the top 10.
Along with winning the U.S. Women’s Open, Jutanugarn tied for fourth at the ANA Inspiration and tied for fourth at the Women’s British Open. Jutanugarn and ANA Inspiration winner Pernilla Lindberg were the only major champions this year to make the cut in all of them, though Lindberg did not have another major finish in the top 20. Women’s PGA winner Sung Hyun Park missed the cut in two majors and tied for ninth in the ANA Inspiration, while Women’s British Open champion Georgia Hall missed the cut at the ANA Inspiration and had no other top 10s.
Angela Stanford, who won the Evian Championship for her first major, also tied for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open.
OVER THE MOON
The fifth version of the Web.com Tour Finals is providing plenty of feel-good moments, first for Hunter Mahan, then for Sangmoon Bae. Mahan, a three-time Ryder Cup player, earned his full card with a tie for second in the DAP Championship at Canterbury. One week later, Bae returns to the PGA Tour after missing two seasons because of mandatory military service in South Korea.
Bae earned nearly $2.6 million in 2015, reached the Tour Championship to be exempt for three of the majors in 2016 and played in the Presidents Cup before a home crowd in South Korea. And then he was off to the military after an unsuccessful bid for a waiver.
The re-entry to the world of golf didn’t go according to plan.
He made only five cuts on the PGA Tour and wound up at Web.com Tour Finals. But after a tie for sixth at the DAP Championship, he rolled in a 5-foot birdie putt to win the Boise Open and secure his card.
“After military service, it means a lot,” Bae said. “I struggle all year after discharge from the Army. I feel like I’m back, so I could play well in the future.”
CHANGE OF PLANS
Jordan Spieth wasn’t the only player who violated the PGA Tour policy of playing 25 events or adding a tournament he hasn’t played in the last four years. Ian Poulter came up short, all because of an unexpected occurrence: He won.
Poulter’s victory in the Houston Open made him eligible for the Masters and ultimately the other three majors, along with a World Golf Championship. It also put the Ryder Cup front and center, and Poulter spent his summer playing in Europe to beef up his case to be on the team. He played 20 times on the PGA Tour this season.
Andy Pazder, the tour’s chief of operations, said he has met with Poulter and has figured out a solution.
Pazder also said the tour has reached a resolution with Spieth, who missed out on his 25th event by not qualifying for the Tour Championship. Without mentioning details because the tour doesn’t disclose punishment, Pazder said it would be a “win for tournaments, fans and golf in general.”
Even before he didn’t make it to East Lake, Spieth had been contemplating playing two PGA Tour events in the fall.
U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka is staying an extra week in Europe after the Ryder Cup to play the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland. Koepka last played the tournament in 2015 with his father, Bob. He was runner-up to Thorbjorn Olesen. Also playing the Dunhill is Tony Finau. … Only eight players in the Tour Championship were at East Lake in 2013 the last time Tiger Woods played. … Beau Welling, the golf course architect for Tiger Woods Design, has been elected as an at-large board director to the World Curling Federation. … Paul Broadhurst has five victories on the PGA Tour Champions, all of them coming from behind in the final round. … With Angela Stanford winning the Evian Championship, the LPGA Tour has not had a player win multiple majors since Inbee Park in 2015.
STAT OF THE WEEK
This is the fourth time in the last six years that Gary Woodland started the FedEx Cup playoffs outside the top 30 and made it to the Tour Championship.
“He brings so much greatness to the game of golf, and he is the one person that probably sticks his nose a little outside the golfing environment and reaches a lot of people. It will be exciting in France to see him there.” — European captain Thomas Bjorn on the return of Tiger Woods to the Ryder Cup.
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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS) — In what the racing world commonly refers to as stick-and-ball sports, a certain number of teams work throughout the regular season to advance to the playoffs, and everyone else who doesn’t make the cut is stuck watching at home.
While the first part of that is true for NASCAR and its 26 regular season races, the 16 drivers who qualify for the 10-race playoffs still compete against each other and the rest of the non-qualified teams. And although a win in the playoffs advances drivers to the next round, non-playoff drivers have been known to win too.
If it seems weird or unfair, that’s the way it’s always been, and Kyle Larson — who drives the No. 42 Chevrolet and is seeded 12th — explained why a full field is important beyond tradition.
“The races would be a lot less exciting because the field would be so much smaller, and you’d never run into lap traffic,” Larson told For The Win by phone this week. “So it’d be harder to pass than it is already, so you need a full field of cars to have competitive, exciting fun races.”
In his fifth full-time Cup Series season and third playoff appearance, Larson is one of six winless playoff drivers who qualified for the postseason based on points instead. The remaining 10 won at least one race to guarantee their spots.
The first playoff race is Sunday’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Racing against a handful of drivers who aren’t in the playoffs this year but have been in the past — such as 2003 Cup Series champ Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Larson knows they’re still threats even if they’re not title contenders.
“There are still guys that aren’t in the playoffs that are well capable of winning races, and they’re trying their hardest to compete and be up front and win a race, because their season is still going on,” Larson said.
“They’re still racing for points as well. They might not be racing for a championship, but the points battle to get to 17th is tight, and there’s money that’s paid for that. So they’ve got every reason to race us as well.”
Relatively uncommon, non-playoff drivers or ones who have already been eliminated from contention still win races from time to time.
The most recent example is Kenseth — who was already knocked out of the 2017 playoffs but won the last cutoff race in November. He was the only non-contender to win in last year’s postseason.
As Larson explained, any driver on the track is dangerous, regardless of playoff status. And that is especially true at unpredictable tracks, like Talladega Superspeedway, and at unfamiliar tracks, like Charlotte Motor Speedway’s half-oval, half-road course — or roval — where the first elimination race is later this month.
“Those first couple years when I was racing Cup and we had missed the playoffs, I had made it a goal of mine to — we didn’t win, but I ran up front a lot,” he said.
“There were some good tracks for us, and I wanted to race hard and prove to them that had I been in the playoffs, I was somebody they would have to worry about. So I think for a lot of those competitors (this year), they’re probably the same way. They want to compete and run hard and show that they were capable of getting the job done, but they, maybe, had some bad luck or misfortune throughout the regular season.”
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PARIS (AP) — If the World Cup had given the impression that Lionel Messi was slipping down soccer’s pecking order, the Argentine star made it clear he remains at the top of his game.
Messi scored a record eighth Champions League hat trick on Tuesday in Barcelona’s 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven as Europe’s top club competition got underway. Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe, the teenage star widely viewed as the man capable of dethroning Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a near future as the best player in the world, endured a frustrating night in a 3-2 loss with Paris Saint-Germain at Liverpool.
The World Cup winner scored a second-half equalizer but then gave the ball away in stoppage time, a costly mistake that paved the way for Roberto Firmino’s winner.
Messi once again failed in his bid to lift the World Cup trophy this summer in Russia, where he did not play at his best and Argentina lost to France in the round of 16. But Messi is a different player in the Champions League, a competition he has won four times, and in which he has scored 103 goals.
With his hat trick on Tuesday, he now leads Ronaldo 63-60 in total group-stage goals.
“We were up against Messi, the best in the world,” PSV coach Mark van Bommel said.
Ousmane Dembele also scored for Barcelona, which was already 3-0 up when it was reduced to 10 men as defender Samuel Umtiti was sent off with a second yellow card for a hard foul in the 79th. The Group B result extended Barcelona’s unbeaten run at home to 27 matches in the Champions League.
In the group’s other match, Mauro Icardi volleyed in a superb equalizer for Inter against Tottenham and Matias Vecino headed in the winner in injury time to complete a 2-1 win for the Italian club on its return to Europe’s top competition.
At Anfield, Mbappe scored his 11th Champions League goal since he made his debut in the tournament during the 2016-17 season.
His mistake in stoppage time proved costly for his club, though.
After netting PSG’s equalizer in the 83rd minute, Mbappe was dispossessed by James Milner in the closing stages of the match, giving Liverpool a chance to mount a final attack. Firmino collected a pass from Virgil van Dijk and fired a low shot into the far corner to seal the Reds’ victory.
PSG was down 2-0 after 36 minutes following goals from Daniel Sturridge and Milner but managed to fight back as Thomas Meunier pulled one back before Mbappe leveled. PSG, whose main goal this season is to win the Champions League after repeated failures, next plays Red Star Belgrade, which drew 0-0 with Napoli.
A year after making it to the final, Liverpool showed it might be capable of challenging for the title once again by finding a way to tame Neymar and Mbappe for much of the game.
Christian Pulisic celebrated his 20th birthday by scoring on his return from injury to give Borussia Dortmund a late 1-0 win at Club Brugge in group A.
“It was great to come back after injury to and to be back with the team,” said Pulisic, who made his 100th appearance for the club.
The American, who hadn’t played since Aug. 26 due to muscular problems, came on with around 20 minutes remaining and scored in the 85th when Matej Mitrovic’s attempted clearance rebounded off his shin and looped in over Brugge goalkeeper Karlo Letica.
“It was a bit lucky but I’ll take it on my birthday,” said Pulisic, who had missed two Bundesliga games for Dortmund and the U.S. friendlies against Brazil and Mexico.
MONACO LOSES AGAIN
In the other Group A game, Monaco was handed yet another home defeat, losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid.
After losing all three home games in the group stage last season, Leonardo Jardim’s side grabbed an early lead against the run of the play with a goal from Champions League debutant Samuel Grandsir. However, Atletico dominated for long spells and struck back before the interval through goals from Diego Costa and Jose Gimenez.
Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann saved one penalty but was beaten by another as Porto salvaged a 1-1 draw in their Champions League-opening game on Tuesday. Galatasaray defeated Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0 at home in the other Group D game.
In Germany, Porto keeper Iker Casillas started his 20th Champions League campaign, more than any other player.
WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM
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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS) — Ah, Week 3. Contenders are emerging (Is that you, LSU?), pretenders are falling away (what happened, Badgers?) and some positions are crystalizing (‘Bama. ‘Nuff said.). At least, for the moment.
As always, remember we pick the Football Four Playoff bracket as if the season was over.* It could all change next week. Or not.
1. Alabama – Remember all that talk about how Ole Miss might score actual points on Alabama? It happened. On the very first play. Uh oh! … Alabama won 62-7.
2. Ohio State – The Buckeyes got pushed by TCU, but turned it on late to pull away. Dwayne Haskins has transformed the Ohio State offense. The head coach returns to the sideline this week.
3. Oklahoma – Warning sign: For the first time this season the pass defense was, uh, leaky. But Kyler Murray was superb passing and running and the Sooners managed the road win at Iowa State.
4. Georgia – We’re not completely sure about Georgia, because the schedule looks pillowy soft other than LSU and Auburn. Middle Tennessee didn’t show us much. But the ol’ eyeballs say Georgia is really good.
5. Clemson – The Tigers rolled right over Georgia Southern, as expected. Next up, Georgia Tech. Keep watch on Kelly Bryant, who didn’t play in the second half because of a chest bruise.
6. LSU – Coach O and the Tigers nipped Auburn to move to 3-0; their second win against an opponent ranked in the Top 10. LSU has a good defense and a functional quarterback and just maybe, this thing is going to work.
7. Penn State – It was Kent State, so let’s not get too excited. But Penn State is getting untracked. In two weeks, the Nittany Lions host Ohio State.
8. Mississippi State – A fast, physical bunch of Bulldogs blew out Louisiana. Could they make waves in the SEC West?
Oklahoma State – Walloping Boise State is a huge statement for Mike Gundy’s bunch – especially defensively.
TCU – Mistakes finally felled the Frogs in a loss to Ohio State, but TCU showed off the speed and grit of a Big 12 contender.
Stanford – Without Bryce Love, it was a struggle against UC Davis.
Auburn – The Tigers’ defense is good. Its offense is surprisingly iffy. No margin for error after the loss to LSU which means they have to beat both Georgia and Alabama away from home.
Washington – In a very physical road game, the Huskies were better than Utah.
UCLA – It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Rutgers – When Kansas roughs you up, you’ve also had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Southern California – Minus-5 yards rushing. Five fewer than zero.
Florida State – Starting Gofundme accounts to buy out Willie Taggart after his third game? Uh oh.
Nebraska – Tough start for Scott Frost’s Huskers.
Arkansas – Fake fair catch, but no faking the rest of a beatdown by North Texas.
* The season is not over.
** Don’t be worried that your team sits just outside the cut. This is a weekly snapshot. And what do we know, anyway?
*** See the previous note, but it’s OK to be slightly concerned or very angry. But what do we know, anyway?
**** No note necessary
LSU surged to No. 6 in The Associated Press college football poll after its second victory of September against a highly ranked team, and Wisconsin tumbled to No. 18 after becoming the first top-10 team to be upset by an unranked team.
Top-ranked Alabama strengthened its hold on No. 1 on Sunday , receiving a season-high 58 first-place votes from the media panel. Clemson slipped out of the No. 2 spot for the first time this season. Georgia moved up a spot to second behind the Crimson Tide, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the ranking. Clemson is third with three first-place votes, followed by No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Oklahoma.
LSU has now gone from No. 25 to start the season to No. 6 in three weeks.
The Tigers beat Miami, the preseason No. 8, in Week 1 in Arlington, Texas, and then knocked off Auburn on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn slipped from No. 7 to No. 9.
Wisconsin’s loss to BYU was Saturday’s most surprising result. The Badgers were three-touchdown favorites but missed a last-second field goal to tie and lost 24-21 in Madison. The Big Ten had five teams in the top 14 to begin the seasons and three (Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin) have already lost.
BYU’s reward was being ranked No. 25.
The Big Ten drew a lot of attention for having a rough Saturday, with half the league losing nonconference games. The Pac-12, more specifically the Pac-12 South, also had a rough one — though much of the damage was done after a lot of East of the Mississippi bedtimes.
Southern California fell out of the ranking after its second straight loss, a thumping at Texas. The Trojans have now been outscored 54-17 the last two weeks. Arizona State also fell from the ranking when it could not back up its nice home win against Michigan State, losing at San Diego State.
Within the conference, Utah was beaten at home by Pac-12 North power No. 10 Washington, thwarting the Utes’ chances of being ranked. UCLA dropped to 0-3 under Chip Kelly and Arizona finally managed to get coach Kevin Sumlin a victory — by beating Southern Utah of the FCS.
Colorado is the lone unbeaten Pac-12 South team. Looks bleak, but just two seasons ago the landscape was similar for the division. After opening-week losses by USC and UCLA to start 2016, the Pac-12 South had no ranked teams. Ultimately, Colorado, the eventual Pac-12 South champ, and Utah moved into the ranking and finished in the Top 25. USC made a late-season surge behind Sam Darnold, too.
The other big mover in the right direction this week was Oklahoma State. The Cowboys jumped nine spots to No. 15 after an impressive 44-21 victory against Boise State, which tumbled out of the rankings after being No. 17.
Oklahoma State began the season unranked after being ranked at the end of the last three seasons.
Three teams moved into the ranking for the first time this season, with Boston College making its return to the Top 25 for the first time since 2008.
The Eagles beat Wake Forest on Thursday night to improve to 3-0 behind a dynamic offense led by running back A.J. Dillon and blossoming quarterback Anthony Brown. BC has not won more than seven games since 2009. The 2008 team won nine and the ACC Atlantic Division but was last ranked on Nov. 30 of that year.
— No. 22 Texas A&M is ranked for the first time since November 2016.
— No. 25 BYU is ranked for the first time since September 2015.
The SEC has the top two teams in the AP poll for the 23rd time since 2006. Alabama was either No. 1 or 2 in all of those. The conference with the next most 1-2 appearances in the poll since 2006 is the Big Ten with eight.
SEC — 6.
Big Ten — 5.
Big 12 — 4.
ACC — 4.
Pac-12 — 3.
Independent — 2.
American — 1.
RANKED vs. RANKED
No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama. First ranked opponent for the Crimson Tide.
No. 7 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon. First Power Five opponent for the Ducks.
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CHICAGO (AP) — Khalil Mack once again put on the sort of havoc-wreaking show the Chicago Bears envisioned when they traded for the superstar pass rusher.
Even better for them, they came away with the victory this time.
Mack had one of six sacks against Russell Wilson, Prince Amukamara returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown and the Bears beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-17 Monday night to give coach Matt Nagy his first career victory.
Mack sprinted out of the tunnel to a neat ovation prior to his first appearance at Soldier Field since a blockbuster trade from Oakland just over two weeks ago. That deal happened after he held out the entire offseason and preseason seeking a contract extension from the Raiders rather than play under the final year of his rookie contract. Chicago gave him a six-year, $141 million extension that guarantees $90 million — the richest deal ever for an NFL defensive player.
Mack also had the crowd roaring with a strip-sack in the first half, smacking the ball out of Wilson’s hand as he wound up to pass, and he consistently pressured the quarterback. It was more of the same from last week, when he had a strip-sack and interception return for a TD at Green Bay, except there was one key difference.
The Bears came out on top after blowing a 20-point lead against a hobbled Aaron Rodgers in a loss to the Packers.
“That’s a great feeling,” Mack said. “We took it over the top.”
Amukamara jumped the route on a pass intended for Rashaad Penny near midfield for his first career touchdown, making it 24-10 with 6:37 left. It was his first interception since 2015 with the New York Giants.
Danny Trevathan then stripped Wilson with his second sack of the game. The Bears’ Leonard Floyd recovered the fumble, and Chicago hung on after blowing a 20-point lead in a season-opening loss to a hobbled Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
“I’m just really looking forward to the future of this team and seeing how we respond not only to tough losses like Green Bay, but how do we respond to a good win for us,” said Nagy, who replaced the fired John Fox. “Sometimes those are just as hard.”
The Seahawks (0-2) lost for just the second time in nine Monday night games under coach Pete Carroll.
“We’re still a work in progress,” he said.
Wilson has been sacked six times in each game this season. With the Bears applying constant pressure and his receivers struggling to get open, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback completed 22 of 36 passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
But Wilson focused more on the two TDs Seattle scored in the fourth quarter, though the last one came in the closing seconds.
“The fourth quarter showed us who we are and who we can be. … I don’t think we’re far off by any means,” he said. “I think the margin of error is really small. I’m normally optimistic, you guys know, but I really mean that. I think that’s the situation we’re in.”
Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky was 25 of 34 for 200 yards. The No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, Trubisky threw touchdown passes to Trey Burton on Chicago’s first possession and rookie Anthony Miller early in the fourth quarter. But he was also intercepted two times by Shaquill Griffin — on a deep ball that was underthrown and on another throw tipped at the line.
“I’m really proud with how he handled himself from Play 1 until the end of that fourth quarter,” Nagy said. “His attitude was great. He didn’t worry about anything. And so that’s growth right there.”
The Bears presented longtime linebacker Brian Urlacher with his Ring of Excellence for being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks had a sack after signing with Seattle on Friday.
Kendricks pleaded guilty last week to insider trading charges in Philadelphia. His sentencing is expected in January.
Kendricks signed a one-year contract with Cleveland in June after playing last year with Super Bowl champion Philadelphia. The Browns released him after the charges were filed.
Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson and offensive tackle Duane Brown stayed off the field during the national anthem, something they did in the opener and preseason.
Bears: RB Tarik Cohen (ankle) and DT Akiem Hicks (knee) walked off gingerly with two minutes left after he was hurt rushing the quarterback. But neither player thought their injury was serious.
Seahawks: Host Dallas on Sunday.
Bears: Visit Arizona on Sunday.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Gordon’s strange, stuttering career will start anew in New England.
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have a new offensive toy.
The Browns severed ties for good with the problematic wide receiver by trading him to the Patriots for a fifth-round draft pick on Monday, ending a relationship the team did all it could to save.
The deal came together two days after the Browns reached a breaking point with Gordon, who has been suspended numerous times by the NFL for drug violations since Cleveland drafted him in 2012.
“He is gone now,” coach Hue Jackson said.
Gordon played in the Browns’ season opener against Pittsburgh, but he reported to the team on Saturday with an unexplained hamstring injury after practicing all week. The Browns decided to leave him behind when they traveled to New Orleans, and later said they intended to release him.
However, Cleveland general manager John Dorsey found there was a crowded market for him and worked out the swap with New England, which will also get a seventh-round pick.
The Browns have been supportive of Gordon, but the team felt betrayed and decided it was time to move on.
“We’ve done all we can do for Josh,” said Jackson, who didn’t provide any specifics about Gordon’s issues over the weekend. “We tried to provide the right environment. It just didn’t work out. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery and hopefully things work out for Josh.”
Gordon’s tantalizing talent had caused the Browns to hang onto him while he dealt with drug and alcohol dependence going back to his teens. He missed training camp to receive treatment and the Browns were cautiously optimistic he would help them this season.
But he again let them down, and Jackson acknowledged the separation was necessary.
“I hate to determine it a relief,” Jackson said. “I’m glad there is closure. I’m glad that we’re not in a space where we’re thinking about those things: What could be, what could not be, and that we’re coaching the guys that are here.”
Gordon’s departure will expand rookie Antonio Callaway’s role. Callaway caught a 47-yard touchdown pass in the final two minutes Sunday, but the Browns were beaten 21-18.
Also, the Browns added some depth Monday by signing free agent Rod Streater, a sixth-year veteran who has played with Oakland and San Francisco.
Gordon’s former Cleveland teammate Corey Coleman — who had his own issues with the Browns before being traded last month to Buffalo, cut and then signing with the Patriots — was released by New England.
Belichick has a long history of reclamation projects with castoffs, including Randy Moss, Chad Johnson and Aqib Talib. The Patriots coach will try to work the same magic with Gordon, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder with a dazzling blend of size and speed.
In his second season, Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards receiving and scored nine touchdowns. He had a memorable 80-yard TD catch against the Patriots, turning a short catch into an electrifying run on which he made New England’s defenders appear to be standing still.
But that was in 2013, and Gordon has played in just 11 games since because of his off-field issues.
Still, he’s regarded among his peers as one of the game’s most talented players.
“I think it’s obviously known that he’s a freakish athlete,” Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett said moments after the trade became official. “We see what he does when he’s on the field.”
He’s joining one of the most stable and successful organizations in pro sports, and Gordon has financial motivations to produce. He’s making $790,000 this season — a relatively low figure among star receivers — and if he stays clean and catches the ball, he could cash in as a restricted free agent after the season.
“We can’t worry about that,” Jackson said when asked about Gordon flourishing in New England. “We have to do what we think is best for our organization.”
Gordon can potentially help a New England receiving group that has undergone numerous changes since the offseason departure of Danny Amendola as a free agent and trade of Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Patriots took another hit when Julian Edelman was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancers.
The upheaval left Chris Hogan, in his third season in New England, as the Patriots’ most-tenured receiver and there has been a constant shuffling of receivers on the depth chart.
Brady did his best during their season-opening win over Houston to spread the ball around, completing passes to eight different players. Seven different players caught at least one pass in Sunday’s loss to Jacksonville, but the Jaguars’ defense was able to key on tight end Rob Gronkowski, holding him to just two catches for 15 yards.
AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower in Foxborough, Massachusetts, contributed to this report.
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — Christian Yelich became the first major leaguer to hit for the cycle twice in one season against the same team, driving in four runs to lead the Milwaukee Brewers over the Cincinnati Reds 8-0 on Monday night.
Less than three weeks after his cycle in Cincinnati, the streaking slugger accomplished the feat against the last-place Reds once again to help the Brewers in their playoff pursuit. Milwaukee began the night 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the N.L. Central but with a three-game lead in the wild-card race.
Yelich singled in the first inning, doubled in the second, launched a two-run homer in the fifth and completed the cycle with a two-run triple in the sixth. With the Brewers nursing a large lead, he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Yelich’s huge second half has turned him into a top contender for the N.L. MVP award. He also hit for the cycle when he went 6 for 6 in a 13-12 comeback victory on Aug. 29 at Cincinnati, making him the fifth player to turn the trick twice in one season – and first in Brewers history.
The previous player with two cycles in one season was Aaron Hill in 2012.
Wade Miley (5-2) labored through five innings and Brandon Woodruff got his first save.
Anthony DeSclafani (7-6) gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings.
Cardinals 11, Braves 6: In Atlanta, Kolten Wong hit the first of four St. Louis homers, Miles Mikolas won his third straight start and the Cardinals beat the N.L. East-leading Atlanta to give their playoff push another boost.
St. Louis has 35 victories since the All-Star break, most in the National League, and has won two straight after losing four in a row. The Cardinals, who also got homers from Paul DeJong, Harrison Bader and Yadier Molina, began the night tied with the Dodgers for the second N.L. wild card.
The Braves took a third consecutive loss after winning a season-best six straight games. They remained 6 1/2 games ahead in the division following Philadelphia’s loss to the Mets, which reduced Atlanta’s magic number to seven as the Braves try to clinch their first N.L. East title in five years.
Mike Foltynewicz (11-10) allowed six runs and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. Atlanta pitchers have issued 32 walks over the last four games, all at home, where they are 38-37 and have dropped nine of 12.
Mikolas (16-4) gave up two runs in five innings. He improved to 16-0 when getting at least two runs of support, and the Cardinals are 21-3 in those games.
Freddie Freeman homered for the Braves.
Blue Jays 5, Orioles 0: In Baltimore, the lost their 107th game, tied for most in a season since its arrival in 1954.
Toronto rookie Ryan Borucki (4-4) pitched eight innings of three-hit ball. The Blue Jays have won 13 of 17 games between the two bottom teams in the AL East.
Toronto stands 25 games better than the Orioles, whose 43-107 record is worst in the majors. The only other Orioles team with 107 defeats was the 1988 club, which started 0-21 on its way to a 54-107 finish.
The franchise record for losses is 111, by the 1939 St. Louis Browns. After going 54-100 in 1953, the Browns moved to Baltimore. The major league record is 120 losses, set by the expansion New York Mets in 1962.
Making his first major league start, Evan Phillips (0-1) retired the first five batters he faced before Kevin Pillar doubled, Rowdy Tellez hit an RBI single and Danny Jansen homered to left.
Mets 9, Phillies 4: In Philadelphia, Michael Conforto had a career-high six RBIs and finished a triple shy of the cycle, and Zack Wheeler pitched seven solid innings for his career-best 12th win for New York.
Conforto had a two-run single in the fifth, an RBI double in the seventh off Tommy Hunter (4-3) and a three-run homer in the ninth for the Mets, who have won 7 of 11 and are 26-17 over their last 43 games. Conforto has 75 RBIs, including 45 since the All-Star break, second most in the N.L. over that span behind Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich.
Wheeler (12-7) allowed four runs and three hits to become the first Mets pitcher since Steve Trachsel in 2001 to record nine wins after the All-Star break. Since the break, the right-hander is 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA in 11 starts.
Marlins 8, Nationals 5: In Miami, Washington reliever Wander Suero balked in a run while the Nationals blew a four-run lead.
Washington led 4-0 after 4 1/2 innings but trailed by the end of the sixth. Suero let in the go-ahead run, balking with pinch-hitter Rafael Ortega batting and Austin Dean at third base to put Miami ahead 5-4.
Washington tied it in the seventh when Trea Turner beat out a potential double play, but Miami loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning and Lewis Brinson hit a tiebreaking single off Koda Glover (1-3).
Jarlin Garcia (3-2) recorded the final out of the seventh. Adam Conley pitched the ninth for his third save.
Rays 3, Rangers 0: In Arlington, Texas, Tyler Glasnow allowed two infield singles in six innings for his first win since Tampa Bay traded Chris Archer to get the right-hander.
Ji-Man Choi homered and drove in two runs to help the Rays improve to a major league-best 21-5 since Aug. 19. Tampa Bay started the day seven games behind Oakland for the second American League wild card.
Adam Kolarek, Jose Alvarado and Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless inning apiece to wrap up the second two-hit shutout of the Rangers in a week. Romo got his 22nd save in 29 chances.
Glasnow (2-6) got his fourth career win in 26 starts over two seasons. He struck out six, walked two and hit a batter.
Adrian Sampson (0-2) gave up two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Twins 6, Tigers 1: In Detroit, Kohl Stewart pitched six solid innings and Eddie Rosario homered for Minnesota before leaving with an injury in a victory over Detroit.
Gabriel Moya pitched the opening inning for the Twins before Stewart (2-1) took over and worked through the seventh. He allowed an unearned run and three hits with five strikeouts.
Rosario hit a solo shot in the first, his 24th home run of the year. He left in the fourth after aggravating a right quad injury on the play that gave the Tigers their only run of the game.
Jorge Polanco added a solo homer of his own in the ninth.
Jordan Zimmermann (7-8) allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings. Nicholas Castellanos had three hits and a walk for Detroit.
Pirates 7, Royals 6: In Pittsburgh, Pirates rookie Jacob Stallings hit a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally Pittsburgh past Kansas City.
After Jordan Luplow grounded into a double play, Kevin Kramer walked and moved to second on Kevin Newman’s single. Stallings then singled off Ben Lively (0-3), scoring Kramer.
The Pirates scored twice with two outs in the eighth to tie it 6-all, including Starling Marte’s RBI triple.
Newman had three hits as the Pirates won for the ninth time in 12 games.
Edgar Santana (3-3) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
Ryan O’Hearn hit his 11th home run in 36 games for the Royals since making his debut July 31. He also had an RBI double.
Mariners 4, Astros 1: In Houston, rookie pinch-hitter Daniel Vogelbach’s first career grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning lifted Seattle over Houston.
The loss cut Houston’s lead in the A.L. West to four games over Oakland, which was off Monday night.
The Mariners trailed 1-0 when Nelson Cruz singled off Hector Rondon (2-5) with no outs in the eighth, and Kyle Seager singled with one out. Pinch-hitter Robinson Cano then hit a ball into shallow center field that looked like it would drop in for a hit, but Jake Marisnick sprinted before diving and extending his arm to make the catch.
Rondon walked pinch-hitter Denard Span to load bases before Vogelbach sent a 97-mph fastball into the bullpen in right-center.
Marwin Gonzalez had an RBI double to give the Astros the lead in the fourth. But they couldn’t muster much else on a night they managed just three hits, with the last one coming in the fifth.
Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc allowed three hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings. Ryan Cook (2-1) struck out one in a perfect seventh for the win, and Edwin Diaz pitched a scoreless ninth for his MLB-leading 56th save.
Cubs 5, Diamondbacks 1: In Phoenix, Kyle Hendricks took a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning and Chicago three-hit Arizona.
Hendricks (12-11) struck out eight and walked one. A.J. Pollock hit a leadoff homer against Hendricks in the ninth and Paul Goldschmidt added a two-out single before Justin Wilson relieved and closed things out.
Javier Baez homered in Chicago’s three-run sixth inning that broke open what had been a pitcher’s duel between Hendricks and Patrick Corbin (11-6).
Kris Bryant also homered, and the Cubs maintained their 2 1/2-game lead in the N.L. Central after second-place Milwaukee beat Cincinnati earlier Monday.
The Diamondbacks led the N.L. West when the month began but opened the day four games behind first-place Colorado. Arizona has lost 8 of 10 to fall five games out of the second wild card.
Giants 4, Padres 2: In San Diego, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria homered off Bryan Mitchell, and left-hander Andrew Suarez pitched into the eighth inning to lead San Francisco to a victory over San Diego.
Suarez (7-11) snapped a two-start losing streak by holding San Diego to two runs and four hits while striking out four and walking three in 7 2/3 innings. Will Smith pitched the ninth for his 13th save.
Rookie Chris Shaw had his first three-hit game for the Giants.
The Padres dropped to 60-91 to match last year’s loss total with 11 games to play. Ownership had expected the Padres to be better than the club that finished 71-91 last year, but San Diego has lost at least 91 games for the third straight season and the fourth time in eight years.
Dodgers 8, Rockies 2: In Los Angeles, Joc Pederson hit two homers, Max Muncy added a three-run shot and Los Angeles moved back into first place in the N.L. West with a victory over Colorado.
Dodgers starter Huyn-Jin Ryu pitched seven scoreless innings, throwing 93 pitches to match a season high. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter as he lowered his ERA to 2.21 over seven starts since returning from a strained left groin.
The Rockies entered this showdown series with a half-game lead on Los Angeles, but the teams switched places as the Dodgers unleashed the high-powered offense that helped them win three of four last weekend in St. Louis.
It was a rough night all-around for the Rockies, who not only dropped out of first place in the division but fell a half-game behind the Cardinals for the second N.L. wild card. They also lost slugger Trevor Story in the fourth inning with an undisclosed injury. The All-Star shortstop was injured on a swing against Ryu.
Story was checked by manager Bud Black and a trainer before leaving the game. Already this season, Story has become the first shortstop in major league history with at least 40 doubles, 30 home runs and 25 steals.
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — The PGA of America is bringing its biggest championships to Congressional over the next two decades.
Nearly three months after the PGA Tour ended another run outside golf-rich Washington, the PGA of America announced an agreement for the club to host the Women’s PGA Championship twice, the Senior PGA Championship twice, the PGA Championship (2031) and the Ryder Cup (2036).
Congressional also will host the Junior PGA Championship and the Professional National Championship, along with an annual event designed to introduce golf to veterans.
“We are excited to bring major championship golf back to Congressional and to represent our country and the nation’s capital as host of the 2036 Ryder Cup,” said Bev Lane, the club president.
Congressional, across the Potomac River in Bethesda, Maryland, previously hosted the 1976 PGA Championship won by Dave Stockton, whose 1-over 281 remains the last time no one broke par at the PGA Championship.
The club received greater notice when it hosted the 1964 U.S. Open, which Ken Venturi won while battling severe heat and dehydration. Ernie Els won his second U.S. Open title in 1997, and Rory McIlroy set the U.S. Open scoring record at 16-under 268 on a rain-softened course in 2011.
The Ryder Cup has become the biggest draw, though fans will have to wait 18 more years. McIlroy will be 47 and might be an obvious choice for European captain.
Unique about this deal is that Congressional gets all the PGA of America has to offer.
It starts in 2022 with the Women’s PGA Championship. The Junior PGA Championship (boys and girls) will be held in 2024, with the Senior PGA in 2025, the Women’s PGA returning in 2027, the Professional National Championship in 2029 and then the PGA Championship in 2031.
The other Senior PGA will be in 2033.
John Easterbrook, the interim chief executive of the PGA until Seth Waugh takes over, described the partnership as “monumental in scope and stature.”
It at least keeps golf in Washington, though not every year.
The PGA Tour first came to Congressional in 1980 with the now-defunct Kemper Open, and it stayed there for seven years until moving around the corner to the TPC Avenel, which was not received well by the players and the quality of the field soon deteriorated.
Tiger Woods brought golf back to Congressional with his AT&T National in 2008, built around a military theme, and it was played there seven times, most recently in 2016 when Navy veteran Billy Hurley III won.
Quicken Loans did not renew with the Tiger Woods Foundation, taking on a new tournament in Detroit next year, leaving Washington without top-level golf again.
Congressional last year began hosting “PGA HOPE,” which stands for Helping Our Patriots Everywhere. It is offered at no cost to military veterans. Congressional will continue to host the program each year under the partnership.
ATLANTA — The biggest payday in golf is getting bigger.
The PGA Tour and FedEx announced major changes Tuesday to the season-long race to the FedExCup starting next season, including the grand prize for the champion being bumped to $15 million from $10 million.
The playoffs also will be reduced from four events to three, and the postseason finale at The Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club will have a simplified scoring system to determine the overall champion.
Further, there will be a new Wyndham Rewards Top 10 race doling out $10 million to the best players during the regular season, with the leader in the standings heading into the playoffs getting $2 million and the 10th-place finisher getting $500,000.
In addition to the Wyndham Rewards, the FedExCup bonus pool will increase by $25 million to $60 million.
“We’re thrilled with these changes put forth today. In fact, it’s been a long time coming, and we’ve really looked forward to this day,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said Tuesday during his state of the union address at East Lake Golf Club. “But you take these changes and you combine them with the new and improved schedule, and we think this is a significant step forward for the PGA Tour.”
The adjustments coincide with the Tour’s significant changes to the schedule, which now will see the season conclude before Labor Day to escape the looming shadows of the NFL, MLB and college football.
The schedule adjustments include the playoffs being reduced to three events – the Northern Trust, BMW Championship and The Tour Championship. The first playoff event at the Northern Trust will feature 125 players with a cut down to the top 70 for the BMW Championship. Both events will award quadruple points compared to regular-season events.
As has been the case since the FedExCup Playoffs’ inception in 2007, the postseason’s last event, The Tour Championship, will feature 30 players. But starting next year, points will not be reset. Instead, the FedExCup points leader after the first two playoff events will begin The Tour Championship at 10-under par. The next four players in the standings will start at 8 under through 5 under, respectively. The next five will begin at 4 under, regressing by one stroke per five players until those ranked Nos. 26-30 start at even par.
There will no longer be a need for high-tech calculators as head-scratching scenarios explaining what a player would have to do to win the FedExCup are eliminated. Instead, the player with the lowest score at the end of the week will win The Tour Championship, the FedExCup and $15 million.
Monahan, who said the Tour considered many format changes, said he loves the beauty of the simplicity of the scoring at the playoff final.
“Win The Tour Championship and you are the FedExCup Cup champion. It’s that simple,” Monahan said. “And we have no doubt it will create a compelling, dramatic conclusion for the Tour’s ultimate prize.”
But it will be weird, said defending FedExCup champion Justin Thomas. He said the strokes-based system will take some getting used to, especially if you start 8 to 10 shots back and shoot over par and you’re basically eliminated after the first round. Or you could have the best 72-hole score and not win the tournament.
“It’s never going to be perfect,” said Thomas, who last year won the FedExCup while Xander Schauffele won The Tour Championship. “No system in any sport is ever going to be perfect, and the Tour has done such a great job of talking to us and trying to get it as good as possible. For how much pride we take in our wins, I think that that’s something that’s going to be a little different.
“We’re just going to kind of see how it unfolds, and hopefully it turns out well. I liked the way that it is now, but like anything, you’re just going to have to get used to it and we’re just going to have to become comfortable with it because that’s the way it is. Hopefully, and I’m sure it will, it will produce a lot of great drama and a very deserving winner.”
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SEATTLE (AP) — Fans are whooping and cheering as they celebrate the Seattle Storm’s third WNBA championship during a parade and rally.
The mood was electric Sunday as trolleys carried players and coaches on a route that began at the Space Needle and arrived at KeyArena just as the rain fell.
Aboard one trolley, Storm forward Breanna Stewart pumped the championship trophy into the air and smiled. It was just one of three trophies that the players displayed along the parade, one for each of the team’s three titles.
Fans in yellow and green jerseys lined the streets and later packed into KeyArena.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told KING-TV that the team is an inspiration to everyone in Seattle.
The Storm beat the Washington Mystics in a three-game sweep in the finals.
The Seattle Storm have not received an invitation from President Donald Trump to visit the White House. The new WNBA champs have no interest in going even if one is extended.
Seattle clinched the third championship in franchise history Tuesday night with a win over the Washington Mystics. Veteran point guard Sue Bird said Friday the team is not expecting an invitation from Trump and would decline to visit anyway.
“At this point, it doesn’t even really need to be discussed,” Bird said. “It’s come up. We paid attention to what happened with Minnesota not getting invited. Everyone knew when everything happened with Steph Curry and LeBron (James) on social media, all that stuff. We all pay attention and we watch.”
The Minnesota Lynx did not receive a White House invite after winning the WNBA title in 2017.
“I’m sure (the president) is going to say we’re not invited anyway,” Bird told KING5 on Thursday, “so it all works out well.”
The Lynx’s non-invite came after Trump withdrew an invitation to Curry and the Golden State Warriors after they won the 2017 NBA title. Trump has sparred with Curry and James on social media after the NBA stars made critical remarks about the president.
Trump also canceled a White House visit by the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles after several players made critical remarks of their own and planned to skip the event.
Bird has made two trips to the White House in her career: with the Storm after winning the 2010 title and with Connecticut after winning the NCAA championship in 2002. She said the invitation is no longer the honor it used to be.
“I’ve been really fortunate to go, and it’s exciting,” Bird said. “You’re going to the White House. I remember first walking into the room to meet President Obama and the aura. … It’s insane.
“Now, that’s not the case anymore. It doesn’t feel exciting. Nobody wants to go. It’s totally changed. And that’s disappointing because it used to be, like I said, something that most athletes would look forward to.”
Storm forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who also won three NCAA titles at UConn, agreed with Bird. “I don’t see many people that are going to accept the invitation if they get one.”
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — For seven-time European champion AC Milan, Arsenal and Chelsea, the Europa League provides a chance to return to the Champions League. For Sarpsborg, Dudelange or Vidi, it’s more about gaining experience in an international competition.
The Europa League has something to offer everyone, from the heavyweights to the underdogs to all the clubs in between.
The second-tier European competition kicks off Thursday with 48 teams in 12 groups. The final will be on May 29 at Baku Olympic Stadium.
After UEFA’s decision to award a Champions League qualifying place to the winning team, which started in the 2015-16 season, the competition is no longer treated with contempt by the big teams. But the Thursday match days require coaches to rest or rotate some of their best players to be ready for weekend league games back home.
A look at the forthcoming season in the Europa League:
AC MILAN, ARSENAL AGAIN
The two clubs were hardly looking to return to the Europa League for the second straight year, but that’s what they had to settle for after failing to secure a spot in the Champions League following unsuccessful league campaigns.
Last season, Arsenal eliminated Milan in the round of 16 before it was knocked out in the semifinals by Atletico Madrid, the Spanish team that went on to win the trophy for the third time in nine years.
In its quest to lift the only European trophy it has never won, Milan opens this week against Dudelange, the first team from Luxembourg to reach the group stage. Olympiakos and Real Betis are also in the group.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery will be in familiar territory in the Europa League in his first season with the London club. The Spaniard guided Sevilla to three straight Europa League titles in 2014-16.
Arsenal starts against Ukrainian club Vorskla Poltava, with matches to come against Sporting Lisbon and Qarabag.
Chelsea and Sevilla have no intention of emulating Milan and Arsenal by staying in the Europa League any longer than necessary.
Both have won the trophy in the past, with Sevilla holding a record five titles and Chelsea winning it in 2012 — the last time they competed in the tournament.
With a perfect record of five wins from five matches, Chelsea leads the Premier League and looks to be heading for a return to the Champions League anyway.
Chelsea travels to Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki for its opener and will also have to face BATE Borisov and Hungarian club Vidi. Sevilla hosts Standard Liege on Thursday in a group that also includes Russian club Krasnodar and Turkish team Akhisar Belediyespor.
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