(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.
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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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(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.
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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — St. Petersburg Open defending champion Damir Dzumhur reached the quarterfinals by beating Guido Pella 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday.
Dzumhur landed 70 percent of his first serves on his way to a win which set up a quarterfinal with Stan Wawrinka.
Also, 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov defeated Italian player Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-0 and lined up a quarterfinal against Martin Klizan.
The eighth-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia prevailed against Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-4 in their second-round match.
METZ, France (AP) — Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas squandered a match point and was upset by Ricardas Berankis in the second round of the Moselle Open on Thursday.
Tsitsipas missed the chance in the second-set tiebreaker and ultimately lost 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-3 against the 103th-ranked Lithuanian player. Tsitsipas hit 17 aces but dropped his serve three times.
Lucas Pouille, who helped France qualify for the Davis Cup final last week, withdrew from the Moselle Open with a back injury and was replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Gregoire Barrere.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Second-seeded Kiki Bertens advanced to the quarterfinals of the rain-hit Korea Open by beating Dalila Jakupovic 6-4, 7-5 Thursday.
Bertens broke the Slovenian player’s serve at 5-5 in the second set and held in the next game.
Also, Mandy Minella beat Australian qualifier Priscilla Hon 6-4, 6-3. The 20-year-old Hon was trying to make it to the Seoul quarterfinals for the second straight year as a qualifier.
Persistent rain throughout the afternoon delayed the start of four second-round matches. A match between two former champions, Agnieszka Radwanska and Irina-Camelia Begu, was suspended late Thursday with Begu leading 6-4, 4-3.
Rain also delayed the start of a match between top-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, and Ekaterina Alexandrova.
TOKYO (AP) — Unseeded Camila Giorgi rallied from a break point down in the final set to beat two-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 and advance to the Pan Pacific Open quarterfinals on Thursday.
Trailing 2-0 in the final set, Giorgi broke back immediately and won six of the last eight games.
The Italian finished with 45 winners to Wozniacki’s 14.
It was Giorgi’s third win over Wozniacki, all on hard courts, but her first win over a top-10 players in four years.
Wozniacki found her game in the second set, saving all nine break points she faced — including one in the first game and five at 1-1 — to send the match the distance.
The Dane started the quicker of the two in the third set, winning eight of the first nine points to build a 2-0 lead but Giorgi fought back to set up a quarterfinal clash with wild card Victoria Azarenka.
Azarenka beat seventh-seeded Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-2 for her first top-20 win since March.
Also, unseeded Donna Vekic came from a double break down in the second set to defeat Johanna Konta 6-3, 7-5 to reach her fifth quarterfinal of the year.
Eighth-seeded Barbora Strycova outlasted Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-5 and will face U.S. Open champion and local favorite Naomi Osaka in the quarterfinals on Friday.
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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.
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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.
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TOKYO (AP) — Naomi Osaka’s homecoming couldn’t have gone much better.
Playing in her first tournament since winning the U.S. Open, third-seeded Osaka impressed her Japanese fans Wednesday with a powerful 6-2, 6-1 win over Dominika Cibulkova to reach the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific Open.
Osaka was in control of the second-round match from the outset, breaking Cibulkova’s serve in the first game at a sold-out Tachikawa Arena.
“My first match (since the U.S. Open) in Tokyo felt really special,” Osaka said. “I didn’t really feel pressure, I felt more excitement because I knew that a lot of people were watching this match. I felt really grateful.
“I’m just grateful I could play in front of you guys and want to thank everyone for their support.”
The local favorite raced out to a 4-0 lead before Cibulkova finally held to win her first game. Osaka hit three aces to close out the first set.
She broke her opponent three more times in the second set to win in just over an hour, hitting 25 winners to just nine unforced errors.
Osaka became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title when she upset 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Sept. 8 in New York.
Two years ago Osaka lost in the Pan Pacific final to Caroline Wozniacki, who is the top-seeded player this year.
Osaka was born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother. They were both in attendance Wednesday.
The shy 20-year-old Osaka, who has spent most of her life in the United States and lives in Florida, has been in the spotlight both on and off the court since returning to Japan last Thursday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took to Instagram to praise Osaka’s accomplishments and the rising star also appeared at a sumo match.
Osaka signed a three-year contract last week with Japanese carmaker Nissan — no financial details were released — and she is reportedly close to landing a large deal with Adidas, perhaps in the range of $10 million.
The U.S. Open title was worth $3.8 million in prize money.
Osaka also has endorsement agreements with Japanese sporting goods company Yonex, noodle maker Nissin Foods, Citizen Watch and satellite broadcaster Wowow.
Cibulkova has been in the midst of a resurgence since reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and upsetting former No.1 Angelique Kerber on the way to the second week of the U.S. Open, but she couldn’t make a dent in the Osaka serve.
“It wasn’t a match I was proud of,” Cibulkova said. “I just couldn’t find my rhythm. She was serving so well. I felt I was in control of some rallies, but it was too hectic.”
In other matches, American qualifier Alison Riske upset former No. 1 Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-2 and Karolina Pliskova defeated Daria Gavrilova 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Caroline Garcia beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
Osaka will next face the winner of the match between Anett Kontaveit and Barbora Strycova.
The world No. 7, who served 10 aces, said she is pleased with her game despite all the distractions of the past 10 days.
“As a whole I can say I played maybe, like, 80 percent,” Osaka said. “For me I never know the limit of what level I can go to.”
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Top-seeded Jelena Ostapenko beat Lara Arruabarrena 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round of the Korea Open on Wednesday.
Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, broke her opponent five times while notching up 32 winners to 29 unforced errors.
“She’s a very good player and very consistent,” Ostapenko said. “Today was a good match for me, especially for the first round because first rounds are always tough.”
Also, second-seeded Kiki Bertens beat Luksika Kumkhum 7-6 (7), 6-2.
Sixth-seeded Hsieh Su-wei defeated Stefanie Voegele 6-2, 6-1, and Evgeniya Rodina outlasted No. 8 Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
At Guangzhou, China, fifth-seeded Yulia Putintseva defeated Sabine Lisicke 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Guangzhou Open. Also, seventh-seeded Vera Lapko overpowered Deniz Khazaniuk 6-2, 7-5.
METZ, France (AP) — Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made an unsuccessful return to competition on Tuesday, losing 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 to defending champion Peter Gojowczyk of Germany in the first round of the Moselle Open.
Tsonga, a three-time winner in Metz, played his first match since February after recovering from a knee injury.
Gojowczyk won the tournament as a qualifier last year for his maiden tour title. Against Tsonga, he saved all three break points and hit 17 aces. He will be up against top-seeded Kei Nishikori for a spot in quarterfinals.
Fifth-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili also advanced by defeating qualifier Kenny De Schepper 6-2, 7-6 (0) while Ugo Humbert rallied from a set down to beat Bernard Tomic 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Defending champion Damir Dzumhur advanced to the second round of the St. Petersburg Open by beating Austrian qualifier Lucas Miedler 7-5, 6-3 on Tuesday.
Dzumhur came from 3-0 down in the opening set, winning 10 of the following 12 games.
The sixth-seeded Bosnian will face either Argentine player Guido Pella or Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka. Stan Wawrinka is a possible quarterfinal opponent.
Last year, Dzumhur became the first man to win both of the ATP tour’s Russian events in a single season after victory in St. Petersburg and the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
Also Tuesday, the eighth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev swept past Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-1 to set up a second-round meeting with either Mikhail Kukushkin or Denis Istomin.
Lukas Lacko defeated Belgian lucky loser Ruben Bemelmans 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 after his original opponent, the Cypriot veteran Marcos Baghdatis, withdrew. Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany earned a second-round meeting with top-seeded Dominic Thiem by beating Andrei Rublev 6-4, 7-6 (6).
More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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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.
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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.
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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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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.
WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts left the game after hurting his left side making a throw to home plate during a 4-3 win over the New York Mets on Sunday in Boston that cut their magic number to two for a third straight AL East title. Boston can clinch the division at Yankee Stadium for the second time in three seasons, needing only one win during a three-game series that opens Tuesday afternoon. Betts said the injury is minor and he will be in the lineup Tuesday. He is hitting .337 with 29 homers and 72 RBIs.
Cardinals 4, Dodgers 0: Adam Wainwright pitched two-hit ball over six innings for his first win in five months, Marcell Ozuna homered and St. Louis salvaged the finale of a four-game series with a victory over Los Angeles at home. The Cardinals snapped a season-high four-game losing streak and moved into a tie for the second National League wild card with the Dodgers, who slipped a half-game behind Colorado for the NL West lead. Wainwright, making his second start since missing almost four months with right elbow inflammation, struck out a season-high nine while earning his first victory since April 16. His 101 pitches were his most since July 22, 2017.
Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2: Dellin Betances wasted a 2-1 eighth-inning lead in New York, allowing hits to four of his first five batters. Pinch-hitter Rowdy Tellez had a tying single and Randal Grichuk a go-ahead double. Betances has lost in two of his past three appearances. The Yankees maintained a 1 1/2-game lead over Oakland for the top AL wild card. Manager Aaron Boone said All-Star slugger Aaron Judge could return to the lineup against Boston.
Astros 5, Diamondbacks 4: Justin Verlander struck out 11 in seven innings, allowing one run and three hits in Houston, which leads second-place Oakland by 4 1/2 games in the AL West. Arizona began the day four games behind in the NL West and 3 1/2 games back for the second NL wild-card spot. Zack Greinke allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Rays 5, Athletics 4: Khris Davis hit a grand slam in the ninth off Sergio Romo in St. Petersburg, his major league-leading 43rd homer. Tampa Bay trails Oakland by seven games with 14 games left.
Nationals 6, Braves 4: Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon hit two-run homers off Sean Newcomb and 19-year-old rookie Juan Soto added an RBI single in Atlanta. The Braves maintained a 6 1/2-game lead in the NL East over second-place Philadelphia.
Marlins 6, Phillies 4: Peter O’Brien homered and drove in three runs in Philadelphia as Miami ended a five-game losing streak. O’Brien put the Marlins ahead with a two-run homer in the fourth and Bryan Holaday added a pair of doubles. Nick Pivetta, who has won only one of his last 11 starts, struck out seven in the first three innings.
Reds 2, Cubs 1: The Cubs’ NL Central lead remained at 2 1/2 games over second-place Milwaukee when Scott Schebler homered on the first pitch of the game from Jose Quintana (13-10) and Phillip Ervin also went deep in Chicago. Joey Votto had three hits for last-place Cincinnati.
Pirates 3, Brewers 2: Jesus Aguilar and Domingo Santana homered on consecutive pitches from Felipe Vazquez to begin the ninth, but Milwaukee fell short at home. The Brewers lead the NL wild-card race by 2 1/2 games. Trevor Williams (13-9) allowed two hits in six scoreless innings. Vazquez got his 24th consecutive save and 34th overall this season when Ryan Braun struck out, Mike Moustakas popped out weakly and Erik Kratz grounded out.
Rockies 3, Giants 2: Antonio Senzatela pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning and also hit a two-run single in San Francisco as Colorado held its playoff position. The Rockies, blanked the previous two days, avoided a three-game sweep. Colorado began the day with a half-game lead over St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot and a half-game behind Los Angeles in the NL West – the Dodgers played later at St. Louis.
Padres 7, Rangers 3: Rookie Francisco Mejia hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning and San Diego avoided three-game sweep at home in a matchup of last-place teams. It was the first walkoff for Mejia, who was promoted from Triple-A on Sept. 4. The prized prospect has hit three homers since then.
Angels 4, Mariners 3: Kole Calhoun hit a tiebreaking home run and Justin Upton connected in his third straight game as Los Angeles averted a four-game sweep in Anaheim. Angels star Shohei Ohtani appeared to be limping as he jogged off the field in the eighth inning after he slid awkwardly into second base and was caught stealing.
Tigers 6, Indians 4: The Indians rested several regulars a day after clinching the AL Central at home. Jim Adduci homered and drove in a career-high four runs for Detroit. Francisco Liriano allowed three runs in seven innings for the Tigers, who won two of three in the series after losing 10 straight at Progressive Field dating to last season.
Orioles 8, White Sox 4: Jonathan Villar and Adam Jones homered and rookie Cedric Mullins had a career-high four hits in Baltimore. The Orioles took control with a five-run first inning against Lucas Giolito and held on for its 43rd victory. That means the Orioles can’t match the major league record of 120 losses in a season, set by the 1962 New York Mets.
Twins 9, Royals 6: Tyler Austin hit one of Minnesota’s four home runs and made a spectacular catch while flipping into the dugout down the first-base line as Minnesota avoided a four-game sweep in Kansas City. Max Kepler, Johnny Field and Jorge Polanco also went deep for the Twins, who had a season-high 18 hits.
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Brad Keselowski nailed the final restart and roared away from the field in the scorching Vegas heat.
With another huge performance in his late-season surge, Keselowski finished up front again — and he’s got NASCAR’s Big Three drivers looking over their shoulders.
Keselowski raced to his third consecutive Cup series victory Sunday, opening the playoffs by persevering through a wreck-filled afternoon and taking charge of overtime.
He also secured team owner Roger Penske’s 500th victory across all competitions with his resourceful performance amid 99-degree conditions and constant stop-and-start late drama of a race featuring 12 cautions and several wrecks.
“I didn’t think it was ever going to end,” Keselowski said after his 27th career victory and third in Las Vegas. “I was worried about running out of gas there at the end.”
Keselowski had plenty of worries with just two laps to go while he sat in his stationary car and waited for the cleanup of Michael McDowell’s wreck with Kurt Busch. But after the red-flag stop ended, nobody could keep up with Keselowski’s Team Penske Ford.
The victory extended an extraordinary late-season run for Keselowski, who won at Darlington and the Brickyard in consecutive weeks before Vegas. Keselowski credited his pit crew’s efficiency for the latest win in his improbable surge, which has added some intrigue to a NASCAR season largely dominated by the Big Three of Truex, Harvick and Kyle Busch.
“We have not been the best car the last three weeks,” Keselowski said. “We put everything together when it counted, and we kind of stole it today. Same scenario the last two weeks. … I feel like we stole the last three races. We’re not complaining, but we still have a lot of work to do to go out there and win heads-up without those issues.”
Penske was not in attendance for his landmark victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, instead watching from Sonoma at the IndyCar season finale. He formed Team Penske in 1966, and it has fielded 50 winning drivers across 14 race series during the ensuing 52 years.
The owner pumped his fist on the timing stand in Sonoma after Keselowski won.
“We did it, boss!” Keselowski shouted. “That’s quite a number, right? It’s really great to be a part of that, and to get the last one to get us there, that’s pretty great.”
Kyle Larson was second, and defending Cup series champion Martin Truex Jr. came in third. Keselowski’s rivals are very aware of his surge against stiff odds.
“Brad clearly found the horseshoe,” Truex said. “Three races in a row he’s won, (and) he has not had the best car. … He hasn’t led the most laps in any of those races, and he showed up at the end with good pit stops and good short-run speed. I think clearly, it’s pretty obvious how it worked out. He’s hot right now. He’s on a streak. That’s the way it goes. We finished third with the best car.”
Eight of the 16 playoff drivers had various problems during the race, which had six cautions in the final 60 laps alone. Four playoff drivers failed to finish — including co-leader Kevin Harvick, who wrecked with 120 laps to go when he blew his right front tire.
Kyle Busch finished seventh in Vegas even after clipping the wall and plowing through the infield grass with 35 laps to go.
Truex moved into the overall points lead over Busch and Keselowski, who leapfrogged Harvick.
More things to know from Sin City:
Harvick’s blown tire also wrecked pole-sitter Erik Jones, who couldn’t react quickly enough and rear-ended Harvick. The 42-year-old former champ doesn’t need a fantastic result from the first set of playoff races to advance, but he was still furious about his tire failure. “There was something wrong from the time we put the tires on,” Harvick said. “It was like Russian roulette every time you put these (terrible) tires on and try to drive around the racetrack. One time it is tight, one time it is loose, one time they are blistered. We had a great car and then you put a set of tires on it and you can’t hardly make it through the field.”
Jamie McMurray spun and wrecked playoff driver Chase Elliott on the 211th lap. Elliott said he plans to drive next week at Richmond despite injuring his shoulder.
Las Vegas has a second race this season for the first time. The temperature reached only 58 degrees during its annual March race, but the drivers were sweating from the start this time. The desert sun made the 1 1/2-mile trackslicker than usual. Even the fans clearly didn’t love the conditions: Although ticket sales went well, some bleachers looked half-empty while many fans fled the pounding heat and spent part of the race underneath in the shade.
Joey Logano kept alive his hopes of a move into title contention after starting second, leading 46 laps and finishing fourth. He’s fifth in the points standings, right behind Harvick and barely ahead of Kurt Busch.
Keselowski has booked his place in the second playoff round, but four drivers will be eliminated from the race two weeks from now. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is in the drop zone after taking damage in a late wreck and finishing 22nd in Vegas. Denny Hamlin is last among the playoff drivers after spinning across the infield with 21 laps to go — and he got no style points for basically stopping his wrecked car in his pit box.
At Richmond Raceway on Saturday.
Sunday from the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway (starting position in parentheses):
1. (13) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 272.
2. (11) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 272.
3. (10) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 272.
4. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 272.
5. (6) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 272.
6. (16) Aric Almirola, Ford, 272.
7. (4) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 272.
8. (19) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 272.
9. (22) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 272.
10. (20) Paul Menard, Ford, 272.
11. (18) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 272.
12. (25) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 272.
13. (23) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 272.
14. (29) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 272.
15. (28) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 272.
16. (32) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 272.
17. (36) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 272.
18. (37) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 272.
19. (9) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 271.
20. (34) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 271.
21. (8) Kurt Busch, Ford, 271.
22. (17) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 270.
23. (15) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 270.
24. (26) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, DVP, 269.
25. (35) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 269.
26. (33) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 269.
27. (27) David Ragan, Ford, 268.
28. (38) BJ McLeod, Ford, 268.
29. (24) Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 265.
30. (14) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, Accident, 251.
31. (40) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 246.
32. (3) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Accident, 245.
33. (39) Timmy Hill, Toyota, 231.
34. (30) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 218.
35. (12) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, Accident, 211.
36. (7) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, Accident, 211.
37. (21) William Byron, Chevrolet, Accident, 210.
38. (31) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, Front Hub, 164.
39. (5) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Accident, 147.
40. (1) Erik Jones, Toyota, Accident, 147.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 111.849 mph.
Time of Race: 3 hours, 28 minutes, 15 seconds.
Margin of Victory: 1.276 seconds.
Caution Flags: 12 for 59 laps.
Lead Changes: 23 among 9 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Logano 1-33; K. Harvick 34-37; Kyle Busch 38; D. Hamlin 39; R. Smith 40-49; K. Harvick 50-59; M. Truex Jr. 60-112; B. Keselowski 113-124; M. Truex Jr. 125-150; B. Keselowski 151-161; J. McMurray 162-166; K. Larson 167-177; B. Keselowski 178-183; K. Larson 184; B. Keselowski 185-201; M. Truex Jr. 202-218; B. Keselowski 219-221; J. Logano 222-234; B. Keselowski 235-237; K. Larson 238-239; B. Keselowski 240; K. Larson 241-250; B. Keselowski 251-272.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): M. Truex Jr. 3 times for 96 laps; B. Keselowski 8 times for 75 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 46 laps; K. Larson 4 times for 24 laps; K. Harvick 2 times for 14 laps; R. Smith 1 time for 10 laps; J. McMurray 1 time for 5 laps; D. Hamlin 1 time for 1 lap; Kyle Busch 1 time for 1 lap.
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MILAN (AP) — After finally getting off the mark for Juventus in the league, Cristiano Ronaldo has his sights set on his favorite competition: the Champions League.
Ronaldo was under pressure after three games without scoring for Juventus since his move from Real Madrid, but he broke his mini-drought with two goals in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Sassuolo in Serie A.
Next up for Juventus and Ronaldo is a trip to Valencia on Wednesday as the Champions League kicks off this week.
“I feel like that’s my home. It’s the competition that I love the most,” Ronaldo said. “Let’s hope we have some luck, it will be a difficult group but I can’t wait.”
Juventus has won the Serie A title for the last seven seasons — and the league and Italian Cup double for the past four — but has struggled to transfer that domestic supremacy to the European stage.
Juventus hasn’t won Europe’s premier club competition since 1996, although it has reached the final twice in the past four editions. Splashing out a Serie A record 112 million euro (then $131.5 million) for Ronaldo, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, sent out a message of its intent to go one step further this time around.
Ronaldo certainly revels in the Champions League. Not only has he won the trophy four times in the past five seasons, but he is also the competition’s leading scorer with 120 goals.
And he appears to be getting into his stride at Juventus at just the right time.
His first goal was a simple tap-in but that appeared to unburden Ronaldo, who had played nearly 320 minutes of competitive football for Juventus without scoring, and he doubled his tally 15 minutes later.
That second goal showed the understanding that is developing between Ronaldo and his new teammates. Douglas Costa sparked a swift counterattack and picked out Emre Can, who spotted Ronaldo’s run and set up the Portugal forward for a diagonal shot.
Valencia knows what a scoring threat Ronaldo can be: he scored 15 goals in 18 appearances against them for Real Madrid.
Also in Group H are Swiss team Young Boys and Manchester United — the club with which Ronaldo won his first Champions League title in 2008.
While Ronaldo may have found his scoring touch, two Serie A clubs have yet to find the back of the net.
Bologna and Frosinone have not scored in four matches and each club has one point, having played out a 0-0 draw last month.
Yet those clubs aren’t last in the Serie A standings as they each have two more points than Chievo Verona, which was deducted three points for false accounting.
COSTA’S UGLY EPISODE
Juventus looked brighter when Douglas Costa was introduced shortly after the hour mark and he started the move which led to the Bianconeri’s second goal.
However, the Brazil international faces at least a three-match ban after being sent off in stoppages after video review spotted he spat at Sassuolo midfielder Federico Di Francesco.
Shortly before the spitting incident Costa had also raised an elbow at the same player and attempted a head-butt.
“I was ugly, I am aware of that and I apologize to everyone for that,” Costa said in an apology posted on Instagram. He notably did not mention Di Francesco in his message.
More than a year after its inception in the Italian league, video technology is still causing issues.
Torino was furious when it had an early goal incorrectly disallowed during Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Udinese.
Television replays showed Alex Berenguer was onside when he headed in but as the whistle had already been blown, VAR could not be used.
“Last year we were punished in so many matches and we didn’t do anything because they told us that we need to wait for the system to grow,” Torino director Gianluca Petrachi said. “But now? This year I expected something different.
“The referee blew the whistle right when the ball was going into the goal without even waiting for the action to be completed. We had 400 meetings in which it was always told to us that you can’t blow the whistle while the ball is going into the goal … I’m for VAR in every sense but if we have it and we don’t use it, making shoddy errors, I don’t know what to think.”
Inter Milan was also upset during a 1-0 loss to Parma when opposing defender Federico Dimarco appeared to handle the ball when clearing off the line against Ivan Perisic.
Referee Gianluca Manganiello communicated with the VAR official but opted not to view the footage and waved play on.
Dimarco — who could have been sent off — went on to score the winner.
WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — TORONTO – Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 500th worldwide goal Saturday night in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 5-3 loss to Toronto FC.
The 36-year-old Swede joined Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only active players with 500 goals in club and international play, cutting the Galaxy’s lead to 3-1 in the 43rd minute. Jonathan dos Santos chipped the ball into the box, and the 6-foot-5 Ibrahimovic twirled to get an angle at the ball between two defenders, flicking his right leg up high to deflect it past goalkeeper Alex Bono for his 17th of the season.
Victor Vazquez, Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio and Jay Chapmanalso scored for Toronto (8-14-6). Ola Kamara and Rolf Feltscher added goals for Los Angeles (10-11-8).
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Raul Ruidiaz scored twice and Seattle beat Vancouver to run its club-record winning streak to nine games.
The Sounders (13-5-9) opened the scoring in the 21st minute, working their way into the Vancouver box where a series of quick passes ended with Ruidiaz poking the ball into the net. Ruidiaz struck again in the 42nd minute, when Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic was caught far outside his box. The Peruvian national took a blind pass and sauntered in alone, tapping the ball into the net.
Vancouver (11-8-9) scored in injury time near the end of the first half, when Nicolas Mezquida sailed a corner kick to striker Kei Kamara, who headed the ball in.
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Gerso Fernandes had two goals and two assists and Sporting Kansas City beat San Jose to move into first place in the Western Conference.
Felipe Gutierrez opened the scoring in the 18th minute for Sporting KC (15-7-6), which moved a point ahead of FC Dallas in the standings. Fernandes doubled the lead five minutes later with a run behind the defense and a chip shot to beat the goalkeeper.
Ike Opara made it 3-0 with a putback off Roger Espinoza’s saved attempt in the 42nd minute.
Krisztian Nemeth added another for Sporting in the 67th minute with a tap in of Fernandes’ cross to finish the counter-attack sprung by Gutierrez’s long ball.
Danny Hoesen scored for the Quakes (4-16-8) in the 80th minute with a long-range blast.
Fernandes capped the scoring with his second goal in the 86th minute.
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Miguel Almiron scored twice in the first 18 minutes and assisted on another goal to help Atlanta United beat Colorado.
Almiron opened the scoring in the 10th minute, settling Julian Gressel’s wide cross and finishing with a left-footed shot from inside the upper left corner of the 6-yard box.
Almiron slotted home Josef Martinez’s layoff to double the lead in the 18th and sent a long ball forward to Gressel, who crossed it to Hector Villalba for Atlanta’s third in the 37th minute.
United (17-5-6) moved two points ahead of the New York Red Bulls in the Supporters’ Shield race.
The Rapids (6-16-6) lost their fourth in a row.
HOUSTON – Mauro Manotas had two goals and an assist and set a franchise record for goals in a calendar year, helping Houston beat Portland to snap a 10-game winless streak.
Manotas gave the Dynamo a 2-1 lead in the 39th minute, tapping in Alberth Elis’ low cross. It was Manotas’ 17th goal in all competitions this year. Manotas added another goal to his tally in the 71st minute, volleying home goalkeeper Steve Clark’s botched attempt to punch away Elis’ cross.
Houston’s Alejandro Fuenmayor scored an own goal to give the Timbers (12-8-8) the lead in the ninth minute. Elis headed home Tomas Martinez’s free kick to tie it at 1 for the Dynamo (8-13-7) in the 32nd minute.Fuenmayor capped the scoring in the 81st minute with a right-footed shot to finish Manotas’ pass.
FRISCO, Texas – Zack Steffen saved Tesho Akindele’s chip shot in the 92nd minute and Columbus played to a scoreless draw with FC Dallas.
Steffen finished with two saves in his ninth shutout of the season. The Crew (12-8-8) extended their unbeaten streak to three games.
Jesse Gonzalez made a leaping effort to stop Federico Higuain’s shot in the 26th minute for his only save. Gonzalez recorded his fourth shutout of the season for FC Dallas (14-6-8).
SANDY, Utah – Miguel Ibarra tied it for Minnesota in the 84th minute in United’s draw with Real Salt Lake.
Darwin Quintero found Ibarra open in the middle of box and Ibarra turned with a chip shot to beat the goalkeeper. Ibarra scored again three minutes later but had the goal reversed after video review.
Damir Kreilach shielded away Minnesota midfielder Fernando Bob on a pass from Sunny and scored on a right-footed roller from beyond the penalty box in the 11th minute for RSL (13-10-6).
Minnesota (9-16-3) ended a three-game losing streak. Real Salt Lake had its three-game winning streak snapped.
LOS ANGELES – Brandon Bye tied it in the 82nd minute and New England tied Los Angeles FC.
Bye powered home the header off Teal Bunbury’s cross for the Revs (8-10-10), who extended their unbeaten streak to three games. It was Bye’s first MLS goal.
Marco Urena gave LAFC (13-7-8) the lead in the 52nd minute with the help of a deflection off a defender for his first goal of the season.
LAFC is unbeaten over its last five.
CHESTER, Pa. – Alejandro Silva scored twice off assists from Ignacio Piatti and Montreal beat Philadelphia.
Saphir Taider and Quincy Amarikwa also scored for Montreal (12-14-3).
Auston Trusty scored for the the Union (12-12-4).
LONDON (AP) — The foundations are being laid for one of the English Premier League’s most exhilarating and competitive title races.
For the first time since the league’s inception 26 years ago, two teams — Chelsea and Liverpool — have a 100 percent winning record after five matches.
Eden Hazard’s hat trick powered Chelsea to a 4-1 victory over Cardiff on Saturday shortly after Roberto Firmino helped Liverpool overcome Tottenham 2-1. Dual-track perfection can’t last much longer as Chelsea hosts Liverpool in a showdown at Stamford Bridge in two weeks.
And the defending champions are in the slipstream. Still unbeaten, Manchester City beat Fulham 3-0 to remain two points behind the front-runners.
Watford made an unexpectedly perfect start to the campaign but that was now over after being beaten 2-1 by Manchester United, which is trying to close a six-point gap on the leaders.
HAZARD TAKES TIPS
Hazard prepared for the Cardiff game with some encouragement and advice from Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on Friday.
“You can score 40 goals,” Sarri recalled telling the winger. “But you have to spend less energy far from goal and you have to play in the last 25 meters of the field.”
Hazard’s best tally since joining Chelsea in 2012 is 18 in the 2016-17 campaign. He already has six from the opening five fixtures fueled by only his second Premier League treble.
The Belgium international surged through the defense before finishing powerfully in the 37th minute at Stamford Bridge to cancel out Sol Bamba’s surprise opener from winless Cardiff. Before halftime, Olivier Giroud laid the ball off for Hazard to unleash a strike which deflected in off Bamba to send Chelsea in front. Hazard’s third came from the spot in the 80th after a penalty was won by Willian, who curled in the fourth three minutes later.
“When I arrived I thought that Hazard was one of the best players in Europe,” Sarri said. “Now I have changed my mind. Maybe he is the best. But I also think he can still improve more.”
Tottenham spent nothing in the offseason. Liverpool invested more than $200 million in new talent. Now the tables have been turned in a rivalry that saw Tottenham beat Liverpool 4-1 at home last season and finish a place ahead in third.
Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at Wembley pointed to a tight contest. In fact, after Erik Lamela pulled one back in stoppage time, Son Heung-min was unfortunate not to earn a stoppage-time penalty when South Korea’s returning Asian Games champion was kicked by Sadio Mane.
But Liverpool was far more sprightly and dangerous on the ball in north London, while Tottenham — particularly striker Harry Kane — was lethargic. Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino scored either side of halftime past Michel Vorm, who was deputizing for injured goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
United is getting its season back on track after a 3-0 humbling at home by Tottenham, with victory before the international break at Burnley followed by the success at Watford.
Mourinho wasn’t completely satisfied. Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling both scored inside three minutes in the first half but United had to withstand a second-half fightback that saw Andre Gray left unmarked to reduce the deficit.
United was reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when Nemanja Matic received a second booking for bringing down Will Hughes. It then took David de Gea’s fingertips save from Abdoulaye Doucoure’s header to ensure United claimed a third victory of the campaign.
“In the second half, maybe our ambition went a little bit down,” Mourinho said. “We gave them the chance to be more aggressive.”
SANE OPENS ACCOUNT
Voted the league’s best young player by his fellow professionals last season, the recalled Leroy Sane needed only two minutes to score in his first start of this campaign.
City’s Silvas combined for the second. A cross from Bernardo Silva deflected into the path of David Silva, who netted with a half-volley. Raheem Sterling tapped in two minutes into the second half.
ARSENAL ROAD RECOVERY
For the first time since May 2017, Arsenal has successive away wins in the league. Granit Xhaka struck a long-range free kick and helped to set up Mesut Ozil’s goal in a 2-1 victory at Newcastle for Unai Emery’s new side.
Bournemouth has collected 10 points from its opening games — to sit a point above Tottenham, Arsenal and United — thanks in part to Ryan Fraser’s contribution. The Scottish winger scored two and set up another in a 4-2 victory over Leicester.
Wilfried Zaha rushed back from a groin injury and scored to give Crystal Palace a 1-0 win at Huddersfield and its first success since the opening day.
WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM