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Hamlin and Gibbs group go to Martinsville as title favorites


All of the momentum is with Denny Hamlin headed to Martinsville Speedway for the opening race of the third spherical of NASCAR’s playoffs.

Hamlin, a five-time winner on the Virginia quick observe, needn’t look far for worthy challengers, together with two of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates.

JGR moved into the spherical of eight with three of its 4 drivers nonetheless racing for the Cup Sequence title and an affordable shot at advancing the trio into the season finale shootout subsequent month. Kyle Busch was the regular-season champion and holds a four-point lead over teammate Martin Truex Jr. within the standings earlier than Sunday’s race. Truex leads the collection with six wins, together with two within the first spherical of the playoffs.

Hamlin is third in factors and coming off his fifth win of the season, giving Gibbs and Toyota an incredible 1-2-Three assault for the title. It is solely becoming the Gibbs group is on this place — the group has received 16 of the 32 races up to now this season — however snagging three of the ultimate 4 spots within the Homestead-Miami Speedway title-deciding race can be a tough navigation contained in the group.

“Proper now, we have now superb chemistry,” Gibbs stated after Hamlin received at Kansas Speedway final Sunday. “It is not going to purchase us something subsequent week. I get so nervous. I used to be all enthusiastic about (Hamlin), then someone talked about subsequent week, and I virtually threw up. I stated ‘You imply this does not get us to Homestead?'”

No, the street to Homestead begins on the shortest observe on the circuit, a tough paper clip-shaped 0.526-mile oval. The center spherical is at Texas Motor Speedway after which the championship area of 4 is determined at ISM Raceway outdoors Phoenix.

Busch, a four-time winner this season however mired in a stretch of 18 races with out one, is prepared for this nail-biting spherical. He has simply two top-five finishes by way of the primary six playoff races and is keen to get again up entrance.

“I really feel prefer it’s our greatest spherical. We run effectively in any respect three of these locations and we have received just a few at Texas, we received Martinsville twice and Phoenix has been getting higher for us, too,” Busch stated. “We simply have to proceed to execute and do an excellent job and be sure that we thoughts our Ps and Qs.”

Truex has by no means received at Martinsville however his efficiency has picked up the final a number of years. He has completed eighth or higher the final 4 races, was runner-up to Busch in 2017 and third final October.

“We all know what we have to do,” Truex stated. “Now it is only a matter of going out and doing it. We have now been quick, ran up entrance and led laps in any respect of those tracks on this spherical.”

A win at Martinsville provides any group respiration room to concentrate on the Nov. 17 finale and never fear about incomes a slot within the closing 4. Joey Logano was a longshot to win the title final 12 months however received at Martinsville, then upset regular-season heavyweights Busch, Truex and Kevin Harvick three weeks later to say his first title.

Logano was practically eradicated from title competition every week in the past when he went to Kansas on the bubble, did not have a exceptional race after which was concerned in a late accident that put him head-to-head with Crew Penske teammate Brad Keselowski for the ultimate spot within the spherical of eight. Keselowski was eradicated, Logano saved his title protection rolling and now hopes Martinsville punches his ticket to Homestead.

The competitors can be fierce from Chase Elliott, who has been within the combine at Martinsville however nonetheless in search of his first win on the observe.

Harvick has had a quiet run up to now by way of the playoffs. He is had three top-five finishes, however hasn’t led laps within the final three races and felt his whole weekend at Kansas was the worst of the 12 months for his Stewart-Haas Racing group. Even when the group will get it corrected, Harvick famous: “Clearly we nonetheless must beat the Gibbs automobiles.”

Notes: The wild playing cards of this spherical are Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney, who each received for the primary time this season within the second spherical of the playoffs to advance. Larson loves Homestead and believes if he is a part of the ultimate 4, he can win the championship. Blaney is racing on further time following his victory at Talladega, however Larson is a real outdoors menace to steal the title for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“I at all times stated if I can get to the ultimate 4, I’ve the most effective shot out of anyone,” Larson stated. “Texas can be our greatest likelihood to get a win. Martinsville is our worst likelihood, however we’ll give it our greatest shot.”


Extra AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Japan’s staff takes on South Africa in World Cup knockout


Earlier than every match, Michael Leitch and his Japan squad have left the sector in a battle-like formation after their warmup, every man in widening ranks behind the captain and together with his proper hand gripping the shoulder of the teammate in entrance.

After every match, the complete squad has lined as much as take a ceremonial bow, within the respectful, conventional method, to thank their supporters — a gaggle that has been swelling exponentially with each win within the group stage of the Rugby World Cup.

Japan will expertise one other first within the event — the primary Rugby World Cup in Asia — when the so-called Courageous Blossoms tackle South Africa within the quarterfinals on Sunday.

Japan gained all 4 of its group video games to prime Pool A, together with an upset win over an Eire staff that was ranked No. 1 earlier than the event. That is the pre-tournament goal seized. But Leitch is much from happy.

The Japanese could not ever have performed a knockout sport, however they hadn’t gained a gaggle sport for 20 years on the Rugby World Cup earlier than profitable three in 2015 — together with the surprising 34-32 win over South Africa that was dubbed the Miracle of Brighton.

Neither Japan nor South Africa has actually targeted on that end result this week. The Japanese as a result of head coach Jamie Joseph does not suppose this staff might be outlined by that event. And the Springboks as a result of … effectively, it is higher forgotten by the two-time World Cup champions.

South Africa beat Japan 41-7 in a warmup sport right here final month, however neither squad is placing an excessive amount of emphasis on that, both.

“Each groups had various things in thoughts. We undoubtedly performed a method of sport that wasn’t round enjoying for South Africa, it was round enjoying for the World Cup,” Japan’s assault coach Tony Brown mentioned Saturday. “Tomorrow is a very totally different sport, a one-off quarterfinal, winner goes on and loser bows out so it is thrilling.”

Joseph and Brown have performed for New Zealand. Joseph performed in opposition to Japan in 1995 and for Japan on the ’99 World Cup. Their assortment of home-grown expertise and naturalized gamers from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have actually embraced the Japanese tradition and, with that, have develop into the nation’s staff.

“It is superb the quantity of those that have gotten on the Japan bandwagon,” Brown mentioned. “The quantity of individuals watching each sport and supporting us in Japan has been superb.

“It is the identical in New Zealand. Japan is New Zealand’s second (favourite) staff now, so we’re proud we will characterize them enjoying good footy.”

Entertaining rugby has been Japan’s signature on this event, with the ball recurrently unfold huge to the speedy wings. That would change on Sunday, when South Africa goals to outmuscle them and gradual them down. That technique was apparent when Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus introduced a squad — 24 hours earlier than deadline — that includes six forwards on the eight-man reserves bench.

“I do not suppose it is a double bluff. I believe there’s just one factor they are going to do and that is come and bodily intimidate us,” Brown mentioned. “A messy sport is what they’re good at. Our problem is to play our sport and attempt to entice them into enjoying some Japanese rugby.”

In addition to Leitch, the Japan squad for Sunday incorporates seven different gamers concerned in that huge upset 4 years in the past. Winger Kotaro Matsushima is the joint-leading try-scorer this event thus far, and hooker Shota Horie and lock Luke Thompson each additionally began the sport in ’15. Prop Keita Inagaki and flyhalf Yu Tamura had been on the bench 4 years in the past, however are within the beginning XV this time.

Tamura was the main scorer with 48 factors within the group stage, and his mixture with scrumhalf Yutaka Nagare has been instrumental in offering the connection between Japan’s high-energy forwards and speedy backs.

Nagare, a artful scrumhalf on the smaller aspect, is aware of he can anticipate plenty of consideration from the massive Boks.

“They’re going to come at us head-on — make it a ahead battle,” he mentioned. “We have to struggle correctly there after all, but it surely’s essential to play the ball neatly and make it a fast battle.

“It will likely be actual hand-to-hand fight and difficult, however I am going to hold giving vitality to the staff.”

The Japanese could have virtually unanimous crowd assist. In addition to the virtually 50,000 at Tokyo Stadium, the home broadcast viewers is anticipated to exceed 50 million once more and bars and official fan zones across the nation might be full of supporters carrying red-and-white hooped jerseys and headscarves with hissho, or should win, printed on the entrance.

“We actually really feel the eye and on the floor the followers push us on, too,” Nagare mentioned. “I believe we have now made an excellent impression, not simply within the rugby world, however in the complete sporting world.

“We’ll carry the feelings of our followers but it surely’s one thing we must always really feel after executing our sport.”

Flanker Pieter Labuschagne has expertise of each side on this contest, having performed in South Africa earlier than transferring to Japan in search of alternatives. He stood in as Japan captain for a few video games in the course of the group stage, and has been an essential addition to the hard-working backrow.

“We come from plenty of totally different backgrounds, however we have now all come collectively as one staff, all working towards the identical aim,” Labuschagne mentioned of the Japan staff. “I actually love South Africa however I additionally love Japan and everybody right here. That is our staff. This has develop into our new house. We need to make everybody in Japan proud, everybody on this camp, this group.

“We’re not planning to cease right here, so it is about doing what we did within the pool, carry on enjoying for one another and being one staff.”


Extra AP Rugby World Cup: https://www.apnews.com/RugbyWorldCup and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Rays chase Verlander early, beat Astros 4-1 to even ALDS


The Tampa Bay Rays by no means doubted themselves, even with Justin Verlander trying to finish their season.

Willy Adames homered and made a sensational relay throw from shortstop, and the Rays chased Verlander early in beating the Houston Astros 4-1 Tuesday evening to even their AL Division Sequence at two video games apiece.

Tommy Pham additionally went deep and Ryan Yarbrough mixed with 5 different pitchers on a six-hitter for Tampa Bay. Cy Younger Award winner Blake Snell got here out of the bullpen for his first profession reduction look, holding off Houston within the ninth inning to earn the save.

Verlander, beginning on brief relaxation after dominating the wild-card Rays in Sport 1, regarded uncomfortable on the mound at Tropicana Discipline and was pulled within the fourth after giving up 4 runs.

The collection shifts again to Houston for a deciding Sport 5 on Thursday evening. Astros star Gerrit Cole is scheduled to pitch for the closely favored AL West champs, who led the majors with 107 wins this season and have yet another probability to shut out the feisty Rays.

“We have got some momentum going for us and we plan on taking it again to Houston,” Tampa Bay middle fielder Kevin Kiermaier mentioned.

The winner performs the New York Yankees within the AL Championship Sequence.

Verlander, whose eight profession ALDS victories are a significant league report, yielded three runs within the first. Adames homered main off the fourth to make it 4-0, and the Houston ace did not make it by way of the inning.

“A great strategy for these guys within the first, after which truthfully, I want these infield singles to be caught. When you do not have it, you want the balls which might be put in play to go your manner, they usually did not,” mentioned Verlander, who solely began on brief relaxation three different occasions throughout his profession, together with the 2011 ALDS, when he began Video games 1 and three after Sport 1 was suspended within the second inning.

“Clearly, not the best way you’d script it,” he added. “, it sucks.”

The Rays helped themselves by enjoying stellar protection, particularly with the Astros threatening to chop into their three-run deficit within the fourth.

With speedy Jose Altuve on first base, Yordan Alvarez hit an extended double that short-hopped the middle subject wall. Two-time Gold Glove winner Kiermaier rapidly grabbed the ball and fired to his cutoff man, Adames. He turned and executed an ideal relay house simply in time to nail Altuve attempting to attain.

“That was in all probability essentially the most unimaginable relay throw from an infielder I’ve ever seen,” Kiermaier mentioned. “That was such an enormous second for us, large momentum shift, and it simply would not get any higher than.”

Rays opener Diego Castillo struck out the primary three batters and went 1 2/Three innings. He was adopted by Yarbrough, who labored two scoreless innings to get the win. Nick Anderson handed off to Colin Poche, who gave up an eighth-inning homer to Robinson Chirinos.

Emilio Pagan and Snell completed up for the Rays, who’ve rebounded from shedding the primary two video games of the collection on the street to Verlander and Houston’s different foremost headliner, Cole.

“A number of credit score to them for his or her preparation and placing themselves on this place,” Cole mentioned. “I definitely assume they’ve earned it. … They’ve performed calm, cool and picked up.”

Altuve drew a one-out stroll and Alex Bregman singled to allow the Astros to carry the potential tying run to the plate within the ninth.

Snell, the reigning AL Cy Younger Award winner who began Sport 2, entered and struck out Alvarez earlier than retiring Yuli Gurriel on a pointy grounder up the center — precisely the place the Rays had been enjoying him — to finish the sport.

Charlie Morton, who helped Houston win the World Sequence two years in the past, started the Rays’ comeback by beating his former crew 10-Three on Monday.

Needing one victory to advance to the AL Championship Sequence for the third straight yr, the Astros opted to start out Verlander on simply three days of relaxation in hopes of closing out the Rays, who’ve received three elimination video games in per week to remain within the working for his or her first journey to the ALCS since 2008.

Supervisor AJ Hinch mentioned it was a simple choice to go along with Verlander, who was 8-Zero in 12 ALDS appearances, together with 11 begins, earlier than Tuesday evening.

Verlander restricted the Rays to 1 hit over seven scoreless innings in Sport 1, and it regarded as if Tampa Bay may be in for an additional lengthy evening when he fanned Austin Meadows to start the underside of the primary.

What transpired over the subsequent six batters — starting with Pham’s 408-foot shot to left-center that received a yellow flag-waving, boisterous crowd of 32,178 into it — might gas some second-guessing of Hinch if Houston would not win Sport 5 at house.

4 of the subsequent 5 Rays additionally reached base, constructing the result in 3-0. Travis d’Arnaud hit a pointy grounder by way of the outlet between third base and shortstop for an RBI single, and Joey Wendle lined a double into the right-field nook to drive in one other run.


Seating capability at Tropicana Discipline was diminished to 25,025 this yr, however the Rays eliminated the tarps protecting a portion of the higher deck to permit extra followers a possibility to purchase tickets for Video games Three and 4. After drawing 32,251 — greater than twice the membership’s AL-worst season common of 14,734 per sport — on Monday, attendance was introduced as 32,178 on Tuesday evening.

Tampa Bay supervisor Kevin Money mentioned the crew, which routinely ranks close to or on the backside of the majors in attendance, appreciated the assist.

“Actually, gamers wish to play in entrance of numerous followers. All people acknowledges that,” Money mentioned. “However when it mattered, when it counted … they confirmed up.”


Astros SS Carlos Correa returned to the lineup for the ALDS after lacking the ultimate seven video games of the common season as a consequence of again tightness that flared up throughout a flight to Seattle. He mentioned Tuesday that he is 100 % wholesome and he is not putting any limitations on himself within the playoffs. He additionally revealed what he is doing to attempt to keep away from his again tightening up once more throughout a aircraft experience.

“I am laying on the aisle,” Correa mentioned, including he “felt superior” when he arrived in Florida earlier than Sport 3.

“Acquired my sleep, received my relaxation,” he added. “Simply completely satisfied to be again with the crew and on the sphere as soon as once more.”

Hinch would not have any objection to the brand new routine.

“I am a ‘sure’ on any of that that makes him really feel higher,” Hinch mentioned. “I’ve not gone to the a part of the aircraft the place he is sprawled out, however he can do no matter he desires, so long as he is wholesome.”


Sport 5 in Houston on Thursday.


Extra AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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With out basketball, Magic Johnson shifts focus to neighborhood


Magic Johnson would possibly truly miss the Los Angeles Lakers if he wasn’t all the time checking up on them.

Johnson stop because the crew’s president of basketball operations on the finish of the final season, leaving him out of a health club, however not out of the loop, as Los Angeles opened coaching camp.

“I am working like I am nonetheless there, anyway,” Johnson stated, laughing. “I discuss to them on a regular basis. It is loopy how I am nonetheless with them with out being there bodily.”

With out the day by day grind of administration to restrain him, Johnson has spent the months with out basketball touring along with his household, tending to his thriving enterprise pursuits, and giving time to his church. He is nonetheless advising — Johnson lately consulted along with his bishop at West Angeles Church of God in Christ on the sale of some its properties. The deal will assist the church construct its Household Life Heart for its practically 20,000 weekly attendees. The West Angeles Church additionally paid the mortgage on its cathedral with the sale and was in a position to set up a monetary reserve.

Johnson and his household have been members of the church led by Bishop Charles E. Blake for years.

“It is a great accomplishment itself that an African-American pastor, a bishop can say to us as a neighborhood and congregation that, ‘we personal our church.’ I feel what you may see is that others will comply with,” Johnson stated. “From that sale, we’re in a position to construct our household life heart. So many neighborhood companies will likely be established due to the household life heart. When he requested me to assist out, I used to be very prepared to do this and to advise him and the opposite members that he selected to ensure they had been making the suitable selections and strikes.”

Johnson’s spouse, Cookie, joined the church about 20 years in the past and the basketball Corridor of Famer quickly adopted her and located a deeper connection along with his religion. Blake and Johnson have teamed on varied tasks to assist enhance inside cities, launched applications designed to strengthen black households and spearheaded aid efforts in cities hit by hurricanes or different pure disasters.

“I needed to get extra concerned with my church and dealing with Bishop Blake,” Johnson instructed The Related Press. “When you concentrate on his religious imaginative and prescient and plan, in addition to what he had in thoughts when it comes to his marketing strategy for the Crenshaw hall, it is in step with what I have been doing in my enterprise. I share his imaginative and prescient and wish to simply work with him and for him to see how we are able to enhance the neighborhood.”

Johnson lately toured a hospital in Newark, New Jersey, that boasts a greenhouse designed to spice up wellness initiatives.

“It is actually wonderful what the hospital is doing for the neighborhood,” Johnson stated. “That is what I am all about. I have been across the nation doing the identical factor and that is what God has referred to as me to do. I simply wish to exit and bless different individuals.”

He shocked the Lakers when he abruptly stop in April, not even telling proprietor Jeanie Buss or normal supervisor Rob Pelinka earlier than he introduced his resolution to reporters on the regular-season finale. Johnson, who had been investigated 4 instances by the NBA for tampering, fought off tears as he defined his resolution was made partially as a result of he needed “to return to having enjoyable.”

“I’ll be there each recreation,” Johnson stated. “I am not a man who goes backward when it comes to saying, ‘yeah, I miss it.’ I really like the Lakers. I miss the interplay with Jeanie daily. I miss being on the practices.”

However with out his break from the NBA, Johnson stated he would not be capable to spend weeks in Europe along with his spouse to rejoice each of their 60th birthdays. He additionally has possession stakes within the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles FC and attended a baseball playoff recreation on Thursday.

“I am nonetheless a Laker,” he stated. “I will all the time be a Laker. I will all the time assist the Lakers. I am pulling for us to win the championship this yr. However once I stepped down, it allowed me to take action far more that I needed to do. The Lakers are in nice fingers.”

The Lakers had missed the postseason in every of their three springs since Johnson and Pelinka took over, and never even the addition of LeBron James final yr might finish the playoff drought. However the addition of Anthony Davis has made the Lakers a contender to win the Western Convention.

He’ll keep watch over the Lakers — all whereas making the dedication to church and neighborhood. Included within the sale was the caveat that bars, hashish companies, strip golf equipment and different nuisance enterprise had been banned from being constructed on the property.

“I introduced Starbucks there on Crenshaw so there was a spot the place individuals might meet different individuals,” Johnson stated. “However what the church was in a position to do was 100 instances even greater than bringing Starbucks there.”


Extra AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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LeMahieu, Yankees torment Twins once more, 10-Four in ALDS opener


New postseason, standard story for the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.

DJ LeMahieu homered and drove in 4 runs, Gleyber Torres broke a tie with a two-run double and the Yankees prolonged their October mastery of Minnesota with a 10-Four victory Friday evening within the AL Division Sequence opener.

Aaron Decide made two diving catches in proper discipline because the AL East champions handed Minnesota its main league-record 14th consecutive playoff defeat — 11 of them to the Yankees since 2004. The second seize thwarted a possible rally and left grateful reliever Zack Britton with each arms on his head to finish the highest of the seventh, when the Twins have been nonetheless inside placing distance.

“Big,” Yankees supervisor Aaron Boone stated. “He is so good on the market.”

Brett Gardner additionally went deep for the Bronx Bombers in a playoff matchup between groups that completed neck-and-neck this season for probably the most residence runs in baseball historical past. Minnesota’s Bomba Squad socked 307, another than New York as each golf equipment blew away the earlier mark of 267 set by the Yankees final yr.

However within the 14th postseason assembly of 100-win groups, it was extra of the identical Yankees dominance in opposition to the Twins — though lots of Minnesota’s gamers and coaches weren’t round for many of it.

Minnesota, the AL Central champion for the primary time in 9 years, was harm by eight walks and hasn’t gained a playoff recreation since Johan Santana beat Corridor of Famer Mike Mussina 2-Zero within the 2004 Division Sequence opener at Yankee Stadium. Boston additionally misplaced 13 straight postseason video games, from 1986-95.

Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz and Miguel Sanó homered for Minnesota.

“We had some good swings, we had our moments,” supervisor Rocco Baldelli stated after his first playoff recreation as bench boss. “Simply by likelihood, there was nobody on base once we popped a number of balls over the fence.”

Rookie reliever Zack Littell, a former Yankees farmhand who was traded to the Twins, took the loss after a quick and messy outing. With the rating tied within the fifth, he walked Decide, threw a wild pitch and plunked Gardner.

Giancarlo Stanton drew the second of his three essential walks to load the bases, citing the 22-year-old Torres. He fought again from 0-2 to a full rely in opposition to Tyler Duffey and pulled a pointy one-hopper that deflected off the glove of a diving Sanó behind third base, giving New York a 5-Three lead.

“Large time at-bat in opposition to a man who was actually robust on righties,” Boone stated. “That hit I feel actually obtained us rolling.

Sanó sliced a solo homer within the sixth off winner Tommy Kahnle, who retired cleanup batter Eddie Rosario with two on to finish the fifth.

LeMahieu launched his first postseason residence run within the sixth, and Gardner additionally hit a solo drive off rookie Cody Stashak, who was born in close by New Jersey and went to school at St. John’s in New York Metropolis.

LeMahieu, who dropped a simple popup at first base early within the recreation, made it 10-Four within the seventh when the leadoff man laced a three-run double off Kyle Gibson for his third hit. The three-time All-Star and 2016 NL batting champ clapped at second base as followers within the sellout crowd of 49,233 chanted “MVP! MVP!” for LeMahieu, who left Colorado to signal a $24 million, two-year contract with the Yankees as a free agent final offseason.

“That was like my worst nightmare, dropping a popup like that,” LeMahieu stated. “Simply flip the web page actual fast and prepare for the following alternative.”

New York was down 2-Zero earlier than scoring three runs within the third in opposition to starter José Berríos. Edwin Encarnación knocked in a single along with his second double of the evening, and two extra scored when the Twins have been unable to show a possible inning-ending double play on Torres with the bases loaded.

With the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Stanton bearing down on him with a tough, clear slide immediately into the bag, rookie second baseman Luis Arráez relayed low and broad to first. C.J. Cron reached for the throw and will have caught it, however the ball obtained previous him and he was charged with an error that allowed two runs to attain.

Polanco hit a tying single on the ninth pitch of his at-bat with two outs within the fifth to chase Yankees starter James Paxton from his postseason debut.

It took all of two batters and 9 pitches for somebody to hit a house run, when Polanco took Paxton deep. Cruz cleared the quick proper discipline porch along with his 17th postseason homer within the third to make it 2-0.


Twins: Arráez returned to the lineup after spraining his proper ankle final weekend. The 22-year-old batted .334 with an .838 OPS in 92 video games, bumping Jonathan Schoop and his 23 homers to the bench. Arráez had a tricky evening on protection and on the plate, grounding into an inning-ending double play with two on within the second and stranding the potential tying run in scoring place within the sixth. He doubled and scored within the fifth. … CF Max Kepler batted sixth. He began simply two of the earlier 19 video games due to a strained left shoulder.

Yankees: Again from a strained left indirect, Encarnación batted cleanup and lined a double on the primary aggressive pitch he noticed since Sept. 12.


Twins: In an sudden transfer, Baldelli introduced after the sport that rookie RHP Randy Dobnak (2-1, 1.59 ERA) will begin Recreation 2, with RHP Jake Odorizzi (15-7, 3.51) tabbed for Recreation 3. Dobnak made his main league debut in August and was sensational in September. It is going to be his first look since getting married final Saturday. The couple set the date greater than two years in the past, by no means contemplating Dobnak would possibly nonetheless be taking part in via a giant league season.

Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA) makes his sixth postseason begin Saturday, seeking to enhance a 3-2 file and spectacular 1.50 ERA. He’s 5-Zero with a 2.27 ERA in 5 profession outings in opposition to Minnesota. Tanaka struggled along with his signature pitch earlier this yr however believes he is obtained the grip once more. “I really feel like in direction of the tip of the season, I used to be in a position to actually discover that good splitter and get that again,” he stated via a translator. “I feel I am fairly assured within the splitter that I’ve proper now.”


Extra AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Foltynewicz, Duvall lead Braves to 3-Zero win over Cardinals


Including one other chapter to his exceptional turnaround season, Mike Foltynewicz threw seven crisp innings earlier than pinch-hitter Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer that carried the Atlanta Braves to a 3-Zero victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, night the NL Division Sequence at one recreation apiece.

Foltynewicz, who spent an excellent chunk of his summer time in Triple-A after a depressing begin, has been a special pitcher since coming back from the minors. He went 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA over his final 10 begins — a dominating run that carried proper into the postseason.

The most effective-of-five sequence now shifts to St. Louis, the place Mike Soroka will get the ball for the Braves in Sport Three on Sunday in opposition to Adam Wainwright.

Going in opposition to St. Louis ace Jack Flaherty, who had one of many nice second halves in baseball historical past, Foltynewicz allowed solely three hits, did not stroll anybody and struck out seven throughout an 83-pitch outing that saved the Cardinals from mounting any semblance of offense. They solely obtained one runner so far as second base in opposition to him — and that was within the second when Yadier Molina singled and Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies prolonged the inning by misplaying Paul DeJong’s grounder for an error.

No drawback for Foltynewicz. He fanned Harrison Bader to finish the menace.

After Kolten Wong hit right into a double play to finish the seventh, Duvall emerged from the dugout to hit for Foltynewicz within the backside half. With a runner aboard and two outs, Duvall was greeted by a smattering of boos from the SunTrust Park crowd that clearly wished Foltynewicz to go no less than yet another inning — particularly after the Braves bullpen imploded the night time earlier than in a Sport 1 loss.

The heckles turned to cheers when Duvall drove a 3-2 pitch from Flaherty into the center-field seats, giving the Braves a little bit of respiratory room. Duvall spent almost your complete season at Triple-A, the place he set a franchise file with 32 homers, so it would not be a stretch to say this as a lot a victory for the Gwinnett Stripers because the Braves.

Max Fried, usually a starter and pitching on back-to-back days for the primary time all season, breezed by way of the eighth earlier than turning it over to Mark Melancon, who gave up 4 runs within the ninth inning of the sequence opener, sending the Braves to a 7-6 loss.

It was one other shaky outing for Melancon, who gave up a pair of one-out singles earlier than hanging out Molina and Wong to earn the save.

However this one will likely be remembered for Foltynewicz outdueling Flaherty, who had surrendered three runs just one time in 15 second-half begins. The 23-year-old right-hander went 7-2 with an 0.91 ERA in 15 begins after the All-Star break, the third-lowest ERA over the second half in baseball historical past, surpassed solely by Jake Arrieta (0.75) for the 2015 Chicago Cubs and Greg Maddux (0.87) for the 1994 Braves.

Flaherty was the NL pitcher of the month for each August and September.

Foltynewicz has the sting for October honors, having pulled off his personal story of two seasons. An All-Star in 2018 who began two video games for the Braves in final 12 months’s playoffs, he was demoted to the minors in late June with a file of 2-5 and a 6.37 ERA.

Now, in a recreation the Braves completely needed to have, he turned in his finest efficiency of all.

The one time he was actually threatened was within the fourth, when Wong hit one to warning observe in proper with a person aboard for the third out.


Braves: RHP Chris Martin was changed on the 25-man roster after straining his left indirect on his very first warmup pitch whereas getting ready to pitch within the eighth inning of Sport 1.

Which means Martin will miss the remainder of this sequence, in addition to the NL Championship Sequence ought to the Braves advance. He could be eligible to return for the World Sequence.

Martin was changed by 10-game winner Julio Teheran.


The Braves have not led in a postseason sequence because the 2002 NLDS in opposition to San Francisco. That they had a 2-1 lead, however misplaced the ultimate two video games to Barry Bonds and the Giants — a part of a streak of 9 straight playoff losses that was just one away from the Chicago Cubs’ file for postseason futility.

Soroka (13-4, 2.68 ERA) has been particularly robust on the street (7-1, 1.55 ERA), which is why the Braves held him again till Sport 3. The 22-year-old right-hander will likely be going in opposition to the 38-year-old Wainwright (14-10, 4.29 ERA), a Georgia native who started his profession within the Braves group earlier than being traded to the Cardinals in 2003.


Observe Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work will be discovered at https://apnews.com


Extra AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Cameron Champ wins Safeway Open at Silverado


Cameron Champ made a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th gap for a one-stroke victory over Adam Hadwin on Sunday within the Safeway Open, ending off an emotional week together with his grandfather battling most cancers.

Three strokes forward coming into the spherical, Champ had 5 birdies and overcame a bogey on No. 17 to carry off Hadwin for his second PGA Tour victory. Champ closed with a 3-under 69 to complete at 17-under 271 at Silverado Resort.

Champ raised each arms then shared an extended embrace together with his caddie earlier than breaking into tears as he hugged his father on the inexperienced. Champ’s grandfather, Mack, is combating abdomen most cancers and is in hospice in Sacramento. Mack launched Champ to golf at a younger age.

Hadwin birdied the ultimate three holes for a 67 to tie Champ at 16 below, then watched from close by as Champ almost chipped in for eagle on the par-5 18th earlier than making the brief birdie putt.

Marc Leishman (65) was third at 14 below. Justin Thomas (69), Charles Howell III (68) and Zac Blair (68) have been 13 below.

Champ missed each fairway on the entrance 9 however made a number of large second pictures to remain in entrance. None was extra spectacular than after he drove into the far left tough on the par-5 fifth, pitched up and over a tall tree and onto the inexperienced 17 toes away and two-putted for birdie.

Champ bogeyed No. 8, however rebounded with a birdie on No. 9. He had a brief chip-in for par on No. 11 after chunking his strategy shot.

Champ’s solely different tour victory got here final October in Mississippi on the Sanderson Farms Championship. He hadn’t completed increased than sixth since, lacking the reduce 12 occasions.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Mi Jung Hur performed bogey-free with the lead Sunday and by no means gave anybody an opportunity, closing with a 4-under 68 for a four-shot victory on the Indy Ladies in Tech Championship for her second LPGA Tour victory this yr.

Hur opened with a 63 and went wire-to-wire for the primary time in her profession. The 29-year-old South Korean had 26 birdies for the week at Brickyard Crossing.

Nanna Koerstz Madsen birdied her final two holes for a 67 to complete alone in second, shifting her from No. 70 to No. 44 within the Race to the CME Globe. Marina Alex completed third. She began two pictures out of the lead however did not make birdie till the 16th gap.


ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Victor Perez claimed his first European Tour title in his 29th look, closing with a 2-under 70 to win the Alfred Dunhill Hyperlinks Championship by one shot.

Perez, a 27-year-old rookie on the tour, narrowly missed his 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th gap. Par was adequate to see him develop into the primary French winner of this match at 22-under 266.

Perez, who is predicated in Scotland and ranked No. 184, had earlier rounds of 64-68-64. He graduated from the Problem Tour final yr.

Matthew Southgate of England closed with a 71 to complete alone in second.

Tommy Fleetwood shot 64 to tie for fifth, whereas Rory McIlroy needed to accept a 70 and tied for 26th.


PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Kirk Triplett gained the Pure Insurance coverage Championship for the third time Sunday at Pebble Seashore, beating Billy Andrade with an 8-foot birdie putt on the primary gap of a playoff.

The 57-year-old Triplett additionally gained the PGA Tour Champions occasion in 2012 and 2013. He has eight senior victories, additionally profitable a playoff in March within the Hoag Traditional down the coast in Newport Seashore.

Enjoying 4 teams forward of Andrade, Triplett birdied the 18th in regulation for a 5-under 67 and 9-under 206 whole. Andrade additionally closed with a birdie, holing a 7-footer after hitting his second shot by the inexperienced.

The 55-year-old Andrade missed a 20-foot birdie attempt earlier than Triplett holed the profitable putt within the occasion that pairs tour gamers with juniors from The First Tee applications across the nation.

Steve Flesch, the chief going into the ultimate spherical, shot 41 on the again 9 for a 75.


American membership execs gained eight of 10 singles matches to rally from a 10-6 deficit and win the PGA Cup in opposition to Britain & Eire membership execs in Austin, Texas. … Lin Yuxin of China made birdie from the bunker on the second playoff gap Sunday to beat defending champion Takumi Kanaya and win the Asia-Pacific Novice for the second time. Lin gained the primary playoff within the 11-year-history of the Asia-Pacific Novice and joined Hideki Matsuyama as the one two-time winners. The victory will get Lin into the Masters and the British Open subsequent yr. … Marta Sanz Barrio closed with a 2-under 69 and held on for a one-shot victory within the IOA Golf Traditional on the Symetra Tour. Thoughts Muangkhumsakul made bogey on the final gap for a 4-under 67 to complete one shot behind. The Symetra Tour has one week left in its season. … Toshinori Muto closed with a 7-under 64 for a four-shot victory over Shugo Imahira within the Panasonic Open. The match was co-sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour and the Asian Tour. Ryo Ishikawa completed third and stays atop the Japan Golf Tour cash listing. Jazz Janewattananond completed fourth and expanded his lead on the Asian Tour cash listing. … Lars van Meijel of the Netherlands performed bogey-free for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot victory over Sebastian Heisele within the Hopps Open de Provence on the European Problem Tour. … Carlota Ciganda of Spain gained her first Women European Tour occasion on house soil with an even-par 71 for a one-shot victory over Esther Henseleit within the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Women Open. … Shad Tuten closed with a 4-under 67 for a two-shot victory over Patrick Flavin and Patrick Newcomb within the Brazil Open on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. … Merrick Bremner closed with a 5-under 67 for a five-shot victory within the Vodacom Orings of Golf Humewood on the Sunshine Tour. … Jose Coceres of Argentina closed with a 3-under 69 and withstood an early problem from Paul Lawrie to win the Austrian Senior Open on the Staysure Tour in Europe. … Ayean Cho shot 3-under 68 and birdied the third playoff gap to win the Se Ri Pak Invitational on the Korean LPGA Tour over A Lim Kim and Hye Jin Choi. … Asuka Kashiwabra closed with a 4-under 68 for a two-shot victory within the Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Ladies’s Open on the Japan LPGA Tour.


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Recent off missed drug exams, Coleman wins 100 at worlds


Christian Coleman of the US received the world championship gold medal within the males’s 100 meters Saturday, three weeks after avoiding a ban for missed drug exams.

Coleman began effectively and prolonged his lead down the stretch to win in 9.76 seconds. Defending champion Justin Gatlin completed second within the marquee occasion of the championships. Andre de Grasse of Canada was third.

“On the finish, all my worries simply evaporated on the market,” stated Coleman, 23. “It was a loopy feeling. So as to add my identify to the listing of the legendary guys who’ve come earlier than me is an honor and a blessing.”

In 2017, Coleman was the silver medalist behind his American teammate Gatlin, each beating Usain Bolt in his final particular person race. In Doha, they ran side-by-side, however the 37-year-old Gatlin by no means actually threatened.

Gatlin stated he had reached out to help Coleman when the youthful runner confronted a possible ban.

“Justin Gatlin is a good man and an ideal competitor,” Coleman stated. “He is at all times been there. I bear in mind watching him again in 2004, once I was Eight years previous, and to assume all these years later, I may come and win gold too is a good feeling.”

Coleman beat his private greatest by 0.03 seconds to grow to be the sixth-fastest man in historical past, overtaking Nesta Carter and Maurice Greene within the all-time standings.

It was the primary world 100 remaining since 2005 with out Bolt. The legendary Jamaican sprinter’s world file of 9.58, now a decade previous, was 0.18 sooner than Coleman’s time.

From Atlanta, Coleman received NCAA titles within the 100 and 200 for the College of Tennessee in 2017. He took the U.S. title within the 100 in July. He’ll run within the 200 meter heats Sunday.

Coleman was initially charged with failing to supply correct info on his whereabouts for drug testing, lacking three exams over 12 months.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Company has by no means reported a optimistic drug take a look at for Coleman. The company stated Coleman has been examined on 20 separate events in 2018 and 2019. He missed a drug take a look at on April 26, his third missed take a look at since June 2018.

However the World Anti-Doping Company’s interpretation of the rule backdated his first failure to April 1, 2018, as a substitute of the date it occurred, June 6, 2018. On Sept. 2, USADA stated that technicality meant there weren’t three failures inside 12 months, and it will not pursue the case.

In distinction to the boos that greeted Gatlin’s victory in London two years in the past — a reference to his two earlier suspensions for doping — the reception for Coleman was heat on the calmly attended occasion within the Qatari capital.

Many seats within the 40,000-capacity Khalifa Worldwide Stadium had been coated with awnings and quite a lot of spectators from African international locations left after the sooner girls’s 10,000 meters.

Earlier, DeAnna Value turned the primary U.S. lady ever to win a world championship throwing occasion with victory within the hammer. The 2-time NCAA champion from Moscow Mills, Missouri, threw 77.54 meters, beating Poland’s Joanna Fiodorow and China’s Zheng Wang.

Lower than 5 months after making her debut within the 10,000, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands received the world title.

Born in Ethiopia earlier than transferring to the Netherlands in 2008 aged 15, Hassan had received medals at shorter distances earlier than transferring up this season.

“I’m very joyful as a result of I’ve been a middle-distance runner and this was a take a look at for me,” she stated. Hassan is now contemplating whether or not to aim a double within the 1,500 or 5,000 however admitted she was fatigued. Each occasions have heats Wednesday.

Bolt’s fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake was simply fifth within the 100, however the nation nonetheless ended the day with a gold medal as Tajay Gayle received the lengthy bounce. His bounce of 8.69 meters gave the nation identified for sprinters its first world title in a area occasion. Jeff Henderson of the U.S. was second and Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria third.

Women and men raced one another on the monitor for the primary time at worlds with the introduction of the 4×400 blended relay, an Olympic occasion subsequent yr.

The USA’ two males and two girls set the quickest time thus far within the new occasion, which featured the novelty of a Japanese male runner rushing previous a crowd of feminine athletes, earlier than his feminine teammate dropped from first to final on the following lap.

The lads’s and girls’s 50-kilometer walks are later Friday.


Extra AP sports activities: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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