Rays chase Verlander early, beat Astros 4-1 to even ALDS
TAMPA BAY, Fla. (AP) _ Willy Adames homered and made a sensational relay throw from shortstop, Tommy Pham also went deep and the wild-card Tampa Bay Rays chased Justin Verlander early and beat the Houston Astros 4-1 to even their AL Division Series at two games apiece on Tuesday night.
Nick Anderson and four other relievers combined on a five-hitter to beat Verlander, who was pitching on short rest after dominating the wild-card Rays in Game 1 of the best of five series that shifts back to Houston for the decisive fifth game on Thursday.
Verlander, whose eight career ALDS victories are a major league record, yielded three runs in the first inning. Adames homered leading off the fourth to make it 4-0, and the Houston ace didn’t make it through the rest of the inning.
_ The Nationals and Dodgers have had a travel day to go coast to coast again ahead of their win-or-go-home Game 5 in the NL Division Series. Washington will send 18-game winner Stephen Strasburg to the mound against Walker Buehler in a marquee matchup Wednesday at Los Angeles.
_ The Cardinals and Braves are off before Wednesday’s decisive Game 5 in Atlanta. Yadier Molina rallied St. Louis in Game 4, poking a tying single in the eighth inning and lifting a sacrifice fly to end it in the 10th.
_ After finishing a three-game sweep of the Twins with a 5-1 victory at Minnesota on Monday night, Gleyber Torres and the New York Yankees are waiting to find out whether they’ll play Houston or Tampa Bay in the AL Championship Series. That best-of-seven playoff begins Saturday, so the AL East champs get four days off to rest up and prepare.
Three stadiums weren’t full for playoff games
UNDATED (AP) _ Three of four playoff games failed to sell out Monday, leaving lots of empty seats at Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Washington. Sub-capacity crowds have become an expectation at Tropicana Field — even in October — but they were more striking elsewhere.
The Cardinals, whose fans tout themselves as the best in baseball, hosted the Braves in front of 42,203 supporters, about 2,000 fewer than Busch Stadium’s listed capacity. Meanwhile, entire sections in the upper deck were nearly empty as Max Scherzer pitched for Washington against the Dodgers.
Prior to Monday, the only 2019 postseason games that failed to sell out were NLDS Games 1 and 2 at Dodger Stadium.
Attendance during the regular season fell 1.7% this year for its fourth straight decline.
In other MLB news:
_ Injured New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks feels like he’s ready to return to the roster for the AL Championship Series. Hicks has a right elbow flexor strain and last played on Aug. 3. He is among a group of players at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa who were not on the AL Division Series roster. Hick says he is “definitely ready to go out there and play.”
Heinola, inexperienced D lead Jets past Penguins, 4-1
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ville Heinola scored his first NHL goal to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.
The Jets got their first win in Pittsburgh since returning to the NHL as an expansion team in 2011. The Penguins previously won 18 consecutive home games against the Jets-Atlanta Thrashers franchise dating to March 24, 2007. Pittsburgh’s last loss against Winnipeg at home came on Dec. 27, 2006.
In other Tuesday night NHL action:
_ Nick Ritchie’s goal halfway through the third period broke a tie and the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 on Tuesday night. The Ducks 3-0 start matches the best in franchise history (2006-07 and last season).
_ James Neal had his first career four-goal game and the Edmonton Oilers beat the New York Islanders 5-2. Zack Kassian also scored as Edmonton improved to 3-0-0 for the first time in 11 years, getting its first road win after opening with two victories at home. Connor McDavid had three assists, Leon Draisatl added two and Mikko Koskinen stopped 25 shots.
_ Tyler Seguin scored in overtime to give the Dallas Stars their first victory of the season, 4-3 over the Washington Capitals. Seguin ended the Stars’ season-opening three-game losing streak 43 seconds into overtime off a pass from linemate Alexander Radulov. Dallas avoided a season-opening four-game skid that would’ve matched a franchise worst.
_ Ryan Dzingel scored two goals and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Florida Panthers, 6-3 to win their fourth straight game, equaling their best start in franchise history. Teuvo Teravainen and Jordan Staal each had a goal and an assist, and Dougie Hamilton also scored. Sebastian Aho added an empty-net goal.. The victory matched the 4-0-0 start when the franchise was the Hartford Whalers in 1995-96.
Sharks bring back 40-year-old Patrick Marleau for 2nd stint
Patrick Marleau is returning to San Jose.
General manager Doug Wilson announced Tuesday that the Sharks’ all-time leader in games, goals and points is returning to his original team with a one-year, $700,000 contract after spending the past two seasons in Toronto.
The Sharks failed to record a point in the first three games for the first time since 1993-94 and only scored three goals in the process. That led to the move to add a veteran forward with a history of production in the NHL.
The 39-year-old Marleau left San Jose two summers ago to sign a three-year, $18.75 million contract in Toronto after the Sharks were unwilling to offer a deal longer than two years. Marleau had 43 goals and 41 assists in two seasons with the Maple Leafs before being traded to Carolina in June in a salary cap move.
Darnold cleared to play
UNDATED (AP) — New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has been cleared by doctors to play this week after he missed three games while recovering from mononucleosis. Darnold had medical tests Tuesday to determine if the swelling in his spleen — a common symptom of the illness — had dissipated enough for him to play again. The Jets announced in a Twitter post that Darnold will start Sunday at home against Dallas.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
— Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says quarterback Mason Rudolph “appears to be doing fine” but remains in the concussion protocol following an illegal hit by Baltimore safety Earl Thomas. Rudolph left last weekend’s overtime loss to Baltimore in the third quarter after Thomas hit Rudolph in the chin with his helmet.
_ The Tennessee Titans have added kicker Cody Parkey one day after waiving Cairo Santos. Santos missed three field-goal attempts and had a fourth blocked Sunday in a 14-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Parkey played for Chicago last season but was released after missing a 43-yard field goal in the closing seconds of a playoff loss to Philadelphia.
— The Atlanta Falcons have placed safety Johnathan Cyprien on injured reserve with a foot injury. The Falcons acquired Cyprien from Philadelphia on Sept. 30 in a trade for linebacker Duke Riley after losing starter Keanu Neal to a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon. Cyprien played in only one game with Atlanta, last week’s 53-32 loss at Houston.
— Fox Sports has hired Rob Gronkowski as an NFL analyst. The network announced on Tuesday that the former New England Patriots tight end will make his debut during Thursday night’s pregame show before the Patriots-New York Giants game.
NBA, China at odds over Rockets owner Hong Kong tweet
TOYKO (AP) _ NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he’s still planning to go to China on Wednesday in advance of preseason games there between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets later in the week.
Silver also says the league is “apologetic” over the outcome and reaction that followed Houston general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet showing support for protesters in Hong Kong, but will continue to back Morey’s right to freedom of expression.
Silver says “we are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression.” He added that he “regrets” how so many Chinese people and NBA fans were upset by the since-deleted tweet.
Silver says it would be appropriate for people involved with the league “to be sensitive” to different cultures when tweeting or communicating. He spoke in Tokyo before a preseason game between the NBA champion Toronto Raptors and the Rockets — the team at the center of this China squabble.
Sun force Game 5 in WNBA Finals with 90-86 win over Mystics
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Alyssa Thomas had 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun stave off elimination and force a decisive Game 5 of the WNBA Finals with a 90-86 win over the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night.
The title will be decided Thursday night in Washington with a first-time champion crowned. Thomas fell just short of the first triple-double in Finals history.
Jonquel Jones had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Sun.
Connecticut blew a 16-point halftime lead as Washington used a huge third quarter to tie the game at 68. The Mystics kept it going to start the fourth, opening up a five-point lead. With its season on the line, the Sun responded.
ART BRILES-PLAYER ELGIBILITY
2 players ineligible on Briles-coached high school team
DALLAS (AP) — A district executive committee has ruled that two players on an East Texas high school football team coached by former Baylor coach Art Briles are ineligible.
The Dallas Morning News reports the committee voted 6-0 three weeks ago that Brock and Cameron Nellor moved to the Mount Vernon Independent School District for athletic purposes, a violation of University Interscholastic League rules. The vote was confirmed Sept. 18 by a 3-0 vote with three district superintendents abstaining.
The committee had previously ruled the two were eligible.
Mount Vernon school Superintendent Jason McCullough told the newspaper that Briles and the district received a public reprimand but no forfeitures. However, the UIL executive committee can still forfeit five games in which the two played.