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MLB playoffs: Giancarlo Stanton grand slam, Gerrit Cole power Yankees past Rays in ALDS

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Oct. 6 (UPI) — Giancarlo Stanton hit a ninth-inning grand slam after Gerrit Cole allowed three runs in six innings to lead the New York Yankees to a 9-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of their American League Division Series.

Clint Frazier, Kyle Higashioka and Aaron Judge also homered for New York in the win Monday at Petco Park in San Diego. Cole allowed six hits and had eight strikeouts in the win.

“It was huge to come out like we did and wear their pitchers down the whole game,” Stanton told reporters.

Rays ace Blake Snell allowed six hits and four runs in five innings and Randy Arozarena and Ji-Man Choi homered in the loss.

“We were able to stop them when it really counted. It was unfortunate to give up the lead twice, but it was a good team game,” Cole said.

Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks plated D.J. LeMahieu with a sacrifice fly for the first run of the game in the top of the first inning. Arozarena followed with a solo home run for the Rays in the bottom of the frame.

The Yankees answered in the third inning when Frazier smacked a leadoff solo shot off Snell. The 416-foot blast had an exit velocity of 105 mph and sailed over the left field fence in 5.8 seconds, according to Statcast.

Choi responded with a two-run homer to center field to give the Rays a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth frame before the Yankees closed the door on the victory.

Higashioka hit a 417-foot solo shot off Snell to lead off the top of the fifth. Judge then hit a 274-foot solo homer to left field two at-bats later to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead.

Higashioka hit a leadoff single to start the ninth frame before he came in to score on a Hicks single. LeMahieu, Hicks and Tyler Wade then stood on the bases as Stanton stepped into the batter’s box and smacked a 2-2 slider from Rays relief pitcher John Curtiss over dead center field for a 411-foot grand slam.

The Yankees bullpen did not allow a hit or a run over the final three innings. Curtiss allowed four hits and five runs in 2/3 of an inning in relief of Snell.

Hicks went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored for the Yankees. LeMahieu, Higashioka and Gio Urshela had two hits apiece in the win.

Arozarena went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI for the Rays.

“They can hit,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “There is no secret in that. There was nothing unexpected.”

The Rays and Yankees play Game 2 at 8:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday in San Diego. Delvi Garcia is expected to start for the Yankees. Tyler Glasnow is expected to start for the Rays.

The winner of the series will face the Houston Astros or Oakland Athletics in the American League Championship Series, which starts on Oct. 11.

This week in Major League Baseball

Miami Marlins players pose for a picture after defeating the Chicago Cubs 2-0 in the National League Wild Card Game to win their first playoff series in 17 years in Chicago on Friday. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo



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Tom Brady leads Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 38 straight points to beat Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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Oct. 19 (UPI) — Tom Brady prevailed in a matchup between two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks on Sunday as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored 38 unanswered points to beat the Green Bay Packers by four touchdowns to move to 4-2 on the season.

Brady completed 17 of 27 passes and threw two touchdowns in the 38-10 win on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 16 of 35 passes and threw two interceptions.

Green Bay led Tampa Bay 10-0 in the first quarter before the Buccaneers scored the rest of the game’s points, ignited by a 32-yard interception return by Bucs cornerback Jamel Dean in the second quarter.

“Jamel made a hell of a play,” Brady said. “He did that to us in training camp a few times, so that was huge play. It sparked us. Then we got another turnover, got the ball in, had [another] decent drive and got the ball in [again].

“I think not turning the ball over helped a lot. I think not being behind on down and distance helped a lot. But certainly [there are] better things that we can do and do things better than what we did today. We’re going to keep working at it.”

Brady is now 2-1 in head-to-head matchups with Rodgers during their decorated NFL tenures.

Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones had 113 yards and two scores on 23 carries in the victory. Tampa Bay sacked Rodgers five times and outgained Green Bay 324 to 201 in total yards.

The Packers opened the game with a 10-play, 54-yard drive that ended with a 39-yard Mason Crosby field goal to give Green Bay a 3-0 lead. The Packers defense then forced a 3-and-out from the Bucs before Rodgers led an 11-play, 90-yard scoring drive.

Rodgers threw the interception to Dean on the Packers next drive to make the score 10-7, and momentum swung to the Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay defensive back Mike Edwards intercepted Rodgers again on the Packers’ next drive and returned it 37 yards to the Green Bay two-yard line. Jones ran for a short touchdown on the next play to give the Bucs a 14-10 edge four minutes into the second quarter.

Tampa Bay then forced a three-and-out from the Packers before Brady threw a seven-yard touchdown toss to Tyler Johnson. Brady connected with tight end Rob Gronkowski for another touchdown just before halftime to push the Buccaneers lead to 28-10 at the break.

Tampa kicker Ryan Succop made a 50-yard field goal on the first drive of the second half and Ronald Jones ran for a one-yard touchdown with 2:43 remaining in the third quarter for the final points of the game.

The Buccaneers held Packers running back Aaron Jones to just 15 yards on 10 carries. Packers wide receiver Davante Adams had six catches for 61 yards in the loss.

Bucs linebackers Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David each had 1.5 sacks and Pierre-Paul forced a fumble in the win. Devin White and Ndamukong Suh also logged sacks for Tampa Bay.

“They deserve credit,” Rodgers said. “They got inside of our rhythm. They stopped the run early. I missed a few throws I usually hit. Those are frustrating plays.”

The Buccaneers (4-2) next face Las Vegas at 8:20 p.m. EDT on Sunday at the Raiders’ new Allegiant Stadium; the Packers (4-1) travel to face the Houston Texans at 1 p.m. EDT at NRG Stadium.

This week in the National Football League

Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert (L) scrambles away from New Orleans Saints’ Sheldon Rankins in New Orleans, where the Saints rallied for their 30-27 victory in Monday Night Football. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo



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College football: Florida coach Mullen, Purdue coach Brohm test positive for COVID-19

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Oct. 19 (UPI) — Florida’s Dan Mullen and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm became the latest coaches to test positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, as the pandemic continues to infiltrate the top college football programs in the United States.

Purdue announced Brohm’s presumed positive test on Sunday. Mullen announced Saturday that he tested positive for COVID-19. Both coaches are in self-isolation inside their respective homes.

“I’m continuing to self-isolate from my family, who all remain healthy, and am following all the guidelines set forth by UF Health, the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and our public health officials,” Mullen tweeted Saturday.

“I am proud of how our players, staff and campus community have navigated this unprecedented time and hope all continue to be safe.”

Last week, Florida paused all football activities and postponed Saturday’s scheduled game against LSU due to a coronavirus outbreak within the program.

Purdue is scheduled to start their 2020 schedule with a game against Iowa at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind. The Boilermakers’ abbreviated schedule features eight games against only Big Ten conference opponents.

Brohm is expected to speak with reporters at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday on a Zoom conference call.

Alabama’s Nick Saban, Kansas’ Les Miles, Florida State’s Mike Norvell, Arkansas State’s Blake Anderson, UCLA’s Chip Kelly, Toledo’s Jason Candle and Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin are among the other college football coaches this season to test positive for COVID-19.

Saban tested positive on Wednesday before he tested negative on three subsequent tests. He went into a brief isolation period before he returned to the sideline to coach the Crimson Tide to a win over Georgia in front of nearly 20,000 fans on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

“It was very emotional for me,” Saban told reporters Saturday. “I think I gained a lot of respect thinking that I had this, even through we’ve done everything we can to set a good example with social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands.

“I think everyone should have proper respect [for COVID-19]. When they tell you that you tested positive, it’s not a good feeling.”



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Dolphins debut rookie Tua Tagovailoa in win over Jets

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Oct. 19 (UPI) — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes to pilot a dominant Week 6 win, but it was another Miami Dolphins quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, making his NFL debut, that drew the most excitement.

The number of fans at Hard Rock Stadium was limited, but they loudly chanted “Tua! Tua! Tua!” when the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft came onto the field in the final minutes of the 24-0 win Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla.

“I definitely could hear it,” Tagovailoa told reporters after the win. “There was nothing else [such as music] playing in the stadium, so I could hear that, and that was awesome.

“To just be out there with my teammates, being my first time, and getting the support and love from them, I think that was super awesome.”

Tagovailoa took his first NFL snap while the Dolphins were on the Miami 8-yard line with 2:27 remaining in the game. He handed off to running back Matt Breida, who ran for a one-yard gain.

The former Alabama star took his next snap out of the shotgun formation. Tagovailoa faked a handoff at the start of the play and then rolled into the end zone. He avoided two pass rushers and made a throw to his left while on the run. Fullback Patrick Laird caught the pass for a 2-yard gain.

He then completed a 7-yard pass to wide receiver Jakeem Grant for a first down before the Dolphins ran out the clock to complete the lopsided victory.

Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Jordan Love is now the only quarterback from the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft yet to take a snap this season.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow — the No. 1 overall pick — has started every game this season. No. 6 pick Justin Herbert has started four games for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Dolphins coach Brian Flores had been slow to give Tagovailoa snaps this season due to Fitzpatrick’s stellar play. Flores explained last week that he “didn’t see any real point” in putting Tagovailoa into games even when the result is decided and not much time is left, before he changed his mind on Sunday.

“I think he went in and had a run play, threw a couple passes and just got some playing time,” Flores said. “It was a situation where we could do it.”

Fitzpatrick completed 18 of 27 passes for 191 yards, three scores and two interceptions in Sunday’s win. Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin had 126 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches. Jets quarterback Joe Flacco completed 21 of 44 passes for 186 yards and an interception.

Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah had two sacks in the victory. Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard intercepted Flacco. Howard has now recorded an interception in four consecutive games and leads the league in the category with four total on the season.

After the game, Tagovailoa sat on the field at Hard Rock Stadium to FaceTime his parents, who were unable to attend in person.

“I think the biggest thing that really stands out to me is just being able to make my parents proud,” Tagovailoa said.

“So whether that’s Tua as a football player, Tua as a person, Tua as a son, I think that’s what brings me the most joy is seeing how happy my parents get and then seeing how happy my family gets, as well, with who I am and then also what I do.”

The Dolphins will host the Los Angeles Rams at 1 p.m. EDT on Nov. 1 at Hard Rock Stadium. Fitzpatrick still has the No. 1 spot at quarterback on the Dolphins’ depth chart, but Tagovailoa should see more snaps after the team’s Week 7 bye.

This week in the National Football League

Baltimore Ravens Justin Tucker celebrates after kicking a field goal against the Philadephia Eagles on Sunday. The Ravens defeated the Eagles 30-28. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo



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