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World Series: Dodgers top Rays in Game 5, take 3-2 lead

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Oct. 25 (UPI) — The Los Angeles Dodgers grabbed an early three-run lead and held on for a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

With the victory, the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and sit one win away from their first championship since 1988. Game 6 of the series is Tuesday night.

Corey Seager, the National League Championship Series MVP, continued his red-hot hitting this postseason with a single that scored Mookie Betts in the first inning. A few at-bats later, Cody Bellinger pushed the Dodgers’ lead to 2-0 with an infield single.

Dodgers slugger Joc Pederson led off the second inning with a solo homer to deep center field, giving Los Angeles its early 3-0 advantage.

The Rays’ offense finally got going in the third when Yandy Diaz tripled to right, scoring Kevin Kiermaier. Rookie sensation Randy Arozarena then singled to shallow left to score Diaz from third base to cut the Rays’ deficit to 3-2.

Arozarena’s run-scoring single was his 27th hit in the 2020 playoffs, setting a MLB record for most hits in a single postseason. The 25-year-old star already set the record for most home runs in one postseason (nine) during Game 4 of the series.

In the fifth inning, the Dodgers got a much-needed insurance run when Max Muncy blasted a 434-foot home run to right. The Rays stranded two runners in the eighth and another in the ninth, failing to replicate the miraculous comeback they had in the ninth inning of Game 4.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw allowed only two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He recorded six strikeouts to become the all-time postseason strikeout king with 207, breaking the record of 205 set last year by the Houston AstrosJustin Verlander.

Blake Treinen shut the door in the ninth for his first career postseason save. He gave up a leadoff single, but settled down with two strikeouts to seal the Dodgers’ win.

Tyler Glasnow gave up all four runs on six hits in five innings for the Rays. He struck out seven batters, but issued three walks. The Rays’ bullpen didn’t allow any hits after Glasnow departed.

The Rays are expected to send ace Blake Snell to the mound in Game 6, while the Dodgers have yet to reveal their starter.



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Toronto Raptors to play home games in Tampa to begin 2020-21 season

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Nov. 20 (UPI) — The Toronto Raptors will begin the NBA season next month in Tampa, Fla., because of travel restrictions implemented by the Canadian government stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement Friday.

Toronto had been eyeing other sites to hold home games for multiple weeks, including Sunrise, Fla., the home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers. But with the start of the upcoming NBA season quickly approaching, the Raptors were forced to make a decision.

The Raptors — the NBA’s only Canadian team — will now play their home games at Amalie Arena, which is home to the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

The NBA will release the first half of its 2020-21 schedule around Dec. 1. The second half of the schedule is expected to be revealed in January or February, and there is a chance the Raptors could return to Toronto at that point if coronavirus-related restrictions are loosened.

“We’ll be away from our home and our fans for now,” Ujiri wrote in his statement. “They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’m not sure that’s possible for us — we love Toronto and Canada, and we know we have the best fans in the NBA. For now, I’ll ask you to cheer for us from afar, and we’ll look forward to the day we are all together again.”

Other U.S. cities that showed interest in serving as the Raptors’ temporary home for this season were Nashville, Tenn., Newark, N.J. and Kansas City, Mo.



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Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard agree to return to Miami Heat

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Nov. 20 (UPI) — All-Star guard Goran Dragic and veteran big man Meyers Leonard have agreed to re-sign with the Miami Heat for the 2020-21 season.

League sources told ESPN and The Athletic on Friday that Dragic’s deal is worth $37.4 million over two years. The second year of the contract is a team option.

Later Friday, Dragic confirmed the agreement with a post on social media.

“I’m glad that I can announce that I’m staying with my #HeatNationFamily,” Dragic wrote on Twitter. “Let’s finish the job we started!”

Meanwhile, Leonard’s deal also is for two years and worth about $20 million, according to ESPN and the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The second year of his agreement is a team option.

The 34-year-old Dragic will be entering his seventh season with the Heat. He averaged 16.2 points per game while coming off the bench in last year’s regular season. He cracked the starting lineup in the playoffs, but he tore his plantar fascia in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers to dampen Miami’s title hopes.

Leonard, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game for the Heat this past season.



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Sacramento Kings’ De’Aaron Fox signing 5-year, $163M max extension

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Nov. 20 (UPI) — Star point guard De’Aaron Fox has agreed to a five-year maximum extension with the Sacramento Kings.

League sources told ESPN and The Athletic on Friday that Fox’s multiyear extension is worth at least $163 million. According to the outlets, the deal contains escalators that would allow him to reach the $195.6 million super max if he makes an All-NBA team and the league’s salary cap climbs above $112 million.

The 22-year-old Fox will receive a total of $170 million in the deal for being named to the All-NBA Third Team, $183 million for a second-team selection and $196 million for a first-team selection.

Fox, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, averaged a career-best 21.1 points to go with 6.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game this past season.

Fox is entering his fourth season with the Kings, who are searching for their first playoff berth since 2006. Sacramento posted a 31-41 record in the pandemic-shortened season last year.

Fox’s maximum extension is the first of the 2020 off-season.



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