Monday, September 30, 2019

NFL Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals (3) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (27) - 9/30/2019

NFL Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals (3) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (27) - Date: 9/30/2019 Sep 30, 2019PITTSBURGH Different quarterback. Same result. Mason Rudolph threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns to pick up his first victory while filling in for Ben Roethlisberger as the Pittsburgh Steelers easily handled the Cincinnati Bengals 27-3 on Monday night. Rudolph completed 24 of 28 passes, most of them quick hitters that allowed the Steelers to control the clock. He connected with James Conner on a delayed screen for a 21-yard touchdown in the second quarter, then broke the game open with a 43-yard heave to rookie Diontae Johnson midway through the third as the Steelers (1-3) won their ninth straight over the Bengals (0-4). Jaylen Samuels ran for 26 yards and a touchdown, caught eight passes for 57 yards and was even credited with three completions - in reality ''pop'' passes to teammates in motion that traveled al l of three feet - while working out of the Wildcat formation as Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner opened up his playbook to help the Steelers avoid just their second 0-4 start in 51 years. Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor became the second first-year coach to drop his first four games with the Bengals. Sam Wyche started 0-5 in 1984 but helped his team rebound to an 8-8 finish. Taylor's task of getting Cincinnati back to respectability will be far harder if he can't figure out a way to protect quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton spent a significant portion of the night under heavy duress. The Steelers sacked him eight times, picked him off once and forced a second-quarter fumble that halted a second-quarter drive in Pittsburgh territory when the game was still in doubt. Dalton finished 21 of 37 for 171 yards. Tyler Boyd, elevated to the No. 1 receiver while A. J. Green recovers from ankle surgery, was held to three receptions for 33 yards on the same fiel d where he starred in college at Pitt. Rudolph set records at Oklahoma State by stretching the field while running Mike Gundy's ''air raid'' offense. He was uneven at best in his first career start last week in San Francisco after being thrust into the gig for the rest of the season while Roethlisberger rehabs a right elbow issue that required season-ending surgery. He was considerably sharper against Cincinnati, though he wasn't asked to do much other than find the closest open man -usually Conner or Samuels - and keep the sticks moving. Conner and Samuels touched the ball on all five snaps of a second-quarter drive that ended with Conner taking a flip from Rudolph and knifing his way into the end zone to give the Steelers a 7-3 lead. They touched it four times on an eight-play drive to start the third quarter, the final snap turning into a 2-yard touchdown run by Samuels after he lined up in the shotgun. Football Predictions. Two Dalton incompletions sandwiched around a sack forced Cincinnati to punt. Kevin Huber's shank set Pittsburgh up at the Cincinnati 43 and on second down Rudolph finally went deep, lofting the ball to a wide-open Johnson, who caught it at the Cincinnati 5 and walked into the end zone for his second touchdown in two weeks to give the Steelers a 24-3 lead. INJURIESBengals: WR John Ross III left in the third quarter with a right-shoulder injury. . . . LT Cordy Glenn missed his fourth straight game while recovering from a concussion and Cincinnati's protection problems continued. The Bengals have now surrendered 19 sacks through four games. Steelers: TE Vance McDonald sat out with a right shoulder injury. Nick Vannett, acquired in a trade with Seattle last week, started and caught two passes for 28 yards. . . . DE Cam Heyward dealt with a thigh injury that left him limping off the field at times, though he stil l managed his first sack of the season. UP NEXTBengals: Host Arizona next Sunday. The Cardinals won the last meeting, 34-31, in 2015. Steelers: Welcome AFC North rival Baltimore to Pittsburgh on Sunday. The teams split the season series last year, both winning at home. ---More NFL: https://apnews. com/NFL and https://twitter. com/-NFL

Sunday, September 29, 2019

NFL Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys (10) vs. New Orleans Saints (12) - 9/29/2019

NFL Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys (10) vs. New Orleans Saints (12) - Date: 9/29/2019 Sep 30, 2019NEW ORLEANS Vonn Bell's forced fumble and two recoveries helped the Saints stifle a Dallas offense that had rolled through its first three games, and Wil Lutz kicked four field goals to lift New Orleans to a 12-10 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night. Dallas came in with the NFL's third-ranked running game, averaging 179 yards, and had scored no fewer than 31 points in a game. The Cowboys met much more resistance in the Superdome, where the Saints' defensive front was bolstered by the return of defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins from an Achilles tendon tear that had sidelined him since January. Dallas managed just 45 yards on the ground. ''Hats off to the defense,'' said Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who improved to 2-0 as starter in place of injured record-setter Drew Brees. ''In this lea gue we know how hard it is to win football games and no one said it had to be pretty. '' Dak Prescott gave Dallas (3-1) one last shot when he found Randall Cobb over the middle for 32 yards to the Cowboys 48 and spiked the ball with 2 seconds left. But his desperation heave was rushed by blitzing rookie defensive back C. J. Gardner-Johnson and safety Marcus Williams came down with an interception for New Orleans' third forced turnover of the game. While Brees watched from the sideline because of recent surgery on his right thumb, Bridgewater went 23 of 30 for 193 yards. He was intercepted for the first time this season, albeit on an accurate pass that bounced off of Ted Ginn Jr. 's hands near midfield in the first quarter. ''I don't care about the numbers,'' Bridgewater said. ''My job right now is just to help this team win football games. '' This victory kept the Saints (3-1) atop the NFC South and sent a message that they are not about to let Brees' estimated six-week absence sink their playoff hopes. Ezekiel Elliott scored the game's only touchdown in the third quarter to give Dallas a 10-9 lead, but finished with just 35 yards and his longest run was 6 yards. He was also stripped by Bell on a fourth-and-short run. ''They won a hard-fought game and they won it with some good schemes and good coaching,'' Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. Prescott finished 22 of 33 for 223 yards. While the Saints (3-1) could not get in the end zone, they sustained several productive drives with the help of receiver Michael Thomas, who had nine catches for 95 yards, and running back Alvin Kamara, who had 69 yards rushing and 20 yards receiving. Lutz connected from 40, 42, 19 and 26 yards, in that order. Sports Handicapping Monitor. The Saints were in range of a field goal that could have put them ahead by five when blitzing Jaylon Smith sacked Bridgewater back at the 47-yard line, forcing New Orleans to punt, up by less than a field goal, with 1:45 to go. Defensive tackle David Onyemata had the Saints' only sack of Prescott on the first play of Dallas' final drive. The Cowboys briefly recovered with a first down, but were pushed back on Amari Cooper's offensive pass interference call with 30 seconds left. Dallas' defensive end Robert Quinn had two sacks, one week after he had a sack and a career-high seven QB pressures in his Dallas debut against Miami following a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancers. YELLOW FEVEROnly a few days before the game, Saints coach Sean Payton mentioned that New Orleans was 12-1 with the officiating crew headed by referee Carl Cheffers that worked the game, and joked that his players better be nice. The Saints were penalized nine times for 80 yards, and a pass interference call against linebacker Damario Davis on third down extended Dallas' first touchdown drive in the third quarter. The Cowboys were penalized six times for 64 yards. INJURIESCowboys: Reserve safety Kavon Frazier left the game in the first half with a pectoral injury. . . . Left tackle Tyron Smith also appeared injured to have a lower body injury on the last drive. Saints: Reserve defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who entered the game leading the Saints in sacks with three, was taken to the locker room with a neck injury in the second quarter and did not return. UP NEXTCowboys: Host Green Bay on Sunday. Saints: Open NFC South play at home against Tampa Bay on Sunday. ---More NFL: https://apnews. com/NFL and https://twitter. com/-NFL

NFL Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars (26) vs. Denver Broncos (24) - 9/29/2019

NFL Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars (26) vs. Denver Broncos (24) - Date: 9/29/2019 Sep 29, 2019DENVER Leonard Fournette ran for a career-high 225 yards and Josh Lambo kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired, sending the Jacksonville Jaguars past the winless Denver Broncos 26-24 Sunday. Game Fixing. The Broncos (0-4) not only were victimized by a last-second field goal for the second time this season, but they blew a 14-point lead at home in a loss for the first time since 2006. Gardner Minshew II drove the Jaguars, one of four AFC South teams who are 2-2, into field goal range after Joe Flacco's 8-yard TD throw to Courtland Sutton with 1:38 left gave Denver a 24-23 lead. Eerily reminiscent of their 16-14 loss to the Bears in Denver two weeks ago, the Broncos helped ignite the winning drive by getting whistled for roughing the passer. Against Chicago, it was Br adley Chubb's questionable penalty, which the league admitted was a bad call. Against the Jaguars, it was a flag by Von Miller, who reached up and struck Minshew in his neck just as he released his pass in a chaotic pocket. Miller's foul spoiled his big day in which he collected his 99th and 100th career sacks and drew several holding penalties, one of which wiped a Jaguars touchdown off the board. Number #1 Sports Handicapping Service. The 15-yard flag on a 1-yard throw on second down gave Jacksonville a first-and-10 at its 41. Fournette topped his previous career high of 181 yards on Oct. 8, 2017, at Pittsburgh, and his big run Sunday was an 81-yarder that set up Jacksonville's go-ahead score. Sports Handicap. The Broncos finally ended their sack drought, dropping Minshew five times, but suddenly they couldn't stop the run. The result wa s their first home loss in which they led by 14 or more points since Nov. 19, 2006, when they were beaten by the Chargers 35-27 after jumping out to a 24-7 lead. Jacksonville hadn't had a 100-yard rusher in 22 games, the second-longest streak in the NFL behind Philadelphia's 32-game drought. The Jaguars also recorded their first takeaway of the season despite missing star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who was deactivated and missed a game for the first time in his four-year NFL career. He missed practice all week, first with an illness, then a back injury and finally for paternity leave. Denver led 17-6 and was driving for another score just before halftime when safety Ronnie Harrison intercepted Flacco, who airmailed a pass to Emmanuel Sanders. That set up Lambo's second field goal, cutting Jacksonville's deficit to 17-6 at the half. Coming out of the break, the Jaguars employed a heavy front with 308-pounder Cedric Ogbuehi serving as an eligible receiver and extra blocker for Fournette. The Jaguars went on a 75-yard, 16-play opening drive that ate up nearly 10 1/2 minutes, which Minshew capped with a 7-yard TD toss to running back Ryquell Armstead after slipping two potential sacks and with Derek Wolfe and Miller bearing down on him. After Denver went three-and-out, Fournette reeled off his 81-yard run, setting up tight end James O'Shaughnessy's 18-yard TD grab that put the Jaguars ahead 20-17. The Jaguars ate up another seven minutes in going 78 yards in 13 plays to push their lead to 23-17 on Lambo's 34-yarder with 2:54 left. Rookie tight end Noah Fant scored his first career TD on a 25-yard catch-and-run dumpoff from Flacco, who also hit Sutton for a first-half TD. INJURIES:Broncos ILB Josey Jewell aggravated a hamstring injury in the second quarter and was done for the day. UP NEXTJaguars: Visit the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Broncos: Visit the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. ---Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter. com/arniestapleton---More NFL:?https://apnews. com/NFL and?https://twitter. com/-NFL ?

NFL Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (55) vs. Los Angeles Rams (40) - 9/29/2019

NFL Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (55) vs. Los Angeles Rams (40) - Date: 9/29/2019 Sep 29, 2019LOS ANGELES Jameis Winston passed for 385 yards and threw two of his four touchdown passes to Chris Godwin, and Ndamukong Suh returned Jared Goff's fumble 37 yards for a touchdown with 1:06 to play in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 55-40 victory over the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Godwin had career highs of 12 catches for 172 yards as the Buccaneers (2-2) jumped to an early 21-0 lead and then scored 24 points in a wild fourth quarter to complete the highest-scoring game in the franchise's 44-year history. Professional Handicappers. The Bucs still barely held off the defending NFC champions, but Suh's TD return against his old teammates capped an impressive win for first-year coach Bruce Arians. Goff passed for a career-high 517 yards and two touchdowns, but the Rams' $134 million quarterback also threw three interceptions for the second time in his career. Goff then fumbled while being sacked by Shaquil Barrett as the Rams (3-1) attempted a tying drive, and Suh scooped and scored against the team with which he reached the Super Bowl last season. Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones II rushed for TDs, and Cameron Brate also had a TD reception . Winston picked apart the Los Angeles secondary while going 28 of 41, and Godwin had the most catches by a Tampa Bay receiver since Keyshawn Johnson in 2001 - and it almost wasn't enough. Free Predictions. Tampa Bay went up 45-27 with 11:35 to play when Mike Evans burned Marcus Peters for a 67-yard TD capped by some goal-line showboating. But after Cooper Kupp caught a 29-yard TD pass, Peters returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown with 8:11 to play. Peters scored despite taking a hel met-to-helmet hit at the goal line from left tackle Donovan Smith that kept him out of the rest of the game under evaluation for a concussion. Number #1 Sports Handicapping Service. Tampa Bay went back ahead by eight when Winston led a 72-yard drive capped by Matt Gay's short field goal with 2:35 left. Goff got the Rams to midfield, but Barrett and Suh finished strong in Tampa Bay's first game in Los Angeles since 1993. Robert Woods had 13 catches for 164 yards, and Kupp added nine catches for 121 yards. Goff went 45 of 68 while under regular pressure in a Rams offense that didn't look much like the relentless machine built by Sean McVay in his first two seasons in LA, despite its lofty statistics and final point total. Todd Gurley rushed for two touchdowns, but got only five carries for 16 yards in the Rams' nonexistent running game. The Buccaneers opened a five-game stretch away from Tampa with compelling play on both sides of the ball, surprising just about everybody in the Coliseum who watched their loss to the Giants last week. Winston found a groove immediately with his receivers, while the Rams' offense started off with another dose of its early-season inconsistency and curious play-calls . McVay called 13 passes and a receiver sweep before his first proper running play. Jordan Whitehead picked off a tipped pass for Tampa Bay early in the second quarter, and Goff threw a terrible interception to Lavonte David moments later. Both turnovers resulted in TD catches by Godwin. Facing their biggest deficit since Week 9 of last season against New Orleans, the Rams woke up for two quick TD drives, including a tackle-breaking TD run by Gurley . But Tampa Bay made another lengthy drive before halftime capped by a TD run by Jones , a collegiate star in the Coliseum for Southern California. Goff threw his third interception on a tipped pass on fourth down in the th ird quarter. INJURIESBuccaneers: Evans injured his hand in the second half, but returned. . . . WR Breshad Perriman didn't return from a hamstring injury in the first quarter. Rams: LB Bryce Hager injured his shoulder during the first half. . . . Rookie S Taylor Rapp left the field in the third quarter unable to put weight on his left ankle. UP NEXTBuccaneers: Back on the road to face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Rams: A quick trip to face the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night in their first NFC West game of the year. ---More NFL: https://apnews. com/NFL and https://twitter. com/-NFL

NFL Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings (6) vs. Chicago Bears (16) - 9/29/2019

NFL Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings (6) vs. Chicago Bears (16) - Date: 9/29/2019 Sep 29, 2019CHICAGO Chase Daniel threw for 195 yards and a touchdown after Mitchell Trubisky got knocked out of the game with a left shoulder injury on the opening possession, and the Chicago Bears swarmed NFL rushing leader Dalvin Cook in a 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Good Return on Investment. The defending NFC North champions avoided an 0-2 start at Soldier Field and another home loss to a division rival to go with the one they suffered against Green Bay in the NFL's 100th season opener. But they lost their quarterback soon after the opening kickoff. Sports Handicapping Software. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, Trubisky was scrambling when Danielle Hunter dragged him down. The quarterback 9;s non-throwing arm got pinned awkwardly under his body as the ball popped out. Minnesota made the recovery, but a holding penalty against Anthony Harris negated the play. Best Sports Picks Today. Trubisky headed to the sideline and walked to the locker room a few minutes later. Daniel came on and connected with Tarik Cohen on a 10-yard touchdown to complete a 14-play drive. The 10th-year pro completed 22 of 30 passes. Allen Robinson had seven catches for 77 yards. Nick Williams had two sacks. Khalil Mack and Roy Robertson-Harris each had 1 1/2. The Bears (3-1) held Cook to 35 yards on 14 attempts after he ran for at least 110 in the first three games, even though Akiem Hicks (knee) and linebacker Roquan Smith (personal reasons) missed the game. The Monsters of the Midway also held a big edge in time of possession (35:27 to 24:33) on the way to their third straight win. Cook, who came in with 375 yards rushin g, spoiled the Bears' bid for their first shutout since 2010 when he ran it in from the 2 in the closing minutes. Kirk Cousins was 27 of 36 for 233 yards and got sacked six times as the Vikings (2-2) lost to Chicago on the road for the 16th time in 19 games. The Bears took a big step toward the NFC North championship last season when they beat Minnesota at Soldier Field. They then kept the Vikings out of the playoffs with a road win to close the regular season while sweeping them for the first time since 2011. And they got a win they sorely needed on Sunday if they're going to defend their division championship. , Chicago outgained the Vikings 182 yards to 59 in the first half and held them to just two possessions. The Bears took a 10-0 lead to the locker room after Eddy Pineiro's 25-yard field goal at the end of the first half. They had to settle for another field goal after Mack sacked Cousins on the first play from scrimmage of the second half. Chicago took over at the Minnesota 16 after Williams made the recovery, and Pineiro's 38-yarder made it 13-0. He added a 30-yard field goal with just over three minutes left in the third. INJURIESVikings: G Josh Kline (concussion) missed the game. Bears: G Kyle Long missed the game because of a hip injury. He did not practice Thursday or Friday. UP NEXTVikings: Visit New York Giants on Sunday. Bears: Play Oakland in London on Sunday. ---More NFL: https://apnews. com/NFL and https://twitter. com/-NFL

NFL Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks (27) vs. Arizona Cardinals (10) - 9/29/2019

NFL Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks (27) vs. Arizona Cardinals (10) - Date: 9/29/2019 Sep 29, 2019GLENDALE, Ariz. Russell Wilson threw for 240 yards a touchdown, Jadeveon Clowney returned an interception for a touchdown and the Seattle Seahawks beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-10 on Sunday. Top Rated Sports Handicappers. The Seahawks (3-1) scored two touchdowns by early in the second quarter, one on Clowney's spectacular 27-yard interception return and another on a 9-yard pass from Wilson to tight end Will Dissly. After that, Seattle controlled the game's pace with Chris Carson, who ran for 104 yards on 22 carries. The Seahawks also leaned on their defense, which forced Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray into another up-and-down day. Arizona's problems were a familiar story. The Cardinals (0-3-1) moved the ball fairly well in the first half, but couldn& #39;t convert that success into touchdowns. To make matters worse, Zane Gonzalez missed two field goal attempts from 43 and 48 yards and the Seahawks led 20-3 at halftime. Murray's introduction to the NFL continues to be a mixed bag. On the Cardinals' second drive, he tried to throw a screen pass to David Johnson, but the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Clowney shed a block and jumped into the air, snatching the ball before sprinting for a 27-yard touchdown. It gave the Seahawks a 10-0 lead. It was Clowney's first career interception and third career touchdown. The Seahawks acquired the standout defensive end in a trade with the Houston Texans just before the season started. Murray scored his first career rushing touchdown with a 9-yard run with 10:21 left in the fourth quarter to pull the Cardinals within 20-10. The No. 1 overall pick finished 22 of 32 passing for 241 yards and one interception. David Johnson had eight catches for 99 yards. Seattle's C. J. Prosi se scored on a 9-yard run with 2:13 left in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. NO. 2 IN CATCHESArizona's Larry Fitzgerald caught five passes for 47 yards, pushing him past Tony Gonzalez for the No. 2 on the NFL's all-time career receptions list. Fitzgerald has 1,326 career catches. No. 1 on the list is Jerry Rice, who had 1,549. NBA Handicappers. TIGHT END, AGAINDissly's touchdown catch continued a troubling trend for Arizona's defense. Free Picks for Today. The Cardinals have given up six touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. Dissly finished with a team-high seven catches for 57 yards. SEATTLE LOVES THE DESERTThe Seahawks continued their dominance inside State Farm Stadium with another win. Seattle hasn't lost in Glendale since 2012, with a 6-0-1 record during that span, including a 2016 tie. PALMER HONOREDF ormer Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer was inducted into the franchise Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony. The 39-year-old Palmer was the team's starter for five seasons from 2013 to 2017. He led the team to a 13-3 record and the NFC Championship game in 2015. The Cardinals had an 8-1 record in 2014 before Palmer suffered a season-ending knee injury. INJURIESCardinals: DE Zach Allen (shoulder) hurt his shoulder in the second quarter and didn't return. . . . LB Dennis Gardeck (ankle) left early in the fourth quarter. UP NEXTSeahawks: Seattle hosts the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night. Cardinals: Arizona plays its second road game of the season when it travels to face Cincinnati next weekend. ---More NFL: https://apnews. com/NFL and https://twitter. com/-NFL

MLB Game Recap: Milwaukee Brewers (3) vs. Colorado Rockies (4) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Milwaukee Brewers (3) vs. Colorado Rockies (4) - Date: 9/29/2019 Brewers wind up with NL wild card, lose to Rockies in 13DENVER Already relegated to an NL wild-card spot, the Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Colorado Rockies 4-3 Sunday when Jake Faria threw a wild pitch in the 13th inning that allowed the winning run to score.The Brewers will play at Washington on Tuesday night in the wild-card game. Baseball Handicappers. The winner advances to take on the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers.A day after closer Josh Hader gave up a tying home run in the ninth inning and the Brewers lost in the 10th, Milwaukee began the day one game behind St. Louis for the NL Central lead.St. Louis took a big lead early, and the Brewers began freely substituting as the Cardinals finished off a 9-0 win over the Cubs.Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer for Milwaukee and Herna n Perez had a pinch-hit homer. Milwaukee finished the regular season at 89-73, down from going 96-67 last year and winning the NL Central.Dom Nunez homered for Colorado, which again scored the tying run in the ninth and swept the three-game series.Faria (0-1) walked Sam Hilliard to start the Rockies 13th and Yonathan Daza then laid down a bunt single. Second baseman Keston Hiura collided with first base umpire Brian Gorman as he rushed to cover the bag, and catcher Manny Pina's throw sailed down the line, allowing Hilliard to reach third.With pinch-hitter Ian Desmond at the plate, Faria threw a pitch into the dirt that skipped past Pina, letting Hilliard to score.Bryan Shaw (3-2) picked up the win with a scoreless inning.Milwaukee loaded the bases with none out in the 11th but failed to score, with Ben Gamel thrown out at the plate trying to score on a pitch in the dirt that rolled past the catcher but was quickly retrieved. DJ Johnson then struck out Pina and Perez.Trai ling 3-2 heading into the ninth, the Rockies evened the score after Raimel Tapia reached on first baseman Tyler Austin's two-base fielding error and scored on Pat Valaika's single.Colorado loaded the bases with one-out after pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso was intentionally walked, but reliever Taylor Williams then fanned Nunez and Garrett Hampson to send the game to extra innings.Josh Fuentes singled in the seventh to drive in the first run for the Rockies, who finished the season 71-91.It was a sharp stumble from the previous season when they went 91-72, dropping an Oct. 1 tiebreaker to Los Angeles but advancing to the NL playoffs as a wild card for the second straight year.TRAINER'S ROOMBrewers: CF Lorenzo Cain remains day to day after spraining his left ankle in a slide at home plate during Saturday's loss. ''He actually walked in (Sunday) better than he walked out (Saturday night) which with a sprained ankle is somewhat encouraging, but he's sore, '' manager Craig Counsell said. ''I think we're somewhat encouraged but it's pretty early and he just started treatment, so don't really have definitive news as to what's happening.'' Counsell was more optimistic about OF Ryan Braun, who left Friday's game at Colorado with a left calf strain. He said Braun is expected to be available in time for their first postseason game.ROCKIES ATTENDANCEThe Rockies drew 36,771 to their final home game and had overall attendance of 2,993,244. Basketball Picks. That was down from 2018, when Colorado drew 3,015,880 to Coors Field.

MLB Game Recap: Atlanta Braves (6) vs. New York Mets (7) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Atlanta Braves (6) vs. New York Mets (7) - Date: 9/29/2019 Braves limp into playoffs with 11-inning loss to MetsNEW YORK Mike Soroka recovered from a shaky start in his playoff tuneup, but the banged-up Atlanta Braves limped into October with a 7-6 loss to the New York Mets in 11 innings Sunday when Dominic Smith hit a game-ending, three-run homer on his first competitive swing in more than two months.Nine days after clinching their second consecutive NL East title, the Braves finally learned their postseason opponent when St. Louis won the NL Central with a 9-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Atlanta will open a best-of-five Division Series at home against the Cardinals on Thursday, with veteran left-hander Dallas Keuchel expected to start for the Braves.Soroka, an All-Star this year, is lined up for Game 3 on the road - where the 22-year-old rookie is 7-1 with a 1.35 ERA that is by far the lowest in the majors.P itching for the first time in 10 days, Soroka was tagged for three runs and four hits in the first inning of the regular-season finale. J. D. Davis socked a two-run homer off the right-hander, who settled down after that and lasted 85 pitches. He gave up three runs and seven hits over five innings, with seven strikeouts and two walks.Smith came off the injured list Thursday after being sidelined since July 27 with a stress reaction in his left foot. He hadn't gotten into a game until he replaced Pete Alonso at first base in the top of the 11th, mainly so the rookie home run king could walk off the field to one last ovation from Mets fans.But lo and behold, New York put two runners aboard in the bottom half and Smith, batting in Alonso's spot with two outs, drove a 1-0 pitch from Grant Dayton (0-1) over the right-center fence to give the Mets a three-game sweep and a thrilling finish to their second-half surge that fell short of a postseason berth.An excited Smith tos sed his helmet between third base and home plate, then was swarmed and doused by jubilant teammates as his uniform top was ripped off by Alonso in a wild scene.Moments later, the Mets took off their jerseys and gave them to fans after one last comeback win.New York went 46-26 in the second half and finished third in the NL East at 86-76 - a nine-game improvement over last year. Likely on deck in the coming days, a decision about manager Mickey Callaway, who could be fired after two seasons without a playoff trip.Callaway said he's been packing up his New York apartment since last week and will spend 19 hours driving home to Florida over the next two days.''I don't have any anxiety. I'm proud of what we did this year,'' he said before the game. ''I'm proud of how hard I worked, and I left everything on the field.''We haven't discussed anything in depth. Right now I have a contract for next year and I'm going to go home a nd prepare for next year.'' Alonso received a series of standing ovations from Citi Field fans who also chanted his name, one day after hitting his 53rd home run to break the rookie record set by Yankees star Aaron Judge in 2017.Alonso doffed his helmet and later tipped his cap to the crowd of 31,523 when he was pulled. He went 1 for 5 with a single and became the only rookie since 1900 - and first Mets player overall - to win the outright major league home run crown.Adeiny Hechavarria hit two late homers for Atlanta, the first multihomer game of his career, and had an early RBI single. He and Adam Duvall connected on consecutive pitches from Walker Lockett in the 11th to give the Braves a 6-4 lead.Chris Mazza (1-1) got an inning-ending double play for his first major league win.Atlanta lost five of its final six games to finish 97-65, seven games better than last season. Sports Picks. The Braves have lost nine straight playoff rounds since sweeping Houston in the 2001 NLDS. Sports Handicapper King. The only longer skid belonged to the Cubs, who dropped 10 consecutive rounds from 1910 through 1998.Hechavarria, released by the Mets in August and a late addition to the lineup Sunday, tied it 4-all with a leadoff homer in the ninth against Paul Sewald.Rafael Ortega launched a two-run homer off Mets starter Noah Syndergaard. Joe Panik came off the bench and put New York ahead 4-3 on a solo homer off Shane Greene with two outs in the eighth.Syndergaard struck out nine in seven innings of three-run ball and heads into an uncertain offseason. It seems plausible the big right-hander won't be back - he's had a rocky relationship with New York's front office and has already been mentioned in trade talks several times.TRAINER'S ROOMBraves: 1B Freddie Freeman struck out and singled before being lifted. He returne d Saturday from four days off to rest his ailing right elbow and said it feels good. But he hasn't homered since Sept. 1 and ended the season in a 5-for-39 slump (.128) with one extra-base hit since Sept. 11. ... 3B Josh Donaldson was scratched from the lineup and replaced by Hechavarria. Professional Handicappers. The Braves said they wanted Hechavarria, who could be a backup infielder on the playoff roster, to get some time at third base heading into the postseason. ... All-Star OF Ronald Acuna Jr. hasn't played since Tuesday because of a tight left hip. He will work out this week to get ready for the Division Series opener. .... OF Ender Inciarte (right hamstring) and utilityman Johan Camargo (right shin) will miss the Division Series, weakening Atlanta's bench.UP NEXTBraves: Keuchel went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 19 starts this season after signing in June. He was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in t he postseason for Houston.Mets: Open next season at home March 26 against Washington.---More MLB: and

MLB Game Recap: Detroit Tigers (3) vs. Chicago White Sox (5) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Detroit Tigers (3) vs. Chicago White Sox (5) - Date: 9/29/2019 Anderson earns AL batting title at .335 as White Sox winCHICAGO In honor of Tim Anderson becoming the third Chicago White Sox player to win an American League batting title, a single bottle of champagne sat chilling in his locker on Sunday.The 26-year-old shortstop is hoping for a team-wide toast next season.''Now I think it's time to get on the winning side of things,'' Anderson said. ''Hopefully, we can continue to be playing at this time next year. We just have to keep coming together as a team and keep having fun. I think we're getting there.'' Anderson finished at .335 after going 0 for 2 in a season-ending 5-3 win over the worst-in-the-majors Detroit Tigers.He grounded out in the first inning, lined out in the third, then was replaced at the start of the fifth. He received a standing ovation and took a cur tain call after the team announced the batting title on the scoreboard in the sixth.DJ LeMahieu of the Yankees was second at .327 after an 0 for 3 finish.''It's such a huge accomplishment,'' Anderson said. ''To think where I was when I first came here to where it is now. . I just came in and continued to work. It's such an unbelievable moment for me.'' He joined Luke Appling (1936 and 1943) and Frank Thomas (1997) as batting champions for the White Sox. Anderson hit .240 in 567 at-bats last season.''He will continue to improve in all aspects of his game,'' Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. ''He will continue to be a guy that helps ignite us. If he's not a star now, he's a star in the making.'' Chicago went 72-89, up from 62-100 last year.Detroit skidded to a 47-114 mark from last year's 64-98 and wound up with the second-most losses in franchise history behind 119 in 2003. Sports Handicapping Service Leads. The Tigers will pick first in the amateur draft next June for the second time in three years.''A long season, a tough season,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''We knew it coming in, that this was going to be probably, hopefully, the roughest part of the rebuild. Hopefully, we do a little better next year.'' Chicago trailed 2-1 before a four-run sixth inning. Yoan Moncada hit an RBI groundout, Eloy Jimenez followed with a run-scoring double against Spencer Turnbull (3-17) and Welington Castillo hit a two-run homer off David McKay.Turnbull was 0-13 in his last 18 starts after beating Atlanta on May 31. Free Sports Picks. Turnbull allowed four runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings.''I'm happy with how I finished, for the most part,'' Turnbull said. ''It's still tough to completely put together full, complete starts. It's frustrating that I can dominate for stretches, but not able to keep it consistent.'' Jimmy Cordero (1-1) got two outs for his second big league win, his first since Aug. 21 last year for Washington against Philadelphia. Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his first save since Aug. 5 last year for the Nationals against Cincinnati.Miguel Cabrera and Ronny Rodriguez homered for Detroit. Cabrera hit 12 homers, raising his two-year total to 15 and his career total to 477.ANOTHER CROWNWhite Sox slugger Jose Abreu finished with 123 RBIs for the most in the AL. Abreu is eligible for free agency but wants to stay.''Right now, I'm just gonna take a few days off with my family,'' he said through a translator. ''We're open to discuss it. I want to be here; I've been telling you that. Hopefully, I'm going to be here.'' STEPPING UPAfter years of rebuilding, Renteria believes the White Sox are ready to win next season.''We still have to improve, both individually and collectively, but our future is bright - and it's now time for us to take the next step,'' the manager said.SEATSChicago drew 1,647,591 at home, an average of 21,397 in 77 dates. Last season, the team averaged 20,110 in 80 dates. Hot Sports Handicappers. Total attendance increased by 38,774.TRAINER'S ROOMTigers: 2B Harold Castro missed his second straight game with a sore ankle.---More MLB: and

MLB Game Recap: Tampa Bay Rays (3) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (8) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Tampa Bay Rays (3) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (8) - Date: 9/29/2019 Snell loses, Rays head to wild card after 8-3 loss to JaysTORONTO Blake Snell lost in a tuneup for a potential postseason outing, and the Tampa Bay Rays were beaten by the Toronto Blue Jays 8-3 Sunday in their last game before the wild card playoff against the Oakland Athletics.Tampa Bay finished 96-66, one win shy of the franchise record set the 2008 pennant-winning team that lost to Philadelphia in the World Series. Sports Handicapper Reviews. The Rays headed to Oakland for Wednesday's matchup against the A's (97-65), when Charlie Morton (16-6) will start. Sports Picks Free. The winner of that game starts the Division Series at AL West champion Houston on Friday.Making his third appearance returning from elbow surgery, Snel l (6-8) allowed two runs and three hits in 2 1/3 innings. Snell threw 37 of 62 pitches for strikes, up from 26 pitches in his first outing and 52 in his second.Toronto went 67-95, six wins fewer than last year and the Blue Jays' first 90-loss season since they went 67-94 in 2004.Teoscar Hernandez homered for the third straight game, extending his career-best total to 26, as the Blue Jays won for the ninth time in their final 13 games.Breyvic Valera also homered for Toronto, the first of his big league career. Starting in place of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (right knee), Valera connected off Yonny Chirinos to begin the sixth.Toronto drew 25,738 and finished with home attendance of 1,750,144, down from 2,325,281 last year and 3,203,886 fans in 2017. Sports Handicapper Tracker. They dropped below 2 million for the first time since in 2011.In likely his final game with Toronto, Justin Smoak went 2 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs. Eligible for free agency, Smoak left to a standing ovation when he was replaced by pinch-runner Billy McKinney in the seventh.Clay Buchholz (2-5) allowed one run and four hits in five innings to win for the first time since Aug. 31 against Houston.Back in the lineup after missing the previous two games because of a sore left foot, Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi doubled in the first and hit his 19th homer in the fourth. Choi left Wednesday's win over the Yankees after fouling a pitch off his right foot. Jesus Aguilar replaced Choi in the fourth.NO QUIT IN KKTwo-time Gold Glove winner Kevin Kiermaier made an outstanding diving catch in center to retire Richard Urena in the second.TRAINER'S ROOMRays: INF Yandy Diaz (left foot) was activated off the 60-day IL and RHP Cole Sulser was designated for assignment. Diaz started as the designated hitter and led off, going 0 for 3 before being replaced by a pinch hitter. Diaz lined out in both the first and thir d innings, hitting the ball at more than 100 miles per hour each time. ... INF Eric Sogard, sidelined since Sept. 15 because of a sore right foot and ankle, said he's optimistic he'll be available Wednesday.---More MLB: and

MLB Game Recap: New York Yankees (1) vs. Texas Rangers (6) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: New York Yankees (1) vs. Texas Rangers (6) - Date: 9/29/2019 Rangers close out ballpark 6-1 over AL East champ YankeesARLINGTON, Texas Lance Lynn took the mound treating the finale at the Texas Rangers' ballpark like a playoff game.The AL East champion New York Yankees are actually headed to the postseason after their most wins since the 2009 team that went on to the World Series title.Lynn struck out 10, getting his career-high 16th win as the Rangers closed out the 26th and final season at their ballpark with a 6-1 victory Sunday over the Yankees, the team he finished with last season.''What he did today was showed our team the possibility of what it would be like for our team to be a in a playoff game,'' first-year manager Chris Woodward said. ''Our guys competed, in every aspect of the game, applied pressure to a really good team and we beat them the last two games.'' Afte r Aaron Judge's 27th homer in the third inning tied the game at 1-1, Lynn (16-11) retired his last 14 batters.New York, which plays Minnesota in the Division Series starting Friday, went 103-59, an improvement of three wins from last year. Best Free Sports Picks. The 2009 Yankees also went 103-59.''It's been something special, but I always grade our season, to be honest, on how we do in the postseason,'' Judge said. ''My motivation is I've never been'' to the World Series.In the latest injury in a season filled with them, New York third baseman Gio Urshela left in the fourth inning after spraining his left ankle sprain after he fielded Nick Solak's grounder toward the foul line and made a jump throw to first. Hot Sports Handicappers. The Yankees said the sprain was mild and manager Aaron Boone said there was no swelling.''We just obviously decided to get him out of there right away just in case to get some ice on it, make sure we didn't have swelling in there,'' Boone said. ''I don't expect it to be anything.'' Urshela, who hit .314 with 21 homers and 74 RBIs, said he will be ready for the playoffs.DJ LeMahieu was 0 for 3 and finished his first season with the Yankees with a .327 batting average, second in the AL to Chicago's Tim Anderson (.335). LeMahieu, who set career highs with 26 homers and 102 RBIs, said he wasn't disappointed in a batting race he hadn't followed.''I feel like I had a good year. ... Definitely happy with where I'm at and where we're at,'' LeMahieu said. ''If it came down to the last couple days, I probably would have been locked in on it, but it wasn't that close.'' Judge's homer was the Yankees' 306th, but Minnesota hit three Sunday to set a big league record with 307.Nolan Ryan threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Globe Life Park in Arlington, and his catcher was Kenny Rogers, who threw a perfect game in the park's first season in 1994. President George W. Bush - the team's former owner - was in the stands for the 2,081st regular season game at the stadium, where the Rangers went 1,145-936. New York was 57-48, a .543 winning percentage that was the best for any visiting AL team.Home plate was moved after the game to Globe Life Field, the $1 billion-plus new stadium with a retractable roof across the street.Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor, who had 30 homers and 93 RBIs, was 1 for 3 and finished with a .205 average, the lowest among 136 major league qualifiers.Texas went 78-84, an 11-win improvement over 2018 but its third straight losing season.Texas went ahead in the third when Shin-Soo Choo doubled and scored on an errant pickoff throw by Masahiro Tanaka (11-9). Danny Santana had an RBI single later in th e inning to make it 3-1.Tanaka, who entered the second inning after Chad Green opened, allowed two runs and five hits in three innings.Lynn set career highs with 246 strikeouts and 208 1/3 innings in the first season of a $30 million, three-year contract. He joined Mike Minor to give the Rangers their first duo with 200 innings and 200 strikeouts in the same season since Ryan and Bobby Witt in 1990.TUNING UPYankees closer Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect eighth with a strikeout and heads to the postseason with 15 scoreless outings in 16 appearances since Aug. 2. ... DH Giancarlo Stanton was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and went 8 for 25 with two homers in nine games since his return from the injured list on Sept. 18. He played just 18 games this season.TRAINER'S ROOMYankees: LHP James Paxton played catch before the game, and Boone remained optimistic that the lefty starter would be fine. Paxton was removed after the first inning of the series opener Friday because of tig htness and discomfort in his buttocks. An MRI on Saturday showed only nerve irritation. Paxton will likely throw a bullpen or side session Tuesday or Wednesday. ... All-Star C Gary Sanchez played for the second time in three days since missing 10 games with left groin tightness. He was 1 for 3 with a single and strikeout while playing six innings behind the plate.OUTDOOR SEATINGThe Rangers announced a crowd of 47,144 for their fourth sellout this season on a sunny day with temperatures in the mid-90s. Professional Handicappers. They ended with an attendance of 2,132,994. The 26,333 average was up from 26,014 last year, the third-lowest at the ballpark ahead of 24,323 in 2008 and 25,866 in 2003.UP NEXTYankees: New York will hold an optional workout Tuesday and full workouts Wednesday and Thursday.Rangers: The official opener at the new ballpark is March 31 against the Los Angeles Angels.---More MLB: h ttps:// and

MLB Game Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers (9) vs. San Francisco Giants (0) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers (9) vs. San Francisco Giants (0) - Date: 9/29/2019 Bochy loses to Dodgers 9-0 in final game as Giants managerSAN FRANCISCO Bruce Bochy bid an emotional farewell following 2 1/2 decades in what is certainly Hall of Fame managerial career, finishing with a 9-0 defeat to the mighty Dodgers on his last day as fans remained in their seats long after the game ended to celebrate a man who helped bring this city its only three World Series championships.Los Angeles won its franchise-record 106th game, jumping to a 5-0 lead in the first that held up on Will Smith's two-run homer right after a bases-clearing, three-run double by Corey Seager.''It's all about Bochy,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game, then paid his respects during a special exchange of the lineups ahead of first pitch.Yet Roberts absolutely wanted to win this one to put these 2019 Dodgers (106-56) in elite company of their own. Sports Handicapper Leads. They passed the win mark of the 1953 ''Boys of Summer'' team based in Brooklyn that included Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and other Hall of Famers.''I'm going to take a moment to appreciate what we did as an organization. We're talking about the regular season and all those great teams in Dodgers history,'' Roberts said. ''It takes a lot to accomplish what we accomplished as a group, as an organization, and there's a lot to be said for that. So very proud of everyone top to bottom. It's something that no one can take away from us and it speaks to the character, the work ethic, the talent, just the togetherness of everyone, so very proud.'' The Dodgers finished with the second-best record in the majors behind the 107-win Houston Astros.Chants of ''Bochy! Bochy!'' greeted him during introductions and son and former Giants pitcher Brett threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his ex-catcher father. Bochy held his grandson in the dugout before the game, too. Fans stood and cheered ''Bochy!'' again once the final out was made and a postgame ceremony ensued.Roberts ran back out onto the field to join the celebration of Bochy, with home run king Barry Bonds grabbing the blue Dodgers cap from his pal's head and tossing it into right field as Roberts became a good-natured punching bag in the rival colors.The 64-year-old Bochy, who guided the Giants to World Series championships in 2010, `12 and `14, waved and tipped his cap from the dugout before the game before doing some stretches against the back of the railing taking it all in as he promised to do from the start of the final week.Bochy finishes 2003-2029 in 4,032 games as a manager over 25 seasons, the first 12 with San Diego before 13 in San Francisco. He went 1,052-1,054 with the Gian ts, who wound up 77-85 in his final year and with four more wins than last season.Lefty Rich Hill worked three scoreless innings allowing one hit in his 13th start of the season for the Dodgers. Dustin May (2-3) pitched a perfect fourth for the win.A smiling Tim Lincecum was among the dozens of former players on hand for Bochy's farewell festivities, with groups walking out from center field representing various years. Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner with a pair of no-hitters, emerged alone at the very end to huge cheers. He didn't want to immediately reflect on Bochy, but offered his manager a warm embrace.The Giants attempted to make the loudest foghorn call the Bay Area has experienced by having fans turn their phones into a foghorn through the ballpark app or on the team's website.''We'll see you at Cooperstown,'' Giants CEO Larry Baer said in wishing Bochy well.KERSHAW TUNEUPClayton Kershaw pitched the bottom of the fifth in a playoff tuneup, getting one strikeout in a 1-2-3 inning. He pitched in relief for the first time since Sept. 22, 2009.Kershaw tipped his cap to Bochy, and the manager did so back.Roberts said the Dodgers are still discussing their Division Series rotation.BUMGARNER'S FAREWELL?Bochy promised MadBum would have his spikes on.Madison Bumgarner, who didn't pitch Sunday as had been originally planned, drew a rousing standing ovation before lining out as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the fifth against Kershaw.''It was cool,'' Kershaw said. ''Once he saw he was not pitching today it was some way to let the fans appreciate what he had done here. It's a good way to do it, get him there in against the lefty who he'd hit a few home runs against.'' San Francisco's big lefty tipped and waved his batting helmet in every direction to acknowledge the fans in what might have been his final moment in a Giants uniform.The 2014 World Serie s MVP can become a free agent, so Tuesday might have been his final start for the Giants. He is wrapping up a contract singed in April 2012 that included a $12 million contract option this year, and the Giants opted not to deal him at the trade deadline.Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez (6-11) started in Bumgarner's slot.ATTENDANCESan Francisco drew 2,707,760 fans in 2019, lowest home attendance in the ballpark's 20-year history. It's also the Giants' first time not reaching 3 million in attendance at home since 2008 and `09 and down from their 3,156,185 last year.TRAINER'S ROOMDodgers: RHP Joe Kelly, who hadn't pitched since Sept. 18 because of what the Dodgers called an overall body issue, recorded two outs in the sixth. ... LF A. J. Pollock returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday with a left knee bruise he injured when hit by a pitch during Friday's 9-2 win. ... 3B Justin Turner missed his fifth straight game with back tightness but will get simulated work done during Tuesday's workout day back home ahead of the Division Series.UP NEXTSeven-time reigning NL West champion Los Angeles will hold a workout day Tuesday before opening the Division Series at Dodger Stadium against the wild card winner.---More MLB: and

MLB Game Recap: Cincinnati Reds (3) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (1) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Cincinnati Reds (3) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (1) - Date: 9/29/2019 Hurdle fired, Reds beat Pirates 3-1 in season finalePITTSBURGH The Pirates will head into the offseason searching for a new voice after firing Clint Hurdle. Best Free Sports Picks. The Cincinnati Reds may have found theirs during a season that offered tangible proof that years of rebuilding might finally be producing forward momentum.The evidence came in a 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday. Aristides Aquino finished off two scintillating months by hitting his 19th home run. Brian O'Grady and Alex Blandino went deep too to help Tyler Mahle to his first win since May as Cincinnati finished 75-87 during first-year manager David Bell, an eight-win improvement over 2018 and the club's best record since a 76-86 mark in 2014.''We progressed a lot from last year,'' said Mahle, who tossed five shutout innings. ''I think the team's only going to get better. I think we're on the right track.'' Filling in with Trevor Bauer sidelined by an illness, Mahle gave up three hits with five strikeouts to pick up his first victory since May 31, a span of 13 starts.''I told (Mahle), some results or certain stats do not define a season in our mind,'' Bell said. ''We felt like it was a strong one and a good step for him. I'm glad he got to finish strong just to take that into the offseason.'' Eugenio Suarez went 0 for 4 to finish with 49 home runs. Michael Lorenzen worked the ninth for his seventh save as Cincinnati won in Pittsburgh for the second time in less than 24 hours after snapping a 12-game losing streak with a 12-inning victory on Saturday night.While Aquino's pace slowed a bit after hitting 14 home runs in August, he ended the season with 19 home runs and 47 RBIs in 56 games after c onnecting off Williams in the second. Number #1 Sports Handicapping Service. The 25-year-old entered the day tied for ninth among major league rookies in home runs even though he didn't debut until Aug. 1.''It's been very impressive how he's handled when he's not hot,'' Bell said. ''Just steady. He's really intelligent and has a great way about him. Best Sports Handicappers. To me, he proved he belongs here. Just the way he handled himself when he was doing great. It's nice to see him finish strong too.'' HURDLE FIREDJose Osuna delivered an RBI single for Pittsburgh. Trevor Williams (7-9) gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings. Tom Prince managed the Pirates, who parted ways with Hurdle after nine seasons shortly before the game's first pitch.Hurdle went 735-720 with Pittsburgh, leading th e team to three straight playoff appearances from 2013-15. The club's fortunes have ebbed since winning 98 games in 2015. The Pirates finished 69-93 this season, the franchise's worst mark since dropping a major-league worst 105 games in 2010, the year before Hurdle arrived.Hurdle addressed the team before leaving PNC Park before the first pitch of what Prince called one of ''the tough days of baseball.'' ''Some of us have been around a while and hurts a little bit,'' Prince said.BYE STEVESteve Blass ended his 60-year professional relationship with the Pirates on Sunday when the former pitcher and longtime analyst called his final game.Blass joined the organization in 1960 as an amateur free agent from Farms Village, Connecticut. He reached the majors in 1964 and went on to play for the Pirates for 10 seasons, the high point coming in 1971 when he threw a complete game in Game 7 of the World Series to push Pittsburgh past Baltimore for the title.Williams stepped off the mound and tipped his gap to Blass before throwing the first pitch.''I was really not on the mound when that was happening,'' Williams said. ''I either had angelic help from Roberto (Clemente) and from Willie (Stargell) or it was just a special moment for baseball and for the Pirates organization.'' The players turned toward the broadcast booth high above home plate again during the seventh-inning stretch. The Pirates announced Saturday that Blass will be in the inaugural class of the franchise's Hall of Fame next year.TRAINER'S ROOMPirates: C Steven Baron underwent surgery Sunday to repair a fractured jaw suffered during Saturday night's 12-inning loss to the Reds. Baron is expected to be ready for spring training.PARTIALLY-FILLED PNCThe Pirates average attendance ticked up to 18,412 in 2019, a slight increase over the 18,316 last year but well off the 30,847 the club averaged when it won 98 game s in 2015. Hurdle said before the game - and before being fired - that he carried some of the responsibility for the downturn.''You want to peel back all the layers, you want to get raw with it, that's where we are right now,'' he said. ''We need to sell more tickets.'' ---More MLB: and

MLB Game Recap: Baltimore Orioles (4) vs. Boston Red Sox (5) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Baltimore Orioles (4) vs. Boston Red Sox (5) - Date: 9/29/2019 Bullpen blows E-Rod's 20th win, Red Sox beat O's anywayBOSTON Eduardo Rodriguez missed out on a 20-win season when Boston's bullpen blew a late lead, but the Red Sox overcame a soaring home run robbery by Stevie Wilkerson to beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 in the regular season finale Sunday on Mookie Betts' ninth-inning dash home.Betts scored from first on a single by Rafael Devers with no outs. Devers' hit caromed off shortstop Richie Martin's glove, causing Wilkerson to hesitate in right. Betts beat a late throw by Wilkerson to give the defending World Series champions a celebratory cap to a disappointing season.Wilkerson made a late entry for catch of the year in the eighth. He chased Jackie Bradley Jr.'s fly ball to the edge of the visitors' bullpen, leaped over the short wall and pulled back Bradley's would-be homer while nearly tumbling into the seats.Brandon Workman (10-1) pitched one inning and struck out three to pick up the victory. Dillion Tate (0-2) got the loss for Baltimore (54-108), which was denied its first sweep of the season.Rodriguez pitched three-run ball for seven innings and was pulled with Boston leading 4-3, putting him in line for a career-high 20th win.Baltimore's Hanser Alberto reached on an error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts leading off the eighth and scored the tying run when Jonathan Villar singled off Matt Barnes.Boston finished 84-78 a year after winning a franchise-record 108 games during the regular season. Handicapper Return on Investment. The Orioles made a six-game improvement from 2018.The Red Sox are the 10th team since 2000 to win the World Series and not qualify for the postseason the following year. No team has repeated as champions since the New York Yankees won three straight t itles from 1998 through 2000.While this season is something for the Orioles to build on, the Red Sox trudge into an offseason that promises to bring several changes.There will be a new leader in baseball operations following the firing of Dave Dombrowski. All-Star slugger J. D. Martinez must decide whether to exercise a player option. Starter Rick Porcello is a free agent.Controlling owner John Henry has also vowed to cut back after having baseball's highest payroll for two straight seasons. Boston is on track to pay a $13 million luxury tax this year on a payroll of $243 million.Manager Alex Cora, who ownership said will return for a third season no matter who replaces Dombrowksi, said identifying what went wrong in 2019 isn't hard to put his finger on.Cora said inconsistent pitching, inflated offensive numbers and an eight-day stretch from July 28 through Aug. 4 that saw Boston lose eight straight games - five to the Yankees and three to the Rays - will gnaw at him .Boston was eight games out of first place in the AL East before that stretch and 14 1/2 out by the end of it.There were some flashes of last year's success at times, but that on far too many instances the consistency wasn't there offensively or defensively. Sports Bettor Leads. The Red Sox hit more home runs and scored more runs than in 2018, but poor baserunning and injuries on the pitching staff doomed the club in close games.On the mound, starters Chris Sale and David Price made only 25 and 22 starts, respectively, as Sale battled elbow issues and Price dealt with elbow and wrist problems.Firming up the starting rotation and bullpen are areas that ownership has also said will be addressed this summer.SOME CATCHRed Sox analyst Dennis Eckersley told reporters that Boston's eight-time Gold Glove Award-winning right fielder Dwight Evans texted him during the game to say Wilkerson's robbery was the bes t catch ever by a right fielder at Fenway Park.TRAINER'S ROOMRed Sox: Cora said Sale (left elbow inflammation) will head to their spring training facility in Ft. Myers, Florida, in the next few days to begin his rehabilitation program.UP NEXTOrioles: Opening Day for next season is set for March 26 against the Yankees.Red Sox: Begin 2020 regular season March 26 at Toronto, with home opener set for April 2 against the White Sox.---More MLB: and

MLB Game Recap: Minnesota Twins (4) vs. Kansas City Royals (5) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Minnesota Twins (4) vs. Kansas City Royals (5) - Date: 9/29/2019 Soler hits 48th HR, Royals beat Twins in Yost's last gameKANSAS CITY, Mo. Jorge Soler locked up the AL home run crown with his 48th homer, Brett Phillips drove a game-ending sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 Sunday in manager Ned Yost's final game.Phillips' first career walk-off RBI gave Yost a celebratory send-off on the final day of the regular season. Yost finished 746-839 over 10 seasons leading Kansas City, by far the most wins in franchise history.Twins manager Rocco Baldelli turned over coaching duties to infielder Ehire Adrianza because he thinks he has the makings of a future manager. Adrianza filled out the lineup card and called the shots during the game. Minnesota finished the season 101-61, one victory shy of the franchise record set in 1965.Soler connected in the first inning and broke a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for most home runs in a season by a Cuban-born player. Professional Sports Handicappers. The 27-year-old Soler's previous career high was 12.Ian Kennedy (3-2) pitched a scoreless ninth before the Royals rallied against rookie Brusdar Graterol (1-1). Humberto Arteaga led off with a double, and Nick Dini moved him to third with a bloop single, setting up Phillips' fly to right that lifted the Royals to 59-103.Kansas City's Hunter Dozier led off the eighth with his 10th triple of the season, matching teammates Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi for the AL lead. It marks the first time since 1984 (Astros) that a team has had three players with at least 10 triples. Dozier scored on Ryan O'Hearn's tying double.The AL Central-winning Twins scored three runs in the first on back-to-back home runs by C. J. Cron -a two-run shot - and Jake Cave. It's the 12th time this season the Twins have homered back-to-back. Jason Castro added a solo shot in the fifth.The Royals drew 17,875 in their final game. Football Predictions. They finished with an average of 18,267 fans, 2,290 fewer than 2018.TRAINER'S ROOMTwins Minnesota is uncertain if rookie 3B Luis Arraez will be ready for the AL Division Series after spraining his right ankle Saturday. ''It could be a few days, it could be a week,'' said head athletic trainer Tony Leo. ''We're not really putting a timeline on this one, obviously, with where we are.'' Arraez is hitting .334 in 92 games.UP NEXTThe Twins will have a few days off before opening their ALDS in New York on Friday. Baldelli has not named any starters for the ALDS.---More MLB: and

MLB Game Recap: Oakland Athletics (1) vs. Seattle Mariners (3) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Oakland Athletics (1) vs. Seattle Mariners (3) - Date: 9/29/2019 Seager homers as Mariners close out with 3-1 win over A'sSEATTLE Tanner Roark seemed to describe perfectly the approach of the playoff-bound Oakland Athletics on the final day of the regular season.''I don't know. It was a 12 o'clock game, last game of the season, we've already clinched a wild-card spot, so I'm sure you guys can imagine where our minds are at,'' Roark said.With their attention already on the AL wild-card game, the A's dropped the regular season finale in a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday. Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer in the first inning, promising prospect Kyle Lewis added an RBI single and the Mariners headed into the offseason with a victory.Meanwhile, Oakland finished 97-65 for the second straight year and rested most of its regular starters ahead of Wednesday night's AL w ild-card game at home against Tampa Bay. Good Sports Handicappers. The A's lost the wild-card game last year at the New York Yankees.''Same record, different way of doing it,'' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ''For the most part it's the same group, but again at the trade deadline we bring in some guys that are really impactful for us, some younger guys came up and are right now and will continue to be with this team for a long time. We did it a little bit differently on the pitching end. Best Free Sports Picks. The offense was pretty consistent. We hit some home runs and we played great defense. So all that adds up to 97 wins.'' In the first year of what it hopes is a quick rebuild, Seattle finished 68-94, a 21-game drop from last year's 89-win team.Seager missed the first two months of the season with a hand in jury and struggled when he returned in late May. But the former All-Star rebounded to finish the year with 23 home runs and 63 RBIs. Seager's homer off Roark (4-3) was his first since Sept. 10.It was a challenging season for Seager, who ended up being one of the few vets surrounded by a lot of inexperienced youth.''Going on the DL for the first time wasn't ideal, wasn't great, didn't love it, obviously,'' Seager said. ''It was a different experience for me to sit back and watch for a little bit. It gets the juices flowing, it gets you hungry again and something you could spin into a positive.'' Lewis, who shined during his late-season call-up hitting six home runs in his first 10 games, lined a two-out single in the fifth after Austin Nola had doubled.The A's had just three hits as Seattle used a variety of young arms to close out the season. Justin Dunn was impressive in his two innings and Reggie McClain (1-1) got the vic tory, including a key groundout from Stephen Piscotty with runners on second and third to end the third inning.The Mariners got a key defensive play on J. P. Crawford's leaping catch on Robbie Grossman's line drive to end the fifth inning and save a run.Anthony Bass pitched the ninth for his fifth save.DUNN DEALDunn was used mostly in short stints as a starter in his four outings for the Mariners, but the last three showed great promise. Dunn threw six scoreless innings allowing two hits and striking out five over his final three outings against Pittsburgh, Houston and Oakland.''Part of the reason I wanted to get up here was to get my feet wet and go into the offseason knowing I belong here. I feel like I did that my last two times out and hang my hat on that,'' Dunn said.ALL 162Oakland SS Marcus Semien made only a brief appearance on the final day but managed to play in all 162 games this season. Semien led off the game with a pop out before being li fted.Semien finished the regular season hitting .285 with 33 home runs and 92 RBIs. He appeared in 159 games twice previously in his career.''I've had a lot of fun with this in the last day. Give him 161 and cut him off but that's not going to happen. So we'll get him an at-bat today. He deserves it,'' A's manager Bob Melvin said.NO STARTER YETMelvin said he doesn't intend to announce a starter for the wild-card game until Tuesday's workout day.DOWN AT HOMEIn part because of their rebuild, the Mariners saw a significant drop in attendance. Seattle drew 16,851 for the finale and finished the year unofficially at 1,791,895 fans for its 81 home games. A year ago, the Mariners drew 2,300,177.TRAINER'S ROOMSeattle OF Mitch Haniger hopes to resume his normal offseason workouts in the next couple of weeks. Haniger has not played since early June after suffering a ruptured testicle. He suffered a back injury during his rehab and it was the back problem that ultimately caused him to miss the rest of the season. Haniger said he doesn't anticipate any restrictions when spring training begins.UP NEXTAthletics: Will host Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card game on Wednesday.Mariners: Will open the 2020 season on March 26 hosting Texas.---More MLB: and

MLB Game Recap: San Diego Padres (0) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (1) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: San Diego Padres (0) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (1) - Date: 9/29/2019 Walker returns, Locastro lifts D'backs over Padres in 9thPHOENIX Taijuan Walker returned from Tommy John surgery on the final day of the regular season, Tim Locastro beat out an infield grounder to drive home the winning run in the ninth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres 1-0 Sunday.Locastro bounced one deep into the hole at shortstop with two outs, and Luis Urias skipped a throw to first on what would have been a close play, allowing Christian Walker to score from third. Stefan Crichton (1-0) pitched the ninth for his first major league win.Matt Strahm (6-11) gave up three hits and the decisive run for the loss.Walker, reinstated from the 60-day injured list earlier Sunday, made his first start for the Diamondbacks since April 14, 2018 and pitched a scoreless inning. He missed almost two full seasons after Tommy Jo hn surgery.After striking out the Padres' Eric Hosmer to end the first, he walked back into the dugout to embraces from every teammate.The Padres' Manny Machado, who signed a 10-year, $300 million contract before the season, was 2 for 4 including a hustle double to left-center in the ninth inning. He finished the season with a .256 batting average, the lowest in his career, and 150 hits, also a career low for a full season.The Diamondbacks finished 85-77, a three-game improvement from 2018 and good for second place in the NL West. Sports Touts. The Padres (70-92) ended on a six-game losing streak after firing manager Andy Green. Sports Illustrated Picks. They made a four-game improvement from last season's 66-96 record.The Padres loaded the bases with one out in the fifth against Alex Young, who relieved Walker. Young escaped and ended his outin g with four scoreless innings.The Diamondbacks had runners on first and third in the sixth after Urias' throwing error and Eduardo Escobar's single. Walker grounded into the double play to end the inning.Before the bottom of the fifth inning, the Diamondbacks doffed their caps and applauded the crowd in appreciation of the fan support this season.MAKE IT ANOTHER 2-MILThe Diamondbacks finished over the 2 million mark in total attendance at Chase Field for the 22nd straight season, the club's entire existence. With Sunday's crowd of 45,446, Arizona's final attendance count was 2,135,510 for the season, a decrease of more than 100,000 from last season.WORLD CUP WINNERJessica McDonald, a Phoenix area native and member of the U. S. Women's National soccer team that won this year's Women's World Cup, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones caught it, wearing his USWNT jersey.TRAINER'S ROOMDiamondbacks: Jones sat out Sunday after feeling hamstring tightness during Saturday's game.---More MLB: and

MLB Game Recap: Cleveland Indians (2) vs. Washington Nationals (8) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Cleveland Indians (2) vs. Washington Nationals (8) - Date: 9/29/2019 Nats top Indians 8-2, head to playoffs on 8-game win streakWASHINGTON The Washington Nationals continued their surge into the playoffs by stretching their winning streak to a year-high eight games with an 8-2 victory Sunday over the eliminated Cleveland Indians in a regular-season finale that meant nothing to either club.Washington will host the NL wild-card game Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers.Making a push to start that win-or-go-home game, catcher Kurt Suzuki - who missed most of September with a bad right elbow - hit his 17th homer, a two-run shot in the third inning. Juan Soto delivered an RBI double in the first, and Brian Dozier and Gerardo Parra each drove in two runs in the sixth. Parra tacked on a run-scoring hit in the eighth.Parra, whose spot on the postseason roster has been in doubt, is 7 for 9 with 11 RBIs over the las t three days.Joe Ross (4-4) went six innings for Washington, allowing four hits, including Francisco Lindor's 32nd homer leading off the third inning, and striking out eight batters.Mike Clevinger (13-4) was charged with six runs over 5 2/3 innings and failed to collect what would have been a career-best 14th win.The Nationals, who were just 19-31 in May before turning things around, finished second to Atlanta in the NL East at 93-69 - an 11-win improvement over 2018, when they missed the playoffs in Dave Martinez's rookie year as a manager. Documented Handicappers. They did it without a winning streak longer than five games until now.Asked whether the fact that Sunday's result had no bearing on his team's standing meant it would be a stress-free day for him, Martinez replied: ''No. Winning Picks. They're a ll stressful.'' He juggled his lineup a bit, resting a handful of regulars and allowing others - such as Suzuki, Soto, right fielder Adam Eaton and shortstop Trea Turner - to depart after two or three plate appearances.Before Sunday, Washington didn't know whether it would face Milwaukee or St. Louis on Tuesday. But St. Louis wrapped up the NL Central title by beating the Chicago Cubs 9-0, relegating Milwaukee to a wild-card spot.The Indians, meanwhile, were officially knocked out of postseason contention Friday and closed with a five-game losing skid. Still, their 93-69 mark is not only the same as Washington's, but better than Cleveland's 91-71 record a year ago, when Terry Francona's team won its third consecutive AL Central title.''They fought,'' Francona said, ''until they were literally out of gas.'' ATTENDANCEThe announced attendance at Nationals Park of 36,764 Sunday gave the team a season total of 2,259,781, an average of 27,899. Good Return on Investment. Those numbers are down from 2018, when Washington had 2,529,604 spectators, an average of 31,230 - and represent the worst season figures since 2011, when the team drew fewer than 2 million fans.BARRETT BACK AT HOMEWashington RHP Aaron Barrett entered in relief in the seventh, his first appearance at Nationals Park since August 2015. He had Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery later that year, then broke his pitching arm in 2016 and missed all of 2017 and 2018. He was called up from the minors this month to make his return to the majors and pitched in two games for Washington - both on the road.---Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at baseball: and

MLB Game Recap: Miami Marlins (4) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3) - 9/29/2019

MLB Game Recap: Miami Marlins (4) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3) - Date: 9/29/2019 Harper, Phillies finish 81-81 with 4-3 loss to MarlinsPHILADELPHIA Bryce Harper got two hits and a standing ovation to close out his first season in Philadelphia, and the Phillies finished at 81-81 after a 4-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday.Harper drew a cheer from the crowd at Citizens Bank Park after a flyout in the ninth inning. Signed to a $330 million, 13-year contract, he wound up batting .260 with 35 homers and 114 RBIs.Brad Miller hit a pair of homers for Philadelphia, which ended a run of six straight losing campaigns but fell well short of expectations. Manager Gabe Kapler is on the hot seat after going 161-163 over two seasons.Starlin Castro homered and doubled, and Sandy Alcantara pitched six sold innings for Miami. Martin Prado and Isan Diaz also went deep for the Marlins (57-105), who finished with a losing record for the 10th st raight season.Miami came within three losses of tying the 1998 club for most defeats while reaching 100 losses for the third time in the franchise's 27-year history.Alcantara (6-14) allowed one run on eight hits, struck out five and walked one while setting a club rookie record for starts in a season with his 32. Handicapper Return on Investment. Tyler Kinley got two outs in the ninth for his first save.After second-inning homers by Castro, who played in every game this season, and Diaz off Blake Parker (3-3) put Miami in front, Prado made it 4-0 with a solo shot in the third.Parker was one of seven relievers used by Philadelphia in a bullpen-by-committee game after Kapler decided to shut down ace Aaron Nola, who originally was scheduled to start, following his last outing.The Phillies closed within 4-3 in the seventh on the second of Miller's drives.The Phillies had high hopes at the outset of the season a fter signing Harper, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson and trading for star catcher J. Sports Betting Leads. T. Realmuto and shortstop Jean Segura.Harper and Realmuto delivered, but Robertson pitched in just seven games before being shelved with an elbow injury and McCutchen's promising season ended in early June with a knee injury.The Phils saw a slight jump in attendance this season, to 2,727,421 up from 2,158,124. Sports Picks. They started with a season-opening, three-game home sweep of the Braves in front of packed houses that had the feeling of a return to 2007-11, when Philadelphia captured five straight NL East titles, including the franchise's second World Series championship in 2008.Realmuto, whose season was cut short due to knee surgery on Friday, batted .275 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs.Prado, whose contract is up with Miami, was lifte d prior to the ninth inning to a standing ovation from his teammates and the Phillies. The 35-year-old has played for 14 seasons, the last five with Miami. His third-inning homer was the 100th of his career.A SCHEUER THINGLongtime Associated Press correspondent Jack Scheuer, 87, retired following the game after 46 years covering the Phillies, 76ers and Philadelphia college basketball. The Phillies had a cake and a ceremony to honor his work.A member of the Big 5 Hall of Fame, Scheuer is well known in Philadelphia press boxes for his trivia questions. He's also respected for a sweet set shot in pickup hoops games at the Palestra.More than that, he is well respected for his humility and kindness.''I'm kind of a friendly guy, I guess,'' Scheuer said. ''I like to get along with people. It's not that hard, I think. Just treat people nice. I've appreciated all of the friendships, especially today.'' Scheuer has covered more than 3,50 0 Phillies games, including an eight-year stretch where he didn't miss a home game. The 1980 World Series victory was his highlight, and some of his favorite Phillies to cover were Manny Trillo and Darren Daulton.Before computers, Scheuer would hand-write a story on paper and dictate it to an operator in New York. He then would get quotes from players and coaches, compose the story in his head on his one-hour drive home and call in with another story for the next day's afternoon newspapers.Times have changed, of course, and Scheuer says technology and analytics are the biggest differences from when he first started covering baseball. Even with all of the change, Scheuer never has lost his passion for the games or his job.''It's been a labor of love all these years covering basketball and baseball, my two favorite sports,'' he said. ''It has been a great pleasure.'' UP NEXTThe Phillies and Marlins will open the 2020 season playing e ach other in Miami on Thursday, March 26.---More MLB: and

NFL Game Recap: Carolina Panthers (16) vs. Houston Texans (10) - 9/29/2019

NFL Game Recap: Carolina Panthers (16) vs. Houston Texans (10) - Date: 9/29/2019 Sep 29, 2019HOUSTON Kyle Allen threw for 232 yards and the Carolina Panthers overcame his three fumbles with help from a big defensive play late to get a 16-10 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday. Make Money Betting Sports. The Panthers (2-2) took a 13-10 lead with a 55-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. The Texans (2-2) were driving with about four minutes left when Deshaun Watson was sacked by Vernon Butler, who caused a fumble that was recovered by Eric Reid at the Houston 33. Carolina pushed the lead to 16-10 when Joey Slye added a 26-yard field goal with 31 seconds left. Houston had a chance for the win, but Deshaun Watson's desperation throw as time expired was knocked down in the end zone by Reid. Allen was making his third career start and second this season in pl ace of Cam Newton, who is out with a foot injury. Allen lost the ball three times on sacks, but the Texans were only able to get points out of the last one to allow the Panthers to keep it close until their defense came through with the big play late. Allen had four touchdown passes last week to help the Panthers to their first win against Arizona. On Sunday, he didn't have a touchdown and relied heavily on running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 93 yards rushing and a touchdown and led the team with 86 yards receiving. Watson threw for 160 yards on a day the Texans had trouble sustaining drives even when given a short field after turnovers. After failing to get any points out of the first two fumbles by Allen, the Texans got to him again early in the third quarter. Houston trailed 10-3 when J. J. Watt swatted the ball out of Allen's hand and pounced on it to give the Texans the ball on the 18-yard line. They tied it when Watson dashed into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown with about 8 1/2 minutes left in quarter. Brennan Scarlett had a strip sack of Allen on Carolina's first possession and it was recovered by Bernardrick McKinney. But the Texans couldn't do much on the ensuing drive, which included two sacks, and had to punt it away. Good Sports Handicappers. The Panthers took a 3-0 lead on a 48-yard field goal with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter. Houston got its running game going on the next drive with a 25-yard run by Carlos Hyde followed by a 40-yard gain by Duke Johnson on the next play. The drive stalled after that and the Texans settled for a 37-yard field goal to tie it with about eight minutes left in the second quarter. Sports Picks Free. The Texans forced another fumble by Allen later in the second quarter on a sack by Whitney Mercilus which was recovered by Carlos Watkin s. Houston was unable to capitalize on that mistake when DeAndre Hopkins threw an interception on a trick play. The Panthers took advantage of that mistake five plays later when McCaffrey ran three yards for a touchdown to make it 10-3 with about a minute left in the first half. INJURIESHouston WR Kenny Stills injured his hamstring on the last play of the first quarter and didn't return. . . . Carolina TE Chris Manhertz sustained a concussion early in the second half. UP NEXTPanthers: Host Jaguars next Sunday. Texans: Host Falcons next Sunday. ---More NFL: https://apnews. com/NFL and https://twitter. com/-NFL

NFL Game Recap: Cleveland Browns (40) vs. Baltimore Ravens (25) - 9/29/2019

NFL Game Recap: Cleveland Browns (40) vs. Baltimore Ravens (25) - Date: 9/29/2019 Sep 29, 2019BALTIMORE Finally fulfilling preseason expectations, Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns posted a signature win against a longtime nemesis. Mayfield threw for 342 yards and a touchdown, Nick Chubb ran for a pivotal 88-yard score and the Browns beat the Baltimore Ravens 40-25 Sunday to earn a share of first place in the AFC North. Chubb finished with 165 yards and three scores against the league's third-ranked rushing defense. Jarvis Landry had eight catches for 167 yards before leaving with a suspected concussion, and Odell Beckham Jr. had two catches for 20 yards in a supporting role. Cleveland kept Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson in check and used a mixture of Mayfield's passing and Chubb's physical running to rip the Ravens for 530 yards - the second straight week Baltimore (2-2) yielded more than 500 yards.  9;'We've just got to clean it up and guys do their job. Simple as that,'' Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. ''We're doing our assignment the way we're supposed to, too many times, and it's costing us big plays. '' Mayfield hit Landry for 65 yards and connected with Ricky Seals-Jones for 59. Then, of course, there was that 88-yard run. In all, the Browns had 10 plays of at least 16 yards. As a result, Cleveland (2-2) finds itself in the top spot of the division with the Ravens, who won it last year. It's the first time Cleveland has been in first place after four games since 2013. An improved defense, the addition of Beckham and the expected maturation of Mayfield in his second year created a whirlwind of preseason hype around the Browns, who went 1-15 in 2016 and 0-16 just two years ago. Mayfield had five interceptions compared to three touchdown passes in Cleveland's first three games, but it all came together for the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner against the Ravens, who owned a 30-10 lead in a series that began in 1999 - three years after Art Modell moved the original Browns to Baltimore. ''We know how good we can be. Everybody did well,'' Mayfield said. ''That's the frustrating part about how we started. We just need to do our job, and that's what guys did this week - focused, head down and worked. '' Jackson's deft passing and elusive running were a key part of Baltimore's 2-0 start, but for a second straight week he couldn't make up for his own team's porous defense. He got the Ravens to 24-18 with 9:51 left before Chubb took a pitch deep in his own territory, burst through a hole on the right side and ran untouched into the end zone. ''Anybody could have run through that hole,'' Chubb said. A subsequent fourth-down gamble by Baltimore failed before Jackson threw successive interceptions. The first one ended a r un of 248 passes without being picked off. Jackson went 24 of 34 for 247 yards and three scores. He had 66 yards rushing. Down 17-10, the Ravens were moving for the potential tying score when Mark Ingram had the ball pried loose by Jermaine Whitehead, and Chad Thomas recovered at the Cleveland 26. It was Baltimore's first turnover of the season. NBC Sports Picks. The Browns immediately went the other way and grabbed a two-touchdown advantage late in the third quarter with a 2-yard run by Chubb. HAIL BRIANThe Ravens inducted former coach Brian Billick into the team's Ring of Honor, adding his name to the facade on the upper deck. Billick led Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory during the 2000 season and went 85-67 from 1999-2007. INJURIESBrowns: Starting CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams were inactive with hamstring injuries for a second straight week. . . . LB Willie Harvey left in the first quarter wi th a shoulder injury and did not return. Ravens: DT Brandon Williams (knee) was placed on the inactive list after struggling during a pregame workout. UP NEXTBrowns: For the second time in three weeks, Cleveland plays in prime time, facing the San Francisco 49ers on the road Monday night. Ravens: In the second of three successive AFC North games, Baltimore travels to Pittsburgh to face the rival Steelers (0-3 entering Monday night game vs. Cincinnati). ---More NFL: https://apnews. com/NFL and https://twitter. com/-NFL

NFL Game Recap: New England Patriots (16) vs. Buffalo Bills (10) - 9/29/2019

NFL Game Recap: New England Patriots (16) vs. Buffalo Bills (10) - Date: 9/29/2019 Sep 29, 2019ORCHARD PARK, N. Y. Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins forced Buffalo's fourth turnover by intercepting backup Matt Barkley's pass with 1:27 remaining to seal New England's 16-10 win over the Bills on Sunday. J. C. Jackson had two interceptions and blocked a punt, which was returned 11 yards by Matthew Slater for a touchdown. Brandon Bolden scored on a 4-yard run in a defensive slugfest between previously unbeaten AFC East rivals. New England is off to its first 4-0 start since 2015, and fifth time during Bill Belichick's 20 seasons as coach. Sports Predictions. The Bills (3-1) not only blew an opportunity to open a season with four straight wins for the first time since 2008, but now face questions at quarterback. Barkley took over after starter Josh Alle n sustained a head injury after being brought down by a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jonathan Jones in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Allen was briefly evaluated under a tent on the sideline before being escorted up the tunnel. Number #1 Sports Handicapping Service. The game wasn't decided until Buffalo's final drive with Barkley facing third-and-9 at the New England 39. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy applied the pressure by driving in from Barkley's right, and got a hand on the quarterback's chest. Barkley's follow-through was affected causing the ball to pop into the air, which Collins easily secured. NBA Handicappers. Though Tom Brady didn't play much of a factor, he upped his career record to 31-3 against Buffalo - extending the NFL career mark for most victories by a quarterback against one opponent. New England won its sixth straight against the Bills, and improved to 34-5 against Buffalo since the start of the 2000 season. Scoring didn't come easy in a game in which the teams combined for 14 punts. Another key Patriots stop came on the drive Allen was hurt. With Buffalo facing fourth-and-goal from the 2, Barkley threw a high pass that glanced off receiver Zay Jones' fingertips five minutes into the fourth quarter. New England's 16 points all came off Bills turnovers. Bolden scored after Allen threw his first interception. He was picked off by Devin McCourty after forcing a pass deep over the middle into double coverage. Two series later, the Patriots went up 13-0 when Jackson was untouched coming off the right side to block Corey Bojorquez's punt. The ball bounced into the hands of Slater, who ran in untouched. New England was on the verge of running away with the game before Brady threw an interception facing third-and-goal from the 2 with under five minutes left in the seco nd quarter. His pass intended for Julian Edelman was picked off by safety Micah Hyde. Brady was held in check in being limited to 18 of 39 for 150 yards and an interception. The Patriots were held under 30 points for the first time this season. They allowed their first points in the first half this season on Stephen Hauschka's 46-yard field goal with 1:55 left in the second quarter. And New England then gave up its first offensive touchdown of the year when Allen capped Buffalo's first drive of the second half with a 1-yard dive over the middle on fourth down. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski hit a 23-yard field-goal attempt, but was wide right on his first of two extra-point attempts. The Bills' defense did its part in the first half by limiting Brady to 9 of 22 for 90 yards and an interception. It was Brady's lowest completion percentage in the first half since he went 7 for 19 in a 27-26 win over Cleveland on Dec. 8, 2013. Brady has struggled in his previous four games against Buffalo, coinciding with the arrival of Bills' defensive-minded head coach Sean McDermott and coordinator Leslie Frazier. He entered the game averaging just 232 yards passing per outing with a combined three touchdowns and four interceptions. Allen finished 13 of 28 for 153 yards and three interceptions. Barkley went 9 of 16 for 127 yards and an interception. Running back Frank Gore led Buffalo with 109 yards rushing, and in the process became the fourth player in NFL history to top 15,000 yards rushing. The 36-year-old entered the game needing 88 yards. TEASING TOMOne Buffalo-area automotive dealership got into the spirit of Patriots week with an inventive billboard advertisement. The ad poked fun at Brady by suggesting he likes ''ranch dressing,'' which is considered a no-no in Buffalo when eating chicken wings. In Buffalo, the preferred sauce to accompany wings is bleu cheese. I DO'SWith former Bills defensive tack le Kyle Williams officiating, Mackenzie Park and Jordan Binggeli of Rochester, New York, exchanged their wedding vows in getting married during a halftime ceremony at midfield. The two enjoyed their first date at a Bills home game in 2008, and were chosen to be wed as part of a local jewelry store promotion. The ceremony was part of the Bills' celebration of the NFL's 100th season, and included 100 former team stars - including Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy - on hand. UP NEXTPatriots: At Washington on Oct. 6. Bills: At Tennessee on Oct. 6. ---More NFL: https://apnews. com/NFL and https://twitter. com/-NFL

NFL Game Recap: Tennessee Titans (24) vs. Atlanta Falcons (10) - 9/29/2019

NFL Game Recap: Tennessee Titans (24) vs. Atlanta Falcons (10) - Date: 9/29/2019 Sep 29, 2019ATLANTA Marcus Mariota threw three first-half touchdown passes, two to A. J. Brown, and the Tennessee Titans defense had three fourth-down stops to beat the Atlanta Falcons 24-10 on Sunday. Winning Sports Handicappers. Tennessee (2-2) used Mariota's big first half and strong defense to snap a two-game losing streak. Derrick Henry, who ran for 100 yards, helped the Titans dominate the clock and hold the Falcons to only a field goal in the second half. Ito Smith's 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter pulled the Falcons (1-3) even at 7-7. Tennessee outscored Atlanta 17-0 the remainder of the half, and the Falcons heard boos as they left the field. Matt Ryan passed for 397 yards, but the Falcons were stopped on three fourth-down plays. Julio Jones had only four ca tches for 52 yards. Devonta Freeman, who was held to 28 yards on 12 carries, was stopped by Jurrell Casey on a fourth-and-1 run in the second quarter. Ryan was sacked on two fourth-down plays in the second half. ''Those are like turnovers, especially when they're behind,'' said Titans coach Mike Vrabel. ''They were going to be going for it and they were aggressive. I thought our guys responded really well. '' Mariota has not thrown an interception this season, but he faced growing criticism after managing only one touchdown pass in two straight losses. Mariota enjoyed a resurgence against the Falcons. He connected with Brown for a 55-yard touchdown pass on Tennessee's second possession. Brown beat Desmond Trufant and then outran Kemal Ishmael and Deion Jones. Brown beat Trufant again for an 11-yard scoring catch in the first quarter. Mariota's 23-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis late in the half followed the fourth-and-1 st op by Casey on Freeman's run. ''If we can continue to get better and ascend, we'll like where we are at the end of the year,'' Mariota said after completing 18 of 27 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Mariota still has not thrown an interception this season. With the game tied at 7-7, Mariota completed a third-and-15 pass over the middle to Corey Davis for 16 yards. The play kept the drive alive that finished with Brown's second scoring catch, giving the Titans the lead they would never lose. ''It was a huge momentum shift and something that really got us going,'' Mariota said. Handicappers Watchdog. The Falcons continued their trend of facing big early deficits in their losses. Atlanta, which trailed the Titans 24-7 at halftime, has been outscored 65-10 in the first half of its three losses. ''I wish I had a clear answer to that, but the fact is that' s the truth,'' said Falcons coach Dan Quinn. ''We went behind again at the half. I addressed that last week, but we obviously still have work to do. '' Atlanta's Matt Bryant missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt late in the first half when the kick hit the left upright. Bryant was good from 42 yards to cap the Falcons' opening drive of the second half. INJURY REPORTFalcons right guard Jamon Brown suffered a concussion in the first quarter and did not return. Wes Schweitzer replaced Brown in the lineup. Atlanta's offensive line lost center Alex Mack to a left elbow injury in the third quarter. Mack was escorted to the locker room and, with the elbow heavily wrapped, returned to the game late in the quarter. Sports Picks for Today. Tennessee outside linebacker Cameron Wake and Falcons cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson suffered hamstring and groin injuries, respectively, in the fourth quarter. UP NEXTTennessee returns home next Sunday to host the Buffalo Bills. The Titans lead the series 28-18, but Buffalo has won the past two, including a 13-12 home win in 2018. The Falcons play the first of two straight road games when they travel to Houston to face the Texans. The series is tied 2-2, including Atlanta's 48-21 home win in 2015. ---More NFL: https://apnews. com/NFL and https://twitter. com/-NFL