Game 7 in ALCS, Game 6 in NLCS Dodgers force Game 6
UNDATED (AP) — The American League Championship Series will be decided Saturday night, after the Houston Astros forced a Game 7 by beating the Tampa Bay Rays for the third straight day.
The Astros are now one win from their third World Series in four seasons. They’re hoping to join the Boston Red Sox as the only teams to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series.
The Tampa Bay Rays are one win away from their second trip to the World Series, just as they have been since Wednesday when they had a 3-0 series lead. That means they’re also one loss away from matching the worst playoff collapse in 116 years of postseason baseball, when the Yankees blew a similar lead against Boston in the 2004 World Series.
Charlie Morton will start Game 7 for the Rays against Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr. They’ll share the mound in an elimination game for the first time since doing so as teammates in 2017. McCullers started and Morton closed for the Astros in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Dodgers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers try again to avoid elimination when they face the Atlanta Braves Saturday afternoon in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers are now down three games to two after beating the Braves 7-3 in Game 5.
Walker Buehler (BYOO’-lur) starts for Los Angeles against Max Fried (freed) at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. They met in the opener and both gave up one run before Atlanta scored four times in the ninth inning for a 5-1 victory.
The Braves haven’t been to the World Series since 1999. The Dodgers haven’t won the title since 1988.
Patriots back at work, day after 5th player tested positive
UNDATED (AP) — The New England Patriots are back at work, one day after a fifth player on the team tested positive for COVID-19.
The Patriots canceled practice Friday and later placed center James Ferentz on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They’re preparing for Sunday’s game against Denver. A Patriots spokesman said the team would proceed with its walkthrough, but all meetings would be virtual.
New England already had the Week 5 matchup against Denver postponed twice following four earlier positive coronavirus tests by players, including quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
The Broncos haven’t played since Oct. 1. If they play Sunday, they’ll have had 16 days between games. That’s one day longer than Tennessee’s layoff before the Titans beat Buffalo on Tuesday night following the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak, which affected two dozen members of the organization.
Denver’s layoff is the longest in the league since 2001, when the NFL postponed all games on the weekend following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In other virus-related NFL news:
— The Jacksonville Jaguars say a player on their practice squad has tested positive for the coronavirus. The initial result was confirmed by a second test Friday evening. The player was quarantined, and the team is reviewing contact tracing data to determine what further precautions need to be taken. Jacksonville decided to hold football activities remotely on Saturday in keeping with NFL protocols. The 1-4 Jaguars host 1-3 Detroit on Sunday and plan to play as scheduled.
— Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had a second negative COVID-19 test in 24 hours, clearing him to rejoin his teammates and play in Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Beckham was kept away from Cleveland’s facility and didn’t practice for two days after feeling ill on Thursday and being sent home. Under NFL coronavirus protocols, he had to twice test negative before being allowed back. The league has instructed teams to remove anyone showing symptoms similar to COVID-19 even if they are caused by a cold or the flu. Beckham didn’t practice, but the three-time Pro Bowler participated in team meetings remotely.
Georgia-Alabama in spotlight with schedule disrupted
UNDATED (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic is packing a punch in college football this week, nowhere harder than in the Southeastern Conference.
Alabama coach Nick Saban might not be on the sideline when the No. 2 Crimson Tide hosts No. 3 Georgia Saturday night in perhaps the biggest game of the season. Saban tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Alabama head athletic trainer Jeff Allen said Saban’s test came back negative on Thursday. He needed two more negative tests, Friday and Saturday, to be allowed to leave isolation.
LSU’s game at No. 10 Florida and Vanderbilt’s visit to Missouri also have been postponed.
Two other games involving Top 10 teams also are off: No. 7 Oklahoma State at Baylor and No. 8 Cincinnati at Tulsa.
FIU-Charlotte and Southern Miss-UTEP in Conference USA were postponed, as was the matchup between Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, which hurriedly scheduled a replacement home game against independent Massachusetts.
No. 1 Clemson, No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 5 North Carolina all are double-digit favorites as they look to stay unbeaten in the ACC. The Tigers head to Georgia Tech, the Irish host Louisville and the Tar Heels visit Florida State.
Bassino leads Brignone for Italian 1-2 in season-opening GS
SOELDEN, Austria (AP) — Marta Bassino led Federica Brignone (feh-deh-REE’-kah breen-YOH’-nay) for an Italian 1-2 finish in the season-opening women’s World Cup giant slalom.
Bassino held on to her first-run lead to beat her teammate and defending overall World Cup champion by 0.14 seconds. Petra Vlhova posted the fastest second-run time and the Slovakian racer finished third.
Three-time overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin sat out the race after tweaking her back in training. Shiffrin’s teammate Paula Moltzan started 62nd in her second GS and finished a career-best 10th.
No spectators were allowed as one of the precautionary health and safety measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.