The New York Yankees are back in the American League Championship Series for the first time in five years after taking the final three games of their LDS against the Indians.
Didi Gregorius was 3-for-4 with a pair of homers to lead the Yankees to a 5-2 triumph in Game 5 at Cleveland. Gregorius put New York ahead to stay with a solo shot in the first inning and added a two-run blast that put the Bombers ahead 3-0 in the third.
The Indians pulled within 3-2 before the Yanks tacked on two runs in the ninth with the help of two outfield errors. Brett Gardner's third hit of the night drove in Aaron Hicks and created the fifth run as Todd Frazier came home on Jay Bruce's throwing error.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia was working on a one-hit shutout until the Indians chased him during their two-run fifth. Roberto Perez singled home Cleveland's first run and Giovanny Urshela followed with an RBI single that ended Sabathia's evening.
David Robertson worked 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief to pick up the win. Aroldis Chapman notched the save as he struck out four during his two innings of scoreless relief.
Losing pitcher Corey Kluber lasted just 3 2/3 innings, surrendering both homers by Gregorius. The AL Cy Young candidate posted a 12.79 ERA in his two starts during the series.
The Yankees are the 10th team to win a best-of-five playoff series after dropping the first two games.
Game 1 of the ALCS will be in Houston on Friday.
Stephen Strasburg and Michael A. Taylor have allowed the Washington Nationals to force a fifth and deciding game in their NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs.
Strasburg worked seven outstanding innings and Taylor launched a grand slam as the Nats blanked the Cubs, 5-0 at Wrigley Field. The outcome gives the Nationals hope that they can finally win a playoff series for the first time in four tries since the franchise moved from Montreal after the 2004 season.
Strasburg struck out 12 while holding the Cubs to three hits over seven scoreless innings of his first career postseason win. Ben Zobrist was the only Cub to get an extra-base hit off Strasburg, who didn't allow an earned run over his 14 innings of work during the series.
Taylor put the game out of reach with his bases-loaded blast in the eighth off reliever Wade Davis. The game's only other run scored on Addison Russell's error in the third inning.
Game 5 is Thursday in Washington. Kyle Hendricks is slated to start for the Cubs. Gio Gonzalez is the likely starter for Washington, but Max Scherzer will be available after working 6 1/3 innings in Game 3.
MLB-RED SOX-FARRELL FIRED
John Farrell is out after five seasons as manager of the Red Sox.
Farrell led the Sox to a World Series crown in his first year at the helm and guided them to the last two AL East crowns. But his status became shaky after the Bosox dropped their division series for the second straight year, eliminated by the Astros on Monday after being swept by the Indians in 2016.
Farrell was 432-378 as manager.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is telling New England fans not to worry about the left shoulder injury that kept him out of practice earlier in the week.
Brady says he'll be on the field Sunday to play the New York Jets in a fight for first place in the AFC East.
Brady reportedly went for an MRI on the left shoulder this week. But he says it's just the typical bumps and bruises all players pick up this time of year.
In other NFL news:
— Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was able to practice Wednesday despite a right ankle issue that had him limping late in last weekend's game against Carolina. The Lions said Stafford participated in a full practice.
— Detroit has put defensive tackle Haloti Ngata on injured reserve with an elbow injury suffered in Sunday's game against the Panthers. Ngata had two sacks in five starts this year.
— Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota says his strained left hamstring shouldn't keep him out of Monday's game against the Colts. However, coach Mike Mularkey wants to monitor Mariota's mobility before determining whether he will play. Mariota missed last Sunday's loss to Miami because of the injury, but he says he feels a lot better than a week ago.
— Andrew Luck will be back on the Colts' practice field Thursday and Saturday this week. The Colts' quarterback returned to practice last Wednesday, the first time he's worked out with his teammates since having surgery on his throwing shoulder in January.
— Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson was a full participant during Wednesday's workout. A minor back injury kept him off the field for the Green Bay Packers' winning drive in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys.
— Kevin Hogan will be the Browns' 28th different starting quarterback since 1999 when they take on the Texans in Houston on Sunday. He takes over for rookie DeShone Kizer, who was benched in favor of Hogan at halftime of last Sunday's loss to the Jets.
— The Giants have suspended cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. Coach McAdoo announced the suspension after practice today without giving a reason.
— The Cowboys have released cornerback Nolan Carroll, the second significant free agent let go this season. Carroll left a loss at Denver in Week 2 with a concussion and didn't play again before Wednesday's move.
— President Donald Trump says "it is about time" that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demands "that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY." Goodell told club executives Tuesday in a memo that the anthem issue is dividing the league from its fans, and that the NFL needs "to move past this controversy."
— San Francisco safety Eric Reid says the team won't force players to stand during the national anthem. Reid said he had a conversation recently with 49ers CEO Jed York, who indicated he will continue to support his players if they decide to kneel during the national anthem to protest social injustice.
— Mike Ditka is apologizing for saying he wasn't aware of any racial oppression in the U.S. over the last 100 years. The former Bears coach issued the apology Tuesday, a day after he made the comments during a radio interview while discussing players kneeling during the National Anthem. In a statement later posted on WGN-TV, Ditka said he was talking about the NFL, not society overall.
— Former Eagles wide receiver Ben Hawkins died on Monday at 73. A third-round pick of the Eagles in 1966, Hawkins spent eight of his nine NFL seasons in Philadelphia, where he played 102 games from 1966-73. He is tied for ninth in team history in receiving TDs, 10th in receiving yards and 19th in receptions.
— The Raiders have adjusted their practice schedule because of poor air quality resulting from the wildfires in the nearby wine country. The Raiders took the practice field Wednesday in smoky conditions with even some ash falling from the sky.
Tonights Thursday Night Football Matchup: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Carolina Panthers at 8:25 PM
Patric Hornqvist was a week late in making his season debut, but the wait was worth it for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hornqvist helped the Pens go 3-for-6 on the power play in a 3-2 win over the Capitals in Washington. He assisted in Kris Letang's goal 5:22 after the opening faceoff and scored less than three minutes later.
Hornqvist was in the lineup for the first time since undergoing offseason surgery on a broken finger.
Conor Sheary also scored and Matt Murray stopped 20 shots for Pittsburgh.
Capitals forward Christian Djoos (joos) scored in his NHL debut and Alex Ovechkin (oh-VEHCH'-kihn) notched his league-leading eighth goal of the season.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Devils are 3-0 after Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha each scored twice in a 6-3 victory over the previously-unbeaten Maple Leafs. Brian Gibbons scored on Toronto's 5-on-3 power play to put the Devils ahead 4-2 in the second period.
— John Gibson made 20 of his 39 saves in the first period of the Ducks' 3-2 win over the Islanders. Andrew Cogliano, Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves scored to help Anaheim beat New York for the first time in five tries.
— Sven Andrighetto scored twice and Alexander Kerfoot had his first NHL goal in helping the Avalanche double up the Bruins, 6-3. The game was tied 1-1 until Nail Yakupov, Andrighetto and Matt Duchene scored in the second period to help the Avs complete a season sweep of Boston.
— Matthew Tkachuk scored twice and Sean Monahan provided the game-winner in Calgary's 4-3 overtime win at Los Angeles. Jaromir Jagr was scoreless with a minus-1 while playing 13 ½ minutes in his first game with the Flames.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James will sit out the rest of the NBA preseason and could miss the season opener after aggravating his sprained left ankle.
James hurt the ankle again while making his exhibition debut against Chicago on Tuesday, scoring 17 points with eight turnovers.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was noncommittal when asked today if James will be ready for the opener against Boston, saying he wasn't sure.
In other NBA news:
— Andrew Wiggins has finally signed his five-year extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves after pondering the offer for more than two months. The package is worth nearly $150 million and does not include a player option, but it concludes a major piece of team business a week before the Wolves' season opener. The 22-year-old Wiggins averaged 23.6 points in his third season in the league and is expected to help the Timberwolves end a 13-season playoff drought.
The NCAA says former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will head a newly-formed commission to study the inner workings of college basketball. The commission is in response a federal investigation into bribery and fraud that rocked the sport and implicated several assistant coaches.
Federal complaints revealed in New York accused coaches, financial managers and an Adidas executive of trying to influence players on choosing schools and financial advisers.
In other college basketball news:
— Louisville interim coach David Padgett has hired Trent Johnson as an assistant. The move to add the former head coach to the staff fills the vacancy created when the school named Padgett to replace Rick Pitino last month in the wake of a national federal investigation of bribery in college basketball.
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