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Kershaw falters again in playoffs as Braves push Dodgers to brink

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Clayton Kershaw made the slow trudge to that lonely spot in the dugout once again, this time just a few miles from his hometown.

The longtime ace of the Dodgers just can’t shake his playoff curse, not even on friendly turf in a neutral-site NL Championship Series.

Kershaw faltered at the start of the sixth inning against Atlanta, allowing three straight hits before watching the rest of a six-run outburst in the Braves’ 10-2 win in Game 4 on Thursday night.

Kershaw’s franchise-high 12th post-season loss put Los Angeles down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series at the home of the Texas Rangers, on the brink of a second straight defeat in the NLCS after posting the best record in the majors during the pandemic-shortened season.

Pitching two days after he was scratched from a Game 2 start because of back spasms, Kershaw allowed four runs in five-plus innings, boosting his career playoff ERA to 4.31.

While the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner is also the club’s career leader in post-season wins with his 11-12 record, his October resume simply doesn’t match his stellar regular-season numbers: 175-76 with a 2.43 ERA.

In LA’s seven trips to the NLCS over Kershaw’s 13 seasons, the Dallas native is 3-6 with a 4.84 ERA. And now the left-hander has been outpitched by a rookie making his post-season debut: Atlanta’s 22-year-old Game 4 winner, Bryse Wilson.

“I think that he came out and five innings, one run, again, what happened right there in that sixth inning, he gave us a chance to win the baseball game,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We couldn’t put any runs up early and get a lead, or hold a lead. That narrative couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Kershaw was handed a 1-0 lead on Edwin Ríos’ homer in the third, but gave it up on Marcell Ozuna‘s solo shot in the fourth, the first of two for Ozuna.

In the sixth, Ronald Acuña Jr.’s high chopper eluded the glove of a leaping Kershaw behind the mound for an infield single. Freddie Freeman and Ozuna followed with consecutive RBI doubles, and Kershaw was done in Los Angeles’ third loss in four games since winning its first five in the playoffs.

“It would have been nice to get Acuna out,” Kershaw said. “Just part of playing on turf. He kind of chopped that one up. Freddie, I had two strikes on him. Probably just went one too many pitches inside.”

Kershaw had never pitched near his Dallas home before doing so twice in a week and a half in this unusual post-season, first without fans in an NL Division Series sweep of San Diego and then a pandemic-reduced crowd in the NLCS.

The eight-time All-Star recorded his 11th post-season win in the Dodgers’ 6-5 victory in Game 2 of the NLDS, but he was far from dominant. Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer hit back-to-back homers to cut into a 4-1 deficit.

A night after becoming the first team to score 11 runs in an inning and the first with 15 runs and five homers in the first three innings of a post-season game, the Dodgers had just three hits. Ríos’ homer was their only hit before Kershaw exited.

“Every time Kershaw gets on that mound, you want to score 20,” Ríos said. “You want to score as many runs as we can for him. It was unfortunate we weren’t able to do that tonight.”

If the Hall of Fame is in his future, Kershaw won’t be alone among star pitchers who struggled in the playoffs.

Greg Maddux was 11-14 in the post-season, most of those decisions when Atlanta won just one World Series during a run of 14 straight NL East titles. Randy Johnson was 7-9, and fellow lefty Steve Carlton just 6-6.

Another lefty, David Price, was 2-9 before winning his final three decisions for Boston when the Red Sox won the World Series two years ago.

Each of those pitchers has at least one title, though. Kershaw still doesn’t have one despite the club record in playoff starts (28) and innings (177 1/3).

Kershaw now has 11 career post-season starts of allowing at least four runs, tied with Maddux for the second-most. Only Andy Pettitte, another lefty, has more.

Ozuna’s first homer in Game 4 was the 27th Kershaw has allowed in the playoffs, breaking a tie with Justin Verlander for second-most, also behind Pettitte (31).

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Source: – TSN

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Wentz rallies Eagles to comeback win over Giants – TSN

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PHILADELPHIA — Hurried, harassed and hit repeatedly, Carson Wentz completed the comeback this time.

Wentz threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Boston Scott with 40 seconds remaining and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame an 11-point deficit in the final seven minutes to beat the New York Giants 22-21 on Thursday night.

Wentz led a depleted offence to 22 fourth-quarter points only to miss a 2-point conversion at the end in a 30-28 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.

He wouldn’t be denied against the Giants.

“He battled, faced adversity and hung in there,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “He’s taking a step in the right direction to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league.”

Daniel Jones shook off a stumble that prevented him from an 88-yard touchdown run and had the Giants leading 21-10 following a 2-yard pass to Sterling Shepard with 6:17 left.

But Wentz rallied an offence missing eight starters. His 3-yard pass to Greg Ward cut it to 21-16. After the 2-point conversion failed, the Eagles got the ball at their 29 with 2:02 to go.

Wentz completed passes of 11 and 30 yards to Richard Rodgers. On third down from the 5, a defensive holding penalty gave the Eagles a first down at the 3. But three-time All-Pro centre Jason Kelce was called for a facemask penalty that pushed it back to the 18.

No big deal.

Wentz threw a perfect strike to Scott and the backup running back made an excellent catch to give Philadelphia the lead. The 2-point conversion failed, but Jones was sacked by Brandon Graham and fumbled on the ensuing possession.

“We never faltered. We never panicked. We knew we were gonna win,” Scott said. “Carson led us and it was a great team effort.”

The Eagles (2-4-1) and Giants (1-6) are right in the mix in the NFC East, led by Dallas (2-4).

“This was huge for us,” Wentz said. “The NFC East is wide open.”

Wentz threw for 359 yards and two TDs and ran for a score. He was sacked three times and absorbed several hits.

Jones had only the end zone ahead of him away when he took off running from the Giants 12 in the third quarter. He was well ahead of everyone chasing him until he stumbled and got tackled before he could get up at 8.

A pass interference penalty against Nickell Robey-Coleman on third down gave the Giants another try, and Wayne Gallman ran in from the 1 to give them a 14-10 lead.

Jones’ 80 yard run was the longest by a Giants quarterback and tied for the fourth-longest in team history. Patrick Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, couldn’t resist poking some fun at Jones. He tweeted: “I mean i can’t even say anything cause i would never be able to run that far either.”

The Giants ended up losing a game they led by 11-plus points in the fourth quarter for the first time since they blew a 31-10 lead and lost 38-31 to the Eagles on DeSean Jackson’s punt return TD on Dec. 19, 2010.

“The focus is not frustration. The focus is on correcting mistakes and moving forward and that’s where we have to steer it as a team,” Giants coach Joe Judge said.

Jones threw a 39-yard TD pass to Golden Tate in the first quarter. He also had a pick and two turnovers. Evan Engram dropped a third-down pass in Philadelphia’s territory that would’ve prevented the Giants from punting the ball to the Eagles for their go-ahead drive.

“One hundred per cent I have to make that,” Engram said. “We definitely let one get away. It’s just not a good feeling. We played a great fourth quarter and at the end we didn’t finish.”

Questionable play-calling cost the Eagles early in the fourth quarter. Wentz completed a 40-yard pass to Travis Fulgham and the Eagles reached the 7 when Jalen Hurts came in to run an option and gained no yards. After Wentz ran to the 3, Pederson went for it on fourth down. The call was a fade to No. 5 tight end Hakeem Butler, who has no career catches. Logan Ryan broke it up.

The Giants then drove 97 yards to take a 21-10 lead.

Using a no-huddle often on the opening drive, Wentz led the Eagles 75 yards and ran in from the 1 for his fifth TD rushing to make it 7-0. Wentz scrambled 3 yards on fourth-and-1 to keep the drive going and connected with Richard Rodgers for 18 yards to the 1 to set up the score.

But the Eagles reverted to their mistake-prone ways until the final 6 1/2 minutes.

REVOLVING DOOR

Left guard Sua Opeta became the 10th offensive lineman to start for the Eagles this season and fourth to make his first NFL start.

INJURIES

Giants: RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) left in the second half.

Eagles: Jackson, RT Lane Johnson, DT Hassan Ridgeway (biceps) and DB Craig James (hamstring) left in the second half.

UP NEXT

Giants: Host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) on Monday Night Football on Nov. 2.

Eagles: Host the Dallas Cowboys (2-4) on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 1.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Daniel Jones Tackles Himself on 80-Yard Run – Sports Illustrated

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By the time Daniel Jones had reached the 50-yard line, Fox play-by-play man Joe Buck had seen enough.

“He is gone!” Buck shouted, and every piece of evidence supported this claim. Jones, who has good speed, was four yards ahead of the closest defender, and there were some Eagles pursuers who were already starting to ease up and let the inevitable happen.

And then, Jones’s worst nightmares came to life.

There’s been more than enough negativity to go around for the Giants this season, and this won’t be the space to add on to the pile. The play represented the longest rushing play by a quarterback since Marcus Mariota’s 87-yard touchdown scamper in Week 13 of 2015. It’s the fourth-longest run by a quarterback in league history, and it’s one yard longer than Saquon Barkley’s career high.

All’s well that ends well, and I’m pleased to report that the Giants scored a touchdown four plays later. Jones’s teammates didn’t wait that long to appreciate the humor of the moment, not even attempting to hide their laughter after Jones got too far ahead of his skis.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whose career-long rush is a mere 28 yards, sympathized with Jones’ plight on Twitter:

Jones was already the team leader in rushing yards coming into Thursday’s game, and he’s widened the gap with his most recent graceful display. Eli Manning’s career long was just 18 yards, so Jones is well on his way to winning over the hearts of Giants fans for years to come.

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NHL postpones Winter Classic, All-Star Weekend for upcoming season – Sportsnet.ca

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The NHL has postponed the 2021 NHL Winter Classic and the 2021 NHL All-Star Weekend.

The Winter Classic was set to feature the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues at Minnesota’s Target Field on Jan. 1, 2021, while the Florida Panthers were set to host the 2021 All-Star Weekend at BB&T Center.

The postponements come “due to the ongoing uncertainty resulting from the coronavirus,” the league said via a statement, adding that it intends to return to Minnesota and Florida for these events in the future.

“Fan participation, both in arenas and stadiums as well as in the ancillary venues and events that we stage around the Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend, is integral to the success of our signature events,” NHL senior executive vice president and chief content officer Steve Mayer said via a release.

“Because of the uncertainty as to when we will be able to welcome our fans back to our games, we felt that the prudent decision at this time was to postpone these celebrations until 2022 when our fans should be able to enjoy and celebrate these tentpole events in-person, as they were always intended.

“We are also considering several new and creative events that will allow our fans to engage with our games and teams during this upcoming season.”

The league’s release added that the postponement announcement does not affect the NHL and NHLPA’s previously stated goal of starting the next NHL season on or around Jan. 1, 2021.

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