Clayton Kershaw’s glittering career lacked two of the most satisfying accomplishments: a win deep in the World Series and a championship ring.
He took the mound Sunday night with the Los Angeles Dodgers shaken, and Kershaw steadied his team with a gritty performance, plus one particular delivery home that will long be remembered.
Now with one more victory, the Dodgers would claim their first title since 1988.
Kershaw beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the second time in six days, escaping a fourth-inning jam with a quick reaction throw to cut down Manuel Margot trying for a rare steal of home, and the Dodgers held on for a 4-2 win and a 3-2 Series lead.
He’s stealing home and they ̶d̶o̶n̶’̶t̶ see him! 😳<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldSeries?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WorldSeries</a> <a href=”https://t.co/VfJ62CJWsa”>pic.twitter.com/VfJ62CJWsa</a>
“Well, it’s happened to me before, at least one other time that I can remember,” Kershaw said. “Carlos Gomez tried it against me in Houston one time. You know, I work on that with the first basemen.”
Max Muncy, looking on from first, was ready.
“I was fortunate enough to see one or two guys break hard, so I knew what to expect when he broke,” Muncy said. “I sprinted toward Kersh and said, `Home! Home! Home!'”
Mookie Betts and Corey Seager sparked a two-run first inning, and Joc Pederson and Muncy homered off long-ball prone Tyler Glasnow, whose 100 mph heat got burned.
His scraggly dark brown hair dangling with sweat, Kershaw was cruising when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed the 32-year-old left-hander in favour of Dustin May after getting two outs on two pitches in the sixth inning.
The mostly pro-Dodgers fans in the pandemic-reduced crowd of 11,437 booed when Roberts walked to the mound, well aware of what happened with the bullpen the previous night, when closer Kenley Jansen wasted a ninth-inning lead in a stunning 8-7 loss.
Those boos quickly turned to cheers as the LA rooters saluted Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, as he walked to the dugout. Kershaw improved to 13-12 in post-season play, including 4-1 this year.
May, Victor Gonzalez and Blake Treinen combined for two-hit scoreless relief. May got five outs, Gonzalez stranded a pair of runners in the eighth by retiring Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe on flyouts, and Treinen got three outs to become the fourth Dodgers pitcher with a post-season save.
“Kersh, a lot of credit goes to him for what we’ve been able to do in this World Series,” Treinen said. “There’s a tough narrative on him. He’s a phenomenal pitcher on the biggest stage.”
Margot singled leading off the ninth, but Austin Meadows struck out, Joey Wendle flied out and Willy Adames struck out.
Thirty of the previous 46 teams to win Game 5 for a 3-2 lead have won the title, but just six of the last 14. Teams that wasted 3-2 leads include last year’s Houston Astros.
Los Angeles did not have an obvious candidate to start Game 6 on Tuesday, when Game 2 winner Blake Snell starts for Tampa Bay,
Walker Buehler, the 26-year-old right-hander who has supplanted Kershaw as the Dodgers’ ace, is waiting in the wings for a a Game 7, like a Hollywood understudy ready for a leading role.
With a 175-76 regular-season record, five ERA titles and an MVP, Kershaw ranks alongside Dodgers greats Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser. He won World Series openers in 2017 and again this year, but he faltered in Game 5 in both 2017 and 2018 and has never won a title.
A Dallas native pitching near his offseason home, Kershaw shut down the Rays on two runs and five hits with six strikeouts and two walks. He is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 15 2/3 innings over two starts in this Series with 14 strikeouts and three walks. Kershaw also set a career post-season record with 207 strikeouts, two more than Justin Verlander’s previous mark.
Provided a 3-0 lead, Kershaw allowed Tampa Bay to pull within a run in the third when Kevin Kiermaier singled, Yandy Diaz tripled on a ball down the right-field line that skipped past Betts and Arozarena’s single. The 25-year-old Cuban rookie asked for the ball after his record 27th post-season hit, one more than San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval in 2014.
“I didn’t have my stuff like I did in Game 1,” Kershaw said. “My slider wasn’t there as good as it was, so fortunate to get through there.”
Kershaw escaped a first-and-third, no-outs jam in the fourth after Margot walked leading off, stole second and continued to third when the ball got away from second baseman Chris Taylor for his second big error in two games. Hunter Renfroe also walked, but Wendle popped out and Adames struck out.
With Kiermaier at the plate, Margot bolted for home as Kershaw raised both hands over his head in his instantly recognizable stretch position. While many pitchers might have panicked and perhaps balked, Kershaw coolly and quickly stepped off the rubber and calmly threw to catcher Austin Barnes.
Barnes grabbed the ball and got his mitt down on the Margot’s outstretched hand while the runner’s helmet tumbled off and cut his own lip.
Margot went on his own, manager Kevin Cash said, and became the first runner caught stealing home in the Series since Minnesota’s Shane Mack in Game 4 in 2001.
Globe Life Field’s roof was closed on the cool, rainy night, as it was for Game 3, and the visiting Dodgers broke on top within 10 pitches against Glasnow, a lanky 6-foot-8 right-hander who appeared to be overthrowing.
Glasnow allowed four runs and six hits in five innings, leaving him 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA in the Series. The two home runs raised his total to a record nine in a single post-season.
Betts doubled on a 99 mph fastball leading off and scored two pitches later when Seager pulled a curveball into right field for a single and his 19th post-season RBI. This Series joined 1932 as the only years with runs in four straight top of the first innings.
Seager advanced on a wild pitch, Muncy drew his 20th walk of the post-season and after a two-out wild pitch, Cody Bellinger hit a grounder that was stopped with no play by Lowe, the second baseman positioned on the right field grass. Seager scored the Dodgers’ 58th run with two outs this post-season and became the first player to cross the plate in each of the first five Series games since the Yankees’ Derek Jeter in 2000.
Glasnow tied a Series record with two wild pitches in the 34-pitch inning and set the mark with three in the game.
Pederson hit a 428-foot opposite-field drive to left on a fastball at the letters for a 3-0 lead in the second.
Glasnow retired eight straight before Muncy homered in the fifth to make it 4-2. He became the record ninth Dodgers player to homer in the post-season, one more than the 1989 Oakland Athletics of Bash Brothers fame.
Mahomes, Hill have huge day, Chiefs hold off Buccaneers – TSN
TAMPA, Fla. — When Tyreek Hill draws single coverage, Patrick Mahomes is going to find a way to get the ball to the Kansas City Chiefs’ most explosive receiver.
Mahomes threw for 462 yards, including touchdowns of 75, 44 and 20 yards to Hill, who finished with 13 catches for 269 yards in the reigning Super Bowl champions’ 27-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
“It feels good, you know, but I feel like there’s still a lot of work for me to do,” Hill said after going over 1,000 yards for the season.
“I’m always trying to get better, got to be consistent with what you do,” Hill added. “Those same people showing you love this week, you make a bad play next week, they’re going to hate you.”
Mahomes outplayed Tom Brady to win the fourth career matchup between the MVPs, completing 37 of 49 passes and holding the ball for more than 10 minutes without scoring on Kansas City’s last two possessions to put the game away.
Hill benefited from Sammy Watkins‘ return to the Chiefs lineup after being sidelined since Week 5 with a hamstring injury and got the best of a matchup with Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis, who often had no help trying to contain the speedy receiver.
“We don’t get that a lot, especially with that guy and his ability,” Mahomes said. “So when we do, we try to take advantage of it.”
Hill had seven catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone, joining Qadry Ismail (210 in the third quarter on Dec. 12, 1999) and Lee Evans (205 in the first quarter on Nov. 19, 2006) as the only NFL receivers since 1980 to have 200 yards worth of receptions in a single quarter.
The fifth-year pro’s last catch — an 8-yarder on third-and-7 in the final minute — gave Mahomes an opportunity to run out the clock.
“The last one, I learned a long time ago, you don’t give Tom Brady another shot,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s why he’s the G.O.A.T. So, don’t give them the ball back. That was the mindset there.”
The Chiefs (10-1) won their sixth straight game and clinched their seventh 10-win season in eight years under Reid.
The defending champs improved to 6-0 on the road and have won nine straight away from home going back to last year.
“Very very few guys that I’ve seen in this league or any league that can backpedal eight, nine, 10, 11 yards in the pocket and throw a dime 25 yards down the field,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said of Mahomes. “And he can read the defence as he does it. That makes him more explosive.”
Brady was 27 of 41 for 345 yards, three touchdowns and a pair of second-half interceptions in falling to 2-2 against Mahomes, who built an early 17-0 lead and also had the Chiefs up by 17 entering the fourth quarter.
The Bucs (7-5) made it close, with Brady throwing TD passes of 31 and 7 yards to Mike Evans, the latter trimming his team’s deficit deficit to 27-24 with 4:10 remaining.
Tampa Bay, which has lost three straight home games, never got the ball back.
“We battled back but we left ourselves a big deficit,” Brady said. “When you play a good offence we’ve got to do our job offensively and keep them off the field.”
The Chiefs led 20-7 at halftime. The Bucs were fortunate they weren’t in a bigger hole.
Kansas City ran 42 plays to Tampa Bay’s 22 in the first two quarters, outgaining the Bucs 377 yards to 131 with Mahomes throwing for 359 yards and Brady 117.
Three drives inside the Bucs 20, however, only netted a pair of short field goals. Shaquil Barrett sacked Mahomes, forcing a fumble that William Gholston recovered at the 14 with the Chiefs looking to build on a 17-0 lead.
Bashaud Breeland and Tyrann Mathieu picked off Brady. The Chiefs hurt themselves with a pair of roughing the passer penalties on the 10-play, 73-yard drive the six-time Super Bowl champion put together to close the gap to three points.
The loss comes on the heels of home defeats to New Orleans and the Los Angeles Rams, games in which Brady played poorly and left his new team searching for answers about the offence’s inconsistency.
Brady isn’t listening to critics, who feel the Bucs aren’t tailoring their scheme to what he’s done best during his career.
“Just external noise. When you’re losing that’s what you deal with,” Brady said. “I love playing with the guys, and the whole organization is unbelievable. I’ve just got to do a better job in the final four games.”
The Chiefs beat Tampa Bay for the first time since Sept. 5, 1993, when Joe Montana led Kansas City to a 27-3 victory. The Bucs had won five straight in a series the Chiefs lead 8-5.
Chiefs: LB Dorian O’Daniel suffered a right ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Buccaneers: LG Ali Marpet returned to the lineup after missing three games because of a concussion. LT Donovan Smith was active after not practicing all week and being listed as questionable with an ankle injury suffered last week against the Los Angeles Rams.
Chiefs: Host Denver next Sunday night, the lone home game during a stretch that’ll see Kansas City play four of five on the road.
Buccaneers: Bye week.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Ravens-Steelers postponed for 3rd time, set for Wednesday – theScore
The AFC North showdown was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving but was pushed to Sunday before being moved to Tuesday.
The Steelers’ game against the Washington Football Team, which was scheduled for Sunday as part of the Week 13 slate, will now be postponed to Monday, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. ET as a result. The San Francisco 49ers will also play the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.
The league also postponed the Ravens’ game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Week 13 matchup, which was initially set for Thursday night before being moved to Monday, has now been pushed to Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 8:05 p.m. ET.
|Game||Week||Original date||New date||Time (ET)|
|Steelers-Ravens||12||Nov. 26||Dec. 2||3:40 p.m.|
|Steelers-Washington||13||Dec. 6||Dec. 7||5 p.m.|
|Ravens-Cowboys||13||Dec. 3||Dec. 8||8:05 p.m.|
The postponements initially stemmed from a virus outbreak on the Ravens. The team placed 20 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Steelers faced their own COVID-19 concerns. Running back James Conner and special teams coach Danny Smith tested positive, and multiple team members were isolated after being deemed high-risk close contacts.
Some Ravens players are still concerned about playing the delayed game, a source told Mark Maske of The Washington Post.
If the game takes place on Wednesday, it’ll be just the sixth game in NFL history to be played on that day, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. It last happened in the 2012 season opener between the New York Giants and Cowboys.
NFL moves Ravens-Steelers to Wednesday – TSN
The Baltimore Ravens’ struggle to contain an extended outbreak of the coronavirus forced their rescheduled game Tuesday night against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers to be moved back to Wednesday afternoon.
It’s the third fix to a matchup originally slated to be played Thanksgiving night. The game will remain on NBC, but at 3:40 p.m. ET.
Also, the Steelers’ home game in Week 13 against Washington has been moved from Sunday to Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. The Ravens home game against Dallas will be on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 8:05 p.m. on Fox and NFL Network. It was originally set for Thursday night, then moved to Dec. 7.
Ravens-Steelers was moved back one more day for medical reasons, but now Baltimore gets some time for workouts. The NFL has permitted the Ravens to return to their facility on Monday night under doctors’ supervision, which is similar to what happened when the Tennessee Titans had a coronavirus outbreak earlier this season. The Titans got three days of workouts in that scenario.
The NFL announced the most recent switches Monday after the Ravens placed starters Matthew Judon, Willie Snead and Mark Andrews on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Although Baltimore also had four players return from that list, the team will still be severely short-handed when this game is finally played. But it will get back running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins from the COVID-19 list; they tested positive on Nov. 23
The addition of Judon, a standout linebacker, and Andrews, the leading receiver on the team, brings to seven the number of 2019 Pro Bowl players that Baltimore has placed on the COVID-19 list over the past week. But Ingram will be eligible to play at Pittsburgh, leaving 12 active players and one practice squad member on the list — including 2019 league MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Cornerback Terrell Bonds, who’s on injured reserve, was also added to the expansive list Monday.
There was a bit of other good news for Baltimore, which activated linebacker Jayson Ferguson, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and defensive tackle Broderick Washington from the COVID-19 list. Defensive back Iman Marshall was also activated, although he’s been on IR since tearing his right ACL in August.
The contest pitting two longtime rivals was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night before a rash of coronavirus cases among the Ravens forced the game to be postponed to Sunday. As Baltimore continued to stack up positive tests, the game was moved back to Tuesday night.
Now, perhaps, they’ll finally meet on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
The Ravens (6-4) will face the Steelers without several of their top playmakers, including Jackson, Andrews, and defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams.
The loss of Andrews and Snead will further hinder backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will be taking snaps from a third-string centre after Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura were placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
Andrews is a Type-1 diabetic, which makes COVID-19 potentially more dangerous. His loss should have an impact in that he leads Baltimore in receptions (38), yards receiving (454) and touchdown catches (6).
Andrews, Judon, Jackson, Ingram, Campbell, fullback Patrick Ricard and long snapper Morgan Cox were all selected to the Pro Bowl last season.
Judon owns Baltimore’s franchise tag. He is tied for the team lead with four sacks and has 34 tackles.
Snead has 17 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns over the past four games.
The NFL’s last Wednesday game was the 2012 season opener between the Giants and the Cowboys, which was moved from a Thursday night because of a conflict with the Democratic National Convention, which was scheduled to have President Barack Obama speak on Thursday night.
“We understand that every team is going through something like this,” Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said. “Not to this extent, but we have to be ready for any situation. I think (coach Mike Tomlin) has laid out the plan. It’s up for us to follow it and it’s up for us to bounce back with it.”
Added Steelers tackle Zach Banner, who was injured in the season opener: “I’m gonna be healthy by the time we play this game.”
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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