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Massive crash takes out a host of Daytona 500 contenders 15 laps in and just minutes before a storm delay – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Canadian Press

Double gold: Humphries finishes off historic bobsled sweep

Kaillie Humphries wasn’t sure if she would get a chance to race this season. She ended up on top of the world — twice. Humphries ended her international season Sunday by winning the inaugural women’s monobob world championship in Altenberg, Germany, adding that gold medal to the one she and Lolo Jones claimed on the same track last weekend. Humphries becomes the obvious gold-medal favourite going into the Olympic season, with two medal events — now with monobob included — awaiting women’s bobsledders at next winter’s Beijing Games for the first time. “To be able to end on a high, I really just continue to think that I am so grateful to be here,” Humphries said. “To be representing the United States and to be able to compete is such a huge honour. And I’m excited to go home and see my husband and my dog.” Moments later, Humphries hopped atop the medal stand amid a backdrop of snow-covered evergreen trees, wrapped herself in the American flag, then put her right hand over her heart as “The Star-Spangled Banner” cut through the frosty air. It was her fifth world championship, her third in as many tries since getting her release from the Canadian program and beginning to slide for the United States in 2019. If the Calgary native — a two-time Olympic gold medallist who is married to an American and now calls San Diego home — is going to race for the U.S. in next winter’s Beijing Games, she needs to obtain citizenship in the coming months. “She’s the best driver in the world,” longtime bobsled analyst John Morgan said. Toronto’s Cynthia Appiah was the top Canadian in fifth place. “I crashed four out of six times in training and was on the cusp of not competing,” Appiah said. “I was feeling down in the dumps and just wanted to throw in the towel, but Day 1 (of the race) went surprisingly well and it gave me a little more confidence.” Humphries’ final time for four runs over two days was 3 minutes, 59.62 seconds — a half-second better than anyone else. She had the fastest time in each of the final three heats, a track-record time of 59.47 seconds in the final run clinching gold. “We just saved the best for last,” Humphries said. Germany and Canada took the next six spots behind Humphries, with the Germans grabbing silver and bronze. Stephanie Schneider, the leader after Saturday’s first two heats, finished second in 4:00.12. Laura Nolte was third in 4:00.42. Mariama Jamanka was fourth for Germany, followed by Appiah, Germany’s Kim Kalicki and Melissa Lotholz of Barrhead, Alta. On average, those six German and Canadian sleds were 1.43 seconds behind Humphries. In sliding, that margin is enormous. “Kaillie, she’s the best in the world, hands-down, one of the best pilots in the world, men or women, taking the bobsled down the hill,” U.S. assistant coach Brian Shimer said. “No question.” Elana Meyers Taylor was 15th for the U.S., her medal hopes dashed by a first-heat crash Saturday. Like Humphries, Germany’s Francesco Friedrich won double gold at worlds, capping off an easy four-man win later Sunday in 3:35.02. It’s the fifth consecutive year that he has swept the two- and four-man golds at either the world championships or Olympics, and his 11th world championship overall. The Austrian sled driven by Benjamin Maier was second in 3:35.81, and the German sled driven by Johannes Lochner was third in 3:36.53. Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., drove the Canadian sled to a fifth-place finish in 3:36.95. “We put up a good fight, but I just made too many mistakes in the track,” said Kripps. “This is still one of my best results in four-man here, and I learned a lot about how to drive four-man in Altenberg when the track is fast like this.” Counting all three sliding sports — bobsled, skeleton and luge — American athletes won 18 medals on the top international sliding circuits this winter, all from women. Each of Humphries’ five medals were golds; two from worlds, one in World Cup and two in the Monobob World Series. “Her experience, patience and talent helped her win this gold medal for Team USA,” U.S. coach Mike Kohn said. The U.S. wasn’t sure until December if it would be going overseas to compete in any events. These world championship races for bobsled and skeleton were to have been held in Lake Placid, New York, over the past two weeks — then moved to Germany because of the pandemic and travel concerns. The American teams wound up skipping the first half of the season while determining if their sliders could compete in Europe safely. They figured it out in time, and once Humphries got rolling over the past three weeks including the World Cup finale and last weekend’s women’s bobsled title race, she was unstoppable. “A historic day,” Humphries said. “I am super pumped.” ___ With files from The Canadian Press. More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

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Red Sox’s two grand slams lead ALCS rout of Astros – Sportsnet.ca

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HOUSTON — J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers helped the Red Sox have a grand old time in Houston.

Boston became the first team to slug two grand slams in a postseason game, with Martinez and Devers connecting in the first two innings of a 9-5 win over the Astros on Saturday that tied their AL Championship Series at one game apiece.

Martinez made it 4-0 with his opposite-field shot off rookie Luis Garcia with two outs in the first. It was the first career playoff slam for the four-time All-Star, who began his career with the Astros.

Garcia exited with right knee discomfort after walking the first batter of the second inning. Jake Odorizzi took over, and shortly after a 13-minute delay while the right-hander warmed up on the field, Devers connected with one out for slam No. 2.

“J.D.’s swing was huge to get us on the board early, and then Raffy, same thing, another granny,” red-hot teammate Kike Hernandez said. “Has that ever happened before?”

It has now.

Game 3 is Monday night in Boston. It’s the first of three consecutive home games for the Red Sox, back in the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2018 World Series after downing Houston in the ALCS.

Hernandez, who Boston manager Alex Cora referred to Friday night as “en fuego” after a two-homer performance in Game 1, remained on fire Saturday. He had two hits, highlighted by a solo homer in the fourth inning.

Hernandez has been this postseason’s hottest hitter, leading all players with 16 hits, five homers and four doubles. His nine extra-base hits are also the most in these playoffs and tied a Red Sox postseason record with Mike Lowell (2007), Kevin Youkilis (2007) and David Ortiz (2004 & 2007).

“The importance of the game is allowing me to stay focused and stay locked in,” Hernandez said.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi permitted five hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Astros captured a 5-4 win in the series opener as they rallied behind homers from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa before falling into the huge hole early in this one.

“That’s a tough team,” Cora said. “It’s never comfortable with them because they’re a swing away from getting back in the game.”

The Red Sox were up 9-0 when Houston got on the board with an RBI double by Kyle Tucker with two outs in the fourth. The Astros cut the lead to 9-3 when Yuli Gurriel followed with single to right field that scored two more.

Gurriel and Jason Castro added solo homers in the ninth off Darwinzon Hernandez before Ryan Brasier got the final out.

“At the end, it was a little too close for comfort, but we got it done,” Hernandez said.

The injury to Garcia is another blow to a Houston team trying to reach the World Series for the second time in three years. The Astros are already reeling after an injury to staff ace Lance McCullers Jr. that kept him off the roster for this series.

They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

When McCullers went out, manager Dusty Baker said the team would just have to “hit more” to absorb the loss. But now that the rotation is further depleted, it’ll be an even taller task for this powerful lineup outgunning a Boston team whose offense has outpaced everyone this postseason.

Odorizzi was left off the Division Series roster after a disappointing first season in Houston before getting a spot in this round after the injury to McCullers. He allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings Saturday in a performance that certainly isn’t good news for a team that is running short on starters.

TOUGH UP TOP

Altuve and Michael Brantley, the top two hitters in Houston’s lineup, are a combined 2 for 17 in the series with a hit each, including Altuve’s homer in Game 1.

UP NEXT

There’s a day off Sunday before Houston’s Jose Urquidy makes his first start this postseason in Game 3 Monday. The Red Sox have yet to name their starter.

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'It was surreal': University of Toronto student suits up for Toronto Maple Leafs – CTV News Toronto

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TORONTO —
By day, he’s a university student and the goalie for the University of Toronto’s men’s hockey team. By night, or at least for one night, he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I keep remembering little details every once in a while,” Alex Bishop told CTV News Toronto. “Saying, oh, that was really cool, or that was really cool – but I think it’ll definitely take a couple of days.”

The morning after his NHL debut, Bishop admitted it still hadn’t sunk in.

“It’s not really something that you sit at home and think, ‘oh, maybe I’ll get to sit on an NHL bench tonight.’ It just doesn’t go through your head.”

Bishop first heard of the potential opportunity on Friday morning through a message from his coach. The Leafs’ Petr Mrázek was out with a groin injury, and the team’s salary cap limitations prevented them from calling up a back-up goalie until Sunday.

Saturday morning he was on the ice, practicing with the team he’s grown up idolizing.

“It was surreal for sure,” Bishop said, adding that the players “were all very, very nice- like super welcoming.”

As for taking shots from the professionals he usually watches on television, Bishop said it wasn’t as daunting as one would think.

“As soon as you get on the ice, it’s just hockey — just different players and different shooters. I tried to just look at it that way but at the same time, try to soak it all in and say, I’m here, this is really cool.”

But he admitted it was a different story when it came time to walk out onto the ice at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night as the Leafs faced the Ottawa Senators.

“Even just walking to the bench, there’s fans on your left, fans on your right, the cameras are flashing, the horns are going crazy. It’s something you’ve seen on TV, and even if you’re at the game, you hear it, but to be experiencing it first hand, it’s indescribable.”

Bishop spent the game sitting at the end of the bench, never taking the ice. But he says that’s just fine with him.

“I just don’t think it really could have worked out better. I was able to be there the whole game and didn’t have to go in, so, best-case scenario.”

Bishop says he enjoyed everything about the night, including the chance to experience the things most fans never get to see.

“Just kind of being around the team and seeing just a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes on game day — what they do to prepare, and then obviously having a courtside seat to an NHL game is definitely not something to complain about.”

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a life-long fan of the team, something passed down to him from his father. Bishop says the Leafs got tickets for his mom, dad, and sister to watch the game. They were also given Leaf jerseys with his name and number on the back.

Barring another series of unfortunate events for the Leafs, the former Quebec Major Junior Hockey League player will suit up again for the U of T Varsity Blues.

“We’re a real, strong team,” Bishop said, “I think we have a good chance to go a decent way this year, so I’m hoping we can do that.”

As for what’s next for Bishop: midterms. He has one on Tuesday and another on Thursday, though he admits he usually crams for midterms, so his brief NHL career didn’t interrupt his studying too much.

It will be a busy week for Bishop and one he says he’ll likely never forget.

“It really isn’t lost on me that this is like.. an opportunity that not many people get. So I was very fortunate in being able to do this.”

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Watt forces fumble in overtime, Steelers edge Seahawks – TSN

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin insists there is nothing “mystical” to the way outside linebacker T.J. Watt goes about his business.

The perennial All-Pro is talented. He’s focused. He’s relentless. And as of last month, he’s also one of the highest-paid defenders in the NFL.

And he’s playing like he’s worth every penny.

Watt strip-sacked Seattle quarterback Geno Smith in the waning minutes of overtime on Sunday night. Teammate Devin Bush pounced on the loose ball to set up Chris Boswell’s game-winning 36-yard field goal as the Steelers escaped with a 23-20 victory.

“I don’t think anyone is surprised about his ability to deliver in those moments,” Tomlin said of Watt.

Maybe, but Watt’s second sack of the night, the one that helped the Steelers (3-3) win their second straight to reach .500 heading into their bye week, began innocently. Watt wasn’t sure he had a path to Smith only to somehow thread his way to the former starter turned longtime backup. One mighty chop at Smith’s right arm and the ball was on the ground.

“I don’t think I had a good rush or anything,” Watt said.

In the end, it didn’t matter. Watt finished a remarkable game in which he knocked down three passes and recorded three tackles for loss by making the play that allowed Pittsburgh to avoid a deflating setback.

The Steelers have won two straight following a 1-3 start and will have two weeks to get ready for a visit to Cleveland on Halloween.

“It’s kind of crazy, don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We got to our goal, which was to get to .500 before the bye, get healthy and get prepared for a long stretch.”

Roethlisberger threw for 229 yards and a touchdown and rookie running back Najee Harris added 83 yards rushing and caught his second scoring toss of the season. Eric Ebron scored the third rushing touchdown of his career as the Steelers found creative ways to move the ball with star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster lost for the season with a shoulder injury.

“We’ve got a lot of players that can make plays,” said Pittsburgh wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who caught nine passes for 71 yards. “They showed that.”

Smith, starting in place of injured Russell Wilson, completed 23 of 32 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown in his first start in nearly four years. Alex Collins ran for 101 yards while filling in for injured starter Chris Carson, the first 100-yard rushing game by a Seahawk since Dec. 15, 2018.

Smith’s late miscue, however, dropped Seattle to 2-4.

“I thought he played tough as hell,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Smith. “He was clear and calm and poised exactly like you’d hope he’d be. The game was not too big for him at all.”

TAYLOR INJURED

The Seahawks played the final 3:10 of regulation and overtime without linebacker Darrell Taylor, who left on a stretcher and was taken to the hospital with an undisclosed injury. Taylor fell to the ground during a 3-yard gain by Harris with the Steelers driving near midfield. Taylor was on the ground for more than 10 minutes while being attended to by medical staff. Players from both sides came out to offer support.

Coach Pete Carroll said after the game that Taylor’s preliminary CT scans were clear. The team said Taylor had feeling in all of his extremities and the 24-year-old rookie was expected to fly home with the team.

“He was so mad to be taken off the field like that. He wanted to get up,” Carroll said. “They wouldn’t let him do it, because they had to do all the secure methods to take care of him. He didn’t want any part of that.”

CURIOUS CALL

Seattle was trailed by three with time winding down in regulation when driving when Smith connected with D.K. Metcalfe near the Seahawks sideline. Rather than step out of bounds with his team out of timeouts, Metcalfe opted to turn upfield. The ball was stripped out of his hands by Pittsburgh’s James Pierre. Seattle wide receiver Freddie Swain fell on it at the Steelers 25.

Smith scrambled to get the Seahawks to the line of scrimmage and appeared to spike the ball with a second left. Officials, however, halted the game to review whether Metcalfe caught the pass inbounds. The call stood on review and the game clock was reset to 3 seconds, giving Smith enough time to spike it so Jason Myers could come on and pull the Seahawks even at the gun with a 43-yard field goal.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who is on the NFL’s competition committee, called the review “an embarrassment.”

“I hated it. I hated it,” Tomlin said. “I cannot believe that game was stopped to confirm catch/no catch in that moment.”

INJURIES

Seattle: Cornerback Sidney Jones left in the third quarter with a chest injury. … Left guard Damien Lewis was carted to the locker room in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return.

Steelers: Rookie left tackle Dan Moore Jr. exited in the fourth quarter with a hip injury.

UP NEXT

Seattle: Host New Orleans on Monday, Oct. 25.

Pittsburgh: Are off next week, then travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns on Oct. 31. Cleveland took two of three meetings with Pittsburgh in 2020, including a blowout victory in the first round of the playoffs.

___

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

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