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Smith, Seager help Dodgers extend series

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ARLINGTON, Texas — One Will Smith outdid another Will Smith to keep the season alive for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A common name, a special result for the Dodgers catcher.

Smith hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off the Atlanta Braves reliever with the same name, Corey Seager homered twice and the Dodgers avoided elimination with a 7-3 win in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Friday night.

“I’ll always bet on our Will Smith,” Dodges manager Dave Roberts said.

Smith connected in the sixth against — of all people — Will Smith, the fourth of six Braves pitchers in their bullpen night that started with a couple of post-season firsts by A.J. Minter.

“For him to come through for us in that spot. I’m happy to see him expressing himself,” Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts said of his teammate who rarely shows emotion but was clearly pumped up by his big blast.

Betts got that decisive sixth started with an infield single, and the first-year Dodger and former AL MVP had a running, shoestring catch in right field that turned into an inning-ending double play. His snag took an Atlanta run off the board after a replay challenge right before Seager’s first homer.

“You’re talking about momentum shifts, that’s the play of the year,” Roberts said. “I just thought there was no way he was going to make that play.”

Game 6 is Saturday afternoon, with a pitching rematch from the series opener: lefty Max Fried for the Braves and right-hander Walker Buehler for the Dodgers. Both gave up one run in Game 1, which Atlanta won 5-1 after a four-run ninth. Atlanta is looking to get into the World Series for the first time since 1999.

“I knew it was going to be a really hard series, regardless of what situation you’re in,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I feel good tomorrow with Max on the mound. I feel really good with him going out there. Hopefully we can score a few runs and support him and wrap this thing up.”

Blake Treinen, the third of seven Dodgers pitchers and the Game 1 loser in relief, pitched two perfect innings for the win. Inconsistent closer Kenley Jansen struck out the side in a non-save situation to end it, which Roberts called a highlight for him.

Betts had a stolen base after his sixth-starting single before Justin Turner‘s one-out hard grounder that got Betts caught in a rundown. The Braves then brought in their lefty named Will Smith to face left-handed batter Max Muncy, who drew a walk before the Dodgers’ catcher named Will Smith hit a full-count pitch 404 feet to left-centre for a 4-2 lead.

“It got the team going. that energy bounces off of each other,” Smith said.

It was the first time since at least 1961 that a batter homered off a pitcher with the same name in the regular season or post-season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Dodgers extended their lead in the seventh when Chris Taylor hit a two-out double and scored on a single by Betts before Seager hit a ball into LA’s bullpen in right-centre.

Seager’s four homers and 10 RBIs have already tied NLCS records, with at least one more game for the Dodgers to play — two if they want a chance to get to the World Series for the third time in four years. The four homers are already a record for a shortstop in any post-season series.

“Just kind of putting good swings on pitches and everything is kind of clicking,” Seager said.

Taylor turned an ankle in left field during the eighth inning but remained in the game. Manager Dave Roberts said Taylor would get treatment and testing prior to Game 6.

Minter struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced as the first pitcher in MLB history whose first start came in a post-season game. The fourth-year big leaguer became the first pitcher — starter or reliever — with seven strikeouts in three innings or fewer in a post-season game. He had already matched his career high before striking out the side — all on called third strikes — in the third before leaving with a 2-0 lead.

After Marcell Ozuna and Travis d’Arnaud had consecutive singles to start the third for Atlanta, there was one out when Dansby Swanson hit a sinking liner to right. Betts made a running catch, with his glove skimming the ground before his throw home was late. But the Dodgers challenged that Ozuna that left third base early — and it became the Braves third out instead of their third run.

“We were able to get a stop,” Betts said. “Yesterday we couldn’t stop the bleeding. Today, we were able to get a stop right there and put some pressure on them.”

Umpires and the off-site replay crew needed nearly two minutes to make their ruling, but Dodgers fielders — and even Braves runners — had already left the field after watching the play on the big video board.

“It’s not always on the offensive side that you get the spark,” Seager said. “A big play in a big moment you get some energy.”

Right after that, Seager’s leadoff homer to straightaway centre in the fourth cut the Dodgers deficit to 2-1.

Rookie centre fielder Cristian Pache made a leaping try at the wall, but the ball went just behind his extended glove. But Pache did time things up in the eighth, robbing Muncy of a homer with a nearly identical play.

The Braves scored in both innings off LA starter Dustin May. Freddie Freeman doubled, went to third and scored on d’Arnaud’s sacrifice fly in the first, and Pache had an RBI single in the second. D’Arnaud added an RBI groundout in the eighth.

CATCHER COMEBACK

Smith became only the third catcher in Dodgers franchise history to hit a go-ahead home run in the post-season. The last was Steve Yeager in Game 5 of the 1981 World Series of Ron Guidry of the New York Yankees. The other was Roy Campanella, who did it twice: in Game 3 of the 1953 World Series and Game 3 of the 1955 World Series.

FIRST RBIS

The 21-year-old Pache, who has played in only two regular season games in the big leagues, has an RBI in each of his four NLCS starts. He became a starter after outfielder Adam Duvall‘s left oblique injury in the series opener.

LOT OF RELIEF

Minter hadn’t started a game since his junior season at Texas A&M in 2015, the same year Atlanta drafted him in the second round. He had made 144 relief appearances (139 regular season, five playoff games) the past four seasons for the Braves, along with 77 minor league games, before his first professional start.

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'That's the kind of teammate I want' – Orr endorses Trump – TSN

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Bobby Orr has endorsed Donald Trump just days ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election in the United States.

The Hockey Hall of Famer and Boston Bruins icon took out a full-page ad in Friday’s New Hampshire Union Leader, asking readers to join him and his wife, Peggy, to support Trump for re-election.

“Everyone has an opinion as our upcoming Presidential election approaches, and I am no different,” Orr wrote. “When I look art America during these turbulent times, I keep trying to separate style from substance, fact from fiction.

“This much I know. Our current president has had to operate under extremely difficult conditions over the past several years. In addition, no leader anywhere signed up with the idea that dealing with a worldwide pandemic would be part of their mandate. The attacks on our President have been unrelenting since the day he took office. Despite that, President Trump has delivered for all the American people, regardless of race, gender, or station in life.

“That’s the kind of teammate I want.

“Perhaps you do not like his tweets or how the President says things sometimes, and that is your right. But remember this is not a personality contest; it’s about policies and the people those policies assist.

“I have never done anything like this before, but I am greatly concerned for the country in which I have raised my family – a country I have grown to love deeply. I want my grandchildren to know the America I know, a place of patriotism and opportunity.

“Some of you may still be undecided at this point. Your vote for President Trump would help keep America moving forward in the years ahead.

“So please, join Peggy and me in supporting President Donald J. Trump for re-election in this important election.”

Orr’s statement in the paper includes of photo of him posing with Trump. The 72-year-old from Parry Sound, Ont., is the latest sports legend to endorse Trump this week, joining golf legend Jack Nicklaus and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

Orr, 72, played in 12 NHL seasons with the Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks, winning two Stanley Cups, eight Norris Trophies and three Hart Trophies. He has worked over the past three decades as a player agent, with clients that include Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid.

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Mitchell Miller no longer part of University of North Dakota hockey team – Sportsnet.ca

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A day after the Arizona Coyotes renounced Mitchell Miller’s draft rights, the University of North Dakota announced Friday that Miller is no longer a member of its men’s hockey program.

“I have been closely monitoring the situation concerning men’s hockey student-athlete Mitchell Miller, who was involved in a situation as a youth in 2016. We expect our students to live by our values in the classroom, in the community and when representing the university on the field of play,” said UND president Andrew Armacost in a statement.

Armacost said Miller, who is a freshman at UND, can remain a student and it “will continue to support his future intellectual and interpersonal growth.”

The decision is part of the continuing fallout after it was revealed earlier this week that Miller — who was selected in the fourth round (111th overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft by the Coyotes — was charged with assault and violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act in February of 2016 after he and another student admitted to bullying Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a classmate who is Black and has a learning disability.

News of Mitchell’s conviction was first brought to the surface by the Arizona Republic.

Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who is now 18, told the Republic that Miller had taunted him for years growing up and called him names like “brownie” and used the “N-word” while repeatedly hitting him. He said it “hurt my heart” when he saw the news that Miller had been drafted by the Coyotes.

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MLB says Turner violated protocols when he returned to field – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ronald Blum, The Associated Press


Published Wednesday, October 28, 2020 6:51PM EDT


Last Updated Wednesday, October 28, 2020 8:21PM EDT

ARLINGTON, Texas – Justin Turner violated coronavirus protocols when he celebrated with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and he refused instructions from security to leave the field, behaviour that Major League Baseball said risked the safety of others.

The commissioner’s office said Wednesday it is starting a full investigation of the 35-year-old third baseman.

The Dodgers won their first World Series championship since 1988 with a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 6 on Tuesday night at Globe Life Field.

Turner was pulled from the game following the seventh inning after MLB was notified that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He was quarantined in a doctor’s office off to the side, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.

Turner later returned to the field with a mask to celebrate the Dodgers’ title. He then took down his mask and posed for a team photo on the field.

“Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game,” MLB said in a statement Wednesday. “Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others.

“While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”

Turner became a free agent when his $64 million, four-year contract expired following the victory.

Turner’s agent, Greg Genske, did not immediately respond to a text from The Associated Press seeking comment.

“Last night, nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers’ travelling party,” MLB said. “Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities.”

Both teams were travelling home from the Dallas area on Wednesday in co-ordination with their local health authorities, a person familiar with the arrangements said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

No additional players received positive results from rapid PCR tests early Wednesday, the person said, but the wife of one Rays player tested positive, the person said. The wife and the player did not travel with the team and were to travel on their own, the person said.

A private plane was being arranged for Turner’s travel, the person said.

The commissioner’s office said it will consult with the players’ association as part of its investigation. The union was in the process of gathering facts on the events.

Turner hit .307 with four homers and 23 RBIs in the pandemic-shortened season and .293 (17 for 58) with three homers and six RBIs in the post-season, including .320 with a pair of solo homers in the World Series.

“Having a mask on and staying socially distanced, he wanted to come out and take a picture with the trophy, which can’t state strongly enough how big of a role he’s played in the success of this organization,” Friedman said.

“But I think for him, just being a free agent, not knowing exactly how the future is going to play out, I don’t think there was anyone that was going to stop him from going out,” he said. “I think from at least my perspective and not watching it super closely with everything going on, but I think he was mindful of other people, especially other people that he hadn’t already been in contact with. This is something that we’re going to wrap our arms around tonight and in the morning and figure out where we’re going from here.”

Turner, however, was visible on the field without a mask during the celebration. And Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was nearby, also not wearing a mask.

“I haven’t seen the pictures,” Friedman said. “If there are people around them without masks, that’s not good optics at all. I haven’t seen them, so it’s hard for me to speak to it specifically.”

“But I think from our standpoint, I think the people who were around him were people that would be in the contact tracing web, anyway, with just how closely a lot of us have been around each other,” he said. “And so now I think the subsequent tests we’re going to take are really important to figure out what we do and to make sure that any of us that are potentially positive do not spread it to other people.”

Turner has served as a player representative on the union executive board and spoke about the protocols on Sept. 29, a day ahead of the Dodgers’ post-season opener.

“Obviously there’s a lot of protocols and things that we’re allowed to do and not allowed to do in getting tested every day, and I would say it’s been a pretty successful season getting to this point and getting to the playoffs,” he said then.

“I was probably in that category where I was optimistic that we were going to have a season, but there was definitely some doubt whether or not it was going to happen. So to be sitting here today watching playoff baseball as the American League kind of kicks off their wild-card round, I would say that we did a good job and I commend everyone for taking it serious and being responsible and making good choices and allowing us to get to this point.”

He addressed the success of reaching the World Series despite the pandemic on Oct. 19, a day before Game 1.

“I think it’s ultimately a testament to the players for being responsible and making good choices and doing everything that we had to do to ensure that the season was able to go on,” he said. “So I tip my cap to every player who put the uniform on and took that risk of playing and was responsible about it and did it the right way and enabled us to have a full season and now be able to participate in a World Series.”

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