Wednesday’s Sports in Brief
HOUSTON (AP) — Left fielder Andrew Benintendi made a diving catch with the bases loaded for the final out, and the Boston Red Sox held off the Houston Astros 8-6 on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the AL Championship Series.
Boosted by a questionable fan interference call early in a back-and-forth game and a go-ahead homer from Jackie Bradley Jr., the Red Sox moved within one victory of their first World Series trip since winning the 2013 title.
Craig Kimbrel earned a shaky six-out save, aided by a rocket throw from right fielder Mookie Betts and Benintendi’s daring grab of Alex Bregman’s sinking liner in left.
Boston improved to 4-0 on the road in these playoffs and inched closer to eliminating the defending champions.
Game 5 is Thursday night in Houston.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw bounced back from one of his worst postseason starts with one of his best, pitching the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 Wednesday to move one win from a return trip to the World Series.
The Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the NL Championship Series, boosted by Max Muncy’s go-ahead single in the sixth inning. Kershaw held the lead, leaving after seven.
Game 6 is Friday night in Milwaukee.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dodgers star Manny Machado has been fined by Major League Baseball for kicking Milwaukee first baseman Jesus Aguilar in the NL Championship Series.
MLB fined Machado an undisclosed amount Wednesday, a day after the baserunning incident caused the benches to clear at Dodger Stadium and prompted Brewers MVP candidate Christian Yelich to call Machado a “dirty player.”
Machado was running to first on a grounder in the 10th inning of Game 4, and Aguilar left his right foot partly across the base for a moment after catching the ball. Already out, Machado brought his left foot forward and kicked Aguilar in the back of the leg.
HOUSTON (AP) — Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora says lefty ace Chris Sale is still feeling weak and won’t start in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series against Houston.
Cora said before Game 4 on Wednesday that the lanky left-hander lost weight because of the stomach illness that led to him spending a night in a hospital after starting the ALCS opener. Sale started feeling ill right after the game and went to a hospital early Sunday morning.
Sale rejoined the team Tuesday in Houston but hasn’t yet thrown a bullpen session. The club hasn’t specified the ailment or treatment, though Cora has said it was nothing serious.
NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has undergone Tommy John surgery on his right elbow that is expected to keep him out of action for much of next season.
The Yankees said the surgery went as expected Wednesday. It was done by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
The team didn’t provide a timetable for Gregorius to return. Last week, when the injury was announced, general manager Brian Cashman said Gregorius will be sidelined “until sometime next summer.”
Gregorius broke his own club record for home runs by a shortstop by hitting 27 this year. He batted .268 with 86 RBIs.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A week after being lured out of semiretirement, veteran quarterback Derek Anderson is going from mentoring Buffalo Bills rookie Josh Allen, to taking over the starting job for the injured player.
Coach Sean McDermott made the announcement Wednesday, when Buffalo returned to practice to prepare for its game at Indianapolis (1-5) on Sunday.
McDermott ruled out Allen because of a sprained elbow on his throwing arm. He said there’s no plan at this point for the quarterback to have surgery.
McDermott also said a second medical opinion on the injury confirmed the initial diagnosis after the first-round pick was hurt in the third quarter of a 20-13 loss at Houston last week.
The injury leaves the Bills (2-4) turning to the 35-year-old Anderson preparing to make his first start in nearly two seasons.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have announced that season-ticket prices for non-premium seats in the new LA Stadium at Hollywood Park will range from $50 to $150 per game.
The Chargers said in a release Wednesday that more than 26,000 seats would range from $50 to $90 each. A stadium map on the team website shows $50 seats are in the upper deck in the corners. There are also seats ranging from $60 to $80 in the upper deck with the highest-priced tickets located at the middle of the field. Stadium seat licenses for seats in the upper deck are $100 per seat.
Seat licenses increase the lower the seats are in the stadium. Seat licenses for $125 and $150 seats in the 300 level are $3,000 per seat. There are $100 seats located in the lower bowl in the end zones, which also have $3,000 seat licenses.
The Rams announced in September that season tickets for reserved seats would range from $60 to $125 per game with seat licenses from $1,000 to $5,000.
HOUSTON (AP) — Safety Andre Hal, who is in remission after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, resumed practicing with the Houston Texans on Wednesday, giving the team 21 days to take him off the non-football illness list and add him to the active roster.
Hal was diagnosed with the disease in May and immediately began treatment. He received the news of his remission on Sept. 18.
Coach Bill O’Brien says the players were thrilled with the news when he told them on Wednesday morning. He discussed the work Hal did to stay in shape while he was fighting the disease.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny was arrested Wednesday after a Texas grand jury indicted him, alleging he tampered with evidence in the sexual assault investigation of now-imprisoned gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
In a statement issued late Wednesday night, the Walker County district attorney’s office in Huntsville, Texas, said Penny was arrested by a fugitive task force in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and awaits extradition to Texas.
The third-degree felony is punishable by two to 10 years in prison. It was unclear if Penny has an attorney. Messages left with USA Gymnastics weren’t immediately returned.
Penny resigned under pressure in March 2017.
The indictment alleges Penny ordered the removal of documents from the Karolyi Ranch relating to Nassar’s activities at the ranch, near Huntsville. It alleges Penny acted after learning that Texas Rangers and Walker County authorities were investigating the ranch, which was being managed by USA Gymnastics.
NEW YORK (AP) — Canelo Alvarez is boxing’s new $365 million man.
Alvarez has signed an 11-fight deal that his promotional company says is the richest athlete contract in sports history, guaranteeing the Mexican middleweight champion at least that much money to have his fights shown on the sports-streaming service DAZN, beginning with his next bout.
Alvarez will move up in weight to challenge WBA super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden.
A massive moneymaker when he fought on pay-per-view, Alvarez will be able to be seen for much cheaper through the subscription service that launched in the U.S. in September and now features perhaps the two biggest figures in boxing in Alvarez and heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
LONDON (AP) — Wembley Stadium is staying in the hands of English soccer.
American sports magnate Shad Khan abandoned a 600 million pound ($790 million) bid for the English Football Association’s main asset on Wednesday after recognizing the extent of opposition to the sale.
Khan, who owns the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Premier League soccer club Fulham, had seen buying Wembley as a way of raising the prospects of an American football franchise moving to London.
After the takeover fell through a week before a key FA vote, Khan reiterated the Jaguars’ commitment to continue playing an annual regular-season game in London, but only as a “home away from home.”
The FA was under no financial pressure to sell the 11-year-old stadium but seized on Khan’s interest as a chance to fund soccer facilities in communities across England while retaining the use of Wembley for national team matches and domestic cup finals.
NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers at a trial exploring corruption in big-time college basketball clashed in closing arguments Wednesday over the question of whether major programs were harmed by an alleged scheme to give secret cash payments to the families of top recruits.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Noah Solowiejczyk told a jury in federal court in Manhattan that a former Adidas executive and two co-defendants were shady fixers who put Louisville, Kansas and other universities at risk for costly sanctions by the NCAA by concealing the prohibited payments. The cover-up also tricked colleges into giving scholarships to players who should have been ineligible, he said.
“That’s a crime,” the prosecutor said. “It’s called fraud.”
A lawyer for defendant Christopher Dawkins, a business manager instrumental in steering prized prospect Brian Bowen Jr. to Louisville, called the government “theory” that the schools were victims “flawed.” He claimed that his client thought he was helping the program succeed to the benefit of everyone involved.
ATLANTA (AP) — In court documents filed this week in a lawsuit following the 2015 death of a fan who fell from the upper deck at an Atlanta Braves game, Nolan Ryan says guard rails at the Texas Rangers’ stadium had to be raised “to protect our fans from themselves.”
Ryan, the former Hall of Fame pitcher, was Rangers president when he led the effort to have rails raised at The Ballpark in Arlington following the death of a fan, Shannon Stone, who fell in 2011.
Gregory Murrey, who was 60, fell from the upper deck at the Braves’ former stadium, Turner Field, on Aug. 29, 2015. The Braves and Major League Baseball are defendants in the lawsuit filed by Murrey’s family, including his wife, Laura.
The lawsuit contends fan deaths at other parks should have led MLB to demand all teams have higher guard rails.
SPORTS TELEVISION & FILM
Peyton Manning will be doing analysis of NFL games this season after all.
ESPN and Kobe Bryant’s Granity Studios announced Wednesday that Manning will be part of a football edition of the “Detail” franchise. The eight-episode series will be on the ESPN+ streaming service and debuts on Thursday.
Bryant said during a phone interview with The Associated Press that he started discussions with Manning once “Detail” premiered last April.
“Detail” debuted with 10 episodes during the NBA playoffs, often focusing on one player. The football iteration will carry the same blueprint. Manning’s first episode analyzes Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen’s game last week against the Minnesota Vikings.
NFL Films will also work in collaboration with Granity Studios in producing and editing the series.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant has been dropped from the jury of an animated film festival after calls for the former NBA star’s ouster over a 2003 rape allegation.
Eric Beckman is the CEO of the organization behind the Animation Is Film Festival. He wrote in a statement Wednesday that the festival’s stakeholders decided to drop Bryant to keep its focus on films.
An online petition had been circulating demanding Bryant be dropped.
Bryant released a statement saying he was honored to be invited and disappointed to be excluded.
He won an Academy Award in March for his part in making the animated short, “Dear Basketball.”
In 2003, Bryant was charged with raping a 19-year-old hotel employee.