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Tuesday’s Sports In Brief

October 3, 2018

BASEBALL

CHICAGO (AP) — Tony Wolters hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the 13th inning, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in an epic NL wild-card game.

Wolters, a reserve catcher who entered as part of a double switch in the bottom of the 12th, came up with runners at the corners and drove in Trevor Story with a liner back up the middle off Kyle Hendricks, quieting the Wrigley Field crowd of 40,151 on a crisp fall night.

Colorado heads to Milwaukee to open a best-of-five Division Series against the NL Central champion Brewers on Thursday.

NEW YORK (AP) — Fittingly, Liam Hendriks wore his cap backward. A reliever is going to start a team’s postseason opener.

A pitcher with no wins in the regular season. A pitcher cut from the 40-man roster in June who spent two months toiling in the minor leagues. A pitcher from Down Under who was happy to get medieval in New York.

New York’s Aaron Boone made a more conventional choice for his postseason game as a manager, picking Luis Severino over J.A. Happ and Masahiro Tanaka. Severino created a bullpen night in last year’s wild card game but not by design, lasting just one out and leaving with a three-run deficit against Minnesota in a game the Yankees rallied to win 8-4.

Oakland manager Bob Melvin has been scrambling because of injuries to starting pitchers Jharel Cotton, Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Paul Blackburn, Andrew Triggs and Daniel Gossett.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels expects to interview five to eight candidates in his search for the team’s new manager.

Daniels wasn’t prepared to talk about a list of potential candidates to replace Jeff Banister, who was fired with 10 games left in the season. But the GM talked about some of the potential characteristics he was considering in the search.

The only additional staff change Daniels announced was that assistant hitting coach Justin Mashore would not be back after three seasons in that role.

While some assistant coaches could return, Daniels told the remaining staff, including pitching coach Doug Brocail and hitting coach Anthony Iapoce, that the team isn’t going to commit to anyone for 2019 until a new manager is in place.

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s average attendance dropped 4 percent to 28,830, its lowest since 2003 after 14 consecutive seasons topping 30,000.

Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, Baltimore’s Camden Yards, Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field, Minnesota’s Target Field, Miami’s Marlins Park and Pittsburgh’s PNC Park all drew their smallest attendance since opening as part of a ballpark boom. In a season of unusually cold and wet weather, 17 of the 30 teams experienced drops.

Total attendance fell to 69.63 million from 72.67 million last year and a high of 79.5 million in 2007. The average is down 14.4 percent from its high of 32,785 in 2007, the last year before the Great Recession. It had not been this low since 28,013 in 2003.

NEW YORK (AP) — The big league batting average dropped to its lowest level since 1972, strikeouts topped hits for the first time and defensive shifts increased by another 30 percent while innings and pitches per starting pitcher dropped again in a another baseball season of rapid change.

The batting average fell seven points to .248 in the regular season that ended Monday, down from a Steroids Era peak of .271 in 1999.

Strikeouts set a record for the 11th straight year, increasing by 1,103 to 41,207, and topped hits (41,019) for the first time in big league history. Hits led by 2,111 last year and by 13,418 in 2006.

Home runs dropped from a record 6,105 to 5,585 but was the fourth-highest total behind last year, 2000 and 2016.

NFL

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell was fined $13,369 by the NFL for his crude touchdown celebration in Cleveland.

After scoring against his former team on Sept. 20, Crowell took the football and wiped it against his rear end before firing it into the stands. It made for a viral moment from New York’s 21-17 loss to previously winless Cleveland, and earned Crowell a scolding from coach Todd Bowles.

Crowell wasn’t the only player to get a big fine dumped on him.

Atlanta’s Brian Poole was docked $20,054 for a horse-collar tackle and $20,054 for roughing the passer for a total of $40,108; and Minnesota’s Anthony Barr was fined $10,026 for a facemask call and $20,054 for a horse-collar tackle for a total of $30,080.

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins released defensive tackle Jordan Phillips in the wake of his angry sideline outburst after he came out of a lopsided loss at New England.

Phillips and the rest of Miami’s front four were dominated in Sunday’s 38-7 loss to the Patriots, who rushed for 175 yards.

Phillips said his flare-up during the game didn’t play a role in his release.

The Dolphins had the day off and didn’t discuss the reason for the move.

The Dolphins also placed center Daniel Kilgore on injured reserve with a triceps injury. They signed center Wesley Johnson and promoted defensive end Cameron Malveaux to the active roster from the practice squad.

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The NFL suspended Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks indefinitely after he pleaded guilty last month to federal insider trading charges.

Kendricks was suspended under the personal-conduct policy, said league spokesman Brian McCarthy.

A suspension had been anticipated since his guilty plea in early September.

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns placed starting cornerback Terrance Mitchell on injured reserve with a broken right wrist.

Mitchell got hurt in the second quarter of Sunday’s 45-42 loss at Oakland. He underwent surgery on Monday, when coach Hue Jackson said he didn’t think Mitchell’s injury was season-ending. The team can designate two players to return from injured reserve after six weeks.

Mitchell broke his wrist while breaking up a pass intended for Jordy Nelson. Following the play, Mitchell grabbed his arm and immediately went to the sideline.

To replace Mitchell, the Browns signed Jeremiah McKinnon from their practice squad.

NHL

NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL is moving forward with plans to expand to Seattle.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said the Board of Governors’ executive committee recommended proceeding with Seattle’s expansion application, with an eye on voting to approve the league’s 32nd franchise in December. The recommendation came a few hours after key stakeholders presented their case to the committee and hit it off enough that Seattle could be awarded a team two months from now.

It was the best possible news that could have come out of the meetings for proponents of the NHL in Seattle. Bettman agreed with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan that the preference is for the team to begin play in the 2020-21 season, and that’s still a very real possibility as long as renovations to KeyArena in downtown Seattle proceed as scheduled.

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