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Wednesday’s Sports In Brief

October 4, 2018

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge got the party started with a two-run homer nine pitches in. By the time Giancarlo Stanton capped the mauling with monstrous drive in his postseason debut, New York Yankees fans already were looking ahead.

“We want Boston!” they chanted.

Coming up next, after the Yankees pounded the Oakland Athletics 7-2 to win their second straight AL wild-card game. New York will take a train to Boston for a best-of-five Division Series starting Friday night, a matchup of 100-win heavyweights.

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles will continue their rebuilding project without manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, who were fired days after the team finished with the worst record in the major leagues.

With Duquette procuring the talent and Showalter making it work on the field, Baltimore snapped a run of 14 straight losing seasons and made the playoffs in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

But the Orioles finished 75-87 in 2017 — losing 19 of their final 23 games — and this year staggered through a 47-115 season, the worst since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter and Duquette have contracts that expire at the end of October.

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs expect to make changes after an early playoff exit. Just not in the manager’s office.

Joe Maddon will return as skipper for a fifth season, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.

Maddon has one year left on his contract. Though there are no ongoing discussions about an extension, Epstein insisted they have a “terrific” working relationship.

Maddon has a 387-261-1 record with playoff appearances in each of his four seasons in Chicago. The Cubs have more wins during that span than any other team, with three trips to the NLCS and a World Series championship in 2016 that ended a drought dating to 1908.

Chicago finished 95-68 this season, blowing a five-game lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central before losing a tiebreaker to the Brewers for the division title at Wrigley Field. Chicago was eliminated by Colorado with a 2-1, 13-inning defeat in the NL wild-card game at home Tuesday.

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell accepted a 40-game suspension Wednesday for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy after a series of allegations made by his ex-wife.

Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the ban and said MLB had completed its investigation into the accusations made by Melisa Reidy. Russell has denied the allegations, which Reidy detailed in a blog post in September.

Russell’s unpaid suspension includes the 11 regular-season games he missed after being placed on administrative leave Sept. 21. Russell will be eligible to return on May 3 against St. Louis, barring any postponements, and he will not appeal the suspension. He will also participate in an evaluation and treatment program.

NFL

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams signed kicker Cairo Santos this week instead of rushing All-Pro Greg Zuerlein back from injury.

Rams coach Sean McVay disclosed the reason for the decision to add Santos.

Zuerlein isn’t quite ready to return from a groin injury, but the Rams weren’t happy with Sam Ficken after he missed two of his three field goal attempts, including a 28-yarder late in the Rams’ win over Minnesota last Thursday. Ficken was cut Tuesday.

Santos was the Chiefs’ kicker from 2014 until early last season, when he injured his groin. He kicked for the Bears late last season, and he competed for the Jets’ job this year in training camp.

SOCCER

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Lawyers for a Nevada woman accusing Cristiano Ronaldo of raping her nine years ago said their client has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and depression, conditions they argue would have made her legally incompetent to reach a non-disclosure agreement.

Kathryn Mayorga didn’t appear with her lawyers at a news conference the same day that Ronaldo denied the rape accusations, using Twitter to say he had a “clear conscience” as he awaits results “of any and all investigations.”

Mayorga’s attorney Larissa Drohobyczer told reporters the psychiatrist’s recent medical opinion was that Mayorga’s psychological injuries were “caused by Cristiano Ronaldo’s sexual assault in 2009.”

Mayorga suffered several months of severe emotional stress and coercion by Ronaldo’s representatives to push Mayorga into taking a monetary settlement to keep quiet, her lawyers said.

HOCKEY

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Stanley Cup championship banner rose to the rafters at the home of the Washington Capitals for the first time, and everyone in attendance got to relive the sheer excitement of it all.

Alex Ovechkin and the other players, who craned their necks to see the video montages of last season on the overhead scoreboard — and couldn’t help but smile. Coaches, too, including new head man Todd Reirden. Not to mention the owner and the GM and the assistant equipment manager and anyone else on staff.

And, importantly, the 18,506 fans, decked out in their jerseys — most of them in the team’s main color, red, so many with Ovechkin’s No. 8. They sang along to “We Are the Champions!” in full throat and shook their team-distributed glow sticks during a half-hour ceremony before Washington opened the regular season by beating the Boston Bruins 7-0 behind a pair of goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov and one apiece from Ovechkin, Oshie, Nic Dowd, John Carlson and Lars Eller.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was banned 20 games by the NHL for a blindside hit to the head of an opponent during a preseason game, the latest and most severe punishment in what the league called an “unprecedented” series of suspensions for the physical player.

The right wing’s fourth ban in less than 13 months will cost him nearly a quarter of the 82-game regular season — only five NHL players have been suspended longer for on-ice play — and $1.26 million in salary.

It was announced just hours before the reigning Stanley Cup champion Capitals opened their title defense by beating the visiting Boston Bruins 7-0. Wilson did not play, but he was introduced along with his teammates during the pregame banner-raising ceremony and skated onto the ice in uniform.

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