Friday Sports in Brief

September 26

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) — The Marlins clinched an improbable playoff berth in their coronavirus-decimated season, beating the New York Yankees 4-3 in 10 innings Friday night to seal a postseason trip on the field of the team that Miami CEO Derek Jeter and manager Don Mattingly once captained.

Miami earned its first postseason trip since 2003 when it won the World Series as the Florida Marlins, capped by a Game 6 victory in the Bronx over Jeter and his New York teammates at the previous version of Yankee Stadium.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mike Moustakas homered twice, Freddy Galvis hit a solo shot and the Cincinnati Reds clinched their first playoff spot since 2013, beating the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins 7-2 Friday night.

The Reds (30-28), who can finish as high as the fifth seed in the eight-team NL field, leaned hard on their bullpen and raised their record to two games above .500 for the first time since May 13, 2017.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Houston clinched the final spot in the expanded American League playoffs when the Los Angeles Angels lost about two hours after the Astros fell 5-4 to the Texas Rangers in 10 innings Friday night.

The Astros were a strike away from clinching a franchise-best fourth straight postseason berth themselves when Ronald Guzman hit a tying solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning for the last-place Rangers, who stopped a four-game losing streak.

Plagued by the offseason sign-stealing scandal that tarnished their 2017 World Series championship, the Astros (29-29) enter the playoffs as the second-place team in the AL West, seeking redemption with an injury-depleted roster.

Houston, which already had its three-year reign atop the division ended by Oakland, currently is the only AL playoff team without a winning record.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manager Dave Martinez and the Washington Nationals have agreed to work out a contract extension that will keep him in charge of the club beyond next season, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.

Martinez led the Nationals to the franchise’s first World Series championship in 2019, his second season as the team’s skipper.

—By AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich.

NHL

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Kevin Shattenkirk scored in overtime on a questionable power play, Brayden Point had two goals and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Dallas Stars 5-4 to take a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

With Game 5 on Saturday night, Tampa Bay is potentially 24 hours away from its second championship in franchise history.

The Lightning won the Cup in 2004, but this core has so far been unable to get over the hump despite being one of the best teams in the NHL for much of the past decade.

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Bobby Ryan was placed on waivers by the Ottawa Senators on Friday for the purpose of a buyout.

Ryan won the Masterton Trophy, the NHL’s award for perseverance, on Sept. 7 after publicly sharing his battle with alcohol issues. The 33-year-old forward entered the NHL/NHL Players’ Assistance program on Nov. 20 to get help for his addiction issues.

Ryan has two years left on his contract at a $7.25 million cap hit and was owed $15 million in real cash. Buying out the contract will save the Senators $3.67 million in cap space in each of the next two seasons, but add a cap charge of $1.83 million in each of the following two years.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

The Mid-American Conference, the first major college football league to postpone its season because of the pandemic, became the final one to jump back in, making it 10 out of 10 conferences that will play in the fall.

As university presidents in the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountain West have done over the last 10 days, MAC leaders on Friday voted unanimously to reverse their August decision to push football to spring. The MAC will instead open its season Nov. 4.

Just like the other conferences returning to fall ball, the MAC cited advancements in COVID-19 antigen testing as key to the change of direction. The conference will begin testing athletes four times per week, starting Oct 5.

OLYMPICS

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s new prime minister said Saturday that he’s determined to host the Tokyo Olympic Games next summer as “proof that humanity has defeated the pandemic.”

The 2020 Games were postponed as the coronavirus spread worldwide, and there’s been widespread doubt about their future.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a prerecorded speech at the U.N. General Assembly that he will “spare no effort in order to welcome you to Games that are safe and secure.”

TENNIS

PARIS (AP) — Former Top 10 player Fernando Verdasco said he has been dropped from the French Open because of what he believes is a false positive result on a coronavirus test.

The 36-year-old from Spain had played in 67 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments until missing this year’s U.S. Open.

Verdasco wrote Friday on Twitter — two days before play begins at Roland Garros — that he had COVID-19 in August and did not have symptoms. He said that was followed by negative results until he tested positive this week.

SPORTS BROADCASTING

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds say team broadcaster Thom Brennaman has resigned following his use of an anti-gay slur on air last month.

Brennaman used the slur moments after the feed from the Fox Sports Ohio telecast returned from a commercial break before the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader at Kansas City on Aug. 19.

Brennaman did not seem to realize he was already on air. He later apologized.

The 57-year-old was taken off the air before the fifth inning of the second game.

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