Wednesday’s Sports In Brief
TORONTO (AP) Jose Bautista wiped out the need for protests or umpire reviews with the Toronto Blue Jays’ biggest home run since Joe Carter’s historic shot.
Toronto earned its first trip to the American League Championship Series since Carter’s World Series-ending drive in 1993, overcoming one of the craziest plays in playoff history when Bautista hit a three-run homer after three Texas Rangers errors for a 6-3 victory in the deciding Game 5 of the Division Series.
The Blue Jays became the third team to win a best-of-five series after losing the first two games at home.
Toronto, who led the majors in homers this season, will play the Royals, who beat Houston in Game 5 of their series, a rematch of the 1985 ALCS. Game 1 is Friday night in Kansas City.
Bautista’s homer capped an event-filled, 53-minute seventh inning that took a turn when Toronto catcher Russell Martin’s seemingly routine throw back to the pitcher deflected off batter Shin-Soo Choo and allowed the tiebreaking to score. The Blue Jays filed a protest after an umpire review ruled Rougned Odor was allowed to cross home plate. Toronto fans pelted the field with debris during the 18-minute delay.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Johnny Cueto knew the Kansas City Royals had wagered much of their future on him, trading away a bevy of prospects in late July so that he could pitch in moments like this.
The decisive game of a playoff series, their season on the line.
He responded with a masterpiece on his biggest stage yet, eight dominant innings that allowed the resilient Royals to rally once more for a 7-2 victory over the Houston Astros that sent them back to the American League Championship Series.
Cueto allowed two hits, a single by Evan Gattis followed by Luis Valbuena’s second-inning homer, before retiring the final 19 batters he faced. He struck out eight without a walk in the kind of clutch performance the Royals expected when they got him from the Reds.
MILWAUKEE (AP) – New Brewers general manager David Stearns has made his first significant addition to the front office with the hiring of Matt Arnold as vice president and assistant general manager.
Arnold joins Milwaukee following about nine years with the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The 36-year-old Arnold most recently served as Tampa Bay’s director of player personnel.
Stearns says Arnold has been involved in nearly every area of baseball operations during his career, including contract negotiation and farm system evaluation. Arnold’s resume also includes stops with the worked the Dodgers, Rangers and Reds.
The addition of Arnold is the latest step in an organization-wide youth movement following Milwaukee’s first 90-loss season since 2004.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Lamar Odom didn’t last long at the glittering intersection of championship success and Hollywood celebrity.
Cut loose by his beloved Los Angeles Lakers, followed everywhere by reality television crews, the humble kid from Queens who married into the Kardashian clan saw his life spiral out of control, and so did everyone else.
Khloe Kardashian tried to hide his addictions, then told the world she couldn’t save him. The two-time NBA champion landed on Skid Row, a regular tabloid target.
Then he seemed to drop out altogether before he was found unresponsive in a brothel and hospitalized, bringing his estranged wife, his former teammates and the world’s attention back to his side.
Hospital authorities would not comment on the condition of the 35-year-old former NBA forward, but the Rev. Jesse Jackson was among his visitors and said Odom was on life support and improving.
ATLANTA (AP) – After a win in court, Thabo Sefolosha played his first game since an April encounter with New York City police left him with a broken right leg. He scored five points in eight minutes of the Atlanta Hawks’ 100-86 preseason victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
The 6-foot-7 forward missed Atlanta’s first two preseason games while standing trial on the charges resulting from the incident with police, which occurred last season outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub during the final week before the playoffs.
Sefolosha turned down a lenient plea deal and was acquitted of all charges last week.
Sefolosha is eager to focus on basketball again after missing the Hawks’ run to the Eastern Conference final. He hopes to win a starting job at small forward, the position manned last season by DeMarre Carroll. He left over the summer as a free agent to sign with Toronto.
IRVING, Texas (AP) – Matt Cassel will start at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys after Brandon Weeden lost all three of his starts in place of the injured Tony Romo.
The Cowboys are also promoting rookie guard La’el Collins, a projected first-round pick from LSU who wasn’t selected because his name surfaced in the investigation of a woman’s death days before the draft.
Coach Jason Garrett said the move to Cassel was an attempt to spark a team that needs to win at least once, and probably twice, in the next four games without Romo, who will be out at least that long with a broken left collarbone.
The Cowboys (2-3) are on their bye and have about a week and a half to get Cassel ready to face the NFC East-leading New York Giants on Oct. 25.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – With a suffocating defense and a yearning to celebrate in front of their loyal fans, the Minnesota Lynx turned a tense WNBA Finals into a runaway.
Sylvia Fowles had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Lynx captured their third championship in five years with a 69-52 victory over the Indiana Fever in Game 5.
Seimone Augustus added 16 points and Rebekkah Brunson grabbed 14 rebounds for the Lynx, who also won it all in 2011 and 2013. Maya Moore scored just five points on 1-for-8 shooting, but the Lynx defense forced 21 turnovers and held Indiana to 35.7 percent shooting in the league’s first Game 5 since 2009.
Tamika Catchings had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Fever, who were looking for their second championship.