Friday’s Sports in Brief
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jacob deGrom struck out 13 over seven scoreless innings in his postseason debut and Daniel Murphy homered off a star-crossed Clayton Kershaw to help the New York Mets defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 for a 1-0 lead in their NL Division Series.
DeGrom (1-0) limited the Dodgers to five hits and one walk. The right-hander’s strikeouts tied the franchise playoff record set by Tom Seaver in Game 1 of the 1973 NL Championship Series.
Kershaw (0-1) endured his fifth straight postseason loss after giving up the seventh playoff homer of his career. Last season’s NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner allowed three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out 11 and walked four.
Runs will likely again be at a premium when the Dodgers try to even the series Saturday night in Game 2. They start major league ERA leader Zack Greinke against Noah Syndergaard.
ST. LOUIS (AP) – John Lackey outpitched old teammate Jon Lester, allowing two hits into the eighth inning, and rookies Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty each homered late as the St. Louis Cardinals cooled off the Chicago Cubs with a 4-0 victory in the opener of their NL Division Series.
In front of a standing room only crowd of 47,830 – the second-largest at 10-year-old Busch Stadium – thousands of Cubs faithful mixed into the red throng for the first postseason game between the two long-time rivals.
Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Saturday. The Cardinals turn to lefty Jaime Garcia (10-6), who made 20 starts coming off risky thoracic surgery. Kyle Hendricks (8-7) makes his postseason debut for the NL wild-card winners.
Matt Holliday had an RBI single in the first, giving St. Louis a lead after just three at-bats. Pinch-hitting, Pham homered off Lester and Piscotty had a two-run shot off Pedro Strop in the eighth.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Ben Zobrist hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning, reliever Wade Davis got replay help for a key pickoff in the ninth and the Kansas City Royals rallied from a three-run hole to beat the Houston Astros 5-4, evening their AL Division Series at a game apiece.
Kansas City took the lead when Alcides Escobar tripled off Will Harris (0-1) to open the seventh and Zobrist followed with his single through the left side.
Kelvin Herrera (1-0) and Ryan Madson each tossed a scoreless inning of relief for the Royals, and Davis came on to close it.
Davis walked Preston Tucker with one out. Pinch-runner Carlos Gomez was initially ruled safe when he made a dive back into first base, but the call was overturned upon review. Davis got Jose Altuve to ground out to end it.
Game 3 is Sunday at Houston. Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, who was 15-0 at home this season, starts against Edinson Volquez.
TORONTO (AP) – Backup infielder Hanser Alberto singled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning and the Texas Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
The underdog Rangers will try to sweep the Blue Jays in Game 3 Sunday in Texas. Colby Lewis will start for Texas against Marco Estrada.
Alberto, only in the lineup because star third baseman Adrian Beltre was out with a strained back, made an error that led to Toronto’s first run. He delivered an RBI single with two outs in the 14th, and Delino DeShields followed with an infield hit for another run.
Texas shut out the highest-scoring team in the majors after the fifth inning. The victory made road teams 5-0 in the postseason so far.
Keone Kela (1-0) worked one inning for the win, staying calm after a dust-up with Toronto slugger Josh Donaldson. Ross Ohlendorf, with an old-school, double-armed windup, finished for a first save. LaTroy Hawkins (0-1) took the loss.
SEATTLE (AP) – The Seattle Mariners have fired manager Lloyd McClendon after two seasons, with new general manager Jerry Dipoto choosing to bring in his own field boss to take over Seattle’s operations.
Seattle announced the decision on McClendon less than a week after the Mariners concluded a disappointing 76-86 season. Seattle started the year with expectations of contenting in the AL West and reaching the postseason, but instead finished in fourth place in the division.
Dipoto was hired to replace Jack Zduriencik the final week of the regular season and said he would take his time evaluating whether McClendon would return. McClendon was under contract for the 2016 season.
TORONTO (AP) – Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says it’s ”not appropriate” to enforce pace-of-play rules as strictly during the postseason.
Speaking before Toronto hosted Texas in Game 2 of their AL Division Series, Manfred said he was pleased with cooperation from players during the regular season, when the average time of a nine-inning game was cut by six minutes this year to 2:56.
Manfred says: ”We are going to stay focused on pace of play but in terms of the disciplinary aspects of the program, warnings and things like that, it’s just not appropriate in the postseason.”
Major League Baseball has not said whether players were fined for violations during the regular season.
NEW YORK (AP) – Atlanta Hawks’ player Thabo Sefolosha was acquitted Friday in a case stemming from a police fracas outside a trendy New York City nightclub.
A Manhattan jury found Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The guard-forward, who suffered a fractured right leg in the April 8 struggle with police, was accused of repeatedly disobeying the orders of officers telling him to leave the area around the club where another NBA player, Chris Copeland, had been stabbed.
He testified that he moved off the block at the behest of a vulgar and confrontational officer and was trying to give a beggar a $20 bill when he was grabbed by officers and taken to the ground.
LONDON (AP) – Suspended and shamed, Sepp Blatter is still hoping to return to power as FIFA president within the next 10 days.
Blatter was banned for 90 days on Thursday, essentially ending his 17-year reign as the leader of soccer’s governing body. But Klaus Stoehlker, a close associate of Blatter, told The Associated Press on Friday that the Swiss official is aiming to be back at work very soon.
”He has made an appeal and everybody hopes there will be a decision in the next 10 days,” Stoehlker said. ”He is very, very tough … he is sure he will have the right to be back. He doesn’t feel he is out of the job. That’s a huge misunderstanding.”
Both Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini were given 90-day bans in the wake of a Swiss criminal case investigating financial misconduct at FIFA.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Center Mike Richards and the Los Angeles Kings have settled their dispute over the termination of Richards’ contract after his arrest in June.
The NHL Players’ Association announced the settlement, making Richards an unrestricted free agent.
Richards was charged with possession of a controlled substance in Manitoba after he was stopped by Canadian border authorities. The Kings terminated his contract later in the summer, and the NHLPA filed a grievance on his behalf.
Richards had five years and $22 million remaining on a lavish 12-year, $69 million deal signed with Philadelphia. The two-time Stanley Cup champion’s offensive production declined sharply the past few years.
Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed by the union or the team. The Kings issued a brief statement declaring the settlement ”agreeable to all parties.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Dave Meyers, the star forward who led UCLA to the 1975 NCAA basketball championship as the team’s lone senior in coach John Wooden’s final season and later played for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, died. He was 62.
UCLA said Meyers died at his home in Temecula after struggling with cancer for the last year.
He played four years for Milwaukee after being drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Shortly after, Meyers was part of a blockbuster trade that sent him to the Bucks in exchange for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The 6-foot-8 Meyers led UCLA in scoring at 18.3 points and rebounding at 7.9 in his final season, helping the Bruins to a 28-3 record. He had 24 points and 11 rebounds in their 92-85 victory over Kentucky in the NCAA title game played in his hometown of San Diego.
His younger sister, Ann Meyers Drysdale, also played at UCLA in her Hall of Fame career.
DALLAS (AP) – SMU will not appeal the NCAA postseason ban on the men’s basketball team or the nine-game suspension for coach Larry Brown.
School President Gerald Turner revealed the decision in a letter posted for the SMU community.
The NCAA said last week that a former men’s basketball administrative assistant completed the online course work for a student to meet NCAA initial eligibility and be admitted to the university. That was among several infractions against the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs.
But SMU does plan to appeal several sanctions, including scholarship losses in men’s basketball and men’s golf, and recruiting restrictions in men’s basketball.
SMU will also appeal the penalty applied to men’s golf that resulted in a postseason ban for the team and for individual competition.