Wednesday Sports In Brief

BASEBALL

CHICAGO (AP) One final, charmed swing by Daniel Murphy, and the New York Mets finished a playoff sweep of the Chicago Cubs.

A new generation of Amazins is heading to the World Series.

Murphy homered for a record sixth consecutive postseason game and the Mets brushed aside the Cubs 8-3, capping a National League Championship Series in which New York never trailed.

Lucas Duda hit a three-run homer in the first inning and a two-run double in the second, silencing a sellout crowd of 42,227 at Wrigley Field desperately hoping for the beginning of an epic comeback in Game 4.

Not this time. Not with New York’s array of power arms, and Murphy swinging a hot stick that made him the MVP of the matchup.

Manager Terry Collins’ team advanced to the World Series for the first time since they lost to the crosstown Yankees in five games in 2000. They will face Toronto or Kansas City in Game 1 on Tuesday night – the Royals lead 3-2 in the ALCS.

TORONTO (AP) – Marco Estrada came up with a superb start in the most important outing of his career, stopping the Royals’ hit parade and helping the Toronto Blue Jays send the AL Championship Series back to Kansas City.

Estrada pitched one-hit ball into the eighth inning, giving Toronto’s tattered bullpen a rest, and the Blue Jays beat the Royals 7-1 to close to 3-2 in the best-of-seven matchup.

”It’s the start that we needed,” Troy Tulowitzki said. ”They’re a great team over there. We know that. But this guy kept them off balance and allowed the offense to settle in and get some runs.”

Tulowitzki provided three of those runs. He broke open with a bases-clearing double off Kelvin Herrera in the sixth, giving him seven RBIs in the series. Edwin Encarnacion had walked with the bases loaded against Edinson Volquez, who seemed flustered by close calls against the Royals.

NBA

CLEVELAND (AP) – Already an elite rebounder, Tristan Thompson snatched a long-term contract from the Cavaliers.

The restricted free-agent forward has agreed in principle with the defending Eastern Conference champions on a five-year, $82 million contract, ending his holdout and giving the Cavs needed frontcourt depth as they enter a new season.

The team confirmed that it had a verbal agreement with Thompson, who helped the Cavs get to the NBA Finals last season by filling in for an injured Kevin Love. Thompson had been seeking a maximum deal, while the Cavs made it known they valued the former No. 4 overall pick, but weren’t going to overpay for a reserve

The sides had been in an awkward stalemate, which threatened to carry over into the regular season. However agent Rich Paul, who also represents star LeBron James, and Cleveland’s front office were able to come to terms less than a week before the opener at Chicago.

There’s a chance the deal will be finalized Thursday and Thompson, who has been working out on his own during the holdout, can begin practicing.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas has reached a new 15-year equipment, licensing and apparel deal with Nike Inc., sticking with the company that has put its brand on Longhorns jerseys since 2000, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The deal is expected to approach $200 million for the university, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract must still be approved the school’s board of regents.

The board is scheduled to meet in November and December, but agendas for those meetings have not yet been posted.

The deal, which was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman, comes shortly after the school’s previous contract with Nike expired. While some anticipated a bidding war among apparel companies for the Texas brand, Nike’s previous contract included a clause that allowed it to match or exceed any offer.

Nike did not immediately return a message seeking comment. A University of Texas spokesman declined comment.

HOCKEY

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – John Tortorella is back coaching in the NHL after the Columbus Blue Jackets fired Todd Richards with the team off to an 0-7 start.

Tortorella, who won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, has been out of hockey since the Canucks fired him in May 2014 after one season in Vancouver. He takes over for Richards, who had been with the Blue Jackets since 2012 and led them to only their second NHL playoff appearance in 2013-14, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round.

Richards was on the hot seat after Columbus became just the sixth NHL team to open with seven consecutive losses with a 4-0 defeat against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. It’s the Blue Jackets’ worst start to a season in franchise history, and their longest losing streak since dropping seven straight in regulation from Nov. 11-25, 2005.

OTHER

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The NCAA is pulling the plug on daily fantasy sports games.

In a letter sent Tuesday, college sports’ largest governing body notified executives from DraftKings and FanDuel it would cancel future meetings and ban advertising from the two popular websites during NCAA championship events such as the men’s basketball tournament.

Because the NCAA believes the fantasy games meet the definition of wagering, it has decided to ban all advertising, on site and on television, during championship events – a potentially big hit for two companies that have become major advertisers, particularly on television. The NCAA said its advertising policy for broadcasters ”has a longstanding section that states we will not accept advertising from sports wagering entities.”

The ban does not necessarily apply to the College Football Playoff, which is not run by the NCAA. While the CFP abides by NCAA bylaws, the organization has discretion over advertisements during its three games.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian have decided to stay married as the former NBA star continues his recovery a week after he was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel.

Kardashian’s lawyer, Laura Wasser, filed a petition Wednesday to dismiss the reality star’s divorce filing from December 2013. A clerk granted the request in such a way that the divorce papers can be refiled at a later date.

The document doesn’t state a reason for the change, but it shows Odom signed off on dismissing the divorce Tuesday.

Kardashian has been by Odom’s side since he was found in extremely critical condition Oct. 13 at the Love Ranch brothel in the rural community of Crystal, Nevada, and hospitalized in Las Vegas. He regained consciousness Friday and was transported to Los Angeles on Monday.

Kardashian posted a statement to her website Tuesday saying Odom made ”incredible strides” at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas and thanking the doctors and nurses ”for their kindness and diligent work.”

NEW YORK (AP) – Disney’s ESPN is cutting about 300 jobs, or 4 percent of its staff, amid signs that the traditional cable bundle is less far-reaching than it once was.

ESPN spokeswoman Amy Phillips confirmed the number of job losses Wednesday.

The Bristol, Connecticut-based sports channel is one of the linchpins of the traditional cable bundle of hundreds of channels, which is under pressure from viewers migrating online. A few are choosing to bypass paying for a cable subscription entirely, opting instead for a growing number of choices of online TV alternatives.

The job cuts are a ”necessary part of our continued strategic evolution to ensure ESPN remains the leader in sports as well as the premier sports destination on any platform,” said ESPN CEO John Skipper in a memo to employees that was posted online.