Thursday’s Sports in Brief
NEW YORK (AP) — Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox won their third consecutive AL East championship Thursday night, clinching on enemy turf with an 11-6 victory over the rival New York Yankees.
Betts homered, doubled twice and drove in five runs, finishing with four hits as the Red Sox overcame Giancarlo Stanton’s go-ahead grand slam in the fourth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a tying home run in the seventh and Xander Bogaerts put Boston ahead with a sacrifice fly.
With the best record in baseball and a playoff berth already secured, Boston (104-49) closed out a once-tight division race with nine games to spare. J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox, alone in first place since July 2, will open the postseason at home on Oct. 5 against an opponent to be determined.
Never before had Boston finished in first place three years in a row. The club needs one victory to match the franchise record held by the 1912 World Series champions.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Angels catcher Francisco Arcia began the day behind the plate, did a brief stint on the mound and ended up in the major league record books.
Arcia pitched two innings of relief and hit his sixth home run in the Angels’ 21-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.
In doing so, Arcia became the first player to catch, pitch and homer in the same game according to the Angels.
The 29-year-old Arcia was already in the record books after driving in 10 runs in his first two games after being called up from the minors on July 26.
MIAMI (AP) — Derek Jeter signaled Thursday that Don Mattingly is expected to return next year as manager of the Miami Marlins, providing some dugout continuity for a last-place team in transition.
Mattingly has one season to go on a four-year contract he signed when he joined the Marlins for the 2016 season.
“Is he going to be back in 2019?” Jeter said. “He’s under contract. Yeah.”
The Marlins will finish last in the NL East in Jeter’s first year as CEO.
Mattingly has said he likes the challenge of developing the Marlins’ many young players. He also has embraced Jeter’s approach to rebuilding a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 2009, the longest streak in the majors, and hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2003.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Billie Jean King and partner Ilana Kloss have joined the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group.
The Dodgers made the announcement Thursday. The tennis great says Dodgers owner and chairman Mark Walter and the organization have proven to be leaders in sports on and off the field.
King says they share a “commitment to equality and inclusion, including the LGBTQ community, and we hope to further expand the team’s efforts in those areas as we move forward together.”
Walter says he’s proud to welcome “two trailblazing athletes, social advocates and business women.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State’s All-American defensive end Nick Bosa will be out indefinitely after having surgery for a lower-abdomen injury.
Coach Urban Meyer said on his radio show Thursday that Bosa had surgery on a “core muscle.” Meyer didn’t provide a timetable for his return.
Jonathan Cooper is expected to start in Bosa’s place opposite Chase Young in Saturday’s game against Tulane. Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones also can play end, if necessary.
Bosa was helped off the field in the third quarter of Saturday’s win over TCU. He returned to the bench later in street clothes.
NEW YORK (AP) — Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi has been suspended for the remainder of the NHL preseason after punching Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad during an exhibition game.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety made the announcement Thursday following an afternoon hearing with Domi.
The punch came at the start of the third period of Wednesday’s preseason game. Domi began tugging on Ekblad’s shirt, asking him to fight. With the Panthers star showing no interest to drop the gloves, Domi punched him in the face twice, but still Ekblad didn’t respond.
Domi then dropped his right glove and sucker-punched him right on the nose, and the bloodied Ekblad dropped to the ice. Domi was given a minor, major and match penalty on the play.
Ekblad was taken off the ice and underwent the NHL’s concussion protocol, which he passed.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR has promoted Steve Phelps to president, the latest leadership change for the slumping motorsports series.
Phelps will replace Brent Dewar on Oct. 1. Dewar is stepping down and transitioning to an advisory role next year.
Phelps will oversee all competition and business operations and report to Chairman and CEO Jim France, who replaced his nephew in August following Brian France’s arrest for driving under the influence.
Phelps has been a NASCAR executive since 2005 and steps up as NASCAR tries to steady itself during a prolonged downturn. Attendance and television ratings have dropped, and teams are struggling to find high-dollar sponsorship.
YORK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) — Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett has died after a crash Thursday night at BAPS Motor Speedway.
The 49-year-old Hodnett, from Spring Grove, was the World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year in 1993 and went on to win 20 World of Outlaws races. He won the opening night this year at the Knoxville Nationals.
“Greg represented the true gentleman competitor in the pit area,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said.
A statement was posted on Hodnett’s racing website, saying: “Please keep (wife) Sherry, the entire Hodnett family, and the Heffner racing team in your thoughts and prayers. Greg was a professional in every sense of the word, and will be desperately missed!”
Longtime UCLA women’s gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field is making her 29th season her last.
Kondos Field says she is retiring next spring to explore other pursuits. Her decision ends a remarkable run in which she’s led the Bruins to seven national titles, including a narrow victory over Oklahoma at the NCAA Championships last spring.
The 59-year-old had no formal background in gymnastics before joining the coaching staff in 1983. She was elevated to head coach in 1991 and after an adjustment period developed a reputation as a coach who placed as much emphasis on the development of her student athletes off the competition floor as she did on it.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero calls Kondos Field “not only a tremendous mentor in the gym, but in life.”
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Online sports betting company FanDuel will pay a New Jersey man the full $82,000 he was promised when the company’s system mistakenly generated 750-1 odds on the final moments of Sunday’s Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders game.
FanDuel will also pay several other customers who got erroneously inflated odds during an 18-second stretch in which the company’s computers malfunctioned. It could immediately say how much the total payout will be.
The company tells The Associated Press it decided Thursday to pay Anthony Prince of Newark the full payout he was promised on his betting slip issued at the company’s sports book at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
It says it changed its mind because “sports betting is supposed to be fun.”
The company initially refused to pay, saying it is not obligated to pay for obvious errors.
NEW YORK (AP) —UFC can raise a glass to the return of the most loquacious, dangerous and biggest money-making star in the promotion’s 25-year history.
Conor McGregor tried to make believers out of his doubters that he’s back and ready to shake off his rust and beat Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 229 in October.
McGregor and Nurmagomedov will meet on Oct. 6 in the main event of the UFC 229 pay-per-view show at T-Mobile Arena, the same spot where Floyd Mayweather stopped McGregor in the 10th round of their one-sided prizefight.
Nurmagomedov is a formidable challenger for McGregor in a return from a 23-month break in MMA competition, but McGregor has never backed down from a challenge.
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza is planning a comeback after fracturing a vertebra in his neck during a training accident at Del Mar.
That’s according to his agent Brian Beach, who says Thursday that Espinoza is expected to see a doctor the first week in October to find out how he is progressing in his recovery from the July 22 accident.
Beach says Espinoza has remained in San Diego, where he goes to rehab sessions three days a week and goes walking three times a day. The 46-year-old Hall of Fame jockey only wears a neck brace when he rides in a car. He isn’t allowed to drive himself yet.
Beach says Espinoza has a “bright outlook” but is frustrated at times because he has been nearly injury-free his entire career and never faced anything this serious.
Espinoza rode American Pharoah to a Triple Crown sweep in 2015.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and comedian Dave Chappelle are among eight people being honored by Harvard University for their contributions to black history and culture.
All eight recipients of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal will be honored Oct. 11 by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard.
The medal is given to those who have made “significant contributions to African and African American history and culture” and “individuals who advocate for intercultural understanding and human rights.”
Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, created a firestorm when he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and social injustice.