Tuesday’s Sports in Brief

BASEBALL

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Willy Adames homered and made a sensational relay throw from shortstop, Tommy Pham also went deep and the Tampa Bay Rays chased Justin Verlander early in beating the Houston Astros 4-1 to even their AL Division Series at two games apiece.

Ryan Yarbrough and five other pitchers combined on a six-hitter for Tampa Bay. Verlander, starting on short rest after dominating the wild-card Rays in Game 1, looked uncomfortable on the mound and was pulled in the fourth after giving up four runs.

The best-of-five series shifts back to Houston for a decisive Game 5 on Thursday.

Verlander, whose eight career ALDS victories are a major league record, yielded three runs in the first. Adames homered leading off the fourth to make it 4-0, and the Houston ace didn’t make it through the inning.

WNBA

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Alyssa Thomas had 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun stave off elimination and force a decisive Game 5 of the WNBA Finals with a 90-86 win over the Washington Mystics.

The title will be decided Thursday night in Washington with a first-time champion crowned. Thomas fell just short of the first triple-double in Finals history.

Jonquel Jones had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Sun.

Connecticut blew a 16-point halftime lead as Washington used a huge third quarter to tie the game at 68. The Mystics kept it going to start the fourth, opening up a five-point lead. With their season on the line, the Sun responded.

PRO FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has been cleared by doctors to play this week after he missed three games while recovering from mononucleosis.

Darnold had medical tests Tuesday to determine if the swelling in his spleen — a common symptom of the illness — had dissipated enough for him to play again.

The Jets announced in a Twitter post that Darnold will start Sunday at home against Dallas.

The team was optimistic last week that Darnold would be able to play at Philadelphia and gave him first-team snaps last Wednesday and Thursday. Tests last Thursday night revealed Darnold was not yet able to be fully cleared, and Luke Falk started his second straight game for New York.

Darnold was diagnosed with mono on Sept. 11, three days after the season-opening loss to Buffalo.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

After a Penn State player received a letter from a fan criticizing his “awful” dreadlocks, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin opened his weekly news conference by talking about how football teams bring people together.

The letter was sent to Penn State safety Jonathan Sutherland and it gained attention after his teammates posted it on social media Monday night. The person, a Penn State graduate, acknowledged writing the letter in an interview with The Tribune-Democrat on Tuesday. The letter said Sutherland’s shoulder-length dreadlocks looked “disgusting.”

Franklin addressed the letter indirectly. He said, “The football that I know and love brings people together and embraces differences.” The coach complimented Sutherland for being “the ultimate example of what our program’s about.”

Sutherland posted on Twitter that the message was “ignorant,” but said he forgave the sender without an apology necessary.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis will return from injury to start for Southern California at No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday night.

USC coach Clay Helton made the announcement after practice.

Slovis missed most of the Trojans‘ last two games after incurring an apparent concussion on the opening series of USC’s win over then-No. 10 Utah on Sept. 20. He sat out of a loss at Washington on Sept. 28 for the Trojans (3-2), who had last week off.

The 18-year-old Slovis took over for injured starter J.T. Daniels at halftime of the Trojans’ season opener. He led USC past Stanford one week later with a record-setting performance for a freshman quarterback.

Matt Fink replaced Slovis for the past two games.

GYMNASTICS

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Simone Biles won a record 21st medal at the world gymnastics championships as the United States retained its women’s team all-around title.

Biles’ 15th career gold medal brings her a total of 21 medals, breaking a tie with the Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina for the most medals by a woman at the world championships. She’s now two short of Vitaly Scherbo’s all-time record among men or women of 23.

The U.S. team scored 172.330 points to beat second-placed Russia by 5.801 points and win its seventh consecutive team title at an Olympics or world championships.

Biles posted the best individual scores on the vault, balance beam and floor.

Italy took bronze, as China failed to win a women’s team medal for the first time since the 2003 world championships.

PRO HOCKEY

Patrick Marleau is returning to San Jose.

General manager Doug Wilson announced that the Sharks’ all-time leader in games, goals and points is returning to his original team with a one-year, $700,000 contract after spending the past two seasons in Toronto.

The Sharks failed to record a point in the first three games for the first time since 1993-94 and only scored three goals in the process. That led to the move to add a veteran forward with a history of production in the NHL.

The 39-year-old Marleau left San Jose two summers ago to sign a three-year, $18.75 million contract in Toronto after the Sharks were unwilling to offer a deal longer than two years. Marleau had 43 goals and 41 assists in two seasons with the Maple Leafs before being traded to Carolina in June in a salary cap move.