Wednesday Sports in Brief
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers clinched their second straight postseason appearance Wednesday night, with Ryan Braun’s grand slam sparking a 9-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that also tightened the NL Central race.
The Brewers have won six in a row and 17 of 19 despite losing MVP Christian Yelich to a broken kneecap, vaulting from also-ran to at least a wild card. There’s more at their fingertips — the division-leading Cardinals lost again on Wednesday, slicing their lead over the Brewers to 1½ games.
Milwaukee trails Washington by one game for the wild card lead.
DETROIT (AP) — The decade of the 2010s will end the way it started — with the Minnesota Twins atop the AL Central.
Luis Arraez and Eddie Rosario homered, and Randy Dobnak allowed one hit in six sparkling innings to lead Minnesota to a 5-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night. The Twins later clinched the division title when Cleveland lost to the White Sox in Chicago.
It’s the first division title for Minnesota since 2010 and will be only its second postseason appearance since then. The Twins (98-60) have their highest victory total since the 1970 team also won 98 games.
Minnesota wrapped up its win over the Tigers well before the Chicago-Cleveland game ended. That game was on television in the Minnesota clubhouse, where the Twins ate, played cards and waited calmly for a possible celebration.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Braves are shutting down Ronald Acuña Jr. for the remainder of the regular season after the All-Star outfielder left their series opener against the Royals with tightness in his left hip.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said Wednesday that Acuña was examined by the Royals’ team physician, who recommended that he sit until the playoffs. Snitker said the decision is largely precautionary, and Acuña can continue to throw and hit while sitting out games.
Acuña, who left Tuesday night’s game after the second inning, is hitting .280 with 41 homers, 101 RBIs and 37 stolen bases. He’s also scored a National League-leading 127 runs.
The Braves already have clinched the NL East and will start the divisional round of the playoffs against the NL Central winner on Oct. 3 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán’s administrative leave under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy has been extended through the World Series.
Germán was placed on leave for seven days last Thursday. MLB and the players’ association agreed to the extension on Wednesday, which ends Germán’s season.
Germán is being investigated for an alleged domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend at home last week, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke under condition of anonymity because no details have been authorized during the probe by MLB.
The 27-year-old right-hander was the top winner for the AL East champions this season, going 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA in 24 starts and three relief appearances over 143 innings this year.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Theo Epstein says he has no plans of returning to the Boston Red Sox.
Speculation in Boston has centered on Epstein possibly replacing Dave Dombrowski, who was fired Sept. 8 as the president of baseball operations for the Red Sox. Epstein is finishing his eighth season as the Chicago Cubs‘ president of baseball operations.
“There is nothing to the story,” Epstein said Wednesday night before the Cubs played the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Epstein oversaw Boston’s baseball operations for eight seasons from 2003-10 before leaving to join the Cubs. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, their first title since 1918, then won again in 2007.
Manager Gabe Kapler said Wednesday that Realmuto has returned to Philadelphia and will undergo a “meniscus cleanup” on Friday.
“There’s no long-term concerns about this for J.T.,” Kapler said.
Realmuto hit .285 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs in his first season with the Phillies, who were eliminated from wild card contention Tuesday. He started 130 games at catcher and made his second All-Star Game appearance this year.
Realmuto said Monday he suffered the injury while running out a double play grounder in the fifth inning of Sunday’s loss at Cleveland. He said he didn’t feel anything while running but experienced discomfort while catching.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says star running back Melvin Gordon will end his holdout and report to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because he wasn’t at liberty to publicly discuss the situation.
Gordon is not expected to play Sunday when the Chargers (1-2) travel to Miami (0-3). Los Angeles’ next two games after the Dolphins are at home against Denver and Pittsburgh.
The running back has been absent since the start of training camp due to a contract dispute.
Gordon is slated to make $5.6 million this season on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract.
—By AP Sports Writer Joe Reedy.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Disgruntled cornerback Jalen Ramsey left the Jacksonville Jaguars to be with his family for the birth of his second child.
The team made the announcement with a statement from coach Doug Marrone on Wednesday night, adding to Ramsey’s ongoing trade saga.
“Months ago in the offseason, Jalen notified me that he was expecting the birth of his second child in late September,” Marrone said. “We spoke about this recently and again today after practice and decided that it was best for Jalen to fly to Nashville tonight after meetings to be with his family during the birth of their daughter.
“He will return to the team when he’s ready, and we will provide an update at that time.”
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s expansion NHL franchise has hired former U.S. Olympic team captain Cammi Granato as a pro scout.
Granato is one of a handful of women working on the hockey operations side of an NHL franchise and she is the only female pro scout currently in the league. Last year, Toronto hired Hayley Wickenheiser as their assistant director of player development and Noelle Needham as an amateur scout.
Granato, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010, is one of five pro scouts Seattle announced Wednesday. The franchise also added former NHL players Stu Barnes and Ulf Samuelsson, both of whom worked as assistant coaches in the league following the end of their playing careers. John Goodwin and Dave Hunter round out the pro scouting staff.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Roush Fenway Racing made a surprise driver change Wednesday, saying Chris Buescher will replace veteran Ricky Stenhouse Jr. next season.
Stenhouse has driven the No. 17 Ford for Roush the past seven seasons and Roush held options on his contract for 2020 and 2021. But the team informed him it is parting ways with the two-time Xfinity Series champion.
Stenhouse has two Cup victories for Roush, but is winless this season, didn’t make the playoffs and is 23rd in the overall standings. He won both his Xfinity titles driving for Roush before he was promoted to replace Matt Kenseth in 2013.
TRACK AND FIELD
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Sebastian Coe has been re-elected to lead track and field’s governing body for another four years.
Ahead of the world championships opening Friday in Doha, Coe was unopposed at the IAAF congress in Qatar to continue in the presidency he first assumed in 2015.
Coe has overseen Russia being suspended from the IAAF in one of the toughest sporting sanctions against the country over a widespread doping scandal.
The ban was extended by the congress on Wednesday, meaning it will be the second straight world championships where the only Russians competing — 30 — will do so without their country’s flag or uniform.