Wednesday Sports in Brief

BASEBALL

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Yandy Diaz slugged baseball’s lowest spender into a matchup with mighty Houston, Charlie Morton silenced the powerful Athletics on the mound, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Oakland at its own game 5-1 in the AL wild-card round Wednesday night.

Diaz hit a leadoff homer and went deep again in the third inning. Avisail Garcia hit a two-run drive in the second, and Morton had all the support he needed as Tampa Bay advanced to face the AL West champion Astros in a best-of-five Division Series after Houston won a major league-best 107 games this season.

Tommy Pham homered in the fifth for the 96-win Rays, who had the smallest payroll in the majors at $66.4 million. They were unfazed by the towel-swirling Oakland home crowd of 54,005 that established a wild-card record, having recently played at Dodger Stadium and also on the road against the Yankees and Red Sox in the season’s final two weeks.

The Rays raced out of their dugout to celebrate when Marcus Semien struck out to end it, and then started putting on fresh playoff T-shirts and caps.

FOOTBALL

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle.

A team captain, Kirksey was injured during playing against the New York Jets on Sept. 16. He was placed on injured reserve Sept. 21 and had the operation Wednesday.

The Browns expect Kirksey to make a full recovery, but his loss cuts into their experience and they’ll miss his on-field leadership. Rookie Mack Wilson is starting in Kirksey’s spot.

It’s the second straight season Kirksey has had shortened by injury. A third-round pick in 2014, Kirksey played in all 16 games in his first four seasons before suffering a hamstring injury and missing the final seven in 2018.

The Browns signed him to a four-year, $38 million extension in 2017.”They might smell a little,” Alonso warned. He added that it was “seriously an honor.”

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — He owned one of the oldest franchises in professional football and rarely talked about it.

William V. “Bill” Bidwill would much rather tell stories about growing up in Chicago, his days in the Navy or the great restaurants in St. Louis than about the current state of his Arizona Cardinals, a franchise that struggled for decades before making a stunning run to the Super Bowl after the 2008 season.

Bidwill, who died Wednesday at age 88, was reviled by fans at times for what they perceived to be his penny-pinching ways. But privately he was an extremely charitable man, distributing money to many local causes, usually done quietly with no publicity. Charitable contributions also were made through the Cardinals Foundation, formed shortly after the franchise moved to Arizona in 1988.

WNBA

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne has a herniated disk in her back.

The league’s MVP left Game 2 of the WNBA Finals on Tuesday night after playing only a few minutes in the first quarter because of back spasms. She didn’t return, and an MTI revealed the herniated disk Wednesday. Delle Donne is undergoing treatment and the team said it would update her status Saturday. The series is tied 1-1, with Game 3 at Connecticut on Sunday.

Washington coach Mike Thibault said after the game that when Delle Donne went up for her first layup, her back “grabbed on her,” and she immediately asked to be subbed out.

The 6-foot-5 forward has dealt with illnesses and injuries throughout her career as she’s battled Lyme disease while in college at Delaware and it has flared up during her pro career a few times. While she was playing with Chicago, Delle Donne dealt with back issues that limited her in the Finals in 2014.