Thursday Sports in Brief

Sports

MLB

HOUSTON (AP)Lance McCullers Jr. pitched scoreless ball into the seventh inning, and the Houston Astros beat Lance Lynn and the Chicago White Sox 6-1 in Game 1 of their AL Division Series on Thursday.

Michael Brantley added two hits and two RBIs as the AL West champions showed off their playoff experience in an impressive opening performance. McCullers allowed four hits in 6 2/3 innings in his eighth career postseason start.

While Houston is in the playoffs for the fifth straight season, winning the World Series in 2017 and making it to the AL Championship Series last year, Chicago is making a second straight playoff appearance for the first time in franchise history. It lost to Oakland in the first round in 2020.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Friday in Houston.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Randy Arozarena became the first player to hit a home run and steal home in a postseason game, and rookie Shane McClanahan pitched the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox in their AL Division Series opener Thursday night.

The breakout star of October last year, Arozarena made a breathtaking dash to the plate in the seventh inning for the first straight steal of home in the postseason since Jackie Robinson did it for the Brooklyn Dodgers against Yogi Berra and the New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series, according to the FS1 broadcast.

Nelson Cruz also homered and McClanahan tossed five stellar innings for the Rays.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Friday.

NFL

BEREA, Ohio (AP) – Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been playing with a torn labrum in his left shoulder that will not require surgery at this time, a person familiar with the injury told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Mayfield will continue to play as long as the injury to his non-throwing shoulder doesn’t worsen, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Mayfield hurt his shoulder while making a tackle after throwing an interception against Houston on Sept. 21. He led the NFL in completion percentage after two games (81.6%) but has dropped to 65.5%.

– By AP Sports Writer Tom Withers.

ATLANTA (AP) – Atlanta Falcons leading receiver Calvin Ridley will not play in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets in London for personal reasons.

After Ridley was not present for Thursday’s practice, the Falcons announced Ridley would not accompany the team to London ”due to a personal matter.”

Ridley leads Atlanta with 27 catches for 255 yards. He has only one touchdown reception.

NBA

NEW YORK (AP) – The Brooklyn Nets listed Kyrie Irving as ineligible to play in their home exhibition game Friday, another strong indication he has not met New York’s vaccination requirement.

Irving has not been with the Nets for any of their practices in New York, where professional athletes are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to practice or play.

The Nets are prevented by law from revealing whether he has been vaccinated, but listed him as ”ineligible to play” in the injury report for their preseason game Friday against Milwaukee.

NHL

MONTREAL (AP) – Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has voluntarily entered the NHL/NHL Players’ Association joint player assistance program, a stunning announcement Thursday less than a week before start of the season and just three months after the former NHL MVP backstopped Montreal to the Stanley Cup Final.

The league and players’ union said the 34-year-old Price will be away from the team while he takes part in the program. The union did not specify why he entered the program, but Price’s wife, Angela, cited mental health as a reason in an Instagram post showing Price and their three children.

NEW YORK (AP) – Calgary Flames forward Blake Coleman was suspended for one preseason game and one regular-season game without pay Thursday for boarding Winnipeg Jets forward Jansen Harkins.

Coleman was assessed a minor penalty for boarding at 6:15 of the second period in the Flames’ 3-2 exhibition loss at Winnipeg on Wednesday night.

SOCCER

LONDON (AP) – English Premier League club Newcastle was sold to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund on Thursday after a protracted takeover and legal fight involving concerns about piracy and rights abuses in the kingdom.

The 300-million-pound ($409 million) takeover by the Saudi Public Investment Fund initially collapsed last year over concerns about how much control the kingdom’s leadership would have in the running of Newcastle.

PIF has had to offer assurances to the Premier League that its chairman, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and in turn the state will not have any control of the running of Newcastle.

HORSE RACING

NEW YORK (AP) – Irad Ortiz Jr. rode his 3,000th career winner Thursday in the fifth race at Belmont Park.

The 29-year-old jockey from Puerto Rico rode Saratoga Kisses to an 8 1/4-length victory for trainer and co-owner Rudy Rodriguez.

Ortiz is 15th on the career earnings list, totaling over $220 million in purses since his career began in 2011. According to racing database Equibase, Ortiz’s total wins include 92 from Puerto Rico.

MEMORABILIA

NEW YORK (AP) – A 1911 ”Shoeless” Joe Jackson autographed photograph by Frank W. Smith sold for $1.47 million, the most ever paid for a signed sports photograph.

The photo was offered by Christie’s and Hunt Auctions in New York in the auction Extra Innings: A Private Collection of Important Baseball Memorabilia.

COURTS

NEW YORK (AP) – Eighteen former NBA players were charged Thursday with pocketing about $2.5 million illegally by defrauding the league’s health and welfare benefit plan in a scam that authorities said involved claiming fictitious medical and dental expenses.

”The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss told a news conference after FBI agents across the country arrested 15 ex-players and one of their wives in a three-year conspiracy that authorities say started in 2017.

According to an indictment returned in Manhattan federal court, the ex-players teamed up to defraud the supplemental coverage plan by submitting fraudulent claims to get reimbursed for medical and dental procedures that never happened.

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A federal magistrate judge in Nevada has sided with Cristiano Ronaldo’s lawyers against a woman who sued for more than the $375,000 in hush money she received in 2010 after saying the international soccer star raped her in Las Vegas.

In a scathing recommendation to the judge hearing the case, Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts on Wednesday blamed Kathryn Mayorga’s attorney, Leslie Mark Stovall, for inappropriately basing the civil damages lawsuit on leaked and stolen documents shown to be privileged communications between Ronaldo and his lawyers.

OBITUARY

PROVO, Utah (AP) – Gordon Hudson, an All-American tight end for BYU and a college football hall of famer, died Sept. 27. He was 59.

He died in San Jose, California, the school said.

Hudson suited up for the Cougars from 1980-83, earning All-America honors as a junior and senior. Playing for legendary coach LaVell Edwards and in a pass-happy offense, he amassed 2,484 yards receiving and 22 touchdowns over his decorated career. He also helped BYU capture four Western Athletic Conference titles and earn four Holiday Bowl invitations.

Hudson still holds the NCAA record for most yards gained in a game by a tight end when he had 259 against Utah on Nov. 21, 1981. His 5.4 career catches per game also remain a record among tight ends. Hudson hauled in passes from such notable BYU quarterbacks as Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Robbie Bosco.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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