LOS ANGELES (AP)Eddie Rosario homered twice in his second four-hit game of the NL Championship Series and six Atlanta pitchers combined on a four-hitter, giving the Braves a 9-2 victory Wednesday over the Los Angeles Dodgers and a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff.
Adam Duvall and Freddie Freeman also homered for Atlanta, which bounced right back from blowing a late lead in an agonizing loss Tuesday and ended its 10-game losing streak at Dodger Stadium.
Game 5 is Thursday in Los Angeles, with the Braves one win from their first pennant in 22 years and the defending World Series champions facing elimination. Last year, the Dodgers trailed 0-2 and 1-3 against Atlanta in the NLCS before roaring back to win three straight games at a neutral site in Arlington, Texas.
They’ll need to jump-start their offense to have a shot. Their first five hitters – Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, NL batting champion Trea Turner, Will Smith and Gavin Lux – were a combined 0 for 17.
BOSTON (AP) – Framber Valdez was perfect through four, took a two-hit shutout into the seventh and became the first pitcher in the 2021 postseason to finish eight innings on Wednesday as the Houston Astros beat Boston 9-1 in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series and moved one win from a second trip to the World Series in three years.
Yordan Alvarez had three hits and three RBIs for Houston, which can clinch its third pennant in five years with a victory in Game 6 at home on Friday night. The Red Sox need a win to force a deciding seventh game on Saturday.
One day after the Astros scored seven runs to break a ninth-inning tie, they hung another crooked number on the Fenway Park scoreboard, chasing Chris Sale while scoring five runs in the sixth. Alvarez, who homered in the second and singled in the fourth, had a two-run double to break things open.
That was plenty for Valdez, who extended the staff’s shutout streak to 14 straight innings before Rafael Devers homered with one out in the seventh – one of just three hits for Boston.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The NFL and lawyers for thousands of retired NFL players have reached an agreement to end race-based adjustments in dementia testing in the $1 billion settlement of concussion claims, according to a proposed deal filed Wednesday in federal court.
The revised testing plan follows public outrage over the use of ”race-norming,” a practice that came to light only after two former NFL players filed a civil rights lawsuit over it in 2019. The adjustments, critics say, may have prevented hundreds of Black players suffering from dementia to win awards that average $500,000 or more.
The Black retirees will now have the chance to have their tests rescored or, in some cases, seek a new round of cognitive testing, according to the settlement, details of which were first reported in The New York Times on Wednesday.
The proposal, which must still be approved by a judge, follows months of closed-door negotiations between the NFL, class counsel for the retired players, and lawyers for the Black players who filed suit, Najeh Davenport and Kevin Henry.
CLEVELAND (AP) – Baker Mayfield had to surrender to the pain.
Cleveland’s starting quarterback, who has played the past four weeks with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, will sit out Thursday’s game against the Denver Broncos and backup Case Keenum will start.
The Browns (3-3) announced the switch on Wednesday, ending speculation about whether Mayfield would try to push through an injury to his non-throwing shoulder that he suffered last month and has worsened in recent weeks.
Mayfield was limited in practice on Tuesday, when he said he still expected to play. However, with this being a short week, there wasn’t enough time for the swelling in his shoulder to go down and it was decided early Wednesday for him to rest, ending Mayfield’s streak of 53 consecutive starts for Cleveland.
The loss of him means the Browns’ entire starting backfield has been wiped out by injuries.
National Women’s Soccer League interim CEO Marla Messing has announced an agreement with the players’ association to address demands made in the wake of abuse and harassment scandals that have shaken the league.
Messing, who took on the CEO role this week, also said the league would be collaborating with the union to investigate the allegations. The league has hired the law firm of Covington & Burling to conduct the inquiry.
Two former players accused former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley of harassment and sexual coercion. Amid the fallout, Riley was fired and NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird resigned.
Other allegations of harassment have come to light involving former Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke, who was also fired. OL Reign coach Farid Benstiti was dismissed this summer for inappropriate behavior during practice.
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