AP Sports Wrap from Thursday, September 15, 2016
UNDATED (AP) — The Cubs were unable to clinch the NL Central in front of their fans last night, but they were still able to celebrate.
The Cubs wrapped up their first division crown in eight years when the St. Louis Cardinals lost 6-2 at San Francisco. Johnny Cueto went the distance on a five-hitter to help the Giants improve their own playoff chances. Cueto also lifted a sacrifice fly that broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning.
Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer and Denard Span added a two-run single as the Giants pulled within four games of the NL West-leading Dodgers. San Francisco also moved one game ahead of the New York Mets for the first NL wild-card berth.
The Cubs were able to pop champagne despite their 5-4 loss to Milwaukee. Scooter Gennett (jeh-NEHT') delivered a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh to delay the Cubbies' celebration by about two hours.
Orlando Arcia also doubled home a pair and Keon Broxton homered for Milwaukee. Jorge Soler's (HOHR'-hay soh-LEHRZ') two-run shot gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox have opened a crucial four-game series with the New York Yankees by staging a huge ninth-inning rally that has stretched their lead in the American League East.
Hanley Ramirez crushed a three-run, walk-off homer off Dellin Betances (DEH'-lihn beh-TAN'-sehs) to give the Bosox a 7-5 win over the Yanks. Betances and the Yankees were one out from a 5-2 victory until David Ortiz and Mookie Betts hit RBI singles ahead of the game-winning blast by Ramirez. Ortiz also belted his 537th career home run to pass Mickey Mantle for 17th place on the all-time list.
Billy Butler drove in a pair for the Bombers after signing with New York earlier in the day. The two RBIs helped the Yankees go ahead 4-0 before Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly for the first of his three RBIs.
The outcome puts the AL East leaders two games ahead of Baltimore and Toronto, and five in front of the Yankees.
The Orioles were beaten by the last-place Rays as Evan Longoria slammed a three-run homer and had five RBIs in Tampa Bay's 7-6 win at Camden Yards. Longoria's two-run double put the Rays ahead 7-4 in the fourth inning.
The Birds put the tying run on third with one out in the bottom of the ninth before Alex Colome (KAH'-lah-may) struck out sluggers Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis to end the game.
The Blue Jays caught up to the O's by riding Russell Martin's three-run homer and four RBIs to a 7-2 victory against the Angels. J.A. Happ improved to 19-4 by limiting Los Angeles to one earned run and three hits over six innings. Devon Travis added a two-run single in the ninth to secure Toronto's third victory in 10 games.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Mitch Haniger smacked a three-run homer to cap Arizona's five-run sixth in a 7-3 victory against the Dodgers. Archie Bradley struck out seven and held Los Angeles to three runs on nine hits in six innings. Dodgers starter Rich Hill was tagged for four runs over 5 1/3, one start after he threw seven perfect innings at Miami.
— The Indians still top the AL Central by six games over Detroit after Cleveland lost in Chicago for the third time in four days. Carlos Sanchez supplied a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to lift the White Sox past the Indians 2-1. Jose Abreu (ah-BRAY'-oo) tied the game with a solo blast before Sanchez left the Indians' magic number at 11.
— Brian Dozier hit a two-run single and Eddie Rosario was 3-for-4 with two runs scored as the Twins downed the Tigers 5-1. Byron Buxton and Max Kepler each had two hits and an RBI for the Twins, who chased Detroit starter Mike Pelfrey during a four-run second. Hector Santiago picked up his 12th victory by limiting the Tigers to a run and six hits over 5 2/3s. Detroit is one game behind the Blue Jays and Orioles in the battle for the two AL wild-card berths.
— Ryon (RY'-an) Healy and Marcus Semien belted three-run homers while Oakland built a 15-0 lead in a 15-5 laugher at Kansas City. Stephen Vogt (voht) smacked a two-run homer and had five RBIs to back Daniel Mengden, who blanked the Royals on three hits over seven innings.
— Andrew McCutchen belted two of the Pirates' five home runs in a 15-2 dismantling of the Phillies in Philadelphia. Jordy Mercer hit a three-run shot and John Jaso (JAY'-soh) and Sean Rodriguez added solo blasts for the Pirates.
MLB-PADRES GM SUSPENSION
MLB suspends Padres GM 30 days
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has slapped San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller with a 30-day suspension for failing to disclose medical information when pitcher Drew Pomeranz was traded to the Boston Red Sox in July.
The Padres issued a statement in which Peller said he accepted full responsibility for "issues related to the oversight of our medical administration and record keeping." It is believed to be the first time a general manager had been benched for hiding medical information from a trade partner.
Jets outscore Bills
ORCHARD PARK, New York (AP) — The Buffalo Bills spent halftime of Thursday night's game retiring jersey No. 78 in honor of NFL all-time sacks leader Bruce Smith, who played 15 of his 19 seasons for the team. Smith was about the only hint of defense put on display by the Bills as they surrendered 493 total yards in a 37-31 loss to the New York Jets on Thursday.
The Jets had a 100-yard rusher and a pair of 100-yard receivers as they beat Buffalo for the first time in their last six meetings. Matt Forte (FOHR'-tay) ran for three touchdowns and finished with an even 100 yards on 30 carries to help New York bounce back from last weekend's 23-22 loss to Cincinnati.
Former Bill Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 24 of his 34 passes for 374 yards, one TD and no interceptions. Eric Decker had six receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown, Brandon Marshall accounted for 101 yards on six catches and Quincy Enunwa (eh-NOON'-wah) grabbed six passes for 92 yards.
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor passed for 297 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Taylor threw scoring strikes of 84 yards to Marquise Goodwin and 71 yards to ex-Jet Greg Salas.
Buffalo has opened the season with back-to-back, six-point losses.
Wilson expects to play Sunday
UNDATED (AP) — Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson insists he'll be ready to play against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Wilson has been a full participant in practice each of the past two days after suffering a sprained ankle in the third quarter of last Sunday's game against the Dolphins.
In other NFL news:
— Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas optimistic about his playing status Sunday against the Colts despite being limited in practice due to a sore hip. Thomas said he hurt the hip on his second catch in a season-opening win over Carolina last week.
— Giants fullback and defensive lineman Nikita Whitlock has received a 10-game suspension without pay for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances. Whitlock is on the reserve/injured list and will begin serving his suspension immediately.
Vegas stadium clears one hurdle
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada oversight committee has voted unanimously to recommend $750 million in public funding for a stadium project in Las Vegas, where city officials hope to lure the Raiders from Oakland.
The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee recommended raising the hotel tax in the Las Vegas area to help pay for a 65,000-seat domed venue that would be partially financed by billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas has been hammering out the particulars of the Raiders deal for months, but the project still needs approval from the governor, the Legislature and three-quarters of league owners.
House seeks review of NFL
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are calling for an independent review of allegations that the NFL sought to improperly influence a government study into the link between football and brain disease.
GOP leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general stating that a thorough assessment is needed to ensure the integrity of the process for awarding research grants. The league has issued a statement saying that it looks forward to cooperating with the inspector general.
New deal for L.A.'s Brockers
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers has agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2019.
The 14th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft has 14½ sacks and two forced fumbles in 62 games with the Rams, starting all but one game during that time.
T25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Cougars rally to spank Bearcats
CINCINNATI (AP) — The sixth-ranked Houston Cougars are 3-0 after scoring four unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a 40-16 victory against Cincinnati.
The Cougars trailed 16-12 early in the final period until Greg Ward Jr. ran for a pair of TDs. Ward was 24 of 36 for 326 yards, one TD and two interceptions after missing the Cougars' last game with a sore shoulder. He also had 73 yards on the ground.
Steven Taylor and Howard Wilson returned interceptions for touchdowns seven seconds to turn the game into a rout with 3:40 to play.
Stanford found in violation of rules
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford's football and softball teams have been found guilty of multiple NCAA violations. The school announced the violations along with a $5,000 fine.
One football player received about $3,500 in impermissible benefits, and the softball team violated the participation rule that limits practice and playing time to 20 hours per week.
These are Stanford's first major violations, which occurred in 2014.
The NCAA accepted those punishments, which were self-imposed by the school, and issued a public reprimand.
Parents of NASCAR driver's father strangled his wife, killed himself
ORANGE, Calif. (AP) — Police say the father of former auto racing star Robby Gordon strangled his wife before fatally shooting himself in their Southern California home.
An Orange, California, police spokesman announced the cause of death in the apparent murder-suicide involving 68-year-old Robert Gordon and 57-year-old Sharon Gordon. The spokesman said officers discovered the bodies in an upscale suburban neighborhood after receiving a 911 call Wednesday afternoon.
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France (AP) — South Koreans In Gee Chun and Sung Hyun Park share the lead after the first round of the LPGA's Evian Championship in France, the final major of the year for the women. Each opened with an 8-under-63 that included eight birdies.
American Annie Park shares third place with Shanshan Feng at 7-under, with fellow American Angela Stanford two shots off the lead.
New Zealander Lydia Ko's bid to defend her title and capture a third career major by the age of 19 got off to a rocky start as she finished seven shots behind the co-leaders.