The NFL season gets underway tonight as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the World Champion New England Patriots. The Patriots are defending their 5th Super Bowl title after January’s stunning rally to beat the Atlanta Falcons.
The Oakland Raiders have high hopes with a healthy Derek Carr and numerous weapons on the offensive end as they travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans in their season opener on Sunday.
The 49ers have a new regime with new GM John Lynch and new head coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers will host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
(AP) — Doug Fister gave up one run over seven innings, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 on Wednesday night, a day after the teams played a 19-inning marathon.
It was the second straight win for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who moved four games ahead of the second-place Yankees. New York’s game at Baltimore was rained out.
Playing just 18 hours after completing a victory that lasted six hours and ended on Hanley Ramirez’s bloop single, the Red Sox took charge with a four-run fourth that was capped by Bradley’s homer.
Fister allowed four hits, struck out nine and walked three, improving to 3-1 in his last four starts with a 1.50 ERA.
Joe Biagini was tagged for five runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Elsewhere around the majors:
— Joe Panik completed a torrid series with five more hits and Johnny Cueto threw five effective innings, helping the San Francisco Giants beat Colorado 11-3 to snap a 10-game skid against the Rockies at Coors Field. Panik wore out Rockies pitching by going 12 of 15 — setting a Giants record for most hits in a three-game series.
— Alex Avila knocked an RBI triple in the ninth inning, capping a duel between Jose Quintana and Gerrit Cole and lifting the Chicago Cubs over the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 on Wednesday night. After Cole limited Chicago to two hits over eight innings, Avila scored pinch-runner Leonys Martin from second base with a drive to the right-field corner off reliever Daniel Hudson.
— Gio Gonzalez and four relievers combined on a six-hitter, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins for the eighth consecutive time, winning 8-1 Wednesday night. Gonzalez pitched five scoreless innings but needed 101 pitches. Ryan Zimmerman hit his 31st homer, and Michael A. Taylor added his 14th. Washington increased its lead in the NL East to 18 games over second-place Miami.
— The last-place Cincinnati Reds have completed a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers. Rookie Luis Castillo struck out 10 in his final start of the season, and Zack Cozart and Jose Peraza homered in the Reds 7-1 win on Wednesday. The playoff-contending Brewers have lost four of five.
— Carlos Carrasco allowed three hits in a complete game, giving the Cleveland Indians their 14th straight win in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night. Cleveland equaled its longest winning streak in franchise history and also won its 10th straight road game as the right-hander lost his shutout with two outs in the ninth inning when Adam Engel homered.
— Sean Manaea pitched six-plus innings of shutout ball and Khris Davis homered as the Oakland Athletics snapped a season-high eight-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels, locked in a tight wild card race, were trying for their seventh series sweep and second against the A’s this year. Los Angeles is among five teams competing for two wild card berths.
— Eduardo Escobar had three hits and collected three RBIs, Brian Dozier and Ehire Adrianza both homered, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Tampa Bay Rays 10-6 this afternoon. Minnesota ended a three-game skid streak and moved into a tie with the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild-card spot.
— Freddie Freeman hit a two-run double during Atlanta’s five-run second inning against Cole Hamels and the Braves held off a rally to beat the Texas Rangers 5-4 and split a doubleheader Wednesday night. Nomar Mazara had a two-run homer in the nightcap for Texas, which won the first game 12-8 behind four hits from Elvis Andrus. The Rangers are two games behind the Twins in the race for the second AL wild card.
— Robert Gsellman pitched well in a winning return from the minors and Travis d’Arnaud homered to help the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 on Wednesday night in a game shortened to six innings because of rain. Asdrubal Cabrera went 3 for 3 with an RBI single and scored twice. New York took two of three from the last-place Phillies.
— Salvador Perez homered twice as the Kansas City Royals broke open a close game to rout the Detroit Tigers 13-2 on Wednesday night. The Royals broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the seventh, then scored seven in the eighth. Jason Hammell got the win.
— Wednesday night’s game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles has been postponed by rain. The teams will attempt to finish their three-game series on Thursday afternoon at 1:35 p.m. The teams split the first two games of the series.
Red Sox star Pedroia says why such a fuss over sign stealing
BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia says he doesn’t think he did anything wrong when he tried to steal signs from the New York Yankees.
The 34-year-old Pedroia said Wednesday that he’s been doing that in baseball since junior high school.
Pedroia and several teammates were accused of using an Apple Watch to relay signals of opposing catchers. Baseball has no rules against stealing signs, but doesn’t allow the use of technology in the endeavor.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the AL East-leading Red Sox admitted to Major League Baseball that they used the watch to relay the signals to Boston players. The allegations were levied by the Yankees to MLB.
Pedroia says players know that stealing signs is part of the game and doesn’t understand why there’s been such a fuss.
In other MLB News:
— The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired right-handed reliever Juan Nicasio from Philadelphia in exchange for minor league infielder Eliezer Alvarez. The 31-year-old Nicasio had joined the Phillies last week on a waiver claim from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is 3-5 with a 2.79 ERA in a National League-leading 67 games this season. Nicasio is a free agent at the end of the season and would not be eligible for postseason play.
Dolphins’ opener against Bucs postponed until Nov. 19
MIAMI (AP) — The NFL says the Miami Dolphins’ season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be postponed until Nov. 19 because of Hurricane Irma.
The game can be moved to Week 11 because that had been a bye week for both teams. NFL officials earlier announced the game would not be played in Miami this week, and then decided against moving it to a neutral site.
Both teams had said switching the game to Nov. 19 was less than ideal because it means playing the entire season without a break.
NFL, NFLPA review of film, records shows no Brady concussion
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL and the players’ union have found no evidence of deviation by New England’s medical staff from the league’s concussion protocol regarding Tom Brady last season.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday that Brady released his medical records for review as part of the process. McCarthy said the review also identified no evidence that Brady sustained a concussion or reported signs or symptoms consistent with one in 2016.
In other NFL news:
— Ezekiel Elliott has practiced fully for the first time since leaving the Dallas Cowboys for a lengthy — and ultimately unsuccessful — appeal of his six-game suspension over a domestic violence case. The star running back will play in the opener at home against the New York Giants on Sunday night essentially because of the timing of arbitrator Harold Henderson’s decision. Henderson backed the NFL process that concluded Elliott used physical force last
— Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been cleared from concussion protocol and coach Sean McDermott says he will start in the season opener against the New York Jets on Sunday.
— New York Jets safety Rontez Miles will be out against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday while continuing to recover from a serious eye injury.
— No. 2 overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky will open the season as the Chicago Bears’ No. 2 quarterback. Also, the Bears have released oft-injured linebacker Lamarr Houston.
— New York Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was back on the field and stretching with his teammates for the first time since injuring an ankle more than two weeks ago. Beckham’s status for the game has been in doubt since the injury. He rode a stationary bike Monday while the team stretched.
— Wide receiver James Jones has retired following a nine-year NFL career spent mostly with the Green Bay Packers. Jones announced his retirement on a video posted on Twitter by the Packers on Wednesday. He played in 62 games over eight seasons with the Packers.
Memphis LB Jackson Dillon out for year with shoulder injury
UNDATED (AP) — Memphis linebacker Jackson Dillon will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
Tigers coach Mike Norvell announced the severity of Dillon’s injury Wednesday. Dillon hurt his shoulder last week during the Tigers’ season-opening 37-29 victory over Louisiana-Monroe.
Dillon, a fifth-year senior from Ringling, Oklahoma, had played in only one game last season due to a knee injury. He made a combined 31 starts for Memphis from 2013-15.
Norvell said Memphis plans on checking to see if the NCAA will grant Dillon a sixth season of eligibility.
In other college football news:
— No. 22 Florida will be without freshman receiver James Robinson indefinitely because of a heart issue. Coach Jim McElwain made the announcement Wednesday after practice, saying “something” showed up in Robinson’s echocardiogram. McElwain added that Robinson will see heart specialists and “we’ll take every precaution to help him as he moves forward.”
The 6-foot-4 Robinson was suspended for the season opener against Michigan following an Aug. 21 marijuana possession citation. He also was cited for marijuana possession during his official visit to Ohio State in January. McElwain took a chance by signing Robinson, who was considered one of the top-15 receivers coming out of Lakeland High School.
NBA -PACERS-SIMON SAYS
Pacers owner denies report about possibly suing Lakers
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon is denying a report that the team might sue the Los Angeles Lakers for tampering with Paul George.
The NBA fined the Lakers $500,000 last week for violating league rules and there was a report that the Pacers were considering legal action, too.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Simon said the Pacers agreed with the league’s decision and that the team simply wanted to move on.
In other NBA news:
— The Atlanta Hawks have signed guards Quinn Cook and Josh Maggette and forward Tyler Cavanaugh. Cook, from Duke, played five games with Dallas and nine games with New Orleans as a rookie last season. He averaged 5.6 points and 1.9 assists. Cook is a two-time All-Star in the NBA G League. He was the 2016 G League Rookie of the Year.
Calgary Flames sign forward Sam Bennett to 2-year contract
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — The Calgary Flames signed forward Sam Bennett to a two-year contract Wednesday with an annual average value of $1.95 million.
The 21-year-old Bennett had 13 goals and 13 assists in 81 regular-season games last season, and added two goals in four playoff games.
Selected by Calgary in the first-round pick of the 2014 draft, he has 31 goals and 32 assists in 159 career NHL games.
Wie withdraws from Evian, recovering from appendicitis
UNDATED (AP) — Michelle Wie has withdrawn from The Evian Championship as she recovers from surgery to remove her appendix.
The 27-year-old Wie withdrew from the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open at Ottawa Hunt before the final round Aug. 27 and had the surgery that night at Ottawa Hospital. The Evian Championship, the final major of the LPGA Tour season, begins Sept. 14 in France.
WORLD LONG DRIVE
Justin James wins Volvik World Long Drive Championship
THACKERVILLE, Okla. (AP) — Justin James won the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, beating Canadian Mitch Grassing in the final round.
After Grassing failed to find the grid on all eight of attempts in the two-round final, James — needing only to put one of his last four balls on the grid at the minimum 270 yards — hit a 435-yarder on his first shot in the second round to take the $125,000 top prize.
The 27-year-old James is from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
No Rafa vs. Roger at US Open: del Potro beats Federer in QF
NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Federer was unable to set up his first U.S. Open match against Rafael Nadal.
Federer lost in the quarterfinals to Juan Martin del Potro in four sets.
The U.S. Open is the only Grand Slam tournament where Federer and Nadal have never met. Del Potro will face Nadal in the semifinals.
Madison Keys has made it an all-American women’s final four at the U.S. Open.
The No. 15 seed beat Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the second time.
She will face No. 20 CoCo Vandeweghe on Thursday night in the second semifinal, after ninth-seeded Venus Williams faces unseeded Sloane Stephens.
The Americans hadn’t had all four semifinalists at the U.S. Open since 1981, when Tracy Austin beat Martina Navratilova for the title. Chris Evert and Barbara Potter also made the semifinals.
The last time it happened at any Grand Slam tournament was at Wimbledon in 1985, with Navratilova and Evert joined by Zina Garrison and Kathy Rinaldi.
The U.S. Open is guaranteed its first all-American final since Serena Williams beat Venus in 2002.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL- JUD HEATHCOTE-TRIBUTE
Michigan State to pay tribute to coaching icon Heathcote
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State’s basketball team will wear patches throughout the upcoming season to honor former coach Jud Heathcote.
The Feb. 10 home game against Purdue also has been named the Jud Heathcote Tribute Game.
Heathcote died Aug. 28 in Spokane, Washington, at the age of 90.
Heathcote retired in 1995 after a 19-year career at Michigan State. He led the Spartans and Magic Johnson to the 1979 NCAA championship, won three Big Ten titles and appeared in nine NCAA tournaments. He got his start as a head coach in college at Montana in 1971.
A public memorial service is scheduled Sept. 23 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Spokane.