Update on the latest sports


Astros grab 3-2 lead by blasting Sox for second straight day

BOSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros have regained control of the AL Championship Series by whipping the Red Sox in Boston for the second straight day.

Yordan (yohr-DAHN’) Alvarez had three hits and three RBIs as the Astros hammered the Red Sox, 9-1. Alvarez opened the scoring with a second-inning blast and added a two-run double that ignited Houston’s five-run sixth.

Yuli Gurriel (YOO’-lee gur-ee-EHL’) also had three ribbies for the Astros.

Framber Valdez was superb over eight innings, limiting the Bosox to a run and three hits while striking out five. Valdez blanked the Red Sox until Rafael Devers (DEH’-vurz) homered in the seventh. He also became the first pitcher of the postseason to work eight innings.

Chris Sale absorbed the loss, allowing four runs and three hits with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. Two of the runs were unearned, thanks to an error by first baseman Kyle Schwarber in the sixth.

The Astros can advance to the World Series on Friday in Houston.


Braves up early

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Atlanta Braves are in line to take a three-games-to-one lead in the NL Championship Series after knocking around a Cy Young candidate.

The Braves tagged Julio Urias (oo-REE’-uhs) for three home runs over the first three innings and led the Dodgers, 5-2 heading into the seventh inning. Eddie Rosario and Adam Duvall belted consecutive solo shots in the top of the second, one inning before Freddie Freeman went deep. Joc Pederson’s RBI single made it 4-0 later in the third.

Urias was reached for five runs and eight hits in five innings. He was baseball’s only 20-game winner this season.

The Dodgers finally broke through on AJ Pollock’s two-run single in the fifth.

Jesse Chavez served as the Braves’ opener today after Huascar Ynoa was scratched with shoulder inflammation. Drew Smyly could be in line to get the win after working 3 1/3 innings.

Should the Braves win, they’d have a chance to advance to the World Series as early as Thursday.


Mets’ Carrasco has surgery to remove bone fragment in elbow

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Mets right-hander Carlos Carrasco has had surgery to remove a bone fragment from his pitching elbow and is projected to resume baseball activities this winter.

The 34-year-old Carrasco was obtained by the Mets from Cleveland in January along with shortstop Francisco Lindor. He tore his right hamstring during spring training and didn’t make his season debut until July 30.

Carrasco went 1-5 with a 6.04 ERA in 12 starts.


Wizards spoil Raptors’ return to Toronto

UNDATED (AP) — The Raptors have lost their season opener, which also marked their return to Toronto.

Bradley Beal scored 23 points and Montrezl (MAHN’-trehz) Harrell had 22 in his Wizards debut to lead Washington’s 98-83 victory. Kyle Kuzma (KOOOZ’-mah) had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Wizards, who led by as many as 29 in winning Wes Unseld Jr.’s first game as an NBA head coach.

Scottie Barnes had 12 points and nine boards for the Raptors, who played all of their home games last season in Tampa due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Canada.

In Wednesday’s other NBA action:

— LaMelo Ball drained seven 3-pointers while scoring 31 points as the Hornets rallied past the Pacers, 123-122. Indiana led, 84-63 until Ball scored 10 points during a 24-0 spurt.

— Zach LaVine (lah-VEEN’) scored 15 of his 34 points in the third quarter to lead the Bulls to a 94-88 victory over the Pistons. DeMar DeRozan had 17 points, and Lonzo Ball had 12 points in their Bulls debut.


Valanciunas extended

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (YOH’-nuhs val-ehn-CHOO’-nuhs) has agreed to a two-year extension worth a reported $30.1 million.

Valanciunas’ extension was first reported by ESPN, which received financial terms from the center’s representative.

New Orleans acquired the 29-year-old in a trade with Memphis this past offseason. The Pelicans sent Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe to the Grizzlies for the nine-year veteran.

Valanciunas averaged 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds with Memphis last season.


Browns’ Mayfield out, Keenum starting

UNDATED (AP) — Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will sit out Thursday’s game against the Denver Broncos with a painful left shoulder injury.

Cleveland announced that backup Case Keenum will start, 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.

Keenum has made 62 career NFL starts, most recently for Washington in 2019.

In other NFL news:

— The 49ers are optimistic starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo can return this week from a right calf injury but don’t expect backup Trey Lance back for another week. Coach Kyle Shanahan says Garoppolo will be limited at practice after missing one game with the injury and is on target to play Sunday night against Indianapolis. Lance sprained his left knee when he started in place of Garoppolo.

— Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a quadriceps injury in addition to his sore left foot and is questionable for the game at Cleveland on Thursday night. Bridgewater got hit 17 times in Denver’s third consecutive loss Sunday, two weeks after he was knocked out of a game against the Ravens with a concussion. What left him limping was right guard Graham Glasgow stepping on his left foot just as he delivered a touchdown throw to Noah Fant in the closing minutes.

— The Texans have released veteran defensive end Whitney Mercilus. Mercilus was one of the longest-tenured players on the team after most of the team’s stars have been traded or released in recent years.

— Washington has released longtime kicker Dustin Hopkins and signed Chris Blewitt as his replacement. Hopkins missed two extra point attempts in a win over the Falcons, but he’s 12-for-14 on field goals. He was in his seventh season with the team.

— The league has agreed to end race-based adjustments in dementia testing that critics said made it difficult for Black retirees to qualify for awards in the $1 billion settlement of concussion claims. That’s 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. Critics of race-norming say the adjustments may have prevented hundreds of Black players suffering from dementia to win awards that average $500,000 or more.


AP sources: 6 C-USA schools apply for AAC membership

UNDATED (AP) — Six schools from Conference USA, including UAB, Texas-San Antonio and Florida Atlantic, have applied for membership to the American Athletic Conference and are expected to be accepted by the end of the week, according to two people with knowledge of the process.

The two people tell The Associated Press that Rice, North Texas and Charlotte also have applied for membership.

The American was in the market for new members after three of its most successful schools, Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida, announced in September they would be joining the Big 12. The comings and goings will leave the American with 14 members, likely for the 2023 football season.


Attorney says Rolovich ready to fight dismissal

UNDATED (AP) — The attorney for fired Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich says his client is prepared to take legal action.

Attorney Brian Fahling says Rolovich’s termination for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccination was unlawful and an attack on his Catholic faith.

Rolovich and four of his assistants were fired Monday for not complying with the governor’s mandate that all state employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Rolovich had requested a religious exemption but it was denied Monday, the state’s vaccination deadline.


Atkinson scores twice as Flyers double up B’s

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — One of the newest members of the Philadelphia Flyers played a major role in their 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

Cam Atkinson provided two goals, including the go-ahead score that sent him tumbling into the boards. The former Blue Jacket had the crowd going wild on his hustle-and-tumble goal only 58 seconds into the third for a 4-3 lead.

Sean Couturier (koo-TUR’-ee-ay) and Joel Farabee added a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who also received goals from Travis Konecny (kah-NEHK’-nee) and Scott Laughton.

Martin Jones handled 37 shots for Philadelphia.


Oilers’ Smith on IR

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers have placed goalie Mike Smith on injured reserve because of a lower-body injury.

The 39-year-old Smith was hurt in the second period of Tuesday’s 6-5 victory over the Ducks. He was replaced in the net by Mikko Koskinen.

The Oilers recalled goalie Stuart Skinner from the Bakersfield Condors in the American Hockey League.