Update on the latest sports


Braves try to finish off Dodgers, in same situation as last year

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Atlanta Braves are one win away from the World Series.

Wednesday’s 9-2 win over the Dodgers gave Atlanta a commanding 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series. The Braves can win their first pennant in 22 years with a victory Thursday night in Game 5 at Dodger Stadium.

However, Los Angeles has won six consecutive postseason elimination games dating to 2020.

Atlanta was in exactly the same position last year and failed to finish the job. The Dodgers trailed 0-2 and 1-3 against Atlanta in the NLCS, then won three straight games at a neutral site in Arlington, Texas, and went on to win the World Series.

Max Fried (freed) is scheduled to start for the Braves in his hometown, while Los Angeles is planning a bullpen game.

The 27-year-old Fried was born in Santa Monica, California, and attended Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles. The left-hander allowed two runs and eight hits over six innings of a no-decision in Game 1. He is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two playoff starts this year and has struck out 14 batters with no walks in 12 innings. During the regular season, Fried went 14-7 with a 3.04 ERA.

Atlanta will be without pitcher Huascar Ynoa for the remainder of the postseason. He was scratched with shoulder inflammation from his scheduled start in Game 4 of the NLCS, then removed from the postseason roster. Left-hander Dylan Lee was added for the series. Ynoa is not eligible to return for the World Series, should the Braves advance.


García to start Game 6 of ALCS for Astros against Red Sox

HOUSTON (AP) — Rookie Luis García will start for the Houston Astros against the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series on Friday night with a trip to the World Series on the line.

García started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee. Manager Dusty Baker announced Thursday that García would get the ball for Game 6 and said the Astros are confident the problem is behind García and he’ll be 100% healthy for Friday’s start.

The Red Sox previously announced that Nathan Eovaldi (eh-VAHL’-dee) would start Game 6.

The Astros fell behind 2-1 in the series after two big wins by the Red Sox. But they rode their powerful offense to consecutive victories in the last two games to take the series lead and move within a win of advancing to the World Series for the second time in three seasons.


2 banged-up teams meet in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) — Two teams with a history of meeting in meaningful games — three AFC championships from 1986-90 — will square off Thursday night when the Cleveland Browns host the Denver Broncos.

Both teams are reeling amid a rash of injuries, most notably to their starting quarterbacks.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will miss the game with a left shoulder injury that has bothered him for weeks. He’ll be replaced by backup Case Keenum, who will make his first start since 2019. Denver QB Teddy Bridgewater is dealing with foot and quadriceps injuries and is listed as questionable.

It’s also unclear whether Cleveland receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and starting tackles Jack Conklin or Jedrick Wills Jr. are healthy enough to play. But the Browns could get some help from receiver Jarvis Landry, who has been activated from injured reserve. Landry, one of the league’s most consistent pass catchers, has been out since he sprained his medial collateral knee ligament against Houston on Sept. 19.

The Broncos have lost three straight while the Browns have dropped two in a row for the first time under coach Kevin Stefanski.


Packers sign former Texans outside linebacker Mercilus

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers have signed veteran outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus in hopes of boosting not only their pass rush but their championship hopes.

A first-round pick by the Houston Texans in 2012, Mercilus had 57 sacks in nine-plus seasons. He has three sacks this season, but only one season of eight-plus sacks in his career. That was 2015, when he had 12. The Texans released the 31-year-old this week.

Green Bay has been hit hard by injuries in general, and at outside linebacker in particular, with Pro Bowler Za’Darius Smith and backups Chauncey Rivers and Randy Ramsey on injured reserve. The other veteran starter, Preston Smith, is dealing with an oblique injury.


Devils’ Jack Hughes has dislocated left shoulder

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jack Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL draft, has a dislocated left shoulder and will be sidelined.

The Devils made the announcement Thursday, saying Hughes will not need surgery at this time. He has begun physical therapy. The team didn’t say how long he would be out.

Hughes was hurt on Tuesday night in a game against Seattle. He was ridden hard into the boards by Kraken defenseman Jeremy Lauzon and didn’t return.

The team says Hughes will be re-evaluated next week. He was placed on injured reserve Thursday.


After Kanter’s Tibet comments, Celtics blacked out in China

UNDATED (AP) — Chinese broadcaster and NBA partner Tencent is not showing current or archived Boston Celtics games on its platforms, in apparent response to comments that Celtics center Enes Kanter made to advocate Tibetan independence.

Kanter, as part of a series of social media posts, also called Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) a “dictator.”

Kanter did not play in Boston’s season-opening 138-134 loss to New York on Wednesday night. The game that wasn’t shown on the streaming services that typically broadcast most NBA games to millions in China.

Kanter was wearing shoes emblazoned with the words “Free Tibet” during Wednesday night’s game.

The NBA had no immediate comment and the Celtics were not practicing Thursday. It was also not immediately clear how long Tencent’s plans to not air the Celtics would last.


American Athletic Conference rebuilding with 6 C-USA schools

UNDATED (AP) — The American Athletic Conference will add UAB, Texas-San Antonio, Rice, North Texas, Charlotte and Florida Atlantic to the league.

The AAC is replacing three schools that are scheduled to depart for the Big 12 Conference and is growing to 14 teams. The conference hopes the move will stabilize the league in the short term and prepare it to withstand future poaching of its members.

The additions all come from Conference USA, leaving that league both searching for new members and trying to fend off other poachers. The Sun Belt has said it is interested in expanding beyond its current 10 football members and some of C-USA’s remaining eight schools would be geographic fits.


Russia’s Melnikova wins all-around final at gymnastics worlds

KITAKYUSHU, Japan (AP) — Angelina Melnikova of Russia has won the women’s all-around final to claim the first gold medal of the gymnastics world championships in Japan.

Melnikova, the 2020 Olympic all-around bronze medalist, built up a solid lead with high scores on the vault and uneven bars and finished with 56.632 points.

With defending champion Simone Biles and Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee of the United States not taking part, the stage was set for a new generation of gymnasts to emerge. Leanne Wong of the United States was second with 56.340 points, followed by teammate Kayla DiCello with bronze at 54.566.


Ko’s LPGA streak ends as SKoreans pack Busan leaderboard

BUSAN, South Korea (AP) — Jin Young Ko missed extending an LPGA Tour scoring record in the rain while her South Korean compatriots packed the first-round leaderboard of the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.

Ko had 14 straight rounds in the 60s. That tied her with Annika Sorenstam and So Yeon Ryu for the most in tour history. But Ko finished with a 1-under 71 after a birdie on the 18th hole at LPGA International Busan. Ko was seven strokes behind leader Na Rin An’s 64.