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.

In the only playoff game of the night tonight, the Atlanta Braves can win their first pennant in 22 years with a victory in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series at Dodger Stadium.

Max Fried is scheduled to start for the Braves in his hometown. The Atlanta Braves welcomed back outfielder Jorge Soler after he was activated following his positive COVID-19 test. Manager Brian Snitker says Soler would be used off the bench.

Joe Kelly will start for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Manager Dave Roberts said the right-handed reliever will serve as the opener of the planned bullpen game.

The Dodgers trail 3-1 in the series and were facing elimination.

Third baseman Justin Turner injured his hamstring running to first base on Wednesday and is done for the season. MLB approved third baseman Andy Burns as a roster substitution.


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

HOUSTON (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi (ee-VAHL’-dee) wants the ball with the chance to extend the Red Sox’s season Friday. The Boston righty will start against Houston in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series. The Astros lead the best-of-seven series three games to two.

Astros rookie Luis Garcia is scheduled to face Eovaldi. He was the loser in Game 2.

The Astros won two out of three in Boston after splitting the first two at home.


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.

Elsewhere around the NFL:

— Wide receiver/return specialist Andre Roberts signed with the Los Angeles Chargers after being released earlier this week by the Houston Texans. Roberts is in his 11th season and is one of the league’s top kick and punt returns, something the Chargers have been lacking. He was an All-Pro selection while with the New York Jets in 2018. Over the past four seasons, Roberts leads the NFL in return yards and has returned one punt and one kickoff for touchdowns.

— Marcus Maye went straight to the coach’s office once the news of his DUI arrest from February became public. He had to explain what happened and why he kept it from the New York Jets for more than seven months. Broward County court records show the 28-year-old Maye was charged with three misdemeanors after a car crash on Feb. 22 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Maye said he wasn’t allowed to comment on his legal situation, but was remorseful. Maye also insisted he doesn’t want to be traded and wants to remain with the Jets for the long term.

— Every week for the past two seasons, NFL players take the field wearing social justice messages on their helmets. “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism” are stenciled in the end zones as part of the league’s Inspire Change platform. But actions often speak louder than words. The fallout from Jon Gruden’s emails has many questioning what it will really take to change the culture in the NFL. In a sport where about 70% of the players are Black, more than 80% of head coaches and general managers are white. Among principal owners, only Jacksonville’s Shad Khan and Buffalo’s Kim Pegula are members of minorities.


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.

Elsewhere in the NHL:

— Winnipeg center Mark Scheifele (SHY’-flee) was placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol Thursday and sat out the Jets’ home opener against the Anaheim Ducks. Scheifele tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday morning, but was asymptomatic. He had a negative test and would have been cleared to play Thursday night against Anaheim if he had another negative test before the game started. Scheifele is the second Winnipeg player to test positive for COVID-19 this week after captain Blake Wheeler was put in league protocol Monday, Scheifele and Wheeler make up two-thirds of Winnipeg’s top line with Kyle Connor.


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.


Sakkari, Halep advance in Moscow; Rublev ousted

MOSCOW (AP) — Maria Sakkari clinched a spot at the WTA Finals for the first time by reaching the quarterfinals at the Kremlin Cup when Anna Kalinskaya retired with an illness in the second set.

The third-seeded Sakkari, who was leading 6-2, 1-0 when Kalinskaya retired, became the first Greek woman to qualify for the season-ending event for the top eight players.

In the men’s tournament, Adrian Mannarino saved a match point before beating defending champion Andrey Rublev of Russia 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.


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.