MILWAUKEE (AP) — Adam Wainwright shook off an early home run and pitched a four-hitter, leading the St. Louis Cardinals past the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt ran the team in the opener. He was to miss the nightcap while serving a one-game suspension, imposed by Major League Baseball after tempers flared during the Brewers’ 18-3 romp Tuesday night.
Wainwright (5-1) struck out nine in the seven-inning complete game as the Cardinals reached .500 in their bid for a spot in the expanded playoff field.
Christian Yelich hit a one-out single in the Milwaukee first and Keston Huira followed with his 13th home run. Wainwright quickly settled down and allowed just two singles and a walk the rest of the way.
Tyler O’Neill hit a solo homer in the second and Brad Miller’s seventh homer, a solo drive in the sixth, put the Cardinals up 4-2.
Brandon Woodruff (2-4), who also went the distance, allowed three earned and seven hits. He struck out five and walked none.
St. Louis snapped a 2-2 tie with an unearned run in the fifth. Harrison Bader reached on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Jace Peterson and Tommy Edman sliced an opposite-field double to left.
O’Neill answered with his sixth homer to make it 2-1. O’Neill’s homer was the first of the series for the Cardinals, the first time since 2005 that St. Louis had gone without a home run over three games at Miller Park.
Shildt also received an undisclosed fine after he was involved in a benches-clearing incident in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game. Shildt and Brewers manager Craig Counsell were both ejected following a catcher’s interference call against the Cardinals Yadier Molina.
Cardinals: RHP Johan Oviedo (0-2, 4.66 ERA) was activated off the injured list after passing a rapid test for COVID-19 and was scheduled to start the second game of the doubleheader. LHP Rob Kaminsky was designated for assignment. OF Justin Williams was recalled from the alternate training stie as the 29th player for the doubleheader. INF Max Schrock and RHP Junior Fernandez were recalled from the alternate training site. OF Lane Thomas and RHP Nabil Crismatt were optioned to the alternate training site.
Brewers: RHP Josh Lindblom was placed on the bereavement list and RHP Justin Topa was recalled from the alternate training site. LHP Eric Lauer was recalled from the alternate training site as the 29th player for the doubleheader. INF Ronny Rodriguez and RHP Trey Supak were outrighted to Triple-A San Antonio.
Cards: Molina, who caught an additional two innings before leaving Tuesday’s game after being hit in the hand by Ryan Braun’s bat, was back in the lineup after a CT scan earlier Wednesday, but was batting ninth. … 2B Kolten Wong, who missed Tuesday’s game after experiencing discomfort in his left side while warming up, said he had an MRI that showed no structural damage, but was not in the lineup for the first game. ”The only time I feel pain is when I swing,” Wong said. ”Running and defense might be something I can still do. I’m going to try and take some swings and see how it goes, but for the most part I know I can come in as a defensive replacement.”
Cards: RHP Dakota Hudson (3-2, 2.92 ERA) opens the five-game series Thursday at Pittsburgh, which includes two games on Friday, the Cardinals’ third doubleheader of the week. Hudson has won his last three starts. He allowed one run on one hit in six innings in his last outing, although he walked four.
Brewers: After a day off, RHP Adrian Houser (1-5, 5.40 ERA) opens the three-game series Friday at home against Kansas City. Houser, 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in his first two starts, is 0-5 with a 7.01 ERA over his last seven starts.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Rams not happy with pass interference call against Bills
The Los Angeles Rams were displeased with a defensive pass interference call on Sunday. The New Orleans Saints will do a double take when they hear that one.
The Rams were on the receiving end of what should be considered the worst officiating error in NFL history, a non-call on an obvious pass interference against the Saints in an NFC championship game. Without that mistake, the Rams don’t go to the Super Bowl a couple seasons ago. The call was so bad, the NFL instituted a new rule that teams could challenge pass interference, and ditched that rule after a year.
Let’s keep that in mind as the Rams air their grievances over a pass interference that was called on Sunday, and cost them what would have been one of the greatest comeback wins in NFL history.
The Rams came back from trailing 28-3 to the Buffalo Bills to take a lead in the fourth quarter. It would have been the biggest comeback in team history. The Rams thought they had the game won on a fourth-down incompletion with less than a minute to go.
Then the flag came out. The Rams weren’t happy.
Rams didn’t like a crucial PI call
Truthfully, the Rams have a legitimate gripe.
Rams defensive back Darious Williams was covering Bills receiver Gabriel Davis on fourth down and while there was some contact downfield, it didn’t seem to be a foul. But NFL officials too often look for reasons to call penalties, not the other way around.
This one cost the Rams the game. The Bills scored after that to win 35-32.
“It was the wrong call,” Rams safety John Johnson III said, via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. “We can’t narrow it down to that one play, but I don’t think it was a PI.”
Rams receiver Robert Woods said the call was “obviously not” pass interference.
“Being out there, he’s playing defensive back, he’s playing hands-on, he’s checking him, and as he gets into his route, the receiver initiates the contact and the quarterback is literally just throwing the ball in the area, and it wasn’t even a catchable ball,” Woods said, via Thiry. “But, obviously, they made the call, it is what it is, you got to keep playing and finish the game.”
The Saints won’t feel bad for them.
Rams had a huge comeback
The Rams are still 2-1 and can take momentum from a great comeback against the Bills, even if it didn’t result in a win. The Rams played tremendously to get back in the game and take the lead against a good Buffalo team, after it looked like they were going to get blown out.
The Rams likely did get hosed, but it happens. Over the course of a game, calls go for and against each team, and over a 60-minute game there is always more than one play or one call to blame for a loss.
It’s just that the irony of the Rams complaining about a pass interference that was called is too rich to pass up.
More NFL from Sports Grind Entertainment:
Offer Tatum max extension; watch Hayward pick up option
Boston fans may be frustrated that their team didn’t advance to the NBA Finals — the Celtics beat the defending champion Raptors in the second round, while the top-seeded Bucks had been cleared out of the path — but this is still a team that made strides this season. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown evolved into franchise cornerstones, with Tatum now looking like a No. 1 option, plus Kemba Walker proved a better fit with this team than Kyrie Irving. Throw in role players like Daniel Theis stepping up, and there are reasons for optimism even as the East gets better.
Two things to expect from Boston and team president Danny Ainge this offseason: Paying Tatum the max and watching Gordon Hayward pick up his $34.2 million option.
There will need to be other moves to add depth — they have Memphis’ No. 14 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and two other first-rounders, as chips to use — but Tatum and Hayward are the most expensive decisions.
With Tatum, it seems a no-brainer now to offer him a max extension to his rookie contract. He has become the alpha for this team, averaging 23.4 points and seven rebounds a game this season, even if he learned some hard lessons this past week about the demands of that role deep in the playoffs. Tatum made Third Team All-NBA this season, meaning he is eligible for 28% of the salary cap, make the team again next season and that jumps to 30%, meaning a max extension worth more than $200 million over five years (depending on where the salary cap is in a year, something nobody is sure about).
“I ain’t even thought about that yet,” Tatum said of an extension after Miami eliminated Boston from the postseason. “I was just focused on this season. Like you guys know, that’s a process the front office and my agent have to talk about it…
“So stuff like that, when it happens, if it happens, that’s not really my concern right now. I’m not even thinking about that. Just trying to think about the great season we had and the great players, great guys I was around. This was a hell of a year and I enjoyed it and I’m appreciative of everybody. But at the end of the day, this was fun. I’m not really thinking about the other stuff right now.”
With Hayward, the buzz around the league is he will pick up his player option for $34.2 million.
This also is pretty obvious. While Hayward showed flashes of being the All-Star player he was before his devastating leg injury, and versatile wing players are in demand around the league, there is not anything near $34 million waiting for him on the open market. Especially not in a coronavirus-impacted world where NBA owners have taken a financial hit. Hayward is going to take his money then see what the demand for his services looks like in 2021 (which looks to be a very deep free-agent class).
Boston will make some roster tweaks, but will run back the core of a young team — Tatum is 22, Brown is 23 — that is improving. A core than made strides this season, but will find those final steps into contender status are the toughest ones.
Boston offseason: Offer Tatum max extension; watch Hayward pick up option originally appeared on NBCSports.com
Foles’ 3 TDs lead 30-26 Bears win
ATLANTA (AP) — No matter how bad things might have seemed a week ago, the Atlanta Falcons somehow managed to make it even worse.
Yep, another epic fourth-quarter collapse.
This one could spell the end for embattled coach Dan Quinn, who already carried the burden of the biggest squandered lead in Super Bowl history.
The Falcons surrendered a 16-point advantage in the final 6 1/2 minutes to the Chicago Bears, who got three touchdown passes from backup quarterback Nick Foles and pulled out a 30-26 win on Sunday.
It would have seemed downright improbable – if it hadn’t happened for the second week in a row.
Atlanta (0-3) became the first team in NFL history to lose back-to-back games in which it led by 15 or more points in the final period, according to STATS.
”These last two weeks have been nothing short of crushing,” said Quinn, the sixth-year coach who desperately needed a strong start to the season after two straight losing campaigns.
A week ago, Atlanta became a national laughingstock after failing to pounce on an onside kick, allowing the Dallas Cowboys to finish off their comeback from a 39-24 deficit to win 40-39 on a field goal as time expired.
”It doesn’t get no worse than this,” defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. said. ”We probably found the two worst ways you can lose a football game.”
Under Quinn, the Falcons also wasted a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl after the 2016 season and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots.
Quinn faced questions about his job security after the latest debacle. He insisted that he’s only focused on turning things around.
”I need to be the same guy on our best days and on our worst days,” Quinn said. ”Anything past that does not help the team. All I can focus on is us finishing better. That’s where my focus needs to be.”
This time, it was Foles who guided the improbable comeback after relieving erratic Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter, pushing the Bears to 3-0 for the first time since 2013.
The former Super Bowl MVP won it with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller with 1:53 remaining.
”Pretty special,” said tight end Jimmy Graham, who had a pair of touchdown catches. ”He was out there ad-libbing a bit for sure and checking and changing some plays. There’s one play he called, I’m like, ‘We got that?’ So it was pretty cool to see and pretty cool to be a part of.”
Foles had two apparent touchdown passes overturned by official reviews – and still managed to pull out the victory.
He tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Graham to make it 26-16 with 6:20 to go. The Falcons still appeared in good shape after the Bears failed on a 2-point attempt.
But Chicago got the ball back and moved quickly down the field. Foles connected with Allen Robinson on a short pass that turned into a 37-yard touchdown when Isaiah Oliver and Blidi Wreh-Wilson both missed tackles, allowing the receiver to scoot down the sideline.
After the Falcons went three-and-out on their third straight possession, Foles heaved one down the middle of the field with a rusher in his face. Miller hauled it in for the winning score.
The Falcons still had a shot, but Matt Ryan’s pass was intercepted by Tashaun Gipson to seal it.
Foles finished 16 of 29 for 188 yards. Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, was 13 of 22 for 128 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked twice.
Brian Hill and Todd Gurley each ran for a touchdown and Ryan connected with Hayden Hurst on a short TD pass that helped stake the Falcons to their seemingly comfortable lead.
Of course, no lead is safe for the Falcons.
Especially with Foles recapturing some of the magic he had in guiding the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl title three seasons ago after replacing the injured Carson Wentz.
Foles spent one injury-plagued season in Jacksonville, then was acquired by the Bears to put some heat on the disappointing Trubisky.
Trubisky set up Chicago’s first touchdown with the second-longest run of his career, a 45-yarder after the Falcons abandoned the the entire middle of the field. He connected on Graham on a 2-yard scoring pass to pull the Bears within 16-10 at halftime.
But Foles got his chance after Trubisky threw an interception in the third quarter that led to a Falcons field goal, pushing the lead to 26-10.
”It kind of happened out of nowhere,” Trubisky said. ”I just accepted the news. I had Nick’s back like he’s had mine. The situation sucked, but it was just the flow of the game and how it happened and coach made the decision that he felt was best for the team.”
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Foles pushed the Bears down the field on his first possession, connecting with Robinson on a play that was initially ruled a 21-yard touchdown pass even though Darqueze Dennard came away with the ball. After reviewing the replay, the officials ruled that Robinson never had control and awarded an interception to Dennard.
With just under 11 minutes remaining, Foles delivered another apparent touchdown on fourth down, connecting over the middle to Miller on a 17-yard throw. But a replay showed the receiver trapped the ball against the turf, turning the ball over to the Falcons on downs.
Turns out, Foles was just getting warmed up.
Bears: RB Tarik Cohen left the game in the second half with a knee injury. S Sherrick McManis was knocked out by an ailing hamstring.
Falcons: The Falcons played without six starters, including WR Julio Jones (hamstring). Also missing were LB Foye Oluokun (hamstring), OT Kaleb McGary (knee), DE Takk McKinley (groin), S Ricardo Allen (elbow) and CB A.J. Terrell (COVID-19 reserve list). The Falcons then lost WR Russell Gage (concussion) in the first half, and DT Grady Jarrett (hip) hobbled off in the second half.
Bears: Return home to face the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday.
Falcons: Head to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers in a Monday night game to finish off Week 4.
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 and find his work at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL
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