Astros strike early
HOUSTON (AP) _ It’s a battle of the bullpens tonight as the Houston Astros try to beat the New York Yankees and win their second American League pennant in three years.
The Astros struck immediately as Yuli Gurriel (YOO’-lee gur-ee-EHL’) smacked a three-run homer with two out in the first inning. Jose Altuve (al-TOO’-vay) laced a one-out double and Alex Bregman kept the inning alive with a two-out walk before Gurriel went deep off Green.
Houston still led, 3-0 heading into the second inning.
Managers AJ Hinch and Aaron Boone plan to go with their relievers for Game 6. Brad Peacock started for Houston against Chad Green. Both teams had their pitching rotations disrupted by Wednesday’s rainout, causing the two clubs to play four straight games.
New York sent the series back to Houston with last night’s 4-1 game, a game in which neither team scored after the first inning. The Astros had won three straight since dropping the series opener, 7-0.
Game 7 would be tomorrow in Houston if necessary. Houston will start a fully-rested Gerrit Cole, who is 19-0 in 25 starts since a loss to the White Sox back on May 22. The Yankees will counter with Luis Severino, who was the losing pitcher against Cole and the Astros in Game 3.
Badgers stunned by Illini
UNDATED (AP) _ Unranked Illinois has authored one of the biggest top-25 upsets of the current college football season.
The Illini had been 2-5 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten until James McCourt booted a 39-yard field as time expired to lift Illinois past sixth-ranked Wisconsin, 24-23. Tony Adams picked off a pass by Jack Coan at midfield with 2:33 remaining to spark the comeback.
Illinois entered the game as 30 ½-point underdogs against the Badgers, who never trailed in a game this season before squandering a nine-point lead over the final 9:46.
Heisman Trophy contender Jonathan Taylor rushed 28 times for 132 yards and one touchdown for Wisconsin, but he also had a fumble in Illinois territory in the fourth quarter to set up a 75-yard TD drive for the Illini.
In other Top 25 action:
_ Second-ranked LSU coasted to a 36-13 win over Mississippi State as Joe Burrow passed for 327 yards and four touchdowns. Burrows has a team-record 29 TD passes this season after going 25 of 32 for the 7-0 Tigers. LSU managed to score points on every drive of the first half and led 22-7 at the break.
_ Third-ranked Clemson coasted to its 22nd consecutive win as Travis Etienne (EE'-tee-ehn) rushed for 192 yards and a score in a 45-10 thumping of Louisville. Trevor Lawrence overcame two early interceptions to finish 20 of 29 for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Darien Rencher and Chez Mellusi added rushing TDs for the Tigers.
_ Fifth-ranked Oklahoma rolled to a 52-14 win against West Virginia as Jalen Hurts accounted for 391 total yards and five scores. Hurts threw for 316 yards and three TDs and also rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The Sooners have scored at least 34 points in 17 straight games after racking up 562 yards of offense in their eighth straight win over the Mountaineers.
_ Kyle Trask threw three of his career-high four touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally No. 9 Florida to a 38-27 victory at South Carolina. The Gamecocks led 20-17 in the final period until Trask scrambled for a first down and hit Lamical Perine for a 25-yard TD. The Gators bounced back from last weekend’s loss to LSU and knocked off a team that was coming off a victory against previous No. 3 Georgia.
_ Bo Nix passed for three touchdowns and ran for another as No. 11 Auburn routed Arkansas, 51-10. Nix turned a close game into a blowout by throwing two TDs in a span of 22 seconds in the third quarter.
Justin Herbert’s fourth scoring strike of the day was a five-yard throw to Jaylon Redd with 5:10 left to give No. 12 Oregon a 35-31 win against No. 25 Washington. The Ducks trailed 28-14 after Puca Nacua caught a 33-yard TD pass from Jacob Eason on the opening drive of the second half.
_ Charlie Brewer ran for a TD and was 13 of 17 passing for 312 yards and a touchdown in No. 18 Baylor’s 45-27 romp over Oklahoma State. JaMycal Hasty rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries to help the Bears run their school-record winning streak to nine games.
_ Shane Buechele (boo-SHEHL’) set career highs with six touchdown passes and 457 passing yards as No. 19 SMU hammered Temple, 45-21. Reggie Roberson Jr. had a career-high 250 receiving yards on seven catches, including touchdowns of 75, 75 and 33 yards for the 7-0 Mustangs.
_ No. 20 Minnesota is 7-0 for the first time since their 1960 national championship season after Rodney Smith ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-7 thumping of Rutgers. Tanner Morgan threw two touchdowns as the Gophers won their ninth straight game since last season.
_ Gerrid Doaks ran for a pair of touchdowns and turned a short pass into a 28-yard score in helping No. 21 Cincinnati hold on for a 24-13 victory over Tulsa.
_ Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left to push Vanderbilt past No. 22 Missouri, 21-14.
_ Zac Thomas threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score as No. 24 Appalachian State had no trouble earning its first victory as a ranked team, 52-7 against Louisiana-Monroe 52-7.
_ No. 23 Iowa ended a two-game skid as Mekhi Sargent ran for a 14-yard score with 2:16 left in the Hawkeyes’ 26-20 triumph over Purdue.
Titans activate rookie Simmons
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have activated first-round draft pick Jeffery Simmons, giving him a chance to make his NFL debut Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Tennessee made the 6-foot-4 Simmons its top pick after the defensive tackle from Mississippi State fell from a projected top 10 selection to 19. He tore his left ACL in February and was expected to miss the 2019 season. But Simmons recovered quickly and started practicing with the 2-4 Titans on Wednesday.
Raptors, Siakam work out extension
UNDATED (AP) _ A person with knowledge of the situation says Pascal Siakam (see-A'-kam) and the Toronto Raptors have agreed on a four-year maximum extension that will be worth $130 million and begin next season.
Siakam was a breakout player last season for the NBA champions, averaging career highs of 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He's entering his fourth season, and now is under contract to the Raptors through July 1, 2024.
In other NBA news:
_ The Hawks have exercised the 2020-21 contract options on forward John Collins and guards Trae Young and Kevin Huerter (HUR’-tur). Collins led the Hawks with his averages of 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds last season. Young was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection after averaging 19.1 points and 8.1 assists. Huerter was a second team all-rookie pick after scoring 9.6 points per game.
Habs extend Blues’ skid
UNDATED (AP) _ The defending Stanley Cup champs find themselves in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin (DROO’-an) and Nick Suzuki scored in the second period to ignite the Canadiens in their third victory in four games, 5-2 at St. Louis. The game was tied until the Habs beat Jake Allen three times in the middle stanza, while Carey Price made 15 saves in the period.
Jordan Weal and Shea Weber also scored to back Price, who turned back 32 shots in his 325th career victory.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
_ First overall pick Jack Hughes scored his first NHL goal and Mackenzie Blackwood posted his third career shutout by stopping 25 shots in the Devils’ 1-0 win over the Canucks. Hughes netted a power-play goal to help New Jersey earn its second straight win since a season-opening six-game losing streak.
Hemric beats playoff drivers for NASCAR pole at Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Daniel Hemric has the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup playoff race at Kansas Speedway as he tries to land a full-time ride next year.
He turned a lap of 178.047 mph to edge the retiring David Ragan during Saturday’s qualifying. Hemric was told last month by Childress Racing that the race team was passing on his 2020 option.
Ryan Blaney was third after his rain-delayed win last weekend at Talladega. Brad Keselwoski will start alongside him after qualifying fourth and Kyle Larson will start fifth. Blaney and Larson already have earned spots when the playoff field is cut to eight drivers on Sunday.
Korda takes 1-shot lead with 6-under 66
SHANGHAI (AP) _ Jessica Korda carded eight birdies in a 6-under 66 that gives her a one-stroke lead through three rounds of the Buick LPGA Shanghai.
Fellow American Danielle Kang is alone in second following a 66 that included six birdies and an eagle.
Second-round leader Brooke Henderson dropped to third place, falling five strokes back with a double-bogey on her final hole.
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