Tuesday’s Sports In Brief

September 21, 2022 GMT

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge hit his 60th home run and Giancarlo Stanton followed with a game-ending grand slam, completing the New York Yankees’ stunning five-run, ninth-inning rally to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8.

Judge moved within one of Roger Maris’ American League record when he turned on a sinker from right-hander Wil Crowe (5-10) leading off the inning and drove it 430 feet into the left-field bleachers, pulling New York to 8-5. Judge took a rare curtain call, forced by his teammates.

Judge matched the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit for the 1927 Yankees to set a big league record that stood for 34 years. It came off a pitcher whose great, great uncle, Hall of Famer Red Ruffing, was Ruth’s teammate on the Yankees in the 1930s.

Anthony Rizzo doubled, Gleyber Torres walked and Josh Donaldson singled to load the bases. Stanton, mired in a 9-for-72 slump, sent a changeup half a dozen rows into the left-field seats to set off a raucous celebration among what remained of the crowd of 40,157 at Yankee Stadium.

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Roger Maris Jr. and Kevin Maris, sons of the former player, were both on hand. Specially marked balls were used each time Judge walked to the plate.

ATLANTA (AP) — Travis d’Arnaud broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the fourth inning, Dansby Swanson went deep in the eighth, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 and clinched a playoff berth.

The defending World Series champion Braves secured their trip to the postseason when Milwaukee lost to the New York Mets 7-5 less than 30 minutes later. Atlanta (93-55) is also vying for its fifth consecutive division title, but remained in second place, one game behind the Mets in the NL East.

Swanson added his 21st homer, an opposite-field solo shot to right off Kyle Finnegan that sailed 379 feet and padded the lead to 3-1. The Braves have won 10 straight games at home, outscoring opponents 47-15 over this stretch. Atlanta is 52-25 at Truist Park and has the NL’s second-best winning percentage in home games.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Kim Ha-seong homered and Mike Clevinger had a strong outing for the San Diego Padres, who shut down Albert Pujols and the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals 5-0 to clinch their first winning record in a full season since 2010.

The Padres, 82-66, took a 1 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia for the NL’s second wild-card spot. The Phillies lost to Toronto, 18-11.

Pujols remained at 698 career homers. He’s trying to become the fourth major leaguer to reach 700 homers, following Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). He walked and singled off Clevinger, grounded out to shortstop against Nick Martinez and singled off Luis Garcia with two outs in the ninth.

The Padres winning record in a full season is the first for general manager A.J. Preller, who took over late in the 2014 season. The Padres were 37-23 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when they won a wild-card series against the Cardinals before being swept in the NL Division Series by the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

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NFL

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The NFL suspended Buffalo Bills backup offensive lineman Bobby Hart for one game on Tuesday, a day after he took a swing at a Titans player and instead struck a Tennessee coach in the head following a 41-7 win.

Hart was suspended without pay for unsportsmanlike conduct and won’t be eligible to rejoin the team until after Buffalo plays at Miami on Sunday. Hart has the right to appeal the decision reached by the league’s VP of football operations Jon Runyan.

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In a letter sent to Hart, Runyan said the altercation happened near the end zone as both teams were leaving the field. Runyan said Hart sought out a Titans player, whose identity was not revealed, and had to be held back by a coach as other players shook hands in the end zone near the stadium tunnel leading to the teams’ locker rooms. Hart is then accused of closing his fist and throwing a punch which struck a Titans’ coach, whose identity was also not revealed.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — A fan was arrested for allegedly throwing a plastic water bottle and hitting Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam during the closing moments of Sunday’s 31-30 home loss to the New York Jets.

Cleveland police said Tuesday that Jeffrey Miller, 51, of Rocky River, was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and failure to comply. Miller was spotted by stadium video surveillance throwing the bottle and was followed with cameras.

After the Jets scored their go-ahead touchdown on a pass from Joe Flacco to rookie Garrett Wilson with 22 seconds left, Haslam was seen on a video walking toward an end zone tunnel in FirstEnergy Stadium when he was struck by the projectile. Haslam stopped and pointed in the direction that the bottle came from.

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According to the police report, Miller initially failed to stop when ordered by officers. Once he was detained, Miller told police “it never hit the field” as he was being taken to a holding room inside the stadium. He was later booked and held in the Cuyahoga County jail. In the report, police said Miller appeared to be intoxicated.

The Browns intend to ban Miller from the stadium, a person familiar with the team’s decision told The Associated Press. The person to the AP spoke on condition of anonymity while the legal process plays out.

NHL

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche are making Nathan MacKinnon the highest-paid player in the NHL’s salary cap era.

MacKinnon, who just turned 27 earlier this month, signed an eight-year contract that is worth $100.8 million, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. His new $12.6 million salary cap hit that goes into effect at the start of the 2023-24 season surpasses Connor McDavid’s $12.5 million as the highest in the league.

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McDavid’s $100 million, eight-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers signed in 2017 was the previous record for the highest annual cap hit since the system went into place in 2005.

The only richer deals than MacKinnon’s in NHL history are: Alex Ovechkin’s $124 million, 13-year contract with Washington, Shea Weber’s $110 million, 14-year contract with Nashville and Sidney Crosby’s $104.4 million, 12-year contract with Pittsburgh. The collective bargaining agreement has since limited contract lengths to eight years for a players re-signing with his own team and seven for free agents.

BOSTON (AP) — Zdeno Chara signed a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and announced his retirement Tuesday after 24 seasons in the NHL and captaining Boston to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

The 6-foot-9 defenseman from Slovakia hangs up his skates at age 45, surrendering the title of the NHL’s oldest active player. He returned to TD Garden to end his professional playing career two years after leaving the Bruins following 14 seasons with the team.

Chara won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 2009 and also spent time with the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals. Known more for his ability to keep the puck out of the net than putting it in, Chara still scored 237 goals and added 523 assists for 760 points in 1,880 regular-season and playoff games.

His 1,680 regular-season games played is a record for a defenseman. Chara is a candidate for the Hockey Hall of Fame based not only on his consistency but also his stature in the game from Slovakia to North America. He captured two World Championship silver medal-winning teams for his native country, in 2000 and 2010.