Nationals hit 4 HRs, pound Pirates 13-0

Nationals continue onslaught with 4 HRs, pound Pirates 13-0
By JOHN PERROTTO Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Nationals are on a hot streak at the plate that defies explanation.
“If anyone knew the answer to that, they could write a book and make millions of dollars,” Adam Eaton said.
The onslaught continued Monday night when Asdrúbal Cabrera hit the last of Washington’s four home runs and drove in five runs, and three relievers combined for 6 2/3 innings of one-hit ball as the Nationals thumped the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-0.
Eaton, Matt Adams and Trea Turner also connected for the Nationals, who have scored 79 runs in their last eight games while going 7-1. They’ve scored 43 times in their past three, including a 15-14 loss.
Adams added two doubles and had four RBIs. Juan Soto had four of Washington’s 15 hits and walked, reaching base in all five plate appearances.
The Nationals aren’t eager to talk about how they’ve managed to score at least 13 runs in the four of their last five games, for fear of jinxing themselves.
“I’ll leave that to you guys in the media world,” Eaton said.
Starting pitching is considered the Nationals’ strength, with three-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer fronting a rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. But manager Dave Martinez believes Washington’s offense stacks up well, too.
“We have a lot of functional pieces,” Martinez said. “We’ve got guys that can get on base, guys that can steal bases, guys who can move the ball around and hit the ball all over, and guys in the middle of the lineup who can juice balls.
“Our lineup is pretty thick right now. I’m proud of the way they’re swinging it. They are swinging at good pitches and willing to take walks, too.”
Javy Guerra (2-1) pitched 3 2/3 perfect innings in relief of Joe Ross, who departed in the fourth inning. Ross was hit in the left shin by a one-hopper off the bat of Josh Bell.
“How about the job Javy did?” Martinez said. “He really saved us from having to go deep into our bullpen.”
Kyle McGowin and Tanner Rainey finished the four-hitter with one inning each for Washington’s 11th shutout of the season.
The Nationals scored four runs off Trevor Williams (5-6) in each of the first two innings.
Williams was removed after the second and was charged with eight runs — six earned — while giving up six hits and three walks. Pittsburgh fell to 7-28 since the All-Star break.
“It’s a really tough stretch right now,” Williams said. “Hopefully, tonight is the bottom. I look forward to coming to the field tomorrow. Being a pitcher, you have to have a short-term memory.”
The Nationals moved within five games of first-place Atlanta, which was idle, in the NL East and continue to lead the wild-card standings.
Eaton homered with one out in the first and Adams added a two-run blast following a sacrifice fly by Cabrera. Turner’s three-run homer highlighted the second, which included an RBI double by Adams.
Cabrera hit a two-run double in the fifth and scored on Adams’ double as the Nationals ran the lead to 11-0. He added a two-run homer in the ninth.
Bell’s single off Ross’ knee in the fourth gave the Pirates runners at first and third with one out. However, Guerra got Colin Moran to hit into a double play.
Nationals: Scherzer is scheduled to be activated from the injured list Thursday and start in the finale of the four-game series. He has pitched once over the past six weeks because of a strained muscle in his back. … Ross said he is confident that he will be able to make his next scheduled start Saturday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. … 1B Ryan Zimmerman had his rehab assignment transferred to Single-A Potomac from Double-A Harrisburg.
Pirates: C Elias Díaz was removed after the fourth inning as a precaution after being struck in the facemask by a foul tip.
Nationals 2B Brian Dozier was placed on paternity leave and INF Adrián Sanchez was recalled from Harrisburg. Dozier can miss up to three days.
Pirates rookie right-hander Montana DuRapau had his first major league hit, a single to right field in the third inning off Ross. It came in DuRapau’s 13th game and fourth at-bat.
Strasburg (15-5, 3.82 ERA) will face RHP Chris Archer (3-9, 5.23) on Tuesday night. Strasburg is 8-1 with a 3.92 ERA in his last 10 starts. Archer has not won in 12 starts since June 6, going 0-4 with a 5.26 ERA.
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Hamlin wins at Bristol to spoil DiBenedetto’s upset bid

Hamlin wins at Bristol to spoil DiBenedetto’s upset bid
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — The winner climbed from his car and immediately apologized for denying an underdog his first career victory. The runner-up, in tears over his near miss, was raucously embraced by the crowd for his oh-so-close effort.
Bristol Motor Speedway was a bizarre mix of emotions Saturday night after Denny Hamlin chased down Matt DiBenedetto to spoil a Saturday night upset. DiBenedetto learned this week that Leavine Family Racing won’t bring him back for a second season, and he has no job lined up for 2020.
“I’m so sorry to Matt DiBenedetto, (crew chief) Mike Wheeler. I hate it. I know what a win would mean to that team,” Hamlin said as soon as he exited his car. “But I’ve got to give 110 percent.”
Hamlin was the first Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing driver to start from the pole this season but his race was a roller-coaster that began when his car was damaged when he bounced off of Jimmie Johnson. He later had a loose wheel, fell down a lap and seemed out of contention for his second career victory at Bristol.
At the same time, DiBenedetto was working his way toward the front and put his Toyota out front for a race-high 93 laps. He needed redemption — and a win would have put him in the playoffs, no less — but he again wound up victim to the Gibbs juggernaut. Gibbs has a logjam of talent, Leavine is a Gibbs partner, and Gibbs needs DiBenedetto’s seat next year to promote Christopher Bell from the Xfinity Series.
“I wanted it to bad,” DiBenedetto said. “I’m sad. Congrats to Denny, raced hard and I’ve been a fan of his since I was a kid. To be racing door-to-door with him at Bristol in front of a great group of fans — I’m trying not to get emotional but it’s been a tough week and I just want to stick around and want to keep doing this for a long time to come. I am not done yet. Something is going to happen.”
The crowd roared its support as DiBenedetto’s interview was broadcast on the infield big screen.
Roughly 45 minutes later, DiBenedetto found Hamlin on the NBC Sports set and interrupted his interview. The two hugged, and Hamlin pulled DiBenedetto close and whispered into his ear for a long moment.
He remained apologetic for spoiling what would have been a defining moment for DiBenedetto, as well as Wheeler, Hamlin’s former crew chief.
“It is the worst person possible to have to pass with eight to go. My history with Mike Wheeler … Matt is a fantastic driver,” Hamlin said. “I have no doubt he’s going to land on his feet, something better, and if he doesn’t, all you car owners are idiots. Someone with that much talent deserves to be racing for wins on a regular basis.”
Hamlin and DiBenedetto raced side by side for several laps before Hamlin completed the decisive late pass and sealed his fourth victory of the season.
DiBenedetto was a career-best second.
Hamlin got over his initial disappointment for DiBenedetto and praised his No. 11 team for its resilient race and the way he picked his way through traffic to reclaim the lead.
“Between my spotter and the crew chief, just stayed on me to not get anxious, just kind of take my time. I had plenty of time,” Hamlin said. “I just worked him over, worked him over. I knew I didn’t want to show him the bottom (lane) until I knew I could make the pass. I ran the top, ran the top, ran the top, got the position on the bottom and finished it.
“We had a great car that could move around. Came back from a couple laps down and here we are.”
DiBenedetto’s fight to hang on to the victory was hampered when he encountered Ryan Newman, a driver trying to make the playoffs. Newman refused to give an inch as DiBenedetto tried to put him down a lap, and contact between the two cars caused DiBenedetto’s Toyota to tighten up as Hamlin closed the gap.
A DiBenedetto victory would have dramatically changed the playoff picture. There are two races remaining to set the 16-driver field and only nine drivers have locked in their spots. With seven open, a first-time winner would have grabbed a coveted spot.
Johnson has never missed the playoffs since the format began in 2004 but the seven-time champion dropped to 18th in points after a disappointing night at Bristol. Clint Bowyer also dropped out of the top-16, but is only two points behind the final slot, now held by teammate Daniel Suarez.
THE REST OF THE FIELD: Brad Keselowski finished third in a Ford, and was followed by Gibbs driver Kyle Busch, who came from 31st to finish fourth. He received thunderous boos during driver introductions, but the eight-time Bristol winner simply guzzled something from a red plastic cup and thanked the fans for coming.
Chase Elliott was fifth and the highest-finishing Chevrolet. Kyle Larson was sixth, followed by Bowyer and Suarez, who moved ahead of Bowyer in the standings via stage points. Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10.
UP NEXT: The Cup Series is off next weekend and returns to competition Sept. 1 at Darlington Raceway. NBC Sports expects Dale Earnhardt Jr. back in the booth for that event after he skipped Bristol following a crash landing of his airplane Thursday near the track.
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SteelersSteelers honor Drake, keep Chiefs in check in 17-7 victory

Steelers honor Drake, keep Chiefs in check in 17-7 victory
By WILL GRAVES AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The shirts read “shut out the noise.” Shutting out the pain of suddenly losing the man behind the mantra will take far longer for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Still, there was something about the game-day routine that brought a sense of relief and normalcy just six days removed from the death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake.
The receivers walked out to pregame warmups wearing gear with “shut out the noise” emblazoned on them, the phrase Drake adopted for his group heading into the 2019 season.
The Steelers took the field with “DD” stickers on their helmets, stickers that will remain there all season. Players gathered on the sideline to kneel in prayer. A moment of silence was held just before the national anthem.
Then the ball was kicked off and Pittsburgh went back to work, keeping Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in check in a 17-7 victory on Saturday night.
“It’s just been a very difficult week,” said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who attended Drake’s funeral in Tennessee along with general manager Kevin Colbert early Saturday before returning in time to lead his team to its second preseason victory in as many weeks. “If anything the game is kind of a break from that. You get lost in the things that you need to do.”
And what the Steelers (2-0) need to do over the next two weeks is figure out who will be the backup to starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. So far, Tomlin has seen little separation between Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph.
Rudolph guided a long first-half touchdown drive and finished 10 of 15 for 77 yards while Dobbs completed 6 of 11 for 95 yards with a red-zone interception on a night the Steelers (2-0) opted to keep several key starters on the sideline, from Roethlisberger to Pro Bowl offensive linemen David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey to rookie linebacker Devin Bush, who was held out because of a shoulder issue.
Asked if Rudolph, is ahead of Dobbs, Tomlin shook his head.
“Not as we sit here right now,” Tomlin said.
Not that any of it matters when Week 1 rolls around. Roethlisberger is firmly entrenched as the starter for 15 years and counting. The same is true in Kansas City, where Mahomes is coming off an MVP season.
Unlike Roethlisberger, Mahomes hasn’t yet earned the right to take most of the preseason off. The third-year pro completed just 2 of 5 passes for 11 yards in two series, a far cry from his previous visit to Heinz Field, when he threw for six touchdowns in a Week 2 win last September that served as a harbinger of the season to come.
“Yeah, that’ll all get worked out,” Reid said when asked about Mahomes’ performance. “Everyone can’t be perfect.”
Mahomes’ best play during his cameo may have been his decision to slide during an 8-yard scramble, something he didn’t do a week ago when he lowered his shoulder against Cincinnati rather than step out of bounds.
Chad Henne found Mecole Hardman for a 17-yard touchdown late in the first half for Kansas City (1-1), which managed a lone touchdown a week after putting up 38 against the Bengals. Hardman, a second-round pick, has two touchdowns in two weeks and his rapid emergence could give Reid another option to play with in what could be the NFL’s most potent offense.
Rudolph, a third-round pick a year ago who is hoping to supplant Dobbs as the top backup, was given the start instead. Playing with a group that included Pro Bowl running back James Conner and star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rudolph struggled early to gain some momentum.
It wasn’t until Rudolph found himself playing with the reserves that he started to get going. He directed a 14-play, 89-yard drive in the second quarter, a series that ended with a 14-yard sprint to the end zone by Jaylen Samuels.
Dobbs started off brilliantly, hitting James Washington for a 40-yard gain. He couldn’t sustain the momentum, thanks in part to an interception in which he overthrew Diontae Johnson. The ball sailed into the arms of Kansas City’s Charvarius Ward to cut short a scoring chance late in the first half.
Johnson, a third-round pick, ended up scoring in the fourth quarter when he made a diving grab in the end zone on a heave from fourth-stringer Devlin Hodges, a catch that would have drawn a nod of approval from Drake.
“It was emotional for the receiver group,” Johnson said. “We all know what Coach Drake did for us as a whole group. We know he is with us each and every day. We’re just dedicating this season for him.”
Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree is entering the season with a significant amount of pressure after Pittsburgh opted to pick up his fifth-year option, but have not approached him about signing a long-term deal. Dupree provided a spark, sacking Mahomes and Henne and knocking down a pass.
Chiefs: S Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder), WR Deon Yelder (knee), WR Marcus Kemp (knee) and LB Breeland Speaks (knee) all left and did not return. Reid said Kemp’s injury appeared to be the most serious.
Steelers: RB Benny Snell Jr. (groin) and LB Anthony Chickillo (knee) left. OLB Ola Adeniyi was held out with an undisclosed injury.
Chiefs: Host San Francisco next Saturday.
Steelers: Expect to give Roethlisberger his only reps of the preseason next Sunday when they visit Tennessee.
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Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship

Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship
MEDINAH, Ill. (AP) — Staked to a six-shot lead, Justin Thomas spent more time Sunday worrying about what could go wrong than ending 12 months without winning.
And right when it started to go wrong, Thomas delivered his biggest shots in the BMW Championship.
In a span of three holes around the turn at Medinah, his six-shot lead shrunk to two. Thomas answered with two clutch wedge shots, two big putts and sailed to a 4-under 68 to secure a three-shot victory over Patrick Cantlay, who gave him a battle to the end with a 65.
“Patrick played unbelievably, put a lot of heat on me,” Thomas said. “In the end, it could have been good for me. It kept me focused, kept my head down. … I was really nervous going into today. I remembered that it’s really hard to win a golf tournament, and I’m glad that I was able to do so.”
The timing was ideal.
His first victory since the World Golf Championship at Firestone last year moved him to the top of the FedEx Cup going into the Tour Championship, where he will start the tournament at 10-under par with a two-shot lead under the new scoring format as the final 30 players chase a $15 million first prize.
“I can certainly say I never slept on a Wednesday lead,” Thomas said.
Cantlay, who made four straight birdies around the turn, secured the No. 2 position and will start at 8 under. Brooks Koepka will be 7 under, a staggered start all the way down to even par for the final five players.
That includes Lucas Glover, who went bogey-double bogey until finishing with a two-putt par from 40 feet to secure his first trip to the Tour Championship in 10 years.
It will not include Masters champion Tiger Woods, the defending champion.
Woods was a long shot going into the final round to crack the top 30, and he closed with a 72. East Lake was his first victory in five years, capping his return from four back surgeries, a special moment replaced some six months later by his Masters victory.
“It’s disappointing,” Woods said. “Last year culminated in a pretty special moment for me and would have been nice to go back there.”
Hideki Matsuyama took the 36-hole lead with a 63 until falling back with a 73. He responded with another 63 to finish alone in third, making him one of three players who moved into the top 30 to reach East Lake. The other was Jason Kokrak, but only after J.T. Poston made bogey on his final hole.
The final day to earn the eight automatic spots on the Presidents Cup changed nothing for either team.
Bryson DeChambeau held onto the final spot for the Americans when Tony Finau, who needed to finish alone in third, closed with a 69 and finished fourth. Jason Day failed to work his way into an automatic spot for the International side.
There wasn’t supposed to be much drama in the tournament, either, not with Thomas coming off a 61 to build a six-shot lead. Only seven players dating to 1928 had ever lost a six-shot lead on the PGA Tour. Thomas didn’t want to be the next.
That’s why he shut off his phone on his way to the course. It seemed everyone but him had already declared him the winner, and he found no refuge in the locker room.
“Guys giving me advice in the locker room how to finish off a tournament,” Thomas said. “I was like, ‘I’ve done this a couple times guys but, thank you.’ That’s what I was saying on the way over here. It’s a lot of the outside noise that makes it harder sometimes to stay focused.”
And the nature of that advice?
“Talk to your caddie a lot. Make sure you keep talking,” Thomas said. “‘OK, as long as you stop talking it’s fine with me.'”
He did talk to his caddie, mostly to get yardage from the rough because he didn’t hit a fairway until the fifth hole. Cantlay also got off to a slow start, and Thomas still had his six-shot lead through seven holes. But not for long.
Cantlay made an 8-foot birdie on No. 7, followed with a 12-foot birdie on No. 8 and a 6-foot birdie on No. 9. Thomas then helped out by hitting his second to the par-5 10th under a tree, hitting left-handed to get it out and making bogey. Cantlay made his fourth straight birdie, and the lead was down to two with eight holes remaining.
That’s when Thomas came to life with a wedge to 2 feet for birdie.
“The birdie on 11 was huge,” Thomas said. “That propelled me for the rest of the round.”
More important was his 12-foot par putt on the next hole. And then after Cantlay rolled in a 15-foot birdie on the par-3 13th, Thomas matched him from 12 feet.
Cantlay, who had nine birdies in the final round, missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 14th and a 15-foot eagle putt on the 15th after driving onto the green.
“When you’re as far behind as you are, you kind of need everything to right,” Cantlay said. “Neither of those putts dropped at a point where I needed them to.”
Thomas finished at 25-under 263 — seven shots lower than what Woods shot at Medinah when he won the 2006 PGA Championship — and earned $1,665,000. Even more money is at stake next week, though this was a burden lifted. All he cared about was winning.

The Latest: Power wins shortened Pocono race marred by wreck

The Latest: Power wins shortened Pocono race marred by wreck
LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway (all times local):
6 p.m.
Will Power has the won a shortened race at Pocono Raceway, the 13th straight season he’s won an IndyCar race. The race was called with 72 laps left because of lightning and severe weather in the area. Lightning strikes at Pocono after a rain-shortened NASCAR race killed one fan in 2012.
Power was in the right position to a win a race marred by yet another horrific wreck that collected five drivers on the first lap and sent Felix Rosenqvist to the hospital.
Rosenqvist did not suffer life-threatening injuries and was cleared. Justin Wilson died in 2015 from a head injury after being struck by debris from another car. Robert Wickens was paralyzed in an early accident last year.
Power had been one of IndyCar’s most consistent winners and he won the 2014 series championship. But he’s going through his worst season and seemed poised to go winless for the first time since 2006.
IndyCar and Pocono do not have a deal for another race in 2020.
3:35 p.m.
IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist has been taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening after he was involved in a five-car wreck at the start of the race at Pocono.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver was taken by ambulance shortly after the wreck triggered by Takuma Sato on the first lap. Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi were treated and released from the on-site medical center.
IndyCar medical director Geoffrey Billows said Rosenqvist was walking and is expected to be fine.
Sato, the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner, said he thought he was all clear as he tried to make an aggressive pass early in the race.
“I’m not really over-aggressive,” he said.
3:10 p.m.
Takuma Sato triggered a dangerous wreck on the first lap of the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway, collecting five drivers, sending cars into the fence and bringing the race to a halt.
Sato tried to dart through an opening on a three-wide start to the race, an eerily similar look to an accident early in last year’s Pocono race that paralyzed driver Robert Wickens. Sato’s move took out Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi. Hunter-Reay was involved in last year’s wreck.
“I can’t even begin to understand how after last year Takuma thinks that’s acceptable,” Rossi said. “It’s disgraceful.”
Rossi, who won Pocono last year, saw his IndyCar championship hopes take a serious blow. He entered just 16 points behind leader Josef Newgarden.
Wickens said on Twitter that IndyCar should no longer race at the 2½-mile track. IndyCar and Pocono do not have a deal for a 2020 race.
“It’s just a toxic relationship and maybe it’s time to consider a divorce,” he wrote. “I’m very relieved (to my knowledge) that everyone is OK from that scary crash.”
The race was stopped as the catchfence was repaired.
2:45 p.m.
IndyCar points leader Josef Newgarden starts on the pole at Pocono Raceway.
Newgarden holds a 16-point lead over Alexander Rossi, who also starts Sunday’s race on the front row. With four races left in the season, Indianapolis 500 champion Simon Pagenaud is 47 points back while reigning series champion Scott Dixon trails the leader by 62 points. Rossi won last year in a race marred by the wreck that paralyzed Robert Wickens from the waist down.
Newgarden has two runner-up finishes at Pocono and has scored five top-fives overall since IndyCar returned to the track in 2013.
Pocono could be on the way out of IndyCar after the 2019 season, with the two sides yet to reach a deal on a return.
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Raiders GM to absent Brown: Time to be ‘All in or all out’

Raiders GM to absent Brown: Time to be ‘All in or all out’
By JOSH DUBOW AP Pro Football Writer
Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock told disgruntled receiver Antonio Brown it’s time to decide whether he’s “all in or all out” about playing this season after losing a fight with the NFL and NFLPA over his helmet.
Mayock issued a statement to reporters that the Raiders released in a video on Twitter expressing his frustration that Brown didn’t participate in practice Sunday despite being healed from the frost-bitten feet that have sidelined him for most of training camp.
“You all know that A.B. is not here today. So here’s the bottom line. He’s upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that. We appreciate that,” Mayock said. “But at this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all in or all out. So we’re hoping he’s back soon. We’ve got 89 guys busting their tails. We are really excited about where this franchise is going and we hope A.B. is going to be a big part of it starting Week 1 against Denver. End of story. No questions.”
Brown has been upset that the NFL and NFLPA won’t allow him to use the same Schutt Air Advantage that he has used throughout his career. Brown filed a grievance over the issue that he lost on Aug. 12 and then set out to find a newer version of the helmet that was less than 10 years old to get approved.
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said last week after Brown returned to the Raiders training camp facility that they had found several helmets and were waiting formal approval. Brown took part in pregame warmups before an exhibition game in Arizona on Thursday night and took part in a walkthrough on Saturday, prompting coach Jon Gruden to express confidence that he would soon be able to practice.
The helmet was sent to the independent Biokinetics Inc. lab in Ottawa for testing with results shared with biomechanical engineers from both the league and union, a person familiar with the testing said on condition of anonymity because the results weren’t released. The person said the helmet was no different than the 2010 version that had previously been rejected and both the league and union determined it wasn’t safe enough to be used.
Pro Football Talk first reported the failed test after the Raiders walkthrough on Saturday, prompting a profane response from Brown on Twitter. He then didn’t take part in practice Sunday, leading to Mayock’s forceful statement.
Brown had 686 catches and 9,145 yards receiving the past six seasons in Pittsburgh, the best marks ever for a receiver in a six-year span. But he still wore out his welcome with the Steelers after leaving the team before a crucial Week 17 game last season and was able to be acquired by Oakland in March for the small price of third- and fifth-round draft picks.
But the drama that surrounded Brown in Pittsburgh didn’t stop upon his arrival with the Raiders even though he was given a hefty raise with a three-year contract worth $50.125 million.
Brown injured his feet while getting cryotherapy treatment in France, forcing him to start training camp on the non-football injury list. Brown was activated on July 28 and participated in parts of two practices before leaving the team to get treatment on his feet and deal with the grievance with the NFL.
Brown returned to the Raiders on Aug. 13 but still hasn’t participated in a full practice all of training camp.
The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment sets performance and test standards for equipment. Brown’s Schutt Air Advantage helmet is no longer allowed because the NFL follows the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA) rule that helmets 10 years or older cannot be recertified.
Schutt discontinued making the helmet three years ago because current technology had moved past it, according to the company.
Brown was one of 32 players using helmets last season that are now banned by the league and players’ association. Those players, including Tom Brady, were able to use the helmets last season under a grace period but were required to make the change in 2019.
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Bryant homers, Cubs win 2-0 as Pirates strand 11

Bryant homers, Cubs win 2-0 as Pirates strand 11
By WES CROSBY Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kris Bryant heard a voice from the crowd just before he homered to put the Chicago Cubs ahead in the seventh inning Saturday.
After committing an error at third base each of the previous two innings, Bryant watched Steven Brault lift his leg. That’s when he could just make out what a fan had shouted.
“He was making fun of me because I made two errors,” Bryant said. “I hit a home run.”
The Cubs certainly appreciated Bryant’s contribution. After getting out of three bases-loaded jams, Chicago snapped a four-game skid with a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs moved back into a first-place tie in the NL Central when St. Louis lost to Cincinnati later Saturday.
Bryant, who also walked in the ninth, drove the first pitch of the seventh from Brault (3-2) into the left-field bleachers to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. It was Bryant’s 25th homer this season and third in five games.
“(Bryant) deserves a lot of credit for coming back the way he did,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Even his last at-bat, we didn’t score, but to draw that walk on (Francisco) Liriano was a nice at-bat.”
Jon Lester (10-8) gave up four hits and five walks in six innings after allowing Pittsburgh to load the bases with one out in the first and nobody out in the fifth. He got Kevin Newman to fly out to right in the fifth before striking out Bryan Reynolds and getting out of it when Starling Marte flied to center.
“I think, finally, I got out of my hard-headedness as far as challenging guys, falling behind in counts and kind of giving in,” Lester said. “I feel like that’s really bitten me in the rear end this year as far as still thinking I can throw my heater by guys. … Regardless of the baserunners, I knew I just couldn’t give in and throw a heater.”
Pittsburgh stranded 11 runners and fell to 7-26 since the All-Star break. It loaded the bases a third time with two outs in the seventh.
After Ian Happ fully extended in left field to catch a sharp line drive from Reynolds for the second out with runners on first and second, Cubs reliever Tyler Chatwood hit Marte with a pitch. Josh Bell bounced to second to end the inning.
“At the end of the day, I think we were 0 for 12 with men in scoring position,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We left 11 men on base and 0 for 6 with the bases loaded. Pretty much wraps up the story for today.”
Happ scored from third on a throwing error by catcher Elias Díaz in the eighth.
Rowan Wick came in after Chatwood walked Adam Frazier to lead off the ninth. He retired each of the three batters he faced for his first major league save.
Brault didn’t allow a hit until Addison Russell singled to third with one out in the fifth. He reached career highs in innings pitched with seven and strikeouts with eight, and allowed one run on two hits with one walk.
“You’ve got two major league pitchers going against each other,” Brault said. “Jon Lester has been around for a while. He pitched himself out of some jams. It happens. It would have been nice to win, obviously, but I did what I could. So I feel good about what happened. Sometimes it goes that way.”
Cubs: RHP Steve Cishek said he was pain-free following a bullpen session Saturday. He could be activated for Chicago’s game against San Francisco on Tuesday. Cishek was placed on the 10-day injured list with left hip inflammation on Aug. 10.
Cubs: LHP José Quintana (10-7, 4.11 ERA) will try to avoid taking a loss for the first time in nearly two months when he takes the mound at the MLB Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, against Pittsburgh on Sunday. He is 6-0 in eight starts since last losing June 22.
Pirates: RHP Mitch Keller (1-1, 7.94) will make his second start on Sunday since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Aug. 12. The 23-year-old rookie picked up his first major league win in four starts by allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits against the Angels on Monday.
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Newman hits walk off RBI single in 9th, lifts Pirates past Cubs 3-2

Newman hits RBI single in 9th, lifts Pirates past Cubs 3-2
By JOHN PERROTTO Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pinch-hitter Cole Tucker drew a bases-loaded walk and Kevin Newman hit an RBI single, all with two out in the ninth inning, as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Friday night.
Tucker, pinch-hitting, worked a bases-loaded walk off Brandon Kintzler (2-2), and Newman followed with a single to center field on a full-count for his third game-ending hit of the season.
Kintzler walked three batters in 1/3 of an inning, including an intentional walk to Josh Bell with two outs and the Cubs leading 2-1. Erik Gonzalez entered as a pinch runner for Bell and scored on Newman’s single.
The Cubs fell to 23-39 on the road. They have also lost 17 of their last 25 games away from Wrigley Field. The loss left Chicago a game behind the NL Central-leading St. Louis.
The Pirates won for the third time in four games.
Tony Kemp’s two-run triple in the eighth inning off closer Felipe Vazquez gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Joe Musgrove carried a shutout into the eighth inning before giving up consecutive singles to Jonathan Lucroy and pinch-hitter Ian Happ with one out. Musgrove was charged with two runs in 7 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and no walks. He matched his career high with nine strikeouts.
Musgrove retired his first 11 batters before Kris Bryant singled with two outs in the fourth inning. He also set down 10 straight hitters before the hits in the eighth inning.
Keone Kela (2-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks allowed only one run and three hits in seven innings with one strikeout and one walk.
The Pirates’ Colin Moran had an RBI single in the fourth.
Cubs: INF Addison Russell was recalled from Triple-A Iowa, RHP Brandon Kintzler (right pectoral inflammation) was activated from the injured list and CF Albert Almora Jr. and RHP James Norwood were optioned to Iowa.
GM Jed Hoyer said Almora is expected to be recalled Sept. 1, when the roster limit expands to 40 from 25. Almora made 75 starts in center field and hit .232 with 12 home runs and 32 RBIs in 114 games.
Pirates: Tucker was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and RHP Geoff Hartlieb was optioned there. The Pirates wanted an extra position player because INF/OF Jose Osuna is two games into the five-game suspension he received from Major League Baseball for his part in a fight at Cincinnati on July 30.
Tucker made his major-league debut April 20 and the shortstop batted .196 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 38 games.
Cubs: SS Javier Baez (illness) and CF Jason Heyward (left knee inflammation) returned after being held of the lineup in Thursday night’s loss at Philadelphia. . INF Daniel Descalso (sprained left ankle) will begin a rehab assignment with Iowa on Saturday.
Pirates: C Jason Stallings (migraine) started after being scratched from Wednesday’s loss at the Los Angeles Angels.
Cubs LHP Jon Lester (9-8, 4.48 ERA) faces LHP Steven Brault (3-1, 4.33) on Saturday. Lester is winless in his last five starts, going 0-2 with a 7.00. Brault has had two no-decisions, allowing six runs in 10 innings, since missing a month with a strained shoulder.
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Bell’s HR, 3 RBIs help Pirates take down Angels 10-7

Bell’s HR, 3 RBIs help Pirates take down Angels 10-7
By DAN GREENSPAN Associated Press
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Josh Bell has pulled himself out of a recent slump with some extra film study and a return to better habits as a hitter.
Not only has he found his form, Bell helped the floundering Pirates find their footing.
Bell homered and had three RBIs to help the Pirates rally for a 10-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
“It’s awesome to get our bats alive,” said Bell, who homered for the fourth straight interleague game to set a new Pirates record. “Hopefully it starts a new trend the next couple of weeks and hopefully we can finish this thing strong.”
José Osuna drove in two runs, and Bryan Reynolds added a solo homer for the Pirates, who have won consecutive games for the first time since July 6-7 against Milwaukee.
Trevor Williams (5-5) allowed five runs in five innings. He was tagged for three runs in the first inning, but responded to take some pressure off Pittsburgh’s bullpen and get back to .500 on the season.
Pittsburgh, which is now in position to sweep a series for the first time since June 21-23 against San Diego, can thank its offense for getting back on track. And no one has been more important to that turnaround than Bell, whose two-run shot to center tied the game at 5 as part of a four-run fifth inning.
The Pirates took a 6-5 lead on Osuna’s double to left that scored Colin Moran, and Pablo Reyes drove in another run to make it 7-5 and tag Taylor Cole (2-4) with the loss.
Bell’s 31st homer of the season continued a recent long-ball flurry with his fourth homer in the past three games. He is also one away from tying Bobby Bonilla’s 1990 team record for homers by a switch-hitter in a season at 32.
“I think things got a little bit sped up for me there for a little bit, so I’m just trying to focus on the timing of everything ,” Bell said. “If I can start early and slow I’m in a good place, I can see the ball. So I’m just trying to stay there.”
Justin Upton had three RBIs and Shohei Ohtani added two for the Angels, who have lost 10 of their past 12. Albert Pujols moved into a tie for 15th place in career hits with an RBI single in the first inning.
After falling behind 4-0 on Ohtani’s RBI triple in the second inning, the Pirates started their comeback in the third. Bell dropped a bloop single into left field to get Pittsburgh on the board, with Reynolds scoring and Bell reaching third on a throwing error by Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning to pull within 4-2. Moran’s double drove in Bell and cut the deficit to 4-3 before Luis Rengifo made it 5-3 with an RBI single in the bottom of the third.
Pittsburgh went up 8-5 on Osuna’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. They made it 10-5 in the seventh on an RBI double by Adam Frazier, who had three hits, and Reynolds’ solo homer.
“We’ve just connected the dots offensively,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “(Starling) Marte has three hits today and we didn’t mention his name, so there’s a lot going on.”
Pujols tied Adrián Beltré (3,166) in career hits with his single up the middle to drive in a run as part of a three-run first inning for the Angels, with Ohtani and Upton picking up the other RBIs.
Upton had a two-run single in the ninth inning to score Mike Trout and Ohtani that pulled the Angels within 10-7 before Felipe Vázquez (22) came in to see out the game.
“Sometimes you got to believe in things you can’t see,” Hurdle said. “And we’ve had different guys step up the last two days in different areas and give us big pushes.”
Marte had an outfield assist in the bottom of the fifth with his throw from deep center to Jacob Stallings, allowing the catcher to tag Kole Calhoun out at home and deny the Angels a run. Hurdle called it “one of the prettiest plays in the game,” and Bell credited Marte’s effort for the win.
“He was definitely the player of the game with that.,” Bell said. “Got Trevor the win, and allowed our bats to take hold of the game and keep the game in our grasp.”
Canning allowed three runs in four innings after being activated off the injured list for inflammation in his right elbow earlier on Tuesday. Angels manager Brad Ausmus said he would be cautious with the workload for Canning, who gave up six hits and three walks while striking out two, over the remainder of the season.
“His stuff looked really good, but the pitch count got up,” Ausmus said. “A little trouble locating the ball, and the error, that hurt him. But, overall, I thought more importantly he looked healthy, looked strong.”
The Angels optioned RHP Jose Rodriguez to Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday and recalled RHP Jake Jewell from Triple-A on Tuesday. They also placed LHP Adalberto Mejia on the restricted list for personal reasons. Ausmus did not know when Mejia would rejoin the team.
Angels: RHP Noé Ramirez (viral infection) could be recalled from the injured list by Thursday following a successful rehab assignment at Single-A Inland Empire, Ausmus said. Ramirez must serve a three-game suspension for hitting Astros OF Jake Marsinick with a pitch on July 16 when he rejoins the team.
Pirates RHP Chris Archer (3-8, 5.23 ERA) has gone 11 starts without a victory, the longest winless stretch in his eight-year career. Archer is 0-3 with a 5.25 ERA since his last win on June 6. Angels LHP Dillon Peters (2-1, 3.45) has thrown 13 2/3 innings over his past two appearances, the longest outing during a two-game span in his three-year career.
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Keller gets first win as Pirates snap 8-game skid, beat Angels 10-2

Keller wins as Pirates snap 8-game skid, beat Angels 10-2
By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mitch Keller was barely a teenager when a hotshot outfielder from downstate New Jersey joined his hometown Cedar Rapids Kernels. Keller immediately became an enormous fan of Mike Trout, and he cheered on the Angels from Iowa while his favorite player rose to the top of their sport.
Keller finally stepped onto the same field as Trout on Monday night, facing his hero three times at the Big A. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ top pitching prospect will always remember his first career victory, but one small detail will stand out more than the final score.
“Just to kind of get that head nod from him in the first inning, his first at-bat … it was a really cool moment for me,” Keller said. “I’m sure he doesn’t think anything of it, but it was awesome for me.”
Keller pitched five resilient innings for his first win in the major leagues, and the Pirates snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 10-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
Keller (1-1) came up from the minors to make his fourth big league start, and the rangy right-hander was good enough to win — particularly with bountiful run support. He yielded five hits, two walks and just one earned run, striking out four and pitching out of two late jams.
He walked Trout twice in a pair of hard-fought at-bats. He also retired the Halos superstar on a fly to right in the third.
“It was incredible,” Keller said. “Growing up, I never would have pictured being here like that right now. It feels good to get the first one out of the way. Hopefully many more of them to come. … It’s really cool facing that team. There’s a lot of good players on that team, a lot of guys that I grew up watching.”
Jacob Stallings had a homer and a two-run double for the Pirates, who won for just the third time in 21 games and only the fifth time since the All-Star break. Despite those recent struggles, Pittsburgh’s raucous celebration of Keller’s milestone win could be heard well outside the clubhouse doors.
“It was a really good game for Mitch to be involved in, because he’s been separate from all of it,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was able to come in and put a foot down, and we showed up in the box.”
Kevin Newman, Josh Bell and Bryan Reynolds also homered as Pittsburgh jumped to a big early lead on young Jose Suarez (2-4) and the road-weary Angels, who played in Boston on Sunday.
Suarez yielded seven hits and six runs over three innings. The Angels are desperate for quality starting pitching in their badly depleted rotation, but Suarez has endured three consecutive rough starts.
“You don’t want him to be too down on himself, because he’s only 21 years old,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “There’s still plenty of time for him to get better. It’s a tough line to walk, because you don’t want his confidence to be eroded.”
Max Stassi drove in his first run for the Angels, but Los Angeles opened a seven-game homestand by losing for the ninth time in 11 games.
Starling Marte had three hits for the Pirates, who have skidded out of playoff contention over the past month. They began their first series at the Big A since 2013 by trouncing a similarly sliding opponent, starting with a three-run first inning.
After Bell drove home the first run with a single, infield errors by Matt Thaiss and Albert Pujols gift-wrapped two more runs while the Pirates batted around.
Pittsburgh added two more runs in the third on Stallings’ double down the left field line. Stallings, a 29-year-old catcher with 16 career RBIs entering the game, matched his career high with three RBIs.
Stassi, the veteran catcher recently acquired by the Angels from Houston, got his first RBI since May 8 with a long fly to center in the fourth.
Stallings homered in the fifth, and Reynolds and Bell both connected in the sixth. All three homers came off José Rodriguez, who came up from the minors to make his second appearance of the season for LA.
Pirates: Keller took the roster spot of RHP Richard Rodríguez, who went on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation.
Angels: RHP Justin Anderson went on the injured list with a strained back muscle. … SS Andrelton Simmons expects to return “soon” from a left ankle injury that has kept him out since Aug. 4. The Gold Glove winner missed nearly six weeks midway through the season with a different ankle injury. Simmons says the Angels are just being cautious this time with an apparently unrelated injury to the same ankle. … RHP Félix Peña, who combined with Taylor Cole on a no-hitter last month, will have his season-ending knee surgery Friday.
Halos rookie Griffin Canning (4-6, 4.76 ERA) will return from a brief stint on the injured list with elbow inflammation to face Pittsburgh’s Trevor Williams (4-5, 5.06 ERA), a Southern California native facing the Angels for the first time.
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