Steelers name Ray Sherman interim wide receivers coach

Steelers name Ray Sherman interim wide receivers coach
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers are turning to Ray Sherman to serve as the club’s interim wide receivers coach following the death of Darryl Drake.
This is Sherman’s second stint with the Steelers. He served as the team’s offensive coordinator in 1998 under former head coach Bill Cowher.
The 67-year-old Sherman has made 10 coaching stops in the NFL during his lengthy career, last serving as wide receivers coach for the St. Louis Rams from 2012-15.
He will fill in this season for Pittsburgh after Drake died on Aug. 11 at St. Vincent College, which hosts the team’s training camp each summer.
Sherman will be in charge of a group attempting to replace star Antonio Brown, who was traded to Oakland in the offseason.
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Pirates to release veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli

Pirates to release veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates are parting ways with veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has been hampered by multiple concussions this season.
The club announced Thursday it requested unconditional release waivers for the 33-year-old Cervelli. He’s played just 34 games this season.
Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington says the club wants give Cervelli — who recently completed a rehabilitation assignment — an opportunity to sign with another team rather than sit the bench.
The last-place Pirates have split the catching duties between Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings. Cervelli is in the final season of a three-year, $31-million contract extension he signed in 2016.
He spent four-plus seasons with Pittsburgh after being acquired in 2014 in a trade with the New York Yankees. He hit .295 in 130 games in 2015 for a team that won 98 games and reached the National League playoffs for the third straight year.
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Marte hits 3-run HR in eighth, Pirates top Nationals 4-1

Marte hits 3-run HR in eighth, Pirates top Nationals 4-1
By WES CROSBY Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — After having little success in his first three times up, Starling Marte came up in the eighth inning with two men on base and the score tied. This time, Stephen Strasburg wasn’t on the mound and Marte took advantage.
Marte hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer off reliever Daniel Hudson and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 4-1 Tuesday night.
“I’ve been doing a good job,” Marte said. “Everybody pushed me to continue to do what I do. But the season’s not over. … I have to push myself the best I can every night and try to get the support for the other guys.”
After watching Pittsburgh struggle against Strasburg through seven innings, Nationals manager Dave Martinez turned to Wander Suero (3-7) to face the left-handed bats coming up in the eighth. Adam Frazier bunted a single past the mound to load the bases with nobody out before Bryan Reynolds tied it 1-1 with a sacrifice fly.
Marte then drove a fastball from Hudson 397 feet to right-center for his 22nd homer of the season.
Despite leaving after throwing just 94 pitches, Strasburg didn’t question Martinez’ decision.
“(Martinez) thought it was enough,” Strasburg said. “I think we win as a team and we lose as a team. Just didn’t work out for us tonight.”
Suero, who gave up two hits and one walk, was responsible for three of Pittsburgh’s four eighth-inning runs.
“My plan was just to get the three outs that I needed to get out of the inning,” Suero said. “Unfortunately, things didn’t go the way I wanted to.”
Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez (3-1) went 1 1/3 inning, allowing one hit with one strikeout.
Pittsburgh, which is 8-28 since the All-Star break, had scored one total run in its previous three games.
“The vibe doesn’t match the record,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The effort and the energy don’t match the record. We know that. You don’t win games on vibe and you don’t win games on effort. You win games with results.”
The Nationals are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Cubs for the NL’s first wild card, and entered having won seven of their previous eight games. They had scored at least 13 runs in each of their previous three games, totaling a franchise-record 43 runs during that stretch.
“It’s just weird, baseball,” Martinez said. “Today, we just couldn’t get any runs but one. But Strasburg was good.”
Strasburg allowed four hits and had six strikeouts in seven innings, and left the game on track for what would have been his career-high 16th win. He has 15 wins in four of his first 10 major league seasons.
Pirates reliever Clay Holmes hit Adam Eaton with a pitch before being replaced by Michael Feliz in the fifth. Anthony Rendon drove a double to the gap in right-center field off Feliz, scoring Eaton for a 1-0 Nationals lead.
Holmes gave up one run on one hit in 3 2/3 innings after relieving Pirates starter Chris Archer to start the second inning. Archer left with right shoulder discomfort after allowing two hits before stranding runners on second and third with back-to-back strikeouts to end the first.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman continued his rehab assignment with the Potomac Nationals on Tuesday. He began the assignment by playing two games for Double-A Harrisburg after being placed on the 10-day injured list with plantar fasciitis in his right foot July 22.
Pirates: RHP Richard Rodriguez (right shoulder inflammation) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. … RHP Montana DuRapau was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. … INF/OF José Osuna was reinstated from the MLB Suspended List after serving his five-game ban for his role in a July 30 benches-clearing brawl with the Reds. … RHP Kyle Crick was placed on the suspended list (three games) for his role in that same July 30 incident.
UP NEXT
Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (9-5, 3.34) has given up three runs or fewer in 10 of his past 11 starts. He allowed one run on seven hits in six innings of a 2-1 win over Milwaukee his last time out on Aug. 16.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (8-11, 4.59) will try for his first win in August. He is 0-2 in three starts this month since last winning July 30, when he surrendered two runs in six innings against Cincinnati.
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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.
TRAINER’S ROOM
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.
BABY TALK
Nationals 2B Brian Dozier was placed on paternity leave and INF Adrián Sanchez was recalled from Harrisburg. Dozier can miss up to three days.
HIT NO. 1
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.
UP NEXT
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.”
THIS BUD’S FOR YOU?
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.
TRAINER’S ROOM
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.
UP NEXT
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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Former Longhorns, NFL RB Benson dies in motorcycle accident

Former Longhorns, NFL RB Benson dies in motorcycle accident
By JIM VERTUNO AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former NFL running back Cedric Benson, one of the most prolific rushers in NCAA and University of Texas history, has died in a motorcycle accident in Texas. He was 36.
Benson’s attorney, Sam Bassett, said Austin law enforcement told him that Benson was killed in the wreck Saturday night. He had no details about the accident.
Benson was a key player in the Longhorns’ resurgence under coach Mack Brown, who said Sunday that Benson’s death has left him grief-stricken.
“He was as good as you’ll ever see as a football player and as tough as they come,” said Brown, who recently returned to coach North Carolina following a long run at Texas. “But what I’ll remember most is what a special, special person he was. We always enjoyed talking with him because he was such a bright and unique guy. There will never be another one like him, and he will be dearly missed by so many. It’s just heartbreaking, but we feel very fortunate to have had him in our lives.”
Benson was one of the top high school recruits out of the West Texas town of Midland. According to Texas Football magazine, he is eighth on the career rushing list for Texas high schools. He led Midland Lee to three straight state championships, the only three in school history, from 1998-2000.
Benson played at Texas from 2001-2004 and his 5,540 yards ranks second at the university and ninth in NCAA history. He scored 64 career touchdowns with the Longhorns and won the Doak Walker award, given to the nation’s top running back, in 2004.
He was the only player in school history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in four seasons and was inducted into the university’s Hall of Honor in 2014.
Benson was drafted No. 4 overall by the Bears in 2005 and helped Chicago reach the playoffs the following season. He had his finest years with Cincinnati from 2008-11, taking over as the featured back on a team that made the playoffs twice but lost in the first round each time.
“Cedric was a fine football player for us,” Bengals President Mike Brown said. “He played a principal role for several years here, including a couple of playoff runs. ”
Benson ran for a career-high 1,251 yards while leading a playoff push in 2009, the first of three straight 1,000-yard seasons. He also led the Bengals to the playoffs in 2011, when Andy Dalton and A.J. Green arrived as rookies.
“Once he bought into our system, he was like a flower. He just blossomed,” former Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson said. “He gave us an element we didn’t have. We had complementary guys, but Cedric gave us a missing element. He was a good man. He was one of my guys and it hurts. Life is too short.”
Benson played one season with Green Bay, where he started the first five games in 2012 before suffering a season-ending Lisfranc fracture in Indianapolis on Oct. 17. He rushed for 248 yards and a touchdown on 71 carries, and caught 14 passes for 97 yards in five games with the Packers before the foot injury.
Benson finished his NFL career with 6,017 yards rushing and 33 total touchdowns.
“He was from Texas, and he showed his Texas toughness in leading us to a division championship in just his second season with us,” Bengals owner Mike Brown said. “His three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons displayed the talent he possessed. Our organization is deeply saddened by his sudden and tragic passing.”
Benson returned to Austin after his playing career and set up a foundation, NUFCED, to aid underprivileged children and families. Those efforts included helping repair damage at the home of the first victim killed in a series of bombings in Austin early 2018.
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Associated Press writer Jamie Stengle in Dallas and AP Sports Writers Schuyler Dixon in Arlington, Texas; Joe Kay in Cincinnati and Keith Jenkins in Milwaukee contributed to this report.
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Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship

Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship
By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer
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.
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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.
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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.
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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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