- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2020

MLB

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Oakland Athletics clinched their first AL West title since 2013 on Monday night with an assist from the rival Houston Astros.

Houston lost 6-1 to the Seattle Mariners, ending its three-year reign as division champion and making the A’s the first team in the majors to lock up a division crown in this pandemic-shortened season. They will be home for a best-of-three playoff series beginning Sept. 29.

Oakland was off Monday before opening an interleague series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.

NEW YORK (AP) - The higher seeded team reaching the World Series will have last at-bats in Games 1 and 2 and if needed Games 6 and 7, not necessarily the team with the best record.



The specification was contained in the July 23 agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association to expand the playoffs following a regular season shortened due to the novel coronavirus. A copy of the deal was obtained by The Associated Press.

This year’s change means a No. 1 seed from one league with fewer regular-season wins than a lower seed from the other league would have the “homefield advantage” for the World Series should they both win pennants. In the event both pennant winners have the same seed, regular-season winning percentage would decide which team is “home” for the first two games.

ATLANTA (AP) - Cole Hamels is done for the season after making just one start for the Atlanta Braves.

Hamels reported shortly before the start of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins that he didn’t feel like he could get anything on the ball. The left-hander was scheduled to make his second start Tuesday after struggling throughout the year to overcome shoulder and triceps issues.

The Braves placed Hamels on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 18,, but that was a mere formality. General manager Alex Anthopoulos already contacted Major League Baseball about replacing Hamels in the team’s postseason player pool.

NFL

A person with knowledge of the punishment tells The Associated Press that at least three NFL head coaches have been fined $100,000 for violating the league’s rules that they wear face coverings on the sideline.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the league wasn’t announcing specific fines, said Denver’s Vic Fangio, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan and Seattle’s Pete Carroll were each docked $100,000. Their teams were fined $250,000 each.

More fines could be coming as several other coaches violated the league’s rules requiring coaches to wear coverings over their mouths and noses at all times. Players are exempt from these protocols.

-By Football Writer Arnie Stapleton.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley likely will miss the rest of the season with a major injury to his right knee.

The Giants (0-2) said an MRI on Monday confirmed Barkley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee on Sunday in a loss to the Chicago Bears.

The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year will undergo surgery in the near future, the team said.

Barkley went down hard on the Chicago sideline after trying to fend off Bears safety Eddie Jackson on a 6-yard carry early in the second quarter. The No. 2 overall draft choice in 2018 dragged his right leg behind him as he was helped back across the field to the Giants sideline.

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Denny Hamlin has joined Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan to form a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver, a high-profile pairing of a Black majority team owner and the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level.

The partnership was announced Monday night in coordinated social media posts by Jordan and Hamlin, with Wallace adding his own comment. The posts showed a picture of Jordan alongside a firesuit-clad Hamlin in a motorhome at a race track.

Jordan becomes the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup team since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott drove his own race car in 495 races from 1961 to 1973. Scott’s 1964 victory at the Jacksonville 200 is the only win by a Black driver in Cup history.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Ross Chastain snagged one of the coveted open Cup seats on Monday in a promotion at Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the No. 42 next season.

This year marks a particularly active free agency period with heavy turnover expected among a limited number of rides. The No. 42 Chevrolet at Ganassi has been filled by Matt Kenseth, who came out of retirement to drive after Kyle Larson was fired in April.

Chastain, a 27-year-old Ganassi development driver, could have gotten the nod when the seat first opened. Ganassi instead went with stability from veteran Kenseth to placate sponsors left skittish after Larson was fired for using a racial slur while playing a video game.

NHL

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl won the NHL MVP award after leading the league in scoring.

Draisaitl is the first German player to win the Hart Trophy. The 24-year-old had 110 points in 71 games for Edmonton, playing home games in the arena that’s hosting the Stanley Cup Final.

Draisaitl also won the Ted Lindsay Award as most outstanding player decided by the NHLPA.

Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck won the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender, Nashville’s Roman Josi got the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman and Colorado’s Cale Makar won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

These awards were announced before Game 2 of the final.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders is Jackson State’s football coach.

Sanders made the announcement Sunday night on the first episode of the “21st & Prime” podcast with Jamie Dukes on Barstool Sports. The player known as “Prime Time” during his career added, “Isn’t the time? Isn’t this the moment? Isn’t this what’s needed? It’s a match made in heaven.”

Currently the offensive coordinator at Trinity Christian School-Cedar Hill in Texas, it will be Sanders’ first head coaching job at the college level.

The move was first reported by the Clarion Ledger in Mississippi.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme - including a former Adidas executive - by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

CYCLING

PARIS (AP) - French judicial authorities have opened a preliminary investigation into suspected doping during the Tour de France targeting the Arkea-Samsic team, the French outfit confirmed on Monday.

Following reports in the French press that two persons close to the squad led by Colombian rider Nairo Quintana - a former Giro d’Italia and Spanish Vuelta champion - were being held for questioning, cycling governing body the UCI later said it has been in touch with a special public health unit (OCLAESP) as part of the operation carried out by French authorities.

A day after the end of the three-week Tour in Paris, Arkea-Samsic said in a statement that the team itself, the manager and staff have not been accused of wrongdoing after sports newspaper L’Equipe said gendarmes from the OCLAESP led a search on Wednesday in Meribel, in the Savoie region, at the team hotel.

COURTS

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Florida prosecutors said Monday that they won’t appeal a court’s decision blocking video that allegedly shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for massage parlor sex, making it likely the charges against him will be dropped.

If the state challenged the decision to the Florida Supreme Court and lost, it could have “broader, negative implications” on future law enforcement investigations beyond the Kraft case, the Florida Attorney General’s Office said.

Last month, the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal found that Jupiter police violated the rights of Kraft and others when they secretly installed video cameras inside massage rooms at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in early 2019. The court then blocked use of the video footage at trial.

OBITUARY

Bob Nevin, a fan favorite who won two Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs before a successful run as captain of the New York Rangers, has died. He was 82.

The NHL said he died early Monday but did not give a cause.

Nevin played 1,128 NHL games with Toronto, New York, Minnesota and Los Angeles, totaling 726 points (307 goals, 419 assists) while compiling just 211 penalty minutes.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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