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The Sports Report: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers sweep Brewers out of the playoffs

Clayton Kershaw follows through on a delivery during the sixth inning in Game 2.
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: For four innings Thursday, the Dodgers, the juggernaut expected to plow through the shorthanded Milwaukee Brewers in the best-of-three wild card round at Dodger Stadium, looked vulnerable with a chance to sweep and advance to the National League Division Series,

They couldn’t figure out right-hander Brandon Woodruff, one of the few healthy quality pitchers left for Milwaukee, as Clayton Kershaw posted zeroes to keep them in the game. Then the gulf between the teams – perhaps the biggest between playoff opponents in major league history -- abruptly surfaced in the fifth inning of the Dodgers’ 3-0 win. All it took was one mistake.

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It should’ve been a routine double play to end the inning. With runners on first and second, AJ Pollock hit a groundball right to third baseman Luis Urías, who stepped on the bag before making an on-the-run throw to first base for the third out. But the ball short-hopped first baseman Jedd Gyorko. It bounced in and out of his glove. The Dodgers had life and they pounced.

Austin Barnes, the Dodgers’ No. 9 hitter, followed and laid off a 1-2 fastball Woodruff thought was strike three. Home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott called it a ball. Two pitches later, he hit a perfectly placed groundball up the middle to score Chris Taylor from second base for the game’s first run. Next, Mookie Betts lined a two-run double – his third double of the series – down the left-field line. It was all the cushion Kershaw needed.

Kershaw sliced through a feeble offense that batted .223 during the 60-game regular season. The left-hander recorded a playoff career-high 13 strikeouts in eight innings, becoming the first Dodgers starter to pitch into the eighth inning in 2020. He walked one batter. He needed just 93 pitches. He threw 45 sliders and induced 20 whiffs. He faced 27 batters and one saw a 2-and-0 count. Along the way, he passed Roger Clemens for the fourth-most career playoff strikeouts in history.

With the win, the Dodgers advanced to the National League Division Series to face either the St. Louis Cardinals or San Diego Padres. Game 1 is scheduled for Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

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Dave Roberts to Dodgers: Please don’t talk to ESPN while playing the game

Dave Roberts changes his stance on Kenley Jensen’s Game 1 performance

Dylan Hernández: Clayton Kershaw is a wild-card dominator, but can he be a World Series winner?

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Terrance Gore a game-changer? Dodgers speedster ready for his Dave Roberts moment

Wild-card round
All times Pacific

No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Brewers
Game 1: Dodgers 4, Milwaukee 2
Game 2: Dodgers 3, Milwaukee 0

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LAKERS

Tania Ganguli on the Lakers: LeBron James paused for a few seconds as he considered his answer. He had just been asked about the close, drama-free connection he and Anthony Davis have developed during the 15 months they’ve spent as teammates.

What common ground helps their bond?

“We’re not jealous of each other,” James said. “I think that’s the best thing. In professional sports, you have guys that join forces to become alpha males.

“That’s what they call them. Two guys that have been dominant in a specific sport on their own respective teams, and they get together and they talk about how dominant they can be and they talk about this is going to be this and that. I believe jealousy creeps in a lot. And that is the absolute contrary of what we are.”

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During Game 1 of the NBA Finals, James and Davis became the first Lakers duo to score 25 points each in a Finals game since Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in 2004. Their connection has helped the Lakers all season, and as Davis goes through his first NBA Finals, its importance is showing more and more. It’s one of the many ways that Davis is surrounded by support as he takes on his biggest challenge yet.

“For me personally, having a team like this, a coaching staff like this and a guy like Bron and [Rajon] Rondo and J.R. [Smith] specifically, and Markieff [Morris], who always instills confidence into me,” Davis said. “…When you have guys always talking to you in your ear about greatness and seeing Bron, how great he is and the things he does on the floor, and guys on our team, as well, who do great things on the floor, it makes you want to be better. It makes you want to fit in with that group.”

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Lakers’ Dwight Howard opens up about feeling depressed in NBA bubble

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Banged-up Heat have no choice but to embrace underdog role

NBA FINALS
All times Pacific
Lakers vs. Miami

Game 1: Lakers 116, Miami 98
Game 2: Tonight, 6 p.m., ABC
Game 3: Sunday, 4:30 p.m., ABC
Game 4: Tuesday, 6 p.m., ABC
Game 5*: Friday, Oct. 9, 6 p.m., ABC
Game 6*: Sunday, Oct. 11, 4:30 p.m., ABC
Game 7*: Tuesday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m., ABC

*-if necessary

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NBA

Dan Woike on the NBA: Former Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who unexpectedly parted ways with the Clippers earlier this week, has accepted a job to coach the Philadelphia 76ers, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.

Rivers rapidly became a favorite of Philadelphia after unexpectedly entering the pool of candidates looking for work. He’ll be reunited with Tobias Harris while inheriting Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Philadelphia fired coach Brett Brown, who shepherded the team through “The Process” years but who was also unable to have postseason success. The 76ers were swept in the first round of the playoffs by Boston.

For Rivers, it’ll be the fourth team he’s coached since taking over the Orlando Magic in 1999. He’s not had a season off since.

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With Clippers job open, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson make their cases — for each other

NFL

Sam Farmer on the NFL: The NFL on Thursday postponed the Week 4 game between Pittsburgh and Tennessee to later this season after two more members of the Titans — one player and another team employee — tested positive for COVID-19.

The league already had bumped the game from Sunday to either Monday or Tuesday night.

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On Tuesday, three Titans players and five other team employees tested positive. The team immediately closed its facility to in-person activities, as did the Minnesota Vikings, who played Tennessee on Sunday. On Wednesday, a fourth Titans player tested positive.

“The decision to postpone the game was made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel,” the league said. “The Titans facility will remain closed and the team will continue to have no in-person activities until further notice.”

MLB PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE


Wild-card round (best of three)
All times Pacific
American League

No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays vs. No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays
Game 1: Tampa Bay 3, Toronto 1
Game 2: Tampa Bay 8, Toronto 2

No. 2 Oakland A’s vs. No. 7 Chicago White Sox
Game 1: Chicago 4, Oakland 1
Game 2: Oakland 5, Chicago 3
Game 3: Oakland 6, Chicago 4

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No. 3 Minnesota Twins vs. No. 6 Houston Astros
Game 1: Houston 4, Minnesota 1
Game 2: Houston 3, Minnesota 1

No. 4 Cleveland Indians vs. No. 5 New York Yankees
Game 1: New York 12, Cleveland 3
Game 2: New York 10, Cleveland 9

National League

No. 2 Atlanta Braves vs. No. 7 Cincinnati Reds
Game 1: Atlanta 1, Cincinnati 0 (13)
Game 2: Atlanta 5, Cincinnati 0

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No. 3 Chicago Cubs vs. No. 6 Miami Marlins
Game 1: Miami 5, Chicago 1
Game 2: (Thursday scheduled game was ppd. by rain) Today at Chicago, 11 a.m., ABC
Game 3*: Saturday at Chicago, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 4 San Diego Padres vs. No. 5 St. Louis Cardinals
Game 1: St. Louis 7, San Diego 4
Game 2: San Diego 11, St. Louis 9
Game 3: Tonight at San Diego, 4 pm., ESPN

*-if necessary

WNBA FINALS


All times Pacific
All games at Bradenton, Fla.

No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 2 Seattle Storm

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Game 1: Today, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Game 2: Sunday, noon, ABC
Game 3: Tuesday, 4 p.m., ESPN
Game 4*: Thursday, Oct. 8, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Game 5*: Sunday, Oct. 11, noon, ABC

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

Lakers vs. Miami, 6 p.m., ABC

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1950 — Jim Hardy throws six touchdown passes, including five to Bob Shaw, as the Chicago Cardinals pound the Baltimore Colts 55-13.

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1970 — Fourteen members of the Wichita State football team are killed in a plane crash in the Rocky Mountains.

1980 — Larry Holmes registers a technical knockout in the 11th round against Muhammad Ali to win the world heavyweight title in Las Vegas.

1983 — The Green Bay Packers score 49 points in the first half, including 35 in the second quarter, in a 55-14 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

1991 — Steffi Graf becomes the youngest woman to win 500 matches as a professional when she beats Petra Langrova of Czechoslovakia 6-0, 6-1 in the Leipzig International Tournament.

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1993 — In the first all-British world heavyweight title fight, Lennox Lewis retains his WBC heavyweight title with a seven-round knockout of Frank Bruno in Cardiff, Wales.

1993 — California rallies from a 30-0 deficit to beat Oregon 42-41. Dave Barr throws three second-half touchdowns, including a 26-yarder to Iheanyi Uwaezuoke with 1:17 left in the game.

1994 — North Carolina’s 92-game winning streak in women’s soccer ends with a scoreless tie in overtime against Notre Dame.

1994 — Don Shula’s Miami Dolphins beat son Dave’s Cincinnati Bengals 23-7 in the first meeting between father and son coaches in professional sports.

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2001 — Albert Pujols of St. Louis goes 3-for-4 to set an NL rookie record with 353 total bases in a 5-1 victory over Milwaukee.

2001 — Sammy Sosa becomes the first player in major league history with three 60-homer seasons, but the Reds hold on for a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Sosa’s solo shot comes in the first inning.

2004 — Rice and San Jose State play in the highest-scoring regulation game in Division I-A history, with the Spartans winning 70-63. The 133 points surpass the total from Middle Tennessee’s 70-58 victory over Idaho on Oct. 6, 2001. The schools combine for 19 touchdowns to break the Division I-A record of 18.

2006 — Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is given a five-game suspension — the longest for on-field behavior in NFL history — for stomping on Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode’s head and kicking him in the face.

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2009 — Ninth-grader Alexis Thompson shoots a 3-under 69 for a share of the lead with top-ranked Lorena Ochoa and three others after the second round of the Navistar LPGA Classic. Ochoa eventually wins her second straight Navistar LPGA Classic, snapping an 11-start winless streak and the 14-year-old Thompson finishes tied for 27th at 6 under.

2011 — Devin Hester sets an NFL record with his 11th punt return for a touchdown and Matt Forte rushes for a career-high 205 yards to lead Chicago to a 34-29 win over Carolina.

2011 — Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers throws for a career-high 408 yards, ties a personal best with four touchdown passes and runs for two more scores in a 49-23 rout of the Denver Broncos.

2011 — Michael Vick throws for a career-high 416 yards and two touchdowns and rushes for 75 yards in Philadelphia’s 24-23 loss to San Francisco.

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2011 — Dallas has its largest lead blown in a loss in franchise history, frittering away a 24-point third-quarter cushion in a 34-30 loss to Detroit. The Lions turned a 20-point halftime deficit into an overtime win at Minnesota the previous week.

2016 — The United States win the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008. Ryan Moore two-putted on No. 18 for a 1-up victory over Lee Westwood, giving the Americans a 15-10 lead that seals the win over Europe. The 17-11 victory over Europe is their biggest rout in 35 years at the Ryder Cup.

2016 — Atlanta’s Matt Ryan passes for 503 yards and four touchdowns, while wide receiver Julio Jones has 12 catches for 300 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta’s 48-33 win over Carolina.

And finally

Lakers and Dodgers fans don facemasks and head to bars. Watch it here.

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Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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