Friday, May 25, 2018
Sports

Altuve comes up big with 3 HRs

HOUSTON — Jose Altuve had just entered the Astros dugout after launching his third home run of the game when George Springer grabbed his right biceps and examined it, as if searching for an explanation for his teammate's extraordinary pop.

"He makes sure he stays on top of his gym routine, whatever it is," Springer said. "The dude is just a joke."

The major-league batting champion put on an unprecedented show of power Thursday as Houston roughed up Chris Sale and Boston 8-2 in Game 1 of the AL Division Series.

Buoyed by chants of "MVP" in each trip to the plate, Altuve, generously listed on the roster at 5 feet 6, hit solo homers in the first and fifth innings off Sale. He connected again in the seventh off reliever Austin Maddox.

"As soon as I cross the white line, I feel the same size as everyone else," Altuve said.

It was just the 10th time a player hit three homers in a postseason game, and first since Pablo Sandoval for the Giants in the 2012 World Series opener against Detroit. Babe Ruth did it twice.

"I told him the last time I've seen three home runs in a game was Pablo Sandoval and I gave up two of them, so I'm glad there's somebody new that's done it," winning pitcher Justin Verlander said.

Altuve seemed as surprised as anyone else that he was now in a category with the Sultan of Swat, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols. "I hit one and I was like: 'Wow,' " he said. "And the second one is like, 'Wow, what's going on here?' "

And his thoughts after the third?

"I got to wake up," he said, flashing a huge grin.

Sale never got into a rhythm and was chased with no outs in the sixth. The left-hander was tagged for nine hits and matched a season-high seven runs. "Never really gave my team a chance to win. Put them in a hole early," Sale said.

Decisions, decisions, LeBron

LeBron James hasn't had to make a decision this big in years. The NBA star attended the Yankees-Indians playoff game along with his Cavaliers teammates. Back in 2007, James came to Progressive Field for a postseason game wearing a Yankees cap, which he flaunted during the game. He was widely criticized in Cleveland for the move, which came three years before his infamous decision to announce he was leaving as a free agent for Miami. James rooted openly in the playoffs last year for the Indians, speaking to the crowd before one game and flexing for fans in Game 7 of the World Series. Manager Terry Francona was reminded that James once pulled for the other side. "I had not remembered that, but I do now," Francona said, smiling before the series opener. "I'm hopeful that he won't be (cheering for the Yankees)." Wearing a red hooded sweat shirt, James arrived about 30 minutes before the first pitch.

Cubs gets Strasburg in Game 1

Stephen Strasburg will start Game 1 of the Nationals' NL Division Series tonight against the visiting Cubs, manager Dusty Baker announced, and two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer might not pitch before Game 3. Scherzer tweaked his right hamstring during his last regular-season start. The Cubs already announced their pitching plans: Kyle Hendricks in Game 1, Jon Lester in Game 2 and Jose Quintana in Game 3.

Extras

. Diamondbacks coach Ariel Prieto said it was a mistake to wear an Apple Watch in the dugout during Wednesday's NL wild-card game against the Rockies. Prieto said he didn't use it for any illicit purpose and that it was on "airplane mode" during the game, which shuts off the watch's communication abilities. Last month, the Red Sox were fined by MLB for using an Apple Watch to relay signs to hitters.

. Taijuan Walker will start Arizona's NLDS opener tonight against the host Dodgers after the craziness of the Diamondbacks' wild-card game depleted their pitching staff. Los Angles is starting Clayton Kershaw.

Comments
Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with ďa lot to be excited aboutí

Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with ďa lot to be excited aboutí

Willy Adames' first stint in the major leagues ended as planned Thursday night when he was optioned back to Triple-A Durham at the end of his planned three-game cameo filling in for new father Joey Wendle.Adames said going back down was "tough" even ...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the Capitals.Ge...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Tampa's Carlie Yent was at a racing banquet a few years ago when someone asked her to name the driver who influenced her the most.The answer was easy and obvious: Danica Patrick."She was someone I could look up to," Yent said, "and she was the most i...
Updated: 2 hours ago
After Danica Patrick, why arenít there more women in auto racing?

After Danica Patrick, why arenít there more women in auto racing?

If you assumed Danica Patrick's success would lead to a tidal wave of female drivers into racing's top series, you're not alone."I kind of thought the Danica thing would bring out a lot of people, honestly," said Tampa's Megan Rae Meyer, a 21-year-ol...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Calvary Christianís record win streak ends in state final

Calvary Christianís record win streak ends in state final

FORT MYERS — One of the most impressive streaks in high school baseball came to an end early Friday morning.Calvary Christian lost the Class 4A state championship 5-1 to Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian at Hammond Stadium in a game that ended ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Thursdayís Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Thursdayís Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucsí Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy Ďa little bit oddí

Bucsí Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy Ďa little bit oddí

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays once again will Ďopení with relievers this weekend

Rays once again will Ďopení with relievers this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays weren't kidding about being serious that starting relievers gives them the best chance to win.So much so, they plan to do so again this weekend against the Orioles — in all three games. The plan is for Sergio Rom...
Updated: 11 hours ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechki...
Updated: 11 hours ago