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Astros’ edge for home field in playoffs cut with loss to A’s

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Matt Olson and Chad Pinder each homered and the Oakland Athletics beat Houston 8-6 Friday night, cutting the Astros’ edge for home-field advantage in the AL playoffs.
Houston leads the White Sox by one game for home field in their best-of-five Division Series matchup next week. The AL West champion Astros also own the tiebreaker after going 5-2 against AL Central champion Chicago this season.
“We wanted to win today,” said Jake Meyers, who had two hits and drove in two runs for Houston. “We had an opportunity to win today. … That’s something we want to do. That’s the next goal in the next few games is to hopefully get both of those Ws.”
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Pinder hit a solo shot in the fourth and Olson had a two-run drive in the sixth to increase Oakland’s advantage to 4-1.
“We still have games to play,” Olson said. “When we’re out there, we’re going to compete. That’s what we do. It’s all we know really. To push those runs across, we got a couple big hits. A pretty solid win against a good team.”
Pinder added an RBI grounder as the A’s scored four times in the eighth for an 8-2 lead.
Sean Manaea (11-10) permitted two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the A’s ended a three-game losing streak.
The left-hander became the fifth pitcher in Oakland history with at least five consecutive winning seasons, joining Tim Hudson, Catfish Hunter, Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley.
“He had a terrific season; he really did,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Overall, he finished the year with a less than four ERA and the innings he gave us, one of the better starters in the American League.”
Lou Trivino got four outs for his 22nd save. He allowed a leadoff double in the ninth to Yordan Alvarez and walked Carlos Correa, but recovered to strike out Jose Altuve and induce groundouts by Michael Brantley and Meyers to end it.
“He had to come in a tough situation and then he had a couple guys on and nobody out in a tough situation and all their guys coming off the bench, too,” Melvin said. “That ended up being a really good outing. He ended up doing it a little differently, too, throwing some changeups and curveballs and they weren’t all sinkers. He had to dig deep to get through this one today.”
The Astros scored four times in the eighth. Meyers hit an RBI single and Jason Castro followed with a three-run homer.
Aledmys Díaz gave the Astros a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first. Jose Siri, who led off with a triple and scored on the single, exited in the second with a right hand injury.
“I was surprised when he came in,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “A lot of times you hurt yourself, and you don’t feel it until later because your adrenaline kicks in. He walked by me and said, ‘I hurt my hand.' He went into the training room, and the trainer came out and said I had to take him out of the ballgame.”
Framber Valdez (11-6) yielded four runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in five innings.
Valdez said through a translator that he through he did not use his curveball as much as he should have, and that might have been why he gave up four runs.
“We were trying to take him as far as we could but not overstretch him, so he can be ready for the playoffs,” Baker said. “He was good. He had a really good curveball early.”
TRAINER’S ROOM
Athletics: OF Ramón Laureano had successful core injury surgery on Thursday, Oakland announced Friday. Laureano will return to Arizona to resume his rehabilitation, with the expectation he will be ready for spring training, Oakland said. … INF Vimael Machín was placed on the 10-day injured list with a stomach illness that is not COVID-19 related. INF Pete Kozma was selected from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Machín’s spot on the roster.
Astros: Baker got a good report on RHP Zack Greinke’s rehab assignment on Thursday..

Goldschmidt walk-off hit, O’Neill 2 HRs as Cards beat Cubs

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Paul Goldschmidt hit a walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning, and the playoff-bound St. Louis Cardinals won for the 19th time in their last 20 games, 4-3 over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.
Tyler O'Neill homered twice and threw out the potential go-ahead run in the ninth inning for the Cardinals, who will play either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants in the NL wild-card game.
Dakota Hudson made his first start for the Cardinals in more than a year, allowing three hits in five scoreless innings. Hudson is returning from Tommy John surgery and worked in relief in his season debut on Sept. 24.
Andrew Knizner singled with one out in the ninth off Tommy Nance (1-1), and pinch-hitter Edmundo Sosa also singled. Tommy Edman grounded out before Goldschmidt greeted Rowan Wick with a sharp single to left field that easily scored Knizner.
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In his previous at-bat in the eighth, Goldschmidt was robbed of a home run by center fielder Rafael Ortega, but the disappointment didn't linger.
“Goldie’s as present as they’re going to come,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “He’s got a present physical skillset but he’s also got an elite mindset. High, high, high baseball IQ. Sees the game very, very well and he’s just going to continue to be ready for that next moment.”
With the score tied 3-3, pinch-hitter Willson Contreras led off the ninth for the Cubs with a double off Giovanny Gallegos (6-5). Ortega singled to left with one out, but O'Neill's throw home was on target and catcher Knizner tagged out Contreras.
Cory Abbott made his first career start for the Cubs, allowing two runs — both on homers by O'Neill — and one other hit in five innings.
“He pitches well. A lot of soft contact, a lot of missed barrels,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Loved the tempo with which he works. A really nice job.”
O'Neill has 34 homers this season, including five in his last five games against the Cubs. It was his fourth career multi-homer game.
“That’s exciting stuff. It’s fun to see,” Hudson said. “I mean geez, put that on the highlight reel. That’s great baseball.”
Trayce Thompson hit a three-run homer with two outs in the sixth against T.J. McFarland to put the Cubs ahead 3-2. Genesis Cabrera began the inning on the mound but was pulled for precautionary reasons with left middle finger discomfort after walking consecutive batters.
Lars Nootbaar tied it in the bottom of the sixth with a single that scored O'Neill.
“The boys got it done today. We’re just having some fun playing some good ball out there,” O’Neill said. “That was a good one.”
ONE MORE YEAR
St. Louis announced before the game that RHP Adam Wainwright has signed a one-year extension for the 2022 season. Wainwright has 184 career wins in his 17-year career, all with the Cardinals, and will start next week's wild-card game.
“I don’t want to be anywhere else,” Wainwright said. “Who am I kidding?”
ONE MORE HOMER
Cubs OF Ian Happ needs one homer to top his career high of 24, set as a rookie in 2017.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Cubs: SS Nico Hoerner (right oblique tightness), OF Nick Martini and INF David Bote were all placed on the injured list.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina (right shoulder stiffness) did not start for the fourth straight game but is expected to play this weekend, manager Mike Shildt said. INF Edmundo Sosa (sore right hand) did not start for the seventh straight game. He pinch-hit in the ninth.
ROSTER MOVES
Cubs: Selected the contracts of OF Johneshwy Fargas and INF Tyler Ladendorf from Triple-A Iowa. Fargas pinch-hit in the ninth, popping up to the pitcher on a bunt attempt.
UP NEXT
Adrian Sampson (1-2, 4.32 ERA) starts Saturday for Chicago against the Cardinals' Jon Lester (7-6, 4.62).

Lynn, Abreu lift White Sox over Tigers for 5th straight win

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Lance Lynn pitched one-run ball over five innings, José Abreu homered and drove in four runs, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 8-1 Friday night for their fifth straight win.
Tim Anderson added four hits for the AL Central champions as they prepare for next week’s Division Series against the Houston Astros. Chicago pulled within a game of the Astros for home-field advantage after Houston lost to Oakland.
Lynn (11-6) earned his first win since July 25, giving up four hits and one walk while striking out four. The right-hander had lost three of his previous four starts but afterward was more focused on his readiness for the playoffs than on snapping his recent skid.
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“The only thing that really matters is I’m feeling as healthy as I possibly can,” Lynn said. “It’s an A. We’re ready to rock.”
Abreu’s solo drive opened the scoring for Chicago in the third. It was his first home run since Sept. 10 and earned him his fifth season with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, a moment that was celebrated within the Chicago dugout.
“He’s the most consistent first baseman that’ll give it to you every year,” Anderson said. “I’ve watched him since I got here. For him to just continue to do what he’s been doing, I’m so excited for him. I’ve learned so much from him, from hitting to just competing. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Detroit helped the White Sox break a 1-1 tie in the fourth. While attempting a routine double play, first baseman Jonathan Schoop threw the ball off runner Gavin Sheets’ back. Anderson followed the error with a go-ahead RBI single, and Luis Robert added another run with a sacrifice fly.
Abreu drove in his second run on a fielder’s choice and plated another in the sixth with an RBI double.
Sheets singled home two and Abreu drew a bases-loaded walk to pad Chicago’s lead in the seventh.
The White Sox have outscored opponents 34-12 during their five-game streak.
Garrett Crochet, Ryan Tepera, Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks combined for four innings of shutout relief to secure Chicago’s victory.
Wily Peralta (4-5) lost his second straight start, allowing two earned runs and nine hits on six innings pitched.
Robbie Grossman’s fourth-inning RBI double represented Detroit’s only scoring for the night. The third-place Tigers have lost six of eight after going on a four-game winning streak.
“When you’re playing these guys, you’ve got to chip away if they take the lead,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “You’ve got to execute against a team like this. They played like a playoff team. We did not tonight.”
ANDERSON PUSHES BACK
Anderson spoke before the game about his suspension for making contact with umpire Tim Timmons during an on-field incident in Monday’s game against Detroit. Though Anderson confirmed he pushed Timmons, he insisted the ump pushed him first.
“I didn’t realize it was the umpire,” Anderson said. “What’s your reaction when somebody pushes you? I pushed him up off of me, and I realized it was him. But at that point, it’s too late. Yeah, I pushed him, but he initiated it.”
Anderson, who was out of the lineup Monday, ran onto the field after Abreu slid hard into Detroit shortstop Niko Goodrum at second, causing both benches to clear. He was ejected after pushing Timmons and ultimately suspended three regular-season games for the incident.
Anderson is appealing the suspension and said he doesn’t know how long the appeal process will take.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Tigers: Hinch says he’s hoping to have an update by Saturday on whether OF Derek Hill will need surgery after spraining his left knee on Sept. 18. … RHP Rony García (sprained knee) has been throwing bullpen sessions with Low-A Lakeland to prepare for winter ball this offseason.
White Sox: Chicago will determine this weekend if RHP Evan Marshall (strained flexor) is hea..

Harper homers, Suárez shuts down Marlins in Phils’ 5-0 win

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Bryce Harper had three hits including his 35th homer, Ranger Suárez pitched seven scoreless innings, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 5-0 on Friday night.
Harper, who went hitless in 11 at-bats during three losses at Atlanta that eliminated the Phillies from the NL East race, broke out of his slump with an RBI double in the third inning against Sandy Alcantara. As he reached second, Harper rolled his left ankle and briefly limped while he was visited by team trainers, but he remained in the game.
“I wasn’t paying attention to where the bag was, slipped over it and kind of rolled it a little bit,” Harper said. “I’m good.”
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Putting the finishing touches on a possible MVP season, Harper hit an opposite-field solo homer off a 99 mph fastball from Alcantara (9-15) in the fifth. But he's still smarting over his performances against the Braves.
“On a personal note, after those three games, I felt like I let my team down, I let the city of Philadelphia down,” Harper said. “But also with that, we ran into some really good pitching and that sometimes happens.”
The Phillies (82-78) assured themselves of a winning season, their first since 2011, while the last-place Marlins have lost nine of 10.
“It was gut-wrenching what we went through in Atlanta,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “But to finish above .500 is important and we need to build on that.”
Suárez (8-5) scattered six hits, struck out eight, walked one and hit a batter as he extended his scoreless streak to 21 innings and lowered his ERA to 1.36. The former reliever has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last eight starts.
“Like I always say, you strive to do the most you can,” Suárez said. “My teammates helped me tremendously. It was a great season and I appreciate my teammates’ support.”
Odubel Herrera had a run-scoring single ahead of Harper’s double in the third, and Didi Gregorius drove in the third run with a sacrifice fly.
Matt Vierling hit a pinch-hit solo homer to lead off the ninth.
“Ranger has been pitching well it seems all the time,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He kept us off balance pretty good.”
Alcantara was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth. The right-hander gave up four runs on five hits and struck out six. He finished the season with 201 strikeouts in 205 innings, becoming the fifth pitcher in Marlins history to reach 200 in both categories.
“I feel happy and blessed doing that,” Alcantara said. “I knew coming in I needed five more strikeouts to get to 200. Inning by inning I was looking for it.”
SEASON SHUTDOWN
Zack Wheeler’s turn in the rotation Sunday will be used by another starter. In his second year since joining the Phillies as a free agent, Wheeler finished 14-10 with a 2.78 ERA. The right-hander led the NL in innings pitched (213) and his three complete games were tied for the league lead with St. Louis' Adam Wainwright and Colorado's German Márquez.
“After discussions with everyone involved in the organization, we think it’s best that his season stops,” Girardi said. “He’s thrown a lot of innings. He did more than anyone can ask. Next year is really important to us and I don’t see any reason to run him out.”
SEASON SHUTDOWN, PART 2
Marlins rookie left-hander Trevor Rogers, the club’s NL All-Star representative, will not make his scheduled start on Sunday, Mattingly said. After winning seven of his first 10 decisions, Rogers finished 7-8 in 25 starts and 137 innings. The 23-year-old last won on June 10.
“If Philly were still in (the playoff race) and it meant something, then Trevor wanted to pitch,” Mattingly said. “For a young starter in your organization and the position that we’re in, the one thing that you would feel totally awful about is if something were to happen to him.”
ROSTER MOVES
The Marlins re..

Nimmo 2 HRs, leads Megill, Mets over Braves 4-3

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Brandon Nimmo hit two solo home runs, Tylor Megill allowed one hit in five scoreless innings and the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Friday night, snapping the NL East champions’ six-game winning streak.
One night after clinching their fourth straight division title, the Braves played just three regulars: second baseman Ozzie Albies, left fielder Eddie Rosario and Austin Riley, who moved from third to first base.
The Mets scored in the fourth when Francisco Lindor led off with a walk and Pete Alonso, who went 3 for 4, doubled him home to make it 1-0. Alonso took third on shortstop Orlando Arcia’s errant throw to the plate. He was initially called out, but a video review showed that he beat Ehire Adrianza’s tag.
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New York scored again in the inning on James McCann’s RBI single. Braves starter Huascar Ynoa (4-6) struck out Megill to strand the bases loaded.
Megill (4-6) didn’t allow a first hit until Albies singled to center with one out in the fourth. Albies stole second but was stranded on Riley’s strikeout and Rosario’s groundout.
Megill hopes to carry his final start of the season into 2022, when he'll be a candidate to stay in the rotation.
“Very important,” he said. “Being able to go out there and throw well and that high that you threw well and you had success going into the offseason knowing that you finished strong. Keep that momentum going through the offseason and get ready for the next.”
Nimmo’s seventh homer put New York up 3-0 in the fifth off Ynoa. Nimmo's eighth, coming off Spencer Strider in the seventh, made it 4-1. Both landed in the right-field seats.
“Tonight we saw him getting ready actually early and landing in a strong position and being able to extend the bat,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “He’s a strong human being, and if he gets himself in a position where he can get the barrel out there, things like this can happen. There is power in it.”
Rosario hit his 14th homer in the seventh off Heath Hembree, cutting the Mets' lead to 4-2. Adrianza homered off Trevor May in the eighth, and the Braves had two runners in scoring position when the eighth ended on Orlando Arcia’s lineout.
Edwin Díaz earned his 32nd save in 38 chances by working the ninth.
The Mets, assured of their fourth losing record in five years, are 30-49 on the road.
Megill, who walked one and struck out six, had lost his last two starts and had 12.86 ERA during that stretch. He had given up 12 homers in his previous six starts.
Jeurys Familia gave up Atlanta’s second hit, a single by Adrianza in the sixth. Adrianza scored on Albies’ double, trimming the lead to 3-1.
Ynoa, who hasn’t won since May 9, allowed three runs, six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in five innings. He is 0-2 with a 6.52 ERA in six starts this month.
“He’s not a finished product yet,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s still learning, but overall I thought his stuff was good tonight.”
TRAINER’S ROOM
Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman had treatment on his right elbow, which was hit by 100 mph pitch the night before. Freeman was among the starters given the night off.
YOU AGAIN
Mets OF Kevin Pillar faced Jacob Webb for the first time since Webb hit him in the face with a pitch on May 17, striking out with runners on first and third in the sixth.
SNAPPED
New York 2B Javier Báez’s career-best 23-game on-base streak ended when he went 0 for 4. He hit .386 with 18 runs, four doubles, four homers, 13 RBIs, 10 walks and five stolen bases during the streak.
ROSTER MOVES
The Braves selected RHP Strider to Atlanta, recalled LHP Dylan Lee to Atlanta, optioned LHP Sean Newcomb to Triple-A Gwinnett and placed RHP Edgar Santana on the 10-day injured list with a strained right intercostal muscle.
UP NEXT
Mets RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-4, 5.73) will face a yet-to-be-d..

McCaskill with 3 TDs as Houston dominates Tulsa 45-10

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Freshman Alton McCaskill scored a career-best three touchdowns — all in the first half — and Clayton Tune passed for 241 yards and a pair of scores as Houston defeated Tulsa 45-10 on Friday night.
McCaskill, who gained 77 yards on 17 carries, scored twice from the 1-yard line and added a 27-yard burst up the middle that included a pirouette at about the 15 as he broke through the final defenders. He had previously scored two touchdowns each in wins over Rice and Grambling.
Houston (4-1, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) scored three straight possessions early, leading 21-0 less than a minute into the second quarter. Tune was 17 of 24 passing with touchdowns to Jeremy Singleton early and Seth Green late.
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Tulsa's first four possessions resulted in two punts, a turnover on downs and an interception. The Hurricanes never got on track, with 27 yards rushing, three turnovers and 11 penalties for 119 yards.
Two plays after a pass interference penalty on Houston kept a Tulsa drive alive, Davis Brin found Ezra Naylor II deep over the middle on a 41-yard scoring pass as the Hurricanes cut the gap to 42-10 late in the game.
Brin completed 20 of 39 passes for 258 yards with a touchdown against three interceptions. He was sacked four times for a loss of 40 yards.
Just before halftime, Tulsa's Jaise Oliver intercepted Tune, resulting in an 11-play 65-yard drive ending with a 33-yard Zack Long field goal as the Hurricanes went into the break trailing 28-3.
Tulsa (1-4, 0-1) opened the second half with the ball, but held it for only three plays before Brin was picked off by Houston's Gervarrius Owens, who returned it 45 yards for a Cougars touchdown.
Owens caught a tipped pass and picked up a convoy of blockers as he returned it along the right sideline for the score.

Will Zalatoris shoots 61 to share lead at Sanderson Farms

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Will Zalatoris felt like he couldn't miss on the green and rarely did Friday in setting the course record with an 11-under 61 to share the lead with Nick Watney and Sahith Theegala in the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Zalatoris, voted the PGA Tour rookie of the year despite not having full status last year, made it look so simple at the Country Club of Jackson that his longest putt for par was 3 feet.
One of the poorer shots he hit was on the par-5 third hole after making the turn. He hit a weak fade into a bunker some 30 yards away and blasted out to 3 feet, turning a difficult shot into yet another birdie.
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“The days where I make 20-footers, those are the days that I end up putting a great round together, because I’m always going to be the guy that’s going to hit 14 plus greens to give myself chances,” Zalatoris said.
Watney, coming off his worst season in a decade, backed up a solid start with another good round. He opened with four birdies in six holes and dropped only one shot on his way to a 66.
Theegala also held his own after opening with a 64, new territory for the California rookie in just his second start as a PGA Tour member. He chipped in for eagle on the par-5 third hole to right back in the mix. Theegala finished with a 30-foot birdie putt for a 67.
They were at 13-under 131 in what figures to be a week of low scoring.
The cut was at 5-under 139. Among those who missed was Sergio Garcia, the defending champion playing a week after a draining Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.
Former U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland took two shots from behind the ninth green on his final hole and made bogey for a 73 to miss the cut by one.
Zalatoris had a remarkable rookie season without having full status, boosted by a tie for sixth in the U.S. Open last September and tying to second in the Masters.
All that's left is to win.
“I've gotten asked a lot, ‘What are your goals for this year?’ And besides winning a golf tournament, I really have any,” he said. “Of course, everyone has goals of trying to be on a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup. I would be lying if I said I don’t have a little fire in my belly after missing out and watching guys that I grew up with playing as a part of Team USA.”
Playing on sponsor exemptions last year, he still finished No. 22 in the Ryder Cup standings.
Watney hit only two fairways, though not by much and he was rarely out of position.
“It didn’t seem that stressful. That sounds really stressful, but it wasn’t that stressful,” he said. “For the most part I kept it in the right spot on the greens and I made a few kind of bonus putts that you might not expect to make. So those are always fun.”
Cameron Young and Hayden Buckley each shot 65 and were one shot out of the lead. Roger Sloan of Canada shot 67 and was two behind.
Sam Burns, who was seriously considered as a pick for the Ryder Cup, was among those three shots behind.

So Yeon Ryu, Ewart Shadoff share lead at ShopRite LPGA

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So Yeon Ryu finally quit thinking about her swing and thought only about scoring just in time to birdie the last three holes for a 6-under 65 and a share of the lead with Jodi Ewart Shadoff in the ShopRite LPGA on Friday.
Scoring was so low on the Bay Course of Seaview that 20 players shot 67 or better.
Ewart Shadoff, who has missed the cut in her last eight LPGA Tour events, birdied the par-5 18th to join Ryu in the lead.
Jin Young Ko, the world's No. 2 player, Inbee Park and Solheim Cup star Matilda Castren of Finland were among those one shot behind at 66.
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U.S. Women's Open champion Yuka Saso birdied four of her last seven holes to join the chase. She was among those at 67.
Getting off to a quick start is important at the ShopRite LPGA because it's a 54-hole event.
Ryu, a two-time major champion and former No. 1 player in women's golf, didn't get off to the fastest start. She began on No. 10 and was only 1 under through 12 holes when she made eagle on the par-5 third hole.
The South Korean player said she has been working on her downswing to keep it from coming too far inside. It seemed that's all she could think about at times.
“Sometimes I'm too addicted to golf swing,” Ryu said. “I really try hard to just think about how I’m going to play instead of just how I’m swinging. So I think that’s the thing I really struggle on the golf course and that’s the focus on the golf course.
“I just only realize it just five holes to go,” she said. “So I just told myself, ‘So Yeon, let’s just focus on how I’m playing instead of swing.’ I think that one really help me out.”
The only time Ewart Shadoff played all four rounds since early June, she still didn't get paid. Playing for Team Great Britain in the Olympics against a 60-player field, she tied for 40th.
“This year hasn’t been the greatest for me, and I've been working on a lot breathing just to settle me down. Just saying in my routine today was really important,” she said.
She also has been putting in extra time on the green, and saw that pay off. Ewart Shadoff decided to switch from cross-handed to what she described as a “Tommy Fleetwood claw pencil grip.” It seemed to work, at least for the opening round.
Lexi Thompson, who hasn't won since the ShopRite LPGA two years ago, opened with a 68.

NFL odds: How to bet Lions vs. Bears

The Chicago Bears might not know their starting quarterback in Week 4, yet they're still the favorites against the Detroit Lions.
In a game between two offenses still figuring things out, should you ride with the team that seemingly has the higher upside … or take the points?
Here are the NFL odds on Lions vs. Bears: the point spread, moneyline and total over/under, plus picks from our betting expert (with all odds via FOX Bet).
For more, head on over to our full NFL Odds: Week 4, and check out the all-new NFL Odds section for more analysis, betting-friendly schedules, clickable odds modules and much more.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)
Point spread: Bears -3 (Bears favored to win by more than 3 points, otherwise Lions cover)
Moneyline: Bears -143 favorites to win (bet $10 to win $17 total); Lions +120 underdogs to win (bet $10 to win $22 total)
Total scoring over/under: 42 points scored by both teams combined
So, about that Bears quarterback situation.
Chicago head coach Matt Nagy stated earlier this week that his depth chart is clear: Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, Nick Foles – in that order.
Yet a right thumb injury to Fields and a knee injury to Dalton have left the status of both in doubt as of Thursday evening, with Nagy acknowledging he won't be able to name a starter until he knows more about his quarterbacks' health. And that means that Foles starting Sunday is still on the table.
Given all that, we asked our colleagues at FOX Bet where they'd set the line depending on Chicago's starter.
“It’s an interesting QB situation,” FOX Bet content integration specialist Jacob Blangsted-Barnor said. “How much can you take from Fields’ first start with no protection and a play caller who refuses to use him to his strengths? At this point, I’d probably give a short term slight edge to Dalton as best chance to win.”
Still, Blangsted-Barnor said he'd have it as Bears -4 with Dalton, -3 with Fields and -2 with Foles.
FOX Bet trading desk specialist Ben Conroy had a slightly more specific take: “The reporting in the last few days is unclear whether Nagy has taken himself out of the play calling. If Nagy isn’t calling plays, then I would probably have Dalton and Fields both at -4, as presumably Dalton would be able to handle the change as an experienced QB and a known quantity.
“Foles [is] the clear downgrade of the three to me, and I might even be closer to -1.”
Amid all the uncertainty, let's turn to one of our betting experts to place our bets at FOX Bet.
Pick via FOX Sports Betting Analyst Jason McIntyre: “The Lions are 0-3, but consider their opponents: The Super Bowl-contending 49ers (had the ball late with a chance to tie), Super Bowl-contending Packers (led at halftime), and Super Bowl-contending Ravens (lost to Baltimore on an NFL-record 66-yard field goal).
“The Lions aren't very good, but they play hard.
“The Bears, on the other hand, are rotten to the core offensively, and now have to deal with a swollen hand to rookie QB Justin Fields. Chicago might not name a starting QB until later in the week, with Nick Foles possibly being in the mix. Whoever it is, he'll have to try to trust an OL that surrendered nine sacks to the Browns.
“Chicago had 47 yards on 42 plays, good for a 1.1 yards-per-play. The Bears' defense, featuring the trio of Robert Quinn, Khalil Mack, and Roquan Smith, won't let the Lions put up many points, so expect a low-scoring game. And in that case, you should take the points, especially at +3.”
PICK: Lions (+3 at FOX Bet) to lose by fewer than 3 points (or win outright)
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NFL odds: How to bet Ravens vs. Broncos

(FOX Bet )
When the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos clash on Sunday, it'll be a meeting of two teams somewhat unexpectedly atop the AFC so far in the 2021 regular season.
The Broncos, of course, are the real surprise to most neutral observers, off to a red-hot 3-0 start. Now, a Ravens team looking to move past a close call in Week 3 presents Denver's toughest test by far to date – and the odds indicate that this one should be a nail-biter.
Here are the NFL odds on Ravens vs. Broncos: the point spread, moneyline and total over/under, plus picks from our betting expert (with all odds via FOX Bet).
For more, head on over to our full NFL Odds: Week 4, and check out the all-new NFL Odds section for more analysis, betting-friendly schedules, clickable odds modules and much more.
Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS)
Point spread: Broncos -.5 (Broncos favored to win by more than .5 points, otherwise Ravens cover)
Moneyline: Broncos -110 to win (bet $10 to win $19.09 total); Ravens -110 to win (bet $10 to win $19.09 total)
Total scoring over/under: 45 points scored by both teams combined
Pick via FOX Sports Betting Analyst Geoff Schwartz: “When I see a fishy line like the 3-0 Broncos favored by less than a point at home against the Ravens, I think Vegas knows something we don't, which is why I'd lean to taking Baltimore.
“However, I'm not sure how I can make that case. The Broncos' opponents are 0-9, having beaten the winless Giants, Jaguars, and Jets, but Denver has dominated all three opponents, which is what good teams do against bad teams.
“The Broncos are a high-efficiency team, ranking fifth in overall yards per play. Their quarterback play with Teddy Bridgewater might be the surprise of the season at that position so far. Bridgewater is top five in passer rating and completion percentage, and now he's facing a Ravens defense that's 21st in pass defensive efficiency.
“The Ravens did activate some injured defenders off the injured list for this game, but how effective can they be this weekend? Not much.
“I see concern for the Ravens right now in their offense, which had issues against the Lions. Drops aside — and they were horrific drops — the offense doesn't rush the ball as well this season with their offensive line not being what it has. Lamar Jackson is only completing 60% of his passes, and they are sitting at 21st in passing.
“The Broncos' defense has been stout against the run and pass, only allowing 4.1 yards per play, which is second in the NFL. Again, they've played poor offenses, and the Ravens will be the best offense they've played to date.
“I don't expect them to hold Baltimore to eight points, their average allowed so far, but the Broncos' defense will slow down the Ravens enough for Denver to win this game.
“Lastly, the Ravens are a Chiefs fumble and a historic field goal from Justin Tucker away from being 0-3. This year's Ravens team is not what they've been the previous three years, primarily because of their injuries.”
PICK: Denver (-.5 at FOX Bet) to win by 1 or more points to cover the spread of -.5
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Play FOX Super 6 every week for your chance to win thousands of dollars, including a $10,000 on the Big Noon Kickoff game of the week, a weekly $25,000 contest across college football and, of course, the Sunday NFL Challenge. Just download the Super 6 app and make your picks today!