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Ninth-inning rally sends Astros to Game 1 victory over Twins

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In a season where so much has been made about the Astros being not able to hit, it was a walk that gave them the edge in the end of the season games.

Jose Altuve drew a two-out, bases-stacked stroll in the ninth inning to help lift the Astros over the Twins 4-1 in Game 1 of their season finisher series Tuesday at Target Field.

The Astros got a respite with a colossal Twins handling faux pas in the ninth.

The Astros had sprinters from the outset and second with two outs in the ninth when George Springer hit a ground ball to Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco that ought to have finished the inning. Rather, Polanco made a deviant toss to a respectable halfway point, permitting everybody to reach securely and set up Altuve’s sensational at bat.

After Altuve’s walk, Michael Brantley conveyed a two-run single to give some pad.

The Astros got a solid pitching trip from Zack Greinke and Framber Valdez.

Greinke got off to an unpleasant beginning, driving the bases in the primary inning, yet he settled down and permitted one sudden spike in demand for only two hits in four innings.

The run he surrendered came when Nelson Cruz conveyed a two-out twofold that took an unusual jump off the right-field divider and ricocheted back over the head of Josh Reddick. Carlos Correa’s hand-off toss home almost cut down the sprinter at the plate, however Max Kepler barely beat the toss.

After only four innings and 79 pitches, Greinke was pulled for Valdez, who seemingly was the Astros’ best beginning pitcher in the standard season.

Valdez experienced difficulty finding the strike zone when he entered, strolling the initial two hitters he saw before settling down and tossing four innings of hitless help.

Valdez pitched the last five innings, blanking the Twins and surrendering only two hits in the last five casings.

The Astros tied things up in the seventh when Reddick, Martin Maldonado and George Springer conveyed three straight two-out singles. Reddick scored the tying run on Springer’s base it, however Maldonado was tossed out attempting to go from first to third.

The series resumes around early afternoon Wednesday.

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Brooklyn Nets sign Alize Johnson to a multiyear, $4.1M contract

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Forward Alize Johnson has consented to a multiyear deal the Brooklyn Nets worth up to $4.1 million, his agent, George Langberg, revealed to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Johnson’s productivity permitted him to parlay two consecutive 10-day contracts into his new deal with the Nets.

Johnson had his choice of a bit more guaranteed money elsewhere, however needed to stay the course with the Nets, where he has averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds on 65.7% shooting in six appearances.

Prior to joining the Nets, Johnson played 31 games with the Indiana Pacers over the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

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Los Angeles Angels’ Dexter Fowler with torn ACL injury, out for season

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Los Angeles Angels starting right fielder Dexter Fowler has a torn left ACL that will require season-ending surgery, the group declared Sunday.

Fowler, 35, injured himself while sprinting into a second base on an attempted forceout in Friday’s down against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida. Fowler beat the throw from Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette and didn’t slide, inciting him to show up gracelessly and crumple to the ground in pain.

The Angels at first diagnosed Fowler to have a sprained left knee, however a follow-up MRI revealed that it was far more serious. The team said Fowler is expected to need six to nine months to recover after surgery.

“Comeback season has commenced,” Fowler said Sunday. “The cards I’ve been dealt, so you’ve got to deal with them and go at it like that.”

Fowler, who is set to be a free specialist after the season, doesn’t think the injury is career-ending.

“I want to continue to play,” he said. “I think I’ve still got a lot left in the tank. Right now I just want to get the knee back right and get going again.”

Heavenly messengers director Joe Maddon said he replace Fowler with Juan Lagares and Jose Rojas, the last of whom is right now serving in as a utility infielder. Before Sunday’s down against the Blue Jays was delayed because of downpour, Rojas had been scheduled to begin at third base instead of Anthony Rendon, who was managing irritation in his left crotch that came about because of a throw Saturday.

Fowler, acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in early February, was 5-for-20 with six strikeouts to start the 2021 season and has batted .218/.320/.370 in the course of recent years. Be that as it may, Maddon, who recently oversaw Fowler with the Chicago Cubs, said he accepted the outfielder was simply beginning to get moving obnoxiously and will miss his essence in the team.

“He’s one of those glue guys, man,” Maddon said. “He really makes a difference. He does. You talk about it all the time with clubhouse guys, but this guy really is one.”

Fowler’s injury creates an immediate opening for the Angels’ two most encouraging youthful players, Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, both of whom are working out at the group’s substitute site in Tempe, Arizona, before the small time season starts. Adell battled as a new kid on the block a year ago, and Marsh presently can’t seem to play above Double-An in the wake of expenditure the Covid abbreviated 2020 season playing mostly intrasquad games.

Maddon said he would concede to the Angels’ minor league development staff on when Adell and Marsh are major league ready.

“It’s hard for me to imagine that they’ve tightened up their game [from spring training] to the point where you want to bring them up yet,” Maddon said.

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Bengals release RB Giovani Bernard after eight seasons

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The Cincinnati Bengals have released veteran running back Giovani Bernard, the team declared on Wednesday.

Bernard, 29, has played all of his eight NFL seasons with the franchise that drafted him in the second round in 2013. He has showed up in 115 games and rushed for 3,697 yards and 22 touchdowns. He likewise had 342 receptions for 2,867 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The former North Carolina player was entering the last year of a two-year extension he endorsed in September 2019. The Bengals will acquire $4.1 million in salary-cap savings with Bernard’s release and incur just $666,667 in dead money against the cap, as indicated by Roster Management System.

Bernard began a career-high 10 games in 2020 in light of the fact that Joe Mixon was out with a foot injury. His best rushing performance was a 83-yard exertion in a win over Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football, the Bengals’ first victory over the Steelers since 2015. It was Bernard’s most elevated hurrying absolute since Week 16 of the 2017 season.

Mixon, who marked a four-year, $48 million extension a year ago, tweeted Wednesday that he “can’t thank him enough for all he has meant to my career.”

The Bengals have parted ways with several notable veterans who were essential for the group’s season playoff runs from 2011 to 2015. The team released former All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins prior this offseason and didn’t re-sign former Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green.

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