<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usSat, 22 Oct 2016 04:50:41 -0700Sat, 22 Oct 2016 04:50:41 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Tyson Gay Says Daughter's Death Should Not Be 'Senseless']]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 23:51:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_76335556271-Tyson-Gay-daughter-memorial.jpg

In the wake of the fatal shooting of his 15-year-old daughter Trinity, Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay pledged Friday to help mentor youth in Lexington, Kentucky. Trinity Gay was caught in crossfire last Sunday between two vehicles in a restaurant parking lot in Lexington. The high school student and sprinter was shot in the neck and killed.

“The death of my daughter as an innocent bystander is devastating,” Tyson Gay said in a statement, “but I am determined that it not be senseless.”

The Olympian asked for support from the community in his efforts to give young people “the tools they need to resolve their conflicts and lead successful lives — the kind that Trinity was well on her way to living.”

“In the coming weeks we will be exploring ways to help mentor and support the youth of Lexington over the long term,” he said, “so that the spirit of Trinity will sprint on long after we say goodbye to her this weekend.”

Four men have been arrested in connection with the shooting. Trinity Gay was a sprinter at Lafayette High School in Lexington, where her father still holds the state record in the 100-meter event. The funeral for Trinity Gay is scheduled for Saturday.

Photo Credit: Timothy D. Easley, AP]]>
<![CDATA[Women Will Surf Mavericks Contest]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:32:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/FullSizeRender+%281%296.jpg

It's been called one of the most dangerous surf competitions in the world, and for the first time it will be a co-ed contest.

After mounting pressure to include women as well as a lingering meeting by the California Coastal Commission to consider an appeal by the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, Titans of Mavericks competition organizers announced Thursday it will include six women in an inaugural women's division for the first time.

This is a notable moment in the history of the Titans of Mavericks competition, which has never named a female winner.

It was a sizable hurdle to jump for female big-wave surfers, as the all-male panel had not previously invited a woman to be an official competitor in its 17-year history.

There have been women chosen as alternates in past years, starting with big-wave surfer Savannah Shaughnessy in the prior season.

The decision comes after amendments to Titans of Mavericks' beach permit that the event be more inclusive of women in the future.

Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan has made women's inclusion in the  competition one of the major issues in her re-election and says she has been an advocate for change throughout her term.

In an interview with NBC Bay Area, the organizers said the decision for a women's heat is good timing and that there are now enough women in the sport to make a separate division possible. 

"It's a permit that we've never been required to get before — all of a sudden we have a permitting agency so it's something we've been working on for years," Titan of Mavericks founder Jeff Clark said. "Finally there's enough women to put together a women's heat."

Prior to the announcement, competition organizers made a multi-year beach permit stating that it would work to identify female athletes who have surfed Mavericks and evaluate them under the same qualifications all potential Titans must meet before competing.

In its inaugural year, the six women will compete within the division for a prize purse of $30,000.

The winner of the surfing contest in the previous year took home $120,000.

The opening ceremony will be held Friday at 12 p.m. with events happening between November 1 and March 31, 2016.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Rebecca Greenway
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<![CDATA[NBA to Offer Virtual Reality Broadcast]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:50:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nextvr.jpg

The NBA wants to bring fans closer to the action. The league announced Thursday that one game each week would broadcasted in virtual reality.

This makes the NBA the first professional sports league to offer this option, working with NextVR to produce games in the regular season. In order to watch games in this format, fans will need a subscription to NBA League Pass and a Samsung VR headset.

The broadcasts will offer multiple camera angles, instant replays, graphics and commentators exclusive to VR.

This also points to the international following that the NBA has, NBA vice president of global media distribution Jeff Marsillo said to USA Today.

“We broadcast our games in over 210 countries now, and these are passionate fans,” he said. “But for most of them, they’re not able to attend a game in person, let alone sit courtside.”

The multiyear commitment deal with NextVR will change that.

A free trial of this experience is offered on Oct. 29 for the Sacramento Kings vs San Antonio Spurs game.

Photo Credit: AP Images for Cynopsis Media]]>
<![CDATA[Catching Up With Dodger Steve Garvey]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:08:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/10-21-2016-steve-garvey.JPG Former Dodger Steve Garvey is cheering on the Boys in Blue as they face the Cubs in the postseason. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 20, 2016.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Indians Fans Buy Up Pitcher's Wedding Registry Gifts]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:06:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ryan-merritt.jpg

Cleveland Indians’ pitcher Ryan Merritt has a lot to celebrate. In addition to a surprisingly solid pitching performance in game five of the ALCS, he is getting married and his wedding registry is almost entirely purchased.

Mainly, by Indians fans.

The rookie left-hander pitched the first 4 and 1/3 innings of the game and only surrendered two hits in game five. This was the 24-year-old’s second-ever start in the MLB and expectations were low.

Indians fans, grateful for Merritt’s start that led the team toward the World Series, caught wind that the pitcher was engaged to Sarah Brushaber and took it upon themselves to purchase nearly everything on his wedding registry. As of Friday morning, the only item that remained to be purchased was bedding.

The Cleveland Indians have not celebrated a trip to the World Series since 1997. They haven’t won the title since 1948.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Celebrities in the Stands: Dodgers Edition]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 06:33:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/227*120/10-18-2016-dodgers-fan-ferrell-milano-lopez.jpg Hollywood celebrities show off their Dodger blue.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Brandon Ingram For Rookie of the Year]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 01:25:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Brandon-ingram-rookie-of-the-year.jpg

The campaign for Brandon Ingram to win Rookie of the Year should begin before the season starts because Brandon Ingram is showing signs that he can contribute at a high level before the start of the 2016-17 season.

On Wednesday in San Diego against the Golden State Warriors, a "super team" that played all its regular starters until the end of the game, Ingram finished the night as the Los Angeles Lakers' top scorer with 21 points, to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Ingram, who only turned 19 in September, had a positive plus-minus statistic in 28 minutes against the Western Conference champions, after they added 2014 NBA M.V.P. Kevin Durant.

Despite Ingram's efforts, the Lakers lost due to awful starts to each half, as Lakers coach Luke Walton continued to work out whether to start Lou Williams or Jordan Clarkson alongside D'Angelo Russell in the backcourt. After two tries with Clarkson, Williams appears to be the better choice. Friday's game could be Clarkson's final chance to claim the starting spot, but Williams' leadership in the locker room also plays a role in the decision, along with his uncanny ability to consistently draw fouls in the act of shooting.

Ingram, however, will be coming off the bench and play behind Luol Deng. Deng is meant to be a veteran presence in the locker room and a versatile forward on the court. Due partly to design and partially to a sore calf, Deng has not featured a great deal during the preseason, so Ingram has enjoyed a significant chunk of NBA preseason basketball. And the minutes have helped.

"Brandon is further along as a basketball player than I would expect any kid coming out of college after one year," Walton said after Ingram's 21-point performance.

The most impressive aspect of Ingram's development in the preseason has been his clear improvement on both ends of the floor.

Defensively, Ingram was already ahead of the curve due to his length and the fact that the game has changed to be more technical and less physical at the small forward position. The 19-year-old looks fluid and is a lanky, wiry ball player that should be able to contribute on the first day of the season.

A season ago, Trevor Ariza finished as the top non-guard in the steals category. Though Ingram likely won't play enough minutes to reach Ariza's 1.98 steals per game, he has the length and defensive desire to disrupt passing lanes and find his way onto that list when his minutes in the coming years.

"I think he's getting better at defense," Walton answered when NBCLA.com asked where the coach has seen the most improvement from the Lakers' no. 2 pick since he arrived at training camp. "There's so many differences between defenses in college and the NBA."

After listing the technical areas Ingram has improved defensively, Walton concluded, "On defense, I think he's made the most progress."

Offensively, Walton has been sporadically trying Ingram as a point forward for a couple of preseason games with notable success. Ingram finished the game in that role in Wednesday's loss to Golden State, and the young forward did not record any turnovers against Golden State's starting lineup.

Added to his unique understanding of the game, Ingram is a sharp shooter. He's not nervous with the ball in his hands, and the preseason allowed him a chance to settle in and get his timing. After missing all five of his shots in his preseason opener, the 19-year-old rookie-to-be made seven of his 10 shot attempts and two of his three-point attempts against Golden State on Wednesday.

Unlike most rookies requiring adjustment time with the NBA three-point line, Ingram has range for the NBA on opening night of the season.

"He's a much better shooter than his numbers have shown in the preseason," Walton said about Ingram. "He's a much better free throw shooter than his numbers have shown. He's a better passer."

Walton trailed off and added, "He's a solid, all-around basketball player for someone his age."

The preseason displayed healthy simple trends, as Ingram steadily improved in scoring and hit double-digits in his final two outings. Likewise, the former Duke Blue Devil's assists rose with him improving on those numbers in each of the final three games prior to Friday's preseason finale in Anaheim.

Ingram's positive play on the ball has now provided Walton the opportunity to drop both Marcelo Huertas and Jose Calderon out of the second unit, rather than pick one or the other, and push Nick Young into the second unit.

Young has been the biggest surprise of training camp and the preseason, as the former USC Trojan and Cleveland High School graduate has played himself into a rotation spot.

"[Young] is playing as well as anyone on our team, if not the best on our team, honestly," Walton said after San Diego's preseason game.

Since Young's play requires a spot in the rotation, the most logical outcome would be to utilize Ingram as a point forward on the second unit, with Young joining Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Tarik Black. Both Huertas and Calderon struggle on the defensive end, so as long as Young continues to play defense, he'll keep the crafty point guards off the court. As it stands, the Lakers' second unit is a far better defensive team with Young than without, which seems unbelievable but is actually accurate.

Also, Young has been on fire during preseason and in practice, so he needs to play.

Ultimately, Ingram's ability to handle the ball and be a versatile point forward helps the Lakers accommodate Young into the rotation. Defensively, Young can guard shooting guards, while Clarkson can guard point guards.

The fact that a barely 19-year-old kid that has not yet even played a single NBA regular season game is already having such a major impact on LA's rotations speaks volumes to the special type of talent the Lakers have drafted.

Even before the season starts, the campaign for Ingram to win Rookie of the Year should begin because the impact he's having on the Lakers is noteworthy already.

On Friday, the Phoenix Suns arrive Orange County to play against Ingram and the Lakers in LA's final preseason game. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. Pacific Time at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[LA Sparks Win 2016 WNBA Finals]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 20:13:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2016-WNBAFinals-Sparks-win.jpg

The Los Angeles Sparks pulled off a harrowing comeback and won their final two road games to win the 2016 WNBA Finals 3-2, after a dramatic and controversial 77-76 victory in Thursday's deciding Game 5.

Candace Parker, who was named 2016 WNBA Finals MVP, led the way with 28 points and pulled down 12 rebounds on the night, but the fight of 2016 WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike in the final seconds of the deciding game proved to make the championship difference.

After Maya Moore made a 16-foot shot to give the Minnesota Lynx a one-point lead with only 15 seconds showing on the game clock, Sparks guard Chelsea Gray drove the length of the court and took a contested shot that did not fall.

Luckily for LA, Ogwumike gobbled up the rebound but had her first attempt blocked. The 26-year-old gathered the rebound and managed to convert with only two seconds remaining in the game. With no timeouts in the bag, Lindsay Whalen's Hail Mary heave hit high off the backboard as time expired.

And the LA Sparks celebrated.

Parker emotionally dedicated the victory to the Late Pat Summit.

Ogwumike, who also won the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year Award, finished with 12 rebounds and 12 points on the night. While her final two points could not be disputed, an earlier shot Ogwumike converted in the fourth quarter appeared to come after the shot clock had expired. The officials, however, could not review the call, so those two points stood on the scoreboard and provided a major talking point following the narrow one-point victory.

Thursday clinched the LA Sparks' third WNBA Finals victory and the first since 2002.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Face Elimination After Lopsided Loss in Game 5]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 23:08:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Cubs+Crush+Dodgers+in+Game+5.png

The impossible becomes possible when your back is against the wall.

For the second consecutive postseason series, the Los Angeles Dodgers face another daunting impossible task as they leave the confines of Chavez Ravine facing elimination in a hostile environment. 

Addison Russell homered for the second straight game and the Chicago Cubs defeated the Dodgers, 8-4, in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in the NLCS as the series shifts back to Chicago.

Russell homered in back-to-back games when he took relief pitcher Joe Blanton deep in the top of the sixth inning. The two-run blast put the Cubs in front and they only piled on from there, scoring five more runs in the eighth inning.

"I was looking for something up in the zone and he threw me a slider that was elevated and I put the barrel on it," Russell said of his game-changing home run. "It was pretty exciting. I was pumped up. Not only for myself, but for the team."

Blanton has now been burned twice in the NLCS as he allowed a grand slam to Miguel Montero followed by a solo shot from Dexter Fowler in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field.

"That's been my go to pitch for the past year and a half," Blanton said of his slider that has turned into three homers and seven runs for the Cubs this series. "To hang it twice and get beat on it twice, hurts. It's all over the place right now."

The right-hander entered the game in relief after starter Kenta Maeda left the game with two runners on in the fourth inning.

Maeda struggled out of the gate, surrendering a leadoff single to Fowler and an RBI double down the right field line to Anthony Rizzo. Maeda was able to minimize the damage by striking the next two batters out to end the inning.

"In the first inning they got some hits off me and the pitch count went up, but after that I was able to settle in," Maeda said. "I was focused all game, but unfortunately it didn't work out."

The Japanese right-hander settled in for the next two frames, before running into trouble again in the fourth. Maeda did not factor in the decision, and allowed one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 3 and 2/3 innings.

"I was a little surprised, but my job as a starter is to go deep in the game and I couldn't do that," he said. "As a result, it put a lot of stress on the entire team."

All season long, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has gone to the bullpen early and often, making the most pitching changes in MLB history. During the regular season, the moves paid off as the Dodgers won the NL West Division and defeated the Nationals in the NLDS with their relievers pitching more innings than their starters.

"I'm going to the pen a lot. I am," Roberts said after the game. "There are certain times where I feel like the game might be in the balance and I've got to make a decision. So it doesn't always work."

However, in the NLCS, the pitching changes have backfired as the bullpen has struggled outside of Kenley Jansen all series long. The bullpen has allowed 18 runs over the course of the five games in the NLCS and cost the Dodgers a pivotal game on Thursday night.

"It's been a battle for the bullpen," continued Roberts. "These are the guys we have, and these are the guys that got us here. I'm not going to shy away from any of these guys, they've gotten big outs for us all year long."

Chicago tacked on five runs in an atrocious eighth inning that saw the Dodgers commit an error and multiple mental mistakes.

Russell reached base to start the inning after Pedro Baez bobbled a throw to first from Adrian Gonzalez on a slow roller up the line. A single moved the batter over and Fowler brought him home when Gonzalez hesitated on a ground ball.

"Petey [Baez] got in there and and there was some soft contact and the game got away," Roberts said of the eighth inning. "Overall, I just felt that we got beat tonight."

A broken-bat bleeder to third base scored the second run of the inning and the floodgates opened from there as Baez walked the bases loaded before Roberts finally came and got him in favor of Ross Stripling.

Stripling immediately served up a bases-clearing double to Baez and the Cubs took a commanding 8-1 lead.

"I left balls right down the middle sitting on a tee," Stripling said of the at-bat with Baez. "We're not executing pitches the way we were earlier in the year and we have to go back to that."

Jon Lester was marvelous for the second time in the series as he allowed just one run on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven superior innings for Chicago.

Lester's only mistake, was a one-out double to Howie Kendrick in the fourth inning. Kendrick stole third and went on to score the tying run on a groundout to first base by Gonzalez.

"People have been doing that all year," Lester said of the bunts and base stealing. "I'd rather them put the ball on the ground and let these guys try to field it and take my chances that way."

Lester improved to a perfect 3-0 in Game 5 starts in his postseason career and has an ERA of 1.80 in those decisive games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Lester is the only pitcher in MLB history to go 3-0 in Game 5 starts when a series is tied 2-2.

"We've been doing this all year," Lester said of the team's success in his starts and overall. "Addison and Javier won the game for us tonight. I was just kind of along for the ride."

The Dodgers got a run in the eighth on a RBI double by Carlos Ruiz and two in the bottom of the ninth off Cubs' closer Aroldis Chapman. Neverthless, Chicago was never in any danger and are now in the driver's seat to reach the World Series for the first time since 1945.

Chicago leads the best-of-seven series, 3-2, as the series shifts back to Wrigley Field for Game 6 on Saturday.

"It's win or go home," said Dodgers shorstop Corey Seager. "It's just like last series and we have to be ready to play. We're looking forward to battling on Saturday."

Vin Scully was among the 54,449 in attendance at Dodger Stadium as the sellout crowd watched in stunned silence as the Cubs manhandled the Dodgers bullpen for the second straight night.

"It's frustrating," added first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. "We had a chance to keep this game close and we didn't. We have to do a better job of making outs."

Meanwhile, the odds of the Dodgers reaching their first World Series since 1988 are signficantly against them as the winner of Game 5 in a best-of-seven series goes on to win that series 70 percent of the time.

Players of the Game:

Addison Russell: Game-winning two-run home run.
Javier Baez: 3-for-5 with a double, three RBI and a run scored.
Jon Lester: One run over seven innings. 

Three Takeaways:

1. One Win From World Series: Since 2003, National League teams that have taken a 3-2 series lead in the NLCS and hosted the final two games at home are a perfect 7-0. However, the last team to blow that lead was the Cubs in 2003.

2. Elite Company: Addison Russell (22) joined Corey Seager as the youngest shortstops in MLB postseason history to home in consecutive games. Seager (22) is the youngest after homering in Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS in Washington D.C.

3. He Stands Alone: Justin Turner set the all-time Dodgers postseason franchise mark by reaching base in 15 consecutive playoff games.

Up Next:

Cubs (3-2): Kyle Hendricks heads back to the mound with a chance to clinch as the series returns to Wrigley Field for Game 6 on Saturday night.

Dodgers (2-3): Clayton Kershaw will look to save the season for Los Angeles in an elimination game scheduled for 5:08PM PST at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vin Scully Surprises Dodger Fans Before Game 5 of NLCS]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:54:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Vin+Scully+NLCS+Game+5.png

It's time for Dodger baseball.

Vin Scully told reporters (and Jimmy Kimmel) that he would watch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the postseason from the friendly confines of his living room at home, but he surprised fans on Thursday night when he triumphantly returned to Dodger Stadium for Game 5 of the NLCS between the Cubs and Dodgers. 

For the first time in his 67-year broadcasting career, Scully took in the game as a casual fan, observing the pivotal MLB playoff game from the owner's suit alongside his wife Sandy and legendary Dodger pitcher Don Newcombe.

Before the game, PA announcer Todd Leitz introduced former Dodger greats Eric Karros and Steve Garvey who after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch were set to say the immortal words of Scully that are said before every Dodger home game, "It's time for Dodger baseball!"

Then, as a surprise to the sold out crowd in attendance, Karros and Garvey said that they couldn't do it. "There's someone here who's better suited to say it than us."

Suddenly, Scully appeared from his suite, microphone in hand, and rallied the fans in attendance at the Ravine with the words that only the recently retired Hall-of-Fame broadcaster could deliver.

The Dodgers and there fans are hoping that Scully's presence can help push them over the edge in a pivotal Game 5 that could ultimately decide who moves on to the World Series to face the Cleveland Indians.

The series is tied at 2-2 and the winner of Game 5 will have a commanding 3-2 lead with the loser facing elimination for the first time at Wrigley Field on Saturday.

Throughout the season, the Dodgers mantra has been "Win For Vin," a slogan that was echoed by fans across the stadium on Thursday as they showed their support for Scully and the team.

Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[103-Year-Old Dodgers Fan Celebrates Birthday]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:12:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/103_Year_Old_Dodgers_Fan_Celebrates_1200x675_790464579995.jpg It was a big day for longtime Santa Margarita resident Henry Barba. Not only were his Dodgers playing in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series, but the lifelong fan turned 103 years-old. ]]> <![CDATA[Video: Cubs' Rizzo Apologizes to Umpire for Actions in Game 4]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 05:06:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rizzohat1019.jpg

The relationship between an umpire and a baseball player is usually seen as an adversarial one, but on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and home plate umpire Angel Hernandez gave us one of the more heartwarming moments of the postseason.

In the fifth inning of the Cubs’ 10-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLCS, Rizzo thought he had drawn a walk on a pitch close to the strike zone and began to trot down to first base. Instead, Hernandez called the pitch a strike, and Rizzo had to trot back to home plate to continue his at-bat.

In Rizzo’s next plate appearance, he made it a point to apologize to the umpire, saying that he didn’t mean any disrespect by his actions.

“My fault on that,” Rizzo said to Hernandez as his conversation was picked up by on-field microphones.

“No worries. You’re competing. I understand,” Hernandez said in response. “You know what’s best there? You came back and you told me that. That’s how good of a guy you are.”

It was pretty clear that Rizzo didn’t let the incident affect his performance on the field. He ended up drilling a solo home run in the fifth inning at-bat where he began to trot down to first, and he hit a two-RBI single in the sixth inning to help the Cubs out to a big lead in the game.

Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cubs Crush Dodgers in Game 4 of NLCS]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 22:50:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Cubs+Crush+Dodgers.png

They may have awoken a sleeping giant.

Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo both broke out of slumps with homers and the Chicago Cubs crushed the Los Angeles Dodgers, 10-2, in Game 4 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night.

Russell and Rizzo were a combined 3-for-50 entering the game, but finished 6-for-10 with two home runs and five RBI as they tied the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

"I've been struggling this postseason a little bit," said Russell. "My confidence was still there, so it's definitely a sigh of relief to have a big night."

His teammate agreed. 

"The best part about the postseason is it's the next at-bat. You've got to turn the page and you've got to be ready for that big situation," added Rizzo. "All the guys in the clubhouse kept telling me: 'it just takes one at-bat. It just takes one.'"

Russell was the first to break out of his slump when he sent a four-seam fastball over the centerfield wall to cap off a four-run, fourth inning that put Chicago firmly in control.

One inning later, it was Rizzo's turn as he took Pedro Baez deep in the top of the fifth inning.

Mistakes cost the Dodgers dearly in the early innings. Justin Turner was picked off at second base by catcher Wilson Contreas to end the first inning, and Adrian Gonzalez was called out at the plate in a controversial call to end the second frame.

"I knew I was safe and there's plenty of still frames to prove that I was safe. Unfortunately, this turned into a trial and there was not enough 'evidence,'" said a frustrated Gonzalez after the game. "Unfortunately, they didn't get the call right and it was big for us to not take a 1-0 lead. You never know what would have happened." 

In the top of the fourth, LA looked ready to limit the damage as Andrew Toles had Ben Zobrist out at the plate, but his errant throw sailed up the first baseline and over the head of Yasmani Grandal allowing Zobrist to score and runners to advance to second and third.

The Cubs chased 20-year-old Julio Urias from the game in the four-run fourth inning as the youngest starting pitcher in postseason history disappointed in his playoff debut as a starter, allowing four runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 3 and 2/3 innings.

"I came out to fight for the team tonight, but unfortunately we didn't get a favorable result," said Urias after the loss. "I felt comfortable on the mound, I just wasn't able to get the results I wanted."

John Lackey continued to be a Dodger killer in the postseason as he left the game with the lead in the bottom of the fifth with two runners on base.

Both the runners would eventually come around to score on a two-run single by Turner and Lackey's night ended with two runs allowed on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts in four innings.

"My outing was inconclusive, but we won the game. A win is a win, and we'll take it," said Lackey after the start. "But tomorrow's another game, we are in Hollywood."

The big single for Turner brought the Dodgers within three runs as both teams headed into the final few innings, but the Cubs broke the game open in the top of the sixth with five runs on a bevy of more mistakes by the boys in blue.

"We haven't had a game like that in a long time," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "There are a few plays that could have went a certain way or plays that we could have made that could have changed the outcome of the game, but it wasn't to be."

The Dodgers committed two more errors in the inning—giving them four total in the game, and six by both teams combined—as the Cubs cruised through the final few innings with the confidence the series is going back to Wrigley Field.

"We played a pretty sloppy game overall," added Gonzalez. "We could have played better that's for sure, obviously it was a big reason why we lost today."

Mike Montgomery pitched two innings of relief and became just the third reliever in LCS history to earn the win and have a hit.

The 10 runs scored by the Cubs were the most in an NLCS game since the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 12-6, in 2011.

The Dodgers streak of eight consecutive postseason games with a home run was snapped on Wednesday, it was the second longest streak in franchise history.

Players of the Game:

Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
Addison Russell: 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored.
Justin Turner: Two-run single. 

Three Takeaways:

1. Breaking Out: Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo were a combined 3-for-53 (0.57 average) in the postseason before they homered in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively.

2. Turn Down For What: Justin Turner extended his postseason on-base streak to 14 games, tied for the longest stretch in Dodgers franchise history with Carl Furillo from 1953 to 1956. 

3. Scoreless No More: The Cubs snapped a 21 inning scoreless streak with four runs in the fourth inning. The streak was the longest in the team's postseason history, snapping the 1906 Cubs who went 16 innings without scoring a run in the playoffs.

Up Next:

Cubs (2-2): Jon Lester gets the ball again in a crucial Game 5 for the Cubs

Dodgers (2-2): Kenta Maeda heads the mound in the important swing game at 5:08PM PST on Thursday.

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cleveland Indians Advance to World Series]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 17:12:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-615681006.jpg

A most unlikely pitching performance helped put a most unexpected team into the World Series.

Cleveland rookie Ryan Merritt came out of nowhere and coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen, and the Indians won their first pennant since 1997 by blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Miller was selected the MVP of the series. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday over Toronto, capping a five-game series in which the 6-foot-7 lefty overpowered the Blue Jays. Miller had one strikeout in Game 5, increasing his series total to 14 in 7 2/3 shutout innings.

Miller was acquired from the New York Yankees in a July 31 trade — and Cleveland had an interesting idea of how to use him. Rather than restricting him to a closer role or using him only in the eighth inning, the Indians have been flexible with Miller, especially in the postseason.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Terry Francona's team will try to augment what's already been a scintillating year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first major pro sports championship since 1964. The Indians' title drought dates to 1948.

"We always said if we could do it with this group it would be so special because this is as close to a family feel as you can get in a professional setting. So for that part of it, it is beyond feeling good," Francona said.

The Dodgers led the Cubs 2-1 going into Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night. Cleveland didn't play either club this season.

Miller, acquired from the New York Yankees in a midseason trade, was selected the ALCS MVP as the Indians took their sixth pennant.

"I feel like I've said the word 'special' a million times in the last 20 or 30 minutes. But it's the truth. It's a blast to be a part of," Miller said.

With all of 11 major league innings under his belt — and only one start, on Sept. 30 — Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed a mere two hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.

"I know they were counting on me," Merritt said. "Before the game, they came and told me they had my back, everybody had my back, good or bad. So that takes some pressure off, and I just went out there and pitched and trusted my team."

Merritt got taps on his heart and hat from teammates when he left the mound. Then it was up to Cleveland's tireless relievers to hold a three-run lead against the wild-card Blue Jays.

Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, going 2 2/3 innings before Cody Allen worked the ninth for a save. Winning pitcher Bryan Shaw tossed an inning before Miller came in.

Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.

With starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer dealing with injuries, the Indians kept defying the odds.

Cleveland overtook defending World Series champion Kansas City and topped a $196 million Detroit team to win the AL Central, then put an abrupt end to Big Papi's career, sweeping David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series.

The Indians stayed on a roll in the ALCS, shutting down the banging Blue Jays. Cleveland won despite hitting .168 in the series, with slick-fielding shortstop Francisco Lindor leading the way in going 7 for 19.

Toronto lost in the ALCS for the second straight year.

"I'm sure there will be some disappointments and grumbling and complaining about how you fell short again, but that's not coming from me," manager John Gibbons said. "Because I know what these guys did, and I think it's a pretty good accomplishment. The key is we want to take that next step one of these days. Hopefully, it's next year."

Merritt — a Texas native drafted in the 16th round by Cleveland in 2011 — hadn't pitched in a game since his late September start, although he'd gotten some work in this month in the instructional league at the Indians' spring training complex in Arizona.

A day after Toronto averted a sweep, the crowd at the roaring Rogers Centre expected the Blue Jays to roll over the rookie.

Maybe the Blue Jays did, too.

"With our experience in our lineup, I'm pretty sure he's going to be shaking in his boots more than we are," Toronto slugger Jose Bautista said after Game 4.

After the Blue Jays were eliminated, Bautista took a different tone.

"He seemed to make the right pitches at the right time," Bautista said. "Hats off to him."

Merritt struck out three batters in the first two innings — all looking — and didn't allow a baserunner until Josh Donaldson's one-out single in the fourth. After Russell Martin's bloop single with one out in the fifth, Francona leaned again on a bullpen that soaked up 8 1/3 innings in a Game 3 win Monday.

Shaw pitched an inning, and Miller came on with one out in the sixth and a runner on. Donaldson bounced into a double play on Miller's first pitch, and the tall lefty made it through the seventh and eighth with little trouble before giving way to Allen.

Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the first when Mike Napoli doubled and left fielder Ezequiel Carrera misplayed the ball off the wall for an error. Lindor scored from first on the play.

Santana and Crisp added solo shots in the third and fourth off Toronto starter Marco Estrada to put the AL Central champions up 3-0.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Rams Fans in Their Sunday Best]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 11:55:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-607553896.jpg Rams fans are celebrating on Sundays. Their team is back in Los Angeles after two decades in St. Louis. Check out images of some of the Rams' died-hard fans sporting their Sunday best.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grandal and Turner Give Dodgers 2-1 NLCS Lead Over Cubs]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 22:07:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Grandal+gives+Dodgers+3-0+lead.png

There's no place like home.

Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner both went deep off Jake Arrieta and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs, 6-0, in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.

Grandal was facing a full count with two outs and a runner on third in the bottom of the fourth inning when the 2015 Cy Young Award winner tried to blow a four-seam fastball by him over the heart of the plate.

"I just wanted to stay alive," Grandal said of the at-bat that started with him falling into an 0-2 hole. "He still made a really good pitch down in the zone. I was just lucky to put a good swing on it."

It was a great swing, reminiscent of a Tiger Woods tee shot, and Grandal sent the ball into the bleachers in right-center as the sold out crowd at Chavez Ravine reached a fever pitch and the Dodgers took a 3-0 lead.

The long ball was Grandal's first extra-base hit of the playoffs and the first home run by a Dodger off Arrieta in his six-year big league career.

"That one swing got me back into what I've been trying to do for a while now," Grandal said of his first postseason home run. "It definitely is a confidence boost."

Turner led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a first-pitch homer to dead-center—his second of the postseason—and the Dodgers chased Arrieta from the game by mounting a four-run lead against the Cubbies.

Turner and Grandal led the Dodgers in home runs during the regular season with 27 apiece and both put the team on their backs in Game 3.

"He doesn't make a lot of mistakes, so when he does, you can't miss him," Turner said of Arrieta. "He left a first-pitch silder up over the plate and I got a hold of it."

Arrieta took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits with no walks, five strikeouts and two home runs allowed in just five innings on Tuesday night.

"I thought Jake threw the ball well," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. "The pitch to Grandal looked decent on the monitor, he hasn't been hitting the ball well, but then he grabs one right there. That kind of surprised him and us at that particular juncture."

Corey Seager got the Dodgers on the board with a two-out RBI single in the third inning. The RBI was the first for Seager in the postseason with runners in scoring position, snapping an 0-for-15 slump, and his first hit outside of the first inning during the 2016 MLB playoffs.

"I try to get a hit every AB," Seager said smiling. "Whether it's the first, seventh or ninth, I'm always trying to do whatever I can to help my team. It was kind of nice to get one outside the first though."

Rich Hill earned his first ever win in the playoffs, shutting down the Cubs high-potent offense, allowing just one hit with two walks and six strikeouts in six dominant innings for the Dodgers.

"I got better as the game went on," Hill said in his postgame press conference. "My curveball command definitely got better. I think we were able to establish a fastball and throw breaking balls for strikes."

Hill was masterful against the team that he made his MLB debut with in 2005. The Cubs also gave Hill his first career postseason start in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks in 2007. He returned to the favor on Tuesday.

Hill entered the game having made just 24 starts over seven seasons in his Major League career. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first pitcher in history to win a postseason game with as few starts over seven seasons. The previous record was held by another Dodger, Clem Labine, who made 35 starts in seven years before winning game 6 of the 1956 World Series for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

"This was the biggest game of my career," agreed Hill. "It's all about staying in the moment, and that's all you can think about. All you can control is the next pitch."

The Dodgers tacked on two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth after an RBI double down the left field line by Joc Pederson scored Yasiel Puig from first. 

Pederson promptly stole third and scored one-batter later on a ground out to the shortstop by Grandal.

"We knew that if we executed our game plan the swings would be there and the hard contact would be there," said Adrian Gonzalez who snapped a 13-game postseaon home hitting streak on Tuesday. "Yasmani had a big home run, JT added on, and we kept adding on after that."

Joe Blaton, Grant Dayton, and Kenley Jansen combined to pitch three scoreless innings of relief as the closer kept the Cubs off the the scoreboard in a non-save situation.

It was the first time the Dodgers have thrown back-to-back shutouts in their team's postseaon history and the Cubs have now been held scoreless for 18 straight innings, the longest drought in their playoff history.

Los Angeles now leads the best-of-seven series against Chicago with Game 4 set for tomorrow at 5:08 PM PST.

Players of the Game:

Yasmani Grandal: Two-run home run.
Rich Hill:  
Six shutout innings
Justin Turner: Solo home run. 

Three Takeaways:

1. Long Overdue: Corey Seager's RBI single in the third inning was the first run batted in off of Jake Arrieta since Carl Crawford hit a two-run double off the 2015 Cy Young Award winner on August 26, 2013.

2. You Always Remember Your First Time: Yasmani Grandal hit his first career postseason home run when he sent Jake Arrieta deep in the bottom of the fourth inning for a two-run blast that gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. Not only was it Grandal's first playoff homer, it was also the Dodgers first home run off Arrieta in his six years in the big leagues.

3. Deep Dish: The Los Angeles Dodgers have homered in all eight games they've played this postseason, matching the 2008-2009 team for second longest streak in postseason history.

Up Next:

Cubs (1-2): Veteran right-hander John Lackey will face the Dodgers for the first time since Game 3 of the 2014 NLDS in St. Louis on Wednesday in Game 4.

Dodgers (2-1): 20-year-old Julio Urias becomes the youngest starting pitcher in NLCS history when he starts in Game 4 at 5:08 PM PST.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[If Clayton Kershaw is Batman, Then Rich Hill is Robin ]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:35:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Rich+Hill+is+Robin.png

Holy baseball, Batman!

As Los Angeles residents battle traffic on Tuesday afternoon in order to reach Dodger Stadium in time for first pitch of the National League Championship Series, Game 3 starter Rich Hill is cool, calm and collected.

Many hours earlier, he was reflecting back on his time with the Long Island Ducks of the Independent Professional Baseball League, and discussing the heroic efforts of teammate Clayton Kershaw.

Hill compared the three-time Cy Young Award winner to a certain caped crusader after his dominant, seven-inning scoreless performance in Game 2 at Wrigley Field on Sunday night.

"I think Clayton's going to go back to the bat cave and we're all going to hop on the plane and go back to L.A.," Hill said, comparing the Dodgers ace to a superhero. "You know he's got the stuff, but then there's another level."

There's no doubt that Kershaw is the MVP of the MLB Playoffs so far. The Dodgers are 4-0 in games that Kershaw has appeared, whether as a starter, or as a closer like he did in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals when he recorded the final two outs of the game.

But if Kershaw is Batman, then Hill is Robin. Despite allowing four runs in a Game loss at Nationals Park, Hill tied a postseason record with seven strikeouts through the first three innings and was on track to replicate that effort in Game 5 before he was replaced by Joe Blanton with two outs in the third inning.

Hill allowed just one run in that game, and the Dodgers survived and advanced thanks to Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. Hill has yet to win a postseason game in his career, but he's due, and he's inspired by "Batman."

"That was 100 percent inspiring," Hill said in a press conference with reporters before Game 3. "Clayton and Kenley, what they've been doing the entire postseason has been incredible. That's something when I see that, you just never quit, you never give up, you continue to attack."

Hill will look to get the proverbial postseason monkey off his back on Tuesday evening when the takes the mound in Game 3 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium.

Fittingly, he faces the team that gave him his first chance in the big leagues, and also put him on the mound in the postseason nearly nine years ago in the Chicago Cubs.

"I'm pitching against the Cubs, I think it's just a coincidence but here we are," Hill said about the cyclical nature of his life in the Major Leagues. "It could be any team, right? Regardless, I'm going to go out there and stay in the moment and not think about things that I can't control."

What is in Hill's control is getting a win in Game 3 and giving the Dodgers a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4 on Wednesday. If he does that, he truly will be the sidekick to Kershaw, and will be one step closer to the team's first World Series appearance since 1988. 

Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ray Rice on Domestic Violence]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 11:54:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/AP740522156584.jpg

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice defines “champion” differently two years after video was released of what he calls “the worst decision of my life."

“Winning is big,” he said. “I take that and I cherish it, but if I played and never got another Super Bowl but I helped save some men in the locker room, then I'm a champion.”

Rice may be best known for what he was seen doing on a surveillance video from an Atlantic City hotel rather than anything he’d done on a football field before it. The video showed him knocking his fiancée, Janay Palmer, unconscious with a blow to the face, then dragging her off an elevator.

“It was the worst decision of my life, and I'm going to pay that consequence for the rest of my life,” Rice told News4 for the domestic violence awareness project "Safe at Home." “I have two kids, who I now have to raise my son to grow up to be a man but I also have to protect my daughter from myself, a guy that could potentially be like me in my worst moments.”

Rice said he never dealt with issues before hitting Palmer, and issues came at a young age. The eldest of four siblings, his father was shot and killed when he was very young, and he was raised by his mother.

“Me being the oldest in the house, I had to be the man at a very young age,” he said. “I tell the story that I started paying bills when I was 11 years old. I go to college and I was chasing the dream."

Rice played football at Rutgers, and then, the NFL called. The Baltimore Ravens drafted him in 2008 at the age of 21, and with that came money and fame, which he said compounded his problems, particularly in his relationship with his high school sweetheart, Janay Palmer.

“If you don't deal with issues, a small problem in your household might become a big deal,” Rice said.

Rice was indicted for aggravated assault for the incident on the videotape. Soon after, he reached a plea agreement, which included a program for first-time offenders, which required regular counseling. The case against him was dropped after he completed the program.

Now, Rice speaks out about domestic violence, most recently at a forum on the topic for the Big 12 last month.

“I want my story to be told,” he said. “There's a lot of detail to it, but I want it to be told. I want to help as many people as I can.”

“Domestic violence is a real issue,” Rice said. “It is a real issue. It happens every 12 seconds as we speak. But if you think about it, the conversation wasn't really being had the way it is now because of my video. If I can explain it to young men my worst decision I know that I can save someone.”

Palmer is now Rice’s wife. They live with their daughter and newborn son in Connecticut, not far from where they grew up in New Rochelle, New York.

“First and foremost, I'm a husband, I'm a father, I'm a son,” Rice said. “I was going through life trying to be ‘the man’ instead of trying to be ‘a man.’”

Initially benched for two games in 2014, Rice was suspended indefinitely from football by the NFL after the videotape was made public in September 2014. Later that year he appealed his suspension, and it was lifted, but he hasn’t played since.

“I'm not going to say I don't miss the game,” he said. “I do miss the game. The moments I miss are camaraderie with teammates. But everything I do I want to be genuine, now. I don't want to use this interview or anything like that to get back to playing.”

Rice said setting an example for his kids is most important to him, now, and he knows it's something he will have to work at for the rest of his life.

“I have to make a decision every day that I'm going to be better than I was on tape,” he said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers 2016-17 Preseason Photos: Behind the Scenes]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 02:43:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/DAngelo-Russell-hangs-on-rim-1.jpg

Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed 2016]]>
<![CDATA[Who Will Make The Lakers' 2016-17 Final Roster?]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 17:11:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Yi-Jianlin-Lakers-2016-17-roster.jpg

Entering the final week of the 2016-17 preseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have 17 players on their current roster, which means two names need to be cut within the next week. NBA teams can only carry a total of 15 players in the regular season, and LA has two more preseason games to figure out which two players will not be part of the team.

With Nick Young playing defense, making passes and hitting shots in the preseason, he exited the discussion for the final cut before the team arrived at this point. As such, the three players fighting it out for the final spot appear to be Yi Jianlian, Metta World Peace and Thomas Robinson.

World Peace is a fan favorite and a former teammate of Luke Walton, but "The Panda's Friend" has only featured for six minutes in the 2016-17 preseason. Though he has a chance at making the squad as a veteran presence in the locker room considering the 15th man on a team rarely plays in games, World Peace's chances of surviving the final cuts are slim, at best.

Yi is a marketing goldmine and a particularly strong gravitational force when it comes to attracting Chinese media. The Lakers' international brand would benefit from having Yi on the roster. If he makes the cut, Yi would be the team's third center, behind Timofey Mozgov and Tarik Black but ahead of Ivica Zubac. Working in Yi's favor is that he provides the Lakers a different look at the position and an opportunity to spread the floor offensively. Working against Yi is his defensive foot speed.

Robinson is a 25-year-old former lottery pick that impressed at the team's training camp at UC Santa Barbara and continued to impress with his hustle late in games. Hurting Robinson is that the Lakers already have two capable power forwards in Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle. Robinson has only averaged 8.0 minutes in his four preseson appearances, and he would be lucky to average half those number of minutes if he made the squad.

"It's going to be a very tough decision," Lakers coach Luke Walton said on Monday in reference to the final two cuts.

World Peace's lack of playing time combined with the fact that Luol Deng, Brandon Ingram and Anthony Brown are all guaranteed contracts sitting ahead of him in the rotation makes it tough to see the 36-year-old surviving the final cuts.

Robinson may be the players' choice and a tough player to cut based on his showing at camp and in practices, but the Lakers would have a tough time finding time to utilize the forward. Ingram has occasionally featured at power forward, and the Lakers are more likely to go with smaller lineups than bigger lineups.

Off the court, Yi's trade-friendly contract gives him a slight edge over Robinson, to go along with his international marketing appeal. Also, Yi's size could see him as being an insurance policy considering Mozgov's injury history. Zubac has displayed promise, but the 19-year-old rookie does not expect to play notable minutes during the 2016-17 season.

Entering the final week of preseason, Yi appears to have the edge in the race for the Lakers' final roster spot, but it's close.

Note: Quotes courtesy of Lakers.com

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Dodgers Star Refused to Stay at Trump Tower With Team]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:57:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gonzalez1.png

It isn’t often that professional baseball players wade into the world of political protest, but Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez did just that when his team played the Chicago Cubs earlier this year.

During a May series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the Dodgers decided to use the Trump International Hotel and Tower as their base of operations during the series. The team ended up staying in the hotel, but Gonzalez opted not to.

“I didn’t stay there,” Gonzalez confirmed to media members on Sunday. “I had my reasons.”

The Orange County Register elaborated on why Gonzalez likely opted not to stay at the Trump Tower:

“The inference is obvious. Though he was born in San Diego, Gonzalez grew up in Mexico, where his family has deep roots and his father owns a business. Gonzalez has played for the Mexican national team in numerous international competitions, including the World Baseball Classic. He has been involved in charitable endeavors in Mexico, including refurbishing the sports complex in Tijuana where he played as a youth.”

Meanwhile, presidential candidate Donald Trump, who owns the Trump Tower where the Dodgers stayed, has made a campaign pledge to “build a wall” between the borders of the United States and Mexico, and has emphasized policies that would deport millions of illegal immigrants from the country.

Gonzalez was pressed on the issue, but declined to elaborate on why he specifically decided not to stay at the hotel.

“We’re here to play baseball, not talk politics,” he said.

<![CDATA[Challenge Spotlight: Christian Hodge]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:01:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Challenge_Spotlight_Christian_Hodge_1200x675_787544643663.jpg At 6-foot-9, 350 pounds, Christian Hodge is just starting to learn how to use his frame on the football field. He's only a freshman at St. Genevieve High School, where the coaching staff is hoping for big things. ]]> <![CDATA[Roggin's Heroes: Oct. 16, 2016]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 08:53:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/10-16-2016-roggins-heroes-1.JPG The best of the best high school football highlights for Sunday Oct. 16, 2016.]]> <![CDATA[Tom Brady Says He'll Vote, But for Who?]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 06:54:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-613624626.jpg

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said Monday that he will vote in this year's presidential election, but he is staying tight-lipped about who he'll vote for. 

Speaking with WEEI-FM radio, Brady said he would open up after the election. 

When asked about his friendship with Republican nominee Donald Trump and if Trump in person is unlike his appearances on television, Brady said, "He's been a friend of mine. He's supported our team. He's supported the Patriots. He's been on the Patriots sideline a lot. He's always called me after games to encourage me over the course of 15 years. That's kind of the way it is." 

He added that the two have played golf together many times. "I've always had a good time with him."

Brady's friendship with Trump has come up several times during the election, most recently last week when necn reporter Jonathan Choe asked him how he would respond if his kids heard Trump's version of "locker room talk."

Brady smiled and said, "Thank you guys. Have a good day," before walking away from the podium. The non-response generated headlines across the country.

The quarterback has known Trump since 2002, when Brady served as a judge for one of Trump's beauty pageants.

Trump was vocal in his defense of Brady throughout the "Deflategate" ordeal, praising him repeatedly while on the campaign trail.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fan Captures What 'Go Cubs Go' Chant Sounds Like 1 Mile From Wrigley Field]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 07:26:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/Cubs+Chant.png

The feeling of hearing “go Cubs go” erupt throughout the stadium among fans is irreplaceable, but have you ever wondered what it sounds like for spectators far away?

Chicagoan Will Cohen did, so he took out his camera and started rolling from his apartment about a mile out from the Friendly Confines.

He shot the video Tuesday, just after the team clinched a spot in the NLCS for the first time in 12 years. Since posting it to his Facebook account, it has already garnered 1.3 million views and has been shared more than 30,000 times.

Despite being a solid 20-minute walk from the team’s home, that didn’t stop the victory anthem from echoing across the city to his home.

So how loud was it? See for yourself, but it's safe to say Cubs fans did the team proud.

Photo Credit: Facebook/williammcohen
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<![CDATA[D'Angelo Russell: Star of 2016-17 LA Lakers]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 14:35:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-DAngelo-Russell-Curry.jpg

Entering the final week of the preseason, the 2016-17 Los Angeles Lakers are clearly D'Angelo Russell's team. Rookie Brandon Ingram may earn a great deal of attention, but the 19-year-old looks like a valuable member of the Lakers' promising second unit. Russell is the star for this team.

Russell wears the no. 1 jersey, is the Lakers' best scorer and serves as the team's starting and finishing point guard. Judging by his first six preseason performances, Russell is going to lead the team in scoring by utilizing his mid-range and long range jump shots. The NBA sophomore enters the final week of preseason averaging 18.2 points in 29.3 minutes per game and attempting over six three-pointers per contest.

"He can shoot the heck out of the ball; he sees the game; he has a nice flash about him when he gets going," Lakers coach Luke Walton said about Russell when prompted to find similarities between Russell's game and that of two-time league MVP Stephen Curry.

"Absolutely," Walton added when asked if Russell enjoyed the same "green light" that Curry takes advantage of when he's feeling his hot hand. However, the coach qualified that response when reminded that Russell has now begun to prove that he can drain shots from dangerous distances more than a couple feet beyond the three-point line.

"We might differ on what I view as a good shot and what he thinks is a good shot, but pulling up from four feet behind the 3-point line before moving the ball once, to me, is not a good shot," Walton said, while still promoting the idea that Russell and every other player should take any open, good shot without hesitation. Often, Russell will shoot from three or four feet behind the three-point line this season, and yes, those will be considered good shots.

In his rookie season, Russell initially seemed to struggle with the added distance from the extended NBA three-point line, but the former Ohio State Buckeye took that weakness and quickly transformed it into his greatest strength.

"People have to run out and contest you on the three point line," Russell spoke to NBCLA.com about the importance of the three-point shot during training camp on the campus of UC Santa Barbara. "Sooner or later, you're going to be able to go around them because they're anticipating the three-point shot, and it's going to make everything open for passes and slicing the defense up."

Russell said he focused on developing his long range game because of how he saw teams exploiting weaknesses in the playoffs. In the serious undertone of his words, one could read that Russell is focused as much on the current season as he is on his entire NBA future. Even if Kobe Bryant's final season potentially slowed Russell's growth, the work ethic and the long term game development Bryant proudly preached has permeated through to the next generation.

"It's got to be challenging; he's starting point guard for the LA Lakers," Walton said about Russell back on Oct. 7, following a preseason loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Walton, who earlier commended Russell for continuing to pass and work on setting up the offense, added, "I think he's naturally a scoring point guard. I think that's naturally who he is as a player, but he wants to win, so he's willing to play the right way and play how the coaches are asking him to play, which is to move the ball on."

The game after Walton comments, Russell scored 33 points. One game later, he missed all nine of his attempts from beyond the three-point line in an overtime game. Walton's response was to encourage Russell to keep shooting.

"Next time, I'll assume they go in," Walton had said in his post-game comments, which rubbed Russell the right way.

However, the coach also softly mentioned that Russell should have probably looked to involve his teammates on a night when his shot clearly would not fall. The kid hardly lacks confidence, and he seemingly also inherited Bryant's short-term memory approach to shooting. The toughest part of missing nine three-pointers is attempting the ninth three-pointer after missing the first eight.

When he arrived in Las Vegas for a quick preseason diversion in the desert, the no. 2 pick of the 2015 NBA Draft scored 31 points and dished out 11 assists in 33 minutes against the Sacramento Kings. On the night, the Lakers lacked energy and failed to turn up, but the young point guard produced arguably his most balanced individual performance since joining the Lakers. As a reminder, Russell's career-high in assists is eight, which he only accomplished on one occasion. If he continues to progress and grow as a play making point guard that forces teams to pressure him beyond the three-point line, Russell could conceivably average eight assists for at least one month of the upcoming season.

Only a couple exhibition games away from the start of the 2016-17 NBA season, Russell is already emerging as an early pick for the NBA's Most Improved Player award. For the 2016-17 NBA season, the preseason has clearly revealed that Russell will be the lead star of the 2016-17 "Lake Show."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw, Dodgers Knot NLCS at Game Apiece]]> Sun, 16 Oct 2016 21:02:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Kershaw+wins+NLCS+Gm+2.png

It's all tied up.

Adrian Gonzalez hit a home run and Clayton Kershaw threw seven shutout innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers evened the NLCS at one game apiece by edging out the Chicago Cubs 1-0 at Wrigley Field on Sunday night.

Gonzalez led off the second inning with a solo shot to left-center. Kyle Hendricks left a cut-fastball just a bit over the plate and Gonzalez didn't miss it for his seventh career postseason home run as a Dodger.

"I noticed in the first inning he attacked guys with fastballs early, so I just wanted to get a fastball and elevate," Gonzalez said of his at-bat that produced the game's only run. "Thank god I was able to do that and hit it into that jet stream."

Clayton Kershaw retired the first 14 batters he saw before allowing back-to-back singles to Javier Baez and Wilson Contreas. The 4 and 2/3 innings of perfect pitching was the longest perfect game bid in Kershaw's postseason career.

"Give him credit," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Kershaw. "He had both velocity and location. He didn't really have his curveball today and that should have worked in our favor, but we weren't able to get to him."

Kershaw overcame his own seventh inning demons as he pitched a scoreless frame after the stretch at Wrigley Field. It was by far his most stressful frame as he walked the leadoff batter on four straight pitches, watched as Yasmani Grandal dropped a fly ball behind the plate for an error, and then gave up a deep fly ball to Baez that was caught at the ivy in straightaway center.

"I thought it was out for sure," Kershaw said of Baez's fly ball. "I had a mini stroke right there. I had a slight panic moment for sure. He [Roberts] is not going to trust me anymore if guys keep hitting the ball like tat. I missed my spot over the plate, it was scary."

Entering Sunday night, the seventh inning was Kershaw's kryptonite as he posted a 28.93 career postseason ERA in the seventh frame. In all other innings of the postseason, his ERA is 3.00.

"I've said it time and time again, he's the best pitcher on the planet. So the history has no bearing on anything for me," Roberts said of Kershaw's struggles in the seventh inning. "This is a new year and I don't think anybody in the clubhouse cares about that narrative."

Kershaw recorded his first ever scoreless postseason start of his career, allowing just two hits with one walk and six strikeouts over seven superb innings.

"This was a game we really wanted to have especially when Clayton threw the ball the way he did," continued Roberts. "For him to go seven innings and get the ball to Kenley was a fun night."

Hendricks was the hard-luck loser, allowing one run on three hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 5 and 1/3 strong innings.

Kenley Jansen dominated the Cubs for the final two frames, recording his second six-out save in the postseason.

"You see what Kersh [Kershaw] did in Game 5 and come out here today and put the team on his back," Jansen said after the game. "It gave me more energy to go out there and help the team win."

Los Angeles knotted up the best-seven-series in the NLCS at one game apiece as we shift to sunny Southern California for Game 3 at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.

"We need to go out there and put the pressure on them," added Jansen. "We've been the underdogs all season and they're the best team in the league. We need to go home and get some victories."

Players of the Game:

Adrian Gonzalez: Solo home run.
Clayton Kershaw: Seven scoreless innings.
Kenley Jansen: Six-out save. 

Three Takeaways:

1. Heads Up, Double Up: Cubs second baseman, Javier Baez, turned a brilliant, but unusual inning-ending double play in the sixth inning. With runners on first and second and one out, Joc Pederson hit a blooper to second that should have been the second out of the inning. However, Baez wisely let it drop, and played it on the bounce, throwing to second for one out, and then running down Gonzalez for the final out of the frame. After the inning, Baez winked at the camera in the dugout.

2. Change the Narrative: As good as Clayton Kershaw is, he had never had a scoreless start in his postseason career. It was the lucky number 13 that Kershaw was finally able to slay some demons as he recorded his first scoreless start of the postseason (seven innings).

3. Almost Famous: Clayton Kershaw carried a perfect game bid into the fifth inning in Game 2 of the NLCS. The 4 and 2/3 untouched innings were the longest in Kershaw's postseason career.

Up Next:

Dodgers (1-1): Rich Hill heads to the mound for Game 3 as the series shifts West for the middle three games.

Cubs (1-1): 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta returns to the place he threw a no-hitter as he takes the mound in Game 3 of the NLCS at 5:08 PM PST on Tuesday.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lions Roar Past Rams 31-28]]> Sun, 16 Oct 2016 13:56:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-lose-to-Lions-10-16-16.jpg

DETROIT (AP) — Matt Prater made a tiebreaking, 34-yard field goal with 1:29 left and Rafael Bush followed with a victory-sealing interception two plays later, giving the Detroit Lions a 31-28 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

The Lions (3-3) have won two straight games with Prater making the winning kick and a defensive back following up with an interception on the ensuing possession. Last week, Prater's kick and Darius Slay's interception gave Detroit a win over previously unbeaten Philadelphia.

The Rams (3-3) have lost two straight.

Case Keenum completed a Rams-record 20 straight passes, but couldn't connect with Lance Kendricks on the long throw that Bush stepped in front of near midfield. Keenum finished 27 of 32 for 321 yards with three touchdowns — two to Kenny Britt, one to Kendricks — and an interception.

Britt had season highs with seven receptions and 136 yards, 47 of which came on a highlight-reel catch.

Todd Gurley gained 15 yards on his first carry, but finished with just 58 yards on 14 rushes. He did have four receptions for 49 yards.

Detroit's Matthew Stafford was 23 of 31 for 270 yards, with a season-high four interceptions.

Golden Tate had eight receptions for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Jones, Anquan Boldin and Andre Roberts also caught TDs for the Lions.



Britt's best game of the season included quite a catch. Keenum lofted a 47-yard pass over Britt's left shoulder which the receiver corralled with his right arm. The ball was jarred loose when Britt hit the turf, he squeezed it between his legs, lost it again and pinned the ball against his shoulder pads on a play that stood after review.



Zach Zenner made the most of an opportunity to play with Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington out with injuries. The second-year pro had career highs with 14 carries and 58 yards rushing, and caught two passes for 19 yards.



Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers aggravated his hip injury and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner left with a forearm injury. Detroit defensive end Ezekiel Ansah returned after missing three-plus games with an ankle injury, but he was replaced on the inactive list by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (shoulder). Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy (quadriceps, knee) and tight end Eric Ebron (ankle, knee) were also inactive.



The Rams planned to fly to London after the game for the second leg of their road trip with a game against the Giants. The Lions will host Washington in their third straight home game.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Comeback Falls Short on Grand Slam by Cubs]]> Sat, 15 Oct 2016 22:10:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Cubs+win+Game+1+on+Grand+Slam.png

The Cubs curse might be coming to a grand end.

Miguel Montero hit a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and the Los Angeles Dodgers comeback fell short in an 8-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs in Game One of the NLCS at Wrigley Field.

The Dodgers tied the game off Cubs' closer Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the top half of the eighth when Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run single on a 103 MPH fastball.

"Throughout his career he's gotten so many big hits," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Gonzalez. "When things get stressful he finds a way to calm down and take a good swing. When you have a guy throwing 100 MPH its tough, but he made a good swing. I thought we were going to win the game."

They didnt. As most people thought the momentum shifting to the visitor's dugout, Miguel Montero changed everything with one swing.

Ben Zobrist led off the eighth inning with a double and after an intentional walk to Jayson Heyward, Blanton got Javier Baez to pop out for the second out of the inning.

"In that situation you have to walk Heyward with the base open," explained Roberts. "I looked at the card and saw Chapman still in there, so for me,  I wanted to get him out of the game."

The high stakes game of chess then reached it's apex as Roberts called for the intentional walk of pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan to force Cubs manager Joe Maddon into making a game-changing decision.

Maddon either had to send Chapman to the plate with the bases loaded if he wanted him to pitch the ninth, or remove him from the game for a pinch-hitter and a chance to end it with one swing.

"It was a tough decision, but give Chapman credit for keeping the game tied before that," Maddon said. "We did not lose the lead in the eighth inning so give him a lot of credit."

He opted for the latter and the move paid off as Montero crushed an 0-2 slider into the bleacher seats in right field as the Cubs opened up a 7-3 lead.

"Miggy [Miguel Montero] grabbed that one and it was really special," Maddon said.

One batter later, Dexter Fowler followed with a home run of his own in the same area as the Cubs went back-to-back off Blanton to blow the game open and increase their chances of advancing to the World Series.

"I trusted Joe [Blanton] would throw strikes," a discouraged Roberts said of the bottom of the eighth after the game. "If I had brought in the left-hander, they would have brought in Contreas. I trust Joe. I've trusted him all year long. He got ahead and left a pitch up."

Overall, the Dodgers were unlucky in the first game of the best-of-seven series as they hit the ball hard of Cubs' starter Jon Lester but had nothing to show for it for the first four innings. 

"Baseball is funny," said Roberts. "You can square balls up and have nothing to show for it, or you can hit some flares that find the outfield grass."

Other than Montero, the MVP of the was the Chicago Cubs defense, which was ranked No. 1 in defensive efficiency during the regular season.

Fowler backed up his offense with two sensational diving catches during the course of the game and the Cubs position players took a handful of hits away from the Dodgers batters.

The Dodgers were second in the league in defensive efficiency, but it was more like an inefficiency in Game One.

Kris Bryant put the Cubs on the board first when he hit a fly ball to left field that was misplayed by Howie Kendrick. The ball bounced off the ivy for an RBI double as Chicago led 1-0 after one frame.

The bad luck continued for the boys in blue as as Javier Baez hit a bloop double that scored Jayson Heyward who led off the second inning with a triple.

A few pitches later, Baez advanced to third on a wild pitch and then stole home to score the third run of the game. It was the first steal of home at Wrigley Field in postseason history and was aided by two bad throws by Carlos Ruiz and Justin Turner. 

But Baez wasn't the only one who received some help on the night as Ethier got a nice gust of win to put the Dodgers on the board in the top of the fifth inning.

The move to use Ethier was questionable as the veteran left-hander struggles against southpaws, but it paid off as the Dodgers scored a run and cut down the lead.

Ethier pinch-hit for Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda who allowed three runs on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts in four short innings for Los Angeles. 

"Kenta was a victim of a little bit of bad luck tonight," Roberts said of his starter. "I thought Maeda was good. He competed well and gave us everything he had."

Lester did not factor in the decision, allowing one run on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts in six strong innings. 

"I thought tonight Jon wasn't on top of his game," added Maddon. "I didn't think he had his best stuff tonight."

Chapman vulture the win by virtue of being the pitcher of record when Montero hit the grand slam in the bottom of the eighth.

The Dodgers tried to rally off the mat in the ninth, and scored a run on an RBI double by Andrew Toles, but the comeback fell short when Chase Utley lined out to first base and Toles was doubled up at second to end the game.

Los Angeles trails the best-of-seven series 1-0 with Game Two set for 5:08 PM PST on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Players of the Game:

Miguel Montero: Game-winning Grand Slam.
Adrian Gonzale: Game-tying two-run single.
Andre Ethier: Pinch-hit home run.

Three Takeaways:

1. Pitching Changes Dave Roberts and the Los Angeles Dodgers shattered the all-time MLB record for pitching changes in a season with 607 in 2016. They are the only ream in MLB history with more than 575 pitching changes in a season and a winning record. The Dodgers are also the only team in postseason history that won a series where their relievers pitched more inning than their starters.

2. Home Insurance: The Dodgers should call Sate Farm for a home insurance quote after Javier Baez stole home on them to score the third run of the game for the Cubs. Baez took a large lead off third and then took off for the plate when catcher Carlos Ruiz threw to third. Justin Turner's throw home was high and Baez slid under the tag for the score.

3. You're a Grand Ol' Man, Montero: Cubs' catcher Miguel Montero hit only the third pinch-hit postseason grand slam in MLB Playoff history, joining Mark Lewis (Reds) in 1995 and Ricky Ledee (Yankees) in 1999.

Up Next:

Dodgers (0-1): Clayton Kershaw will start Game 2 on Sunday, just a few days after recording the save in Game 5 of the NLDS.

Cubs (1-0): NL ERA leader Kyle Hendricks will start for the Chicago in Game 2 at 5:00PM PST at Wrigley Field.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Best Storylines from the NLDS]]> Sat, 15 Oct 2016 18:13:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Dodger+Storylines+from+Game+5.png

It's being called the greatest game in modern postseason history.

As the Dodgers clash with the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field, we took at the storylines from the best game of the MLB Playoffs thus far.

Not since Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series have we seen a Dodger postseason game as epic as Game 5 at Nationals Park against Washington was. 

It was an instant classic and one of the most insane games we've ever experienced live. The decisive win-or-go-home game for both teams was filled with wild wonderment and sure amazement.

The intensity and pressure was at a fever pitch, as was the storylines, which for a sports writer were some of the best ever written.

Here are the storylines you may have missed or not known about:

Quack, Quack, Quack, Rich Hill:

A little over a year ago, the starting pitcher from Game 5 of NLDS for the Dodgers was out of the Major Leagues and playing the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

The 36-year-old journeyman pitcher has played with nine different teams in his big league career and ironically started the 2015 season with the Washington Nationals before being released on June 24th

To make his storyline even more interesting, Hill will take mound in Game 3 against the team he made his MLB debut with, the Chicago Cubs.

Max Scherzer's No-Hit Bid:

The 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner and finalist for the NL Award in 2016 took a no-hitter in the fifth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS. It was the longest no-hit bid in the Nationals/Expos franchise history.

Adding to the storyline, was Scherzer's 0-3 record in postseason elimination games and the fact he had not lost back-to-back starts since August of 2015. Of course, Scherzer did not factor in the decision in Game 5, but the 20-game winner in the regular season was still unable to win the most important game of his career.

We Are Young:

Overshadowed in the dramatic finish to Game 5 of the NLDS was the performance of 20-year-old Julio Urias. The Mexican left-hander had not pitched in 14 days before taking the mound in the top of the fifth inning for the Dodgers.

In doing so, he became the youngest player to pitch in the postseason since Don Gullett in 1970, and the sixth youngest all-time. He was also the youngest pitcher to appear in the postseason for the Dodgers and in recording the win, became the youngest player in MLB history to win a game in the postseason.

The Unlucky Number 13:

It may seem like an afterthought now, but Justin Tuner's 13-pitch at-bat against Max Scherzer in the fourth inning certainly was a battle within a war at the time.

During that important at-bat, Turner saw six sliders, five fastballs, two changeups and fouled off seven pitches. The result was a walk, and the Dodgers didn't score, but it drove Scherzer's pitch count up and may have knocked him out of the game earlier than expected in the seventh inning.

The Pick Off Heard Round the World:

Julio Urias lead the league in pickoffs during the 2016 season, despite only playing a couple months. He recorded his league-leading sixth pickoff of the season came at the perfect time as the 20-year-old caught Bryce Harper leaning to end a rally for the Nationals.

The Send From Third:

The game stopped on a dime in the bottom of the sixth inning when Urias allowed a double down the left field line to Ryan Zimmerman with a runner on first. Nationals third base coach Bob Henley made the decision to send Werth home on the play and Corey Seager gunned him down by at least 20 feet. The call changed the momentum and the Dodgers would rally in the top of the seventh.

The Marathon Seventh Inning:

The seventh inning of Game 5 in the NLDS lasted nearly an hour and 30 minutes. It kicked off with a solo home run by Joc Pederson that tied the score and chased Max Scherzer from the game.

The inning was one of the greatest baseball chess matches you'll ever see as Howie Kendrick hit a pinch-hit single, Austin Barnes was used as pinch-runner, Charlie Culberson was called upon to bunt (but couldn't do it), and Justin Turner hit a two-run triple to break the game open.

In just the top half of the inning alone, the Nationals used six different pitchers.

Old Friend Alert:

In the bottom of the seventh, Chris Heisey hit a pinch-hit two run home run to bring the Nationals within a run. The homer should have come as a surprise to no one as Heisey led the league in pinch-hit home runs on the season.

But, did you know that Heisey was with the Dodgers last season and close friend's with Clayton Kershaw. Heisey's locker in the Dodgers clubhouse was next to Kershaw's and fittingly, his first home run in a Dodger uniform was a grand slam in a game that Kershaw started and won. Who got the save in that game? Kenley Jansen.

Where's Kershaw?

In something out of a movie or a WWE event, Clayton Kershaw disappeared from the dugout in the bottom of the seventh inning. Reportedly, he was getting loose, stretching, and playing catch in the visiting batting cage.

In the top of the ninth, Kershaw reemerged, albeit with a wardrobe change. He was now wearing his warm-up jacket and had his cleats on. Of course, we know what happened from there as Kershaw headed out to the bullpen and recorded his first MLB save by recording the last two outs of the game including Kershaw killer, Daniel Murphy.

In 2015, Murphy was the only player to homer off Kershaw in the postseason and he did it twice. He had owned Kershaw in the playoffs. Kershaw got him to pop put to second base and then struck out Wilmer Difo to win the game. The save came on one day of rest and after Dave Roberts said "absolutely not" emphatically Kershaw would pitch in any capacity.

Ironically, Kershaw had just one previous save in his career as a professional baseball player. It was in 2006 in Class Rookie ball for the Gulf Coast League Dodgers on August 19, 2006 against the Nationals and Kenley Jansen was his catcher.


Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker continued his bad-luck streak as he lost his 9th consecutive game when his team had a chance to clinch in the postseason. The 0-9 record in those games is an MLB record.

Looking ahead, the Dodgers face Joe Maddon in the NLCS. Maddon and Dave Roberts are the only two managers ever hired by Andrew Friedman.

Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings Goalie Jonathan Quick Could be out 4 Months]]> Sat, 15 Oct 2016 16:44:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Quick+ot+3+to+4+months.png

Talk about getting the wind knocked out of you.

The Los Angeles Kings are 0-2 to start the NHL season, but the unkindest cut of all came on Saturday when it was reported that All-Star goalie Jonathan Quick could be out for at least four months with a groin injury.

The Kings placed Quick on the injured reserve on Thursday after their netminder was hurt in the first period of the season opener against the rival San Jose Sharks.

The injury was an unspecified lower-body injury, but it's been reported that it is a severe groin injury that could require surgery. If the Kings and Quick opt for surgery, Quick could be out for at least "three to four months."

The Kings started Jeff Zatkoff in net on Friday in their home opening loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at Staples Center and have recalled Peter Budaj from their AHL affiliate in Ontario

Zatkoff was a third-round pick by the Kings in 2006, but signed with the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins as a free agent in 2012. After winning a championship, he returned to Los Angeles for the 2016 season.

Zatkoff won the backup goalie role by beating out Budaj in training camp. Budaj is a 34-year-old goalie from Slovakia who has spent nine seasons in the NHL with Colorado and Montreal.

The loss of Quick is a huge blow to the two-time Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. Quick was in net when the team won both titles in 2012 and 2014 and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the NHL Playoffs MVP in 2012. In 2014, he won the Jennings trophy and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2012 and 2015.

There are rumblings that Quick may have originally hurt his groin at the World Cup of Hockey this summer, but he claimed before the season started that the tournament did not affect him as he got ready to start the season.

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SNF: Colts, Texans Struggling Offense]]> Sat, 15 Oct 2016 13:36:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SNF+Preview+colts+Texans.png The Houston Texans host the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The "Football Night in America" team, Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, look ahead at the match-up.]]> <![CDATA[Luke Walton Calls D'Angelo Russell "Scoring Point Guard"]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 01:18:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-postgame-Luke-Walton-Russell_1200x675_787255875603.jpg Following a preseason game at Staples Center, Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton discusses the D'Angelo Russell's development. Recorded in Los Angeles, California on Oct. 7. 2016 (courtesy Shahan Ahmed)]]>