Baseball: Diamondbacks down Rockies to earn playoff berth against Dodgers

Colorado Rockies players celebrate in the dugout after scoring a run in the 2017 National League wildcard playoff baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. (USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 05 October 2017
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Baseball: Diamondbacks down Rockies to earn playoff berth against Dodgers

LOS ANGELES: The Arizona Diamondbacks withstood a fierce late rally from the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday to win their National League wildcard playoff duel 11-7 and advance to a meeting with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Back-to-back home runs from Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story in the top of the eighth inning saw the Rockies claw their way back to within one run of the D-Backs at 8-7.
But A.J. Pollock’s triple for Arizona in the bottom of the eighth allowed J.D Martinez and Jake Lamb to score and gave the Diamondbacks’ breathing space at 10-7.
Pollock then scored after Jeff Mathis reached base on a bunt off pitcher Greg Holland to put the Diamondbacks 11-7 ahead.
The Rockies clawed a run back after Carlos Gonzalez’s single saw Ian Desmond score in the top of the ninth but it was not enough.
Arizona will now advance to a NL best-of-five playoff series against the Dodgers, who had the best record in the major leagues this season, with game one on Friday.
Earlier, Arizona seized a 3-0 lead in the first inning as David Peralta and Ketel Marte singled before Paul Goldschmidt smashed a three-run homer, blasting a hanging curve ball from Colorado right-hander Jon Gray over the left-field wall.
The Diamondbacks boosted their margin to 4-0 in the second inning when Peralta singled and scored on a triple to the center field wall by Dominican shortstop Marte, prompting Colorado to remove Gray from the mound.
Daniel Descalso blasted a two-run homer to the rightfield stands in the third inning to stretch Arizona’s edge to 6-0.
The Rockies finally responded in the fourth when Arenado reached on a fielder’s choice, took second on Story’s single and scored on Gerardo Parra’s single to centerfield.
Story scored for third base when Mark Reynolds grounded out to first base and Jonathan Lucroy smacked a line drive double to right field to score Parra and pull Colorado within 6-3.
Moments later, Alexi Amarista smacked a single up the middle to score Lucroy, lifting the Rockies within 6-4 and prompting Arizona to remove starting pitcher Zack Greinke after the shortest playoff start of his career.
Lucroy pulled the Rockies within 6-5 in the seventh when he doubled, took third base on a wild pitch and scored when Charlie Blackmon hit a sacrifice bunt to second base.
Arizona struck for two runs in the seventh after Jake Lamb singled, Daniel Descalso walked and Archie Bradley smacked a two-run triple to centerfield, boosting the Diamondbacks’ edge to 8-5.
The Diamondbacks-Dodgers winner will face either Washington or the defending champion Chicago Cubs in the National League finals to decide a berth in the World Series.
The American League playoffs continue Thursday with Boston at Houston and the New York Yankees at Cleveland in the openers of their best-of-five matchups.


Philippine basketball team becomes a contender in Asian Games as NBA releases Clarkson

Updated 20 August 2018
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Philippine basketball team becomes a contender in Asian Games as NBA releases Clarkson

JAKARTA, Indonesia: Jordan Clarkson says playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals a few months ago was a “great experience.”
Being the flagbearer at the opening of the Asian Games may have matched it.
“It was probably one of the happiest days I’ve had in my career, in my life,” Clarkson said Sunday, a day after the opening ceremony in the Indonesian capital. “Just seeing everybody’s face, how happy everybody was.”
Clarkson has an American father, and a mother with Filipino roots, which qualifies him to play for the Philippines at the Asian Games. The team takes on tournament favorite China on Tuesday.
Clarkson lobbied for permission to play and the NBA, after a drawn out negotiation, eventually let him board a flight to Jakarta a few days ago.
Clarkson said leading the Filipino delegation into the stadium, cheered by a crowd of 40,000, offered NBA-level excitement.
“It was up there, definitely,” he said. “I haven’t seen something like that — ever. I didn’t know how big the Asian Games were until I came out of that tunnel.”
Clarkson has suddenly turned the Philippines into a basketball contender. He says he’s not facing pressure, although he knows a lot is expected. The embassy of the Philippines in Jakarta hosted a media conference on Sunday in a five-star hotel, and Clarkson was the five-star attraction.
“I don’t think there’s pressure for any of the guys,” he said. “You say all the pressure is going to be on me, but I don’t think so. We got a team full of players that are ready to come out there and compete.”
Clarkson repeated a half-dozen times that it’s an ‘honor” to play for his adopted country, and repeatedly called his good fortune a “blessing.”
It’s clear he’s given many Filipinos a boost.
“He’s an NBA player,” said Jaja Santiago, a Filipino volleyball player at the Asian Games who attended the media event. “He’s an inspiration for us and a morale booster. Maybe we can learn from him how to motivate ourselves, even if he can’t help us on the court.”