Baseball: Baez homers twice, Cubs edge Dodgers to avoid sweep

Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez its a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning in game four of the 2017 NLCS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. (USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Baseball: Baez homers twice, Cubs edge Dodgers to avoid sweep

CHICAGO: Javier Baez blasted two home runs and the defending champion Chicago Cubs avoid being swept out of the Major League Baseball playoffs Wednesday by edging the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2.
The Dodgers still lead the best-of-seven National League Championship Series 3-1 and could advance to their first World Series since 1988 with a victory in Thursday’s game five.
“We’ve been struggling as a team in the playoffs but we’ve finally gotten on track and hopefully we keep going,” Baez said.
The Cubs-Dodgers winner will play either the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in the World Series starting Tuesday. The Yankees lead that series 3-2 entering game six Friday at Houston.
Baez blasted his first hits of the playoffs into the outfield bleachers at Wrigley Field to snap out of his slump in impressive fashion.
“I’ve just been struggling a lot this series and the series before. I’ve been trying so hard,” Baez said. “I just said, ‘Today don’t try to go so hard,’ and that’s what happened.”
Baez and Willson Contreras blasted solo homers in the second inning to put the Cubs ahead 2-0, but Cody Bellinger answered in the third for the Dodgers with a solo homer of his own to halve Chicago’s lead.
Baez responded with another solo homer in the fifth inning, boosting the Cubs ahead 3-1. The Dodgers had not trailed so late in a game in the playoffs.
Chicago brought on relief ace Wade Davis in the eighth inning but the first batter he faced, Dodgers slugger Justin Turner, blasted a solo homer to pull Los Angeles within 3-2.
Yasiel Puig walked and an emotional moment followed when Dodgers batter Curtis Granderson argued a third-strike, claiming he tipped the ball, and had an umpire’s call overturned.
That sent heated Cubs manager Joe Maddon out of the dugout to complain and he was ejected, begging for consideration of a video replay that is not approved for such situations.
Davis struck out Granderson cleanly for the second out of the eighth but Yasmani Grandal walked to send potential tying run Puig to second base.
Chase Utley, hitless in his previous 23 times at bat in the playoffs, came to the plate for the Dodgers and struck out to end the threat.
In the ninth, Davis issued a one-out walk of Chris Taylor to put the potential tying run on base again but Bellinger grounded into a game-ending double play.
“We’re in a position to win or go home so we brought in the closer to make sure everything is good,” Baez said.


Jabeur becomes first Tunisian woman to make WTA final

Updated 19 October 2018
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Jabeur becomes first Tunisian woman to make WTA final

  • Jabeur, ranked 101st in the world and who came through qualifying, prevailed over Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
  • In Saturday’s final, Jabeur will face sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia, last year’s runner-up, who put out Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.

MOSCOW: Ons Jabeur made history on Friday when she became the first Tunisian woman to reach a WTA final by seeing off Latvian fifth seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
Jabeur, ranked 101st in the world and who came through qualifying, prevailed in one hour 37 minutes.
“This is really amazing and I’m really happy. I gave it all today, and it wasn’t easy because she plays really good,” said 24-year-old Jabeur, who unleashed 45 winners on her way to victory.
“Maybe I was too relaxed in the second set. At the end, I stayed calm. It was a little bit frustrating because I missed some easy balls, but I said I was just going to play my game, and if it goes, it goes.”
In Saturday’s final, Jabeur will face sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia, last year’s runner-up, who put out Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.
“They’re both playing good, so I hope they fight for four hours,” Jabeur had said. “The best win is that there is a Tunisian in the final.”
Jabeur lost her only career meeting against Kasatkina at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“She (Jabeur) plays interesting tennis with plenty of drop shots, often advances to the net,” Kasatkina said.
“Everything is possible in tomorrow’s final and I will just come onto the court and try to play my best.”
In the ATP event, France’s Adrian Mannarino ended Egor Gerasimov’s run beating the Belarus qualifier 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 to set up a semifinal with Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who ousted fourth seeded Serb Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia beat last year’s runner-up Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 will face third-seeded compatriot Karen Khachanov, who saw off Mirza Basic of Bosnia 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).