^Saturday's games<


Tribune News Service

Sports Budget for Saturday, September 7, 2019

Updated at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 UTC)

This budget is now available at http://www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^A boy from Prijepolje: Vlade Divac's rise from small Serbian town to the Hall of Fame.<

BKN-KINGS-DIVAC-SPORTSPLUS:SA — The story of one man's remarkable rise to eternal basketball greatness starts with a boy and his soccer ball on the streets of Prijepolje, an old-world town of about 13,000 people in southwestern Serbia.

Vlade Divac grew up in a modest apartment, one of two sons raised by working-class parents in a region first inhabited as far back as the Stone Age. Some never venture far beyond the lush green hills that surround Prijepolje, which has one elementary school and a weekly newspaper.

1800 by Jason Anderson in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED


^Falcons WR Julio Jones gets long-awaited contract extension<


Julio Jones will be a Falcon for life — or at least for the foreseeable future.

The long-awaited contract extension was announced by the team Saturday as a three-year deal. According to several people familiar with the situation, the deal will be for a fully guaranteed $66 million.

The new deal comes none too soon as the Falcons open the regular season at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The team announced the deal, reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and several media outlets earlier in the day, just as the team departed for Minneapolis.

650 by D. Orlando Ledbetter. MOVED

^Twins pitcher Michael Pineda suspended 60 games for violating MLB drug policy<

BBA-TWINS-PINEDA:MS — Major League Baseball on Saturday announced that Twins pitcher Michael Pineda has received a 60-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy.

Pineda tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, which is a diuretic and can be used to mask detection of a performance-enhancing drug. The suspension takes place immediately, meaning Pineda's 2019 season is over and he won't be eligible for any postseason games.

It's a blow to the Twins in many different ways.

400 by La Velle E. Neal III in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Wide receiver Antonio Brown signs with Patriots<

^FBN-PATRIOTS-BROWN-1ST-LEDE:PJ—<Just when you think the Patriots won't surprise you, it happens again.

On Saturday, hours after Antonio Brown's unbelievable exit from the Oakland Raiders, the All-Pro receiver signed a one-year deal with the Patriots.

Brown confirmed the news by posting a photoshopped picture of himself in a Patriots uniform on Twitter with the hashtag Godsplan. According to ESPN, the contract has a $9 million signing bonus and is worth up to $15 million. The All-Pro receiver won't be able to play until Week 2 as his signing won't become official until Monday.

And just like that, the Patriots pull off another shocker.

750 by Mark Daniels. MOVED


^US Open: Serena Williams upset by Bianca Andreescu<

TEN-USOPEN-ANDREESCU-WILLIAMS:LA — For the second year in a row at the U.S. Open and the fourth time since she returned to competition following the birth of her daughter, Serena Williams fell short of tying Margaret Court's record of 24 career Grand Slam tournament singles titles.

Williams, who will be 38 in a few weeks and is running out of time to match that record, mounted a late push that thrilled the crowd and pushed Bianca Andreescu to the limit before the Canadian teenager prevailed 6-3, 7-5, to win her first Grand Slam title.

Williams fell behind 5-1 in the second set and faced a championship point but found the strength to make one last frenzied rush and won the next four games. Andreescu, showing signs of strain for the first time in the match, committed a number of errors before she held for 6-5. Williams saved a championship point with an ace but Andreescu hit a forehand winner to put the match away.

450 by Helene Elliott in New York. MOVED



^Bryce Miller: 'Devastating' baseball strike memories linger 25 years later for Moises Alou<

^BBO-MILLER-COLUMN:SD—<Dust off the memories of the 1994 Major League Baseball season, the dominating rise of the Montreal Expos and the strike that wiped it all away and a unique thought comes to mind for All-Star Moises Alou.

When negotiations unraveled between owners and the players' association 25 years ago, the Expos — the MLB-best 74-40 Expos — had no idea it would kill the World Series and, many argue, the franchise's run in Canada.

Alou, a special assistant to the Padres, said the team was so popular and had so much traction that even a star hitting .339 that season had to step aside for his father, manager Felipe Alou.

800 by Bryce Miller. MOVED


^Sam Mellinger: The layered legacy of David Glass' nearly 2 decades as owner of the Royals<

BBA-MELLINGER-COLUMN:KC — Twenty-six years ago last month one of the most influential and respected men in Kansas City sports history died.

Ewing Kauffman lived a life worth a movie, a self-made billionaire whose success created hundreds of millionaires and bought a baseball team even though he didn't know much about the sport. He thought it would be nice for his city.

Kauffman wanted that to last, too, which only amplified the importance of who would own the Royals after his death. Kauffman's wishes became clear: The team must stay and Kansas City must remain a major-league city.

1350 by Sam Mellinger in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED


^Bryce Harper misses Saturday's game after being hit by a pitch on the hand<

BBN-PHILLIES-HARPER:PH — Bryce Harper's right hand was sore enough to keep him from playing Saturday night, and the Phillies were unsure if the star outfielder would be able to play Sunday as they cling to their slim playoff chances.

Harper was hit on the right hand Friday night by a 92-mph sinker from Mets left-hander Steven Matz. His X-rays were negative, and the Phillies remained confident that Harper suffered only a bruise. He was unable to grip a bat Friday night, woke up sore Saturday, and did some hand exercises when he arrived at Citi Field.

300 by Matt Breen in New York. MOVED


^J.A. Happ makes pitch for Yankees' playoff mix in 5-1 win against Red Sox<

BBA-YANKEES-REDSOX:HK — Yes, for all his previous success against the Red Sox, J.A. Happ wound up on the losing end of his most important game at Boston — last year's AL Division Series opener.

And through his first 26 starts this season, the Yankees veteran lefty had carried a hefty 5.57 ERA.


Just when it appeared he'd run out of time to turn around his regular season, Happ has thrown himself back into the mix for a playoff start.

Following up an impressive stint against the Oakland Athletics, Happ handcuffed the Boston Red Sox in leading the Yankees to a 5-1 victory late Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.

600 by Pete Caldera in Boston. MOVED

^Cubs' Javier Baez could miss rest of regular season because of fractured left thumb<

BBN-CUBS-BAEZ:TB — The Cubs' depth will be pushed in their quest to catch the Cardinals in the National League Central after an MRI exam on Saturday revealed that two-time All-Star Javier Baez has a hairline fracture in his left thumb.

Baez will be examined Monday by a hand specialist, who will determine the length of recovery. Baez's status for final three weeks of the season is in jeopardy.

"Javy is the heart of this team," said catcher Willson Contreras, who returned Tuesday after missing a month because of a strained right hamstring. "He plays for us like his hair is on fire. We're going to miss him a lot.

650 by Mark Gonzales in Milwaukee. MOVED


^Rays rally again to beat Blue Jays, 5-3<

BBA-BLUEJAYS-RAYS:PT — The Rays aren't going to win 'em all.

Though after they pulled another one out late on Saturday night, rallying in the eighth to beat the Blue Jays, 5-3, and make it nine wins in their last 10, they look like they could make a run at it.

But the real question is how many of the remaining 18 games do the Rays, now 85-59, need to win to make it into playoffs as one of the two AL wild-card teams. Will nine, getting them to 94 wins, be enough? Do they need 10, and thus 95?

Of those 18 games, four are against the Jays (one Sunday, three to finish the season), who they've beaten 11 times in 15 games already.

1050 by Marc Topkin in St. Petersburg, Fla. MOVED


^Marlins' bullpen implodes in 7-2 loss to Royals<

BBO-ROYALS-MARLINS:MI — Oh how quickly a game can change. The Miami Marlins learned that once again on Saturday.

Caleb Smith's six shutout innings quickly went to waste as the Marlins' bullpen immediately imploded in the seventh inning of their 7-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals. The Marlins (50-91) dropped the series against the Royals after losing the series opener 3-0 on Friday and are guaranteed a losing record against American League teams this year.

And the loss can be pointed to that seventh inning, when the Marlins used three relief pitchers to get three outs. The Royals (53-90) had seven of their 10 batters reach base.

500 by Jordan McPherson in Miami. MOVED


Saturday's games

TNS expects coverage from the following games:

St. Louis at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Texas at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

LA Angels at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

Cleveland at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.

Philadelphia at NY Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Seattle at Houston, 7:10 p.m.

Colorado at San Diego, 8:40 p.m.

Detroit at Oakland, 9:07 p.m.

San Francisco at LA Dodgers, 9:10 p.m.


^Mike Sielski: Eagles fans should give thanks that they don't root for the Redskins<

FBN-SIELSKI-COLUMN:PH — As of the opening kickoff of his team's game Sunday against the Eagles, Jay Gruden will have officially begun his sixth season as the Washington Redskins' head coach. His tenure is the longest of any Redskins coach since Daniel Snyder bought the franchise in 1999, and one has to wonder if Gruden regards that milestone as a genuine achievement or as a penance for some sin, deep in his past, for which he was not contrite. Gruden's brother Jon is having his own problems these days in Oakland with a mercurial player. Well, imagine that Antonio Brown owned the Redskins, and you begin to understand what Jay Gruden has been dealing with since 2014.

800 by Mike Sielski in Philadelphia. MOVED


^Mac Engel: For Cowboys, it's not about Zeke but if Dak is good enough for a Super Bowl<

FBN-ENGEL-COLUMN:FT — Before introducing his latest addition to the Dallas Cowboys team store and his, "Zeke Who?" T-shirt, Jerry Jones boasted he thinks the Cowboys "Can take it to the house with Zeke."

That (should) mean the Super Bowl, but with Dak. Not Zeke.

If the Cowboys are to advance to an NFC title game, and or, God forbid, the Super Bowl, Zeke Elliott will be a complementary player and Dak Prescott will be The Star.

Quarterback rules in a quarterback league.

Zeke is great, and the only question about the Cowboys is whether Dak Prescott is too.

650 by Mac Engel in Frisco, Texas. MOVED


^Offensive 'revolution': Ravens aim to turn convention on its head with scheme unlike anything in the NFL<

^FBN-RAVENS-OFFENSE:BZ—<Like every revolution — the successful and the unsuccessful, the significant and the inconsequential — the Ravens offense will change by the day. Sometimes it will work, and other times it will not. It will zig one Sunday, then zag the next Thursday. Its outlines are hidden and nebulous, like some ancient treasure map, and still being drawn; quarterback Lamar Jackson said Wednesday that "We still get hit with new stuff."

The seeds of change were planted months ago in Baltimore, if not long before.

1450 . MOVED


^Mark Bradley: Brees vs. Ryan? It's not the mismatch you think<

^FBN-BRADLEY-COLUMN:AT—<Perception is weird. Drew Brees has been long considered one of the NFL's Tier 1 quarterbacks; after 11 years of exemplary service, Matt Ryan hasn't risen above Tier 2. They've each been named first-team All-Pro. They've each taken a team to a Super Bowl. Brees' team won; he was named the game's MVP. Ryan's team did not, and he wasn't. (Fun fact: Ryan's passer rating against the Patriots in 2017 was 144.1; Brees' rating against the Colts in 2010 was 114.5.)

Both have been the best part of their NFC South teams for more than a decade.

750 by Mark Bradley. MOVED

^Raiders release WR Antonio Brown after wild preseason<

FBN-RAIDERS-BROWN:SJ — The Raiders reached the end of the line with Antonio Brown Saturday, granting his request for a release.

Brown requested his release Saturday morning on Instagram when he reportedly learned of new fines incurred for behavior this week. An ESPN report said he was informed that his three-year, $50 million contract was voided and his salary would be paid week-to-week.

The Raiders began practice as normal Saturday after issuing a roster that no longer contained Brown's name and No. 84.

250 by Jerry McDonald and Michael Nowels in Alameda, Calif. MOVED

^Dieter Kurtenbach: Antonio Brown exposed the Raiders' relentless incompetence<

^FBN-KURTENBACH-COLUMN:SJ—<Antonio Brown wanted to "call God" this season with the Raiders.

Now, he's calling other teams for a job.

The Raiders released the walking soap opera Saturday morning. The action came only days after he threatened to punch the general manager, a day after he posted a video that featured a no-consent recording of a phone call with his head coach, and mere hours after he posted "release me" on Instagram.

This was always a combustible situation.

1150 by Dieter Kurtenbach. MOVED

^Mark Bradley: In the nick of time, Julio Jones gets his new contract<

^FBN-BRADLEY-COLUMN:AT—<The Falcons should send Antonio Brown flowers, or a basket of muffins, or whatever the King of Instagram might consider appropriate. If not for AB's antics — frostbite, inappropriate helmets, GM cuss-outs, taped phone calls — the Flowery Branch bunch would have claimed the prize for "silliest offseason involving a big-name wide receiver."

But no. Antonio Brown trumped everything ever. T.O. and Ochocinco and Dez and Brandon Marshall have hereby been left in the dust. It takes real negotiating skill to talk your way off two NFL franchises in one calendar year, and we're barely past Labor Day.

600 by Mark Bradley. MOVED

^Jon Gruden, Raiders players react to Antonio Brown's release<

FBN-RAIDERS-BROWN-REACT:SJ — The Raiders began to wrap their brain around the Antonio Brown experience and were unified by the purpose of moving on without him.

The Raiders released Brown at his request Saturday, one day after he apologized in front of the entire team for an on-field shouting match with Mike Mayock during the week.

With that as a backdrop, the Raiders open the regular season Monday night against the Denver Broncos at the Coliseum following 44 days of controversy since Brown arrived in a hot air balloon in Napa on July 26.

850 by Jerry McDonald in Alameda, Calif. MOVED

^Antonio Brown elated to flee Raiders for Patriots<

FBN-RAIDERS-BROWN-PATRIOTS:SJ — About five hours after being released by the Raiders, Antonio Brown has landed with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Brown asked for and received his release Saturday morning, and by mid-afternoon ESPN's Adam Schefter was reporting a one-year contract with the Patriots.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden and his team had finished their media obligations when the news broke. Gruden, however, responded to a text message about Brown joining the Patriots and said "I wish him the best."

600 by Jerry McDonald in Alameda, Calif. MOVED

^Kevin McNamara: The clock is ticking on Tom Brady, Patriots<

FBN-MCNAMARA-COLUMN:PJ — When the New England Patriots roll into Gillette Stadium under the twinkling Sunday-night lights, their fans will happily celebrate the 18th consecutive September of Tom Brady starting at quarterback.

Just how much longer those fortunate fans are able to enjoy that sight remains to be seen.

While an opening night marquee game against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers is no time to squabble over contracts, it's become impossible not to watch the Patriots and wonder just how much longer the team's 42-year-old legend will keep throwing passes. How much longer will Patriot games remain an event, where the streets become church-mouse quiet and young and old alike huddle in front of their big-screen TVs?

1000 by Kevin McNamara in Foxborough, Mass. MOVED



^Michigan avoids catastrophe, beats Army, 24-21, in double overtime<

FBC-ARMY-MICHIGAN:DE — Ugly. Sloppy. Almost catastrophic.

That's the only way to describe No. 7 Michigan's play in a 24-21 double overtime win over Army.

The Wolverines were poised to suffer a devastating loss, the worst of the Jim Harbaugh era. Then the defense came up with a huge play.

With Michigan leading by three in the second overtime, Carlo Kemp and Aidan Hutchinson converged upon Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr., forcing a fumble that Josh Uche recovered to end the game. The Wolverines rushed the field in celebration after a game that was much closer than anyone anticipated.

The Black Knights were a 23 1/2-point underdog and don't have nearly as much talent as Michigan.

550 by Orion Sang in Ann Arbor, Mich. MOVED

^Ohio State cruises to 42-0 victory against Cincinnati<

FBC-CINCINNATI-OHIOSTATE:OH — This was not supposed to be a cakewalk for Ohio State.

Cincinnati, coached by longtime Buckeye Luke Fickell, was expected to provide at least a moderate challenge on Saturday. The Bearcats were coming off an 11-win 2018 season and an opening victory over UCLA.

They were no match for the Buckeyes in No. 5 Ohio State's 42-0 victory in front of 104,089 at Ohio Stadium.

Just like last week against Florida Atlantic, Ohio State rolled to a 28-0 first-half lead. But unlike last week, when the Buckeyes relaxed after taking the big lead, there were little grounds for quibbling about this performance.

500 by Bill Rabinowitz in Columbus, Ohio. MOVED


^Maryland unstoppable early in historic 63-20 rout of No. 21 Syracuse<

FBC-SYRACUSE-MARYLAND:BZ — Ever since Maryland jumped from underdog to a slight favorite going into Saturday's home game against No. 21 Syracuse, first-year coach Mike Locksley tried to diffuse any hype that followed his team's 79-0 opening win over Howard.

"Syracuse is a team that's won 10 games (a year ago), well-coached," Locksley said Wednesday of a Maryland team that hadn't beaten a ranked opponent at home since 2010. "We're not there yet."

Maybe they are.

550 in College Park, Md. MOVED


^Kelly Bryant, Missouri rebound for win in home opener against West Virginia<

FBC-WVIRGINIA-MISSOURI:KC — After jumping out to an early lead against West Virginia on Saturday, there was no letdown for the Missouri football team like there was in Wyoming.

The Tigers dominated the Mountaineers, 38-7, in their home opener at Memorial Stadium, giving Barry Odom's squad its first win of the season.

Kelly Bryant's brilliance continued to be on full display as the former Clemson quarterback threw for 150 yards and three touchdowns while extending countless plays with his legs.

450 by Alex Schiffer in Columbia, Mo. MOVED


^Clemson turns away Texas A&M behind stout defensive effort<

FBC-TEXASAM-CLEMSON:CS — Clemson players said leading up to Saturday's game against Texas A&M that the matchup was "personal" after the Tigers' defense was embarrassed by the Aggies a year ago.

Clemson's defense certainly played with an edge during its dominating performance Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers held the Texas A&M offense and quarterback Kellen Mond in check in a 24-10 victory at Death Valley.

The top-ranked Tigers led 17-3 at halftime and cruised to the victory after allowing Mond to throw for three touchdowns in the final two quarters in 2018.

250 by Matt Connolly in Clemson, S.C. MOVED


^Georgia christens Dooley Field with 63-17 rout of Murray State<

FBC-MURRAYSTATE-GEORGIA:AT — Georgia's extended tune-up before the Notre Dame game continued Saturday as the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs played host to nowhere-close-to-being-ranked Murray State in what shall always be remembered as Dooley Day at Sanford Stadium.

It certainly won't be remembered for the lopsided football contest that was waged on this date. The Bulldogs defeated their FCS-division visitors, 63-17. But few came to see that. Most of sellout crowd of 92,746 showed up to see the field named for Vince Dooley, the school's longtime head coach and athletic director.

700 by Chip Towers in Athens, Ga. MOVED


^FSU gives up early lead but rallies to beat Louisiana-Monroe in overtime<

FBC-LOUISIANAMONROE-FSU:OS — It wasn't quite the statement game the Florida State Seminoles were looking for, but it was a win nonetheless. FSU rallied to defeat Louisiana-Monroe, 45-44, in overtime Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

FSU took the lead in overtime and ULM responded with a four-play touchdown drive but missed the extra-point attempt to seal the Seminoles' victory.

FSU quarterback James Blackman's interception with just under nine minutes left in the game set up a one-yard Josh Johnson score that gave ULM its first lead of the game at 35-31 with 7:41 left in the fourth quarter.

500 by Chaunte'l Powell in Tallahassee, Fla. MOVED


Saturday's games

TNS expects coverage from the following games featuring teams in the AP top 25:

No. 18 UCF at Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m.

No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas, 7:30 p.m.

UT Martin at No. 11 Florida, 7:30 p.m.

Buffalo at No. 15 Penn State, 7:30 p.m.

Western Michigan at No. 19 Michigan State, 7:30 p.m.

California at No. 14 Washington, 10:30 p.m.

No. 23 Stanford at USC, 10:30 p.m.


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