Professional Sports

Patriots preparing for Bell-less team

Next opponent What: New England at Pittsburgh, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. TV: CBS Records: Patriots (9-4); Steelers (7-5-1) The line: Patriots by 2 1⁄2 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — If there’s been a blueprint to having success against the Patriots defense this season, it’s started with ...

Blackhawks snap steak on Penguins

CHICAGO — Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists, and the Chicago Blackhawks snapped an eight-game losing streak by topping the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 on Wednesday night. Marcus Kruger, Brent Seabrook, Andreas Martinsen, Brandon Saad each had a goal and an assist for Chicago, which ...

Morton reaches new deal with Rays

LAS VEGAS — All-Star pitcher Charlie Morton has reached a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. A person familiar with the agreement tells The Associated Press the contract is for two years and $30 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been officially ...

No incentive left for hitters to play the entire field

LAS VEGAS — Ask baseball managers what they think about the dreaded shift, and most of them have the same answer. It’s not a problem if the hitters don’t make it one. “There’s an easy way to combat that,” Oakland’s Bob Melvin said. “Just hit the ball the other ...

Backup provides relief for Pens

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Casey DeSmith is providing a lift for the Pittsburgh Penguins while Matt Murray is sidelined by a lower-body injury. DeSmith made 25 saves to lead the Penguins to a 2-1 shootout win against the New York Islanders on Monday night. “He was really good all night. He was ...

Free agents aplenty this winter

Paul Goldschmidt and Robinson Cano have already switched teams this offseason, going to the Cardinals and Mets in major trades. As for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper — the jewels of the free agent market — they’re still waiting. Patrick Corbin and Josh Donaldson are already signed, ...

Smith, Baines elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

LAS VEGAS — Longtime closer Lee Smith and smooth-swinging Harold Baines were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. “Very shocked,” Baines said on a conference call. Former outfielder and manager Lou Piniella fell one vote short. Results of the 16-member Today’s Game Era ...

Raiders’ win a highlight in otherwise down season

OAKLAND, Calif. — Coach Jon Gruden ran off the field high-fiving Oakland fans on the way to the locker room. In a season with very little to celebrate, the Raiders had plenty to feel good about Sunday. Derek Carr threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Derek Carrier with 21 seconds left before ...

Woes continue for Steelers with third straight loss

OAKLAND, Calif. — A Pittsburgh Steelers team that kept finding ways to win during a six-game winning streak now has fallen short at the end for a third straight game. A slick field that led to kicker Chris Boswell losing his footing on a potential game-tying kick is to blame this ...

Pens lose on power play

The Associated Press OTTAWA, Ontario — Ryan Dzingel scored on a power play at 1:20 of overtime to give the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night. The Penguins were called for too many men on the ice, setting up the winning power play. Thomas Chabot ...

Deceased player had ties to both Curve, Pirates organizations

By Fabiola Sanchez The Associated Press CARACAS, Venezuela — Former major league players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car crash caused by highway bandits who then robbed them, officials said Friday. The 33-year-old Valbuena and 37-year-old Castillo died late Thursday ...

Versatile Samuels getting his shot

By Will Graves The Associated Press PITTSBURGH — Jaylen Samuels doesn’t get caught up in roles. Maybe because the one the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie is asked to fill seems to change by the week. During his college career at North Carolina State he was a hybrid. Sometimes he’d ...

Jags-Titans: A defensive standoff

Jacksonville won the AFC South and Tennessee earned a wild-card playoff berth out of the division last season. Now, they get the prime-time spotlight tonight even though both are also-rans. Oh, the Titans (6-6) still are in the playoff chase. But it’s difficult to take serious a team that ...

Referees Association backs official on leave

The NFL Referees Association is questioning why the league isn’t focusing more attention on Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes for threatening umpire Roy Ellison following Buffalo’s game at Miami last weekend. Ellison has been placed on administrative leave while the NFL investigates ...

Jackson faces biggest test yet

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Since taking over as the starting quarterback, rookie Lamar Jackson has revitalized the Baltimore Ravens running attack and kept opposing offenses off the field by dominating time of possession. He will need do that again this week to help slow down the high-flying ...

Ridley, Samuels to sub for injured Conner

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers will head to Oakland without running back James Conner. Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Conner is dealing with a sprained left ankle and will not play when the AFC North leaders take on the last-place Raiders. Conner, who is second in the NFL in ...

Seattle gets nod as 32nd franchise

SEA ISLAND, Ga. — Seattle is getting a National Hockey League team. It will just have to wait a little bit longer to drop the puck. The NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved adding Seattle as the league’s 32nd franchise on Tuesday, with play set to begin in 2021 instead of 2020 to ...

Hat trick history made as Pens win

The Associated Press PITTSBURGH — There isn’t a lot of finesse in Patric Hornqvist’s game. The Pittsburgh Penguins forward understands his job is to get to the places on the ice that not everyone wants to go, set up camp there and make something happen. His team in serious need of a ...

Steelers owning up to ugly Sunday-night loss at home

The Associated Press PITTSBURGH — The excuses aren’t hard to find if the Pittsburgh Steelers were in the mood to look for them. The false start that wasn’t called on a play that ended with a Los Angeles Chargers touchdown. The apparent block in the back that helped spring Chargers ...

Mistakes still hurting Raiders

The Associated Press ALAMEDA, Calif. — Coach Jon Gruden knows the Oakland Raiders aren’t nearly good enough to overcome a litany of mistakes if they want to be able to beat one of the top teams in the league like the Kansas City Chiefs. So when the running backs lose three fumbles, a ...