Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Five
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


This season, Aaron Judge chased down and then one-upped Roger Maris' AL record of 61 home runs, finishing the year with 62. Tuesday, in the Yankees' biggest game of the season, he one-upped a current teammate for MLB history.

One inning after Giancarlo Stanton's three-run homer opened the scoring, Judge blasted a solo home run -- his MLB-record fourth in a winner-take-all playoff game -- as the Yankees beat the Guardians, 5-1, to advance to the ALCS. They'll face the Astros.

Here's the list of most home runs in a winner-take-all game:

  • Aaron Judge: 4 (homered Tuesday for Yankees)
  • Giancarlo Stanton: 3 (homered Tuesday for Yankees)
  • Yogi Berra: 3
  • Didi Gregorius: 3
  • Troy O'Leary: 3
  • Moose Skowron: 3

The Yankees have no time to celebrate; the ALCS begins tonight in Houston. While the Astros have a major rest advantage, they need Jose Altuve to get going, writes MLB expert R.J. Anderson.


Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v San Diego Padres - Game One
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When it came down to it, the Phillies' stars shined brightest when they needed to most. Their reward is a 1-0 lead in the NLCS after a nail-biting 2-0 win over the Padres.

  • Zack Wheeler pitched an absolute gem: seven innings, eight strikeouts, one hit and one walk on just 83 pitches.
  • Bryce Harper homered off Yu Darvish in the fourth inning to open the scoring. Harper has homered in three straight games.
  • Kyle Schwarber then crushed a 488-foot blast off Darvish in the sixth. It's the longest home run in Petco Park history and, at 119.7 miles per hour, the hardest-hit postseason home run in the Statcast Era (since 2015).
  • Seranthony Dominguez pitched a scoreless eighth and José Alvarado earned the save.

Above all else, the story of the game was Wheeler's dominance, writes MLB guru Dayn Perry.

  • Perry: "In what was probably a scouting-driven decision, Wheeler leaned more on his fastball in Game 1 than he typically does – 52 percent of the time against the Padres versus 42.9 percent usage during the regular season. ... Wheeler got the Padres' lineup to swing at 42 percent of his pitches outside the zone, which is a lofty figure. The stellar effort lowered Wheeler's ERA during this postseason to 1.40 through three starts."

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...

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If Commanders owner Daniel Snyder thought the walls were closing in on him before Tuesday, he certainly doesn't feel any better today. In a shocking interview at the NFL owners meeting, Colts owner Jim Irsay said he thinks "there's merit to removing" Snyder as owner.

It's the first time an owner has spoken directly and publicly about removing Snyder.

  • Snyder and the Commanders are currently under investigation by Mary Jo White, who is looking into allegations of Snyder's sexual harassment as well as financial impropriety and workplace misconduct. The Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia also plans to take action against Snyder.
  • Irsay's comments come just days after a bombshell ESPN report that Snyder is collecting "dirt" on other owners and defying the NFL's punishments. Snyder is not at the owners meetings; his wife, Tanya, is.
  • When asked if the owners will have the requisite 24 votes to remove Snyder, Irsay said, "I think potentially there will be." Of note, an NFL owner has never been voted out.
  • Any potential vote would not come until after White's investigation is complete, according to commissioner Roger Goodell.

A Commanders spokesperson called Irsay's comments "highly inappropriate, but not surprising" and added that once the evidence is presented, Irsay will change his stance.

Snyder himself sent a letter to fellow owners, writing that the ESPN report "contains false and malicious statements" and denying that he has hired investigators to dig up dirt.

Not so honorable mentions

Warriors, Celtics win on NBA opening night 🏀

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
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Both of last season's NBA Finals participants got their 2022-23 campaigns underway Tuesday night, and both showed they're not going anywhere any time soon.

Let's start in Boston, where the Celtics picked apart the 76ers in a 126-117 win.

  • Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both had 35 points. They're just the third duo to score 35 each in a season opener, joining Oscar Robertson and Jack Twyman (1961) and Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain (1969).
  • Boston's bench outscored Philadelphia's 34-11, with Malcolm Brogdon (16 points) and Grant Williams (15 points) leading the way.
  • James Harden had 35 points and Joel Embiid had 26 for the 76ers.

Brogdon was a key addition this offseason, and his ability to create offensively will be a huge help, notes NBA expert Michael Kaskey-Blomain.

Out in San Francisco, the Warriors received their championship rings, raised a banner and then topped the Lakers, 123-109.

  • Stephen Curry had 33 points -- including nine in a 47-second span in the fourth quarter -- and Andrew Wiggins added 20.
  • The Warriors blew things open with a 32-19 third-quarter advantage and never let things get within single digits after that. This is nothing new: Golden State was the league's best third-quarter team last season.
  • LeBron James had 31 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, and Anthony Davis had 27 points for the Lakers, who have lost six straight season openers.

At times, the Warriors looked like they did last year. Too often, the Lakers looked like they did last year, too.

NFL Power Rankings: Giants, Jets continue rise; Buccaneers fall 🏈

New York Jets v Green Bay Packers
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We're one-third of the way through the NFL season, and if you thought both the Giants and Jets would be in the top 10 of Pete Prisco's NFL Power Rankings, go buy a lottery ticket, because you can clearly see the future better than the rest of us.

Here's the top 10:

  • 1. Eagles (prev: 1)
  • 2. Bills (prev: 2)
  • 3. Vikings (prev: 5)
  • 4. Chiefs (prev: 3)
  • 5. Giants (prev: 8)
  • 6. Cowboys (prev: 6)
  • 7. Jets (prev: 14)
  • 8. Titans (prev: 12)
  • 9. Chargers (prev: 13)
  • 10. Bengals (prev: 16)

Not in that top 10? The Buccaneers, who, after losing to the Steelers, fell from fourth to 12th.

  • Prisco: "They just haven't looked right this season. Now at 3-3, they are showing all of their flaws. When does it turn around?"

One of those flaws is the run game. Tampa Bay ranks last in the NFL in yards per carry, 29th in yards before contact per carry and 32nd in yards after contact per carry. Basically, it's bad all-around.

But back to the Jets, because they were the biggest risers. Unlike the Buccaneers, they are playing complementary football: The run game is explosive, the defense is much improved thanks to the arrival of Sauce Gardner -- the No. 1 rookie in Josh Edwards' rookie power rankings -- and, as we saw Sunday, the special teams are indeed special.

For them to take the next step, though, Zach Wilson must be better, writes Chris Trapasso in his grades of the next generation of quarterbacks.

  • Trapasso: "Awesome win for the Jets in Lambeau. But the victory came in spite of Wilson's performance. He was simply not good in this game. His pocket presence lacked, as did his accuracy on throws underneath and at the intermediate level. Grade: D+ Season Grade: C"

South Carolina tops women's basketball AP Top 25 🐓

Aliyah Boston Getty South Carolina Gamecocks Women's Basketball
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South Carolina is atop the women's basketball mountain and doesn't plan on giving up that spot any time soon. The Gamecocks are No. 1 in the preseason women's basketball AP Top 25 for the third consecutive year and received all 30 first-place votes.

South Carolina has been No. 1 in 20 consecutive polls, including all of last season. Only UConn and Tennessee have had longer streaks at the top.

Here's the top 10:

  • 1. South Carolina (30)
  • 2. Stanford
  • 3. Texas
  • 4. Iowa
  • 5. Tennessee
  • 6. Connecticut
  • 7. Louisville
  • 8. Iowa State
  • 9. Notre Dame
  • 10. North Carolina State

What we're watching Wednesday 📺

Phillies at Padres, 4:35 p.m. on FOX
🏀 Knicks at Grizzlies, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 Georgia State at Appalachian State, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2
🏒 Flyers at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
Yankees at Astros, 7:37 p.m. on TBS
🏀 Mavericks at Suns, 10 p.m. on ESPN
🏒 Blues at Kraken, 10 p.m. on TNT