Kershaw helps Dodgers finish off Nationals

WASHINGTON — A little past midnight EDT in Game 5 of the NL Division Series, Clayton Kershaw emerged from the bullpen to pitch in relief for the first time in seven years. Two outs later, the only save of his major-league career in the books, Kershaw’s arms were raised and teammates were rushing to celebrate with a man whose postseason performances haven’t carried the luster of his regular-season success. Coming into the game with two runners on base and the outcome in the balance, Kershaw got Daniel Murphy to pop out, then struck out Wilmer Difo in a game that began Thursday and ended with Los Angeles holding onto a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals as the Dodgers won the best-of-five series. Los Angeles…

Sociedad hoodoo hangs over Barca ahead of Clasico Madrid: Barcelona face an uncomfortable trip to bogey side Real Sociedad as they seek to avoid losing further ground on Real Madrid just a week before the two clash in the Clasico. Barca have lost on their travels to San Sebastian in each of the past three seasons and already trail Real by four points having been held 0-0 at home by nine-man Malaga last weekend. The champions will at least benefit from having the on-fire Lionel Messi available. Messi was badly missed due to illness against Malaga, but took his tally to 18 goals in 15 games this season with a double in a 2-0 win at Celtic that guaranteed Barca’s place in the last 16 of the Champions League as winners of their group on Wednesday. All four...

Fare thee well: Brazil grieves for football team killed in crash A small Brazilian city will hold a massive funeral Saturday to honour its football team, wiped out at the height of their glory in a plane crash that killed 71 people. The southern city of Chapeco is expecting some 100,000 people — half its population — to descend on Conda Arena, the stadium where just 10 days ago the home team, Chapecoense Real, were lighting up the pitch. The unsung club's fairytale season was cut tragically short Monday night when the charter plane flying them to their next match ran out of fuel and smashed into the mountains outside Medellin, Colombia. Chapecoense had been on their way to Medellin for the biggest match in the club's history: the finals of the Copa Sudamericana, South America's second-biggest club tournament. The...

Michael Phelps’ storied Olympic swimming career is finally done. He’s sick of all the ... Michael Phelps has already come out of retirement once, so despite saying that his triumphant showing in the Rio de Janeiro Games allowed him to “close the door” on swimming, would it be any surprise to see him competing in the 2020 Games? Probably not. But as of now, Phelps is officially retired, after filing paperwork that removes his name from the U.S. drug-testing program. That makes the 31-year-old ineligible for any high-level competition and typically serves as the official end to an athlete’s career. Phelps told Nick Zaccardi of NBC Sports on Monday that what sealed his decision to finally hang up his goggles was something to which even we mere mortals can relate: He was sick of all the paperwork. Athletes at...

‘Ferguson let Benitez watch United train in 2000’ Rafael Benitez watched Manchester United train in 2000 – four years before he was appointed Liverpool manager.Benitez and Ferguson endured a difficult relationship after the Spaniard arrived in the Premier League 12 years ago, with the two memorably battling for the title in 2008/09. According to Benitez’s long-time assistant manager, Pako Ayestaran, the two met before they clashed in England. Ayestaran, who served as the Spaniard’s assistant for 11 years, three of which came at Anfield, says the pair watched United train in 2000 while they were unemployed. “We were between jobs in 2000, so we went to visit Manchester United,” he told MailOnline. “Ferguson let Rafa and I watch his first-team training sessions with Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, everyone in that great Treble team. At that time, it ...

Australia vs South Africa: Meet the four uncapped players in hosts’ squad for Adelaide ... Australia's selectors have responded to the threat of a first-ever Test series sweep on home soil by dropping five players from their squad for the third match against South Africa, which begins in Adelaide on Thursday. Joe Burns, Adam Voges and Callum Ferguson, as well as wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, paid the price for a string of batting collapses, while seamer Joe Mennie was also axed after the innings defeat in the second Test in Hobart. Four uncapped players — openers Matt Renshaw and Nic Maddinson, wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Handscomb and seamer Chadd Sayers — came into the 12-man squad. Wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade and seamer Jackson Bird, both given previous chances at Test level before being discarded, were also recalled. Chief selector Rod Marsh stood down ...

China Open: Saina Nehwal crashes out in opening round; PV Sindhu, Ajay Jayaram progress Fuzhou: Saina Nehwal's comeback ended with a gruelling opening round loss but Olympic silver-medallist P V Sindhu crossed the first hurdle at the USD 700,000 China Super Series Premier in Fuzhou on Wednesday. File photo of Saina Nehwal. AFP Three months after limping out of the Rio Olympics due to a severe knee injury, fourth seed Saina was back on the court but her fight against Thailand's Porntip Buranaprasertsuk ended with a 16-21 21-19 14-21 loss in a women's singles match that lasted for almost an hour. London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina, who had won the China Open title in 2014 and reached the finals last year, will next play at the Hong Kong Super Series next week. Seventh seed Sindhu, however, had no problems in disposing off the challenge from ...

Noc-K: Nike bonus payments are for the committee The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Noc-K) has said that Nike performance bonus payments for Olympic and Commonwealth Games are not meant for athletes. The committee’s executive officer Stephen Soi stated that the bonuses are a reward and compensation to Noc-K from their official kit provider Nike for having prepared athletes and teams for the above-mentioned competitions. Soi clarified that Olympics and Commonwealth are different from World Championships, Grand Prix and Diamond League events where athletes have direct monetary benefits. “I think we can only take blame for not having explained on our contract with Nike about the performance benefits,” said Soi. “The bonuses are not for the athletes but Noc-K.” Athletes have lately demanded for the bonuses with medallists from...