Daniel Murphy-led Mets take down Zack Greinke, Dodgers for NLCS berth

LOS ANGELES — Daniel Murphy just hoped no one was watching.

Murphy shocked the sleeping Dodgers by stealing an uncovered third base and went on to score the tying run. Two innings later, Murphy hit a go-ahead homer off Zack Greinke that led the New York Mets over Los Angeles 3-2 Thursday night and into an NL Championship Series matchup with the Chicago Cubs.

After getting past ace pitchersClayton Kershaw and Greinke, the Mets will try to reach the World Series for the first time since 2000.

“Something doesn’t go right, and we bounce back,” said the Mets’ Terry Collins, managing in the postseason for the first time at age 66. “We’ve done it all year long. Tremendous heart.”

New York and pitcher Jacob deGromtrailed 2-1 in the fourth inning of the decisive Game 5 of their NL Division Series when the Dodgers shifted three infielders to the right side and left no one near third with left-handed Lucas Duda at the plate. When Duda walked on a 3-1 pitch, Murphy jogged to second and suddenly sprinted to third.

Rookie shortstop Corey Seager, the closest infielder, was almost all the way toward second.

“You’ve got to give a peek and hope that nobody calls timeout, because then I go sprinting to third base and somebody calls timeout, I look like a buffoon,” Murphy said.

No worries. He made it without a throw and scored on Travis d’Arnaud‘s sacrifice fly.

“An incredible play and a game-changer for us,” Mets captain David Wright said.

Murphy had just two steals during the regular season.

“I’m not fleet afoot,” he said, “but I was just fast enough to be able to get in there and make it.”

Murphy’s opposite-field RBI double in the first drove in the game’s first run. Murphy homered in the sixth for a 3-2 lead, driving a 93 mph pitch about a dozen rows into the right-field seats.

Murphy, who had three hits, batted .333 in the series and homered three times off Greinke and Kershaw. He can be a free agent after the season ends.

“Daniel was a tough out all series,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s always to me been a guy that’s been a tough out, pretty much hits everybody’s fastball.”

DeGrom (2-0), the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, struck out seven and walked three to earn his second road win of the series.

He allowed four straight singles in the first, when Justin Turner and Andre Ethier drove in runs for a 2-1 lead. Fellow starter Noah Syndergaard started warming up as early as the second inning, and deGrom pitched his only 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.

“I think I was a little amped up, and I just tried to make my pitches,” deGrom said.

Syndergaard threw a hitless seventh in the rookie’s first big league relief appearance, and Jeurys Familia was perfect in the first six-out save of his big career.

Familia retired pinch-hitter Chase Utley — who earned the Mets’ wrath after his takeout slide broke shortstop Ruben Tejada‘s leg in Game 2 — on a flyout leading off the ninth.

After Familia struck out Howie Kendrick to end the game, the Mets swarmed the mound, jumping up and down in unison. They quickly donned black T-shirts and exchanged hugs and high-fives while a small group of orange and blue-clad fans shouted, “Let’s go Mets!,” the only noise in a stadium that emptied quickly.

“What a team win,” Murphy said. “It felt like everybody got a piece of this one.”

Greinke (1-1) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander, who led the majors with a 1.66 ERA, struck out nine and walked one. He could opt out after the season ends and as a free agent would likely command even bigger bucks than the guaranteed $71 million left on his contract.

“I was pitching good, I was feeling confident,” Greinke said. “I decided to challenge him. Looking back at it, it was the wrong decision.”

New York quickly will turn its attention to the Cubs. The NLCS, which starts Saturday night at Citi Field, is the first postseason meeting between the teams.Matt Harvey will start Game 1 for the Mets against Jon Lester.

Playing on the 27th anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s World Series home run, Los Angeles failed to come up with a big drive, going 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position after Ethier’s first-inning single.

“There are really no words to describe how you feel right now,” said Mattingly, who could be out of a job after this latest postseason failure.

Despite a record $289 million payroll, the Dodgers remained without a World Series title since 1988.

“We have a good team here,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. “We just need to keep working at it.”

Los Angeles failed to capitalize with two runners on in both the second and third. After Turner doubled leading off the third, Ethier popped out to left.

 Ethier returned to the dugout and began yelling at Mattingly while walking away from him. Mattingly followed, and twice Ethier turned toward Mattingly and yelled at him while gesturing angrily with his arms, pointing twice at the field and twice directly at Mattingly.

“There was nothing there other than he was mad about the ump’s call,” Mattingly said. “I was trying to settle him down.”

Turner had a pair of doubles, giving him a franchise playoff-record six in one series. But the Dodgers’ fell to 4-1 in elimination playoff games since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.

New York will be in the NLCS for the first time since 2006, when the Mets swept the Dodgers in the Division Series.

“Back in 2006, it was a little less stressful because we ended up sweeping them,” Wright said. “So this is probably more gratifying and sweeter, just because we went through the pitchers we did to get to this point.”


Benjamin Watson, Saints’ offense turn back the clock to beat Falcons

Mike Triplett, ESPN Staff Writer 10/16/15

NEW ORLEANS — Maybe the New Orleans Saints didn’t find their new Jimmy Graham. But this wasn’t the same old Benjamin Watson, either.

The 34-year-old tight end had a career night with 10 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown to breathe new life into a Saints offense that has desperately needed it this year. His previous best of 107 yards came eight years ago with the New England Patriots.

Oh, and Sean Payton and Drew Brees weren’t too shabby themselves, as they found that missing mojo inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during the second half to cruise past the previously undefeated Atlanta Falcons 31-21 on Thursday night.

The Saints (2-4) still have plenty of issues and badly need their offensive line to heal up over the next 10 days. But this was a huge reprieve for a season that was on the brink.

Another huge blocked punt: Who knows what direction this game would have turned if not for a critical blocked punt by Saints linebacker Michael Mauti, who also recovered the ball in the end zone for a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The play was reminiscent of one of the greatest in franchise history: Steve Gleason’s blocked punt to beat the Falcons on the night the Superdome reopened after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. And to make it even better, Gleason was in the house to enjoy it after being honored before the game.

Three huge fumbles: The Saints also would have been in hot water if their defense didn’t exploit three game-changing fumbles by Atlanta in the first half. The Falcons lost two of those fumbles inside the red zone when they were threatening to score. The third came on botched handoff on a fourth-and-1 attempt. Saints linebacker Dannell Ellerbe forced one and recovered another. The Falcons fumbled two more times in the fourth quarter, losing one of them.

One reason to get excited: A sleeping giant woke up in the second half when the Saints’ offense returned to its old, aggressive ways. Payton went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line late in the third quarter and scored with a touchdown pass from Brees to Watson. Later, Brees delivered a beautiful 26-yard pass to receiver Brandin Cooks on third-and-3 during a fourth-quarter touchdown drive.

The Saints’ offense started this game very slowly, just like it has started this entire season, even drawing boos from the home fans during some stalled drives.

New Orleans will need the momentum from this win to carry forward.

One reason to panic: The Saints still need to get healthier. Their offensive line struggled badly early in the game, when it was down to the third left tackle and the backup left guard. And top cornerback Keenan Lewis barely played as he continued to come back from summer hip surgery. The next 10 days should help, but they need Lewis and left tackle Terron Armstead to be close to 100 percent soon.

Fantasy watch: Can we count on this from Watson all season? Of course not. But he is clearly a legitimate part of this offense and a trusted target for Brees that should be considered in deeper leagues or when those bye weeks and injuries creep up. Watson had 15 catches for 139 yards and a TD through five games before Thursday.

Ouch: Saints rookie left tackle Andrus Peat limped off the field with the help of trainers after suffering a leg injury in the first quarter. The Saints didn’t offer any specifics, other than he was questionable to return. Peat already was a replacement for injured starter Armstead.

Three great equalizers: Three reasons a 1-4 team was able to beat a 5-0 team? It was a rivalry game. It was a short week. And there is something about the Saints at home in prime time. They have now won 16 of their last 17 prime-time games inside the Superdome, including the playoffs and both of their wins this year.


Kia recalls 377K SUVs that can shift out of park

, USA TODAY 10 a.m. EDT October 16, 2015

The recall applies to 2011 to 2013 Sorentos, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The filing says if excessive force is applied to the gear shift lever, the brake-shift interlock mechanism may chip or crack. If that happens, the transmission can shift out of the park position on its own without the brakes being applied.

Kia is going to notify owners to bring in their SUVs to have the brake-shift interlock mechanism replaced.


Nevada Shuts Down Fantasy Sports Sites


By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff Posted Oct 16, 2015 12:30 AM CDT

(NEWSER) – Nevada regulators ordered daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel to shut down Thursday, saying the hard-to-miss sites that have flooded the marketplace with TV and Internet ads cannot operate in the state without a gambling license. The decision comes amidgrowing backlash by regulators and investigators, including New York’s attorney general, after it was revealedemployees often played on competing sites, raising questions about possible insider information being used to win. Nevada regulators govern the country’s main gambling hub in Las Vegas, and their actions could hold sway with regulators elsewhere, who currently treat fantasy sports as games of skill, not chance.

A notice issued by the Gaming Control Board says the sites must stop offering their contests to Nevada residents immediately, and until they’re granted a license. Operators face felony fines and 10 years in prison for running an illegal gambling site. The board says it worked with the state attorney general’s office for several months to look into the sites’ legality. A sports law expert from Florida says the board’s decision is not going to “cause an extinction of fantasy sports from Nevada, forevermore,” but it confirmed what observers familiar with the gambling industry have long contended. “Fantasy is a form of gambling that should be licensed just like sports betting, just like any other form of gambling,” he says.


Sanders Rejects Donation From Price-Hiking Drug CEO


By John Johnson,  Newser Staff Posted Oct 16, 2015 6:58 AM CDT

(NEWSER) – The nation’s most notorious drug CEO tried to give Bernie Sanders a $2,700 campaign donation—but Sanders is giving it to a clinic instead, reports the Boston Globe. Martin Shkreli, whose Turing Pharmaceuticals made headlines for raising the price of a drug 5,000%, gave the Sanders campaign the maximum individual contribution in the hopes of getting a private meeting to give his side of the story to Sanders in person. “We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed,” says a campaign spokesman. Instead, the money will go to an HIV clinic in DC known as Whitman-Walker Health, reportsMediaite, which notes that the drug whose price was raised astronomically is commonly used to treat HIV patients who are suffering from the parasitic infection toxoplasmosis.

Shkreli had made no secret of his support and contribution to Sanders, even tweeting about it during Tuesday’s debate (“Damn @BernieSanders is my boy…”)—even though Sanders has gone after Big Pharma in general and Shkreli in particular. His tweeting (Shkreli tried to engage Hillary Clinton, too) apparently drew the campaign’s attention to the money, however, which had initially accepted it. “I think it’s cheap to use one person’s action as a platform without kind of talking to that person,” Shkreli tells the Globe. “He’ll take my money, but he won’t engage with me for five minutes to understand this issue better.” (Here’s why Shkrelihasn’t cut the drug’s price yet.)


Biggest Elephant Seen in Decades Killed by Hunter


By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff Posted Oct 16, 2015 1:00 AM CDT

(NEWSER) – A disturbing number of elephants have been killed in Zimbabwe in recent weeks, including the biggest one seen in decades. An enormous bull elephant was killed on Oct. 8 just outside a national park by a German hunter who had paid $60,000 for a permit, the Telegraph reports. (The link has an image of the elephant.) Conservationists tell CNN that with tusks that weighed around 120 pounds each, the elephant was one of the biggest to be seen in the region for 50 years—and if it hadn’t been shot, it could have become a tourist attraction worth a lot more than $60,000. The hunter, who has not been identified, was on a 21-day hunt that also included leopards, lions, buffalo, and rhinoceros, according to the Telegraph.

The chairman of Zimbabwe’s hunters and guides association tells the Telegraph that the elephant had not been seen in the country before and it was bigger than any of the other five or six “giant tuskers” shot over the last year. He says the client didn’t realize just how big the elephant was until it was shot, and he suggests that authorities start collaring unique elephants if they don’t want hunters to shoot them. Elsewhere in Zimbabwe, the bodies of 26 elephants that poachers had poisoned with cyanide were found this week, the AP reports. Another 14 were killed in three separate incidents last week and no arrests have been made, authorities say. (The American dentist who killed Cecil the lion appears to be in the clear.)


150-Year-Old Question About the Brain Is Answered


By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff Posted Oct 16, 2015 7:52 AM CDT

(NEWSER) – If brain size relative to body size determines IQ, the venerable shrew would be the smartest creature on the planet. But it doesn’t, and it’s not, and scientists from Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany have combed through 88 studies with more than 8,000 participants to confirm in the journal Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviewsthat when it comes to intelligence, brain size simply doesn’t matter. “Although a certain association is observable, brain volume appears to be of only little practical relevance,” says Jakob Pietschnig from the Institute of Applied Psychology at the University of Vienna. The researchers write that “positive associations between human intelligence and brain size have been suspected for more than 150 years.” Why the long-held belief in such a link despite a lack of concrete evidence for it?

It may partly be the result of publication bias, reportsScienceAlert. This means that journals more readily publish findings with strong links between subjects than weak or inconclusive links. And that’s all that Pietschnig and his team found when they reviewed published and unpublished studies—a link too small to have any discernible effect. “Rather, brain structure and integrity appear to be more important as a biological foundation of IQ, whilst brain size works as one of many compensatory mechanisms of cognitive functions,” Pietschnig adds. This helps explain why men, who tend to have larger brains than women, do not perform better on IQ tests. To be small-minded, then, should be construed in only a metaphorical sense. (Check out what has been hiding in brains for centuries until this year.)


Odom Paid $75K for ‘Girlfriend Experience’


By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff Posted Oct 16, 2015 4:04 AM CDT | Updated Oct 16, 2015 6:32 AM CDT

(NEWSER) – As Lamar Odom lies in a hospital fighting for his life, his bill from the brothel where he was found unconscious in a VIP suite is being closely scrutinized. His tab came to $75,000, which paid for round-the-clock attention from two women, Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof tells NBC News. He says the “girlfriend experience” Odom paid for included things like going out to dinner with the women and that the NBA star had planned to extend his stay. The brothel owner says Odom’s estranged wife, Khloe Kardashian, has asked him to stop speaking to the press, but he has refused. “I know what happened,” he tells theAP. “I’m the one protecting my business and telling the truth about it.”

Odom is on life support in a Las Vegas hospital and there are conflicting reports about his current condition. A source tells ESPN that Odom has made a small amount of progress, while TMZ‘s sources say he’s in “dire straits,” because not only has there been no improvement at all, doctors believe he has suffered a loss of brain function and will have no hope of leading a normal life even if he survives. TMZ reports that the apparent combination of cocaine and a large number of dodgy “herbal Viagra” pills did serious damage, and the Kardashians have flown in specialists from Los Angeles.


TBI will now investigate MPD and SCSO officer-inolved deaths

POSTED 11:03 PM, OCTOBER 15, 2015, BY

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has agreed to investigate all deaths involving Memphis Police or Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies in the line of duty or anyone who dies in custody.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said it’s another step to ensure transparency for all parties involved.

The way it works is officers will secure the scene until state agents get there.

The state then gives its findings to the District Attorney, but will not recommend if anyone should face charges.

That’s still up to the DA.

“If you give it to a higher body like the TBI, why not let them make the recommendation?” asked community activist Tami Sawyer.

She said the agreement is far from transparent since state investigators can’t make a recommendation.

Not to mention, the TBI records are sealed meaning it can choose what information it releases.

Take for example Darrius Stewart’s case. He was shot and killed by a Memphis cop in July.

The TBI took over the case days later, gave its findings to the DA and nearly three months later, we still don’t know what happened.

“Everyone wants to drop the buzz word transparency, and say you’re giving us transparency, but that’s not what we are receiving,” said Sawyer.

The TBI has concerns too about the work load.

Director Mark Gwyn released the following statement:

“If current trends persist, for example, the additional work will certainly stretch our existing, limited resources and could eventually leave us in the unenviable position of having to turn away some cases.”


Memphis mulch yard fire reignites

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A fire at a mulch yard on Summer Avenue has reignited.

Memphis fire crews were called to the Jones Mulch and Wood Recycling Plant around 5 a.m. Friday.

We are told another pallet caught fire early this morning.

Smoke in the area of Summer and I-240 has increased, but not to the extent of earlier this week.

We are experiencing very dry conditions which are making extinguishing the fire even tougher.

For those concerned with air quality, you can find that information on this website.

POSTED 5:48 AM, OCTOBER 16, 2015, BY ,