Top National Sports Stories: Cubs try to clinch NLCS spot ... Yankees-Indians ... Vikings top Bears in NFL

Published on October 10, 2017 at 07:00AM

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs will try to become the third team to advance to the final stage of Major League Baseball’s pre-World Series playoffs. If the Cubs defeat the visiting Washington Nationals in a game set for this afternoon at Wrigley Field, they’ll move on to the National League Championship Series. The Cubs are baseball’s defending champions, and lead the best-of-five divisional series 2 games to 1. Righthander Jake Arrieta is scheduled to pitch for Chicago and righty Tanner Roark is set to pitch for Washington.

PHOENIX (AP) — The NLCS could be a matchup of the Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers — last year’s rivals. The Cubs won that series and went on to defeat the Cleveland Indians for the World Series championship. The Dodgers, who had MLB’s best record with 104 wins this season, took the next step toward the fall classic by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 last night. Rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger and catcher Austin Barnes hit homers to pace the Dodgers and Kenly Jansen came on in the 9th inning to preserve the victory. The Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks 3-0 in the series.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Houston Astros clinched a spot in the American League Championship Series with a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox. And the New York Yankees, who lost the first two games to Cleveland, won their second game in a row to even the series at two games apiece. Luis Severino pitched seven strong innings, striking out nine Indian hitters, and Aaron Judge hit a two-run double to lead the Yankees to a 7-3 victory in the Bronx.

CHICAGO (AP) — Case Keenum came off the bench to spark the Minnesota Vikings to a 20-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday night. Keenum came in to replace starter Sam Bradford just before halftime. Bradford, who has been suffering from knee problems, was sacked four times. Keenun says that he’s “tried to prepare like I’ve been the starter,” and it paid at the faceoff on Soldier Field in Chicago.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Smith made 43 saves and the Calgary Flames ended a 25-game skid at Honda Center in Anaheim, California, with a 2-0 shutout win over the home-standing Anaheim Ducks. Calgary got goals from Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund. Calgary hadn’t won at Anaheim since Jan. 19, 2004. The game was scoreless until late in the second period, when Kevin Bieksa’s cross-checking minor penalty gave the Flames their fourth power play.