BASEBALL — The Houston Astros refused to go quietly, downing the Tampa Bay Rays 7-4 Friday to force a decisive game seven in Major League Baseball’s American League Championship Series.
After dropping the first three games of the series in San Diego, California, the Astros have won three straight to keep their bid for a World Series berth alive. “We’re relentless,” Astros shortstop Carlos Correa said. “We said we didn’t want to go home and we meant it.” Houston — who have played the villain this pandemic-disrupted season after revelations of a sign-stealing scandal tainted their 2017 World Series victory — are just the second team to advance to a game seven after trailing 3-0 in a series. The Boston Red Sox did it in the 2004 ALCS against the New York Yankees — and won game seven on the way to the Major League Baseball crown.
The winner of the series will play either the Atlanta Braves or Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
The Braves took a 3-1 lead into game five of the National League Championship Series and had a chance to close it out against the Dodgers in Arlington, Texas, later Friday.
000 FOOTBALL — Cristiano Ronaldo shot back at Italy’s sports minister on Friday by denying that he broke the coronavirus protocol adopted for the country’s football after returning from international duty while positive for the disease. Juventus forward Ronaldo is currently quarantined at his home in Turin after traveling from Portugal in an air ambulance following a positive COVID-19 test while with his national team for Nations League matches.
“I never broke the protocol,” Ronaldo said on Instagram, adding that he travelled after gaining authorization to do so and had avoided contact with other people. “Someone, whose name I’m won’t say, here in Italy ... says that I didn’t respect the protocol, that is simply a lie.
“I am continuing my quarantine, I am alone, my family is on another floor, we can’t be in contact and it will be like that at least for the next 10 days.”
Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora said on Thursday that he thought the Portugal captain Ronaldo had broken protocol by leaving Italy while Juventus were in isolation following two COVID-19 cases among the team’s non-playing staff.
On Friday he claimed “arrogant” Ronaldo had lied and stressed that his comments referred specifically to his and some of his teammates’ leaving to join their respective national teams.
“The fame and greatness of certain footballers doesn’t allow them to be arrogant, disrespectful towards our institutions and to lie,” Spadafora told Italy’s ANSA news agency.
“I reiterate what I said yesterday regarding some Juventus players abandoning their team hotel, comments which I based on Juventus’ own communications with health authorities in Turin.”