DETROIT — Blake Griffin put on a great opening-night show by scoring 26 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and passing out 6 assists as the Detroit Pistons beat the Brooklyn Nets 103-100 Wednesday night to start their 2018-19 NBA season. It was also a winning debut for new Coach Dwane Casey in front of a near sellout crowd of 20,332 fans at the 21,000-seat Little Caesars Arena. Andre Drummond added 24 points and 20 rebounds for the Pistons while former Michigan Wolverines star Caris LeVert matched a career high with 27 points to lead the Nets. Casey, who was last year's NBA Coach of the Year before being fired by the Toronto Raptors, was pleased with the effort despite a sloppy game and told the media afterward: "In this league, you've got to celebrate the wins. I've said it all along. We've got to have fun. We can't have the gloom-and-doom situations. There's going to be adversity in the NBA.''
HOUSTON — Andrew Benintendi made a dramatic diving catch in leftfield with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning to help the Boston Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 8-6 Wednesday night in Houston to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their Best-of-7 American League Championship Series. Benintendi's gem ended a 4 1/2 hour marathon that saw Houston send its best man to the plate (Alex Bregman) after loading the bases to put closer Craig Kimbrel on the ropes as the hometown fans went crazy. The other big moment of the game came in the opening inning when Jose Altuve was called out on a review after what appeared to be a two-run homer when fan interference was ruled after Mookie Betts made a near catch over the rightfield fence. A fan instead hit the ball but Major League Baseball rules say fan interference should not be called when a ball is clearly over the fence.
LOS ANGELES — It could have been his final appearance in front of the home fans in Los Angeles as a member of the Dodgers. But Clayton Kershaw is hoping Wednesday night's pitching gem against the Milwaukee Brewers isn't his finale. Kershaw went 7 innings and allowed only three hits to help the Dodgers win 5-2 in Game 5 of their Best-of-7 National League Championship Series. The victory gave LA a 3-2 lead as the series now shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 6, and Game 7 if necessary. Kershaw struck out 9 batters and retired the final 13 batters he faced to give LA's bullpen a much-needed rest after providing 8 scoreless innings in Tuesday night's marathon walk-off 2-1 victory in 13 innings. The 13 in a row streak started after Kershaw struck out Jesus Aguilar with two outs and the bases loaded in the 3rd. Max Muncy's RBI single broke a 1-1 tie in the 6th and Yasiel Puig added another RBI single later in the inning for a 3-1 edge. Jason's Turner's RBI single and Brian Dozier's RBI groundout made it 5-1 in the 7th.
MONTREAL — Former Detroit Red Wings' star Tomas Tatar scored one goal and set up two others to lead the Montreal Canadians to a 7-3 romp over the Wings Monday night in Montreal. The three-point night by Tatar was special and he told the media afterward: "Obviously, I was focusing on my team here, but it was really special to play against Detroit. It's fun against my old friends, my old teammates, so it was obviously a big win." The loss sent the Red Wings to their sixth straight loss to start the season for the first time in franchise history. They didn't win their first game until the 10th try during the 1985-86 season, but they had an opening-night tie.
ANN ARBOR — New quarterback Shea Patterson will be gunning for his sixth straight victory when leading the Michigan Wolverines to a Big 10 Conference date with Wisconsin at 7:30 pm Saturday in front of a national TV audience on ABC. The game will be at the Big House in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are ranked No. 12 in the latest college football poll while WIsconsin is No. 15. Patterson lost his UM debut to Notre Dame which is now 6-0 and No. 5 in the country, but the Wolverines have since beaten Western Michigan 49-3, SMU 45-20, Nebraska 56-10, Northwestern 20-17 and Maryland 45-21.
FLINT (CCN) — Former Detroit Red Wings goalie Greg Stefan is the interim head coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Flint Firebirds. Stefan, who played nine seasons for the Red Wings during an NHL career that included 299 regular season games, was serving as the franchise's goaltenders' coach when Ryan Oulahen resigned before Friday's game. The Firebirds are 0-6 this season and under control of the OHL after owner Rolf Nilsen was suspended five years and fined $250,000 when twice firing the team's first head coach early in his first season after buying the Plymouth Whalers and moving the franchise to Flint. READ MORE