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Matthews scores overtime winner to lead Maple Leafs past Flames

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TORONTO — Auston Matthews scored at 2:32 of overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Friday night.

William Nylander added a goal and an assist for Toronto (9-5-1). Jack Campbell made 30 stops for the Leafs, who have won seven of their last eight.

Oliver Kylington scored for Calgary (7-3-4). Dan Vladar made 35 saves for the Flames, who have dropped three straight (0-2-1).

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Vlader stopped Matthews on a breakaway and Mitch Marner on a followup opportunity in overtime before Campbell shut the door on a frantic sequence in Toronto’s end.

But Matthews got another chance on his next shift, and beat Vladar between the pads for his sixth goal of the season.

With his netminder shutting the door on chance after chance, Kylington started a break the other way five minutes into the third period. The smooth-skating defenceman dished off to Johnny Gaudreau before collecting the return feed and beating Campbell with a move to the backhand for his second goal of the season at 4:55.

Vladar, who got the call ahead of regular starter Jacob Markstrom in the second game of a back-to-back following Thursday’s 4-2 loss to Montreal, continued to shut the door for the visitors until Nylander blasted home his team-leading eighth on a one-timer at 12:54.

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The Flames got their first power play when Ondrej Kase went off for tripping, but the Leafs had the best chance when blue-liner Jake Muzzin hit the post.

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Toronto captain John Tavares returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’s 3-0 road shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers. Calgary is two games into a season-long, seven-game road trip.

The Leafs will play their third game in four nights Saturday in Buffalo against the Sabres, while the Flames visit the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

The Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 was honoured before the game after last year’s induction ceremony was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jarome Iginla, who served as Flames captain from 2003 through 2013, Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Doug Wilson and Kim St-Pierre are set to go into the hall in the player category Monday, while Ken Holland will enter as a builder.

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Campbell fired out his glove to deny Dillion Dube on a 2-on-1 rush midway through Friday’s physical first period before Kase fired just wide after the Leafs caught Calgary on a bad change.

Toronto got the game’s first power play, with Vladar making a nice stop on Matthews’ one-time effort.

The Leafs got another man advantage late in the period, but the Flames goaltender was there to deny Matthews and Nylander on good opportunities.

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Making just his third start of the season, and first since Oct. 26, Vladar then stopped Nylander with his glove after he slipped behind Calgary’s defence.

Tied with Tavares for the team’s goal lead with seven, the Leafs winger had another terrific chance late in the second after tipping the puck past Mikael Backlund and stepping beyond Rasmus Andersson, but Vladar was there once again to shut the door.

Kase saw his chance off the rush stopped by Vladar early in the third, and Toronto couldn’t push the puck over the line on the subsequent scramble moments before Kylington’s opener.

Notes: The Leafs and Flames will play for a second and final time Dec. 16 in Calgary. … Toronto defenceman Justin Holl dressed for a second straight game after sitting out five in a row as a healthy scratch.



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Mike Trout injury: Angels star returns from IL, records hit in first start since July 12 vs. Tigers

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USATSI

The Los Angeles Angels reinstated outfielder Mike Trout from the injured list and slotted him in as their center fielder and No. 2 hitter on Friday against the Detroit Tigers in what served as his first game since July 12. Trout, for his part, delivered a hard-hit single in his second at-bat as part of a 1-for-4 effort with two strikeouts. The Angels won by a 1-0 final all the same (box score) with lefty Patrick Sandoval throwing his first career shutout.

Trout had missed more than a month because of a rare back condition. In a corresponding move, the Angels optioned outfielder Steven Duggar to Triple-A.

Trout, now 31 years old, batted .270/.368/.599 (169 OPS+) with 24 home runs over the course of his first 79 games this season. His contributions earned him election to the All-Star Game (which he did not appear in) and were worth an estimated 3.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference’s calculations. 

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Trout was dealing with what the Angels’ trainer described as “costovertebral dysfunction at T5.” It’s a condition that he’s expected to deal with for the rest of his career, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be limited in availability or output. 

It should be noted that Trout did not partake in a rehab assignment. Usually, players who miss more than a couple of weeks are sent out to the minors as a means of rebuilding their rhythm through the use of low-pressure in-game repetitions. Clearly, Trout and the Angels did not think that was necessary in this instance.

The Angels began a three-game weekend series in Detroit on Friday night, the first step of a 10-game, three-city road trip. Trout’s next opportunity to play in front of his home crowd won’t be until Monday Aug. 29, when the Angels welcome the New York Yankees to town for a three-game set.

Duggar, for his part, was claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers earlier this month. In nine games with the Angels, he went 1-for-19 with a triple and 10 more strikeouts than walks. 



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Gausman continues to shine as Blue Jays shut out slumping Yankees

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NEW YORK – Kevin Gausman is having a tremendous season, despite regularly encountering dumb luck. Consider that the Toronto Blue Jays right-hander headed into his outing Friday against the New York Yankees worth 4.4 wins above replacement, as calculated by Fangraphs, third among all big-league pitchers. Yet his ERA of 3.16 more was more than a run above his FIP of 2.08, and then of course there was his batting average on balls in play, or BABIP, of .372, highest by a wide margin among qualified pitchers.

The way the Cleveland Guardians bled him for five runs last weekend in a 7-2 victory, finding holes on pitches that beat them, was a prime example of why the Blue Jays went 11-11 through his first 22 starts.

“It’s weird,” interim manager John Schneider said before the game. “When you put his stuff in a vacuum, he’s like, really, really, really good. So part of it is I think everyone goes through those fluctuations of up and down, lucky, unlucky, whether you’re a hitter or a pitcher. We like his stuff. Obviously, we trust it and I’m sure things will turn in his favour.”

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In start No. 23, they certainly did, Gausman dominating over seven shutout innings in pushing the Blue Jays to a third straight win, 4-0 over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

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Initially, it looked like he could be on for a night of struggle when DJ LeMahieu rocked his first pitch of the game, a get-me-over fastball at 91.2 m.p.h., 404 feet to centre where Whit Merrifield tracked it down on a play that had a 35-per-cent catch probability, and Aaron Judge followed with a walk. But Gausman escaped that inning unscathed, struck out the side in the second and allowed just three hits over the next frames while striking out seven.

The Yankees, already out of sorts for an extended period, flailed away helplessly at his mostly fastball/splitter mix, with eight of their 15 swings at splits resulting in a whiff. Even with his fastball velocity down a tick, sitting at 94.1 instead of his season average of 95, he was in command from the second inning onwards.

The offence, meanwhile, missing George Springer who fouled a ball off his knee during a five-hit effort in Thursday’s 9-2 win, didn’t make it one-sided in the same way but again posed a steady threat from the jump. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., was robbed of a home run in right by a leaping Oswaldo Cabrera on the game’s first pitch and the pressure was on from there.

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Yankees starter Jameson Taillon kept them in check until the third when Merrifield opened the inning with a single, advanced to third on Cavan Biggio’s double and scored on a Gurriel groundout.

An inning later, Alejandro Kirk opened the frame with a base hit before Teoscar Hernandez launched home run No. 18 over the wall in left-centre, having just missed a shot to centre in the second.

The Blue Jays wasted a chance to bury the Yankees in the sixth, when they put men on second and third with none out, but Lou Trivino came in for Taillon and stranded the runners. They did eventually manage to add on in the ninth when they loaded the bases against Aroldis Chapman before Ron Marinaccio surrendered a sacrifice fly to Danny Jansen that made it 4-0.

Jordan Romano then locked things down in the ninth, ensuring a brilliant night from Gausman didn’t go to waste. He’s now thrown at least six shutout innings in three of his last four starts, surrounded by that one bad-luck outing against Cleveland.

It’s a reminder of how great a season he’s having, one even better than his impressive stats suggest.

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Paul Goldschmidt launches a deep solo homer vs. Diamondbacks

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Paul Goldschmidt helped the St. Louis Cardinals grab an early 1-0 lead against the Arizona Diamondbacks, thanks to his solo homer in the first inning.



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