From Comcast SportsNetHOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) -- Brad Keselowski, loud, a little buzzed and soaked in beer, bounded through the door with an oversized bottle of champagne in one hand and his cellphone in the other. He plopped down next to Roger Penske, a pillar of the American auto industry, and triumphantly slapped him on the back."We did it boss," Keselowski hailed."Did you bring your tweeter?" the 75-year-old Penske replied.NASCAR's oddest couple captured its biggest prize Sunday night, when Keselowski brought Penske his first Sprint Cup championship 40 years after the owner's first stock car race. He beat five-time champion Jimmie Johnson of mighty Hendrick Motorsports while delivering the crown that fills a glaring hole on Penske's otherwise sterling racing resume.Penske is considered the gold standard of open-wheel racing -- he has 15 Indianapolis 500 wins -- and his empire makes him one of the most successful businessmen in America. But until Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his NASCAR program was never more than average."Personally, I feel amazing that I've been able to achieve this in racing," Penske said. "I think it took guts for me to stay in the sport. We could have thought, Well, we won the Indy 500 15 times and we're a big deal.' But I'll tell you one thing ... I think I just woke up here tonight, and it's a big thrill."As always, Penske credited his entire organization.But the program really turned behind Keselowski, you know, the kid you first heard about when he tweeted from inside his car during the season-opening Daytona 500 earlier this year. So it was fitting that his first act as champion was sending a tweet, of course, from inside his car. "We did it," he posted with a picture.Then the party really began.The blue collar, Twitter-loving, Michigan native chugged sponsor Miller Lite's product, donned goggles to douse the Blue Deuce crew with champagne, and imagined how his life will change as NASCAR's champion. At 28, he's the eighth youngest champion in NASCAR history and proud he doesn't have a date for the Nov. 30 champions banquet in Las Vegas."I've always wanted to date a celebrity," Keselowski said, "I'm just throwing that out there. That would be really cool, don't you think?"Penske could only shake his head in bewilderment."Maybe I am conservative, but I like to have a little fun, too," Penske said. "And I think when you've won the NASCAR championship, the driver, you can kind of give him a little wider path, and he's certainly taken it side to side. I think it's all good."Keselowski might not have seemed like Penske material three years ago, but he's a cornerstone now.He was a developmental driver for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 when he went to see Penske, convinced he could be the driver to bring "The Captain" a coveted Cup championship. He wiggled free from his contract a year later, and had a second-tier Nationwide championship -- and a closet full of starched white Penske shirts -- to show for his convictions.Now, three years into the partnership, he and Penske have that Cup championship and a connection no one saw coming."Always, throughout my whole life I've been told I'm not big enough, not fast enough, not strong enough and I don't have what it takes," Keselowski said from the championship stage. "I've used that as a chip on my shoulder to carry me through my whole career. It took until this year for me to realize that that was right, man, they were right."I'm not big enough, fast enough, strong enough. No person is. Only a team can do that."Keselowski needed 125 starts to win his first championship, the fewest starts since four-time champion Jeff Gordon won his first title in 93 starts in 1995. Keselowski also won a second-tier Nationwide title in 2010, his first season with Penske and the owner's first official NASCAR championship.Gordon, who avoided suspension this week but was fined 100,000 by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer last week at Phoenix, overcame the controversy to win the race in a 20th anniversary celebration for sponsor Dupont and Hendrick Motorsports.It was Gordon's first victory at Homestead, which leaves Kentucky as the only active NASCAR track where he's yet to win.Who did Gordon beat? Bowyer, of course.And Bowyer's second-place finish moved him to a career-best second in the final standings. Third-place went to Ryan Newman, who got his break in NASCAR with Penske and spent seven seasons driving for the owner."He deserves this probably as much as anybody else, if not more because of what he's done for motor racing in general, NASCAR, his dedication to all forms of race cars is probably more than anybody else in the history of auto racing," Newman said. "I know this is probably one of the sweetest moments in his racing career."Keselowski started the race up 20 points on Johnson, who blew a tire and crashed last week at Phoenix to give Keselowski a nice cushion. He needed to finish 15th or higher in the finale to wrap up his first championship. But the Penske team took nothing for granted -- not after Will Power crashed in the IndyCar finale to blow a 17-point lead and lose the championship.And this one got tight, too, especially when Keselowski ran out of gas on pit road during green flag pit stops. It put him a lap down with Johnson leading, and Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe frantically tried to figure out how dire the situation had become.Wolfe crunched the numbers, figuring the No. 2 Dodge would cycle out in the mid-20s, a lap down from the leaders."I know the scenario, and it's not good," Keselowski said.But minutes later, Johnson went to pit road for his own stop and pulled away with a missing lug nut. NASCAR flagged the Hendrick Motorsports team and Johnson was forced back to pit road for another stop.The Penske team was unsure if Keselowski wanted to know what was going on with Johnson."I've got a big picture story if you want to hear it," a team member radioed, then informed Keselowski that Johnson had to pit again."Ten-four. Thank you for telling me. We're back in the game. I got it," he said.It got worse for Johnson from there. He broke a rear end gear in his Chevrolet and went to the garage with 40 laps to go, essentially clinching the championship for Keselowski."It all unraveled pretty quick," Johnson conceded.No longer needing to save fuel, and no longer needing to play it conservatively, he waived off Wolfe's playbook."If he's in the garage, let's race," Keselowski said.That's been Keselowski's attitude since he burst onto the NASCAR scene. He first caught attention as a brash driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Nationwide Series team, and he was unapologetic for his aggressive driving and his refusal to back down in long-running feuds with established stars Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards.But he's been calmer and focused since joining Penske in 2009. Still, his fame had been largely for the Daytona 500 tweeting.NASCAR loved the attention it received, but quietly admonished him later for having a phone in his car, which is banned because it can manipulate electronic fuel injection systems. So when he tweeted again last week under red at Phoenix, NASCAR fined him 25,000 -- which angered fans who felt a mixed message had been sent.But Keselowski, who was tweeting into the early morning hours Sunday, handed his phone over with no resistance right before he climbed into the car at Homestead.The win is the first for Dodge since Richard Petty's Cup title in 1975, and comes as the manufacturer is leaving NASCAR. Penske announced days after the Daytona 500 it will move to Ford next year, and it led to Dodge's decision to pull out of NASCAR."Not one failure all year long in that Dodge engine, so I want to thank Dodge for what they've done for us," Penske said after Keselowski secured the title.
PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.
Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.
Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.
The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.
Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.
Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.
All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.
The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.
Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.
Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.
It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.
Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.
It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.
Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.
Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.
Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.
No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.
Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.
SAN FRANCISCO — As an irate Bryce Harper charged toward the mound, Buster Posey just stood and watched from behind home plate.
And when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants cleared their benches Monday and punches flew both ways, the All-Star catcher did his best to remain just outside the fray.
Not where some expected to find the Giants team leader with his pitcher, Hunter Strickland, exchanging head shots with Harper.
“Posey did NOTHING to stop Harper from getting to his pitcher,” former major league pitcher Dontrelle Willis wrote on Twitter. “I’ve never seen that before in my life.”
Posey declined to enter the fracas, instead remaining around its edges and watching as the players scuffled in “a pretty good pile,” as Giants manager Bruce Bochy called it.
Posey dealt with a concussion in April after being struck in the head by a pitch, but did not say he held back because of concerns related to that. He did say he was wary about the risk of injury.
“There were some big guys tumbling around out there,” Posey said. “You see Mike Morse and Jeff Samardzija are about as big as they come and he was getting knocked around like a pinball. So it was a little dangerous to get in there.”
Still, social media was abuzz at the sight of Posey not sticking up for his teammate.
“Strickland must have told @BusterPosey he was hitting him and let him come cause he didn’t even give a soft jog,” Willis wrote.
Strickland must have told @BusterPosey he was hitting him and let him come cause he didn't even give a soft jog 😂💯— Dontrelle Willis (@DTrainMLB) May 29, 2017
“Says all you need to know that Buster Posey didn’t bother to hold back Harper,” tweeted Fox broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt . “Let him go get his pitcher.”
Says all you need to know that Buster Posey didn't bother to hold back Harper. Let him go get his pitcher.— Kevin Burkhardt (@kevinburkhardt) May 29, 2017
Buster Posey. pic.twitter.com/B3TBMlOxVL— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) May 29, 2017
Buster Posey: "Nah." pic.twitter.com/qf4oVFvVTi— Drew Silva (@drewsilv) May 29, 2017
Helluva job by Buster Posey to protect his pitcher! https://t.co/JJ5ejOMGgQ— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) May 29, 2017
I don't know what it means, but Buster Posey let the whole thing happen. Just watched until Harper got to the mound.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) May 29, 2017
Replay of Buster Posey's involvement... pic.twitter.com/wMlCjfSpLt— Mark Freeman (@mfreemantv) May 29, 2017
Also absent from the fight: hard-nosed Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. As his teammates flew over the dugout railing, Bumgarner stayed put, perhaps because the left-hander is still recovering after injuring his pitching shoulder and ribs in a dirt biking accident in April.