Webb Simpson rallies, wins Deutsche Bank

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Webb Simpson rallies, wins Deutsche Bank

By Doug Ferguson, AP

NORTON, Mass. (AP) -- Webb Simpson finished off an amazing comeback with three clutch birdies, the final one on the second extra playoff hole Monday in the Deutsche Bank Championship for his second win in three weeks.
On a day filled with big crowds and big moments appropriate to the FedEx Cup playoffs, Simpson delivered a stunning conclusion on the TPC Boston. He looked as if he would be the runner-up until knocking in a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole for a 6-under 65. That put him into a playoff when Chez Reavie, who had birdied the toughest holes on the back nine, made bogey on the easiest hole on the course at No. 18 for a 66. The finished regulation at 15-under 269. On the 18th hole in the playoff, Simpson again looked to be out of luck when Reavie chipped to tap-in range for birdie. But Simpson rolled in a 15-foot putt to keep the playoff going, and then won with an 8-foot putt on the 17th hole. Simpson won his first PGA Tour title three weeks ago at the Wyndham Championship, putting him in good shape for the FedEx Cup playoffs and the chase for a 10 million prize. Now, he goes to No. 1 in the standings and is assured of being among the top five when the FedEx Cup concludes at the Tour Championship at the end of the month. "I thought winning the second time would be easier," Simpson said. That was never the case on a breezy Labor Day south of Boston, a final round so scrambled that seven players - including world No. 1 Luke Donald - had a share of the lead at some point. Simpson one-putted seven of his last eight greens, mostly for par on the back nine in regulation to stay in the hunt, then received just enough help from Reavie. The win was filled with perks, beyond his ranking in the FedEx Cup race. Simpson locked up a spot on the Presidents Cup team in Australia, and moves to No. 14 in the world. Reavie, who started the season on a medical exemption from knee surgery last year and won't get his full PGA Tour status back until January, came roaring up the leaderboard on the back nine. He made four birdies in a six-hole stretch - including on the toughest par 3 at No. 11 and the toughest hole at No. 14 - and was poised to capture his second PGA Tour title until one wedge cost him. He laid up on the 18th with a one-shot lead and Simpson already finished, but his wedge sailed over the green, and his 10-foot par putt for the win grazed the side of the cup. The runner-up finish still moves Reavie to No. 9 in the FedEx Cup, assuring him a spot in the Tour Championship - and in three majors next year, including the Masters. Brandt Snedeker, who closed with a 61 last week to tie for third, went out in 30 to take the lead until getting wild off the teed on the back nine. He had to settle for a 66 and another tie for third. Donald, who matched birdies and eagles with Simpson in regulation, fell apart with a double bogey on No. 12 and a tee shot over the 16th green that led to bogey. He closed with a 67 and tied for third, along with Jason Day, who had a 68. Bubba Watson, who had a one-shot lead going into the wild final day, chipped in for eagle on the final hole to salvage a 74 that put him in a tie for 16th, seven shots behind. The drama wasn't limited to the final holes. The top 70 in the FedEx Cup advance to the third playoff event in two weeks outside Chicago, and some big names were on the cusp of missing out. Ernie Els, who barely qualified for the playoffs and then narrowly made it to the second stage in Boston, made two key par putts and finished with a 5-foot birdie over his last four holes to move up to No. 68 and advance. Geoff Ogilvy, trying to keep alive his hopes of making the Presidents Cup in his native Australia, thought he was finished when he made two late bogeys and then hit into native grass behind the rock and took a penalty shot. But he holed a 20-foot par putt on the 17th, then a 6-foot birdie on the 18th hole to move up to No. 69. Chris Stroud produced a shot even more memorable. Needing nothing less than eagle on the final hole, he hit 3-iron just onto the green, and it caught the ridge and settled 3 feet away for eagle that atoned for a messy day and put him at No. 70. The PGA Tour now takes a week off before resuming these playoffs at the BMW Championship.--Associated Press

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

BOSTON – From the outset of this season, the Boston Celtics were swimming upstream when it came to getting respect. 

No matter how many wins they racked up, no matter how many upsets they managed to pull off, they were never going to do enough to satisfy the court of public opinion which wanted one thing and one thing only from the NBA: A third installment of Golden State against Cleveland in the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors did their part by running through the West with 12 wins in as many playoff games. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to not just stave off elimination tonight, but continue to delay what so many believe is an inevitable Golden State-Cleveland Final.

Boston’s Al Horford understands that while the league this season has seen lots of individual success as well as teams that have overachieved, the thirst for Golden State versus Cleveland remains stronger than ever. 

“We understand that’s what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the season,” Horford said. “For us it’s just to focus … and play the Celtic way. And just come out here and fight and we’ll take it from there.”

The Celtics did that in Game 3 with Avery Bradley delivering one of the more memorable shots in the Brad Stevens era, a game-winning three-pointer that hit the rim four times before falling with 0.1 seconds to play as Boston squeaked out a 111-108 win.

Boston did a lot of good things in Game 4 and seemingly went into the half sensing that maybe just maybe they would even up the series at two games heading back to Boston for tonight’s Game 5 matchup. 

But Kyrie Irving picked up the slack for a foul-plagued LeBron James, lifting the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win which puts them now just a win away from advancing to the NBA Finals. 

Not only have folks both in the media as well as fans who have rooted for this series to be over, even merchandise sellers like Dick Sporting Goods have anticipated this series as already being over.

“It is what it is,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “It’s been like that all year; a lot of guys counting us out. At the same time, we’re trying to put ourselves in position to win each and every game.”

While that has been the goal, it certainly hasn’t worked out that way in this series. 

Despite Games 1 and 2 being at the TD Garden, the Celtics lost both games by a total of 57 points. 

And while they won Game 3 and had the Cavaliers on the ropes in Game 4 before losing, they know their chance to play NBA Finals spoiler is just about up. 

“We know that’s the Finals that everybody wants to talk about, what everybody is looking forward to,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “We understand it. But we work just as hard as these guys. We just have to keep going out there and working. We’re not going to give it to them, and stuff like that. We just have to make it tough on them.”

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

BOSTON -- Chris Sale was perfectly happy to sit back and watch the Red Sox hitters do the work this time.

Sale cruised into the fifth inning, then was rewarded in the seventh when the Boston batters erupted for seven runs on their way to a 9-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Sale (5-2) struck out six, falling short in his attempt to become the first pitcher in baseball's modern era to strike out at least 10 batters in nine straight games in one season.

But he didn't seem to mind.

"It was fun," said the left-hander, who received more runs of support in the seventh inning alone than while he was in any other game this season. "You get run after run, hit after hit. When we score like that, it's fun."

Dustin Pedroia waved home the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch, then singled in two more as the Red Sox turned a 3-1 deficit into a five-run lead and earned their third straight victory. Sam Travis had two singles for the Red Sox in his major league debut.

"I was a little nervous in the first inning," he said. "I'd be lying to you guys if I said I wasn't."

Mike Napoli homered for Texas, which has lost three of four to follow a 10-game winning streak.

FOR SALE

Sale, who also struck out 10 or more batters in eight straight games in 2015 with the White Sox, remains tied for the season record with Pedro Martinez. (Martinez had 10 straight in a span from 1999-2000.)

After scoring four runs in support of Sale in his first six starts, the Red Sox have scored 27 while he was in the game in his last five. He took a no-hitter into the fifth, but finished with three earned runs, six hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings.

"Guys pulled through for me when I was probably pretty mediocre," he said.

NO RELIEF

Sam Dyson (1-5) faced seven batters in relief of Martin Perez and gave up four hits, three walks - two intentional - and a wild pitch without retiring a batter.

"Martin threw the ball really well and I came in with two guys on and couldn't get an out," Dyson said. "Sometimes they hit them where they are, and sometimes they hit them where they aren't."

Asked if he felt any different, he said: "Everything's the same.

"If I get my (expletive) handed to me, it's not like anything's wrong," he said. "Any more amazing questions from you all?"

SEVEN IN THE SEVENTH

It was 3-1 until the seventh, when Andrew Benintendi and Travis singled with one out to chase Perez. Mitch Moreland singled to make it 3-2, pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge singled to tie it and, after Mookie Betts was intentionally walked to load the bases, Moreland scored on a wild pitch to give Boston the lead.

Pedroia singled in two more runs, Xander Bogaerts doubled and Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dyson was pulled after walking Chris Young to force in another run.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx got Benintendi to pop up foul of first base, but Napoli let it fall safely - his second such error in the game. Benintendi followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 8-3 before Travis was called out on strikes to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor was shaken up when he dived for Betts' grounder up the middle in the third inning. He was slow getting up. After being looked at by the trainer, he remained in the game.

Red Sox: LHP David Price made his second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing six runs - three earned - seven hits and a walk. He struck out four in 3 2/3 innings, throwing 89 pitches, 61 for strikes, and left without addressing reporters. 3B Pablo Sandoval also played in the game, going 2 for 4 with two runs.

"He felt fine physically," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who added he would talk to Price on Thursday morning to determine how to proceed. "We had a scout there who liked what he saw."

UP NEXT:

Rangers: Will send RHP Nick Martinez (1-2) to the mound in the finale of the three-game series.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (3-3) looks to snap a personal two-game losing streak.