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Wade, Giants beat D-backs in 9th, hold 2-game NL West edge

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — “Late Night LaMonte” finally delivered at home for San Francisco on Thursday night.

LaMonte Wade Jr. singled home the winning run with one out in the ninth inning and the Giants held their two-game lead in the NL West, beating Madison Bumgarner and the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4.

The Giants posted their 105th victory — one off the franchise record set in 1904 — and kept their two-game edge over the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers going into the final weekend of the season. San Francisco closes with three games at home against San Diego. The Dodgers finish with three at home against NL Central champion Milwaukee.

With the score tied at 4 in the ninth, Wilmer Flores hit a one-out double off Joe Mantiply (0-3), who then intentionally walked Donovan Solano. A walk to pinch-hitter Curt Casali loaded the bases for Wade, and he singled into right field.

Wade is 13 for 23 (.565) with 12 RBIs in the ninth inning this season, prompting teammates to begin calling him “Late Night LaMonte.” Despite the reputation, this was his first walk-off hit.

“It was special, first time doing it at home,” Wade said.

Wade’s timely connection capped a night that started with Bumgarner’s first outing in front of fans in San Francisco since he signed a free agent deal with Arizona prior to the 2020 season. He settled for a no-decision, and the 2014 World Series MVP saw flashes of the three championship teams he was a part of with the franchise.

“It’s pretty crazy. It’s pretty incredible to see,” Bumgarner said. “I know people have counted them out all year and a lot of people can’t understand it and make sense out of it, but I’ve been on that side when people are saying the same thing. I know how dangerous the Giants are just in general when they get in the postseason. I’ve obviously seen that a time or two, so there’s something about that uniform, I don’t know.”

Tyler Rogers (7-1), San Francisco’s sixth reliever, pitched two innings for the win.

Johnny Cueto entered in relief for the first time in his career after coming off the injured list earlier in the day and pitched 2 1/3 innings for the Giants, allowing one run and three hits with three strikeouts.

“It was big for him to give us a couple innings there,” catcher Buster Posey said. “I’m sure as long as he’s been in the big leagues it had to be obviously a very different feel coming out of the bullpen, but it was same Johnny attacking, mixing.”

Ildemaro Vargas hit a go-ahead triple in the Arizona fifth before Posey’s double in the bottom half made it 4-all.

Brandon Crawford homered in the fourth off his former longtime teammate MadBum, who helped the Giants win championships in 2010, ‘12 and ’14.

Posey hit a sacrifice fly against Bumgarner in the third.

Bumgarner was recognized at Oracle Park in August but didn’t pitch that series. He did face the Giants on his old mound during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season but with cardboard cutouts in the stands instead of real people.

The star lefty allowed eight hits and four runs over five innings, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. He hasn’t won since Aug. 19 against the Phillies, going 0-3 over his last seven outings.

Bumgarner drew a warm ovation during pregame introductions, then again when he stepped into the batter’s box in the first and before he threw his first pitch.

“Super familiar feeling. Honestly it felt like I’d done it a couple hundred times or whatever it was,” Bumgarner said. “It was really cool. This place, I’ve said it a bunch, it means a lot to me and my family. I don’t take that for granted by no means. I enjoyed that and I’m very thankful for that. It’s special.”

Bumgarner signed an $85 million, five-year contract with Arizona after the 2019 season and 11 years with the Giants.

Austin Slater greeted Bumgarner with a leadoff single and Darin Ruf followed with an RBI double.

Carson Kelly and Pavin Smith hit RBI singles in the fourth straight defeat for the D-backs (50-109), who finished with a 20-61 road record that included a record 24-game skid away from Chase Field.

Arizona went 0-9 at San Francisco this season and is two losses from the franchise record of 111 in 2004.

After Crawford’s dazzling stop at shortstop on Ketel Marte’s grounder leading off the game, Scott Kazmir issued back-to-back walks before three straight singles.

Kazmir exited his fourth start and fifth appearance after recording just one out, injured when he hustled to cover first on an infield single. Kervin Castro relieved and issued a bases-loaded walk that made it 3-0.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: Cueto will be used out of the bullpen for now after dealing with elbow issues this year. “I’ll be myself,” Cueto said. “Of course, I’ll be a little bit more aggressive because I know it’s going to be maybe one inning or two.”… Ruf also was activated from the IL and back in the lineup playing left field batting second. … LHP Tony Watson was placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to Wednesday with a strained pitching shoulder.

ROSTER MOVE

The Giants designated LHP José Quintana for assignment.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks: Will send RHP Humberto Castellanos (2-2, 4.28 ERA) to the mound Friday night back at home against Colorado for his seventh start and 14th appearance of the year.

Giants: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (12-7, 3.26) pitches Friday night’s series opener against San Diego seeking just his second win in eight starts since Aug. 13.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





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India tests nuclear-capable missile amid tensions with China

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NEW DELHI (AP) — India has test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,125 miles) from an island off its east coast amid rising border tensions with China.

The successful launch on Wednesday was in line with “India’s policy to have credible minimum deterrence that underpins the commitment to no first use,” said a government statement.

The Agni-5 missile splashed down in the Bay of Bengal with “a very high degree of accuracy,” said the statement issued on Wednesday night.

Beijing’s powerful missile arsenal has driven New Delhi to improve its weapons systems in recent years, with the Agni-5 believed to be able to strike nearly all of China.

India is already able to strike anywhere inside neighboring Pakistan, its archrival against whom it has fought three wars since gaining independence from British colonialists in 1947.

India has been developing its medium- and long-range nuclear and missile systems since the 1990s amid increasing strategic competition with China in a major boost to the country’s defense capabilities.

Tension between them flared last year over a long-disputed section of their border in the mountainous Ladakh area. India is also increasingly suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to heighten its influence in the Indian Ocean.

Talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops from key areas along their border ended in a stalemate earlier this month, failing to ease a 17-month standoff that has sometimes led to deadly clashes. India and China fought a bloody war in 1962.



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Friedman, Dodgers facing decisions on FAs, Bauer this winter

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andrew Friedman is headed into an offseason filled with crucial decisions involving the Los Angeles Dodgers’ big-name free agents, a rebuild of the starting rotation and Trevor Bauer’s future with the team.

As always, Friedman is guided by the ultimate goal of the monied Dodgers, saying, “The number one objective is to put ourselves in the best position to win in 2022.”

After coming within two wins of reaching the World Series for the fourth time in five years, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations defined the team’s postseason as “our struggle to consistently score runs.”

“We needed someone to step up and pull an Eddie Rosario,” Friedman said, referring to the Atlanta Braves left fielder who was named MVP of the NL Championship Series.

“After we made the Trea Turner deal, in my opinion, one through eight, it was the deepest and best lineup I’ve been around. But it didn’t quite play like that over those two months. It was a little bumpier than I would’ve expected,” he said Wednesday. “Figuring out the why of that is the hard part.”

The turbulence began well before the postseason.

Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Bauer went on paid administrative leave in early July under MLB’s joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy. MLB is conducting its own investigation and has yet to announce any findings. Bauer, through his representatives, has denied any wrongdoing.

Asked if Bauer will pitch for the team again, Friedman said they remain in the same position as before.

“It’s being handled by the league office,” he said. “Whatever they decide, we’ll have to figure out from there what makes the most sense for us.”

If MLB suspends Bauer, it could create a domino effect on the team’s payroll plans.

“The extent of it, I don’t know yet,” Friedman said.

The Dodgers began the season with eight starters and tried to get through the postseason with just Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer and 20-game winner Julio Urías. The lack of depth was exposed by the team’s decisions to use Scherzer in relief in Game 5 of the NL Division Series and Urías out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the NLCS that left both pitchers tired in their later starts.

“We’re got a really good group of young starting pitchers coming,” Friedman said, citing Mitch White, Andre Jackson, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Landon Knack. “Gives us a really strong foundation of depth.”

Friedman and the front office have decisions to make on such key veterans as Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor, who will become free agents after the World Series.

“We’ll do everything we can to keep as many of this group together,” Friedman said, “but not standing in the way of a great opportunity and I’m sure there will be for different people.”

Kershaw, the 33-year-old three-time Cy Young Award winner, reinjured his left arm not long after returning from over a two-month absence for the same issue and wasn’t available to pitch in the postseason.

“He just wants to feel good again and get to the point where he’s healthy,” Friedman said.

Kershaw has spent his entire 14-year career in Los Angeles, where he’s been the longtime face of the franchise.

“There’s something nostalgic and great about Kersh playing for one team and winning another championship and having a parade,” Friedman said.

Offseason moves would be impacted if no agreement on a collective bargaining agreement is reached before the current deal expires Dec. 1.

“We need to be prepared accordingly,” Friedman said.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





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Trump Jr. Gets A Reality Check After Comparing U.S. To Communist Czechoslovakia

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Donald Trump Jr. was ridiculed this week after he likened shortages of certain products in the U.S. under President Joe Biden to living in communist Czechoslovakia in the 1980s.

Trump Jr. made the remarks during conversation Saturday on Newsmax with Sebastian Gorka, a right-wing media personality and former aide to Donald Trump.

Gorka asked Trump Jr. to discuss the “empty shelves” and backlog of cargo ships in California due to supply-chain issues, given his “perspective” as someone who, “as a child, traveled behind the Iron Curtain and saw real socialism.”

“When conservatives say, ‘They’re socialists. The Democrats have gone radical,’ this isn’t an exaggeration, is it? You’ve seen it, Don,” Gorka added.

Trump Jr.’s mother, Ivana Trump, grew up in Czechoslovakia before moving first to Canada and then the U.S. in the 1970s. He told Gorka his Czech grandparents wanted him to understand the “freedoms and blessings we have here” in the U.S.

“So I traveled with them there every summer, you know, six, eight weeks. I’ve waited in those bread lines,” said Trump Jr., whose father was estimated to be worth more than $1 billion in the 1980s. “We’re starting to see the empty shelves that I experienced then in communist Czechoslovakia in the ’80s in America right now.”

Grocery stores in the U.S. are having problems stocking certain products due to the coronavirus pandemic, a worker shortage and shipping congestion at the Port of Los Angeles.

Some social media users and conservative media personalities have shown images of empty shelves to attack Biden over the supply-chain issues. However, some of these images have turned out to be photos from years ago.

Trump Jr. was slammed on social media for the absurd comparison. A number of people also pointed out that last year, at the peak of the pandemic during the Trump administration, shelves in stores across the country were stripped bare of certain essentials and people lined up for miles in their cars or for blocks on foot to get aid from food banks.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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