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Keon Broxton has made challenging plays look routine for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The center fielder’s latest gem may have been his best one yet.
Broxton helped preserve a lead in the ninth [url=http://www.jetsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-sam-darnold-jersey]Authentic Sam Darnold Jersey[/url] , rookie Nate Orf hit a solo homer in Milwaukee’s two-run seventh and the Brewers beat the sliding Minnesota Twins 3-2 on Wednesday.
Broxton was on deck when Orf went deep two batters after Brad Miller hit a solo shot off Jose Berrios (8-7) to lead off the bottom of the seventh. It was Orf’s first career hit after coming up empty in his first seven at-bats.
Just a couple weeks ago, Broxton and Orf were also teammates at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
”Yeah I think I’m more excited about Orf’s home run,” Broxton said with a smile.
The Miller Park crowd was just as deliriously happy with Broxton’s catch. He ran full speed back to the wall and jumped with an outstretched glove to rob Brian Dozier of a homer for the second out in the ninth.
Broxton, filling in for the injured Lorenzo Cain, also made a tough catch at the angled part of the wall in center in a 6-5 win over Minnesota on Friday. He made a diving grab in the ninth last week to preserve a win at Cincinnati.
But manager Craig Counsell said Broxton’s latest catch was ”special … that one, he was on the run and had to time everything absolutely perfectly.”
The play prevented a rocky ninth for Corey Knebel from getting any worse. Eduardo Escobar hit his 13th homer and Jorge Polanco singled with two out, but Max Kepler flied to left to end the game. Knebel picked up his 10th save.
The Twins closed out a 1-8 road trip with their sixth consecutive loss.
”Frustrating. Dozier hits that ball and they made a heck of a play on that ball and then (Escobar) goes deep,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Jesus Aguilar and Manny Pina lifted Orf up by his legs at the dugout steps to help the rookie answer a plea for a curtain call from a vocal crowd following his homer in the seventh.
”They picked me up and that’s when I noticed they wanted a curtain call,” Orf said. ”Next thing I know, I’m in front of all the fans on their shoulders. It was awesome.”
ON THE MOUND
Jeremy Jeffress (6-1) picked up the win despite allowing Dozier to score from third on Jorge Polanco’s bloop single to left for a 1-all tie in the top of the seventh. The hit snapped a stretch of 20 1/3 scoreless innings for Minnesota against the Brewers.
Berrios allowed five hits, struck out three and walked two in seven innings. He got little support from Minnesota’s punchless offense, which managed just three hits in the first 6 1/3 innings against Chase Anderson.
”I feel mad. As a pitcher, I never want to lose,” Berrios said. ”We had a chance to win the game and then they hit me for two homers. So I don’t like that.”
Twins first baseman Joe Mauer got his 414th career double in the fourth inning, matching Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett for the franchise record.
”Yeah, that whole play, I think it was the best play I’ve ever made.” – Broxton on his ninth-inning catch.
Twins: Two-time All-Star RHP Ervin Santana (right middle finger surgery) is scheduled to make his next rehab appearance on Thursday at Class A Fort Myers. … Molitor said utility player Taylor Motter (concussion symptoms) is on a ”pretty good track” to return from the 7-day disabled list on Friday.
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich went 1 for 4 after being held out of the starting lineup for five games with lower back tightness. … Counsell said it’s a ”pretty good sign” that Cain (left groin) is running the bases. ”We are close [url=http://www.authenticsbuffalobills.com/cheap-josh-allen-jersey]Josh Allen Jersey Elite[/url] , we’re just not there yet,” the skipper said.
Twins: RHP Aaron Slegers will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start the opener of a four-game series on Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles. Slegers, who has made one appearance this season in the big leagues, is 5-6 with a 3.55 ERA in 14 starts in the minors. Left-handed reliever Gabriel Moya was optioned to Triple-A to open a roster spot.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (6-3) opens a four-game series against the visiting Atlanta Braves. Chacin is 1-4 with a 3.94 ERA in six career starts against Atlanta.
Welcome back, Buffalo. You, too, Jacksonville and Tennessee. It’s been a while, Los Angeles.
The NFL playoffs open this weekend with a few teams – and cities – that have been merely spectators in January for years.
The Bills (9-7) are, of course, the poster boys of postseason dreaming, earning their first playoff appearance since 1999 and ending a 17-year absence that was the longest for any team in the four major North American sports leagues.
”It definitely was a goal of ours, but it doesn’t just stop here,” quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. ”We’re excited to be in this position and we have a great opportunity in front of us.”
They also have the Jaguars (10-6) standing in their way. Jacksonville is in the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season, and won its first division title since 1999.
The Bills also will see a familiar face Sunday leading the other sideline in coach Doug Marrone, who was Buffalo’s head coach from 2013-14.
”For me, obviously the past is past,” Marrone said. ”They have earned it as well as we have earned it. My focus obviously is going to be on our football team. It’s as easy as that for me.”
Football fans in Los Angeles haven’t been able to watch a home team in the postseason since the Raiders beat Denver on Jan. 9 [url=http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-josh-allen-jersey]Authentic Josh Allen Jersey[/url] , 1994, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – site of Saturday night’s showdown between the Rams (11-5) and the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons (10-6).
The Rams haven’t hosted a playoff game since 1986, before 31-year-old coach Sean McVay was even born. McVay is now the youngest coach to make the postseason.
”Until you take a step back (to see) what this team has done such a nice job with, you can’t fully appreciate the journey,” McVay said. ”You try to, every now and then, enjoy it and not get so caught up in the moment that you can’t enjoy the experiences as you’re going on that journey.”
The Titans (9-7) last made the playoffs back in the 2008 season , when Jeff Fisher was coach. Nine years later, it’ll be coach Mike Mularkey and quarterback Marcus Mariota leading Tennessee into Kansas City on Saturday against Andy Reid’s playoff-tested Chiefs (10-6).
”It’s been a long time coming,” tight end Delanie Walker said. ”We thought that at the beginning: if we get in, we can go all the way. That’s our mindset and that’s how we’re going to play.”
Tennessee at Kansas City
The Titans lost three in a row before beating Jacksonville in their regular-season finale to get into the playoffs. Now, they’ll try to win their first postseason game since beating Baltimore on Jan. 3, 2004.
Tennessee allowed only 88.8 yards rushing per game, but will have a tough task against Chiefs rookie Kareem Hunt, who led the NFL with 1,327 yards on the ground.
Kansas City has won four straight after a four-game skid that put their playoff hopes in doubt. But the Chiefs haven’t won a postseason game at home since topping Pittsburgh in January 1994.
”We completed the first step and now it’s on to the second one, which is winning this game [url=http://www.eaglesauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dallas-goedert-jersey]Eagles Dallas Goedert Jersey[/url] ,” quarterback Alex Smith said. ”It’s tough to add any more motivation with historic streaks or things like that.”
Atlanta at Los Angeles
The Rams have been one of the NFL’s best stories all season, with McVay leading an impressive turnaround – in the standings and with quarterback Jared Goff.
The franchise’s return to Los Angeles last year was hardly a happy homecoming with a 4-12 record, but things certainly changed in a hurry. Goff went from being a somewhat disappointing No. 1 overall pick to leading the league’s No. 1 scoring offense.
Running back Todd Gurley’s re-emergence as one of the NFL’s most dynamic and dangerous players has certainly been key. He finished second in the league with 1,305 yards rushing and had an NFL-leading 13 TD runs to go along with six TD receptions.
While this is all new for the Rams, Dan Quinn’s Falcons will lean on their experience with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Co. trying to make a second straight run to the Super Bowl.
”We’ve been tested,” Quinn said. ”I thought we’ve come through the fires to the other side together as one brotherhood. We’re battle ready.”
Buffalo at Jacksonville
After lengthy playoff droughts, one thing is for sure: either the Bills or Jaguars will get at least as far as the second round.
This is the first time since 1999 that Jacksonville is hosting a postseason game, and fans are fired up. Tickets went quickly and the team received permission to remove tarps covering four sections of seats in the upper deck to create 3,501 additional seats at EverBank Field.
”It’s good for both organizations,” said Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny, who spent his first four seasons with the Bills. ”It’s good for the NFL to have two teams that haven’t been to the playoffs in a long time to have the opportunity to play.”
The Jaguars had the second-ranked overall defense in the league, with a ferocious pass rush that produced a franchise-record 55 sacks.
Taylor and the Bills might have to try to make things happen against that unit without running back LeSean McCoy, who was considered day to day after being carted off the field last Sunday against Miami with an injured right ankle.
”This team thrives off adversity,” Bills guard Richie Incognito said. ”It thrives off neg