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Dodgers finally snap 11-game losing streak

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The Dodgers losing streak ended at 11 last night as Clayton Kershaw played the stopper in a 5-3 win over the Giants.

It wasn’t necessarily easy. Kershaw, while picking up his 17th win of the year, was not dominant, surrendering a homer to Kelby Tomlinson in the third inning before Chase Utley tied it up with a homer of his own in the fourth. L.A. scored three more in that frame thanks to a Corey Seager sac fly and a two-run double from Yasiel Puig. Kershaw would work out of a major jam in the sixth inning — the Giants loaded the bases with no one out but came away with only one run — and left the mound with fist pumps and yells and stuff.

Reliever Ross Stripling allowed one more run to make it 4-3 in the seventh but Justin Turner doubled home a run to make it 5-3 in the eight. Things got shaky again for the Dodgers in the ninth as Kenley Jansen gave up three singles to load the bases with one out before bearing down to strike out Buster Posey and Nick Hundley to secure the win.

It was only one game but it was a big relief for the reeling Dodgers who, in addition to stopping the streak, clinched at least the second Wild Card in the National League, ensuring their fifth straight playoff appearance. They also notched their 93rd win. They have 17 games left and, on balance, they come against losing teams. If they end the season with 100 wins and some semblance of momentum heading into the playoffs, this skid will be a mere footnote.

Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.