YANKEES BLAST ASTROS 8-1

NEW YORK — Yankee Stadium was reverberating with the chant, “M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!” On a classically cold night in the Bronx, the sellout crowd serenaded Aaron Judge, putting its own exclamation point on Judge’s spectacular fourth inning that included an amazing catch and a three-run homer.

Judge had finally answered Jose Altuve, his regular-season MVP adversary, who had been the far better player in the first two games of the American League Championship Series. More importantly, Judge and the New York Yankeesturned Monday night into less of a game and more of a party to tighten this series.

“It was his night,” Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

While Judge was center of attention because of who he is, it was a team effort — with the old guard, CC Sabathia and Todd Frazier, doing their part — as the Yankees cruised to a Game 3 win over the Astros, 8-1.

It was such a celebration that in the eighth inning, the fans in the left-field bleachers decided to do a roll call — which is usually reserved for the first inning — when they chant each player’s name until receiving acknowledgement. Judge paid them his respect by extending his glove as the fans chanted his name.

With Judge crashing into the wall to make a fourth-inning catch, it was not only the fans who were in an appreciative mood.

“We have guys on this this team that will basically go through walls for everybody,” Frazier said.

The Astros are quickly finding out what the Cleveland Indians learned the hard way: Being down 0-2 means little to this Yankees team that has an ideal mix of talented youth and veteran grit. Sabathia once again reached back, like his old buddy Andy Pettitte used to, giving the Yankees exactly what they needed with six scoreless innings. Frazier, a Toms River, New Jersey, native, used the right-field porch to slap a three-run, second-inning homer. Those were all the runs the Yankees would need.

In 2017, the Yankees are about Judge most of all, which is why the talk on the subways in all five boroughs and offices around the city will be about the 6-foot-7, nearly 300-pound right fielder on Tuesday.

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Did you see Judge’s catch? Yeah, he homered, too.

In the fourth, Judge made an amazing catch, slamming against the wall in right and holding on to the ball like a tight end after being floored by a free safety.

“That pad’s only a couple inches thick, and right behind that, it’s not moving, even as big as he is,” Yankees left fielder Brett Gardnersaid. “Even though it’s padded, it’s a pretty good hit he took. But like I said, he’s a big guy, so the wall’s probably hurting, too.”

In the bottom half of the same inning, Judge slammed a three-run homer and the blowout was on.

This postseason, Judge is morphing into a combination of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Like the old captain, he has shown a flair for the moment. In the comeback over the Indians, he made probably the most important defensive play of the year when he stole a two-run homer from Francisco Lindor.

While he hasn’t had that many hits so far in the playoffs, Judge has made what he has have count. He nailed a two-run homer in the Yankees’ wild-card win. He had a two-run double in Game 4 of the AL Division Series that chased Cleveland’s starter, Trevor Bauer, in the second. Both extended leads.

“We’ve played how many playoff games — nine? He [has] seven RBIs,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He gets his walks, got another one tonight. I know how dangerous he is. He can really change a game really quickly.”

This is especially true when he gets his pitch. Judge is so dangerous when pitchers try to go inside on him, like reliever Will Harris did in the fourth. On pitches classified as high and inside, Judge hit four homers on 78 regular-season swings (19.5). On average, the rest of baseball hits those type of pitches out only once every 65 swings.

But still, his clutchness, a la A-Rod, has come into question from some Yankees fans. He has struck out a lot during his Rookie of the Year and possibly-MVP regular season, but the whiffs have been more glaring in the playoffs. He has been sent down on strikes in 50 percent of his postseason at-bats compared to a 31 percent rate in the regular season.

Only nine games into the playoffs, Judge has already broken the record set by Reggie Sanders (1995) and tied by Austin Jackson (2011) for the most strikeouts by one player before the World Series, with 21. It doesn’t impact his mood.

“You’ve got to take the ups with the downs,” Judge said. “You can’t have all the good, come out here and hit a thousand, even though I want to.”

Judge is more than just a home run hitter. In the fifth, he added another really nice catch, coming in to make a diving stop.

“You don’t see people his size move like that,” Yankees first baseman Greg Birdsaid. “At least not in our sport. Maybe the NBA or the NFL, but I never have, personally, up close like this, and it’s really impressive to watch.”

But like the all the biggest stars, the moment seems to find him. If he and his teammates can claw their way back again from another 2-0 hole, it will be the stuff of legends.

TITANS BEAT COLTS 36-22 MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The drought is over. The Tennessee Titans finally beat the Indianapolis Colts 36-22 after 11 consecutive losses, and they did so on the back of a limited, pocket-passing Marcus Mariota and a heroic second-half performance by their much-maligned defense.

Franchise quarterbacks rise to the occasion, and Mariota did so Monday, helping wake up a dormant Titans defense with clutch third-down completions and what ended up being the game-winning, 53-yard touchdown pass to Taywan Taylor.

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It was Mariota’s fifth career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, and he earned it by digging deep for a 15-play, 87-yard touchdown drive that put the Titans ahead 22-19 after they trailed for most of the game. Mariota went 8-of-8 for 76 yards on that drive, including key completions to Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker, who had his best game as a Titan, with seven catches for 88 receiving yards.

The Titans (3-3) are in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC South, and they are eyeing a very manageable schedule down the stretch.

“It’s a huge win,” Mariota said. “It’s a division win. It’s an opportunity for us to share the lead in the division. I think when it comes down to it, the monkey is off our back, and we get to just go out there and play now. And we look forward to getting ready for Cleveland next week.”

Mariota finished 23-of-36 with a season-high 306 yards, a touchdown and a pick-six that was forgotten by the end of the game.

Mariota’s footwork and passing accuracy were the best they’ve been all season. He used play-action to perfection, going a crisp 10-of-11 and throwing for a career-best 186 yards off the fake.

“The guy’s a complete stud,” Taylor Lewan said. “The guy’s a franchise quarterback, and he deserves everything he gets. I’m just happy to be his left tackle.

“Just his work ethic, the kind of pro he is, the kind of guy he is, I can’t say enough about Marcus Mariota. He’s the bomb dot com.”

Still, Mariota clearly was not 100 percent. He didn’t even attempt to run, besides on an extremely important and successful fourth-quarter quarterback sneak. He threw only one pass outside of the pocket, a throwaway. But Mariota’s being forced to remain in the pocket could help his confidence in the long run.

“It’s part of the game. I think throughout the season there’s points in time when you’ve got to play a little hurt,” Mariota said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the guys up front, and the receivers are doing a great job of finding separation. We were just able to execute and make plays, and we came out on top.”

The Titans’ offensive line played great. Mariota had a clean pocket for most of the game, and his only sack was a self-sack for 1 yard to avoid contact.

“We live and die by each other,” said Lewan, who played well after missing much of last week’s game against the Dolphins because of a knee injury. “That’s what makes us such a special group.”

Derrick Henry capped it off with a 72-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. He ended with a career-high 131 rushing yards.

The Titans’ defensive performance might be lost because of Mariota’s great day, but it shouldn’t be. It was an entirely different bunch in the second half, and credit defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau for making the appropriate halftime adjustments. Tennessee came out attacking effectively with tighter coverage in the back end and strong run defense.

Titans cornerback Logan Ryandeserved major props for his efforts against Colts star receiver T.Y. Hilton. Rookies Adoree’ Jacksonand Jayon Brown, who had two key pass breakups, also played big roles in shutting the Colts down in the second half.

Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett went 9-of-20 for 93 yards in the second half, after going 12-of-17 for 119 yards in the first half.

It was all capped off by veteran linebacker Wesley Woodyard tracking down a scrambling Brissett on the Colts’ final fourth-down comeback attack. Woodyard grabbed Brissett’s ankles at the last moment to prevent Brissett from reaching the first-down marker before he went out of bounds. It has been a great season for Woodyard, and he secured the win with that play.

“Huge, huge, huge team win,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said.

AFTER MARIA, TRUMP APPROVAL RATING DROP 20 POINTS!!

WASHINGTON (CNN)President Donald Trump’s approval rating for handling the federal government’s response to recent hurricanes has dropped 20 points in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

In mid-September, 64% of Americans said they approved of Trump’s handling of the US hurricane response. That finding followed his administration’s handling of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hit the US mainland in late-August and September. Now, as many Puerto Ricans remain without access to clean water or electricity nearly a month after Maria hit, just 44% say they approve.
In the weeks since Maria devastated the island, Trump’s response has vacillated between criticism and praise. He has used his Twitter account to contend that local officials aren’t doing enough to help and has threatened to withdraw assistance from the island entirely. At other times, he has praised the work of the military and first responders there.
In a Rose Garden news conference Monday, Trump mixed praise for the federal government’s response to the situation with criticism of local efforts, saying that ample supplies had reached the island but were held up by distribution issues.
“We have massive amounts of water,” Trump said. “We have massive amounts of food, but they have to distribute the food, and they have to do this. They have to distribute the food to the people of the island.”
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The poll found Trump’s numbers on this score have dipped across party lines. His ratings are down 9 points among Republicans, 22 points among independents and 25 points among Democrats.
The decline also includes a steep drop in his approval rating on handling hurricanes among non-whites, from 52% in September to 25% now. Among Hispanics, approval for Trump’s handling of hurricane response has dropped from 49% in September to 22% now.
In the September poll, majorities of men and women and majorities across age groups approved of the way Trump was handling the Hurricane response. Now, among women, just 36% approve, while only 32% of those under age 45 approve.
The 64% approval rating Trump held on this issue in September was the highest the President had received for any issue in CNN’s polling since he took office in January, exceeding his previous high of 55% approval for handling the economy in March by 9 points.
The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone October 12 to 15 among a random national sample of 1,010 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.

NO CHARGES FOR BOOSIE’S BROTHER STEALING 360K FROM BANK ACCOUNT

The brother of rap star Boosie will not face any chronic charges for draining his famous Brothers bank account.

The ordeal started for Boosie in July, when he learned his brother drained his bank account, making off with over $361,000 from his Capital One account.

Taquari Hatch was accused of posing as Lil Boosie and wiring money to associates, who would then fork over the cash.

An investigation was triggered when Boosie’s brother Taquari falsely stated that he had a wife, making the bank reps suspicious, as they were attempting to verify information about the “real” Boosie.

So far, there’s no reason as to why the charges have been dismissed, but Boosie’s brother is free and clear of any criminal charges.

Taquari has maintained his innocence from the beginning.

“We see how social media trial plays out all the time,” Taquari said shortly after the incident in a statement online. “But all the trolls – that don’t bother me. There’s no peace of mind like knowing you’re innocent. You can’t buy that, nobody can hook you up with that, your influence can’t hook you up with that.”

RAS KASS GOES IN ON EMINEM/BET OVER TRUMP DISS!

The man known at Ras Kass is a lyrical beast, a monster among men. But, he never popped off the way somebody like I thought he should. Have you ever heard “Nature of the Threat”? That song is one of the most epic songs ever created. OUCH! I mean, it was full of so much hard truth, I am sure they had to shut Ras Kass down!

However, peep what he said about the whole BET/Eminem/Trump fiasco:

Are there any lies?

Check out “Nature of the Threat”, a song that came out in the 90’s.

And just in case you thought something changed, this is Ras Kass in 2017.

The facts are evident, especially if you are a rapper that fights this fight every single day. Now, I don’t think guys are upset with Eminem per se. He’s just doing his thing. He’s represented these things in the past with “White America” being the more obvious song.

SUGE KNIGHT’S EX-FIANCE TAKES A PLEA DEAL TO AVOID JAIL TIME

Marion “Suge” Knight’s ex-fiancé avoided jail time, by taking a plea deal after selling a sealed video to TMZ.com.

Toi–Lin Kelly, 36, pleaded no contest to leaking a video to TMZ.com, which featured Suge Knight plowing his Ford F-150 truck into two men at Tam’s Burgers in Compton.

The altercation occurred as a promotional spot for the movie “Straight Outta Compton” was being filmed.

The video of the incident popped up on TMZ.com, in March 2015, after authorities had sealed the case and provided copies to the defense.

In the end, Toi-Lin Kelly and Suge Knight were accused of communicating in code to sell the video for $150,000, which fetched $55,000.

Kelly has been sentenced to five years probation for helping Suge Knight, who was attempting to get himself “acquitted through illegal means.“

Suge has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and is facing life in prison.

The imprisoned mogul is also accused of threatening director F. Gary Gray, the award-winning director of “Straight Outta Compton.”

AL MICHAELS APOLOGIZE FOR WEINSTEIN JOKE!!

The New York Giants, who were playing the Denver Broncos, came into the game winless and with a star receiver injured. During the third quarter, Michaels said, “Let’s face it, the Giants are coming off of a worse week than Harvey Weinstein, and they’re up by 14 points.”

Cris Collinsworth, Michaels’ partner on the broadcast, chuckled at the line and said, “Only my L.A. guy comes up with that one.”

“All you have to do is read the papers — any paper,” Michaels responded.

Later in the broadcast, Michaels said he was “a little flip about somebody obviously very much in the news all over the country. It was not meant in that manner. So, my apologies, and we’ll just leave it at that.”

Related: Harvey Weinstein – Nine days of accusations and collateral damage

NBC Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Monday.

WEINSTEIN CO. LOSES ANOTHER LAWYER

The crippled Weinstein Co. may have a buyer — and he happens to be a close friend of President Trump.

On Monday the movie and TV studio announced a financing deal with Tom Barrack’s private equity firm Colony Capital. The deal will help the studio stay afloat in the short term.

But more significantly, Weinstein Co. said it is negotiating with Colony “for a potential sale of all or a significant portion of the company’s assets.”

“We will help return the company to its rightful iconic position in the independent film and television industry,” Barrack said in a statement.

A sale could wipe away the Weinstein Co. name and help the company recover from a widening sexual harassment scandal.

For the past eleven days the studio has been dragged down by allegations of sexual misconduct against co-founder Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein was fired by the board on October 8, three days after a New York Times detailed a decades-long pattern of alleged harassment.

Further reports by The Times and The New Yorker indicated that the company’s senior management knew about some of Weinstein’s behavior, although that is in dispute.

As a result of all this, Weinstein Co. has been stuck in a state of corporate limbo. There are widespread doubts in Hollywood about Weinstein Co.’s future as a standalone company.

Now comes Barrack and Colony Capital. The private equity firm has had a business relationship with Weinstein Co. for several years.

Barrack’s name has been in the news lately because he is a rumored candidate for White House chief of staff. He has been a close confidant of Trump for years and was the chairman of Trump’s private Presidential Inaugural Committee.

His involvement on Monday provided undeniable intrigue, given that he’s helping to rescue a company paralyzed by a sexual harassment scandal — and that Trump has faced harassment allegations as well.

Then-candidate Trump strongly denied any wrongdoing when women came forward and accused him of misconduct in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” tape last year.

Trump has only publicly commented on the Weinstein scandal once. He said on October 7 that “I’ve known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I’m not at all surprised to see it.”

The “immediate capital infusion” and the sale talks were announced by one of the company’s three remaining board members, Tarak Ben Ammar, in a statement “on behalf of the board.”

“We believe that Colony’s investment and sponsorship will help stabilize the Company’s current operations, as well as provide comfort to our critical distribution, production and talent partners around the world,” he said. “Colony’s successful experience and track record in media and entertainment will be invaluable to the Company as we move forward.”

The Weinstein Co. produces popular TV shows like “Project Runway” and films like “Lion.” The company’s next film, “The Current War,” was supposed to come out in November, but it has now been delayed to early 2018.

Monday’s announcement contradicts what the company’s co-chairman Bob Weinstein, Harvey’s brother, said just a few days ago. On Friday he denied a Wall Street Journal report that the company was “exploring a sale or shutdown and is unlikely to continue as an independent entity.”

“Our banks, partners and shareholders are fully supportive of our company, and it is untrue that the company or board is exploring a sale or shutdown of the company,” Bob Weinstein said in response.

He claimed that “business is continuing as usual as the company moves ahead.”

But that is far from the truth.

Barely any work is getting done at the company’s offices in New York and Los Angeles, sources told CNN.

Staffers are embarrassed and shocked by the depths of the scandal. Some have even compared working there to being aboard the Titanic.

NFL OWES A BIG EXPLANATION ON JETS/PATRIOTS GAME

There are times in NFL games when the application of rules doesn’t match the eye test. Sunday’s controversial overturn of a New York Jets fourth-quarter touchdown is one of those occasions.

Our eyes told us that Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught a pass, juggled it upon contact with New England Patriots defensive backs Malcolm Butler and Duron Harmon, and then regained control while barreling into the corner of the end zone. We saw down judge Patrick Turner, standing inches away from the play, confidently raise both arms to signal a touchdown.

Next, we saw an attempt to apply rules developed in a sterile environment that can’t always anticipate unusual circumstances. That’s where it got incontrovertibly sticky.

As he does on every scoring play, NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron (or one of his staff members) reviewed the touchdown. Replays showed that Butler punched the ball loose as Seferian-Jenkins extended toward the end zone. Seferian-Jenkins ultimately regained control.

In order to be credited with a touchdown, he needed to establish himself in bounds with the ball clearly back in his possession. Otherwise, one of the NFL’s most frustrating rules would have to be implemented: A fumble out of the end zone results in a touchback.

Riveron reversed the ruling, a sign that he saw indisputable evidence that Butler jarred the ball loose before Seferian-Jenkins crossed the plane, and that Seferian-Jenkins didn’t regain control until after he had stepped out of bounds. The reversal reflected the point differential in the Patriots’ 24-17 victory.

Is that really what happened?

The NFL’s replay review philosophy is to stay with the call on the field unless a video angle shows, without a doubt, that a mistake was made. In this case, I didn’t see a replay that confirmed it. Perhaps another angle exists that confirms a mistake was made in the touchdown call. Regardless, there is no time limit for the NFL review process. There should never be mistakes. Clearly, Riveron and his crew saw something that we didn’t to prompt his decision.

Referee Tony Corrente, who participated in the review via a sideline tablet, told a pool reporter that a replay angle popped up at the end of the review to confirm the reversal. Seferian-Jenkins lost control of the ball a second time, according to Corrente, and he recovered only after his knee landed out of bounds. “It was pretty obvious,” Corrente said.

I never saw a replay nearly that obvious. Maybe I missed it. The NFL can only use replays supplied by the broadcaster, but that doesn’t mean the broadcaster has to televise all of the angles to the public.

Riveron has kept a low profile since taking over the league’s top officiating job from Dean Blandino. Even after Corrente’s interview, this is one instance where a definitive explanation is merited from the executive in charge. The sooner the better.