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Hue Jackson said Harrison at left tackle would give him the best five linemen on the field for the opener. Watch video
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison will start at left tackle against the Steelers and Joel Bitonio will move back to left guard, coach Hue Jackson announced Friday.
Jackson acknowledged that he "agonized over the decision'' because he's starting an undrafted rookie against the Steelers, the Browns' division rivals.
His other choice would've been to start Bitonio at left tackle and second-round pick Austin Corbett at left guard.
Jackson felt Harrison at left tackle would give him the best five linemen on the field for the opener, and hopefully beyond.
Jackson said Harrison, who was signed as a free agent out of West Georgia, has earned the job through his play and his work ethic.
Harrison (6-6, 295) came into the league with a lot of baggage, having failed a drug test at the NFL combine, a league source told cleveland.com. That puts him in Stage One of the substance abuse program, but Jackson said the team has surrounded Harrison with a great support system.
"He's been outstanding since he's been here,'' said Jackson. "He's handled everything right. He wouldn't be here if he hadn't.''
It will be a rainy afternoon in Columbus on Saturday as Ohio State takes on Rutgers in a college football game.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Plan for another rainy Saturday at Ohio Stadium, Ohio State fans. After last week's soaker vs. Oregon State, there is a very high chance for afternoon rain again this Saturday.
Ohio State vs. Rutgers, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium, Columbus
The National Weather Service in Columbus indicates an 80-100 percent chance of precipitation in Central Ohio from 3-8 p.m. There is a flash flood watch in Columbus from Saturday at noon until Monday at 8 a.m.
Don't expect much sun at Ohio Stadium either, as the clouds are going to be heavy throughout the afternoon, per NWS.
The temperatures won't be much of an issue, as the NWS shows it should remain in the mid to high 60s from kickoff at 3:30 until around 8 p.m.
New NCAA rule allowing freshmen up to four games, at any point in the season, and still retain freshman status for next season, could be in play this week as teams look to keep top players healthy. Watch video
CLEVELAND, Ohio - There is only one head-to-head Top 25 matchup for the second week of the college football season as No. 3 Georgia travels to play at No. 24 South Carolina.
But there are several games of interest, including UCLA at No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 2 Clemson at Texas A&M, No. 13 Penn State at Pitt and No. 15 Michigan State at Arizona State.
This is a week when teams could very well begin to take advantage of the new NCAA rule allowing freshmen to play up to four games in a season, one fourth of the schedule, and still retain their freshman eligibility for next season. The games do not have to be consecutive and can come at any point in the season.
Football is the only sport the NCAA has given this blessing to. For freshmen, some of whom have been on campus since January, with both spring football and preseason camp under their belts, this gives them a chance to show what they have learned.
For a Top 25 coach, this is an opportunity to both rest a front-line player while getting an early look at what the future may hold at any number of positions before conference play begins.
Top 25 schedule below by game time. You can get scores, updates, and previews all day on our live scoreboard.
Friday, Sept. 7
No. 16 TCU at SMU, 8 p.m., ESPN2
Saturday, Sept. 8
New Mexico at No. 5 Wisconsin, Noon, BTN
Western Michigan at No. 21 Michigan, Noon, FS1
No. 18 Mississippi State at Kansas State, Noon, ESPN
UCLA at No. 6 Oklahoma, 1 p.m., FOX
William & Mary at No. 12 Virginia Tech, 1 p.m., ACC Net
Portland State at No. 23 Oregon, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Net
Arkansas State at No. 1 Alabama, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2
No. 3 Georgia at No. 24 South Carolina, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Rutgers at No. 4 Ohio State, 3:30 p.m., BTN
Ball State at No. 8 Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m., NBC
North Dakota at No. 9 Washington, 5 p.m., PAC12 Net
Savannah State at No. 22 Miami, 6 p.m., ACCN
Youngstown State at No. 14 West Virginia, 6 p.m.
South Carolina State at No. 19 UCF, 6 p.m., ESPN3
No. 2 Clemson at Texas A&M, 7 p.m., ESPN
Southeastern Louisiana at No. 11 LSU, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Alabama State at No. 7 Auburn, 7:30 p.m., SEC Net
Kentucky at No. 25 Florida, 7:30 p.m., SECN
No. 13 Penn State at Pitt, 8 p.m., ABC
No. 17 USC at No. 10 Stanford, 8:30 p.m., FOX
UConn at No. 20 Boise State, 10:15 p.m., ESPNU
No. 15 Michigan State at Arizona State, 10:45 p.m., ESPN
"I've got to do my job better than I've ever done it before to get this team to be what I think they can be." Watch video
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Joel Bitonio figured it out early in the week, Hue Jackson finalized his decision Thursday and on Friday the Browns coach announced it, that an undrafted rookie will start the opener at left tackle against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Hue Jackson's job doesn't hinge on 24-year-old Desmond Harrison.
But it does hinge on decisions like it.
The 2018 Cleveland Browns turned over 59 percent of their roster and have assembled a more talented group of players than the two previous seasons. No one doubts that, including Jackson.
The coach is back, and if the roster changed and upgraded, the coaching, which didn't change at the top, must upgrade as well.
An open mind on Jackson in year three seems fair to the franchise and makes sense for the fans. But more of the same isn't right for the franchise, or fair to the fans.
"I'm gonna improve," Jackson said Friday, shortly after making his Harrison announcement. "Whatever the last two years was, they were what they were. This is a new year, this a new opportunity for this organization and football team, myself included."
A year ago, the website headcoachranking.com judged Jackson as tied for the worst coach in the league, using a "proprietary algorithm" that takes into account play calling, how players are used, game planning, in-game adjustments and clock management.
Now that's not everything. Building a culture, leading, inspiring -- all that is harder to put in an algorithm, unless you just go by how the meetings on Hard Knocks were run.
The play calling is gone, handed over to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, so delete that part of the algorithm. But if the offense doesn't move under Haley, Jackson is on the hook as the guy who hired him.
"I'm the offensive adviser, the defensive adviser, the special teams adviser," Jackson said. "So that role totally changed and it's a great opportunity for me to see the game from a different light."
But Jackson the decision maker? That job remains and that's up for debate, that 1-31 record part of the evidence against him.
Problem-solving in the wake of Joe Thomas' retirement, an established winner might earn plaudits for the bold stroke of trusting the talent of a longshot in Harrison who over the previous four years played one season of lower-level football. For Jackson, this profiles as an odd process, as Harrison, hurt early in preseason camp, didn't start until the fourth preseason game.
As Jackson attempts to lead the Browns out of a two-year pit of losing, this choice two days before the opening of a new season of optimism provided surprising left tackle drama with a twist ending.
"I think they were trying to find the best five guys to put out on the offensive line," said Bitonio, the five-year veteran who started to anticipate at the end of last week that he'd start the season at his familiar left guard spot rather than shifting to left tackle, where he'd worked for much of camp.
"We had five or six weeks of training camp to figure it out and Des was a little banged up to start camp," Bitonio said, "so it was hard to get him out there early in camp. As camp went on, I think they were like, 'We can get this kid at left tackle and he can improve every week, every game, every chance he gets.'"
It's a big swing for Jackson, maybe out of desperation. Shon Coleman bombed out in the first week of camp. GM John Dorsey drafted Austin Corbett in the second round, but somehow the idea of Corbett at left guard and Bitonio sliding to left tackle lost out to giving Harrison his shot.
Jackson and Dorsey have been portrayed as in lockstep in every moment since the new general manager's arrival. So there's no room for a coach to maneuver between the lines and blame losses on the guy who built the roster.
"We gotta coach differently, we have different expectations, different way of going about things, and now we want the results," Jackson said. "At the end of the day, that's where all this is headed, it's for the results, it's about winning, it's not about anything else."
Decisions make or break coaches. Coaches win and lose games.
"It's the ultimate," Jackson said of a head coach's role in a team's success. "You create the right environment for the players to be the best they can be. It's taking talent and getting it to perform at a higher level.
"We're all involved, all of our hands are in the buckets to make it work. Obviously I'm the head of it all, I've got to do my job better than I've ever done it before to get this team to be what I think they can be."
Changes at running back and receiver and in the secondary matter, but this is still a coach and quarterback league. Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield give the Browns their best QB room in decades.
In assessing the coach, that open mind now has a question lingering in it, one about installing Harrison at one of the most vital positions on the team.
Corbett goes to the bench as part of the offensive line shuffle that put Desmond Harrison at left tackle and Joel Bitonio at left guard.
BEREA, Ohio -- Desmond Harrison will start at left tackle on Sunday afternoon. Hue Jackson made that announcement on Friday.
That now means that, of the first five Browns draft picks in April's draft, four will not start against the Steelers. There are some important notes to include with that stat:
No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield eventually and, hopefully, will see many starts after that.
No. 4 pick Denzel Ward will start at cornerback.
No. 35 pick Nick Chubb will get carries as part of a backfield-by-committee. That's a safe bet.
We might even see the No. 67 pick, Chad Thomas, on the field, but that's a riskier bet.
The fourth of those five, Austin Corbett, picked at No. 33, will begin his career as one of the backups along the interior of the offensive line, a player needed only in an emergency, demoted as a result of Harrison's ascension.
"It hurts," Corbett said. "You come here and that's what you want to do, right? But at the end of the day, we've got one job, and that's to win games. I trust coach. He has a plan for us. It's time to go and win games because these count."
Corbett started all preseason at left guard next to Joel Bitonio after the latter was moved to left tackle. He didn't just start, he played a lot -- more than 200 snaps over the course of the four games. It appeared he had been tabbed as one of the team's five best linemen, a mantra members across the organization, including Jackson, have repeated as they've searched for a left tackle.
That changed, though, once Harrison emerged.
Corbett started at left tackle for four years at Nevada. He took some reps there during training camp but usually down the depth chart. He never appeared to get serious consideration to start at the position.
Corbett admitted that there have been some difficulties transitioning from tackle in college to guard in the NFL.
"Having played four years at left tackle, I had a lot of things that were set technique-wise," he said, "so I carried some of those over to guard when you don't need (them). Doing that can get you in bad positions sometimes."
Corbett adds a new challenge now, the possibility of playing center, a position at which Jackson said they have practiced both Corbett and Earl Watford.
"Pretty much everyone's taking snaps because everyone's got to be ready for that again," Corbett said, "so snaps all the time and making sure that we all know the calls from a center perspective."
Jackson remained supportive of Corbett following the decision.
"It does not say anything about Austin," he said. "He just keeps working and keeps getting better. We are glad that he is on our team. Austin can do a lot of different things."
Bitonio echoed that sentiment.
"Keep your head up," he said. "It's a long NFL season, it's a long NFL career, he's going to be a good player. He's going to find a place on this line and he's going to be here for a long time."
It's all part of trying to find the best five.
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Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco enters Friday night's game against Toronto looking for his 17th win of the season.
TORONTO -- Here are the stating lineups for tonight's game between the Indians and Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m.
SS Francisco Lindor.
2B Jason Kipnis.
3B Jose Ramirez.
DH Edwin Encarnacion.
1B Yonder Alonso.
RF Brandon Guyer.
C Yan Gomes.
CF Greg Allen.
LF Rajai Davis.
Carlos Carrasco, 16-8, 3.52.
LF Billy McKinney.
SS Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
DH Justin Smoak.
RF Randal Grichuk.
1B Rowdy Tellez.
CF Kevin Pillar.
3B Aledmys Diaz.
2B Richard Urenn.
C Luke Maile.
RHP Marco Estrada, 7-11, 5.43.
H Alan Porter.
1B Angel Hernandez.
2B Todd Tichenor.
3B Chad Whitson.
Harrison promises to stay on the straight and narrow after failing a drug test at the NFL Combine. Watch video
BEREA, Ohio -- New Browns left tackle Desmond Harrison, named to the post on Friday, promised coach Hue Jackson and GM John Dorsey that he'll stay on the straight and narrow and prove they made the right decision in signing him as an undrafted rookie.
"Yeah, I feel like I have (made that promise),'' he said Friday in his first interview since Jackson announced he'll start Sunday against the Steelers.
Harrison (6-6, 305) also confirmed reports that he failed a drug test at the NFL combine in February, and believes it's the reason he went undrafted. He said some teams wanted an explanation and some didn't and the Browns were one that did. Of the three players who tested positive at the combine, the Browns acquired two, including receiver Antonio Callaway in the fourth round.
Satisfied that Harrison's failed test -- and his previous suspensions at Texas -- were all for marijuana and nothing harder, the Browns took a chance on him, believing they could provide him with the structure he needed to stay clean and on the field.
"John Dorsey and myself, those are decisions that we made to bring these guys in,'' said Jackson. "We've also made the decisions to support them in every way that we can. He's been outstanding since he's been here. He's handled that part of it right or else he wouldn't be where he is.
"We're looking for the total player because we need guys that are going to be dependable, accountable and are going to be there all of the time. He's demonstrated that. He's earned it. He has earned it though his play, his work ethic and doing things the right way on and off the field."
Harrison is in Stage One of the NFL's substance abuse program, where he'll be tested regularly. But after spending three years off the field, including his last year at Texas in 2014 and two more years when he was out of football and working for a moving company, Harrison has every incentive for staying out of trouble.
"(I'm) good,'' he said. "Just doing everything my coaches ask me and my teammates.''
Is it hard?
"No,'' he said. "I know I need to do the right things.''
As for getting kicked out of Texas in 2014, where he not only tested positive several times but also got shot in the backside while out in Oakland on spring break and was in a car when his friends robbed a convenience store, Harrison said he was "just being immature, not handling my business.''
Most of Harrison's coaches -- from high school to Contra Costa Community College to Texas to Division II West Georgia, where he started nine of 10 games last year -- still rave about him.
"He's got an infectious way about him,'' West Georgia coach David Dean told cleveland.com. "He's a great, great person and carries a great attitude about life all the time. ... I really thought he'd be a good fit for us, and personally we were in correct in that.''
Dean is convinced that if anyone has the right demeanor to step in and try to replace future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, it's Harrison.
"He's got the work ethic and ability and the way comprehends things, he's got a lot of football savvy," said Dean. "He can pick up schemes very well. I think he's going to have a successful NFL career.''
Harrison is so confident in his ability that he knew "when I came to rookie minicamp" on May 4, just a few days after agreeing to terms with the Browns that he could be the starting left tackle.
"I expected it,'' he said. "That's what I've been working to, is to get a starting job.''
"Confident kid,'' said left guard Joel Bitonio. "Anytime you come to a new organization, you want to be the starter.
"So I think he's just a confident guy and he wants to work at it and he's been a little banged up in OTAs and in training camp so he didn't really get to show what he could do early on, but he's a confident guy and he's working at it, he's trying to get better and those are all things you want from a young guy."
A toe injury kept Harrison out of the first 11 days of camp, but he eventually jumped from fourth team left tackle to second shortly after he began practicing.
"I felt a little better because I was more fresher than those guys, so when I came back I was all right,'' he said.
He's been around here long enough to understand what Sunday will be all about.
"Yeah, of course. I mean, I'm replacing Joe, so I know how big it is,'' he said.
He was coached up by Thomas during spring OTAs. "He helped me out on the field, things like that, what you see, how to block, things like that,'' Harrison said. "My takeaway was just taking it all in, just soaking it all up.''
He also knows that playing next to a savvy veteran like Bitonio will be "a big help because he can see things before I see 'em and know what's going to happen before I know.''
Harrison said he spent two years out of football "just to get myself right. It wasn't (from) a football standpoint, it was just getting myself right mentally."
But he never lost his desire to play, and kept the dream alive. And now that it's actually here, "it's just been good. It's been a long time coming. I'm happy to be here.''
And what it feel like when he steps out on the field on Sunday?
"I'd say like Christmas Eve,'' he said.
Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe make predictions for Sunday's game. Watch video
BEREA, Ohio -- It's almost time. The Browns and Steelers are getting closer to kickoff this Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at FirstEnergy Stadium. The weather is expected to be ugly, too, with heavy rains and wind.
Mary Kay Cabot and I previewed Sunday's matchup and made our predictions for the game.
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Go inside the Browns every week with cleveland.com's Orange and Brown Podcast, featuring Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe. Listen and subscribe here.
Want more Browns? Subscribe to our Browns YouTube channel for interviews, analysis and more.
Ohio State University asked a federal judge to dismiss three lawsuits filed by former students and athletes who say they were sexually abused by a new-deceased university doctor.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Ohio State University asked a federal judge to dismiss three lawsuits filed by former students and athletes who say they were sexually abused by a new-deceased university doctor.
The motions filed in three lawsuits in federal court in Columbus argue that the statute of limitations passed for all the claims made by the former students who say they were abused by Dr. Richard Strauss. Many of the claims are made under federal Title IX law, which bars sex discrimination at schools.
The motion says the statute of limitations for such claims in Ohio is two years. Strauss retired from Ohio State in 1998 and killed himself in 2005, which means the claims are based on acts that happened at least 20 years ago, wrote Michael Carpenter, an outside attorney hired to represent the university.
OSU commissioned an independent investigation into Strauss, who worked as a team physician in athletics from 1981 to 1995 and also as a doctor for other students, and his conduct against male athletes and other students. The university said Friday that 150 former students have reported they were victims of Strauss.
The investigation is being conducted by the Seattle-based law firm of Perkins Coie.
The motions to dismiss note that the outside investigators and say they regularly speak with officials at the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office.
The university stressed in the suit that its attempt to dismiss the lawsuits should not be taken as commentary of the abuse claims made by the former students.
"The instant Motion is not directed towards plaintiffs' claims of injury," the motions say. "Rather, in this Motion, while respectful of plaintiffs and their claimed injuries, Ohio State maintains that plaintiffs' proffered legal causes of action are legally deficient on their face and should be dismissed."
Ohio State also says it enjoys sovereign immunity from the claims made in two of the lawsuits.
A federal magistrate judge will hold a hearing on the cases on Oct. 1.
The Indians are only using the Block C logo for their four-game series against Toronto in Rogers Centre. Watch video
TORONTO - Manager Terry Francona said the decision not to wear Chief Wahoo on their uniforms or caps during this four-game series at Rogers Centre in Toronto was made by the organization to show respect for anyone offended by the soon-to-be discontinued logo.
"We're just trying to be respectful," said Francona. "We're never trying to be disrespectful by wearing it. We just want to do the respectable thing."
The Indians, at the end of this year, will stop wearing Chief Wahoo on their uniforms and using it as a logo. Chief Wahoo, in one form or another, has been a part of the team's uniform since 1947, but when the Indians played the Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series in 2016, Douglas Cardinal, a Native American activist, brought a lawsuit against MLB and the Indians. The suit sought to ban Cleveland from using its team name and logo in the series.
The suit was dismissed, but in its wake MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred brought pressure on the Indians to dump The Chief because of its racist overtones and looming legal problems. In January the Indians and MLB announced that this would be the last year that Chief Wahoo would be used on their uniforms.
"It was an organization decision (not to wear it in Toronto)," said Francona. "I'm sure they talked to MLB. I just know what they told us. We fully support being respectful."
When the Indians leave Toronto after Sunday afternoon's game, Chief Wahoo once again be added to their uniforms and hats for the rest of the season.
When Andrew Miller was asked about not having Chief Wahoo on the team's uniforms in Toronto, he smiled and said, "We've been coached up pretty good. We're just here to play baseball games."
Added rookie center fielder Greg Allen, "I just put on the uniform they tell me to put whether it has Chief Wahoo on it or a C on it."
Steve Nash and Jason Kidd are considered two of the greatest point guards in history, and they will have their careers honored at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Watch video
Steve Nash and Jason Kidd are considered two of the greatest point guards in the history of the NBA, and they will have their careers honored at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Some believe Kidd is superior because he was a top defender and pinpoint passer, making the prototypical point guard. Others feel Nash is the better of the two because of his incredible vision and deadeye shooting that revolutionized what it meant to run the point. Who is better?
Here is what Kidd did with his career:
Check out Nash's list of accomplishments:
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Chief Wahoo is absent from the Cleveland Indians' jerseys this weekend in Toronto after a 2016 lawsuit sought to ban the logo from Canadian TV.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Chief Wahoo did not make the trip to Toronto this weekend as the Cleveland Indians face the Toronto Blue Jays in a four-game series at Rogers Centre.
The club removed its longtime logo from the left sleeve of its jerseys and is wearing its "Block C" caps on the field. It's a preview of the 2019 season when Chief Wahoo will not appear in any form on the players' uniforms, and will only be found on a handful of merchandise items throughout Progressive Field.
Chief Wahoo has been a logo for the club in one form or another since 1947 and in the last few decades has become a flashpoint for controversy among native American groups and those who view it as a racist symbol.
A 2016 lawsuit originally filed during the club's American League Championship Series appearance against the Blue Jays spurred the decision to nix Chief Wahoo this weekend. Douglas Cardinal, a member of the Blackfoot Tribe and advocate for indigenous people, sought a temporary injunction with the Ontario Human Rights Commission to prevent broadcast of the logo on Canadian television.
The injunction was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court of Justice in Toronto, but the controversy became part of the genesis for Chief Wahoo's ultimate demise. Last season, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the All-Star Game would take place in Cleveland in 2019, and the team announced Chief Wahoo would be phased out by the start of the 2019 season.
Hall of Fame inductee Jim Thome, one of the club's greatest sluggers, chose to wear a "Block C" cap when he was inducted into Cooperstown back in July.
Next season, the Indians will wear an All-Star Game patch on their sleeves where Chief Wahoo currently appears. The team says it will explore new secondary logo options for use beyond 2019.
Taylor has high hopes for the Browns this season, as he revealed in an interview on Uninterrupted.
BEREA, Ohio -- What's Tyrod Taylor's mindset heading into the Sunday's opener against the Steelers?
"This year in Cleveland, we'll shock the world,'' he said Friday in an interview on Uninterrupted.
"This year in Cleveland, we'll shock the world." -- @TyrodTaylorSeptember 7, 2018
Here are a few more highlights from his interview:
* "I have an opportunity to help change a culture in the same way that I had in Buffalo, but at the end of the day, my focus is on doing whatever it takes to win a game and it's crazy. In year eight I'm at peace mentally more than I've been in any year before.''
* "Everything that I've been through to this point, prepares me for the moment that I'm at now.''
* "I'm never going to take away knowledge from someone. If someone asks me things, them I'm always going to give them the answer that I feel would help.''
* "The learning curve will naturally happen for (Baker Mayfield) but this right now is an opportunity for me to grow as a leader. It's not anything I'm focusing on or not focusing on. I'm just going out there with my mind on football and doing whatever it takes to win games."
* On being benched in Buffalo: "I wasn't being told the truth at the time. The GM told me one thing and the coach told me something else. The thing that was told to me was 'oh, he can't do that or he can't do this.' It was never 'he could do this or he could do that.' People told me what I couldn't do or people told me what I wasn't going to be and I was able to overcome.''
Adam Cimber allowed a walk-off homer to Kevin Pillar on Friday night in the 11th inning as the Indians lost to Toronto, 3-2.
TORONTO - Extra innings once again proved unkind to the Indians.
Following one of Carlos Carrasco's best starts of the season, the Indians lost to Toronto, 3-2, in 11 innings Friday night at Rogers Centre. The Indians are 2-7 in extras this season.
Carrasco allowed two runs and struck out 14 Blue Jays in eight innings, but the game continued well past that until Kevin Pillar hit a game-winning homer off Adam Cimber with one out in the 11th.
The Indians missed a chance to take the lead in the 11th when Yan Gomes singled and Greg Allen walked to start the inning. A botched bunt by Rajai Davis resulted in a force at third. After Jake Petricka struck out Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis walked to load the bases, but Jose Ramirez grounded out.
Gomes gave the Indians a 2-1 lead with a two-out homer in the sixth, but Carrasco couldn't hold it.
Randal Grichuk and rookie Rowdy Tellez opened the seventh with doubles. Tellez's fifth double in his sixth big-league game tied the score at 2-2. Carrasco wild-pitched Tellez to third, but he kept the score tied by striking out Aledmys Diaz and retiring Richard Urena on a fly ball to the track in left.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead on a two-out single by Ramirez in the fifth. Toronto starter Marco Estrada hit Allen to start the inning. Allen stole second and came around to score on Ramirez's single.
Ramirez entered the game in an 12-for-70 funk and it may be hurting his defense. After he drove in the Tribe's first run, he allowed the Blue Jays to tie the score in the bottom of the fifth when he couldn't handle Pillar's easy grounder to third. As the ball rolled past Ramirez and into left field, Tellez scored from second to make it 1-1.
In the sixth, Luke Maile sent a hard bouncer to third that Ramirez knocked down, but couldn't make a play on. It could have been his second error of the game, but Maile was credited with a hit. On the next play, Billy McKinney sent another shot down the line that Ramirez stopped with a dive, righted himself and threw to second for the force.
It was his best defensive moment of the night.
Estrada, who had lost his last two starts, held the Indians to two runs on five hits in six innings. He worked up in the strike zone and had the Indians hitting the ball harmlessly into the air for most of his six innings of work. Gomes drove a 1-1 pitch off his ankles over the fence in left for his 13th homer.
Carrasco, in the eighth, recorded his 200th and 201st strikeouts of the season. But he was still in trouble. McKinney reached on a single and Justin Smoak walked with two out. Grichuk sent a hard shot to third. Ramirez made the stop and hustled to third for the force to end the inning.
Rajai Davis tried to get Carrasco the win. He beat out an infield single in the ninth, stole second for the second time in the game, but the Indians couldn't get him home. Lindor lined out to right and Kipnis grounded out to first.
Carrasco, for the first time in his career, has struck out 200 or more batters in two straight seasons.
What it means
The Indians entered Friday night's game trailing AL West-leading Houston by seven games for the right to host the ALDS on Oct. 5. The Astros visited Fenway Park to play Boston on Friday night on a five-game winning streak with a 31/2-game lead over the A's.
Estrada threw 103 pitches, 64 (62 percent) for strikes. Carrasco threw 113 pitches, 82 (73 percent) for strikes. Carrasco's season high for pitches thrown is 117 on May 9 against Milwaukee.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Blue Jays drew 26,830 to Rogers Centre on Friday night. First pitch was at 7:07 p.m. with a temperature of 72 degrees. The roof was open.
Rookie Adam Plutko (4-5, 5.04) will face the Blue Jays and right-hander Sean Reid-Foley (1-2, 5.51) on Saturday afternoon at 4:07 p.m. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.
Plutko is coming off a loss to the Royals in which he struck out a career-high eight batters, but allowed three homers. He earned his first big-league win against the Blue Jays on May 3 at Progressive Field.
Baldwin Wallace opens conference play against Otterbein on 50th Anniversary of First OAC Championship
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Notre Dame College made an immediate impact to start the season, scoring an upset victory and record-setting day.
Not only did the Falcons (1-0) defeat the then-No. 16 ranked Shepherd (who lost a conference game for the first time in 30 games) but Falcons freshman running back Jaleel McLaughlin set a school record with 302 yards rushing - in his first collegiate game. He also had two touchdowns on runs of 75 and 76 yards.
It is the third-most rushing yards in a game in the history of the Mountain East Conference.
The Falcons will play at Glenville State on Saturday. The Pioneers (1-0) are led by linebacker Dominic Cizauskas, who had 19 tackles and a forced fumble last week.
Baldwin Wallace opens conference play on Saturday against Otterbein. The Yellow Jackets will honor its 1968 team, which led the school to its first Ohio Athletic Conference title.
Last week, wide receiver Jordan Leverette helped lead the team to a 63-21 victory over Alma. His play earned him the OAC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time in his career.
Leverette earned the honor with a school-record 100-yard kickoff return. He also caught three passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
Saturday D-2/D3 schedule
As the Cleveland Indians were trying to trade for Josh Donaldson, they felt the clock ticking. Watch video
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- How the Indians pulled off the Josh Donaldson deal:
Didn't see it coming
When Terry Francona said he planned to keep Jason Kipnis at second base and Jose Ramirez at third, the Tribe manager had no idea what was happening with Donaldson. Francona proclaimed Kipnis and Ramirez would stay at their natural positions on Aug. 26.
At that point, Donaldson was on the disabled list for Toronto. He had not played a game since May 29. He was dealing with a major calf muscle injury. No one knew if Donaldson would be able to play in a minor league rehabilitation game before the Sept. 1 deadline.
The Indians had been talking to Toronto on and off for months about acquiring Donaldson. In late July, it appeared Donaldson was going to try and come back from his injury. The Indians and Blue Jays had some semi-serious trade talks. But Donaldson's calf muscles would not cooperate, and he needed more time off.
Even in the middle of August, no one knew when (or if) he'd play again in 2018.
Was he healthy?
Donaldson and the Toronto front office were having major issues. It's messy, and most of it deals with how his injury was handled and his contract negotiations. The Blue Jays wanted to trade him. Donaldson wanted out.
But Donaldson had to prove he was healthy. For a trade to happen, he knew he had to be on the field somewhere in the last week of August. To be eligible for the playoffs, he had to be on a team's roster by midnight, Aug. 31.
Donaldson played for the first time on Aug. 28, back at third base for the Dunedin Blue Jays in the Class A Florida State League. He also played on Aug. 30. The team was rained out on Aug. 29.
The Indians and a few other teams sent scouts to Florida. The Indians not only were watching Donaldson swing the bat and move in the field, they were paying special attention to his throwing. He had displayed a sore right shoulder in spring training. Between infield practice and game action, they saw his arm was strong.
Just as important, he made good throws from different angles. That's important for a third baseman, who faces off-balance and sidearm throws on bunts or slow rollers.
At the plate and in batting practice, Donaldson looked healthy. Between the two games, he was 2-for-5 and hit a homer.
Did they have enough time?
For Donaldson to be traded after Aug. 1, he had to clear waivers. The Blue Jays didn't start the process until 1 p.m. Wednesday, which allowed 48 hours for any team to claim Donaldson. He had $3.7 million left on his contract. It seemed doubtful any team would claim him and pick up that cash given the questions about his health.
He is also a free agent at the end of the year.
Tribe General Manager Mike Chernoff and President Chris Antonetti did have some preliminary talks with Toronto about a deal, but they had to wait until after 1 p.m. Friday to become serious. That's when he cleared waivers.
What about the doctors?
The Indians had their medical people examine Donaldson's records sent to them by Toronto.
Meanwhile, the two teams needed to decide on a player to be named later heading back to the Blue Jays. The player under discussion was pitcher Julian Merryweather, who entered the 2018 season as the No. 17 prospect in the Tribe farm system, according to Baseball America.
Merryweather had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on March 8. While Tribe doctors were checking out Donaldson, the Blue Jays were looking at Merryweather's records.
Merryweather will be 27 on Oct. 14. He had a 23-20 record and 3.92 ERA as a minor league starter. He was a fifth-round pick by the Tribe in 2014.
The Blue Jays front office knew Merryweather well. President Mark Shapiro and General Manager Ross Atkins were both working for the Tribe until 2016.
What about the money?
Toronto wanted the Indians to pay as much of the $3.7 million left on Donaldson's deal as possible. Cleveland eventually negotiated a deal that had Toronto sending $2.7 million to the Tribe along with Donaldson.
Once that was settled, it still had to be sent to the commissioner's office to be approved. All of this was happening Friday afternoon.
Can it work?
Adding the 2015 American League MVP means 2018 MVP candidate Ramirez has to shift from third to second.
"Jose was willing to do it," said Francona. "He just didn't want to go back-and-forth."
Kipnis is now a man without an infield position, thrown into the pool of outfielders without a guarantee that he'll start.
"He was not jumping for joy," said Francona. "But that's understandable."
Why were the Indians willing to upend the infield only five days after the manager said everyone would stay in their same spots? Because this wasn't making changes to accommodate Yandy Diaz, a talented young third baseman who isn't postseason proven.
It was Donaldson. The players know what he could mean for the lineup.
"He's an MVP-type player," said Francona. "He's a middle-of-the-order bat. ... He kind of puts fear into you when he steps in the batter's box. He plays with an edge. He plays hard."
But can he stay well enough to play in October?
"There is some risk," admitted Antonetti. "But he's one of the most dynamic players in the game on both sides of the ball when healthy."
The Indians consider a healthy Donaldson close to a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman. From 2014-17, he batted .282 while averaging 27 HR and 98 RBI per season.
Trusting the culture
Lots of teams talk about creating a "winning culture" with players "focused on winning" rather than individual goals. Few teams have it, at least to the extent of the Indians.
In the middle of the 2016 season, closer Cody Allen told Antonetti and Francona that he was willing to give up his closer role if the Tribe made a deal to add a premier reliever. That was part of the reason they were willing to make the monster deal for Andrew Miller. They knew the lefty receiver also was unselfish. He had the ability to close, but the heart to fit into the team.
The Allen/Miller combination helped the Tribe reach Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.
In the middle of the 2018 season, the Indians traded for San Diego All-Star closer Brad Hand. Once again, Allen was willing to give up his closer's role, if necessary. Hand was like Miller, willing to fill whatever bullpen role asked of him.
In the final weeks of the 2016 season, Ramirez and Kipnis did this same position dance. Now they're asked to do that again.
"We have a very selfless team," Antonetti has often said. That's why the Tribe has had six consecutive winning seasons since Francona arrived in 2013.
It's why they are headed to their fourth postseason. It's why most players enjoy being with the organization. The Indians have stability and credibility.
It's also why they knew they could add Donaldson.
Closing the deal
By 9 p.m. on Aug. 31, the Indians were sure the deal was going through. They reached Donaldson and had a good talk with him. The Tribe was playing a home game against Tampa Bay. By 10:30 p.m., it was official.
The next day, Donaldson arrived in Cleveland. The Indians, Donaldson and the medical people designed a program for him to play in the minors for 10 days, a late-season version of spring training. He was 2-for-5 in his first two minor league games with the Tribe, with two homers.
So far, he is healthy. He is expected to start playing for the Tribe on Tuesday. Heading into free agency, Donaldson has a strong motivation to produce. The 32-year-old also is a driven, competitive athlete who loves the big stage of playoff baseball.
In 31 post-season games, Donaldson is a .292 hitter (.836 OPS) with four HR and 13 RBI.
The Indians feel the urgency to return to the World Series. They know Donaldson could re-injure his calf muscle. But they also know that without the deal, they would have always wondered what might have been in this next round of October baseball.
Without ace Triston McKenzie the Akron RubberDucks are one game away from advancing to the AA Eastern League Championship series. Watch video
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Nellie Rodriguez has made his presence felt in a big way with the Akron RubberDucks since his late-season return from Columbus. The big first-baseman, 24, put an exclamation point on that Thursday night with a 10th-inning home run that gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead in the Eastern League Playoffs over Altoona.
The 6-2, 225-pound Rodriguez, drafted in the 15th round in 2012, has played the last 31 games of the season with Akron, hitting .283 with five home runs and 23 RBI.
Where is he?: No sign of pitcher Triston McKenzie (7-4, 2.68 ERA) in this series as the Indians have decided to slow his roll, at least through the opening round of the playoffs.
The top pitching prospect for the Indians was clearly on a pitch count throughout the season after arriving in June from extended spring training to allow a tender forearm to heal.
He never pitched more than seven innings in a game all season with the Ducks, and only once more than six in five starts in August.
The Lynchburg Hillcats and Potomac are tied at one game each in a best-of-five series. In Game 1, the Hillcats had a five-run second inning and held on for a 5-2 victory. Dillon Persinger opened the scoring with a two-run double with the bases loaded, and Mitch Longo and Nolan Jones each singled home runs in the same inning.
Justin Garza earned the win with 5.2 innings. He allowed only one run.
In Game 2, the Hillcats took a 1-0 lead but Potomac rallied and won 4-1.
THE DAILY DOUBLE: Persinger finished the regular season with seven doubles over his final 11 games. He began the postseason with two more doubles in the Game 1 win over Potomac. Persinger has become the Hillcats everyday leadoff hitter since Jodd Carter's promotion to Double-A Akron on Aug. 9.
Branson Wright contributed to this story.
Check here for the live third-round leaderboard for the PGA Tour's BMW Championship 2018 on Saturday, Sept. 8, in Pennsylvania.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Xander Schauffele (13-under) led by two shots entering the third round of the PGA Tour's BMW Championship 2018 on Saturday, Sept. 8, in Pennsylvania. The BMW, featuring a field of 69, is the third of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs.
Justin Rose was in second place.
Bryson DeChambeau, who has won the first two playoff events (The Northern Trust, Dell Technologies Championship) is grouped with Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose. DeChambeau, Johnson and Rose are Nos. 1-3 in the FedExCup standings.
Site: Newtown Square, Pa.
Course: Aronimink GC. Yardage: 7,267. Par: 70.
Purse: $9 million. Winner's share: $1,620,000.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, Noon-3:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3:30-6 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, Noon-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2-6 p.m. (NBC).
Defending champion: Marc Leishman.
FedExCup leader: Bryson DeChambeau.
Last week: Bryson DeChambeau won the Dell Technologies Championship.
Notes: This is the third FedEx Cup playoff event, with the top 30 advancing to the Tour Championship at East Lake in two weeks. .... DeChambeau is assured of being the No. 1 seed at the Tour Championship. At stake this week is getting one of the top five seeds. Those players only need to win the Tour Championship to claim the FedExCup title and the $10 million bonus. ... Aronimink last held a PGA Tour event in 2010 and 2011 when the AT&T National moved there from Congressional ahead of the 2011 U.S. Open. Justin Rose and Nick Watney won those two years. Tiger Woods, whose foundation ran the tournament, tied for 46th in 2010 and did not play in 2011 because of leg injuries. ... Rickie Fowler is playing his first FedExCup playoffs event. He missed the last two with an injury. He started at No. 17 and now is No. 26. ... Aronimink is where Gary Player won the PGA Championship in 1962. The club will host the Women's PGA Championship in 2020 and the PGA Championship in 2027.
Next tournament: Tour Championship on Sept. 20-23.
(Fact box from Associated Press.)
The Cavaliers and guard David Nwaba are finally partners, now that the free agent and former Bull has signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cavaliers and guard David Nwaba are finally partners, now that the free agent and former Bull has signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
The Cavs and Nwaba agreed to join forces Aug. 1, but it was a peculiar set of circumstances. Why? Nwaba picked Cleveland without agreement on the length or value of the contract.
Nwaba signed with the Cavs Saturday and the team announced the signing. The 6-4 guard is 25. He averaged 7.9 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Bulls last season, and has played parts of two years with Chicago and the Lakers.
The Bulls rescinded their qualifying offer to Nwaba, making him a free agent. After a brief courtship with a few teams, he chose the Cavs. Undrafted out of Cal-Poly in 2016, Nwaba earned all-defense and all-rookie honors in the G League.
Nwaba's deal in Cleveland is a veteran's minimum salary.
The Cavs have 13 players under contract heading into training camp, which starts with media day on Sept. 24. They are waiting on restricted free agent Rodney Hood, who is looking at either accepting the Cavs' one-year, $3.4 million qualifying offer or trying to get them to come up from their three-year offer worth, according to sources, about $7 million annually.
Hood is said to be looking for something in the $9 million range annually.
Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor leads MLB leadoff hitters with 33 homers and 82 RBI.
TORONTO - The spring-training conversation between Francisco Lindor and manager Terry Francona was brief and went something like this:
Lindor: "Hey, Tito, I want to hit leadoff."
Francona: "It's still too early. Let's see how things shake out."
But when the Indians opened their spring-training schedule, more often than not, Lindor was leading off. Once the regular season started, well, the Indians played their 141st game of the season Friday night and Lindor was batting leadoff for the 138th time.
If you've followed the Indians with only a passing interest this season, you can probably recite the reasons why Francona likes Lindor at the top of the order. Here's a refresher course just in case you forgot: He's a switch hitter, who can run, steal a base, hit for average and provide instant offense because he can hit the ball out of the park.
One more thing: when the bottom of the order gets on base, it's nice to have Lindor at the top of the lineup waiting to drive them in.
Thursday night almost all those points were on display. Lindor homered in his first two at-bats. In the fifth, after Toronto rallied to take a 4-3 lead, Greg Allen and Brandon Guyer, the last two hitters in the lineup, reached on a single and double. Lindor followed with a broken-bat single to left for a 5-4 lead that turned into a 9-4 win.
On the night, he went 4-for-5 with three runs and four RBI.
Lindor has hit seven leadoff homers this year, tying Grady Sizemore's club record. Overall, he's hit 33 homers, tying his career high set last year. He leads all leadoff hitters with 33 homers and 82 RBI and is tied with Mookie Betts for the lead with 110 runs out of the top spot in the lineup. Overall, Lindor leads the big leagues with 117 runs.
"The most important stat is runs scored and he leads the league by a pretty good margin," said Francona.
Lindor does not strike one as the patient type. Too many fast-twitch muscles firing at once, which means the leadoff spot is ideal for him.
"I love the feeling of getting the game going," said Lindor. "Whether I get on base or I score. Whatever happens, if I get on base in the first inning and help us score, teams know, 'Here are the Indians. They're here to compete pitch after pitch after pitch.'"
This year the first inning has belonged to the Indians. They've outscored the opposition, 102-65, and Lindor is a big reason why. He's hitting .299 (35-for-117) with seven homers, eight RBI and 33 runs in the first inning.
But he is not alone.
No. 2 hitter Michael Brantley is hitting .347 (34-for-98) with 22 runs in the first. Jose Ramirez, the No. 3 hitter, has 13 homers, 34 RBI and 20 runs in the first.
Where is he? Brantley missed his second straight start Friday with a bruised left ankle. He fouled a pitch off his foot Wednesday against the Royals.
"I'm probably being overly protective," said Francona. "I feel it's the prudent thing to do. He'll be fine."
Brantley took batting practice on the field Friday.
Remember him? Francisco Mejia made his first start for the Padres on Thursday against Cincinnati. The switch-hitting catcher went 2-for-4 with two homers and four RBI.
The Indians traded Mejia to San Diego for closer Brad Hand and right-hander Adam Cimber on July 19. Hand has gone 8-for-8 in save situations for the Tribe.
"Good for him," said Francona. "That's great. When a kid leaves, you don't stop thinking they're a great kid or a good player. We knew to get Hand and Cimber we were going to have to give up something good. So unless we're playing them, I hope he rakes."
Finally: Andrew Miller (left shoulder), after throwing an encouraging bullpen session on Thursday, will throw again on Friday. If that goes well, he should be ready to face hitters in a simulated game situation before being activated.