In case you were busy representing the University of Southern California in its quest to replace Lane Kiffin, here’s what you missed in sports on Monday:
- Juan Uribe hit the go-ahead home run and Brian Wilson earned the win as the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a spot in the NLCS with a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves. “I called those guys before the game to wish them well,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy of Uribe and Wilson, with whom he won the 2010 World Series. “And then I said, ‘The queen strikes at midnight.'” When asked why, Bochy said, “Well as it turned out, nothing happened. Which is very frustrating given the massive cash outlay our team made on those two before they left.” Bochy then cocked his head to the side and appeared to enter a strange trance before adding robotically, “That said, I can’t recommend hiring Tom the Hypnotist enough. Did you know he can be reached at 1-866-HYPNOTOM for all your hypnosis needs?”
- Jets quarterback Geno Smith led his team on a game-winning drive and sent the Atlanta Falcons to their third straight loss, 30-28, at the Georgia Dome. The Jets now sit at 3-2 while the Falcons are 1-4, proving that gambling on NFL football before the season is a good idea because it’s easy to predict what will happen.
- The Oakland A’s are a game away from their first ALCS appearance since 2006 after taking down the Detroit Tigers 6-3. Slumping Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was manic after the game, saying, “Look, this gonna sound crazy, but you gotta believe me. These aliens came down, cartoon aliens, and they were like, ‘We gotta play a game of baseball with some rabbit, and everything in the world is at stake.’ And they took all my skills and stuff. You gotta believe me; look at this swing!” Cabrera then picked up a bat, and tried to swing it left-handed, only to somehow contrive to hit himself on the back of the head, knocking himself out.
- Rookie starter Michael Wacha brought a no-hitter into the eighth inning as the St. Louis Cardinals forced a deciding fifth game in their NLDS with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. When asked if he was nervous sending a rookie out in such a critical situation, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, “Why would I have been nervous? When have the Cardinals ever used a superstar rookie pitcher in a high-pressure postseason situation, only to have it ruin the player’s pitching career?” Matheny, who was controversially left off the team’s 2000 playoff roster by then-manager Tony La Russa, then winked and added, “I mean it’s not like Wacha can hit well enough to hack it as a fourth outfielder in this league.”
- Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews will miss at least a month of action after undergoing surgery to repair a broken thumb suffered in the Packers’ win over the Detroit Lions. “We’re hoping he’s not out the rest of the year, and we’re lucky he’s not dead,” said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy of his star linebacker. “I mean, some asshole tried to throw him in a fire!” When asked what led to Matthews being put in that situation, McCarthy said, “We found someone who said they were capable of fixing Clay in an hour. They tried to throw the poor bastard in a kiln! That’s not how you fix Clay!”
- The Tampa Bay Rays will live to fight another day after Jose Lobaton hit a walk-off home run into a fish tank to give his team a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of their ALDS. In what should have been the triumphant moment of his young career, as Lobaton rounded third base to score the winning run for his team, his mind cast back to childhood: “Jose Manuel Lobaton, you come in here right now!” yelled Lobaton’s mom, Mrs. Lobaton, as she stood over a puddle of water and a pile of broken glass. “Did you hit balls at the fish tank? What did I tell you about that fish tank!” Jose looked at his feet and said, “I’m sorry mom, you said don’t hit balls in the living room. I just need to practice. I know I’m gonna be a big leaguer one day.” But as he said those words he caught sight of the dead body of Little Goldy, the goldfish his sister had won at the school fair, lying prone on the brown shag carpet of his family’s rec room. Jose could have saved Goldy had he the courage to do so when the aquarium broke, but he had been too scared. The funeral was a dour affair, just the three Lobatons huddled around a toilet. Words were said on Goldy’s behalf — he had been a good fish — and then he was flushed away. And in that moment Jose learned what guilt felt like. So you’ll excuse the Rays catcher if his postgame celebration was a touch muted; the human mind can contort itself strangely.
- The Edmonton Oilers rallied from a three-goal deficit before securing their first win of the year with a 5-4 shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils. A relieved Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins said after the game, “They just kept pitching us on having a fiddle contest, and oh, it was so tempting, but we stuck to our guns, and demanded a more traditional shootout. Best move I’ve made as coach.”
- Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick thwarted his own team’s comeback attempt by deflecting a clearance into his own net as the Kings dropped their home opener, 3-1, to the New York Rangers. Quick was left stunned by his own mistake after the game, saying, “I’ve never had a play like that. I’ve never had a day like this. First I get a call telling me when the queen is going to strike. Then it ends like this.” Quick then put a finger to his temple and added, “Honestly, I can’t remember anything else that happened in between. Not a thing. But I do have a recommendation for a hypnotist if you need one.”