Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports news from Wednesday, highlighted by the Tampa Bay Rays beating the Oakland Athletics on the road in front of a record crowd in the AL Wild Card Game.
We’ll also take a look at the St. Louis Blues’ special gift to their superfan Laila Anderson and the must-watch alley-oop off-the-backboard dunk by Zion Williamson.
All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this Thursday!
Tampa Bay Rays Triumph in Oakland, Beat Athletics in AL Wild Card Game to Advance to ALDS
The Tampa Bay Rays jumped on the Oakland Athletics right from the start and didn’t look back on Wednesday night, beating them 5-1 in the American League Wild Card Game.
The Rays got a lead-off home run from Yandy Díaz in the top of the 1st, which silenced the record Wild Card crowd of 54,005 at the Oakland Coliseum. Díaz, playing in only his second game since July, struck again in the third inning with a solo shot.
Avisaíl García and Tommy Pham joined the home run party, as the Rays hit four long balls on the night to power themselves to the win.
The Athletics, a team that won 97 games this season, have lost a staggering nine consecutive winner-take-all games, which is an MLB record. They’ve now been tripped up in the Wild Card Game three out of the last six seasons.
The Rays, the team with the lowest payroll in baseball, will now face the juggernaut Houston Astros, who won a league-best 107 games this season. Game 1 of the Rays-Astros ALDS Series will take place on Friday in Houston at 2:05 p.m. ET and can be seen on Fox Sports 1.
WHY WE LOVE SPORTS: St. Louis Blues Superfan Laila Anderson Receives Championship Ring
The St. Louis Blues raised their championship banner before their 2019-2020 season-opening game against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, but it was what they did on Tuesday that was even more special.
Forward Alexander Steen and defenseman Colton Parayko paid the Blues superfan Laila Anderson a surprise visit at her home and delivered an amazing gift.
Anderson, who is fighting a life-threatening immune disease disorder called HLH, was presented her very own championship ring from the Blues.
The Blues won their first-ever Stanley Cup last season, beating the Boston Bruins in seven games. Anderson was an inspiration to the team during their improbable run to the championship, and forged a special bond with the players. She would go on to attend several postseason games and celebrated on the ice in Boston after the Blues won the Cup in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“You know how much you mean to us, right, and what an inspiration you’ve been to so many people,” Steen told Anderson before he presented her the ring.
Anderson was overcome with emotion and joy once she realized what the gift was, as shown in the touching video shared by the Blues which you can see below.
Enjoy being a champion Laila. You deserve every moment. Thanks for inspiring us all!
FIVE FAST FACTS: Get to know the story of Laila Anderson
DON’T MISS THESE STORIES: Rounding Up the Top Headlines
- WATCH: Insane off-the-backboard alley-oop slam by Zion Williamson
- Patriots kicker Gostkowski placed on IR, to have season-ending hip surgery
- Dodgers to start Buehler over Kershaw in Game 1 vs. Nationals
- Mystics’ Delle Donne has small disk herniation, WNBA Finals status TBD
- Video of Saquon Barkley running provides optimism of early return
- Bill Bidwill, longtime Arizona Cardinals owner, dies at age 88
WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE SPORTS WORLD ON THURSDAY
NFL: Los Angeles Rams (3-1) at Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
A battle of 3-1 NFC West rivals takes place in prime-time tonight, as the Rams face the Seahawks. The Rams will be looking to bounce back from giving up 55 points to the Buccaneers this past Sunday.
WHEN: Tonight, 8:20 p.m. ET
NL Division Series: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
The NL East champion Braves take on the NL Central champion Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLDS. Dallas Keuchel will be on the mound for the Braves, while the Cardinals will send Miles Mikolas to the hill.
WHEN: Tonight, 5:02 p.m. ET
NL Division Series: Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers
The NL’s top regular season team, the Dodgers, will host the Nationals, who are fresh off their stunning comeback win in Tuesday’s Wild Card Game.
WHEN: Tonight, 8:37 p.m. ET
Missed Yesterday’s Roundup? Click here for it.