First Call: National broadcast jumps on ex-Pirates ALDS battle; James Neal stays hot | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: National broadcast jumps on ex-Pirates ALDS battle; James Neal stays hot

Tim Benz
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AP Photo
Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws to a Tampa Bay Rays batter during the first inning of Game 5 of a baseball American League Division Series in Houston, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

For our final “First Call” of the week, we recap the ex-Pirates battle in Game 5 of the ALDS. James Neal can’t be stopped in Edmonton. And a very happy anniversary for a Pitt football legend.


No contest

Gerrit Cole and the Houston Astros blew by Tyler Glasnow and the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS, winning 6-1.

So the Astros won the elimination game. They will now face the New York Yankees in the American League Championship series.

With Cole and Glasnow starting for their respective organizations, it must’ve been particularly painful for Pirates fans to watch what could’ve been between the two former teammates.

And the FS1 broadcast made sure to rub it in. At one point, Joe Girardi said, “They also had Charlie Morton. … Think about those three guys at the top of the rotation.”

Yeah.

We have. Pretty much every day. All year.

Also, when we think about it we know that, somehow, none of them ever would have been as good as they are now if they had stayed in Pittsburgh.

Cole was great again. After gathering 15 strikeouts in a Game 2 victory, he tallied 10 more over eight innings in Game 5. He allowed only two hits and a run. It was his second ALDS win.

But it was a struggle. By his standards. I guess.

Meanwhile, Glasnow had hard time. He yielded four first-inning runs, couldn’t finish the third and absorbed a second loss in the series.


As bad as it looks

Remember when New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez committed the butt fumble against the New England Patriots in 2012?

Well, this wasn’t as bad. But New York’s other team had an embarrassing moment against the Patriots on national television Thursday night, too.

Watch Giants punter Riley Dixon boot the ball directly into the back of the head of his own protector, Nate Stupar. WPIAL product Chase Winovich (Thomas Jefferson) was the one who ended up scoring off the block.

The Patriots won 35-14.


That’s dedication

Much has been made of instructions to Oklahoma players, students, cheerleaders and mascots to avoid doing the “horns down” logo to taunt the University of Texas.

So give this Sooner fan credit for creativity to get around that rule.

See, technically, she’s not doing the “horns down” motion with her fingers. She’s just using her fingers to show the logo.

Totally different.

Although, from the point of view of her own Oklahoma fandom, aren’t the horns up in her mouth most of the time?

I’ve over-thought this, haven’t I?


Happy anniversary

Thursday marked a milestone memory for a former Pitt Panthers legend.

It was the 15th anniversary of Larry Fitzgerald’s first touchdown as an Arizona Cardinal.

He caught it as a rookie from Josh McCown against the San Francisco 49ers in a 31-28 overtime loss.

Counting the playoffs, Fitzgerald has 127 more of those in his Hallof Fame-worthy career.


Get used to this

James Neal scored again Thursday night.

He had four goals on Tuesday. The former Penguin now has seven over the course of the first four games in 2019-20. That’s the most in the NHL over the season’s first full week.

This one was on the power play. Initially, it looked like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the marker to tie the game against New Jersey at 2-2.

But Neal was ruled to have touched the puck.

The Oilers went on to win 4-3 in overtime. Edmonton is now 4-0-0 with 18 goals in four games.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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