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Drop the puck: What to know about the 2022-23 NHL season

The NHL is back to normal with the regular season stretching from October through the middle of April before the two-month thrill ride that is the chase for the Stanley Cup.

Over that time, teams are scheduled to play a total of 1,312 games over 189 days, starting with Nashville and San Jose facing off Friday in the first of two games in Prague.

Play gets underway in North America on Tuesday when Tampa Bay visits the New York Rangers and Los Angeles hosts Vegas. The Colorado Avalanche begin their title defense and raise the franchise’s third Stanley Cup banner Wednesday before opening against Chicago.

There are two outdoor games: the Winter Classic at Fenway Park on Jan. 2 between Boston and Pittsburgh and the Stadium Series in Raleigh between Carolina and Washington on Feb. 18. The regular season is set to end April 13.

AP Hockey Writers Larry Lage, John Wawrow and Stephen Whyno get you ready for the season with a rundown of what to know:

WHAT’S NEW

Ten different teams have a new coach, and eight have a new starting goaltender. There are also ads on some, but not all, jerseys for the first time with the NHL following the NBA in seeking a new revenue stream.

“Just the way things are going in this generation,” Montreal captain Nick Suzuki said.

Games in Europe aren’t new, but they’re back for the first time since 2019. A month after the Predators and Sharks in Czechia, Colorado and Columbus will play two games in Tampere, Finland, as part of the league’s Global Series.

Fans are also back, at least for now, in all 32 arenas across the U.S. and Canada in a welcome sign amid the pandemic.

ON THE HOT SEAT

Nearly a third of the league having a new coach significantly cuts down the list of who might get fired before the end of the season. But a few seats are still getting warmer.

Lage: New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff. He is entering his third season that he may not finish if the team doesn’t show signs of improvement after consecutive seventh-place finishes.

Wawrow: D.J. Smith in Ottawa, following an offseason in which the Senators grabbed Claude Giroux, Alex DeBrincat and Cam Talbot in hopes of making the playoffs. And yes, Ruff’s running out of time in New Jersey.

Whyno: It’s only the Kraken’s second season, but the leash could be short on Dave Hakstol in Seattle. Everyone’s on notice in Toronto, including Sheldon Keefe, but Maple Leafs' shortcomings are more likely to be a result of goaltending than coaching.

AWARD PICKS

Hart Trophy (MVP)

Lage: Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. It’s hard to pick against the 25-year-old superstar, who won the award twice in six years and finished second last year, third once and fifth two times.

Wawrow: This is lining up as being a potentially big year for the New York Rangers, and Artemi Panarin is in position to play a leading role.

Whyno: A defenseman wins it for the first time since 2000 with Cale Makar raising his level even higher following a Norris Trophy season capped by playoff MVP honors for leading Colorado to the Stanley Cup.

Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)

Lage: Carolina’s Frederik Andersen. The former Toronto goalie had a career-best 2.17 goals-against average last season, trailing only Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin, and ranked third in save percentage.

Wawrow: Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom finished second in the voting last year thanks, in part, to playing in the NHL’s weakest division. The Pacific might be a little more competitive this year, but Markstrom should win out.

Whyno: Darcy Kuemper has been statistically one of the best goaltenders in the NHL for several years and will get more credit for keeping that up with Washington than Colorado, playing 60-plus games and backstopping the Capitals to the playoffs.

Norris Trophy (top defenseman)

Lage: Makar becomes the first player to win the Norris consecutively since Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom's three in a row from 2006-08.

Wawrow: With so many elite players to choose from, why not stick with the front-runner: Makar edging out the Rangers' Adam Fox.

Whyno: Makar. Enough said.

Calder Trophy (top rookie)

Lage: Buffalo defenseman Owen Power. The No. 1 pick from the 2021 NHL draft will get plenty of ice time to show what he can do, giving him lots of chances to impress voters.

Wawrow: Power and Anaheim forward Mason McTavish both got a head start on their NHL careers to close last season. The slight edge goes to McTavish.

Whyno: Another head-start rookie, Seattle’s Matty Beniers, dazzles in the Pacific Northwest to beat out Power and McTavish.

WHO MAKES THE PLAYOFFS

Eastern Conference

Lage: Florida, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Carolina, N.Y. Rangers, Pittsburgh, Boston, N.Y. Islanders

Wawrow: Florida, Toronto, Tampa Bay, N.Y. Rangers, Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, Buffalo

Whyno: Atlantic: Tampa Bay, Florida, Boston, Carolina, Washington, N.Y. Rangers, Pittsburgh, Ottawa

Western Conference

Lage: Colorado, Minnesota, St. Louis, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Vegas, Dallas

Wawrow: Colorado, Minnesota, Nashville, Edmonton, Calgary, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Winnipeg

Whyno: Colorado, St. Louis, Minnesota, Edmonton, Vegas, Vancouver, Dallas, Nashville

WHO WINS THE CUP

Lage: Tampa Bay over Colorado, hoisting the Stanley Cup for the third time in four consecutive trips to the final, this one a rematch of last year with the opposite result.

Wawrow: Edmonton beats the Rangers.

Whyno: Thanks in part to new goalie Jack Campbell, Connor McDavid finally gets his championship with Edmonton, winning it all against Carolina in a rematch of the 2006 final.

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196547


Yuki Tsunoda back home for Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — There's no place like home for Yuki Tsunoda, Japan's only Formula One driver who will be an overwhelming fan favorite in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Tsunoda will be wearing a special helmet designed by a fan, he's all over social media because of a karaoke session in Japan with AlphaTauri teammate Pierre Gasly, and he has even taught defending Formula One champion Max Verstappen a few words of Japanese.

“Yuki is a faster driver than I am,” Verstappen says in Japanese in a funny Twitter post. It’s unclear if the Red Bull driver— who can clinch his second straight season title on Sunday — knew what he was saying.

Images of Tsunoda's face are also up on posters all around the track area.

“It's definitely cool,” Tsunoda said Thursday “Currently, I don't feel like it's pressure. It really makes me feel supported and gives me extra energy.”

Tsunoda isn't yet in Verstappen's class, but he's a rising talent and one of only two Asian drivers in F1 along with China's Zhou Guanyu. Tsunoda has earned 11 points this season — all in the first six races. Zhou has six points with Alfa Romeo,

Verstappen has 341 points, 104 ahead of Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, and 106 clear of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. Five races remain in the season, including the Japanese GP.

“I think, realistically that Max is going to be a champion — if not this weekend it's going to be very, very soon,” Leclerc said.

Tsunoda should have an advantage at Suzuka. He learned racing there as a graduate of the so-called Suzuka Racing School, and said he's driven on the track in central Japan since 2016.

“I drove here like more than 10,000 laps or whatever,” he said. “So I know a lot of tricks.”

He also acknowledged that those laps came in cars that were 40 seconds per lap slower than an F1 car.

Tsunoda described the cancellation of the Japanese GP last season, due to COVID-19, a low-point in his career. “I was quite devastated,” he said.

What a difference a year makes.

“Of course, it was my dream to become an F1 driver, but to be able to drive in front of the loud cheers of so many Japanese fans is a dream come true for me,” Tsunoda said.

“Four years ago I was watching the race from the second turn as a spectator at Suzuka,” he added. “I never thought that I would be able to participate four years later in a F1 race at Suzuka.”

Zhou — to match Tsunoda — may get a chance to perform at home next year. The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai is back on Formula One's planned schedule for 2023, but it's unclear if China's stringent COVID-zero policy will let it take place. The last race there was early in 2019.

“Of course, it’s great to see the Chinese Grand Prix back on the calendar,” Zhou said. “Still you know, we have to do a bit of quarantine back home when you go back. Hopefully the situation gets reduced and gets better.”

Both Zhou and Tusnoda have signed extensions with their teams for next season, reflecting the importance to sponsors and teams of having driver representatives two of Asia's most important countries.

“It’s great because — from my side — it just gets a lot of pressure off my shoulders and there’s one thing less to think of," Zhou said, echoing Tusnoda about the contract deal.

Both Red Bull and AlphaTauri run Honda-designed engines, making the race even more special. The Japanese Grand Prix is known officially as the “Honda Japanese Grand Prix" and Red Bull will have the Honda name back on the livery this weekend.

“It's great to see the full name back on the car,” said Verstappen, who recalled a family connection to the automaker. “It makes it extra special that they are back on the car just before their home Grand Prix.”

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AP video journalist Koji Ueda contributed to this report.

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LeBron in Vegas? He makes an expansion pitch to Adam Silver

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James came to Las Vegas for a preseason game. And a pitch.

James, who has spoken in the past about wanting to eventually own an NBA franchise — with Las Vegas on his mind — sent a crystal-clear message to Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday night, reminding him of his future plans.

“I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi right now, I believe. But he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes through from NBA players,” James said after the Lakers’ matchup with the Phoenix Suns. “So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”

Silver is indeed in Abu Dhabi, for preseason games this week between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. He has spoken of expansion plans many times in recent years, but there has also been a clear belief that the NBA won’t move forward on adding teams until the next Collective Bargaining Agreement and television deals are complete.

That said, Silver has called Las Vegas “a great sports market.” The NBA already has deep ties to Las Vegas, and holds its Summer League there.

“As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it,” Silver said earlier this year. “But one of the factors in expanding is the potential dilution of talent.”

James said in June on his show “The Shop: Uninterrupted” on HBO Sports that he wants to own a team and revealed his plans to have it in Las Vegas, which has long been mentioned as a possible expansion site.

Fans in Las Vegas gave James loud ovations Wednesday night, and he responded by scoring 23 points in 18 minutes. He appeared in only the first half, making 8 of his 11 shots.

He looked right at home. And if Las Vegas becomes a business home one day, James clearly wouldn’t mind.

“It’s the best fan base in the world and I would love to bring a team here at some point,” James said. “That would be amazing.”

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198929


Stars sign 41-goal scorer Robertson to $31M, 4-year deal

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Jason Robertson has signed a $31 million, four-year contract with the Dallas Stars after the young 40-goal scorer missed the first two weeks of training camp.

The Stars announced the deal late Wednesday night, after their exhibition game in Denver, only a week before the regular season opener Oct. 13 at Nashville.

Robertson turned 23 soon after the end of last season, when the left wing had 41 goals and 38 assists for 79 points in his 74 games. His 13 power-play goals led the team. Robertson joined Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as the only 40-goal scorers since the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993.

“Jason is an integral part of the present and future of our team and we’re thrilled to have him for the next four years,” general manager Jim Nill said.

A second-round draft pick (39th overall) by the Stars in 2017, Robertson has 125 points (58 goals, 67 assists) in his 128 NHL games. The 6-foot-3 California native had one goal and three assists in his first postseason action last season, when Dallas lost its first-round playoff series in seven games against Calgary.

“Since he was drafted by our organization, he has worked tirelessly to become a better player every day. His knack for scoring goals and seeing plays develop on the ice are just some of the tremendous assets that he brings to our team,” Nill said. “He is one of the best young players in the NHL, and we look forward to seeing him continue to progress.”

Robertson had the second-highest point total for a Stars rookie in 2020-21, when he had 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) in his 51 games.

Before the start of this season's camp, new coach Pete DeBoer said he looked forward to coaching Robertson.

“Listen, I laid awake at night with the excitement of coaching Jason Robertson, 40-plus goals, but he’s not here," DeBoer said then. "So, you know, until he gets here, I can’t spend any energy on that.”

Robertson will finally be there now.

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Pettersson scores twice, Canucks edge Oilers 5-4 for first win of the pre-season

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — It wasn't perfect but head coach Bruce Boudreau saw his Vancouver Canucks take a step in the right direction on Wednesday. 

After starting the pre-season 0-3-2, the Canucks finally posted a win, downing the Edmonton Oilers 5-4.

“It’s not complete yet," Boudreau said of Vancouver's performance. "There was a lot of scrambly plays in our own zone which we really have to clean up. And they will be cleaned up. But I saw a lot better things going on tonight with the defence and with the forwards coming in to support them.”

Elias Pettersson scored twice for the Canucks (1-3-2) while Conor Garland added a goal and an assist. Nils Hoglander and Tanner Pearson also found the back of the net, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Bo Horvat and Quinn Hughes each contributed a pair of helpers. 

“We know how we started our pre-season, and we talked about it, that we need to put (a) good effort for 60 minutes," Pettersson said. "And I think we did that. Of course, there’s stuff we can work on and get better at. But overall, we’re happy with our game.”

Connor McDavid led the Oilers (4-3-0), scoring and notching an assist, while Zach Hyman and James Hamblin added short-handed goals. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the visitors and Markus Neimelainen recorded a pair of assists.

Canucks netminder Stuart Martin stopped 18-of-22 shots and Stuart Skinner made 26 saves for the Oilers.

“That was a competitive game. We were in it right until the last second," said Edmonton head coach Jay Woodcroft. "There were some good moments for us.” 

Special teams on both sides of the puck got ample work in on Wednesday. 

The Canucks went 3 for 8 with the man advantage but also gave up a pair of short-handed goals. Edmonton was 0 for 2 on the power play.

“I thought our penalty was working hard, did some good things," Woodcroft said. "But when you give their skill that much time … in the end, it’s asking too much, it’s a bridge too far.”

Vancouver's power play finally began clicking in the third. 

Pettersson put away his second goal of the night 9:45 into the period after Hyman was sent to the box for interference. 

The final frame got off to a frantic start with a plethora of penalties and goals at both ends of the ice. 

Nugent-Hopkins levelled the score 6:16 into the third on a strange play. The veteran forward missed his first chance but still managed to get a shot off from his knees, and the puck sailed through traffic and past Martin to make it 4-4. 

Vancouver took a 4-3 lead with a power-play tally minutes earlier when Pettersson sent a one-timer past Skinner for his first goal of the night.

“When Petey gets that shot going, it’s pretty dangerous and the power play can be dangerous," Boudreau said. "But in this league, it's such an even league that the power play’s usually the difference maker. So if our power play scored one more goal than theirs, then I think that was the difference.”

Each side was down to four men when Garland forced a turnover at Vancouver's blue line earlier in the third. The winger streaked into Edmonton territory, putting a shot past Skinner to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead at the 1:52 mark.

The Oilers responded just 28 seconds later.

McDavid charged down the ice and slid a pass to Hamblin down low. The winger sent a backhanded shot past Martin to even the score at 3-3.

A scary play left Hoglander in a heap behind the Oilers' net in the second period. 

The Swedish winger went down hard after being clotheslined by defenceman Darnell Nurse. Hoglander lay on the ice for a few moments before a trainer came to check on him, and he eventually skated off on his own, holding a towel to his face. 

Hoglander missed the rest of the second but returned to start the third. Nurse was handed a double-minor for high-sticking on the play. 

It was Edmonton that found the back of the net on the Canucks' man advantage.

Hyman won a foot race to the puck in the Oilers' zone and popped a shot over Martin's pads for a short-handed goal that gave his side a 2-1 lead. 

The advantage was short-lived.

Pearson scored 67 seconds later, tipping in Hughes' blast from the blue line.

The Oilers levelled the score midway through the second thanks to their captain. 

Nurse sliced McDavid a pass and the superstar drove in alone, turning aside Hughes, and sending a shot sailing over Martin's shoulder 7:05 into the middle frame. 

“You always get the surprise of how fast he is," Pettersson said of McDavid. "But I like to play against (high-skill players). I mean, he's one of the best in the world, if not the best. So I like the challenge playing against him and I’m happy we got the win.”

The Canucks opened the scoring 17:14 into the game seconds after the Oilers killed off a penalty.

Ekman-Larsson rang a shot off the post and Hoglander, stationed at the side of the net, withstood some pressure to get the rebound and shovelled it in behind Skinner. His second goal of the pre-season put Vancouver up 1-0. 

Both sides will wrap their pre-season campaigns on Friday, with the Canucks hosting the Arizona Coyotes and the Oilers entertaining the Seattle Kraken in Edmonton. 

The Canucks and Oilers will face off in Edmonton to open the regular season on Oct. 12.

NOTES: Wednesday's game was played at a sold-out Abbotsford Centre, the home of Vancouver's American Hockey League affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. … Vancouver's victory came after the Oilers trounced the Canucks 7-2 in Edmonton on Monday. … The hometown crowd had little love for Edmonton winger Jake Virtanen. The 26-year-old hails from Abbotsford and spent six seasons playing for the Canucks but was booed several times throughout the game. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2022.



Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny's contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and a lackluster group of veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing on-field product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. He was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

"Managing the Royals has been a true privilege,” Matheny said in a statement. “I’m thankful to so many, primarily Dayton Moore, and the coaches and players I’ve worked with. I would like to thank Mr. John Sherman and the ownership group for the opportunity to manage their team, and everyone involved in this great organization.

"I came to the Royals knowing it was an organization of excellence and care, and was shown that care every single day. Royals fans should be excited about this group of players, and I look forward to watching them continue to grow.”

Matheny spent parts of seven seasons managing the St. Louis Cardinals, finishing each with a winning record and winning the National League pennant in 2013. But after his firing midway through 2018, he was hired by the Royals in an advisory role, and then tapped to succeed longtime manager Ned Yost when he retired before the 2020 season.

Put in charge of a rebuild in the works, Matheny went 26-34 during a COVID-19-shortened first season, then appeared to show progress last season, when the Royals ushered forward a slew of young prospects and finished 74-88.

The expectation was another step forward this season, but the Royals instead spent September fighting off 100 losses.

Matheny finished 165-219 during his time with the Royals, though the number that perhaps is more important to the future of the club is 29 — the number of players that made their Major League debut during his tenure.

"We are grateful to Mike for leading us through some unusual times these last three seasons,” Picollo said in a statement. “He met those challenges head on and helped us move forward in a positive manner. We thank him for his leadership and know his influence will have a positive impact moving forward.”

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia's Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto's Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers' Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa left the team on Aug. 30 for medical tests and said Monday he will not return for 2023.

In addition, Miami's Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.

While he was well-liked in the Kansas City clubhouse, it seemed unlikely Matheny would be granted another season when Moore was fired last month. Sherman indicated at the time the change in the leadership of the baseball operations department was only the start of what was expected to be widespread shifts throughout the organization.

The Royals have struggled for years to develop pitching — they had the fourth-worst ERA and the worst WHIP by far of any staff in the majors this season. And the continued struggles by their latest wave of young arms was a big reason for letting go of Eldred, the pitching coach since 2018.

“The bottom line here is it's time for change,” Sherman said last month. “There is a gap right now between where we are and where we expected to be. ... I felt like in 2021 we did make progress, and in 2022, that's not how I feel. There have been some bright spots — I love seeing the young players — but in 2022, we are not where we expected to be.”

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Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

T?ROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s T?roa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it's largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders.

The ski area was forced to close for the season this week, three weeks earlier than planned.

Rain repeatedly washed away the snow, and the ski area's 50 snowmaking machines proved no match against balmy temperatures. Climate change appears to be a significant factor, after New Zealand experienced its warmest winter on record — for the third year in a row.

The disastrous snow season comes after the previous two seasons were severely disrupted by COVID-19, leaving T?roa and its sister ski area Whakapapa on the brink of bankruptcy.

The two ski areas, which are among New Zealand’s largest, are owned by the same company and located on opposite sides of Mount Ruapehu. Should they be forced to close permanently, it would leave North Island, where more than three-quarters of the nation’s 5 million people live, without any major ski areas.

Even in New Zealand’s cooler South Island, climate change is raising questions about the future of skiing and snowboarding. The sports have long been important for attracting foreign tourist dollars to New Zealand and form part of the nation’s identity as an outdoor adventure destination.

At T?roa this season, workers in snow-grooming machines spent thousands of hours pushing what snow there was onto trails, allowing expert skiers and snowboarders to take the chairlifts to the top of the ski area for limited runs. But there was little on offer for beginners or intermediates.

Sam Yates, 21, this year landed his dream job as a ski instructor at T?roa. But he estimates he managed to teach people on only about a dozen days between frequent mountain closures. On some days when T?roa was closed, he was asked to pour coffees in the cafeteria at Whakapapa. In mid-August, he was one of about 135 workers — one-third of the staff at the two ski areas — who were laid off.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the weather,” Yates said. “You move down here and sacrifice six months of your life to commit to skiing. When you do that and then you can’t ski, it’s quite disheartening and yeah, heartbreaking.”

With the snow melting away and his job gone, Yates decided to pack up his van and move to South Island, where the skiing has been better. Then he hopes to follow the winter to Canada.

Johan Bergman, the ski area manager at T?roa, said it had been a tough season.

“We’ve had some pretty decent snowfalls, but they’ve generally been followed by rain events, which has washed a lot of the snow away,” he said. “And it’s been a bit warm this winter, too, over the whole country, so we’re really lacking that snow this year.”

He looked behind him at the barren mountain.

“This should be white at the moment,” he said.

Bergman said that in his view, climate change is a background factor but this season has been more a case of bad luck. And he’s bullish on the sport’s future at Ruapehu.

“I always see skiing up here in the North Island of New Zealand,” he said.

But the poor season is putting severe financial pressure on Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, the company which owns both ski areas. Set up 70 years ago by ski enthusiasts, the company operates as a nonprofit. It's exempt from paying company tax and is required to put any profits back into enhancing the ski areas.

But there are no profits. Last year the company lost nearly 6 million New Zealand dollars ($3.4 million) and its total debt climbed to over NZ$30 million. The company has been seeking a major new investor, so far without success.

Even before this year’s barren snow season, the company’s auditors noted there was significant doubt about whether the company could continue to stay afloat. Chief Executive Jono Dean this week did not immediately respond to written questions about the company’s future.

The company seems to have underestimated the threat posed by global warming. It doesn’t mention climate change once in its most recent 54-page annual report, instead listing the major threats to its business as further COVID-19 disruptions and borrowing restrictions.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research found New Zealand’s average winter temperature hit a new a record this year of almost 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit). It was also the wettest winter on record. The agency concluded that climate change was a major contributor to both the extra warmth and the rain.

Professor James Renwick, a climate scientist at the Victoria University of Wellington, said that as temperatures increase in New Zealand, skiing will become more untenable.

“I’ve told the North Island ski operators more than once that things are going to become marginal fairly quickly,” Renwick said.

He said there would always be changes from season to season but the trend was for warmer winters. He said it was hard to predict how long any individual ski area could survive.

“The further south you are and the higher up the mountains you are, the colder it is, so the longer you can keep going,” he said.

Some ski areas may even benefit, at least initially, from the extra precipitation driven by climate change if it’s cold enough to fall as snow, Renwick added.

Ski areas in some countries have increased revenues by opening their chairlifts to mountain bikers during the summer. But the ski areas on Mount Ruapehu can't because they are in a national park and don't have permission.

Mount Ruapehu is stunning, an active volcano that film director Peter Jackson used as a backdrop in “The Lord of the Rings” movies. The fertile volcanic soil at its base has allowed market gardening to flourish, including in the village of Ohakune, which is affectionately known as the nation’s carrot capital.

But Ohakune also relies on the ski business.

Phil Jackson, who built the Hobbit Motorlodge in Ohakune nearly 40 years ago, said this year has been the worst ski season since 1983, when the mountain was covered in ice. Normally he would ski at T?roa, he said, but this year his only skiing has been four days in the South Island. And business at his motor lodge has been terrible.

“A shocker,” Jackson said. “Two years of COVID and now another disaster ski season. We’ll survive, but there will be people who won’t be able to survive.”

Others are hoping increased summer activity might make up for the skiing shortfall.

Ben Wiggins, the managing director of the TCB Ski, Board and Bike shop, said that while fewer people were coming to Ohakune for skiing and snowboarding, they’ve seen more visitors who want to go golfing, fishing, camping and mountain biking.

“The facilities down here like bars, cafes and restaurants are beautiful, and everybody loves the little town,” he said.

Nearby at the Osteria restaurant, manager Teresa Mochan said diner numbers were lower this year from pre-COVID levels but she was still busy because staff were hard to find.

“There are people that are a little bit down, I guess, because they haven’t been able to go skiing,” she said.

But Mochan said she loves living in Ohakune and plans to stay.

“Fingers crossed that next year we bounce back and have an amazing winter season and the town can really start to show its full potential again,” she said.

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See more AP Asia-Pacific coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific



Higuain scores 2 goals to help Miami clinch playoff spot

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Gonzalo Higuain scored two goals and Inter Miami clinched a playoff spot with a 4-1 victory over Orlando City on Wednesday night.

Higuain gave Miami a 2-0 lead in the 38th minute and his penalty kick in the 52nd made it 3-0.

Miami (14-13-6) also got goals from Ariel Lassiter and Leonardo Campana.

Ercan Kara scored the lone goal for Orlando (13-14-6) to cap the scoring in the 71st minute.

Both teams play Sunday, with Miami hosting CF Montreal while Orlando hosts the Columbus Crew.

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The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.



Jets dominate Flames behind Rittich's 37 saves, four second-period goals in 5-0 win

WINNIPEG — David Rittich was glad he delivered a shutout for his new Winnipeg Jets team, but any kind of victory would have felt good.

Rittich made 37 saves and Kyle Connor scored two of Winnipeg's four second-period goals as the Jets defeated the Calgary Flames 5-0 in pre-season action Wednesday.

“Obviously, it’s great if you perform well,” Rittich said. “If you get saves and you get a shutout it’s nice. I don’t really care.

“Most important thing for me is we got the win. That’s what matters.”

Rittich used to play for the Flames, signing as a free agent with the club in 2016. He was traded to Toronto in April 2021 and signed as a free agent with Nashville three months later. The Jets signed him this past summer.

“It’s been good so far here with (the) new team,” Rittich said. “Obviously new faces, new system, but we’ve gotta learn that. It’s been good so far.

“I’m feeling great. It’s still pre-season, but we’ll see how it goes.”

Connor and Mark Scheifele each had power-play goals 44 seconds apart to start the middle period. Dominic Toninato also scored during the 20-minute attack.

Nikolaj Ehlers added a power-play goal in the third period and contributed a pair of assists. Sam Gagner also recorded two assists.

Dan Vladar stopped 13-of-15 shots for Calgary before being replaced by Dustin Wolf midway through the second period. Wolf made nine saves.

The Flames went 0-for-6 on the power play while the Jets were 3-for-5.

“Our power play sucked and theirs was really good, and our penalty kill sucked, too,” said Calgary coach Darryl Sutter.

Ehlers liked the way he and his new linemates, Connor and Scheifele, also clicked on the power play.

“You try to play the same way on (the) power play. You don’t want to move it slow just because you have one more guy on the ice,” Ehlers said. “And I think we did that pretty well tonight. We were moving the puck and that way plays open up. That’s something we got to continue.” 

Calgary iced a squad close to its projected regular-season roster, including new acquisitions Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri, but sat starting goalie Jacob Markstrom.

Winnipeg didn't play forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois and Blake Wheeler, defencemen Nate Schmidt and Brenden Dillon, as well as starting goalie Connor Hellebuyck.

The Flames had a three-on-one chance early in the first period, but couldn't beat Rittich. Vladar turned aside a Connor breakaway shot late in the period.

Calgary outshot Winnipeg 10-8 in the opening frame.

Connor began the second-period barrage with a power-play goal at 8:28, followed by Scheifele's man-advantage marker at 9:12 that sent Vladar to the bench and bumped the lead to 2-0.

Toninato got the puck after stepping out of the penalty box, went in alone on Wolf and beat him close in after a little body move at 12:53.

“We just gave too many grade A chances to high-skilled players,” Flames forward Blake Coleman said. “It's not fair to the goalies to be judged on those.”

A clearing attempt by Calgary's Noah Hanifin was intercepted by Ehlers, who passed the puck to Connor for his second goal of the game at 18:51 that made it 4-0.

“That was pretty much all on me there on that goal,” Hanifin said. “Just got to realize the pressure that's coming.”

Winnipeg went up 5-0 when Gagner sent a pass to the circle for Ehlers, who fired a power-play blast by Wolf at 10:47.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2022.



James scores 23 points, but not enough as Suns defeat Lakers

Embiid, Harden begin as 76ers top Cavs in Mitchell's debut

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James flashed his midseason form Wednesday night, scoring 23 points in 18 minutes before the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Lakers 112-115.

James, who missed all seven of his shots in Los Angeles’ loss to Sacramento on Monday, was much more aggressive with the Lakers playing without Anthony Davis. Starting his 20th NBA season, James was 8 of 11 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range while playing only the first half.

Devin Booker led the Suns with 22 points on 7-of-20 shooting. Landry Shamet scored 21 points, going 5 of 7 on 3-pointers. Chris Paul finished with 13 points and 10 assists in 26 minutes. Jock Landale had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Suns, who were 14 of 42 from outside the arc.

Dario Saric scored 12 points, going 3 of 4 on free throws in the final 41 seconds.

Kendrick Nunn had 21 points for the Lakers on 8-of-13 shooting, going 4 of 7 from 3-point range. Russell Westbrook had 12 points and six rebounds, while Dwayne Bacon had 11 points for the Lakers. Davis was rested with lower back tightness.

The Suns, coming off a 134-124 loss to the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian National Basketball League, trailed by as many as 13 in the first half as James flourished. That was enough for a 69-62 Los Angeles lead.

But the Los Angeles bench couldn’t hold the advantage, with the Suns' reserves holding a 28-20 advantage in the fourth.

TWO CAMs OUT

Cameron Payne and Cam Johnson of the Suns both left the game with hand injuries, Payne with a right finger sprain and Johnson with a right thumb sprain.

SIXERS 113; CAVALIERS 112

Joel Embiid and James Harden were done with their preseason debuts long before Montrezl Harrell scored the go-ahead basket with 26 seconds left, and Philadelphia beat Cleveland in Donovan Mitchell's first game with the Cavaliers.

Embiid had 12 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes before taking a seat after halftime. Harden played 19 minutes and scored nine points, going 3 of 9 from the field but adding five assists.

Tyrese Maxey, who had 20 points in Monday’s win over the Nets, continued his good start to the preseason, leading Philadelphia with 21 points in the first half. He went 9 of 11, making all three of his 3-pointers. Harrell, who signed a two-year contract with Philadelphia during the offseason, scored 13 points.

Mitchell scored 16 points in his first game since being traded from Utah, while Darius Garland and Raul Neto each had 12. Dean Wade and Sharife Cooper finished with 11 points apiece.

Cleveland played without second-year big man Evan Mobley, who is expected to be out a couple of weeks with a right ankle sprain suffered this week.

The Cavaliers got an optimistic glimpse of the backcourt tandem of Mitchell with Garland in the first half. Mitchell was 6 of 9 for the game, including 3 of 4 from outside the arc to go with five assists. Garland, meanwhile, made 4 of 7 shots and handed out four assists.

Shake Milton had 12 points for Philadelphia, while De’Anthony Melton, picked up from Memphis in a draft night trade, had 11 points, four rebounds and three assists.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers was absent from the game with an undisclosed illness. Assistant coach Dave Joerger, who has head coaching experience with the Grizzlies and the Kings, ran the club.

PACERS 122; HORNETS 97

Aaron Nesmith scored 16 points, rookie Benedict Mathurin, the No. 6 pick in the draft from Arizona, added 15 and Indiana beat Charlotte.

Isaiah Jackson finished with 13 points for the Hornets, while Myles Turner and Chris Duarte contributed 12 points apiece. Mathurin was 5 of 10 from the field, despite missing all four of his 3-pointers over 19 minutes.

Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 18 points and P.J. Washington finished with 13. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 11 points and nine rebounds, while LeMelo Ball scored 12 points and handed out seven assists.

RAPTORS 125; CELTICS 119, OT

Pascal Siakam and Precious Achiuwa scored 13 points apiece and Toronto used an early burst in overtime to beat Boston.

Josh Jackson also had 13 points for the Raptors. Siakam recorded six rebounds and Achiuwa seven boards as the Raptors improved to 2-0 in the preseason.

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 23 points and Sam Hauser had 22, connecting on 8 of 12 shots, including 5 of 8 from outside the arc. Jayson Tatum finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for Boston, now 1-1 in the preseason.

Payton Pritchard scored 17 points and had five assists

The teams were tied at 110 at the end of regulation after Jeff Dowtin (10 points) converted a 9-footer for the Raptors. Pritchard’s 18-footer was off the mark as time in regulation ran out, sending the game to the extra period.

The Raptors outscored the Celtics 11-4 to open overtime and never relinquished the lead.

MAVERICKS 98; THUNDER 96

Jaden Hardy scored 21 points, Christian Wood finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Dallas used a fourth-quarter rally to beat Oklahoma City.

Dwight Powell finished with 13 points and five rebounds for the Mavericks in their opening game of the preseason.

Josh Giddey led the Thunder with 13 points, shooting 6 for 10. Rookie Jalen Williams, the 12th overall pick out of Santa Clara, finished with 10 points.



Mets prep for playoffs with 9-2 rout of Nationals

NEW YORK (AP) — After wrapping up a 101-win season with an easy romp, the New York Mets know their next challenge will be much tougher.

Francisco Lindor and the Mets geared up for the playoffs with a 9-2 rout of the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, completing a fantastic regular season with the second-most victories in franchise history.

Up next is a best-of-three wild-card series at home against San Diego beginning Friday night. Max Scherzer is scheduled to start the opener for New York versus Yu Darvish.

“Friday’s going to be kind of a different beast. It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be rocking,” Jeff McNeil said. “We’ve got to be ready to play. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and looking forward to it.”

New York went 2-4 this year versus the Padres, who won two of three at Citi Field in July.

“We’re taking momentum into this weekend,” winning pitcher Trevor Williams said.

McNeil won the major league batting crown without taking a swing, and New York (101-61) finished with the same record as the Atlanta Braves atop the NL East. The defending World Series champions clinched the division title Tuesday because they held the season-series tiebreaker after going 10-9 against the Mets.

The only Mets team to win more regular-season games was the 1986 World Series champions at 108-54.

Lindor hit a three-run double to make it 6-0 in the second inning. He left the field to a warm ovation from fans in the eighth.

“He’s been a rock,” manager Buck Showalter said.

Mark Canha launched a three-run homer in the first, and slumping James McCann had three hits, including a three-run homer in the third, as the Mets completed a three-game sweep before heading into the postseason.

“Now, this is the best time of the year,” Lindor said. “I want to give them a lot to cheer.”

Even speedy Terrance Gore got in on the fun with a single for his first major league hit since July 4, 2019, with Kansas City. He's won two World Series rings since then as a pinch-runner deluxe with the Dodgers and Braves.

Williams (3-5) entered in relief to start the second and allowed two runs in six solid innings with six strikeouts and no walks.

After the first pitch was delayed nearly two hours by rain, Washington starter Erick Fedde (6-13) gave up nine hits and a career-high nine runs in 2 1/3 innings.

“It felt like it happened pretty quick," Fedde said. "I’m bummed that I didn’t execute pitches a little better and get some outs, and especially eat some innings today after a long day yesterday. Not a lot went right today.”

Alex Call hit a two-run homer for Washington, and catcher Israel Pineda singled for his first major league hit.

It was a fitting finish for the rebuilding Nationals, who had the worst record in the majors at 55-107 and will get the No. 1 pick in the amateur draft next year. They were 65-97 last season.

“Our season’s over right now, for the players. But the work is just beginning for myself, (general manager Mike Rizzo) and the front office," manager Dave Martinez said. "We’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m looking forward to this winter, getting things done, and then getting ready for spring training.”

FOR THE CROWN

Nursing a four-point lead in the big league batting race, McNeil was not in the starting lineup. He entered on defense in the eighth but did not come to the plate and finished with a .326 average that was the highest in the majors — one point ahead of Freddie Freeman after the Los Angeles Dodgers star went 3 for 4.

“It just means a lot,” McNeil said. “It's always better to do it on a good team.”

Mets regulars Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo and Eduardo Escobar also were rested.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: SS CJ Abrams had an MRI on the left shoulder he hurt diving for a ball. The team was still awaiting results before the game. ... CF Victor Robles (left calf) sat out.

Mets: RHP Mychal Givens was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list and made his first major league start after 418 relief appearances. Givens threw a scoreless first inning and is under consideration for the postseason roster, Showalter said. ... RHP Tylor Megill was placed on the IL without an injury designation, an indication the issue could be related to COVID-19. ... All-Star RF Starling Marte (broken right middle finger) took fungos in the outfield but still can't throw or swing comfortably. It doesn't sound promising that he'd be ready for the Padres series.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Play their first spring training game next year Feb. 25 against St. Louis and open the regular season at home March 30 vs. Atlanta.

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Dodgers finish with 111 wins, best in NL since 1906 Cubs

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers finished with their 111th victory to become the National League’s winningest team in more than a century, and Clayton Kershaw tuned up for the postseason with nine strikeouts in beating the Colorado Rockies 6-1 on Wednesday.

Trea Turner hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning for the NL West champions, who finished 111-51 to become the NL’s winningest team since the 1906 Chicago Cubs went 116-36.

Kershaw (12-3) reached 2,807 career strikeouts. He allowed one run and one hit in five innings and walked one as the Dodgers ended a three-game skid.

The Dodgers open the Division Series on Oct. 11 against the New York Mets or San Diego.

The Rockies were held to two hits for the fourth time this season and finished 68-94, equaling their most losses since 2015.

Freddie Freeman doubled and homered in his first two at-bats, but a flyout to the warning track in center field in the fifth ended his hopes of winning the NL batting title. Freeman hit .325 for the season; Jeff McNeil of the New York Mets finished at .326 after sitting Wednesday.

Turner’s three-run shot to right-center chased Chad Smith (0-1) and gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead.

ATHLETICS 3, ANGELS 2

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Vogt homered in the final at-bat of his career and scored the first run on a sacrifice fly after Shohei Ohtani pitched no-hit ball into the fifth, and Oakland beat Los Angeles.

Ohtani (15-9) finished with a 2.33 ERA and 219 strikeouts in 166 innings, and he hit .273 with 34 homers and 95 RBIs. He became the first player to qualify as a batter and a pitcher since rules for qualification were adopted in 1950.

Mike Trout hit his 40th home run with two outs in the eighth, a 452-foot drive. Trout reached 40 homers for the third time and first since hitting a career-best 45 in his 2019 AL MVP season.

Los Angeles (73-89) finished the year with a third straight loss following a season-best seven-game winning streak.

Ken Waldichuk (2-2) struck out four and allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings in his seventh career start. Kirby Snead finished for his first career save. Oakland finished an AL-worst 60-102.

TWINS 10, WHITE SOX 1

CHICAGO (AP) — Luis Arraez won the AL batting title, hitting a third-inning double after walking twice to finish the season at .316, and Minnesota rolled past Chicago.

Arraez was all but assured of topping the Yankees’ Aaron Judge for the batting crown when the day began.

Gary Sanchez and Jermaine Palacios homered during a six-run first inning for Minnesota, which snapped a four-game skid. The Twins finished at 78-84, a six-game improvement over 2021.

The White Sox (81-81), last year’s AL Central champions, had their three-game winning streak snapped and finished 12 games worse than their 2021 record.

Sanchez hit his 16th homer, a three-run shot, off Chicago starter Davis Martin (3-6), and he added an RBI double during a three-run second. Martin was charged with nine runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Louie Varland (1-2) allowed four hits in five scoreless innings in his fifth major league start.

Cole Sands worked the last four innings for his first save.

MARINERS 5, TIGERS 4

SEATTLE (AP) — Julio Rodríguez put an exclamation point on his Rookie of the Year candidacy with his 28th home run, Ty France hit a game-ending single and Seattle beat Detroit.

Rodríguez set a franchise record with his sixth leadoff homer this season and finished off his rookie campaign hitting .284 with 25 doubles, 75 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.

Mitch Haniger and Luis Torrens each it a two-run homer for the Mariners.

Seattle won it in the ninth after Gregory Soto (2-11) walked Curt Casali and his throwing error on J.P. Crawford’s grounder moved Casali into scoring position. Jarred Kelenic walked and France chopped a single down the right-field line.

Erik Swanson (3-2) struck out a pair in the ninth.

Seattle finished 90-72. Detroit went 66-96.

RANGERS 4, YANKEES 2

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Aaron Judge was out of the lineup a day after hitting his American League record 62nd homer, and New York lost its regular-season finale to Texas.

The AL East champion Yankees (99-63) missed a chance to reach 100 wins for the 22nd time. They get an extended break before opening the AL Division Series at home on Tuesday.

Charlie Culberson and Jonah Heim homered for the Rangers (68-94), who wrapped up their sixth consecutive losing season.

Rangers rookie Glenn Otto (7-10) struck out five and walked two while allowing two runs and four hits over six innings. Matt Moore, the third Texas reliever, worked the ninth for his fifth save in six chances.

New York starter Domingo Germán (2-5) gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings.

METS 9, NATIONALS 2

NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Lindor and New York geared up for the playoffs by routing Washington, completing a fantastic regular season with the second-most wins in franchise history.

Jeff McNeil won the major league batting crown without taking a plate appearance, and New York (101-61) finished with the same record as Atlanta atop the NL East — although the Braves clinched the division title Tuesday because they already held the season-series tiebreaker.

Next up for New York is a best-of-three wild-card series at home against San Diego beginning Friday night.

Lindor hit a three-run double to make it 6-0 in the second inning. Mark Canha launched a three-run homer in the first, and slumping James McCann had three hits, including a three-run homer in the third.

Washington starter Erick Fedde (6-13) gave up nine runs and nine hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Trevor Williams (3-5) entered in relief to start the second and allowed two runs in six solid innings for the Mets.

GUARDIANS 9, ROYALS 2

CLEVELAND (AP) -- José Ramirez drove in two runs and had four hits, Aaron Civale pitched six solid innings and AL Central champion Cleveland beat Kansas City.

Hours after the game, the Royals fired manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred. Matheny became the fifth big league manager fired this year.

Cleveland (92-70) opens the wild-card round when it hosts Tampa Bay on Friday.

Ramirez had run-scoring singles in the second and sixth and added a double in the eighth.

Civale (5-6) struck out nine and gave up solo homers to Vinnie Pasquantino and Kyle Isbel.

Kansas City starter Jonathan Heasley (4-10) allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings. The Royals (65-97) finished last in the AL Central.

ORIOLES 5, BLUE JAYS 4, GAME 1

BLUE JAYS 5, ORIOLES 1, GAME 2

BALTIMORE (AP) — Otto Lopez hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh inning, and Toronto beat Baltimore to split a doubleheader.

Terrin Vavra hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to lift the Orioles in the opener.

Lopez had three hits in the opener and two more in the second game. The Blue Jays, who entered the day having already clinched the top wild card in the American League, finished the regular season 92-70.

Baltimore went 83-79, a remarkable 31-game improvement from a year ago.

Yusei Kikuchi (6-7) retired all five of his hitters in the second game to earn the win in relief for Toronto. Yennier Cano (1-1) took the loss.

In the opener, Mitch White (0-5) allowed five runs and seven hits in four relief innings. DL Hall (1-1) earned his first career victory in relief, and Bryan Baker worked a perfect ninth for his first career save.

RED SOX 6, RAYS 3

BOSTON (AP) — Playoff-bound Tampa Bay lost its fifth straight game to finish the regular season as J.D. Martinez hit a pair of home runs for last-place Boston.

Xander Bogaerts also had a pair of hits in what could be his final game for the Red Sox.

Despite losing seven of their last eight games, the Rays went 86-76 to finish third in the AL East and will open the best-of-three wild-card round at Cleveland on Friday.

Ji-Man Choi had three hits, including a two-run homer in the third, for Tampa Bay.

Eduard Bazardo earned the win in his first career decision, allowing one hit and one walk in a scoreless fifth after starter Nick Pivetta threw 103 pitches in four innings. Josh Fleming (2-5) gave up both Martinez homers, allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out four.

Matt Barnes pitched the ninth for his eighth save. Boston finished 78-84.

ASTROS 3, PHILLIES 2

HOUSTON (AP) — Framber Valdez struck out 10 in five shutout innings to lead Houston past Philadelphia.

Christian Vazquez hit a solo homer and Chas McCormick and Yordan Alvarez drove in runs early to help American League-best Houston (106-56) to its fourth victory in five games.

It was the career-best 17th win for Valdez (17-6), second in the AL behind teammate Justin Verlander’s 18. Valdez allowed two singles and walked one as he surpassed 200 innings pitched for the first time in his five-year career.

Ryan Pressly pitched a scoreless ninth for his 33rd save.

Phillies starter Bailey Falter yielded two hits in one inning before he was lifted for Michael Plassmeyer (0-1). He allowed three runs and nine hits with six strikeouts in six innings. The playoff-bound Phillies finished 87-75.

GIANTS 8, PADRES 1

SAN DIEGO (AP) — David Villar hit two home runs and Austin Slater also connected for San Francisco, which beat playoff-bound San Diego to finish the season at 81-81.

The Padres head to New York to face the Mets in a wild-card series starting Friday night. San Diego finished 89-73. The Giants finished at .500 for the first time in the franchise's 140 seasons.

Reliever Craig Stammen (1-2) started and gave up five runs and six hits in three-plus innings. He struck out three and walked three.

Yunior Marte (2-2), the second of seven Giants pitchers, worked two scoreless innings.

PIRATES 5, CARDINALS 3

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Miguel Andújar had three hits, Diego Castillo added two and Pittsburgh beat playoff-bound St. Louis.

Kevin Newman, Rodolfo Castro and Ji Hwan Bae drove in runs for Pittsburgh. Manny Banuelos (2-1) picked up the win in relief and Johan Ramirez worked the ninth for his second save of the season and first with the Pirates.

Tommy Edman had three of St. Louis’ eight hits. Matthew Liberatore (2-2), recalled from Triple-A Memphis earlier in the day, allowed five runs in five innings.

The Cardinals gave Albert Pujols the day off to rest up for the playoffs.

St. Louis went 93-69 and Pittsburgh was 62-100.

MARLINS 12, BRAVES 9

MIAMI (AP) — Rookie Peyton Burdick homered and drove in four runs to lead Miami over NL East champion Atlanta.

Matt Olson hit his 34th homer and Marcell Ozuna hit his 23rd for the Braves, who finished 101-61 and have a bye into the Division Series next week.

Miami went 69-93 in manager Don Mattingly's last season.

Fortes’ two-run homer capped a five-run sixth and gave Miami a 10-6 lead. Jon Berti hit a two-run triple and scored on JJ Bleday’s triple off reliever Jesse Chavez (4-3).

Olson’s two-run drive off Andrew Nardi (1-1) in the seventh got Atlanta within 10-8 before Burdick connected with a two-run homer in the bottom half.

Dylan Floro inherited two runners with one out in the ninth and finished for his 10th save.

DIAMONDBACKS 4, BREWERS 2

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Josh Rojas and Corbin Carroll hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning and Arizona beat Milwaukee.

Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes crossed the 200-inning threshold for the first time. The reigning NL Cy Young winner worked three perfect innings and fanned five to finish with a career-high 243 strikeouts.

Rowdy Tellez hit his team-leading 35th home run, breaking a 1-1 tie with a solo drive in the Milwaukee eighth off Sean Poppen (2-2).

Christian Walker led off the Arizona ninth with his third hit and Rojas homered off Trevor Gott (3-3). Carroll followed with his fourth homer of the season.

Kevin Ginkel worked a perfect ninth for his first save.

The Diamondbacks went 73-88. Milwaukee finished 87-75.

CUBS 15, REDS 3

CINCINNATI (AP) — David Bote drove in a season-high five runs for Chicago as Cincinnati lost 100 games for the first time in four decade.

Cincinnati finished 62-100, one shy of the franchise record for losses set by the 1982 team that went 61-101.

Rebuilding Chicago finished 74-88 and third in the NL Central.

Bote hit a three-run homer before Chicago broke the game open with a six-run sixth capped by Zach McKinstry’s three-run home run.

Adbert Alzolay (2-1), the first of five relievers who took over for the injured Adrian Sampson, pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Rookie right-hander Graham Ashcraft (5-6) took the loss.

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