The Portland Sea Dogs clinched their first playoff spot since 2014 by thrashing the Somerset Patriots 12-7 Wednesday night in an Eastern League game at Bridgewater, New Jersey.

The Sea Dogs won the second-half season in the Northeast Division and will meet Somerset in a best-of-three division finals starting Tuesday at Hadlock Field. The remaining games would be in New Jersey.

A night after winning with 10 runs and 18 hits, Portland scored 12 runs with 15 hits for its seventh straight win and 15th in 16 games. Portland has four games left in the regular season against Somerset.

The Sea Dogs hit four homers. Ceddanne Rafaela had a grand slam, Wilyer Abreu had a two-run homer and Tyler Dearden and Christian Koss had solo homers.

• The Portland Sea Dogs lost infielder Nick Northcut when the Boston Red Sox sent him to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday to complete the Aug. 1 trade that netted outfielder Tommy Pham. Boston originally acquired Pham for a player to be named later or cash.


Northcut, 23, was Boston’s 11th-round pick in the 2018 draft. He has 30 homers this year between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland, logging a .219 average and .767 OPS. Since being promoted to Portland on July 26, Northcut’s numbers have dipped. He had an .816 OPS and 26 homers in 77 games with Greenville and has a .622 OPS and four homers in 26 games at Double-A. In 2021, Northcut homered 17 times and posted an .865 OPS in 96 games at Single-A Salem.

Northcut is not one of the top 60 prospects in Boston’s system, according to, but does possess some value as a power-first infielder who has played both corner spots. He’s a Cincinnati native, so he is being traded to his hometown team.


Josh Sargent, Ricardo Pepi and Jesús Ferreira are in at forward, while Jordan Pefok, Haji Wright and Brandon Vazquez are out.

U.S. Coach Gregg Berhalter announced his 26-man roster Wednesday for the Americans’ final two World Cup warmups, and he emphasized time remains for players to move on and off before he reveals his final Cup roster on Nov. 9.

“I know we’re not going to be the most talented team at the World Cup and we’re going to have to compensate for that by being a cohesive unit, by working for each other, fighting for each other and having a great team spirit,” Berhalter said. “So part of it is leaning on guys that have been there before and been around the group before and understand the team culture and understand their teammates extremely well.”


The 13th-ranked Americans face No. 23 Japan on Sept. 23 in Düsseldorf, Germany, and 53rd-ranked Saudi Arabia four days later in Murcia, Spain. Berhalter plans to announce his 26-man roster for the tournament in Qatar five days before the FIFA deadline.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp has balked at a suggestion by Chelsea’s new American owner that the Premier League could introduce an All-Star Game between the best players from the north and south.

Todd Boehly said Tuesday he hoped the Premier League might “take a little bit of a lesson from American sports” and have an All-Star Game that would raise money for clubs lower down English soccer’s pyramid. The idea was put to Klopp after Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Ajax in the Champions League later in the day and the German coach mocked it.

“What can I say – does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well and let them play against a football team?” said Klopp, who’s main issue was that there was no space in an already-crowded soccer calendar to fit such a game. “When he finds a date for that, he can call me.”

•  The Premier League will pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II this weekend by having a minute’s silence before every game followed by the national anthem.

The league said fans will also be invited to applaud at the 70-minute mark, in recognition of the queen’s 70-year reign. Players will wear black armbands and managers have been asked to consider wearing a suit.



NHL: The Seattle Kraken promoted Alexandra Mandrycky to assistant general manager after three years as director of hockey strategy and research.

Mandrycky was one of the first front-office hires by the Kraken after the expansion franchise was awarded by the NHL. She becomes the sixth female assistant general manager currently in the NHL.


EUROBASKET: France pulled off a wild rally at the end of regulation, then carried that momentum into a spot in the EuroBasket semifinals.

Thomas Heurtel scored 20 points, Rudy Gobert had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and France found a way to get past Italy 93-85 in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday. France was down by seven with 1:59 left in regulation, and that was when it started on what became a 25-10 run to finish the contest.


It was France’s second consecutive fourth-quarter rally and overtime win, after needing the same formula to get past Turkey in the round of 16 on Saturday.

Next up for France on Friday for a berth in the title game will be either defending champion Slovenia or Poland, who played their quarterfinal  later Wednesday. The other half of the semifinal bracket was set Tuesday with Germany facing Spain, also on Friday.


BROADCASTING: Tony Stewart will return to the Fox broadcast booth for the elimination rounds Sunday of the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

The NASCAR Hall of Famer and first-year NHRA team owner will be in the booth for the second consecutive race and the NHRA’s playoff opener, which goes head-to-head Sunday with the NFL. Stewart, who has called several NASCAR races for Fox over the last few years, worked the U.S. Nationals in his NHRA broadcasting debut.

The U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis drew 840,000 viewers during Monday’s elimination rounds with Stewart in the booth. It marked an increase of nearly 10% from last year’s Fox broadcast of the race.


INDYCAR: Alex Palou will remain with Chip Ganassi Racing next season in an agreement that allows the one-time IndyCar champion to test Formula One with McLaren, and Felix Rosenqvist will keep his seat in a pair resolutions.


DAVIS CUP FINALS: Top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz will skip the opening round of the Davis Cup Finals, which is taking place only three days after the Spanish teenager won the U.S. Open.

Alcaraz arrived in Valencia a day before Spain was scheduled to face Serbia in the group stage.

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