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The Milwaukee Brewers have reached an agreement with right-handed reliever Matt Albers on a two-year, $5 million contract, according to multiple reports.

The agreement was first reported Monday by The Athletic. Sportsnet was first to report the value of Albers’ deal.


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Albers is the latest newcomer to join the Brewers, who acquired outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain last week and also added veteran free-agent pitchers Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo earlier this offseason.

A former 23rd-round pick of the Houston Astros in 2001, Albers has played for seven teams during his 12-year career. He went 7-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 63 games with the Washington Nationals last season, finishing with the third-best ERA in the National League.

Following a 2016 season in which he went 2-6 with a 6.31 ERA for the Chicago White Sox, Albers signed a minor league deal with the Nationals in January 2017. He failed to make the major league roster out of spring training but was called up a week into the season and quickly became the most dependable reliever in a bullpen that was one of the worst in baseball through the All-Star break.

Albers recorded his first career save on May 5. Until then, he had gone 460 straight appearances without one, more than any other pitcher since saves became an official statistic in 1969. He also finished the year ranked second among NL relievers in WHIP (0.85) and second in batting average against (.165).

Prior to the NL Division Series, Albers had never pitched in the playoffs. In two appearances against the Chicago Cubs, he tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

In 515 career games, the 35-year old is 36-39 with a 4.13 ERA.

ESPN’s Eddie Matz contributed to this report.

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard tried to make a final statement as the NBA All-Star roster deadline nears.

The Portland guard hit his first nine shots — including seven 3-pointers — and scored 31 points as the Trail Blazers beat the Dallas Mavericks 117-108 on Saturday night for their season-best sixth consecutive home win.

Lillard, who didn’t miss a shot until late in the third quarter, went 10 of 15 from the floor and handed out nine assists to lead Portland. Backcourt mate CJ McCollum scored 26 points, while Evan Turner had 17 points and Al-Farouq Aminu 13.

Portland tied a season high with 18 3-pointers. Six Blazers made at least two each, led by Lillard’s seven.

NBA All-Star reserves, voted by the coaches, will be announced Tuesday. Portland’s next game isn’t until Monday, and by then, many coaches will have already voted. Saturday’s performance might have been Lillard’s last All-Star statement.

Lillard didn’t see Saturday’s game as an All-Star audition, but rather, what he’s supposed to do.

“I gotta play at a certain way and perform at a certain level for us to be able to win games,” he said. “That’s why my job is. I don’t have anything else to say about it.”

Turner spoke up on Lillard’s behalf.

“He’s been playing at a high level,” Turner said. “An All-Star level. They screwed him the last two years, right? When’s the make-up call? They owe him a couple. That’s case enough.”

Wesley Matthews led Dallas with 23 points. Dirk Nowitzki and Dennis Smith Jr. scored 21 points each, with Nowitzki setting a season high.

Portland led by 18 points in the second half but had trouble putting away the pesky Mavericks. Dallas whittled away at Portland’s advantage during the fourth quarter, getting as close as five points with 36 seconds remaining. A dunk by the Blazers’ Ed Davis with 17 seconds left put the Mavericks away.

Portland led 62-45 at halftime, after the Blazers shot 57 percent (24 of 42) during the first half.

“First half, I thought was bad. Second half was very good. You’ve got to play both halves, so we’ve got to get a better start,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.

Portland led 33-20 after the first quarter, and its dominance was particularly evidence on the final two baskets. Shabazz Napier stripped J.J. Barea at midcourt and finished with a rare dunk. Seconds later, McCollum had a layup after blowing by Yogi Ferrell so quickly the Dallas guard fell to the ground.


Mavericks: Barea returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s game at Denver. He scored 12 points. … This is the second time this season Dallas has had a four-day break in between games. The Mavericks are 0-2 in that situation. … Devin Harris suffered a head injury during the first half and didn’t return.

Trail Blazers: Matthews left the Blazers for Dallas following the 2014-15 season, but he’s still popular in Portland, as fans warmly cheered him during pregame introductions. … Last season, Lillard averaged 28.3 points in three games against the Mavericks.

The game got chippy down the stretch, with three technical fouls during the final five minutes. The most prominent happened after Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic and Dallas’ Salah Mejri became entangled under the basket. As the two released, Mejri flew to the ground. After consulting the television monitor, Nurkic was assessed a technical.

“I thought he locked my arm and I didn’t like that. So I let him know — dirty plays — I don’t like that,” Nurkic said. “The refs are going to do what they’re going to do. He got fouled and then he locked my arm on purpose. That’s not good.”


Mavericks: Monday night at home against Washington

Trail Blazers: Monday night at Denver.

More AP basketball:

Check out the team sites for the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trail Blazers for more game coverage.

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — In his first three seasons in the NFL, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a vested interest in the postseason. As the New England Patriots backup quarterback, Garoppolo had to prepare to play each week and obviously had clear reason to root for one team to succeed in the playoffs.

Now that Garoppolo is with the Niners, he doesn’t have the same level of involvement in the Patriots’ postseason push but he still has plenty of reason to root for them to overcome the Jacksonville Jaguars in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. As a player who spent at least eight games with a playoff team, Garoppolo can still earn the accompanying bonuses that go with advancing deep into the postseason.

According to former agent Joel Corry, Garoppolo, defensive end Cassius Marsh (Patriots) and defensive tackle Sheldon Day (Jaguars) are all eligible to continue earning full bonuses because they meet the criteria of playing at least eight games for playoff teams and finishing the season on a team in the opposite conference.

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Jacksonville (10-6) at New England (13-3), 3:05 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS.

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Garoppolo, Marsh and Day all earned $51,000 bonuses last weekend as the Patriots and Jaguars beat the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively. And there’s still more where that came from.

If the Patriots beat the Jaguars on Sunday, Garoppolo and Marsh will each earn an additional bonus of at least $56,000, a number that can grow to $112,000 if New England goes on to win the Super Bowl. A Patriots’ Super Bowl victory could max out bonuses for Garoppolo and Marsh at $163,000 (the $51,000 from the divisional round plus the maximum of $112,000 for wins in the two following rounds). The same is true for Day should the Jaguars defeat the Patriots and go on to win the Super Bowl.

Of course, the argument could easily be made that such a payday would be far more meaningful to Marsh or Day since Garoppolo will soon be making superstar quarterback money either on a franchise tag or a long-term contract. For the record, Marsh is also about to become an unrestricted free agent. Day is under team control through the 2019 season.

Regardless of future paydays, there’s no doubt a little something extra for watching from home and services previously rendered makes for a nice potential reward for players whose seasons have been done for nearly a month.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired left-handed reliever Scott Alexander from Kansas City in a three-team trade that also included the Chicago White Sox.

The White Sox got veteran relievers Luis Avilan and Joakim Soria and cash. The Dodgers also obtained minor league infielder Jake Peter, and the Royals added a pair of minor leaguers in the deal Thursday.

The 28-year-old Alexander emerged as a key pitcher for the Royals last season, going 5-4 with four saves and a 2.48 ERA in 58 games. The Dodgers lost durable Brandon Morrow from their bullpen when he signed with the Chicago Cubs, and lefty Tony Watson became a free agent.

Avilan was 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 61 games last season for the Dodgers. The 28-year-old lefty struck out 52 in 46 innings.

Soria was 4-3 with one save and a 3.70 ERA in 59 games for the Royals last season. The 33-year-old righty has 204 career saves.

The 24-year-old Peter hit a combined .279 at Double-A and Triple-A in the White Sox organization.

Kansas City got 24-year-old starter Trevor Oaks, a righty who went 4-3 with 3.83 ERA at Triple-A for the Dodgers, and 23-year-old infielder Erick Mejia, a switch-hitter who spent most of the season at Double-A for Los Angeles, batting .278 with 28 stolen bases overall in the minors.

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NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets had heard enough about not being able to win on the second night of back-to-back games.

Allen Crabbe was tired of hearing his defensive approach questioned.

With the game on the line late in the fourth quarter on Monday night, they collectively answered.

Rookie Jarrett Allen had a career-high 16 points, Crabbe added 15 points and blocked a potential tying shot, and the Nets edged the Orlando Magic 98-95.

“I wish that reporter was here that kept telling us that we were not good on back-to-backs,” coach Kenny Atkinson said jokingly. “I wanted to thank him for motivating us.”

Caris LeVert also had 15 points, while DeMarre Carroll chipped in 14 points, 10 rebounds and the tiebreaking free throw with 34.5 seconds remaining. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 13 for the Nets, who opened up the new year with a win after closing out 2017 with a 1-4 road trip.

The Nets are 3-5 in the back end of a back-to-back.

Aaron Gordon had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Elfrid Payton added 17 points for an Orlando team that has lost its last seven games on the road.

Bismack Biyombo posted his own double-double with 13 points and a season-high 17 boards for the Magic, who have now lost 11 of their last 12 overall.

Crabbe made two free throws to give the Nets their three-point lead with 18 seconds left. He then followed it by blocking Evan Fournier’s 3-point attempt with seven seconds left, and DJ Augustin missed Orlando’s final chance to tie.

“I’m just trying to take more pride in it. I’m low key tired of hearing people trying to question my defense,” Crabbe said. “Coming over here in this new role there are a lot of expectations now, so I don’t want to be the liability, especially in film the next day.”

The Magic led by as many as eight points in the first half, but couldn’t gain control of the game in a fourth quarter that featured 13 ties and 11 lead changes.

Said Fournier of his failed shot: “I felt (bad) all night long. Could never find my rhythm. So yeah, it wasn’t good enough for sure.”

Orlando squandered a 93-90 lead with 1:51 to go in the fourth after Gordon made a pair of free throws.

Hollis-Jefferson then made two free throws to close the lead to 93-92 with 1:31 remaining and LeVert converted on a three-point play to put the Nets up 95-93. Orlando’s Wes Iwundu then answered with a basket to even it again at 95-all.

Carroll was then fouled under the basket and put the Nets ahead for good.


Magic: Orlando’s last road win took place Dec. 3 across town from Brooklyn at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.

Nets: Brooklyn, second in the league with 34.3 3-pointers per game this season, attempted only nine 3s in the first half, making three. They hit 6 of 15 in the second half . Nets lead the lead season series 2-1.


The Magic welcome two of the NBA’s best teams this week at home. First up is a date on Wednesday night with the Houston Rockets, who own the second-best record in the Western Conference. Saturday night it’s a matchup against LeBron James and Cleveland, the defending Eastern Conference champs, who this week get point guard Isaiah Thomas back.
Biyombo, who is averaging 9.5 points, 13 rebounds and 3.3 blocks since stepping into the starting lineup in place of injured center Nikola Vucevic, believes they can still snap out of this slump.

“We need to keep improving. We need to keep playing and we have to remain patient because there’s still a lot left in the season”, he said.


The Nets improved to 9-0 this season when holding their opponent under 100 points. They’re also 7-0 when limiting the opposition’s shooting under 40 percent.


The Nets recorded a season-high 10 blocked shots. Crabbe had a career-high three rejections. Spencer Dinwiddie and Allen had two apiece.


Magic: Host Houston on Wednesday.

Nets: Host Minnesota on Wednesday.

More NBA basketball:

Check out the team sites for the Orlando Magic and the Brooklyn Nets for more game coverage.