The Dodgers’ third loss in four games since they clinched the NL West on Sunday afternoon all but packs their bags for Washington next week. The Dodgers need to win their final two regular-season games this weekend while the Nationals lose twice in order to wrest home-field advantage from the Nats for their NL Division Series.“I did say that (the Dodgers wanted to catch the Nationals),” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But I also said the main thing we wanted to do was to play good baseball. I thought the first five innings tonight we were sharp.“Tomorrow, we have (Clayton) Kershaw going. The back end of our bullpen is rested. We’re going to try to win a ballgame.”Roberts said Saturday would be “a regular start for Kersh” and not a shortened prep start for the playoffs.The Giants, meanwhile, held their position in the three-way race for the two NL wild-card spots. The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals also won. The Mets are one game up on the Giants, who are one game up on the Cardinals for the second spot. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Dodgers have clearly focused more on playoff preparation and evaluating their roster options this week than chasing the home-field edge. But they did take a 3-2 lead against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner through the top of the sixth.Four consecutive hits in the first inning – including an RBI double by Bumgarner’s T-shirt supplier, Yasiel Puig – produced two runs. The Giants matched that against Hill in the bottom of the inning but three consecutive two-out singles by Carlos Ruiz, Rob Segedin and Kike’ Hernandez gave the Dodgers their brief 3-2 lead.McCarthy walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the sixth then gave up three singles and two doubles (including one by Bumgarner that drove in two runs) before Roberts ended the experiment. Reliever Josh Ravin promptly gave up a three-run home run to Brandon Belt.“Obviously, it was a different role for Brandon,” Roberts said. “He went out there and did what he could. … The last outing was good (he started Sunday’s clinching victory). This time just didn’t go that well.”McCarthy acknowledged that everything felt different about warming up in mid-game and entering in the sixth inning. But he offered no other explanation for why things went so badly.“No idea,” he said. “They just hit everything I threw. I’m angry but other than that it was so quick and so violent I don’t know what other emotion to have.” SAN FRANCISCO >> When an animal-rights activist ran on the field and offered Angel Pagan a flower, the Giants left fielder body-slammed him to the ground.That was not the rudest treatment given to a visitor at AT&T Park on Friday night.The Dodgers wanted to see if career starter Brandon McCarthy might possibly be an option to pitch out of the bullpen during the postseason. Now, they know.McCarthy followed starter Rich Hill to the mound in the sixth inning with the Dodgers having just taken a one-run lead. It was McCarthy’s first relief appearance since April 25, 2007 with the Texas Rangers. He faced six batters, didn’t retire any of them and the Giants scored seven times in the inning on their way to a 9-3 victory over the Dodgers.
For his first two-fight weeks of 2019, Andrew Cancio continued to work his full-time job at a gas company in Oxnard, Calif. But as he heads into his WBA (Regular) junior lightweight title bout vs. Rene Alvarado in a rematch on DAZN, Cancio is doing things a bit differently.”This is the first time that I’m actually taking the whole fight week off,” Cancio told Sporting News. “Usually, I try to plan my days off and save my vacation time. But I don’t have any more vacation time left, so all of this is without pay. I’m fine with it. Every time I go through a big fight week, I’m like, ‘Man, I should have taken the entire week off.’ I know I should relax and get my rest. “Then, when I beat him, the talk didn’t need to happen anymore. Here’s Leo Santa Cruz, a champion in another weight division, and he gets to fight for the Super championship. I don’t know why it wasn’t ordered then for him to fight me or elevate me up and make him fight for my current belt, and then we could meet up in the future. But you know how this game is. It’s politics and money. If Leo Santa Cruz fights Flores for that and calls himself a four-division world champion, then that’s on him. He knows damn well he should have faced me. I’m the real 130-pound world champion. He didn’t want to fight me because he knows that I’m a very tough fight for him.”Cancio (21-4, 16 KOs) is brushing off the apparent disrespect by the WBA, knowing that another highlight-reel victory would cap a year for the ages and give him momentum into 2020. “It would mean the world to me,” Cancio said. “To end this year as a world champion and hopefully with a good victory, it would mean a lot to me because I have goals, and one of them is to go into the holidays and ending the year as a world champion, because then I secure myself another big fight, which means another good payday.” “The more I’m fighting now, the bigger the stakes are getting. There’s no need to juggle two things right now, especially when I’m going to be making pretty decent money for this fight. Now, I have to get this job done on Saturday, and I want to be well-rested and have my body prepared for it.”When the calendar flipped to January 2019, Cancio was a virtual unknown in the sport of boxing. Prior to his February bout with Alberto Machado, the sentiment was that it would a walk in the park for the heralded Machado. Join DAZN to watch Cancio vs. Alvarado 2 and 100-plus fight nights a yearBut in boxing, anything can happen. After a shaky first round, Cancio blasted through Machado in four rounds to win the title. Then, in June, the 31-year-old proved he was for real when he stopped Machado one round earlier. Cancio felt proud that he could quiet those naysayers, finally get the respect from the boxing community, and prove he’s one of the best in the world at 130 pounds.”I’m glad that Alberto Machado exercised his rematch clause and fought me right away,” Cancio told Sporting News. “It was a chance for me to showcase my skills. Even though the first fight went four rounds, I had plenty of nerves in the back, and with the electric atmosphere in the arena, I was able to harness all of that and learn from it and settle down in the second fight and just go out and execute in a much better fashion. It showcased everything about me and what I have. I’m here to stay. Now, I got to continue to showcase my skills every time I fight and show people why I’m a world champion.”From the outside, the respect appeared to dwindle when the WBA mandated a title bout Saturday between Leo Santa Cruz and Miguel Flores for the Super title instead of bumping up Cancio to that status.”I wasn’t even given a reason,” Cancio said of the sanctioning body not notifying him about not being elevated. “I know Alberto Machado was a Super champion until they took it away from him and demoted him to Regular champion and made ‘Tank’ the Super champion. I know he was supposed to have a meeting with the WBA, but the WBA never gave him the opportunity.