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Saturday Sports: Chicago Sky earn a record victory in WNBA game


And I look forward all week to saying, and now it's time for sports.


SIMON: Chicago goes Sky high over the Mercury. Houston takes Game 1 over Boston, the American League. A bittersweet goodbye to the San Francisco Giants. We're joined by NPR's Tom Goldman.

Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: The WNBA - history last night. The Chicago Sky won by about 1,000 points over the Phoenix Mercury. Actually, it was just 86 to 50. They're one win from the Championship. And it was a smothering defensive effort, wasn't it?

GOLDMAN: By Chicago, yeah (laughter). The 36 points...

SIMON: Phoenix is defensive in another way this morning, yes.

GOLDMAN: The 36 points - that was the biggest margin of victory in the WNBA Finals game. And this is how crazy it got. One of the players who doesn't get the same attention as the Marquee names like Brittney Griner or Diana Taurasi for Phoenix or Chicago's Candace Parker...

SIMON: Candace Parker. Go ahead.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) You're a fan? The Sky's Kahleah Copper - she had 20 points at halftime. All the Phoenix starters collectively had 17. Yeah, with a win tomorrow, the Sky win their first ever WNBA title. Taurasi guarantees Phoenix will be better. She said last night, we'll be better than 50. You can take that to Vegas.

SIMON: Yeah. You don't have to go to Vegas these days. It's all online, but I know what she means. Houston Astros beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4. Lots of pop in the game, wasn't there?

GOLDMAN: As predicted, yeah. No pop bigger for the home team Houston than a game-tying home run by my favorite 5-foot-6-inch Major League Baseball player, Jose Altuve - maybe the only one - and then a go-ahead home run by shortstop Carlos Correa. And after he hit the ball, Correa dropped his bat. He's still not running yet. He pointed to his wrist and he screamed, this is my time. And he's not lying, you know? He and Altuve and the other Houston infielders, Alex Bregman and Yuri Gurriel, they've been the foundation of this Astros juggernaut, now playing in its fifth straight American League Championship series. October is their time, Scott.

When you talk about pop in this game, honorable mention has to go in the losing effort to Boston outfielder Kike Hernandez. He was amazing - four hits, two home runs and a diving catch to save Boston early when Houston had the bases loaded.

SIMON: It's a little hard, though, to embrace Houston's greatness, isn't it?

GOLDMAN: For non-Houston fans, yeah. The 2017 sign-stealing scandal, it was five years ago, but it lingers, especially when Houston goes on the road and hears it from hostile crowds. You know, it reminds me a bit of the Barry Bonds saga, the great San Francisco slugger who was well on his way to becoming one of the best players ever when he got linked to performance-enhancing drugs. And while still considered great, that link will tarnish his legacy forever. And you can see this great Houston team always having to deal with its issue.

SIMON: I was sorry to say goodbye to the Giants. What a season and what an ending.

GOLDMAN: Oh, yeah, a bad ending - you know, when a first base umpire blew a call that ended a tight game with division rival LA Dodgers. The umpire called a third strike on a San Francisco batter when the batter checked his swing. Replays clearly showed he didn't swing. But, you know, Scott, kudos to San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler for taking the high road. He said he was disappointed in the ending, but that the Giants had other opportunities to win the game and they can't blame it on the blown call. Tip of the cap to him and the Giants, who surprised all of us with a league best 107 regular season wins.

SIMON: Yeah, it's just terrific - great year. Dodgers and Braves tonight. We'll talk about them next week.

Tom Goldman, Thanks so much.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.