Eric Cooper, the Major League Baseball umpire who worked the AL Division Series two weeks ago, died Saturday. He was 52. Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Cooper’s death Sunday. Cooper died after having a blood clot. He had knee surgery earlier in the week and was recuperating at his father’s home in Iowa. Cooper, popular with his fellow umps, was talking to them Saturday about his recovery. Cooper made his debut in the majors in 1996 as a minor league fill-in and joined the big league staff in 1999. His most recent assignment came in the playoffs this month when he worked the New York Yankees’ sweep of Minnesota in the ALDS. He was at second base on Oct. 7 for the clinching Game 3 at Target Field. Cooper umpired in 10 division series, four League Championship Series, and the 2005 All-Star Game, along with two World Baseball Classics. He also was behind the plate for three no-hitters — two by Mark Buehrle, including a perfect game, and another by the Red Sox’ Hideo Nomo. Cooper worked the plate in the final game in the career of Cal Ripken Jr. Cooper worked the 2014 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. He drew that post helped by his success rate on replay challenges — MLB took those numbers into account in picking the crew, and Cooper had only three calls reversed all season.
Ankle procedure for Alabama QB
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa underwent a procedure for a high ankle sprain and will miss Saturday’s game against Arkansas. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Tagovailoa had what’s known as a ‘‘tightrope’’ procedure on his right ankle Sunday. He says it’s the same injury the 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up suffered in the SEC championship game last season, just to the other ankle. Saban predicted ‘‘a full and speedy recovery’’ for Tagovailoa, who was hurt Saturday in the second quarter of Alabama’s 35-13 win over Tennessee. No. 1 Alabama has an open date before facing No. 2 LSU on Nov. 9, and Tagovailoa promised teammates he'd be back for that game. Tagovailoa played in the playoff semifinal game against Oklahoma 28 days after the injury last season . . . Behind Alabama and LSU in the Top 25 poll is a new No. 3, as Ohio State (1,429 points) edged past Clemson (1,408). The Buckeyes had 13 first-place votes and No. 4 Clemson, the reseason No. 1 team and defending national champion, received nine, and both were coming off conference blowouts on the road. Going in the other direction was Wisconsin, which dropped to 13th after being upset by Illinois ahead of its showdown with the Buckeyes.
North Carolina, Chicago in NWSL final
Debinha scored on a free kick in extra time to snap a tie, and the host North Carolina Courage went on to defeat Reign FC, 4-1, in extra time to advance to the National Women’s Soccer League championship game. The Courage, who won the NWSL Shield for the third straight year with a league-best 15-5-4 record, will face the Chicago Red Stars next Sunday back in Cary, N.C. Heather O'Reilly, who is retiring at the end of this season, scored on a penalty kick in the 88th minute to give the Courage the lead. Before the penalty, Reign goalkeeper Casey Murphy held off a barrage of shots with eight saves. Ifeoma Onumonu, who came in as a substitute for the Reign in the 79th minute, scored in stoppage time to send the match into overtime. Debinha’s goal came in the 99th minute for the Courage, who set a league record with 54 goals in the regular season. North Carolina padded the lead with an own goal and another goal from Crystal Dunn.In Bridgeview, Ill., Sam Kerr scored in the ninth minute to lift the Chicago Red Stars to a 1-0 win over the Portland Thorns. The Red Stars are heading to a final for the first time after four straight semifinal losses.
Murray, 32, a winner after 2½ years
Andy Murray claimed his first ATP tour title in more than 2½ years at the European Open in Antwerp, Belgium, in only his sixth singles tournament since returning from hip surgery in January. The 32-year-old Murray rallied to beat fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, in the final. The last time he lifted silverware in singles came in Dubai in March 2017. The 34-year-old Wawrinka was looking for his first ATP title since the 2017 Geneva Open . . . Belinda Bencic recovered from a set down to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, in the Kremlin Cup final in Moscow. She’s the first Swiss woman to win the Kremlin Cup since Martina Hingis in 2000. The win capped a productive week for Bencic after she secured the last spot at the WTA Finals on Saturday. By qualifying for the Moscow final, Bencic overtook Serena Williams in the points ranking for qualification for the finals in Shenzhen, China. In the men’s final, Andrei Rublev recorded his first ATP title since 2017 as he beat Adrian Mannarino, 6-4, 6-0, in just 1 hour, 3 minutes . . . Jelena Ostapenko beat former doubles partner Julia Goerges, 6-4, 6-1, to win the Luxembourg Open. The pair played together in doubles in 2017, but this was the first singles final between them.