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DALLAS — Radek Faksa broke a tie in his return to the Dallas lineup, 20-year-old Wyatt Johnston scored in another Game 7 and the Stars defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on Sunday night to wrap up the first-round series.

After being out with an undisclosed injury since leaving the bench late in Game 2, Faksa scored 44 seconds into the third period with a backhander from the circle to the left of goalie Adin Hill.

“It was a huge relief,” Faksa said on the TNT postgame show. “It was the biggest goal of my career. … I promised (my son) I would score a goal tonight, and I’m glad I did.”

Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger had 21 saves in his second Game 7 victory. He also had the Stars’ only penalty, though they killed that off after he was called for tripping Ivan Barbashev in front of the net midway through the third.

“The last period was a clinic. Just so proud of the guys of how we responded,” Oettinger said. “It’s a long playoffs and you’re going to need different guys to step up at different times. A lot of hockey left so hopefully a lot more heroes. It’s going to be a run ride.”

The Stars, the No. 1 seed in the West, move on to play well-rested Colorado in the second round with the first two games in Dallas. The Avalanche wrapped up their series against Winnipeg with a Game 5 victory Tuesday night.

Brett Howden scored for Vegas, which couldn’t pull off another series winner in Dallas, where last year the Knights wrapped up the Western Conference Final with a win in Game 6. Hill had 22 saves in his third game of this series after Logan Thompson started the first four.

The visitor won the first four games in this series until the home teams held serve the last three games.

Dallas has won Game 7s in each of its first two postseasons for coach Pete DeBoer, who is now 8-0 in his career in such games with four different teams. That includes the Knights’ only Game 7 wins in 2020 and 2021 when he was their coach.

Johnston scored his series-high fourth goal on a wrister from the top of the slot with 5:26 left in the first period after picking off a clearing pass by Shea Theodore that his teammate, Tomas Hertl, missed when taking a twisting swipe at it.

“It was so much fun,” Johnston said in his postgame interview on Bally Sports Southwest. “It’s what we all grew up dreaming about. As hockey players, you want to play in Game 7s. And there was so much energy in the building.”

A day after his 20th birthday last year, Johnston became the youngest player in NHL history with a game-clinching goal in a Game 7. He gathered a puck that ricocheted off the back boards in the third period of the Stars’ 2-1 win over Seattle in that second-round series.

The goal Sunday against came in quick succession after Vegas had two scoring chances. Oettinger made a tough save to deny Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault then shot the rebound off the left post, and got a hit on Johnston before the Dallas youngster skated to the other end and scored about 10 seconds later.

Vegas, which returned 22 of its 27 players from the Stanley Cup-winning roster, tied it in the second period when Michael Amadio made a crossing pass to Howden, who poked the puck into the open left side of the net behind Oettinger.

The only coach other than DeBoer to win eight Game 7s is Darryl Sutter, who was 8-3 in such games over 182 playoff games over 15 postseasons with four teams.

The Knights are 2-2 in Game 7s. DeBoer was also the opposing coach in their other loss, to San Jose in 2019.

It was only the second time of 16 that the Stars won a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games. The only other was the very first playoff series in franchise history, when the Minnesota North Stars were down 0-2 before beating the Los Angeles Kings in seven games to open the 1968 playoffs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Reds extend Dodgers’ skid to 5; Ohtani at ‘90%’

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Reds extend Dodgers' skid to 5; Ohtani at '90%'

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of their longest losing streak since 2019, but first baseman Freddie Freeman has no doubt that there’s no concern.

“It’s May, it’s baseball,” Freeman said. “Two weeks ago, we were winning every game. I don’t think anybody needs to question in our lineup. We’ll be fine.”

The Cincinnati Reds finished off a sweep of the Dodgers with a 4-1 victory Sunday, extending LA’s slide to five games — it’s longest since dropping six in a row April 8-13, 2019.

Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani went 3-for-12 in the series while dealing with a bruised right hamstring. He batted second Sunday and went 1-for-3 as the designated hitter, reaching on an infield single while scoring the Dodgers’ only run.

“It’s right around 90%,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Ohtani’s hamstring. “Assuming it will keep getting better, I feel confident that he can play smart and not push it. Talked to him about not trying to steal a base. Be smart. The value of having him in the lineup is everything.”

Los Angeles’ lineup has been hampered by inconsistency. The Dodgers scored six times in the series opener, and then scored two more over the next two games.They have been shut out twice this month while scoring two or fewer runs six times.

“When you’re not hitting, it certainly seems lifeless,” Roberts said. “Seems like we’re running cold. I know it’s not from care or preparation. Bottom line, it’s about results and we’re not getting them right now. They outplayed us this series and won three.”

Roberts hinted at a couple of changes to the lineup when the Dodgers begin a three-game series against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

“Some guys might be pressing a little bit,” Roberts said. “Every time I write the lineup, I feel good that we’re going to put up some runs. It’s not a big picture-type thing. It’s certainly been two weeks where it hasn’t been good.”

Jonathan India and Nick Martini each drove in two runs for the Reds, and Brent Suter, Nick Martinez, Carson Spiers and Alexis Diaz combined for a five-hitter.

Martinez (2-3) pitched 4⅓ innings of one-hit ball on a bullpen day for Cincinnati, and Díaz got two outs for his 10th save.

“It starts with our pitchers,” Reds manager David Bell said. “They’re ready to take the ball. Starting with Brent Suter, who did his job. That’s where it starts. Nick Martinez took over. Nick continues to show when he executes his pitches how good he is. To pitch so well against this team really says a lot.”

Freeman hit an RBI double in the ninth, stopping a 0-for-22 slide for the Dodgers with runners in scoring position. Freeman then advanced on defensive indifference, but Díaz struck out Teoscar Hernandez and Andy Pages swinging.

The start of the game was moved up from 1:40 p.m. EDT to 12:10 p.m. due to the threat of severe storms that arrived in the sixth inning. The teams then waited through a delay for just over an hour.

Cincinnati scored four times in the third off Yoshinobu Yamamoto (5-2). India had a bases-loaded single, and Martini’s bloop hit scored two more.

Yamamoto allowed six hits, struck out eight and walked two in five innings.

“They found a way to fight with two outs and find some outfield grass,” Roberts said. “They stayed inside the baseball. When you fight, you get those breaks sometimes. Outside of that, I thought Yoshi was fantastic. He was one hitter away from going five scoreless.”

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Right-hander Gavin Stone (4-2, 3.60 ERA) will oppose Mets right-hander Tylor Megill (0-2, 3.00 ERA) on Monday in the opener of a three-game series.

Reds: Left-hander Nick Lodolo (3-2, 3.34 ERA) will come off the injured list to start the series opener against the Cardinals on Monday. Lance Lynn (2-2, 3.68 ERA) starts for St. Louis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Tigers blow 5-run lead, rally with 3-run HR in 9th

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Tigers blow 5-run lead, rally with 3-run HR in 9th

DETROIT — Matt Vierling homered twice, including a tiebreaking, three-run drive off Jordan Romano in the ninth inning that gave Detroit a wild 14-11 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday after the Tigers wasted a five-run lead and recovered from a two-run deficit.

Vierling had four hits and tied career highs with two homers and four RBIs.

“My brother and I in the back yard, we’d always be doing situations like that,” Vierling said. “It’s kind of cool when it actually happens.”

Carson Kelly hit a three-run homer and Spencer Torkelson hit a solo shot for Detroit, which led 5-0 after three innings, 8-3 after five and 9-5 after six. The Tigers set a season high for runs and tied their high with 17 hits.

Torkelson had three hits and scored three runs.

“He’s really easy to root for,” Torkelson said of Vierling. “To see him come through, we had all the faith in the world and confidence he’d get the job done there. That’s exactly what he did.”

Toronto’s Isiah Kiner-Falefa homered in the seventh off Tyler Holton, and the Blue Jays took an 11-9 lead with a five-run eighth when Bo Bichette hit a two-run single off Jason Foley and Daulton Varsho hit a three-run homer.

Toronto manager John Schneider drew some consolation by the way his team kept fighting back.

“It’s easy to kind of quit after that and the guys did the exact opposite,” he said. “Chipped away and came back with huge hits from Bo and Varsh.”

Mark Canha tied the score with a two-run single against Yimi Garcia in the bottom half, his third hit.

Vierling, who hit a solo homer in the fifth off Zach Pop, drove a full-count slider from Romano (1-2) over the left-field wall for his first big league walk-off hit. A two-time All-Star, Romano has allowed three homers this year, half his total last season.

“I was ready for that pitch that he threw me 3-2,” Vierling said. “I was kind of looking for it 2-2, as well, but it was low and I was able to check my swing enough. The next pitch was the same pitch, just a little more up.”

Mason Englert (1-0) pitched a hitless ninth for the Tigers (26-27), who won the last three games of a four-game series against the last-place Blue Jays (23-29).

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had his second four-hit game of the season for the Blue Jays.

Detroit starter Casey Mize gave up three runs and eight hits in 4⅓ innings. Toronto’s Yusei Kikuchi allowed five runs and eight hits in three innings. Mize and Kikuchi are 0-3 each in their six starts.

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Braves’ Acuna leaves game with knee soreness

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Braves' Acuna leaves game with knee soreness

PITTSBURGH — Ronald Acuna Jr. left the Atlanta Braves8-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning Sunday with left knee soreness after his knee appeared to buckle.

The reigning National League MVP led off the game with a double to right-center field off Martin Perez. With Marcell Ozuna at the plate, Acuna started toward third on a stolen base attempt and his left knee appeared to buckle. He remained down for several minutes while being treated, pointing at his left leg before walking off under his own power.

Acuna, a 26-year-old outfielder, is batting .250 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 49 games. The four-time All-Star hit a career-best .337 last season with 41 homers and 106 RBIs.

Adam Duvall shifted from left to right in the bottom half, and Jarred Kelenic entered the game in place of Acuna and played left.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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