Red Sox

Welker: Going to get more opportunites

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Welker: Going to get more opportunites

FOXBORO -- Wes Welker had a monster game when his Patriots visited Buffalo last season in Week 3.

He had 16 receptions for 217 yards and two touchdowns.

The Patriots would love to see him put up those numbers once again against the Bills in Buffalo on Sunday, as they try to get back to .500.

And if there's any type of trend, then Welker could have a similar type of day. His 2012 season has been a steady increase from Week 1 to Week 3, having only three receptions for 14 yards against the Titans in the season-opener, followed by five receptions for 95 yards in a Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and then an eight-reception, 142-yard game against the Ravens on Sunday night.

Welker's Week 3 outburst was a sign that the Patriots were not phasing him out of anything, and that perhaps, it was nothing more than strategy.

"I think that's just the way it's worked out," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Friday. "I mean, Wes is always prepared. He works hard. Sometimes the opportunities come. Sometimes they don't. But, a lll you can do is keep working hard, and put yourself in a good position to take advantage of them when they show up."

Welker has yet to catch a touchdown this season. Whatever the game plan may be on Sunday in Buffalo, Welker -- like the first three games -- will be ready. And he'll be ready to have another big game.

And even if he doesn't have a big game against the Bills, he realizes it's a long season, and that the opportunities will come.

"I just go out there and try to do my job on a daily basis," said Welker on Friday. "And when my number's called and I get that opportunity, i try to take advantage of them. We have a long season to go. And I'm going to get a lot more opportunities. And I've got to make sure that I'm making the plays for the team for us to win games."

ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

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ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

NEW YORK - Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

BOSTON – Gordon Hayward will have surgery on his left ankle tonight, according to a league source.

Hayward, who suffered a left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday night, was considering having the surgery in Boston or back in Indiana by a doctor who had operated on him when he played at Butler.

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It’s too soon to determine a timetable for Hayward’s return, although the Celtics anticipate he will most if not all of the remainder of this season.

Hayward’s injury delivers a major blow to a Celtics team that were considered a top-two team in the East by most.

With Hayward out for an extended period of time, teams like Washington and Toronto are likely to get more serious consideration as another strong threat to Cleveland which has advanced to the NBA Finals each of the last three seasons.

Replacing Hayward in the Celtics starting lineup was Marcus Smart who joined Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE