ST. LOUIS (AP) Carlos Beltran returned to the St. Louis Cardinals' starting lineup Friday night for Game 5 of the NL championship series.
Beltran said his strained left knee felt good enough to play. The All-Star right fielder underwent 2 1/2 hours of treatment during the day, plus acupuncture to increase blood flow to the knee.
Beltran was set to bat second against San Francisco. The Cardinals hold a 3-1 lead in the series.
``I'm good to go,'' Beltran said. ``I feel better. I just needed to go out there and make some sprints 100 percent.''
Manager Mike Matheny withheld his lineup card until less than two hours before gametime, waiting until Beltran was cleared by the team's medical staff.
The 35-year-old Beltran is hitting .400 with three home runs, five doubles and six RBIs in 30 at-bats this postseason.
Beltran was injured running out a double-play ball in the first inning of Game 3. Matt Carpenter replaced him and hit a go-ahead, two-run homer. Beltran did not play in Game 4, and Carpenter doubled, walked twice and scored two runs in the Cardinals' 8-3 victory Thursday night.
Beltran's biggest concern had been playing the outfield.
``Yesterday I would have loved to be in the lineup, but I just didn't make it,'' Beltran said.
PITTSBURGH -- No. 1 Virginia allowed just seven points in the first half and secured the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title outright with a 66-37 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Freshman guard De'Andre Hunter came off the bench to lead the Cavaliers (26-2, 14-1 ACC) with 14 points in a game that didn't take big offensive efforts from Virginia's regulars. Of the five starters, only guard Ty Jerome exceeded his season average with 13 points.
The game was never competitive, as Virginia started on an 8-0 run and Pitt didn't make a field goal until Jared Wilson-Frame hit a 3-pointer at the midway point of the first half.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett rested most of his regulars in the second half. Reserve Nigel Johnson added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
Parker Stewart led Pitt (8-22, 0-17) with 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Pitt had next to no presence inside. The Panthers were outscored 28-8 in the paint and out-rebounded 36-24. Seven of Pitt's 11 made field goals were from beyond the arc.
The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.
A quick start
Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.
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Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump
It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.
Ovechkin's two-goal third period
Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.