UCLA upsets Washington State in high-scoring Pac-12 opener

PULLMAN, Wash. – That is one way to end a losing streak.

UCLA roared back from a 32-point deficit in the second half, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Demetric Felton with a minute left lifted the Bruins to a wild 67-63 victory over No. 19 Washington State at Martin Stadium on Saturday.

The game was the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams, and the outcome did not seem in doubt when WSU built a 49-17 lead in the third quarter. Instead, the Bruins staged a comeback to remember behind an opportunistic offense that capitalized on a bevy of Cougar mistakes over the final two quarters.

Thompson-Robinson completed 25 of 38 passes for 507 yards with five touchdowns and one interception to overcome his counterpart, WSU’s Anthony Gordon, who passed for 570 yards on 41-for-61 passing and a school-record nine touchdowns.

Gordon had one final chance to drive the Cougars down the field, but UCLA’s Keisean Lucier-South forced a fumble on a sack. The fumble was recovered by Bruin linebacker Josh Woods.

Gordon’s seventh touchdown pass – a 6-yard strike to Dezmon Patmon – gave the Cougars a seemingly insurmountable 49-17 lead with just under 7 minutes left in the third quarter. UCLA staged a furious rally behind its quarterback, Dorin Thompson-Robinson, but the Bruins fell short.

Thompson-Robinson ran for a 1-yard touchdown run, fired a 37-yard touchdown pass to receiver Chase Cota, watched Demetric Felton take a reception 94 yards for another touchdown and added a 7-yard scoring pass to Devin Asiasi that cut WSU’s lead to 49-46 just 30 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The teams traded six touchdowns in the final quarter alone. Max Borghi’s 65-yard touchdown reception gave WSU its final lead at 63-60 with 6:11 remaining.

Woods’ interception ended WSU’s opening drive and set up a 14-yard touchdown pass from Dorin Thompson-Robinson to tailback Joshua Kelley for a 7-0 lead less than 2 minutes into the game.

The Cougars (4-0) evened the score at 7-7 when Gordon and Easop Winston Jr. connected for the first of four touchdown passes. UCLA moved ahead 10-7 on its next drive with JJ Molson’s 31-yard field goal.

Winston Jr. hauled down two more touchdowns in the second quarter to propel the Cougars to a 35-17 halftime edge.

Felton broke free for a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter to trim the deficit to 21-17.

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When financial choices backfire, you can fix them

Even when we attempt to do our best thinking, our choices can backfire. Nowhere is this as impactful as your financial decisions. In fact, there is a dedicated sector of finance called behavioral finance.

This addresses why so many of us make irrational and systematic errors with money that are void of logic and soundness. It has to do with our cognitive biases. We do what we do, then rationalize it.

Are you wrestling with a facet of your money management that is compromising your financial health? It’s the small stuff that catches you unaware, but it can add up to a lot.

Here are five ways our choices may backfire because of cognitive biases and what to do about it:

1. Mental accounting. If you treat a windfall differently from your regular income, such as an inheritance from a grandparent or a large IRS return, then you’re guilty of mental accounting. This refers to the different values we may place on money based on how we acquire it. For example, a tax return can be seen as an unexpected surplus, when in fact, it’s our money in the first place!

And unfortunately, in many cases people will indulge, feeling that the unexpected doesn’t happen often. Errors such as opening a low interest-bearing account while having high credit card balances is one example. Or purchasing a new car and discovering later on how much it really costs. Treat all money the same. Be sure that if you receive unexpected money that you review your financial goals and consider how this can help you to meet them.

2. Sunk cost fallacy. Throwing good money after bad sums up this bias. The more we spend on something, the less we’re likely to let it go. This pertains to things that no longer serve us. Do you have a storage full of unused purchases from a past life that you feel are too valuable to throw away? Are you suffering from home or garage clutter because of the same?

Sunk cost fallacy says we feel guilty about ridding ourselves of what we feel was a costly purchase but we no longer use. If you no longer use it, give it away. This will save your sanity and your checkbook, especially if you are renting space for these items.

3. Retail therapy. This one is particularly tempting; another way to describe it is impulse shopping. “I work hard; I deserve this,” is a phrase one hears often in conjunction with making a sudden and unpremeditated purchase. The advice many give is to “sleep on it for 24 hours.” But you can do more to get out in front of this dangerous behavior by asking yourself how you’re feeling before you enter a store (or the Amazon website!).

If you’re bored, restless, lonely or experiencing any feeling that leaves you empty, take caution. You are vulnerable to impulse shopping. Instead, once you have identified your emotion, pick a healthier way to deal with it. This will save money and a lot of closet space taken up by shirts you’ll never wear.

4. Loss aversion. Do you panic when the stock market goes down? Do you tend to sell the positions in your portfolio so you don’t “lose it all”? This strategy will minimize the returns that you could otherwise enjoy. Work with a responsible wealth advisor who can guide you.

The advice here is to watch the market less. You aren’t abdicating your responsibility by working with someone who oversees your funds, and you should read your monthly statements and meet regularly with your advisor. However, if you are a market “stalker” and this causes panic, back away slowly and allow your professional to manage the portfolio for you.

5. Sinkhole behavior. Have you made a choice that has backfired leaving you feeling paralyzed and embarrassed? Get past it and take action. Do what you can to remedy or redirect the situation by reaching out for help.

And reach out for the right kind of help. Don’t take advice from a neighbor or someone who tells you they once had the same experience. Get help from the right kind of advisor who can look at your situation and the complete picture. They’re best suited to guide you back into the sunlight.

When a choice you have made with your finances backfires, recognize this as a pivot point to help you reassess your money behaviors so that you can redirect and move forward. Your future will thank you.

Patti Cotton works with executives, business owners, and their companies, to elevate and support leadership at all levels. Her client roster includes privately-owned businesses and such entities as Bank of America, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Harvard University, Sysco, Edward Jones, Morgan Stanley and the Girl Scouts of America.  Patti@PattiCotton.com.

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You need to move the business ASAP. Here’s how a sublease works

Your business expansion will enjoy more space very soon. Now your employees can park at their place of employment vs. down the street. Crisp new offices or tons of manufacturing space await you in the new location. You can’t wait!

You’ve opted to lease the new spot and postpone ownership. You’ll encounter two leasing scenarios once you scour the market for suitable addresses — leases and subleases. So what are the differences? Indulge me while I describe them.

Leases are negotiated directly with the owner of a parcel of commercial real estate. Therefore, they’re referred to as direct leases. Normally, your initial conversations will be through your commercial real estate professional.

The deal you get depends upon the landlord’s motivation, competition in the market and the skill with which your broker volleys. She will work with the owner’s rep to craft your agreement. Outlined will be a monthly payment amount — rent, number of years, term, increases in rent throughout the term, bumps and concessions – free or abated rent, refurbishment, and extra stuff such as tenant improvements.

An early termination right, extension rights through an option to renew, right of first refusal, or right of first offer to purchase may also be included. Once you reach a pact, you and the owner will sign a lease, you’ll deposit the requested amounts and secure insurance. Now your company can live in the new location for the agreed-upon period, let’s assume five years.

But during the lease term, something untoward occurs — a decline in sales, someone acquires your company, you decide to move your manufacturing function to China, or California imposes a huge levy on your product, which dictates a move out-of-state. You find yourself with a glut of space to which you’re committed! Now what?

Well, those circumstances, dear readers create subleases.

A sublease is akin to a remnant sale at your favorite carpet retailer. A full roll of flooring is not available, so you get to pick from what’s left. Because a finite amount remains, little flexibility exists. If the scrap fits your area, great! You benefit. But if you have a larger area to cover, you’re hosed. Also, the smaller the amount of overrun, the fewer takers. Now a price discount must be employed to liquidate. Ouch.

With a sublease, the primary motivation is to stem the bleeding. Excess space wastes rent payments. The thought of providing any concessions runs contrary to a desire to move-on. Consequently, a different dynamic unfolds compared to a direct lease. Plus, another layer of decision-makers will be involved.

Remember, a lease is in place with a landlord and a tenant. Now the tenant becomes a de facto sub-landlord and you are the sub-tenant. All parties — master landlord, sub-landlord, and you — must agree and all must approve.

So with the descriptions of leases and subleases as a backdrop — how should you proceed?

Consider all your alternatives. If you need a ton of abated rent, extensive tenant improvements, or a 10-year term, a direct lease might be your best bet. Conversely, absent these requirements, a sublease can provide you with an adequate solution.

Seek counsel. Leases are complex. Subleases are uber complex. They are not for the squeamish. If your “landlord” stiffs the owner, your sublease is in jeopardy. You’ll need two sets of approvals.

Plan on extended time frames to get all resolved. We recently encountered a sublease that took 90 days to get the nod!

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at abuchanan@lee-associates.com or 714.564.7104.

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McDonald’s tries to reheat the chicken sandwich wars with spicy barbecue sauce

Two new combatants, McDonald’s and Jack In The Box, have entered the “chicken war” launched by Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Aug. 12.

That’s the date when Popeyes debuted a chicken sandwich that became a runaway success. After two weeks of long lines at drive-thrus and social media frenzy, the Miami-based fast food chain announced it had run out of supplies to make the sandwiches and pulled them from its menus.

The battle lines were initially drawn by fans of Popeyes and fans of Chick-fil-A, which has been selling a very similar sandwich for decades. Wendy’s entered the fray because it had a new spicy nuggets promotion.

And now after two weeks of quiet, McDonald’s has come out with a Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich.

It has the same essentials as Popeyes’ and Chick-fil-A’s sandwich, a crispy chicken fillet served on a bun with a couple of pickle slices.

McDonald’s sandwich adds some raw onion and a new barbecue glaze. It costs $5.29, more than the $3.99 that Popeyes’ was charging.

Jack In The Box’s Really Big Chicken Sandwich has tomato, mayonnaise and lettuce, making it more like Wendy’s chicken sandwiches. What’s different is that it starts with two chicken patties, and customers can add one or two more if they like. It also includes bacon.

Combos cost $3.99-$5.99.

Popeyes has yet to say when it the sandwich will return. The banner on its website shows an empty sandwich wrapper with the words, “Be right back.”

But on Thursday, Popeyes launched a promotion called BYOB, “Bring Your Own Buns,” encouraging customers to buy three-piece chicken tenders and supply their own bread.

A news release announcing the promotion was accompanied by a short video featuring skeptical-looking actors.

“Seriously,” one of the actors says, “when are you bringing the sandwich back?”

 

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Here’s how Southern California colleges fared in the 2020 U.S. News rankings

No matter what you’re looking for in a college education, Southern California likely has a good school to suit your needs.

That’s one of the big takeaways from the 2020 U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, released Monday, Sept. 9.

There were few surprises in the top overall rankings, with Caltech placing highest in the region as the No. 12 best national university.

UCLA and USC weren’t too far behind, at No. 20 and No. 22, respectively.

Orange County was also represented on the list, with UC Irvine placing at No. 36. When narrowed down to just the top public schools, UCI won the No. 9 spot.

Southern California fared even better in the liberal arts category, in which Pomona College ranked fifth and Claremont McKenna College placed seventh.

Despite its high standing, a representative for Pomona College said that shouldn’t be the only factor prospective students consider when choosing a college or university.

“Our focus is on providing a top-notch education that equips students to confront problems from fresh angles and come up with real solutions,” spokesman Mark Kendall said. “There are many viewpoints on the issue of rankings, but bottom line, they should never be treated as an answer, only as one resource among many as students begin their college search.”

U.S. News used factors like graduation rates, class size, expert opinion, faculty resources and the share of first-year students who were in the top 10% of their high school class to determine the rankings.

“We’ve found the best institutions to be ones committed to academically and financially supporting their students through graduation,” Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News, said in a statement. “They draw in high-quality professors and set students up for postgraduate success.”

But U.S. News didn’t stop at quantifying overall quality.

The organization compiled more than a dozen separate lists that rank schools on specific metrics, like value, innovation and ethnic diversity.

Across many of the lists, Caltech stood out. The university ranked No. 3 on the list of schools that offer undergraduates the opportunity to pursue their own creative research projects. It also tied for ninth place on a list of schools with the most economic diversity among students, ranked 10th for lowest debt load upon graduation and placed 11th for overall best value.

In a new list that debuted this year, which measures social mobility by assessing outcomes for students who received Pell grants, Southern California schools dominated the highest rankings.

UC Riverside topped the list, with UCI coming in third and the University of La Verne tying for fourth.

The leader of the winning school on that metric said, for his part, that it’s about time college rankings start taking student outcomes into account.

“UC Riverside is not a newcomer to the social mobility movement,” Chancellor Kim Wilcox said in a statement. “It’s been part of our ethos for a generation and we are heartened that rankings publications are starting to catch up – but they are not there yet.”

The Southland also shined bright on the list of best regional universities in the west.

California Lutheran University placed ninth on that list, followed by Cal Poly Pomona at No. 14, Cal State Fullerton at No. 17 and Cal State Long Beach at No. 20.

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Whicker: A stunning quick-change act for USC, especially on defense

  • USC running back Vavae Malepeai begins his celebration in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against Stanford in the third quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Tyler Vaughns avoids a tackle on his way to the end zone to score a touchdown against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

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  • USC wide receiver Tyler Vaughns does a little celebrating in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Stanford quarterback Davis Mills, left, is sacked by USC linebacker Hunter Echols, center, with the help of defensive lineman Caleb Tremblay, right, in the fourth quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC cornerback Greg Johnson, right, intercepts a pass as
    Stanford intended receiver Colby Parkinson is called for a face mask penalty the fourth quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC cornerback Greg Johnson does a little celebrating after intercepting a pass against Stanford in the fourth quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates with teammate USC running back Vavae Malepeai after Brown scored a touchdown late in the second quarter against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC running back Vavae Malepeai, center, celebrates his touchdown with teammates Drake London, left, and Drew Richmond, right, in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC quarterback Kedon Slovis fires a pass against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Devon Williams, right, pushes away Stanford safety Malik Antoine as he runs along the sideline for a big gain in the first quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, beats Stanford cornerback Obi Eboh, center, and another defender to make a touchdown catch in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Kedon Slovis in the second quarter against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Munir McClain, left, catches a pass before being hit by Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo in the first quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates with wide receiver Drake London after Brown scored a touch down against Stanford late in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown dives into the end zone for a touchdown late in the second quarter against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC cornerback Olaijah Griffin (2) steps in front of a Stanford receiver to break up a pass in the end zone in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates his second quarter touchdown against Stanford with wide receiver Devon Williams, center, in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates with offensive tackle Jalen McKenzie after scoring a touchdown against Stanford late in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Drake London, left, finds an open field after catching a pass to gain big yardage before being brought down by Stanford safety Kendall Williamson, right, in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Stanford running back Cameron Scarlett, left, muscles his way past USC wide receiver Drake London, center, and quarterback Jack Sears, right, to score a touch down in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) runs during the second half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates his second quarter touchdown against Stanford with teammates in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis throws a pass against Stanford during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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LOS ANGELES — Sudden change, they call it. USC fans have been demanding one. On Saturday night they got that change, and some hope too.

Stanford was the bowling ball and the Trojans were the scattering tenpins in the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Cameron Scarlett scored to make it 14-3. On the next play, USC’s Velus Jones coughed up the football on his own 21.

“If they had scored a touchdown there it would have been devastating,” said Trojans coach Clay Helton, who would have been at ground zero of such devastation.

Stanford quarterback Davis Mills, in this position because K.J. Costello was hurt, tried to pick on USC cornerback Olajiah Griffin on first and third down, aiming at Colby Parkinson, the tallest oak from Oaks Christian, both times. Griffin held his ground and both passes were incomplete.

On fourth-and-13, Jet Toner kicked the field goal that created a 17-3 lead. In the stands and in the bars and in the Barcaloungers, the Trojan “faithful” began to search Netflix.

On field level it was different.

“We’re thinking that if we score (a touchdown), it’s a one-score game,” Helton said. “So Graham (offensive coordinator Harrell) kept turning it loose. You don’t have to tell him to do that.”

Kedon Slovis, the freshest toast of this town, then dropped a fly ball in between Stanford defenders and into the hands of Amon-Ra St. Brown, for a 39-yard touchdown. But Stanford got a 44-yard run from Scarlett and camped out, first-and-10 on the USC 17. There were penalties on consecutive plays, some pushes and shoves and points and counterpoints, and even though Stanford got another field goal and a 20-10 lead, something changed. Actually, everything did.

USC rampaged to a 45-20 win, easily its best game since a Pac-12 championship game win over Stanford in 2017, and maybe well before that. Those were the most points Stanford has given up in five years (to Oregon). Frustrations were purged; visions came true. As receiver Tyler Vaughns said, “People don’t understand. This is nothing like last year. New players, new coaches.”

And even though the new quarterback was directing the band afterward, a privilege that comes with completing 28 of 33 passes for 377 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, it usually takes the whole village when you outscore someone 42-6 in three quarters.

Slovis was phenomenal, no question. You can take your pick of passes. The best was probably a 31-yarder that whizzed over the helmet of cornerback Obi Ebon and found the hands of Michael Pittman, just before Vavae Malepeai ran to make it 31-20.

“There’s really a huge margin for error when you throw it to these guys,” Slovis said.

“I was proud of him,” center Brett Neilon said. “We had his back.”

“I told him he didn’t have to be Superman,” Helton said, then turned to St. Brown. “I told HIM that he did.”

Meanwhile, there was the worrisome secondary, with four sophomores and a freshman. The way to gain confidence at this position is not to spend your August practice afternoons lined up against Pittman, St. Brown, Vaughns and the deep layers of USC receivers. Against Fresno State they struggled and survived. Against Stanford they made a difference, although Mills somehow kept missing his big receivers and, in the end, was under siege from the pass rush.

“We were concerned about their screens,” said Chad Kahua’aha’a, the defensive line coach. “Finally we just said, let’s just go after them, run some games up front, and see what happens.”

“Holding them to that field goal was big,” linebacker Christian Rector said.

Stanford had only one touchdown drive longer than 35 yards, which was the first one, set up by Connor Wedington’s 60-yard kickoff return. The Cardinal had no points and only 119 yards in the second half, and Toner missed two field goals.

Griffin, who is coming back from simultaneous rehabs on both shoulders, survived a lot of business from the Cardinal, and Greg Johnson picked off Mills’ pass to Parkinson, setting up the score that made it 38-20.

Johnson went to Hawkins High, not too far away on West 60th Street. He remembered Parkinson from competing with him at the Army All-American Bowl.

“We knew he was one of our top targets, so I just played my technique,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to give a big shout-out to our receivers, too. Every day in practice, we get tested by them. You have to be on your toes no matter what. We’ve got a young corps, so we have to lean on each other.”

And at halftime, just after Slovis had found St. Brown to put the Trojans up 24-20?

“We knew we had ’em,” he said.

The same belief was slow to reach the seating areas, but those who waited for Slovis to buckle are still waiting. Whether Helton will be forgiven — or will be recognized — for moving Slovis ahead of Jack Sears on the depth chart is not known. It is a little difficult to expect anyone’s preconceptions to survive, after that.

“What’s next?” Malepeai repeated. “Just go back in on Monday and lock in and get better. I don’t like to think about last year, but we’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot. We did it in the beginning tonight. If we quit doing that, I think we could score just about every time. I don’t see a ceiling.”

But, for the first time in a long time, he saw some gold.

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Robert Mugabe, longtime Zimbabwe leader, dies at 95

By Farai Mutsaka and Christopher Torchia, The Associated Press

Harare, Zimbabwe — Robert Mugabe, the former leader of Zimbabwe forced to resign in 2017 after a 37-year rule whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil, disputed elections and human rights violations, has died. He was 95.

His successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed Mugabe’s death in a tweet Friday, mourning him as an “icon of liberation.” He did not provide details.

Mugabe, who took power after white minority rule ended in 1980, blamed Zimbabwe’s economic problems on international sanctions and once said he wanted to rule for life. But growing discontent about the southern African country’s fractured leadership and other problems prompted a military intervention, impeachment proceedings by the parliament and large street demonstrations for his removal.

  • FILE – In this Tuesday, March 18, 2008 file photo, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses party supporters at a rally in Gweru, about 250 kms. (155 miles) south of Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, file)

  • FILE – In this Wednesday, Nov. 10, 1976 file photo, leaders of the Black National Front Joshua Nkomo, left, and Robert Mugabe make a no progress statement after their informal meeting with British chairman Ivor Richard at the Palais of Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Dieter Endlicher, file)

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  • FILE – In this Sunday, July, 29, 2018, file photo, Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, left, and his wife Grace pose for a photo after a press conference at their residence in Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009, file photo Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe arrives for the burial of a prominent member of his party, Misheck Chando, in Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 file photo Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, center, arrives to preside over a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

  • FILE – In this Wednesday, April 18, 2012 file photo Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, lights a flame at celebrations to mark 32 years of independence of Zimbabwe, in Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/File)

  • FILE – In this Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 file photo Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe clenches his fists as he delivers his speech at his party’s 13th annual conference, in Gweru about 250 Kilometres south west of the capital Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Wednesday, May 22, 2013 file photo Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, left, shakes hands with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after he signed the new constitution into law at State house in Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Saturday, Dec, 17, 2016 file photo, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses people at an event before the closure of his party’s 16th Annual Peoples Conference in Masvingo, south of the capital Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Oct. 3, 2017 file photo, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, South Africa. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died.
    (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, FILE)

  • FILE — In this Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 file photo, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe officiates at a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

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The announcement of Mugabe’s Nov. 21, 2017 resignation after he initially ignored escalating calls to quit triggered wild celebrations in the streets of the capital, Harare. Well into the night, cars honked and people danced and sang in a spectacle of free expression that would have been impossible during his years in power and reflected hopes for a better future.

On Feb. 21, 2018, Mugabe marked his first birthday since his resignation in near solitude, far from the lavish affair of past years. While the government that removed him with military assistance had declared his birthday as a national holiday, his successor and former deputy Mnangagwa did not mention him in a televised speech on the day.

Mugabe’s decline in his last years as president was partly linked to the political ambitions of his wife, Grace, a brash, divisive figure whose ruling party faction eventually lost out in a power struggle with supporters of Mnangagwa, who was close to the military.

Despite Zimbabwe’s decline during his rule, Mugabe remained defiant, railing against the West for what he called its neo-colonialist attitude and urging Africans to take control of their resources, a populist message that was often a hit even as many nations on the continent shed the strongman model and moved toward democracy.

Mugabe enjoyed acceptance among peers in Africa who chose not to judge him in the same way as Britain, the United States and other Western detractors. Toward the end of his rule, he served as rotating chairman of the 54-nation African Union and the 15-nation Southern African Development Community; his criticism of the International Criminal Court was welcomed by regional leaders who also thought it was being unfairly used to target Africans.

“They are the ones who say they gave Christianity to Africa,” Mugabe said of the West during a visit to South Africa. “We say: ‘We came, we saw and we were conquered.’”

Spry in his impeccably tailored suits, Mugabe as leader maintained a schedule of events and international travel that defied his advancing age, though signs of weariness mounted toward the end. He fell after stepping off a plane in Zimbabwe, read the wrong speech at the opening of parliament and appeared to be dozing during a news conference in Japan. However, his longevity and frequently dashed rumors of ill health delighted supporters and infuriated opponents who had sardonically predicted he would live forever.

“Do you want me to punch you to the floor to realize I am still there?” Mugabe told an interviewer from state television who asked him in early 2016 about retirement plans.

After independence, Mugabe reached out to whites after a long war between black guerrillas and the white rulers of Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known. He stressed education and built new schools. Tourism and mining flourished and Zimbabwe was a regional breadbasket.

However, a brutal military campaign waged against an uprising in western Matabeleland province that ended in 1987 augured a bitter turn in Zimbabwe’s fortunes. As the years went by, Mugabe was widely accused of hanging onto power through violence and vote fraud, notably in a 2008 election that led to a troubled coalition government after regional mediators intervened.

“I have many degrees in violence,” Mugabe once boasted on a campaign trail, raising his fist. “You see this fist, it can smash your face.”

Mugabe was re-elected in 2013 in another election marred by alleged irregularities, though he dismissed his critics as sore losers.

Amid the political turmoil, the economy of Zimbabwe, traditionally rich in agriculture and minerals, was deteriorating. Factories were closing, unemployment was rising and the country abandoned its currency for the US dollar in 2009 because of hyperinflation.

The economic problems are often traced to the violent seizures of thousands of white-owned farms that began around 2000. Land reform was supposed to take much of the country’s most fertile land — owned by about 4,500 white descendants of mainly British and South African colonial-era settlers — and redistribute it to poor blacks. Instead, Mugabe gave prime farms to ruling party leaders, party loyalists, security chiefs, relatives and cronies.

Mugabe was born in Zvimba, 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the capital of Harare. As a child, he tended his grandfather’s cattle and goats, fished for bream in muddy water holes, played football and “boxed a lot,” as he recalled later.

Mugabe lacked the easy charisma of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and contemporary who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 after reconciling with its former white rulers. But he drew admirers in some quarters for taking a hard line with the West, and he could be disarming despite his sometimes harsh demeanor.

“The gift of politicians is never to stop speaking until the people say, ‘Ah, we are tired,’” he said at a 2015 news conference. “You are now tired. I say thank you.”

Torchia reported from Johannesburg.

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Aging seniors: Make decisions before someone makes them for you

During retirement or before, you probably did all the financial planning along with the legal paperwork. Have you also thought about personal choices as you age and the options ahead? If a personal plan isn’t made now, you might regret it when other people are making choices for you.

Here are some of your choices:

Where are you going to live?

Not moving earlier in your life to where you really want to be could stop you from moving there at a later date.

Do you want to stay in the area in which you have friends and social and religious circles that include a country club, church or charitable organizations that you have been with for a long time?

Do you want to move close to your family and expect that you will be with your relatives frequently, as when you are visiting on vacation? Another scenario is the family continues with their regular routines of work and school and activities and have little time to spend with you. In this case, you’ll have to build a circle of friends and networks.

Recreational preferences or agreeable climate and community should also come into play. If you loved visiting Hawaii, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas or Oregon, you might decide that you want to move to one of those places for those reasons or the low cost of living. If you have more time for your hobbies and interests, you might have an opportunity to live closer to where you can fulfill those interests.

There are other issues to consider in another state including income, sales, inheritance and property taxes.

Living spaces

What living space you occupy or who you live with are serious decisions to ponder before moving. If you prefer to live in your own home as you age, that comes with questions and decisions. For instance, is the house in good physical condition or does it need work to make it safe for you as you age?

Does your home have a second floor that may not be practical if can’t manage the stairs? Is your house too big for one person? Is it in a good, safe area? Do you have enough assets to support the house while you live there? Are you going to do the maintenance on the house and yard or are you going to hire help?

If you are living with someone and that person moves out or dies, are you going to be comfortable alone? If you can’t or don’t want to live by yourself, check out other housing options in the area to find something that would feel comfortable, such as senior living or assisted care facilities. You can visit and also spend some time there eating meals and participating in activities.

Transportation

Seniors want the decision to stop driving to be one they make. They feel a loss of independence when they can no longer drive. How do you feel about that? Do you want to make your own decision on when to stop driving? If so, what are the criteria? California has a driver skills self-assessment questionnaire included in its DMV Senior Guide for Safe Driving.

You can start there or take a refresher driving course. However, if you decide that to give up your license, staying isolated at home isn’t your only option. There are other choices such as bus, taxis, Uber, Lyft and GoGo Grandparent that will get you around town. Some senior services will drive you places, shop for you and even order meals and deliver them.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s hard for seniors to accept they are not self-reliant anymore. Struggling with daily life as we age can lead to depression and isolation. As seniors get less mobile, they have choices to think about. Review your finances and determine if you will need additional resources.

You might consider adult daycare, home health care, local government and charitable programs that help seniors, and community centers that offer socialization, meals and activities.

Miscellaneous tips

Pre-Need arrangements: Plan your own funeral and pay for it now. You can choose burial or cremation and spend as much as you want.

Hire a professional: If you don’t have a family member or a friend that you want to make your decisions for you, or feel that they would not be able to do so, then hire a professional fiduciary. They would step in when you need them. They normally charge by the hour. Sometimes, they become the neutral party between fighting family members.

Make sure you put all of your decisions in writing and communicate them to family and friends so they know your decisions. Make an appointment with your attorney to go over the decisions you made and make sure that they’re compatible with your estate planning documents.

Look into the future for what life might look like and start making changes now. You can take responsibility for your decisions that are really yours to make. If you wait and do nothing, it can be a crisis that makes those decisions for you. You might regret your lack of making a plan for your life and the decisions may be taken out of your hands.

Marcia L. Campbell, has worked as a CPA for over 25 years specializing in seniors, trusts, estates, court and trust accountings and probate litigation support. You can reach her at Marcia@mcampbellcpa.com

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Angels lose in 15 innings, fall 8 games under .500 for the first time since 2016

  • Starting pitcher Jose Suarez #54 of the Los Angeles Angels wipes his face as J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox rounds third base after hitting a two run home run in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox points to the sky after hitting a two run home run as Max Stassi #33 of the Los Angeles Angels looks on in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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  • J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox high fives teammate Sam Travis #59 after hitting a two run home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox hugs teammate Brock Holt #12 after hitting a two run home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox throws to the plate against the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox can’t reach a home run by Brian Goodwin (not pictured) of the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Brian Goodwin #18 of the Los Angeles Angels looks toward the sky after hitting a solo home run against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels strikes out against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels strikes out against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jose Suarez throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Mookie Betts #50 high fives teammate Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts, right, gestures after scoring on a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout makes a catch on a ball hit by Boston Red Sox’s Sandy Leon during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels strikes out against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a two run single with bases loaded against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a two run single with bases loaded against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels high fives first base coach Jesus Feliciano #62 after hitting a two run single with bases loaded against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Max Stassi #33 high fives teammate Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels after Albert Pujols (not pictured) hit two run single with bases loaded against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Brad Ausmus #12 of the Los Angeles Angels looks on against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Mike Trout, left, with hitting instructor Jeremy Reed of the Los Angeles Angels looks on against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels grounds out against the Boston Red Sox in the seventh inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels grounds out against the Boston Red Sox in the seventh inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Brian Goodwin #18 of the Los Angeles Angels points to the sky after hitting his second solo home run of the night against the Boston Red Sox in the seventh inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 30: Max Stassi #33 and Brian Goodwin #18 of the Los Angeles Angels celebrate after Albert Pujols #5 drove them in on a two RBI single in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 30: Brian Goodwin #18 of the Los Angeles Angels is congratulated by Mike Trout #27 for his home run in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 30: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels gets a two RBI single in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 30: David Fletcher #6 of the Los Angeles Angels throws from third base for an out on Christian Vazquez #7 of the Boston Red Sox in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 30: Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels tags out Marco Hernandez #40 of the Boston Red Sox at second base in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 30: Luis Rengifo #4 of the Los Angeles Angels is forced out at home by Sandy Leon #3 of the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox hits a go ahead solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the fifteenth inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California.Boston Red Sox won 7-6. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Mookie Betts #50 high fives teammate Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox after hitting a go ahead solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the fifteenth inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. Boston Red Sox won 7-6. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox hugs a teammate after hitting the go ahead solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the fifteenth inning of a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California.Boston Red Sox won 7-6. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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ANAHEIM — An emotional day for the Angels stretched into a long, grueling night, ending with the team falling to a new low.

On the day they learned the cause of Tyler Skaggs’ death, the Angels lost 7-6 to the Boston Red Sox, with Mookie Betts’ 15th-inning homer deciding Friday’s game early on Saturday morning.

The Angels fell eight games under .500 for the first time since they finished the 2016 season 74-88.

After trailing by four runs in the third inning and two runs in the ninth inning, the Angels rallied to send the game to extra innings before Betts’ second homer of the night put the Red Sox back on top. The game ended at 12:31 a.m.

Angels relievers had worked eight scoreless innings before Trevor Cahill gave up the homer to Betts.

The Angels (64-72) have now lost 23 of their last 33 games, a stretch in which the problem has mostly been the ineffectiveness of a young pitching staff ravaged by injuries and the tragic loss of Skaggs.

They nearly overcame the performance of rookie José Suarez, who had put the Angels in a 4-0 hole in the third inning. The Angels got within 4-3 in the fifth and they scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.

The third of Albert Pujols’ four hits produced the tying runs in the ninth. Pujols, who had a two-run single earlier, was credited with one RBI in the ninth, with the tying run scoring when right fielder J.D. Martinez misplayed the ball.

A pair of intentional walks loaded the bases before Matt Thaiss grounded out to send the game to extra innings.

The rally at east took Suarez off the hook after he’d allowed four runs in five innings, on two more homers. Betts led off the game with a homer and Martinez hit a two-run homer in the third inning.

Suarez has allowed 18 homers in 63 innings in his rookie season.

After allowing the homer to Martinez, he settled won and retired the final seven batters he faced.

The Angels got on the board in the third when Brian Goodwin hit his first homer of two homers on the night. Goodwin hit another in the seventh, marking his second career multi-homer game. He set a new career-high with 15 homers.

That pulled the Angels within 4-1, and they got two more in fifth on Pujols’ second hit of the night. The Red Sox got those runs back against Noé Ramírez, taking a 6-3 lead in the sixth.

The Angels got the tying run on base in the bottom of the 15th when Mike Trout drew a one-out walk, but Shohei Ohtani (0 for 8, four strikeouts) grounded into a fielder’s choice, then Pujols lined out to Andrew Benintendi in left field to end it.

Mookie homered in the first.

14 innings later: pic.twitter.com/zh6WXQBhg1

— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2019

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Alexander: Dustin May’s education continues in Dodgers’ loss

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May throws to the plate during the first inning of Monday’s game against the Padres in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May relaxes between innings during a game against the Blue Jays last week at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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  • Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May looks toward home plate before throwing a pitch during the first inning of Monday’s game against the Padres in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May prepares to throw to the plate during the first inning of Monday’s game against the Padres in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May throws to the plate during the first inning of Monday’s game against the Padres in San Diego. The team hasn’t decided yet if May would make a greater contribution as a starter or as a reliever the rest of the season, but his talent and poise suggest he could be on their postseason roster in some capacity. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May bobbles a ground ball before throwing out the Padres’ Josh Naylor at first base during the fourth inning of Monday’s game in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May bobbles a ground ball before throwing out the Padres’ Josh Naylor at first base during the fourth inning of Monday’s game in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May sits in the dugout between innings of a game against the Cardinals earlier this month at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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SAN DIEGO — Dustin May will get at least one more start for the Dodgers, as Dave Roberts continues to ponder what to do with him down the stretch.

As another in a series of auditions, May’s start Monday night in a 4-3 loss to the Padres suggested he might deserve more. (Maybe even an apology from A.J. Pollock, but we’ll get to that.)

Right now, the string-bean right-hander with the curly ginger hair is the Dodger pitching staff’s X-factor. Roberts hasn’t yet decided if he would make a greater contribution as a starter or as a reliever. But May’s stuff and his poise suggest that, at just under 22 years old and with five major league games under his belt, there could very well be a place for him in the postseason.

If there were justice, he could have pitched six innings Monday night and left with a 5-1 or 6-1 lead. But his teammates have again fallen into a funk with runners in scoring position, leaving the bases loaded twice in the early innings and going 1 for 10 in RISP situations. And Pollock’s inexplicable throw from center field into the visitors’ dugout scored the tying run and moved the winning run to third, and what had been a 3-1 lead turned into a loss that dropped May’s record to 1-3 as a big leaguer.

Naturally, May blamed himself for not backing up third base, even though it was an ill-advised throw and third baseman Justin Turner probably shouldn’t have let it slip through him.

“I gotta be behind third base to back that ball up,” May said. “There’s no excuse. I gotta be there.”

It is what the smart rookie does, take responsibility.

He is not the finished product yet, to be certain. But in his five major league outings he has demonstrated growth and he has shown poise and maturity.

“For a 21-year-old, (his poise is) off the charts; it really is,” Roberts said. “And he’s a tremendous competitor. He expects a lot from himself, and today showed it. I know he was frustrated by the result … but overall he threw 81 pitches, and I think that a large majority of those pitches were quality pitches.”

He got squeezed occasionally by plate umpire Rob Drake’s Incredible Floating Strike Zone, but he certainly wasn’t alone. Both sides had plenty to complain about, and in fact, Turner had some choice words as Drake left the field after ringing him up to end the game.

“I thought the pitch execution was pretty good,” May said. “I left a curveball up to Austin (Allen, pinch hitter) in the sixth inning and he hit it pretty hard, but other than that I thought I threw the ball pretty decent.”

Allen’s double to right-center started the Padres’ three-run rally in the sixth, though one of those runs was earned. He probably had an advantage, having seen May in the minors.

“I went up there with a little bit of confidence just from facing Dustin through the low levels of the minors and even in Double-A a little bit,” Allen said. “I haven’t faced him this year, but I’ve got a pretty good feel in like where his release point is and all that stuff.

“I’ve faced him so many times throughout the minors and he’s got such good stuff, don’t get me wrong. But after seeing guys again and again and again, I’m going to take my chances, no matter how good they are, because I know how their stuff is moving, and all the little things that go into it.”

That sort of turns the whole “third time through the order” concept on its head. The guy who hit him hardest in that inning hadn’t seen him at all Monday night and was going on what he’d seen in Double-A in 2018.

We already know this about May: He will work fast, he will keep the ball down, and he will induce soft contact. He is not yet getting hitters to swing and miss; in his four previous outings hitters had swung and missed on 9.7 percent of his pitches, according to Fangraphs; the rest of the Dodgers rotation is around 11 to 13 percent.

Monday night he had eight swings and misses in 81 pitches: four on the two-seam fastball, two on the cutter, one each on the curve and slider. The two-seam was topping out at 97 mph early and was around 95 in the later innings.

Roberts said before the game he feels the swings and misses will come as “a byproduct of execution and sequencing. When he can locate the fastball, get ahead and sequence appropriately, the stuff is there to get the swing and miss.”

In what areas does May feel he’s improved since he was called up and made his first start against the Padres on Aug. 2 in L.A.?

“I feel like my misses are closer,” he said. “I feel like I’m more around the zone. The execution of pitches is, I feel, getting better.”

The Dodgers will utilize a six-man rotation for the next week, at least, for rest purposes, so May’s next start would be Sunday in Arizona. After that? Things are fluid.

“I just gotta be ready for anything,” May said. “I have to be compatible with what’s going on. I’m excited to be here, and I’m really excited to do whatever they need me to do. I’m ready for it.”

Left unsaid: All of this is expected to reach a crescendo in October, which has become the only month that truly matters for the Dodgers and their fan base.

Will the kid be ready? We’ll be searching for clues over the next five weeks.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

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