“We’ve kind of defied the odds at this point. And we don’t pay too much attention to them. Obviously we read about it or hear about it because it becomes exploited and obviously we’re in the city and we have all the news outlets saying all these things. But we just try to stay together as a team and that’s all we really could do. We had nothing to lose at that point. We had .01 chance to lose, I guess, we had that much left. But we were just, hey, screw it, let’s go out and have some fun and play ball and whatever it was, something clicked and it turned around and we’ve been trying to ride that wave ever since and keep on just going.” — ANTHONY RENDON.

Kurt Suzuki

Anthony Rendon

Houston, Texas – postgame 2

Washington 12, Houston 3

Q. Can you just talk about the mood right now? I know you’re not going to declare victory, you still have to win four games. But winning two in Houston has to be very important in your mind. Tell us how you’re feeling right now, the confidence level.
ANTHONY RENDON: It’s just way down in here, it just doesn’t come out a lot.

Yeah, like you said, we know the series isn’t over. I think it would have been a success if we only came in and stole one game, obviously, playing at this stage and playing with the crowd and at their home-field. But for us to obviously steal two games from them at their home-field is great.

But like you say, we still have a job to finish and we have two more to go.

KURT SUZUKI: Yeah, like he said, it’s nice to come in here and get a couple of wins, face a couple of great pitchers. Able to come out on top. And really, we’re just looking to get back home in front of our fans and worrying about winning the next pitch, winning the next inning. So getting ready.

Q. Kurt, the swing you put on Verlander in the 7th, and also how you have observed Stephen’s ability to finish his outings this year strongly and get through them as he did tonight?
KURT SUZUKI: Yes, Stras, obviously the little hiccup there in the first. Made a good pitch. You tip your hat, the guy is a great hitter and he hit it out.

But the thing about Stras is he’s really grown in that way where he don’t let things like that bother him. He just moves on to the next pitch, gets the next out, moves on, gave us five shutout after that, gave us a chance to win the ball game. And it was great.

As for the hit, I can’t remember the last time I barreled a ball up like that. It felt great. It felt like months ago. Probably was months ago. It felt great.

Just the fact to help the team out any way I can, whatever it was. We get some runs on the board and we were able to put some runs up in the later part of the innings, and it was good.

Q. Anthony, what made you guys so successful with two outs hitting tonight? Obviously you guys have done that all year. And I know that’s Davey’s philosophy when he comes in and explains that he doesn’t like strikeouts, what’s your impression of that?
ANTHONY RENDON: If we could pinpoint one certain thing, man, I think it might just be our resilience. And like you said, Davey emphasized in Spring Training he doesn’t like strikeouts. If we are striking out then obviously we’re not giving ourselves a chance to get on base, we’re just getting ourselves out, and obviously we’re not making the defense work.

So we have some speed at the top of the order so if we can run balls out and put some pressure on the defense any way possible. Even Zimm today, he was running some balls out, that old guy. It was great to be able to be put some balls in play and limit our strikeouts as much as we can, and just try to scratch any kind of run we can get.

Q. Being one of the leaders in the clubhouse, what have you and others said at the beginning of this postseason? A lot of people didn’t predict you all to be where you are right now, up 2-0 in the World Series. What has the mindset been since the beginning of the playoffs?
ANTHONY RENDON: I’d go back further than just the postseason, for sure, when everyone started doubting us probably the middle of the year when everyone goes back to 1931. But even when they were saying that, We need to fire Davey, or We need to trade so and so, or We need to clean house, clean the front office out, whatever it might be.

I think then it was kind of where we got our attitude and said, Screw everybody else, we’re not worrying about what’s going outside of our clubhouse. We have to worry about the 25 guys that are in here and that are actually grinding.

No offense, but nobody outside of that clubhouse knows the work that we put in each and every day and the amount of time that we’re away from our families and the sacrifices that we have to make. So that’s been our attitude for a while now.

Q. Kurt, two questions. The 3-2 pitch to Correa in the 6th that he popped up looked like a changeup from up in the zone, can you describe that pitch? And second, your thoughts on being the first player born in Hawaii to hit a home run in the World Series?
KURT SUZUKI: Yeah, it was a big pitch for Stras. He just — any pitch anytime. He’s got so many weapons to get you out with. He’s got command. He can really spin the ball. You never really know what pitch is coming, because he can throw any pitch up at any time. If he changes up his patterns we do a good job of sequencing right and it becomes tough for the hitters. I think in that situation right there runners in scoring position, a great hitter like Correa, you try not to give in. And we tried to change up our patterns. We had him a couple of times 3-2, and I think we went different ways each time. Tried to mix it up, popped it up, and it was great.

And obviously the homer was great. I think anytime you can help the team out any way you can offensively, defensively, it doesn’t matter, do one thing to help the team win and good things will happen.

Q. I just want to go back to May 24th when you said everyone was pretty much burying you guys. At that point you had a .01 percent chance of winning the pennant and here you are 2-0 in the World Series. When you see those types of headlines, and it sounds like you did see them, what’s your mentality and now given all that, what’s your philosophy on “odds”?
ANTHONY RENDON: I think we’ve kind of defied the odds at this point. And we don’t pay too much attention to them. Obviously we read about it or hear about it because it becomes exploited and obviously we’re in the city and we have all the news outlets saying all these things. But we just try to stay together as a team and that’s all we really could do. We had nothing to lose at that point. We had .01 chance to lose, I guess, we had that much left. But we were just, hey, screw it, let’s go out and have some fun and play ball and whatever it was, something clicked and it turned around and we’ve been trying to ride that wave ever since and keep on just going.

Q. Kurt, how surprised were you to see Altuve try to steal in the first? And Anthony, how big was Kurt’s home run in the 7th to get things going?
KURT SUZUKI: You know, I don’t really get surprised when guys try to run on me. 36 years old, I’m getting old now. I know they like to run. They like to steal third. They like to put the pressure on the defense. And I think we had a little bit of a shift going on there, so Anthony kind of put it in the hole a little bit and it’s kind of like a football pass, you have to try to lead them to the bag. You can’t rush it, because you have to give him time and you can’t throw it too low, because he’ll be running trying to catch it a shoe top. You just try to play catch with him and lucky enough he made a great tag and we got him out which obviously saved us a run, because Bregman hit that homer out there.

ANTHONY RENDON: Yeah, his homer was awesome. Obviously it got that inning started. And I’m not going to lie that — a couple of bats before, was it a slider you had just missed?

KURT SUZUKI: Yes.

ANTHONY RENDON: I had a feeling he might hit a home run here. He misses it just a little bit, maybe I was a couple of bats behind. I was trying to steal a homer from him earlier in the game. He’s been doing that all year for us. He’s been coming up clutch and having big hits like that. We talk about how he came into the season, going to be platooning and not playing too often. Like he said, he’s 36 years old, he’s had a lot more ABs than anticipated and it’s good, he’s been continuing to help us win ball games.

Q. You’ve talked about the grind of a long season. Like you said you’re a young guy here, a young catcher here. How is the feeling now being this close to a couple of games from winning the World Series, is it all worthwhile if you get to this point and feel the way you do physically and just to push through it?
KURT SUZUKI: Yeah, it feels great. I’ve waited 13 season for this moment to be able to play in the World Series. I kind of joked with a lot of the guys, Anthony in the training room, now I’ve got energy now, this is the last series of the season now, no matter what. We’re playing for it now. If you can’t get up for these games I think you’re in the wrong sport, you should retire or something, because this is it. You obviously see all the media and the coverage that you get for the World Series. It kind of pumps you up and especially waiting how long I did to get to play in a World Series game, to advance past the first round of the postseason it’s awesome. We’re just looking forward to the next game. Obviously we know what’s at stake. We’re not looking too far in the future. We know to keep our eye on the target, come out, just be 1-0 the next day and go from there.

Q. Does it get easier for you now going back to DC now that — leaving your hometown, ticket requests and things like that, media requests, is there a lot more pressure off of you now going home?
ANTHONY RENDON: I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s pressure. But it’s definitely been overwhelming to say the least. I don’t show too much emotion but it has been a lot to handle. And I don’t know if I could be able to play here 162 games in a year. But I think I wish I had like twist it to look at the positive side of it. If my family and I didn’t have is that many people hitting us up, maybe our support level isn’t that high. So the fact that people are showing us so much love as a family being here that means we have a great support group here and it’s something to be thankful for.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

“We have a really good team. Clearly, the Nats have outplayed us, bottom line. They came into our building and played two really good games. We’re going to have to try to sleep off the latter third of this game. I don’t want to lump this into a horrible game; it was a horrible three innings for us. Leading up to that it was a pretty good. We pushed Strasburg pretty far, we pushed Scherzer pretty far.” — AJ HINCH.

October 23, 2019

AJ Hinch

Houston, Texas – postgame 2

Washington 12, Houston 3

Q. Going into the seventh inning, 2-2 game, and they score 6 runs and that game gets completely out of hand. What happened in that inning from your perspective?
AJ HINCH: Where would you like me to start? The lead-off homer? That’s what happened. It started with the lead-off homer and then a tough at-bat with Robles. Thought we got him out but didn’t get the call. And then I brought Press in to throw some sliders to Turner, give him a different look the fourth time through the order. That led to a walk. Rendon got out, which of all the guys that are going to get out, Rendon getting out is nice for us. And then set up the intentional walk with Soto.

And soft contact for the rest of that inning that we didn’t make a couple of plays and they made contact in big at-bats and the inning spiraled out of control.

Q. In that inning, even though in the 6th the offensive situation called for the pinch-hitter, given that Justin had thrown every pitch to Chirinos this year, was it a difficult decision to pinch-hit there?
AJ HINCH: I’m trying to win the game. So, no. First off, Maldonado has caught him before and I doubt that had anything to do with the fastball to Suzuki. You have to ask Justin if it bothered him. With Tucker coming up in that spot, Strasburg is at the end of his rope. Try to win the game.

Q. The intentional walk in that situation, a virtual no-brainer?
AJ HINCH: I’ve watched Soto just like you have. We see the downside of it. Clearly I think there’s a lot of downside given that I haven’t done it all year.

But ironically I thought it was our best chance to limit their scoring, and instead it poured gasoline on a fire that was already burning.

Q. After the intentional walk, you get the ground ball. Just how frustrating is that?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, anytime Alex gets to it I expect him to make the play, he expects to make it. It was just a little bit out of his reach where he couldn’t catch it cleanly. And that kind of turned the entire inning. Then Cabrera gets the base hit to center and then Zimmerman hits the 50-foot ground ball.

Again, contact is your friend in these situations. They did a good job of making contact against Press. I thought he made some really good pitches.

But clearly that inning didn’t go that way nor did the next inning nor did the next inning after that.

Q. With the intentional walk, obviously an exceptional situation, but was this the first time you even considered it all season?
AJ HINCH: No, no, we have Mike Trout in our division, and we faced Christian Yelich, he was in the building. So maybe that’s what talked me into it. I don’t know.

Q. Verlander has given up some first-inning runs during the postseason, and his velocity was about the same starting out the inning. Does it take him a while to get going?
AJ HINCH: I think I just noticed him facing their best hitters. We stack our lineups nowadays from the get-go. And they put together some pretty good hits. I think Rendon’s two-strike on the change-up base hit off the wall was really the big swing. It looked like he was fooled a little bit and yet still stayed through the ball and got the ball off the fence.

A little bit of the quality of the hitters. I think most kind of big, elite physical pitchers may have a little trouble getting into the game. But JV has been exceptional the entire season, including the first inning. We have seen it in this playoffs, have a little bit of trouble in the first. But these are really good teams. From the get-go when they put pressure on you you’re usually facing a pretty good guy every time up.

Q. They came into your stadium and beat your aces, they’re up 2 in the World Series. Historically it’s rarely happened where a team can come back. How do you rebound from this? You’ve been through some of these situations before, but how do you get your guys to believe they can do this?
AJ HINCH: They have to look around the room. We have a really good team. Clearly, the Nats have outplayed us, bottom line. They came into our building and played two really good games. We’re going to have to try to sleep off the latter third of this game. I don’t want to lump this into a horrible game; it was a horrible three innings for us. Leading up to that it was a pretty good. We pushed Strasburg pretty far, we pushed Scherzer pretty far.

They’re halfway to a race to four wins. Clearly, Game 3 becomes critical for us. We’re going to get on a plane, we’re going to go to Washington. I doubt the Nats are going to feel too confident that they have this sewed up and they can start planning the parade. We’re going to give them a fight for it.

Q. Jose’s decision to try to steal third. Thoughts about that?
AJ HINCH: Feast or famine; right? I think we wanted to put pressure on Strasburg and he got to second and they’re playing the shift pretty far to shortstop. And I think Rendon did a good job of anticipating Jose being a little aggressive. Suzuki nails a throw. And I think if he slides a little bit later he has a little bit better chance.

It’s one of those plays that you try to stay aggressive. If he gets to third with less than two outs that’s a huge 90 feet. The fact that he doesn’t, he was pretty mad at himself. But I love the aggressiveness. It sucks when it doesn’t work out.

But those plays when you try to push him — luckily Alex picked him up with a homer, and we still tied the game in that inning.

Q. I think you had five at-bats with runners in scoring position. What did you see with the approach of those at-bats?
AJ HINCH: I think our approach has been good. We’re just not winning them. We’re not — and it’s hard. It’s not easy. And these guys — it’s not as simple as saying, Hey, man, get a hit with a runner in scoring position. These guys are getting pitches, we’re having some long at-bats. But we haven’t found the results.

So I think that’s been the frustrating part of this series. I’m not going to drag the ALCS into this. This is about the World Series, but whether you want to credit them or whether you want to put the pressure on us. They’re winning these at-bats and that’s the difference in these games.

Q. The headline coming into this series was about starting pitching and so far it seems like it’s been more tenacious than dominant. Do you think that’s the withering effect of innings, relentless offense, each at-bat?
AJ HINCH: A little bit of both. I think if you walk into these clubhouses and you talk to the position players, they probably don’t take it too kindly that this was supposed to be all about starting pitchers. There’s a side of the game they take great pride in, too.

These are two really good teams full of really great players. Just about when we all predict what this is supposed to be about, the game will show you that you know maybe a little bit less and less the more you’re around it. It’s just the nature of the competition.

I think some hitters are standing up for themselves on both sides. But it doesn’t make it any easier to hit these pitchers. I think all four of the starting pitchers have had to work pretty hard to get through their outings.

Q. Verlander and Cole have been so automatic all year, haven’t lost back-to-back all season. How much more difficult is it to regroup after that?
AJ HINCH: We’ll be fine. We’re a really good team. We have Game 3 in a couple of days. We’ll be fine.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

“We talked for the last two or three months about this idea that as the games get bigger, we’ve got to continue to improve, we have to continue to be ready. I think we have done that. We continue to understand that with every game the stakes go up. The competition, the intensity goes up and that can’t take us by surprise. The mentality of the team to come here and play the best team in the league (LAFC aside). That part is special. When you can win games like this, the experience only serves to build the confidence.” –MICHAEL BRADLEY.

TORONTO FC (2) – NEW YORK CITY FC (1) POST GAME SUMMARY

Toronto FC advances to the MLS Eastern Conference Final

SCORING SUMMARY

TOR – Alejandro Pozuelo 47’

NYC – Ismael Tajouri-Shradi 69’ (Maximiliano Moralez)

TOR – Alejandro Pozuelo 90’ (PK)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

TOR – Laurent Ciman 21’ (caution)

NYC – Alexandru Mitrita 30’ (caution)

TOR – Michael Bradley 77’ (caution)

LINEUPS

TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Laurent Ciman, Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow (Richie Laryea 78’); Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley (C); Alejandro Pozuelo, Marky Delgado, Tsubasa Endoh (Nick DeLeon 65’); Nicolas Benezet (Patrick Mullins 70’)

Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Drew Moor, Omar Gonzalez, Erickson Gallardo

NEW YORK CITY FC – Sean Johnson; Anton Tinnerholm, Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens, Ronald Matarrita; Keaton Parks (Heber 60’), Alexander Ring, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Maximiliano Moralez, Alexandru Mitrita; Valentin Castellanos.

Substitutes Not Used: Brad Stuver, Sebastien Ibeagha, Ben Sweat, Gary Mackay-Steven, Tony Rocha, James Sands

GREG VANNEY, HEAD COACH – TORONTO FC

Thoughts on tonight’s performance…

“It was outstanding. We have a lot of respect for them [NYCFC] as a team. We came in the first half we wanted to eliminate any time they had on the ball and we put a lot into the first half. It’s a small field, we were pressing them, we were making it difficult, we were winning balls, we were attacking again. The only thing that didn’t come out of the first half was a lead. In every other aspect I felt that we just dominated it. Second half started out okay and then they rotated into a diamond, so our matchups started to get a little mixed. It took us a few minutes and we end up giving up a goal to really get that reorganized but I think just before we brought Richie [Laryea] in I think it settled down again. The guys just battled through the moments that weren’t perfect but they also, I thought, they really dominated in the first half and they’re performance. The mentality is really strong with this team, the work rate is really strong, the quality is there, they believe in themselves, and anything is possible when all those things are put together.”

On Alejandro Pozuelo rising to the occasion in tonight’s match…

“He’s had what four PK’s against them [NYCFC] this year? I guess at this point, Sean Johnson has seen a lot of him, with him [Pozuelo] going to that side that Sean [Johnson] went to when he dove twice, he had one save last game. I think that set him up to go down the middle, it’s late in the game, it’s tough for him to stand in the goal. It’s a gutsy play by Poz but he was great on the night. He held up the ball for us, he brought people into the play, he moved around, he fought for things, he helped lead us defensively, he was great.”

On NYCFC’s formation change that caused the play to tilt…

“It was part of it because they [NYCFC] pushed up a second forward. When they pushed up the second forward, it changed our rotation to step out to them defensively. Then we ended up in between, they brought up [Ronald] Matarrita inside, they went to a diamond. So, our matchups weren’t as clean as they were earlier in the game and they were able to find these little pockets of time on us, and they were just running guys through our back line and playing pretty direct. But the directness came from the fact that they had time

MICHAEL BRADLEY, MIDFIELFDER – TORONTO FC

Thoughts on the match…

“The mentality to understand what the game was going to be about. To just go for it. To lay everything we had on the field. That part was incredible. We were on top of the game in every way. Aside from a play or two they could barely get in our hand. It’s a shame we didn’t have something to show for it in the first half. We got a good start to the second half. We get the goal. On one hand, disappointing to drop and let them get back into the game. It’s also the makeup of the playoffs. When it is single elimination, at that point they got 35 minutes left in their season. There is no measured approach at that point in the game. I think we could have done a little bit better on goal. We have played on as many big days in the last few years as any team in this league and we have guys who understand what these games are about, and it showed.”

On building momentum towards the Eastern Conference Finals…

“We talked for the last two or three months about this idea that as the games get bigger, we got to continue to improve, we have to continue to be ready. I think we have done that. We continue to understand that with every game the stakes go up. The competition, the intensity goes up and that can’t take us by surprise. The mentality of the team to come here and play the best team in the league (LAFC aside). That part is special. When you can win games like this, the experience only serves to build the confidence.”

On who he prefers to face next…

“They are both good teams (Atlanta and Philadelphia). Let’s see how that game plays out. It’s the playoffs. Every game is going to be difficult. Every game is going to take a big effort. Game changes depending on who you play. We look forward to it.”

ALEJANDRO POZUELO, MIDFIELDER – TORONTO FC

Thoughts on the match…

“We know before the game we had big test. They try to play good football. I think we had very good options in the first half to set up. Their goalkeeper did good. In the second half it was more difficult because they tried to push more. But we know we needed to wait a little bit. Thank God because we won the game.”

On the penalty kick…

“The keeper knows how I shoot because it is my fourth penalty (against Sean Johnson). Before when I try to shoot a penalty, I try to shoot in the middle. In the 87th minute he cannot stay in the middle. We won 2-1. Very good result. We are very happy.”

On scoring the first goal…

“It was a mistake for the defense. The defender tried to play to the keeper, and we tried to press and finally we scored.”

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

“I’ve always said this: Strikeouts are not okay, regardless of what people say. I don’t believe in it. There’s nothing comes from it when you strike out, you’re just going to walk back to the dugout. I believe in just putting the ball in play. Things happen when you put the ball in play, regardless. Regardless of whether you get a hit or not. But good things happen when you constantly put the ball in play. And we’ve got better at that. And tonight was a perfect example.” — DAVE MARTINEZ.

October 23, 2019

Dave Martinez

Houston, Texas – postgame 2

Washington 12, Houston 3

Q. On May 24th you had a 0.1 percent chance of winning the pennant, and here you are leading 2-0 in the World Series. I’m curious given that, what’s your philosophy on odds?
DAVE MARTINEZ: You know what, I wish I was a betting man, but I’m not. I don’t really believe in that stuff.

What I believe in is hard work, being consistent in what we do, and sticking to our process, and we did that. I said it all along, when this team was down, I felt like we had starting pitching that could keep us in the ball games. And once we got healthy that things would change. We’re here because the boys never gave up.

Q. You talked all year about Stras’s development and his influence in the clubhouse. But specifically how has he improved at finishing outings like he did tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: One, he has the confidence to do it. And two, I said this before, he’s become a premier pitcher, a big game pitcher. We’ve seen that. He doesn’t get rattled. He knows what he needs to do. He stays in the moment, which is huge for him. He doesn’t get overly excited when things happen. And he loves the big game. He really does.

Again, you saw it tonight. He battled through some innings and got some huge outs for us.

Q. If you go into the 7th either tied or up one, is that a situation for Patrick Corbin? So I guess that rally, how did that change your approach to the pitching?
DAVE MARTINEZ: You know what, I’m glad I don’t have to think about that, honestly. It worked out perfectly. So we were going to try to stay away from Corbin, though. And it worked out great.

Q. What has it been about your pitching that’s kept the Astros from scoring? They’ve left a lot of runners on base the last two games.
DAVE MARTINEZ: Just making pitches. Making pitches. We talked about coming into this series knowing that these guys don’t chase. They see a lot of pitches. But we have to continue to pound the strike zone and they’re doing that.

Q. Were you surprised to see that intentional walk to Juan Soto?
DAVE MARTINEZ: No. No, he’s seeing the ball really well right now, he’s swinging the bat really well. I had a feeling once first base was open that they’d walk him. But again, that’s okay. We have Howie behind him who’s been unbelievable.

Q. You guys have been good two-out hitters all year. How would you explain today, it seemed like that was on another level?
DAVE MARTINEZ: For me, we’ve talked about this a lot when we were struggling, and the strikeouts. I’ve always said this: Strikeouts are not okay, regardless of what people say. I don’t believe in it. There’s nothing comes from it when you strike out, you’re just going to walk back to the dugout. I believe in just putting the ball in play. Things happen when you put the ball in play, regardless. Regardless of whether you get a hit or not. But good things happen when you constantly put the ball in play. And we’ve got better at that. And tonight was a perfect example.

Q. Going with Michael A. Taylor there, how is Vic?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We wanted to give him a break. He came back from that hamstring injury, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take him out and let Michael get in there.

Q. Could you talk to us about Suzuki’s home run? Because it was tied 2-2 going into that inning and all of a sudden a hitter who hadn’t been having that much success in the postseason could get a hit like that off of Verlander.
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, that was huge. And I’m glad he hit the home run. And I’m actually glad that — Stras pitched unbelievable, and he was able to get that win from that.

But Suzuki gives us good at-bats, he’s given us good at-bats all year. He got a good pitch to hit and he put a good swing on it.

Q. Following up on Kurt, clearly you said he had good at-bats, but defensively and what he’s done, he came back from an injury there at the end of the DS.
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, he’s been — both him and Yan has done an unbelievable job with the pitching staff. And we knew that when we got these two guys what they can do. I seen Suzuki from afar playing against him when he was in Atlanta, just handled that pitching staff. And Yan I’ve known for a lot of years, and what he does behind the plate.

But he’s been incredible. He has a game plan, he sticks to the game plan. He’s very adamant about what he wants to do to hitters and he communicates really well with our pitching staff.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

RAPTORS SIGN PONDS TO TWO-WAY CONTRACT

Shamorie Ponds had career averages of 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 35.2 minutes in 96 games at St. John’s (2016-19)

            The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have signed guard Shamorie Ponds to a two-way contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.            

Ponds, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, averaged 2.3 points and 6.7 minutes in three preseason appearances with the Houston Rockets. He also participated with the Rockets’ entry at NBA Summer League 2019 in Las Vegas, averaging 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 20.0 minutes in five games.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Ponds posted career averages of 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 35.2 minutes in 96 games at St. John’s (2016-19). He was named First Team All-Big East as both a sophomore and junior with the Red Storm and ranks fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list (1,870 points) and second in steals (225).

SUZUKI’S HR ENDS TIE, STARTS 6R 7TH FOR NATS.