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Drought over: Browns win first game since December 2016

Here are two words that haven’t been back to back in the same sentence since Dec. 24, 2016: Browns win.

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Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield rallied Cleveland from a two-touchdown deficit in his NFL debut Thursday night to lead the Browns to a 21-17 victory against the New York Jets, ESPN reported.

The victory snapped a 19-game winless streak and ended a 635-day victory drought.

Joe Schobert’s interception of Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold with 1:21 to play and a Terrance Mitchell pick with 11 seconds left sealed the victory, sending Browns fans into a frenzy, ESPN reported.

"We finally put the pieces together a little bit," Mayfield said. "This crowd deserved to see that first win here at home."

Only 10 players on Cleveland’s roster were with the team the last time the Browns (1-1-1) won a game, ESPN reported. The Jets fell to 1-2.

Mayfield led the Browns on their winning rally by completing six of eight passes in a 15-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Carlos Hyde’s second touchdown with 2:04 to play.

Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak was the NFL’s second-longest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The 1976-1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their first 26 games.

‘Cat Grandpa’ snuggles with felines at pet shelter

A 75-year-old Wisconsin man is giving new meaning to catnaps.

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Terry Lauerman, of De Pere, has been volunteering at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay for the last six months, and photographs of him fast asleep while several of the shelter’s cats snuggle up to him on couches have gone viral, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported.

Since then, Lauerman has been nicknamed “The Cat Grandpa.”

"I've always liked cats and I always had cats when I was kid, and I loved them," Lauerman told the Press Gazette. "In many ways, I see my old cats in these cats here." 

Since posting the photos on its Facebook page, the shelter’s website has received more visitors and more than $20,000 in donations, Safe Haven founder Elizabeth Feldhausen told the Press Gazette.

Lauerman was shocked to hear the Facebook post had so many views -- more than 56,000 as of Friday morning, WITI reported.

"Now if all of those people would just donate $5 to help the kitties, that would make such a big difference," Lauerman said. 

Sweet story: Iowa man, 94, passes out Hershey's chocolate bars to residents 

A 94-year-old Iowa native has been sweet to residents in his small town for more than 15 years. Bob Williams is known as the “Candy Bar Man” in Long Grove, and his kindness has been a sweet story to many residents.

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Williams, who taught psychology in nearby Davenport for 39 years, stocks his refrigerator with 500 candy bars, the Des Moines Register reported. He makes a weekly trip to a Dollar General store, where he buys two cases for $45 on $5 discount days.

“Some wise people say you can’t take it with you. Do you believe that?” said Williams, who turned 94 on Sunday. 

Williams got the idea to hand out candy bars after reading several newspaper stories about people who would “pay it forward,” the Register reported. Daily, he’d eat half a bar along with a banana and a glass of milk.

On one occasion, he bought three chocolate bars, so he handed out the others to random people in Long Grove, a town of 850 people. That was 6,000 Hershey bars ago, the Register reported.

“You’d think I’d given them keys to a new car,” Williams told the newspaper. “Honest to God, these people were thunderstruck.

“It made me feel warm.”

Williams played football at the Iowa State Teachers College (now known as the University of Northern Iowa) during the 1940s but went into the military during World War II, the Register reported.

Williams was wounded in western Czechoslovakia and got “40 percent disability, though my wife says I was closer to 80 percent.”

He married Mary Elizabeth Blazer on Sept. 9, 1944, in Ottumwa, Iowa, and delighted in giving her chocolate. They were married 68 years before she died in DeWitt, Iowa, on Sept. 18, 2012. She was 88. He visits her daily at a memorial bench along a bike trail in Long Grove, the Register reported.

Every Saturday, Williams buys some Hershey’s milk chocolate bars. He hands two to the cashiers, one to the person behind him in line, and then heads out to pass out the rest, CNN reported.

Williams said people are grateful to receive them.

“I’ve only had three people decline in 15 years,” Williams told the Register. “One was a little girl in the store with her dad. On the way out, I complimented her father for training her right — to suspect old men.”

“It puts a smile on their face,” Williams says in a video that Hershey’s made about him. “It just makes me feel good.”Hershey’s also gave Williams $1,500 so he could keep buying the chocolate bars, the Register reported, and a company official joined him for his birthday party last weekend.

“I came out smelling like a rose,” he told the newspaper. “And I get a lot of hugs. I’m 94. So those hugs are welcome.”

Hershey’s chief marketing officer, Jill Baskin, told Ad Age that Williams’ example of kindness “sort of became our North Star.”

Jan Hartwig-Heggen, a retired second-grade teacher, loves the idea of Williams’ acts of kindness.

“I just think there is no barrier then,” Hartwig-Heggen told the Register. “It just takes that smile on his face to radiate on another person’s face. It doesn’t stop with chocolate. It opens the door to establishing friendships.”

In honor of founder Milton Hershey’s 161st birthday last Thursday, Hershey’s sent its employees out to pass out chocolate bars as part of its #heartwarmingtheworld initiative, CNN reported.

Williams is a major part of that sweet story.

“A lot of people have said we need more sharing and smiling and patting people on the back,” Williams told the Register. “I hope everybody picks up on that. We need to lighten up and smile a bit more. Share whatever you can with people. There is no charge for that last bit of advice.”

Winning numbers drawn in 'Cash 3 Night' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Thursday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Cash 3 Night" game were:

4-7-8

(four, seven, eight)

Winning numbers drawn in 'Cash 4 Night' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Thursday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Cash 4 Night" game were:

3-2-2-0

(three, two, two, zero)

Winning numbers drawn in 'Fantasy 5' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Thursday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Fantasy 5" game were:

13-19-22-23-34

(thirteen, nineteen, twenty-two, twenty-three, thirty-four)

Winning numbers drawn in 'Jumbo Bucks Lotto' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Thursday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Jumbo Bucks Lotto" game were:

01-02-11-19-28-31

(one, two, eleven, nineteen, twenty-eight, thirty-one)

Braves 8, Phillies 3

DP_Philadelphia 1. LOB_Philadelphia 4, Atlanta 7. 2B_F.Freeman (40), Swanson (25), Duda (14). SB_Inciarte (27), Swanson (10), L.Adams (1). CS_C.Hernandez (6), Inciarte (13). SF_Acuna (3), Camargo (3), Culberson (1).

L.Garcia pitched to 4 batters in the 8th

HBP_by Velasquez (Suzuki). WP_Velasquez, Garcia, Davis.

Umpires_Home, Hunter Wendelstedt; First, Gerry Davis; Second, Pat Hoberg; Third, Brian Gorman.

T_3:25. A_27,474 (41,149).

Braves top Phillies 8-3, move closer to clinching division

ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Braves moved closer to the playoffs by taking an important win over their closest pursuer.

Even better, some players who could play key roles on Atlanta's postseason roster looked playoff-ready.

Luca Duda's pinch-hit double drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh, and the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-3 on Thursday night to move within reach of their first NL East title in five years.

Atlanta leads the second-place Phillies by 6 1/2 games following the opening game of the four-game series. The teams close the season with three games at Philadelphia, but the Phillies need to win at least three of four in Atlanta to retain hope of making the final series meaningful.

The Braves have a magic number of four over Philadelphia to clinch their first division title since 2013. Following the Mets' 5-4 win over Washington, Atlanta needs to win only two of the remaining three games in the series to clinch the division.

"It's fun; these games mean a lot," said Kevin Gausman, who allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings, adding another strong start to his case to be included in the postseason rotation.

Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler didn't want to talk about now having to win three straight over the Braves.

"I don't think we think about that right now," Kapler said. "The most important thing is we did not execute winning tonight's ballgame. That puts us in a position where we need to come out and win tomorrow's ballgame."

Freddie Freeman had two hits and scored two runs. He has eight hits in his last three games.

Tommy Hunter (4-4), the Phillies' fifth pitcher, gave up a leadoff double to Dansby Swanson in the seventh. The left-handed hitting Duda pulled the run-scoring double into the right-field corner, giving Atlanta the 4-3 lead.

The Braves pulled away with four runs in the eighth.

Swanson, who had two hits, drew a bases-loaded walk from Luis Garcia in the eighth to force in a run. Pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson and Ronald Acuna Jr. drove in runs with back-to-back fly balls off Austin Davis, the Phillies' eighth pitcher, and Ender Inciarte added a run-scoring single.

Garcia gave up four runs without recording an out.

Kapler said he would have used Hector Neris or Seranthony Dominguez instead of Garcia, whose ERA rose to 5.77, if the game had been tied.

Jesse Biddle (6-1), the Phillies' 2010 first-round pick, gave up one hit while recording two outs in the seventh.

Vince Velasquez, who began the night 0-4 with a 7.41 ERA in his first four starts against Atlanta this season, allowed three runs on five hits in three innings.

The Phillies scored two runs on three hits, including RBI singles by Odubel Herrera and Jorge Alfaro, in the third.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Kapler said SS J.P. Crawford's shoulder was "a little sore." He said Crawford felt better hitting than playing in the field, and his status contributed to a lineup that included Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop and Carlos Santana at third base. 3B Maikel Franco (shoulder) was available off the bench.

DOUBLE-GUESSING DEFENSE

Atlanta had runners on first and third with one out in the first when Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins fielded a grounder by Johan Camargo. Instead of immediately throwing to second base, Hoskins stepped on the bag at first . That enabled Atlanta's Nick Markakis, who had been on first, to force a long run-down sequence while Freeman scored from third for a 2-1 lead.

Hoskins' obvious disappointment on the field showed he regretted his decision. Kapler acknowledged "the run is important" but defended Hoskins. "It's a judgment play and we trust Rhys," he said.

Kapler did say he thought left fielder Aaron Altherr should have more aggressively charged a hit Swanson turned into a double in the seventh.

RELIEF FOR OCTOBER

Two Atlanta relievers also had important outings. Arodys Vizcaino, the former Atlanta closer who came off the disabled list on Sept. 14 after missing 55 games with right shoulder inflammation, threw a perfect eighth inning. Chad Sobotka, a 6-foot-7 rookie right-hander, struck out the side in the ninth.

"That's huge," said Braves manager Brian Snitker, referring to possible added depth in the team's postseason bullpen that could be provided by the right-handers.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (7-13, 4.67) will start in Friday night's second game of the four-game series. Pivetta is 1-1 with a 3.43 ERA in four starts against Atlanta this season. For his career, he's 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA against the Braves.

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (9-8, 3.97) is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in three starts against the Phillies this season.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Braves beat Phillies; ‘Magic Number' down to 4

The Atlanta Braves defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 8-3 Thursday night at SunTrust Park.

With the victory, the Braves’ “Magic Number” to clinch the NL East is just 4.

[READ MORE: What’s the ‘magic number’ for the Atlanta Braves now?]

The Braves and Phillies will play the second of a four-game series Friday night at SunTrust Park.

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