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Cubs Beat Sox, Earn Split of Series; Cubs, Trade Deadline Notes

>>Cubs Solve Sale, Sox for Series Split

 

Chris Sale returned from his jersey-trashing suspension and threw six effective innings, but John Lackey outpitched him and Aroldis Chapman got the final four outs to save the Cubs' 3-1 victory over the White Sox in Chicago's rivalry series Thursday night.

 

Sale (14-4) was greeted with smiles and hugs from his teammates following a five-day ban for tearing up 1976-style uniforms he didn't want to wear before his previous scheduled start. He had command issues, but worked out of trouble while allowing two runs and six hits.

 

Lackey (8-7) allowed one run in six innings for his first win since June 8. Chapman, in his second appearance since being acquired from the Yankees, struck out two and consistently hit 102 mph in his first save for his new team.

 

Kris Bryant, who homered against Sale in the All-Star Game, hit an RBI double off the center field wall in the first inning.

 

 

>>Cubs Consider New Translator for Chapman

 

The Chicago Cubs are considering bringing in a new Spanish translator for Aroldis Chapman after the star closer from Cuba struggled to answer questions about a past domestic violence case in his introductory news conference.

 

Manager Joe Maddon suggested the change Thursday night, saying they had a couple of names in mind. Team spokesman Peter Chase said coach Henry Blanco remains the official translator for now.

 

Chapman earned his first save with his new team Thursday night, striking out two and getting the final four outs in the Cubs' 3-1 victory over the crosstown White Sox.

 

Catcher Miguel Montero served as Chapman's translator after the game for the second straight day.

 

>>Giants Add All-Star Nunez From Twins

 

Eduardo Nunez was an All-Star this year, but it was basically only because the Twins were required to have a representative. Still, the fact remains that the 29-year-old utility man is having a good season. He's hitting .296/.325/.439 with 15 doubles and 12 homers.

 

Nunez brings base-stealing potential to the Giants, as he's 26 of 32 in steals this season. He was actually leading the AL in steals heading into Thursday.

 

Overall, the Giants aren't averse to running, even if they lack gaudy stolen base numbers as a whole. Angel Pagan, Denard Span, Matt Duffy, Buster Posey, Joe Panik and Gregor Blanco entered Thursday with between five and nine stolen bases apiece.

 


Another element Nunez adds is versatility and depth to the infield -- and maybe even the outfield -- and the Giants have desperately needed it. Third baseman Matt Duffy, second baseman Joe Panik and right fielder Hunter Pence have all spent significant time on the disabled list this year.

Nunez helps give a layer of protection.

 

As for the Twins' return, Adalberto Mejia, 23, is a left-handed pitcher. He was ranked as the 86th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus before the 2015 season, but fell out of the rankings before this season. No other major outlet ranked him in the top 100 heading into the season, but he appeared at No. 91 on Baseball America's midseason top-100 list.

 

In 11 starts for Double-A Richmond this season, he had a 1.94 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 65 innings. He was then promoted to Triple-A Sacramento, where he was 4-1 with a 4.20 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 43 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings. Keep in mind the Pacific Coast League is historically pretty hitter-friendly.

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Bulls Sign G Dinwiddie

The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.

 

The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.

 

The Bulls announced the move Thursday.

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Jimmy Walker Leads After Round 1 of PGA Championship

It was a strange first day at Baltusrol in the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship. Only one of the top four players is under par and there are more big names at the bottom of the leaderboard than at the top. It got started early with an ugly 74 from Rory McIlroy which was bookended by an even uglier 77 from Dustin Johnson.

Jimmy Walker is the leader at 5 under, while he isn't a no-name he doesn't exactly inspire you to pick up the clubs and go play 36. Walker played quite well on Thursday with just one bogey and was part of a morning wave that sent out 25 of the 35 under par scores in Round 1.

 

Emiliano Grillo (T2 -4) was No. 1 in the field in strokes gained putting Thursday.

 

Open Champ Henrik Stenson (T5 at -3) opened with a 67 in Round 1 at Baltusrol. He has now made 14 birdies in his last 36 holes of major championship golf.

 

Jason Day (T9 -2) could not pour a putt in. He was almost as bad as playing partner Rory McIlroy with the flat stick but held together a 68 because he hit it beautifully. That's exactly what he needs to do for a chance to successfully defend his PGA Championship title.

 

Rickie Fowler (T9 -2) got lost a little in the hubbub of Rory's early 74 on Thursday, but he put together a solid round. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III also has to be breathing a sigh of relief that Fowler looks like he's going to play himself into one of the eight automatic qualifying spots.

 

Other notables:

 

T21. Hideki Matsuyama (-1)
T36. Adam Scott (E)
T36. Jordan Spieth (E)
T36. Justin Rose (E)
T55. Phil Mickelson (+1)
T55. Sergio Garcia (+1)
T55. Bubba Watson (+1)
T120. Rory McIlroy (+4)
T143. Dustin Johnson (+7)

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College Football Playoff Moves Off New Year's Eve

The College Football Playoff has announced that it will now shift its schedule in the future to limit semi-final games to Saturdays, and holidays.

 

It's amazing how quickly a major decline in television rankings (the ratings for the 2015 semis dropped 40% compared to 2014) can change your mind.

 

The changes will only affect the CFP schedules in years five, six, 11 and 12 of its current rotation, and although the plan is to get the semis off of weekdays, there is still one year they'll come on a weekday. That's in Dec. 31, 2021, which will fall on a Friday. The difference is, since it's a Friday, it's deemed a federal holiday.

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Cubs Bats Come Alive Late, Beat Sox

Javier Baez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer deep into Wrigley Field's left bleachers in the seventh, Addison Russell added a grand slam in a five-run eighth and the Cubs beat the White Sox 8-1 on Wednesday night.

 

Jason Hammel (10-5) allowed one run and five hits while striking out seven in seven innings. Hector Rondon pitched a perfect eighth, and Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth - striking out Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia - while hitting speeds of 103 mph.

 

Baez went deep on a full-count pitch against Anthony Ranaudo (1-1) to chase the right-hander in his White Sox debut.

 

Ranaudo didn't allow a hit until Kris Bryant's solo homer with one out in the sixth tie the score 1-1. Bryant's 26th homer matched his total last season when he was NL Rookie of the Year.

 

After Ben Zobrist's RBI double in the eighth, Russell followed two hitters later with his 12th homer to help the Cubs end a two-game slide and snap the White Sox's four-game winning streak.

 

Ranaudo allowed three runs and two hits - both homers - in 6 2/3 innings and smacked an opposite-field homer in the fifth for his first major league hit to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.

The 6-foot-7 Ranaudo, acquired from Texas on May 12, was 5-3 with 3.20 ERA at Triple-A Charlotte in 13 starts. In two games with the Rangers this season, the 26-year-old righty was 1-0, but had a 17.18 ERA and walked eight.

 

The White Sox beat the Cubs 5-4 and 3-0 in the first two games of the crosstown series. The fourth game is Thursday night.

 

Ranaudo's homer was the first by a White Sox pitcher since Mark Buehrle went deep on June 14, 2009, at Milwaukee.

 

Chris Sale (14-3, 3.18) tries for a third time to become the majors' first 15-game winner. He'll be opposed by John Lackey (7-7, 3.79) who has dropped five straight decisions since his last win on June 8 at Philadelphia. In his last six starts, Lackey has a 6.38 ERA.

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Cardinals Overcome Cespedes HR, Rally Past Mets

Yadier Molina and pinch-hitter Kolten Wong each stroked an RBI double in the ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals snapped Familia's string of 52 straight saves in rallying to beat the New York Mets 5-4 on Wednesday night.

 

Yoenis Cespedes hit a go-ahead homer off Adam Wainwright to cap a three-run comeback in the seventh that gave the Mets a 4-3 lead. But then Familia, who hadn't blown a regular-season save opportunity since July 30 last year, finally faltered.

 

Jedd Gyorko drew a four-pitch walk with one out in the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Randal Grichuk. Molina hit the next pitch to deep center field, and Grichuk scored standing up to tie it.

 

Molina was thrown out at third by Familia (2-2) on pinch-hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker's comebacker, but Hazelbaker stole second and scored when Wong lined a double just inside the left-field line.

Familia's franchise-record saves streak was the third-longest in major league history behind Tom Gordon (54) and Eric Gagne (84).

 

Logan Verrett pitched seven efficient innings and slumping Neil Walker went 3 for 3 with a base on balls for the third-place Mets, who dropped 5 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Washington.Matt Holliday hit a two-run double off Verrett with two outs in the third, and Matt Adams followed with an RBI double that made it 3-1.

 

Wainwright, who entered 3-0 in July with a major league-low 0.93 ERA, nursed that lead until the seventh - repeatedly pitching out of trouble. He nearly did so again after striking out Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera with runners at the corners.

 

But then Travis d'Arnaud scored on a wild pitch and Cespedes, who fouled off three full-count offerings, socked a two-run homer off the facing of the second deck in left-center.

 

Jonathan Broxton (3-2) tossed a scoreless eighth and Seung Hwan Oh got three quick outs for his sixth save.

 

Including a split of Tuesday's doubleheader, St. Louis took two of three from the Mets in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders.

 

Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.37 ERA) starts Thursday night in Miami against RHP Jose Fernandez (12-4, 2.54), who is 26-1 with a 1.47 ERA at Marlins Park.

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Sox Put Lawrie on DL

The Chicago White Sox placed second baseman Brett Lawrie on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 22, and recalled infielder Carlos Sanchez from Triple-A Chrlotte on Wednesday before their game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

 

Lawrie has missed the last five games with a left hamstring injury. In 94 games, he's batting .248 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs.

 

Sanchez has shuttled between Chicago and Charlotte this season. In 14 games with the White Sox, he's batting .143 with one RBI.

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Chapman Says Answers From Opening Press Conference Lost in Translation

Tuesday afternoon, one day after being traded to the Cubs, Aroldis Chapman met with the Chicago media during an introductory press conference at Wrigley Field. It did not go well.

 

Through a translator, Chapman said he had no recollection of a talk with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and team chairman Tom Ricketts about expectations off the field. Both parties got together for a conference call to make sure everyone was on the same page before the trade went down.

 

Naturally, Chapman has been getting crushed for his comments in the wake of his offseason domestic violence incident, which resulted in a 30-game suspension. He came off as unapologetic and seemed to simply blow it off when asked Tuesday about whether he's changed over the last few months.

 

Chapman's comments during the press conference were not presented accurately, however. Spanish-speaking reporters in attendance confirmed the translator did not provide literal word-by-word of Chapman's comments. Instead, the translator seemed to put his two cents in.

 

Chapman spoke to ESPN's Pedro Gomez one-on-one in Spanish following his press conference to clarify things.

 

Chapman told Gomez quote - "I knew that no matter where I was traded to, this would resurface -- that the controversy is going to follow me. But I'm with my girlfriend. Our family is together. We're working toward making things better in our lives. And really, it's going to be with me."

 

Epstein told Gomez he thinks "there is a lot to be said that he was nervous and not speaking his native language and being translated." He added the team was satisfied by what they heard from Chapman during the conference call, otherwise they would not have agreed to the trade.

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PGA Championship Opens Today

Dustin Johnson doesn't much care about your thoughts on his legacy. Oh, he knows about them because we all remind him, but he's indifferent to historical greatness the way Vijay Singh is indifferent to driving range hours of operation.

 

Johnson was asked on Wednesday if he was aware if he could reach No. 1 in the world this week. His response?

 

"Yeah."

 

He followed it up with one of the best descriptions of the DJ lifestyle.

 

"It won't be on my mind," said Johnson. "I mean, I'm going to go out and try to focus on what I've got to do and playing golf. The rest of the stuff, I try not to worry about -- or actually, I don't worry about. I just go out and play golf and try to shoot the best score I can. If at the end of the week I'm on top of the leaderboard and I get to No. 1, obviously that would be great and be a big accomplishment."

 

The only golfers to win multiple majors in a season since 2000 are Woods, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy. Johnson can make that list four deep this week as well after taking the U.S. Open in June.

 

"I want to win," said Johnson. "I want to win every major. I'm feeling good. I've got a lot of confidence in the game. I feel like I've been playing really consistent all year. I feel like, every week I've gone out, I've had a chance to win. Right now, I feel like everything is going pretty well. I feel like I'm driving it good. I'm hitting my irons good.My wedge game's really improved. I think that's probably the biggest difference this year than years past, is my wedge game; it's a lot sharper. I've got a lot more control with my wedges. I think that's the big difference for me."

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Sox Sweep Cubs At The Cell, Series Shifts To Wrigley

James Shields allowed four singles in 7 2/3 innings, Adam Eaton homered and the White Sox stayed unbeaten since Chris Sale's suspension by beating the Cubs 3-0 Tuesday night in Chicago's crosstown rivalry.

 

The Cubs lost their second straight and never got to use new closer Aroldis Chapman hours after he joined the team and struggled answering questions related to an altercation last year with his girlfriend.

 

Shields (5-12) struck out five and continued an impressive turnaround from a terrible first three starts after being acquired from San Diego last month. Nate Jones finished the eighth and David Robertson worked the ninth for his 24th save in the White Sox's fourth straight win since their ace was sent home for destroying throwback jerseys.

 

Jose Abreu had two hits, including an RBI single in the first off Kyle Hendricks (9-7) that ended his streak of 22 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

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Cardinals, Mets Split Double Dip

Jedd Gyorko connected again, launching a two-run drive off Noah Syndergaard that sent the Cardinals over the New York Mets 3-2 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.

 

Gyorko homered for the sixth time in eight games, giving him 13 this season.

 

The Cardinals lead the NL in home runs with 137, matching last year's total. The last time they led the league was 1998, the Elias Sports Bureau said, when Mark McGwire hit 70 of their 223.

 

Carlos Martinez (10-6) gave up a two-run homer to Rene Rivera and left after the fifth inning with a 3-2 lead. Three relievers finished, with Seung Hwan Oh getting his fifth save in six chances.

 

Curtis Granderson led off the Mets ninth with a single but was thrown out trying to tag up on Yoenis Cespedes' drive that Tommy Pham caught in deep center field.

 

Syndergaard (9-5) has won only one of his last five starts. The All-Star had a tough sequence in the second - he got hit in the lower right leg by Pham's one-hop single to load the bases, then made a wild, off-balance throw home on Martinez's comebacker to let a run score.

 

New York lost despite throwing out three runners on the bases and manager Terry Collins winning a pair of replay challenges. The Mets have alternated wins and losses for the last 11 games.

 

Bartolo Colon pitched three-hit ball for seven sharp innings and the New York Mets overcame another home run by Jedd Gyorko to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 Tuesday night for a doubleheader split.

 

Gyorko homered in both ends and has connected seven times in nine games. His two-run shot helped St. Louis win the opener 3-2.

 

Colon (9-5) struck out eight and walked none, throwing 65 of his 87 pitches for strikes. After Gyorko homered in the second and Alberto Rosario doubled in the third, Colon set down 14 of his final 15 batters.

 

Addison Reed worked the eighth and Jeurys Familia closed for his 36th save this year and 52nd in a row during the regular season.

 

Asdrubal Cabrera ended his 0-for-32 rut with runners in scoring position with an RBI double and added a sacrifice fly off Jaime Garcia (7-7). Wilmer Flores doubled and singled twice, and Collins helped by winning his third replay challenge of the day.

 

A rainout Monday forced the first doubleheader between the Mets and Cardinals since 1999.

Adam Wainwright (9-5, 4.09) is 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in four July starts opposite Logan Verrett (3-6, 4.14).

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Big Ten Commissioner Does Not Rose Bowl Shift To Accomodate Playoff

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany does not envision the Rose Bowl moving from its New Year's Day spot in order to accommodate the College Football Playoff semifinals.

 

Delany says there might be "some movement from the bowls" but doesn't see those changes impacting the Rose Bowl.

 

The College Football Playoff is considering moving future semifinals off New Year's Eve after ratings for last season's games dropped in a big way. Playoff head Bill Hancock told reporters two weeks ago at the SEC Media Days that the commissioners who comprise the playoff management committee are open to adjusting future schedules.

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Dino Babers Likens Garoppolo to Dan Marino

At least one person -- other than Jimmy Garoppolo -- seems to be looking forward to the first four games of the Patriots' season, for which starting quarterback Tom Brady will be absent.

 

Dino Babers, the head football coach at Syracuse, is a proud member of the unofficial Garoppolo fan club, which makes sense given his ties to the Patriots' backup: Babers coached Garoppolo at Eastern Illinois for the final two years of his college career.

 

On Tuesday, the coach appeared on ESPN's Mike & Mike. During that interview, Babers was given a chance to talk up his former quarterback. He didn't waste the opportunity.

 

Babers said quote - "Jimmy Garoppolo was the William Tell, to me, of college football. I've never seen a quarterback that could hit exactly what he was throwing at. I'm not talking about putting it on a guy's body, you put your hand out there and he's sticking the ball right in the middle of your palm.

"You take that accuracy and put it with someone who has the second-fastest release I've ever seen. The only release I've ever seen faster was Dan Marino's. He has [the] second-fastest release I've ever seen. And you've got an outstanding quarterback."

 

Babers also called Tom Brady the best of the best and doesn't think Garoppolo will ultimately take his job.

 

Adding quote - "If Bill Belichick put a second-round draft pick on him, he knows what he's doing."

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Sox Walk Off Cubs

Tyler Saladino hit a game-ending RBI single, and the White Sox put a damper on the Cubs' trade for Chapman with a 5-4 victory.

 

J.B. Shuck sparked the winning rally with a leadoff single against Mike Montgomery (3-5), who was acquired in a deal with Seattle last Wednesday. Shuck advanced on Dioner Navarro's sacrifice and Saladino followed with a bouncer into center field.

 

Dan Jennings (4-2) got two outs for the win.

 

The Cubs trailed 4-2 before Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo each hit an RBI single in the ninth. They had runners on first and second with two out when Jennings struck out Jason Heyward to escape the threat.

 

Javier Baez hit a two-run homer for the Cubs, who were coming off a nice weekend series in Milwaukee.

 

Todd Frazier hit a three-run drive off Jake Arrieta and Miguel Gonzalez pitched 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball, helping the White Sox improve to 5-5 in interleague play. Melky Cabrera made an outstanding leaping catch in the first, robbing Kris Bryant of a home run.

 

Kyle Hendricks (9-6, 2.27 ERA) looks to continue his breakout year on Tuesday night against White Sox RHP James Shields (4-12, 4.99 ERA). 

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Ohio State, Iowa Among Big Ten Preseason Winners

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and Iowa cornerback Desmond King highlight the preseason all-Big Ten selections.

 

Barrett was selected to the East team along with Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers, Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell, Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley by a media panel. Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard and defensive back Desmond King, Northwestern running back Justin Jackson and linebacker Anthony Walker, and Wisconsin running back Corey Clement were West picks.

 

Barrett - 15-2 as a starter - enters his junior season in the top spot after losing out to Cardale Jones last year and then replacing him.

 

King, the 2015 Thorpe Award winner as the country's top defensive back, leads a team that went 12-2 and 8-0 in conference play.

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Sale To Start Thursday vs Cubs

White Sox ace Chris Sale will start on Thursday against the crosstown Cubs in his first appearance since he was suspended for five days for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear.

 

Manager Robin Ventura says he isn't sure of Sale's plans while he is away from the team, but he expects him to be ready for the outing at Wrigley Field.

 

The White Sox announced Sale's punishment on Sunday after the left-hander was scratched from his scheduled start and sent home the previous night.

 

The suspension cost Sale $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined about $12,700.

Sale said Monday quote - "[The '76 uniforms] are uncomfortable and unorthodox. I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it. Looking bad had absolutely zero to do with it. Nothing."

 

Sale said that the issue dates back to spring 2015, and that he went to pitching coach Don Cooper (twice) and manager Robin Ventura with his concerns, and was rebuffed at each turn. He then took matters into his own hands, and that's how we wound up here. Sale also said his goal remains winning a championship in Chicago, which may or may not help calm the trade rumor waters.

 

The 27-year-old Sale is 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA this year. There is a possibility he could be traded before the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline, though it would take quite an offer to get the White Sox to move him.

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NFL Reinstates Embattled WR Josh Gordon

It looks like Josh Gordon's July 19 meeting with Roger Goodell went better than expected. The NFL announced on Monday that Gordon has been reinstated to the league, but with one catch: Gordon will be suspended for the first four games of the season.

 

The ruling comes just six days after Goodell and Gordon met in New York. At the time, the belief was that Goodell would take a few weeks to mull over a possible reinstatement. That didn't happen though.

 

Instead, the commissioner ended up taking less than a week to make his decision.

 

The reinstatement means that Gordon will be able to report for training camp with the Browns. The receiver is also eligible to play in each of Cleveland's four preseason games.

 

Gordon's four-game suspension will begin just before Week 1 in September. The good news for Gordon is that Goodell will be cutting him a break during his suspension. Once the suspension begins, Gordon will be allowed to attend team meetings, according to NFL.com.

 

The Browns receiver was also suspended for two games in 2013, 11 games in 2014 and for the entire 2015 season. The 2014 suspension combined a 10-game punishment from the NFL, and a one-game punishment from the Browns.

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Rizzo, Cubs Beat Brewers

Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run double in the seventh inning and the Chicago Cubs rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Sunday.

 

The Cubs broke through against the Brewers bullpen after struggling with runners in scoring position against starter Junior Guerra.

That changed after Will Smith took over for Guerra with one out in the seventh.

 

Tommy La Stella went 3 for 3 for Chicago. He had an RBI double before Smith (1-3) walked Kris Bryant to load the bases for Rizzo. He hit a 2-2 slider down in the zone into right-center to clear the bases and give Chicago a 5-4 lead.

 

The rally made a winner of reliever Joe Nathan (1-0) in his first game in the majors since April 2015. He was activated off the 60-day disabled list earlier Sunday, completing his comeback from Tommy John surgery.

 

But Cubs pitchers labored for much of the afternoon, with starter Jon Lester struggling through four innings, allowing four hits and walking five.

 

Nathan gave up a leadoff triple to Jonathan Villar in the sixth and a walk before striking out 3-4-5 hitters Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Chris Carter.

 

Ben Zobrist's RBI single scored Rizzo in the seventh and gave the Cubs a needed insurance run after closer Hector Rondon gave up a homer to Kirk Nieuwenhuis with two outs in the ninth to draw Milwaukee within a run.

 

Rondon struck out Jake Elmore looking for his 18th save.

 

Jake Arrieta (12-4) takes the mound when Chicago travels to the South Side for an interleague series against the crosstown-rival White Sox. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA in six starts against the White Sox.

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Sox Beat Tigers

Adam Eaton's game-winning single in the ninth inning lifted the White Sox to a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, hours after they suspended ace Chris Sale for five days.

 

Scheduled to start this game on Saturday, Sale instead got sent home and punished by the team for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear. The game was interrupted three times by thunderstorms on Saturday before getting suspended after eight innings tied at 3. Once it resumed, it didn't take long for the White Sox to end it.

 

Avisail Garcia led off the ninth with a single against Justin Wilson (2-3), stole second and scored from third on Eaton's two-out single to left. That gave the White Sox their second victory in 10 games.

 

Cameron Maybin had two hits and scored two runs for Detroit. Miguel Cabrera drove in his 1,502nd run in the first. Starter Matt Boyd gave up three runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings, and the Tigers came up short after getting a break by not facing the 14-game winner Sale.

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Dodger Use Big Start To Get Buy Cardinals

The Los Angeles Dodgers gave St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Mike Mayers one of the worst major league debuts ever.

 

Adrian Gonzalez hit a grand slam and Howie Kendrick added a two-run homer while the Dodgers exploded for nine runs in the first two innings off Mayers and held on for a 9-6 win over the Cardinals on a hot, muggy Sunday night.

Mayers lasted 1 1/3 innings and became the first pitcher to allow nine or more runs with fewer than two innings pitched in his debut since at least 1913.

 

Scott Kazmir (9-3) pitched five innings to earn the victory. He allowed three runs on six hits.

 

After a rainout earlier in the week forced a doubleheader, the Cardinals decided not to start Carlos Martinez on short rest and called up Mayers, 24, from Triple-A Memphis for a spot start. St. Louis was the last team in the majors to use a pitcher not in their starting five this season.

 

Mayers threw 62 pitches and gave up nine runs on eight hits, including two home runs, with about 35 family members and friends on hand. His ERA is 60.75.

 

Kenley Jansen got his 29th save in 34 opportunities with a spotless ninth.

 

Mayers loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Gonzalez crushed a fastball 427 feet to center for his fifth career grand slam and first since Aug. 26, 2010. After a double by Kendrick, Mayers struck out Yasmani Grandal and got a nice ovation from the crowd. With two outs, Joc Pederson walked and stole second. Kazmir singled up the middle for the final two runs and his first RBIs of the year.

 

Matt Holliday doubled home a run in the first. It was the first run scored in the first inning by St. Louis since July 3.

 

After Los Angeles chased Mayers in the second with three more runs, Tommy Pham cut the Dodgers' advantage to 9-3 with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning.

 

Four St. Louis relievers combined for 7 2/3 scoreless innings.

 

Martinez (9-6, 2.83) faces the New York Mets' Noah Syndergaard (9-4, 2.43). Martinez logged seven innings in a 4-2 win over San Diego in his last start despite suffering a bloody nose.

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Sox Ban Sale for Five Games For Clubhouse Incident

White Sox starter Chris Sale has been suspended for five games by the organization for his actions on Saturday before what was a scheduled start.

 

Initially, the word was that Sale had the flu and that's why he was a late scratch from Saturday's game. Later, reports emerged that he was dissatisfied with the throwback uniforms the White Sox were going to wear that night. His complaints apparently fell on deaf ears, so he took matters into his own hands by cutting up the throwbacks. The White Sox then sent him home and now he'll remain there until Thursday.

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Cubs Close To Acquiring Yankees' Chapman

The Yankees had been rumored to be nearing an Aroldis Chapman trade all day on Sunday, and now it looks like the finish line is in sight. According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees appear to be working with the Cubs on a deal that would involve shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres.

Heyman's tweet comes on the heels of another that confirms Torres' inclusion in a forthcoming trade -- apparently one involving Chapman, should the two sides finalize their agreement.

 

Torres, 19, is hitting .275/.359/.433 in High Class A. He was recently ranked the 27th best prospect by Baseball America and the 34th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus.

 

According to Rian Watt, the Cubs are hoping to nail down an extension with Chapman, a pending free agent. It's possible that if the Cubs can't come to terms with Chapman (Watt notes the Cubs have a four-year offer worth $60 million on the table) that the entire trade will fall apart. We'll probably find out one way or another on Monday.

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Griffey Jr., Piazza Inducted Into Hall of Fame

The 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame class was enshrined during Sunday's ceremony in Cooperstown, NY, with what was an incredibly large crowd on hand. Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were, of course, the player inductees as voted on by the BBWAA.

Also, Dan Shaughnessy will be awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for writers and Graham McNamee will be posthumously presented with the Ford C. Frick for broadcasting excellence.

 

As we found out in January, Griffey was named on 437 of the 440 BBWAA ballots, meaning his 99.32 percent figure set a record, breaking Tom Seaver's 98.84 percent, a mark that had stood since 1992.

That's not all, of course. Griffey's plaque will show him with a Mariners cap, making him the first ever Hall of Famer to be wearing one.

 

Further, Griffey is the first-ever number one overall pick to be enshrined into Cooperstown, which sounds a bit surprising, but the draft didn't start until 1965.

 

The draft is now 40 rounds. It used to be 50. Before that, it was unlimited. Given that the draft isn't going to revert such a format, Piazza will hold this honor for the rest of time: He's the lowest draft pick ever to become a Hall of Famer. In the 1988 draft, the Dodgers selected him in the 62nd round.

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Vegas Wins Canadian Open

Coming into Sunday at the RBC Canadian Open, the main contenders were Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson and amateur Jared Du Toit. But Jhonattan Vegas had different plans.

 

An 8-under 64 got him to 12 under for the tournament, which was enough to hold off a charging field on Sunday in Canada.

Vegas finished one shot ahead of Johnson, John Rahm and Martin Laird as he waited on the range to find out if he'd win outright or have to participate in a playoff. He dodged a number of challengers who failed to come up with the necessary birdie or eagle on the par-5 18th to catch Vegas.

 

The win comes a week after Vegas failed to win at the Barbasol Championship despite a 65-60 start to his week. He is now a two-time winner on the PGA Tour in his career. Not only is it a big payday and give him a boost in the FedEx Cup standings to 24th, but the win also gives Vegas a spot in next week's PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.

 

Johnson continues to be a top-10 machine. He finished T2, one off the lead, and had a good look at a chip-in eagle on 18 to tie Vegas that came up just short. Johnson didn't look quite as comfortable this week, but still posted four under-par rounds for his sixth straight top 10 going into the PGA Championship. Pretty, pretty good.

 

Take away his 76 on Friday and Jason Day would have had himself quite the week with a 69-69-67 in his other three rounds, finishing at 7 under and T14. That 5-under 67 on Sunday should give the world's No. 1 player good vibes going into the PGA Championship as he looks to defend his title. It was a solid, yet unspectacular week for Day that should have him sharp for Baltusrol.

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Cardinals Rally Past Padres

Aledmys Diaz's walk-off single in the ninth inning gave the Cardinals a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.

 

Diaz ripped a full-count, one-out, bases loaded pitch into left field off reliever Carlos Villanueva (1-1).

 

Tommy Pham led off the bottom of the ninth with a double. Greg Garcia drew a walk and Jeremy Hazelbaker moved the runners over with a perfect bunt. Jedd Gyorko was walked intentionally to set the stage for Diaz's heroics.

 

St. Louis reliever Jonathan Broxton (2-2) picked up the win with a scoreless ninth.

 

The Cardinals erased a 5-1 deficit in the eighth. Hazelbaker led off with a double and he scored on hit by Gyorko, his seventh RBI of the series against his former team. Kolten Wong doubled with one out and Stephen Piscotty hit a three-run homer to center field.

 

Andrew Cashner, the subject of trade rumors the past few days, allowed one run and three hits for San Diego. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter. Cashner has allowed one run or less in three of his last four starts.

 

Alexei Ramirez had three hits and drove in two runs for the Padres, who have scored an NL-best 226 runs since June 1.

 

St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright gave up two runs and seven hits over six innings. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter.

 

Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday left the game in the sixth inning after he was hit in the face by a pitch. The ball appeared to strike Holliday's helmet and then glance off his nose. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day.

 

Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.45) takes on RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.69) in the first of a three-game set against the Dodgers in St. Louis on Friday. Wacha is 2-4 with a 4.85 ERA in 10 home starts this season.

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Tigers Edge Sox Behind Homers From Kinsler, Cabrera

Ian Kinsler hit his 20th home run, Miguel Cabrera added his 19th and the Detroit Tigers beat the struggling Chicago White Sox 2-1 in a game that was called after more than a two-hour rain delay in the seventh inning on Thursday.

 

A heavy downpour before the bottom of the seventh sent players and umpires running for cover. And after two hours, five minutes the game was finally called.

The Tigers opened a seven-game trip on a winning note while the White Sox have now dropped seven of eight.

 

Kinsler and Cabrera made it 2-1 with solo homers against James Shields (4-12) in the fifth. Mike Pelfrey (3-9) won for just the second time in nine starts, and the Tigers came out on top after dropping two of three against Minnesota.

 

Adam Eaton had three hits and scored for Chicago. Shields gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings, but the White Sox continued their slide after going 1-5 on a trip to the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle.

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Packers Apply To Host NFL Draft

If the Green Bay Packers get what they want, the NFL Draft could be making a move to Wisconsin in the very near future.

 

During a meeting with team shareholders on Thursday, Packers president Mark Murphy revealed that the team has applied to host the draft in 2019, 2020 0r 2021.

 

"We think it'd be great for the league to have the draft here and celebrate the smallest market in the NFL," Murphy said, via ESPN.com.

 

Since its inception, the draft has generally been held in a large metropolitan area. The event was held in New York City from November 1964 thru 2014, before being moved to Chicago in 2015. Murphy conceded that Green Bay might be a longshot to host the draft, and that it would depend "on what the priorities are for the league."

 

The Packers have no interest in hosting the 2017 draft, which is likely to go to Philadelphia, according to Murphy.

 

If the Packers are going to host in 2019, 2020 or 2021, they're going to have to beat out some stiff competition. According to NFL.com, Atlanta, Chicago, Canton (Ohio), Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh would also like to host the event at some point.

 

Both Canton and Denver have made it know that they'd like to host the 2019 or 2020 draft. There's also a good chance Los Angeles will land a draft once the Rams' new stadium is completed in 2019.

 

Falcons owner Arthur Blank has also gone on record saying he'd like to see the NFL award hosting duties to his new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2017.

 

No matter what happens, the big winner here is the NFL. With so many cities bidding on the draft, the league will be able to take the best offer, which will likely be big profits.

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DJ Shares Lead At Canadian Open; Bubba Supports Golf in Rio

>>DJ Shares Lead After Round 1 at Canadian Open

 

Another week, another tournament Dustin Johnson looks likely to dominate. DJ fired a 66 in the first round at the RBC Canadian Open on Thursday. He is looking to extend his streak of five consecutive top 10s on the PGA Tour including wins at the U.S. Open and the Bridgestone Invitational.

 

Johnson notched seven birdies and an eagle in Round 1 en route to going 6 under.

Johnson made a double bogey on No. 14, but rebounded nicely with a birdie at No. 16 and an eagle at No. 18.

 

>>Bubba Watson: Olympics About More Than Playing Golf

 

Golf in the Olympics has taken a beating over the past few weeks. From so many golfers withdrawing to Rory McIlroy lighting everything on fire at The Open last week, it hasn't been the best month for golf as a global entity. Bubba Watson spoke candidly about that recently with Dan Patrick and explained to him why he's excited to go to Rio for the Olympics.

 

Watson said quote-"My wife ... we've adopted both of our kids so there wasn't a scare from Zika. I've never had a security issue so I've never been worried about security down there. So I was a go from the get-go."

 

Watson added quote - "A gold medal is not really what I'm looking at. Just getting on the team and being a part of this. The gold medal or any medal is a bonus. I'm looking at it from a different perspective. I have tickets from Monday to Saturday so I can be a fan. I'm going to sit with the general public."

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Cardinals Sweep DH With Padres; Cubs Win; Sox Lose

>>Gyroko Leads Cardinals To Sweep Of Twin Bill With Padres

 

Matt Holliday, Jedd Gyorko and Molina homered off Colin Rea (5-4) in a 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

 

Carlos Martinez threw 89 pitches in seven innings, striking out five, walkings one and allowed two runs on four hits.

 

Aledmys Diaz had two hits and has reached safely in 23 consecutive games, longest by a rookie this season.

 

Seung Hwan Oh earned his third save in four chances.

 

Gyorko then homered for the fifth straight game off San Diego pitching, connecting twice with all three RBIs in a 3-2 victory that gave the St. Louis Cardinals a doubleheader sweep Wednesday night.

 

Ryan Schimpf homered in both games for San Diego with his sixth and seventh of the season.

All 11 runs in the twin bill scored on homers.

 

Jaime Garcia (7-6) allowed a run in 5 2-3 innings in the second game and Seung Hwan Oh earned his fourth save in five chances, and second of the day. Oh is the first Cardinals pitcher to save both ends of a doubleheader since Jason Isringhausen against the Pirates in 2004.

 

Wainwright (9-5, 4.19) is coming off a three-hit shutout against the Marlins and has allowed one run in his last 23 innings.

 

Andrew Cashner (4-7, 5.05) has lost two of his last three starts, he starts the finale for San Diego.

 

>>Rizzo's Blasts Lead Cubs Past Mets

 

Anthony Rizzo homered twice off Bartolo Colon, Kyle Hendricks pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the Mets 6-2 Wednesday to take two of three in the rematch of last year's NL Championship Series.

 

Rizzo pulled a slider to right for a solo homer in the third, a drive that would have traveled 451 feet had it landed at ground level unimpeded, according to MLB's Statcast program. Two innings later with a runner on, he sent a fastball into the right-field bleachers, estimated at 436 feet by Statcast.

 

Rizzo also hit a two-run homer in Monday's victory as the Cubs rebounded from a four-game sweep in New York this month. Chicago has won five of its last seven overall.

 

Hendricks (9-6) gave up seven hits and hasn't allowed an earned run in his last three appearances. He lowered his ERA to 2.27, third best in the majors.

 

Addison Russell, who had three hits, doubled in two runs with the bases full and two outs in the first to put the Cubs ahead against Colon, who labored on a warm, humid afternoon.

 

Javier Baez added an RBI single off Antonio Bastardo in a three-run fifth as the Cubs completed a 4-2 homestand.

 

Jason Hammel (8-5) starts Friday night at Milwaukee opposite Jimmy Nelson (6-7).

 

>>Martin's Two Homers Lift M's Over White Sox

 

Leonys Martin hit his second home run of the game, a solo shot with one out in the 11th inning that sent the Seattle Mariners over the Chicago White Sox 6-5 on Wednesday.

 

Martin hit a two-run drive in the second inning. He then drove an 0-2 pitch from Dan Jennings (3-2) over the wall in right for his 13th homer.

 

Vidal Nuno (1-1) pitched one inning for the victory.

 

Seattle pulled within 5-4 on Mike Zunino's two-run homer in seventh. The Mariners tied it on Adam Lind's solo shot in the eighth.

 

The Mariners nearly won it in the 10th. Nelson Cruz drew a two-out walk and tried to score on Kyle Seager's double, but right fielder Adam Eaton threw out the Seattle slugger at the plate.

 

Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, activated off the disabled list earlier in the day, allowed five runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two in his first start since May 27.

 

Todd Frazier hit a three-run homer in the first off Hernandez. Frazier's 28th home run tied him for the major league lead with Baltimore's Mark Trumbo.

 

Hernandez struck out Eaton to begin the game, but Melky Cabrera followed with a double into the left-field corner. Justin Morneau drew a two-out walk and Frazier connected for his third homer in three games.

 

The White Sox added a run in the second on consecutive two-out singles by Tyler Saladino, Eaton and Cabrera to make it 4-0. Martin homered in the bottom half.

 

Chicago pushed the lead to 5-2 in the fifth on a leadoff triple by Cabrera and Morneau's single.

 

Seattle cut the led to 5-4 in the seventh on the home run by Zunino, also called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Tacoma. It was the third homer for Zunino, who hit two during an earlier two-game call-up.

 

Lind, whose pinch-hit, three-run homer in the ninth inning gave Seattle a 4-3 victory on Monday, tied it with his 15th homer.

 

James Shields (4-11, 5.10 ERA) makes his ninth start for Chicago to open a four-game series at home against Detroit. Shields, acquired in early June from San Diego, is 2-2 with a 1.91 ERA in his last four starts.

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Sox, Cubs Make Trades

The Cubs added bullpen help by acquiring left-hander Mike Montgomery from the Seattle Mariners for first baseman and designated hitter Dan Vogelbach.

 

Chicago also obtained right-handed prospect Jordan Pries in Wednesday's deal. Right-hander Paul Blackburn also goes to Seattle.

 

The 27-year-old Montgomery has a 2.34 ERA in two starts and 30 relief appearances with the Mariners this season. The former first round pick of Kansas City was traded to Tampa Bay in the 2012 James Shields deal, when the Cubs' Joe Maddon was managing Tampa Bay.

 

Maddon described Montgomery as "big left-hander with a very good arm."

 

Vogelbach, 23, was hitting .318 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs in 89 games for Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs selected Voelbach in the second round of the 2011 amateur draft.

 

Pries, 26, had a 4.93 ERA in Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma this season. The 22-year-old Blackburn had a 3.17 ERA in 18 starts with Double-A Tennessee.

 

>>White Sox Trade Carroll To Texas

 

The Texas Rangers have acquired minor league right-hander Scott Carroll from the Chicago White Sox for cash.

 

Texas completed the deal Wednesday, and will assign the 31-year-old Carroll to Double-A Frisco. The move comes a week after the White Sox assigned him outright to Triple-A Charlotte.

 

Carroll appeared in 47 major league games the past three seasons for the White Sox. He made three relief appearances for Chicago from May 6-12 before being sent back to Charlotte, where he was 2-8 with a 5.55 in 16 games (12 starts) this season.

 

His major league record is 6-11 with a 4.60 ERA. He started 19 of his 47 games.

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Bears Sign Former Panthers OG Silatolu

The Chicago Bears have signed former Carolina Panthers guard Amini Silatolu.

 

The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Silatolu started 28 of the 34 games he appeared in over four seasons with the Panthers. Silatolu was mostly a backup last season and played in nine games before tearing the ACL in his left knee.

 

The Bears also waived quarterback Dalyn Williams on Wednesday. He was an undrafted rookie.

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Former Blackhaws F Richards Retires

Two-time Stanley Cup-winning forward Brad Richards is retiring after 15 NHL seasons.

 

Following one season with Detroit, the 36-year-old announced his retirement in a two-page release issued by the NHL Players' Association on Wednesday.

 

From Prince Edward Island, Richards was a 10-time 20-goal scorer and finished with 298 goals and 634 assists for 932 points in 1,126 games in a career that included stops in Dallas and the New York Rangers.

 

Richards led the Tampa Bay Lightning in scoring during their 2004 Stanley Cup-winning run and was voted playoff MVP. He also won a title in 2015 with Chicago. Richards was the NHL's rookie of the year runner-up in 2001.

 

In thanking his many teammates, coaches, trainers and fans, Richards called winning two championships as his two most unforgettable moments.

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Bulls Acquire Sharp Shooting Canaan; Kobe Turns Down Second Olympics Invite

The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Isaiah Canaan.

A three-year veteran, Canaan spent most of the past two seasons with Philadelphia. He averaged a career-high 11 points last season while shooting 36 percent from the field and just over 36 percent from long range, hitting 176 of 485 3-pointers. Canaan was one of 11 players in the NBA who made four or more 3s in at least 20 games.

 

The Bulls announced the signing, but did not reveal the terms of the contract on Wednesday.

Canaan's agency tweeted last week that he agreed to a two-year deal.

 

>>Kobe Gets Invite For Rio Olympics, Still Staying Home

 

Team USA practice started this week, and for the first time in nine years Kobe Bryant was not part of the team's Olympic preparation. Bryant told reporters in January he'd decided to decline to participate following his retirement last season.

 

However, that didn't stop Team USA and Coach K from circling back to make absolutely sure the Black Mamba didn't want in.

 

 

According to Arash Markazi of ESPN, Jerry Colangelo reached out to Bryant to see if he'd be interested in joining the roster, but Bryant politely said "thank you but no."

 

Coach K said quote -"He's still a part of our program."

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Rivera's Late Hit, Familia's Magic Get Mets Past Cubs

Jeurys Familia escaped a bases-loaded jam with a game-ending double play after Rene Rivera drove in the tiebreaking run with two outs in the top of the ninth, lifting the New York Mets over the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Tuesday night.

 

Familia walked Addison Russell and Miguel Montero to start the ninth, then Javier Baez reached on a bunt single when third baseman Jose Reyes threw wide to first. Pinch-hitter Matt Szczur hit a grounder to first baseman James Loney, and Loney threw out Russell at the plate. Kris Bryant then hit into a 5-4-3 double play to give Familia his 33rd save in 33 chances.

 

Rivera had the third single in the ninth - following hits by Loney and Asdrubal Cabrera - off Hector Rondon (1-2) as the Mets beat the Cubs for the fifth time in six games after sweeping them in last year's NL Championship Series.

 

Hansel Robles (4-3) pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the win.

 

All-Star right-handers Jake Arrieta of the Cubs and Noah Syndergaard of the Mets returned to dominant form in no decisions.

 

Arrieta retired 14 of the first 15 Mets hitters, including 12 straight following Yoenis Cespedes' single in the first. He allowed one run and struck out eight in seven innings, his longest outing since June 11. Last year's NL Cy Young Award winner got back on track after allowing four or more earned runs in three consecutive starts for the first time since 2012.

 

Syndergaard gave up one unearned run on seven hits through 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight before being replaced by Jerry Blevins after throwing 105 pitches.

 

Bartolo Colon (8-4, 3.11) squares off against Chicago RHP Kyle Hendricks (8-6, 2.41) in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon. Hendricks allowed just three hits in six shutout innings in his last start against Texas on Friday and has a 1.70 ERA in his last 11 outings.

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Home Runs Lead Sox Over Mariners

Melky Cabrera hit a tie-breaking homer leading off the seventh inning, Todd Frazier added a two-run shot in the ninth and the Chicago White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak with a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

Cabrera lined his ninth home run of the season - and second batting right-handed - just over the wall in left field off Seattle starter Wade Miley (6-7) to snap a 1-1 tie. J.B. Shuck added an RBI single later in the inning and Frazier capped the White Sox's first win since July 9 with his 27th home run in the ninth.

 

Brett Lawrie also hit a solo home run, his 12th.

 

Chicago starter Jose Quintana (8-8) threw six innings and his only major mistake was Robinson Cano's 22nd home run in the fourth inning. And Quintana made key pitches when Seattle had runners in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings.

 

Miguel Gonzalez (2-5) makes his 14th start of the season. Gonzalez is just 1-2 over his last three starts but has a 2.25 ERA during that time.

 

Felix Hernandez (4-4) makes his first start since May 27 after landing on the DL with a calf injury. 

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Cardinals, Padres Rained Out

The San Diego Padres juggled their rotation after Tuesday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals was postponed because of anticipated storms that finally materialized about one hour and 45 minutes after the scheduled start.

Busch Stadium was dry but empty when heavy rains began.

 

The Tuesday night pitching matchup, Colin Rea vs. Carlos Martinez, moves to the Wednesday opener at 2:15 p.m. ET. Paul Clemens gets a spot start in the second game set for 8:15 p.m. ET and will oppose Jaime Garcia.

 

Andrew Cashner gets bumped back a day to the series finale on Thursday, opposing Adam Wainwright.

 

Clemens (1-0, 4.73) made two starts for Miami, the most recent one on June 25, three days before being claimed by the Padres. In 14 starts for Triple-A New Orleans he's 6-4 with a 4.30 ERA.

Both clubhouses were closed after the postponement was announced.

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NCAA Gives Top Seed Big Benefit in Rule Change

Even though the NCAA Tournament is eight months away, we've got a hefty update on some upcoming changes.

 

One twist coming next season: The No. 1 overall seed will be able to choose the location of its first two games of the tournament. So if that team is Duke, or Kentucky, or Kansas, or whichever school gets put atop the 1-68 seed list, that program will get to pick where it plays its first and second-round games.

 

"Preferences would be communicated by teams in contention for the overall No. 1 seed far in advance of Selection Sunday in a process to be determined," the NCAA said in a statement.

This means a handful of teams will look at all eight first-weekend sites and let the selection committee know which one it prefers. The top-seeded program won't know which team(s) it'll be playing, but it will get dibs on digs, which is a nice little update.

 

Cities playing host to first and second-round NCAA tournament games next March are Buffalo, Milwaukee, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Greensboro, Indianapolis, Tulsa and Sacramento.

 

The other teams in the field will continue to be at the mercy of the selection committee. If anything, this adds even more emphasis to overall résumé and could keep importance on league tournaments.

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Cardinals Pound Padres

Matt Adams delivered a two-run double that kicked off a four-run rally and led to a 10-2 win over the San Diego Padres at steamy Busch Stadium.

The outburst enabled Leake (7-7) to notch his second straight win and become the first St. Louis pitcher since Lance Lynn in 2012 to strike out at least 10 batters in consecutive starts. After whiffing 10 in a July 10 victory at Milwaukee, Leake notched 11 punchouts, one shy of his career high.

 

Aledmys Diaz scored Adams with a two-out triple to the wall in left-center for a 5-1 lead and Stephen Piscotty singled up the middle to cap the game-breaking inning.

 

After the Padres (41-52) tallied a run in the seventh on an infield out by pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista, the Cardinals (48-44) piled on in their half of the seventh. Randal Grichuk cracked a two-run homer off Jose Dominguez and Gyorko lined the next pitch into the San Diego bullpen to make it 9-2.

 

Piscotty capped St. Louis' 13-hit attack in the eighth with a 439-foot homer into the third deck in left field, marking the 13th time this year it's scored 10 or more runs in a game.

 

St. Louis stayed two games behind Miami for the National League's final wild-card spot, winning for just the 21st time in 49 home games.

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Rizzo, Lester Lead Cubs Over Mets

Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer, Jon Lester pitched 7 2/3 innings and the Chicago Cubs stopped an eight-game losing streak against the New York Mets with a 5-1 victory on Monday night in a rematch of last year's NL Championship Series.

With one out and two on in the third inning, Rizzo fouled off five straight 2-2 pitches from Steven Matz before driving a changeup deep into the right-center bleachers for his 22nd homer.

 

Lester (10-4) allowed one run - Wilmer Flores' leadoff homer in the seventh - and four hits in his first win in a month. David Ross added a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Albert Almora Jr. singled in Matt Szczur in the eighth as the NL Central leaders won for the fourth time in five games since dropping five in a row.

 

Pedro Strop struck out Neil Walker with runners on first and second in the eighth. Hector Rondon replaced Carl Edwards Jr. with two runners on in the ninth and got Travis d'Arnaud to bounce into a game-ending double play for his 16th save.

 

Matz (7-6) was charged with four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. The rookie left-hander dropped to 0-5 in his last nine starts.

 

Matz nearly had another run on his line, but left fielder Yoenis Cespedes cut down Willson Contreras with a perfect throw to the plate when the rookie tried to score from second on Szczur's third-inning single.

 

Noah Syndergaard of the Mets and Jake Arrieta of the Cubs face off on Tuesday. Syndergaard (9-4, 2.56 ERA) was removed from last start on July 8 due to arm fatigue.

 

Arrieta (12-4, 2.68 ERA) is looking to get back on track after allowing four or more earned runs in three consecutive starts for the first time since 2012.

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Former Cardinals Scouting Director Sentenced in Computer Hacking Case

Former St. Louis scouting director Chris Correa was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison Monday for unlawful intrusions in the Houston Astros' database.

 

Correa, who pled guilty to five charges on Jan. 8, must also pay restitution of $279,038.65 to the Astros.

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Lind's Late HR Lifts Seattle Over White Sox

Adam Lind hit a three-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning to give the Seattle Mariners an improbable 4-3 comeback victory over the White Sox on Monday night, handing Chicago its fifth consecutive loss and wasting a dominant performance by Chris Sale.

 

Franklin Gutierrez singled to open the ninth, but was forced out at second on Robinson Cano's fielder's choice. Nelson Cruz walked and Dae-Ho Lee struck out.

Kyle Seager followed with an RBI single to center to make it 3-1. Lind pinch-hit for Chris Iannetta and hammered an 0-1 pitch over the wall in right-center for his 14th home run.

 

Sale, bidding to become the first 15-game winner in the majors, allowed just a first-inning single en route to eight scoreless innings.

 

Tim Anderson and Todd Frazier homered to account for all of the runs for the White Sox, who were outscored 16-1 in being swept three games over the weekend by the Angels.

 

Sale gave up a one-out single in the first to Gutierrez, who was erased on a double play. Sale walked Leonys Martin in the third and then did not allow another runner until tiring in the seventh.

Sale hit Gutierrez and Lee with pitches in the seventh, but escaped by striking out Seager to end the inning.

 

Iannetta walked to open the eighth, but also was doubled up. Sean O'Malley then walked, but Sale enticed Daniel Robertson into an inning-ending force out.

 

Sale, tied for the A.L. lead with three complete games, struck out six and walked one before being lifted after 100 pitches.

 

David Rollins (1-0) pitched the ninth inning for the win.

 

Wade LeBlanc, making his fourth start since being acquired in a trade with Toronto, allowed three runs on nine hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking one.

 

The White Sox grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Anderson hammered a 1-0 pitch from LeBlanc into the second deck in left field for his fifth home run.

 

Frazier boosted the lead to 3-0 in the third with his 26th home run, following a leadoff single by Melky Cabrera.

 

Left-hander Jose Quintana (7-8, 3.21 ERA) is 2-7 with a 4.38 ERA over his last 11 starts after going 5-1 with a 1.36 in his first seven. He's making his first start since throwing one scoreless inning in his first All-Star Game appearance.

 

Left-hander Wade Miley (6-6, 5.44) has lost all three starts since coming off the disabled list with a left shoulder impingement, as well as the one prior to going on the DL. Over that stretch, he is 0-4 with a 6.00 ERA.

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Former MLB Players To Take Part in Amateur Tournament

Next month, a team of former MLB players will take part in the annual National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kansas. The NBC World Series is typically a league for college-aged amateur players.

 

The ex-MLBers will play for the Kansas Stars and the roster features a collection of All-Stars, regulars, and journeymen. Adam LaRoche, a Wichita native, and Nate Robertson helped put the club together.

 

The players are not paid and the Kansas Stars are planning to donate any winnings to charity. They play their first game on Saturday, August 8.

 

PITCHERS

 

Josh Beckett
Roger Clemens
Justin Germano
Tim Hudson
Jason Isringhausen
Ryan Kohlmeier
Roy Oswalt
Brad Penny
Nate Robertson
Ben Sheets
Brad Tomko

 

CATCHERS

 

Koby Clemens
Koyie Hill

 

INFIELDERS

 

Brandon Inge
Adam LaRoche
Jayson Nix
Pete Orr
Dan Uggla
Jack Wilson

 

OUTFIELDERS

 

Rick Ankiel
J.D. Drew
Carl Everett
Tim Hudson
Ryan Langerhans
Laynce Nix
Barry Wesson

 

The roster that includes 11 former All-Stars. Some of these guys are not far removed from the big leagues. Penny, LaRoche, Uggla, and Hudson all played in MLB just last season.

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Bears' Peanut Tillman Officially Retires From NFL

Longtime Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is retiring from the NFL after 13 seasons.

 

The 35-year-old Tillman, known for his "peanut punch" after forcing 44 career fumbles, spent his first 12 seasons with the Bears and went to two Pro Bowls.

 

He started 12 games last season with the Carolina Panthers before suffering a season-ending knee injury and missing the team's run to the Super Bowl. Carolina didn't attempt to re-sign him.

 

Tillman announced his retirement Monday on Twitter, posting a YouTube video of him knocking things out of people's hands, including a doughnut his daughter was eating.

 

A second-round pick in 2003, Tillman started 164 games during his career and was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2013.

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Eastern Illinois Picked Third in OVC; Jacksonville State Favorite

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks, who lost the FCS title game in January, is the preseason favorite yet again to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship.

The Gamecocks, who took 16 of 18 first-place votes, is the league's preseason pick as champ for a third straight year and the fifth in the past seven years in voting announced Monday at OVC media day. Jacksonville State has won the OVC title the past two seasons with at least a share in three of the past five.

 

Jacksonville State coach John Grass has the league's preseason picks for players of the year in quarterback Eli Jenkins and defensive lineman Darius Jackson from a team that went 13-2 and snapped a 12-game win streak losing the title game to North Dakota State 37-10.

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Valentine, Bulls Win Summer League Title

Chicago Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine ended summer league with a high-arcing turnaround jump shot over the outstretched arms of Coty Clarke on Monday. The buzzer-beater gave the Bulls an 84-82 overtime victory, keeping them undefeated in Las Vegas and giving them the summer league championship.

 

With the game tied 74-74. Wolves guard and summer league MVP Tyus Jones appeared to be dribbling a possession to death, but launched a 3-pointer over a double-team and swished it with 3.6 seconds on the clock.

On the next possession, Chicago ran a play for Valentine, who hit a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer with two defenders running at him to force overtime. When he released the shot, he had just two points and was 0-for-6 from deep, and yet he took it with full confidence.

 

It looked like the Bulls had the game locked up late in overtime, but guard Spencer Dinwiddie missed two free throws that could have made it a two-possession game. With Minnesota down by three points, guard Xavier Silas hit a clutch 3-pointer ... off the glass.

 

Valentine had a rough shooting night outside of those two amazing plays. He also had four turnovers to three assists.

 

Jones scored a game-high 27 points on just 9-for-21 shooting and had seven turnovers to go with his 10 assists

 

Bobby Portis and Adreian Payne were having something of a duel. Portis finished with a team-high 26 points on 11-for-21 shooting, plus 10 rebounds, one assist and four steals. Payne had 22 points on 7-for-16 shooting, plus 16 rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal. Portis went 4-for-7 from deep and Payne went 3-for-6.

 

While Valentine will get the headlines, Jerian Grant was Chicago's best player. He had 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, shooting 9-for-19 and taking home title game MVP honors.

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Nicklaus Says Lefty-Stenson Duel Better Than Palmer-Nicklaus

The comparisons between the 1977 Open Championship and the 2016 Open Championship are almost too easy.

In 1977, Tom Watson outlasted Jack Nicklaus with a 65 in the final round to Nicklaus' 66. Both men had shot 68-70-65 in the first three rounds. Watson won by just one over Nicklaus but the third place golfer finished 11 strokes back. That sounds a lot like what happened at Royal Troon last week with Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson.

 

Stenson shot a 63 to Mickelson's 65 in what was one of the greatest performances in major championship history. Nicklaus weighed in via Facebook on what we all witnessed.

 

Nicklaus said quote-"I was fortunate to watch every second of today's final round of the Open Championship, and I thought it was fantastic. Phil Mickelson played one of the best rounds I have ever seen played in the Open and Henrik Stenson just played better--he played one of the greatest rounds I have ever seen."

 

Nicklaus added - "Phil certainly has nothing to be ashamed of because he played wonderfully," 

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Cardinals, Cubs, Sox All Lose

>>Late Surge Lifts Marlins Past Cardinals

 

Ichiro Suzuki doubled, singled twice and had another hit taken away on a replay challenge, leaving him six shy of 3,000 in the Miami Marlins' 6-3 victory.

Suzuki also walked, scored a run and came up just short on his bid to beat out an infield hit. All of that in wilting, 93-degree heat for a player who'd been 3 for 11 in July.

 

Giancarlo Stanton's second double of the game drove in the go-ahead run in a two-run seventh against Jonathan Broxton (1-2).

 

Christian Yelich had two hits and three RBIs and Jeff Mathis bunted home a hit for Miami, which took two of three for just its second series win the last seven years in St. Louis.

 

Matt Holliday batted cleanup for the first time this season and had three of the Cardinals' four hits, including his 16th homer. But St. Louis struck out 15 times, including four by Randal Grichuk and three by Tommy Pham.

 

Kyle Barraclough (5-2) had three strikeouts in 1 2-3 perfect relief innings and A.J. Ramos earned his 29th save in 30 chances. The bullpen worked 3 2-3 scoreless innings after finishing with two spotless frames in a 5-0 loss Saturday.

 

Marlins starter Adam Conley matched his career high with nine strikeouts, giving up two earned runs in 5 1-3 innings.

 

Michael Wacha needed 101 pitches to get 12 outs for St. Louis and gave up three runs on seven hits. Four innings matched his shortest outing of the season.

 

>>Pujols Leads Angels Past White Sox

 

Albert Pujols hit a pair of two-run homers, Jered Weaver pitched seven strong innings and the Los Angeles Angels completed an emphatic three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox with an 8-1 victory Sunday.

Pujols connected in the first and fourth innings of his 53rd multi-homer game. He has 577 career homers as he pursues Mark McGwire (583) for 10th place on baseball's career list.

 

Five Angels drove in a run while lighting up Jacob Turner (0-1) over the first five innings. He yielded seven hits and eight runs in his debut for the White Sox, who have lost four straight.

After their worst first half since 1992, the injury-plagued Halos (40-52) returned with three outstanding starts while outscoring Chicago 16-1.

 

Weaver (8-7) limited the White Sox to six hits and one walk as Los Angeles won for the seventh time in nine games overall.

 

>>Hamel Drops Cubs

 

Cole Hamels pitched eight dominant innings in his first game at Wrigley Field since throwing a no-hitter at the famed ballpark a year ago, and the Texas Rangers stopped a four-game slide by topping the Chicago Cubs 4-1 Sunday.

 

Hamels (10-2) struck out his first six batters. He fanned seven overall and gave up just an unearned run on four hits.

 

Last summer, the lefty threw a no-hitter and struck out 13 at Wrigley in his final start for Philadelphia. He was then traded to the Rangers.

 

Sam Dyson struck out three in the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.

 

Ian Desmond homered and Robinson Chirinos drove in two runs as Texas avoided a three-game sweep in the matchup of division leaders. The Cubs had won three in a row.

 

John Lackey (7-6) allowed four runs and six hits in eight innings as his winless streak reached seven starts.

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Cubs Notes

>>Cubs Starting To Get Healthy

 

Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler isn't expected to return from his right hamstring injury until late next week.

 

The Cubs on Friday also activated catcher David Ross off the seven-day concussion list, placed reliever Trevor Cahill on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right knee and activated left-hander Clayton Richard off the DL.

 

Manager Joe Maddon said Fowler felt good running the bases Thursday and will soon go on another minor league rehab stint.

 

"He hit the bases and felt good about it," Maddon said.

 

Fowler hasn't played since June 18 as he recovers from a strain that also kept him out of the All-Star Game.

 

Ross, who has a history of concussions, took a foul ball off his mask before the All-Star break. Infielder Munenori Kawasaki was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Ross.

 

Cahill, a right-hander who has struggled lately, has a 3.07 ERA in 33 appearances. His DL stay is retroactive to July 9.

 

Richard had been sidelined with a blister on his throwing hand. Maddon said his "velocity was up" during a minor league rehab assignment.

 

Maddon said outfielder Jorge Soler is also nearing a minor league rehab assignment as he recovers from a left hamstring injury.

 

>>Cubs' Hammel Told To Eat Potato Chips To Avoid Cramps

 

Saturday afternoon, the Cubs beat the Rangers (CHC 3, TEX 1) thanks in large part to starter Jason Hammel. Hammel held Texas to one run on three hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out seven to improve to 8-5 with a 3.34 ERA on the season.

 

Hammel dealt with some on and off cramping prior to the All-Star break, first in his hamstring and then in his pitching hand. He was able to avoid more cramping Saturday thanks to potato chips. Yes, potato chips. He ate them in the tunnel between innings. Doctor's orders too.

 

Per Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Hammel was told by team doctors to eat potato chips because of the potassium and sea salt.

 

Some athletes have been known to drink Pedialyte instead of Gatorade because it helps with hydration.

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MLB Tells Teams Quit Arguing Balls, Strikes

MLB would apparently like managers and certain members of certain front offices to pump their brakes just a bit when it comes to arguing balls and strikes this season.

 

MLB executive Joe Torre sent a memo Friday to managers, general managers and assistant general managers that said: ''This highly inappropriate conduct is detrimental to the game and must stop immediately.''

 

Torre said in his note that ''the prevalence of manager ejections simply cannot continue.''

The AP goes on to report that Torre in the memo called out managers who rely on replays or zone tracking tools available in, say, the clubhouse video room to inform their arguments. Torre is MLB's chief baseball officer.

 

Per Close Call Sports, in 2015 plate umpires ejected the manager on 76 occasions. In 2016, that's happened 37 times, so if anything the pace has slowed just a bit. Rather than the frequency of ejections, though, it may be, as Torre indicated, the manner in which managers and other vested parties are arriving at their grievances -- i.e., availing themselves of technology that the plate ump cannot use in making his ball-strike calls.

 

As for front office types, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo reportedly engaged in a tunnel shouting match with veteran ump Jim Joyce not long ago. That was over application of sliding rules and not balls and strikes, but the incident may have been somewhere in Torre's consciousness as he penned the memo in question. What most assuredly was about balls and strikes was when Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus earlier this season covered home plate with his sweatshirt.

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Bears WR Jeffery To Play Under Franchise Tag

Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will play under the franchise tag next season after the two sides failed to agree on a long-term contract extension by Friday's deadline.

Jeffery, who missed seven games last season with injuries, will be paid $14.6 million next season. Even with his season limited, Jeffery led the team with 54 catches and 807 receiving yards last season while scoring four touchdowns. His per-game average of 89.7 receiving yards was the seventh-best mark in the NFL.

 

The Bears and Jeffery can't negotiate again until January.

 

"I'll let my game take care of itself," Jeffery said last month. "Everything else is going to get sorted out."

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Bulls Hoiberg Thinks Wade, Rondo and Butler Will Mesh

Have doubts about how Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler will fit together? You're not alone. Despite Rondo and Wade's big names, the Chicago Bulls' acquisitions have mostly caused confusion, not excitement. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, though, is predictably sunny about the prospects of these three playmakers sharing the ball.

Fred Hoiberg told the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson quote-"Dwyane is a tough matchup for opposing teams with him and Jimmy (Butler) on the wings and Rajon (Rondo) at the point. A lot of how we attack will be based on matchups and who the defender is and whose hands we're going to put the ball in to make plays."

 

"We have multiple playmakers now, multiple guys who can get in the paint. We do have floor spacing on this team. It will be important to have guys who can knock down shots."

 

"Great players always figure it out," Hoiberg said. "It has to be about one thing, and that's winning. Based on who has the hot hand on any given night, you play through that guy, and the rest of the team plays off him."

 

Asked who gets the last shot in a tie game, Hoiberg laughed before answering.

 

"We'll see who has it going," he said.

 

Hoiberg might have the toughest job in the NBA next season. His three most prominent players are all best with the ball in their hands, and his preferred system requires better shooting, passing and speed than Chicago has. This is a veteran team that wants to win now, and there has been a ton of roster turnover. Maybe he and his three playmakers can figure things out, but it doesn't seem simple.

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Stenson Shoots Record Tying Round, Wins First Major

After seven career top -five finishes at major championships, Henrik Stenson broke through for his first major victory with a dazzling performance at the 145th Open Championship. Stenson posted a 63 on Sunday, tying the major championship record for a low round. His 20-under score of 264 set a new major scoring record and tied Jason Day's record score to par.

 

Stenson's Sunday showing was nothing short of spectacular, especially considering how well he played while staring down Phil Mickelson, who shot a terrific 6-under 65 of his own. Stenson's ball-striking was unreal, hitting 16-of-18 greens in regulation, and his putter was scorching hot as he needed only 27 putts to get around Royal Troon.

 

The Sunday showdown between Stenson and Mickelson will go down in Open Championship lore, as the two lapped the field. Mickelson, who finished second by two shots, was 11 strokes ahead of third-place finisher J.B. Holmes (6 under).

 

Stenson capped off his victory in style, pumping a 310-yard 3-wood down the 18th fairway -- nearly hitting it too well as it came up a foot shy of a bunker -- and then finding the center of the green to take away any nerves from his putt, which he buried anyways to make his round a record-setting one.

 

Rory McIlroy finished tied for fifth at four under-par while US Open winner Dustin Johnson finished in the top-10 once again with a 2-under performance.

 

After a handful of 1-under scores, including Zach Johnson, scores were rough on a weekend where weather at Royal Troon in Scottland were not ideal throughout the weekend.

 

Despite a 3-under round on Sunday, Jordan Spieth finished two-over for the tournament, outsdie the top-25. Jason Day finished one-over for the weekend.

 

Bubba Watson shot a 4-over. Rickie Fowler was six-over. Masters Champ Danny Willett was seven-over. 

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Illini To Face WV in Thanksgiving NIT Game

Illinois will face West Virginia on Thanksgiving as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York City.

 

According to a Thursday news release from the tournament, the Illini and Mountaineers will play at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 and Florida State and Temple will play at 11:30 a.m. The winning teams will meet for the title at 2 p.m. on Nov. 25. The losing teams will play for third place at 11:20 a.m. on the 25th.

 

Illinois will also host two earlier games as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Dates and opponents for those games will be announced later.

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Super Bowl MVP Offered $70-Million in Gauranteed Money

It doesn't look like Von Miller is going to have to sit out the 2016 season.

 

The Broncos linebacker had threatened to sit out the year if he was forced to play the season under the franchise tag, but that's not likely to happen now, thanks to the record-breaking contract offer the Broncos gave Miller on Thursday.

 

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora confirms multiple reports that the Broncos are offering Miller $70 million in guaranteed money, which is a huge jump from the $39.8 million that the team was offering Miller as recently as June 7.

 

 

The amount of guaranteed money in Miller's deal has been the biggest obstacle in getting a deal done. Back in June, the Broncos offered a six-year, $114.5 million deal that would've made him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL based on average annual salary, with Miller pulling in roughly $19.083 million per year.

 

The problem for Miller is that the deal was guaranteeing him less than $40 million, which seemed like a slap in the face, considering that the Eagles had given Fletcher Cox a $63.299 million guarantee in June.

 

The two sides have until 4 p.m. on Friday to officially reach a deal.

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MLB Notes

>>Red Sox Trade For All-Star Pomeranz

 

The Padres traded left-hander Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox in exchange for top prospect Anderson Espinoza, the team announced on Thursday night.

 

Pomeranz, 27, has this season pitched to a 2.47 ERA (161 ERA+) in 102 innings for the Padres. He just recently appeared in the All-Star Game at Petco Park. The No. 5 overall pick in 2010, Pomeranz has long been regarded as having front-line stuff but until this season health and performance had never intersected. He's under contract for $1.35 million this season and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season.

 

As for the Red Sox, they enter the second half ranking ninth in the AL in rotation ERA and also ninth in rotation FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching).

 

Espinoza, 18, ranked as the no. 15 overall prospect in the Baseball America midseason top-100 list. He's 5-8 with a 4.38 ERA and 72/27 K/BB ratio in 17 starts with Class A Greenville.

 

>>MLB Investigating Ortiz For Tampering

 

Earlier this week, the 2016 All-Star Game turned into The David Ortiz Show as the slugger played in his final Midsummer Classic. Ortiz is retiring after the season.

 

While speaking to reporters after the All-Star Game, Ortiz said the Red Sox should sign Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion after the season to take over as DH. He also advocated acquiring Marlins ace Jose Fernandez.

 

Unfortunately for Ortiz, players are not allowed to talk about players under contract with other teams in that way. He can't say he wants the Red Sox to go out and acquire so-and-so. Team executives are not allowed to do that either.

 

As a result, MLB is expected to investigate Ortiz for tampering.

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Mickelson Pulling Away at British Open

Thursday at Royal Troon was a round for the Americans, which had six of the top seven golfers on the leaderboard at the conclusion of the day, led by 2013 Open Championship winner Phil Mickelson.

 

Where things go Friday is anyone's guess as weather is expected to pick up making conditions exceedingly tougher in Scotland.

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Rodgers Hail Mary Wins ESPY For Best Play

Down by two points with all zeroes on the clock, the Green Bay Packers had the ball at their own 39-yard line. They'd received an untimed down as the result of a facemask penalty on the previous play, and they had one more shot to come away with a win over the Detroit Lions.

You know what happened next.

 

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took a shotgun snap, rolled slightly to his left, evaded a defender, sprinted all the way to his right and up toward the line of scrimmage, and fired the ball toward the end zone as high and as far as he could. The ball soared through the air and past the goal line, where tight end Richard Rodgers boxed out defenders and snatched it before anyone had a chance to knock it down.

 

It was pure bedlam then, and now it's also the recipient of the 2016 ESPY Award for Best Play.

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Forbes Declares Cowboys Most Valuable Franchise

The Cowboys aren't America's Team. They're the World's Team.

 

Even though Jerry Jones' franchise is coming off a four-win season, even though his quarterback is 36 and has the most fragile collarbone in all of sports, even though he hasn't won a Super Bowl in more than 20 years, Jones' Cowboys topped Forbes' list of the most valuable sports teams of 2016 with a $4 billion valuation (up 25 percent). It's the first time a non-soccer team has topped Forbes' annual list since it started compiling the lists back in 2011.

According to Forbes, the average NFL team is valued at almost $2 billion. So, the Cowboys doubled the average NFL franchise. They also nearly doubled the average value of the top-50 teams in the world, $2.2 billion.

 

In Forbes' explanation for the Cowboys' ascent to the top of the list, it cited the Cowboys' $270 million operating profit in 2014, $125 million premium seat revenue, and $120 million sponsorship revenue. Those last two numbers led the league last year while the first led the world.

 

Not to mention the Cowboys' new practice facility, which cost more money to build than it did to construct AT&T Stadium, arguably the greatest stadium on the planet. That $1.5 billion facility, located in Frisco, Texas, features a 16-story hotel, an event center, a members-only club, practice fields, restaurants and retail stores, office space and an underground parking garage, and a 12,000-seat indoor stadium.

 

Behind the Cowboys on Forbes' list were two Spanish soccer clubs in Real Madrid and Barcelona, with the New York Yankees and Manchester United rounding out the top-five. Real Madrid and Manchester United had topped the past five lists.

 

In all, 27 NFL teams made the top-50 list, compared to just 20 last year. The Patriots finished sixth overall and second among NFL teams with a $3.2 billion valuation while the Redskins (eighth, $2.85 billion) and Giants (ninth, $2.8 billion) also placed in the top-10.

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Rory: Winning More Important Than the Olympics

Rory McIlroy seems displeased with the onus of the future of golf being put on his shoulders. McIlroy spit some fire Tuesday in his British Open press conference when asked about the 2016 Rio Olympics and growing the game in golf.

McIlroy was asked to expand on his decision to withdraw from the Olympics in light of Jordan Spieth doing the same thing this week.

 

McIlroy said quote - "I don't think it was as difficult a decision for me as it was for [Jordan Spieth]. I don't feel like I've let the game down at all. I didn't get into golf to try and grow the game. I got into golf to try to win championships and win major championships.

 

Then he dropped some napalm on the entire idea of golf at the Olympics and, let's be clear, but the future of the sport at this event in jeopardy. That's fine, of course, but let's not ignore what is happening here.

 

"I'll probably watch the Olympics, but I'm not sure golf will be one of the events I'll watch."

So what will Rory watch?

 

Quote - "track and field, swimming, diving ... the stuff that matters."

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British Open Underway

The tee times and groups are set for the first two rounds of the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon this week. There are some great ones too. The highlights are probably as follows:

Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry

 

Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Danny Willett

 

Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Hideki Matsuyama

 

These groups teed off before 4 am central time this morning.

 

US Open wininer Dustin Johnson tees off just after 8 am this morning with Martin Kaymer and Russell Knox.

 

Phil Mickelson is paired with Lee Westwood and Ernie Els. That group tee's off around 7:30 am.

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Bryant Goes Deep; Sale, Quintana Throw as AL Beats NL

Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez homered off former Kansas City teammate Johnny Cueto during a six-pitch span in the second inning, Hosmer added an RBI single to become MVP of the All-Star Game and the American League beat the Nationals 4-2 Tuesday night for its fourth straight win.

 

Kris Bryant of the Cubs led the parade of sparkling young talent with a first-inning home run. The lead was short-lived, with Hosmer and Perez going deep for a 3-1 lead in the second, sandwiched around Mookie Betts' single. Cueto was hard to miss in the center of the field, wearing lime green and orange spikes.

 

The Yankees' Dellin Betances flashed his 100 mph heat, and Astros reliever Will Harris came on to throw a called third strike past Cardinals rookie Aledmys Diaz on a 3-2 pitch on the outside corner with the bases loaded to end the eighth.

 

Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera pitched a hitless sixth for the AL, which will open the Series at home for the 11th time in 14 years since the All-Star winner has been used to determine the hosts for Games 1 and 2.

 

Kansas City became baseball royalty last fall, bursting to a 2-0 lead over the New York Mets at Kauffman Stadium, where Cueto pitched a two-hitter in the second game.

 

Cleveland's Corey Kluber pitched a 1-2-3 second inning for the win, and Zach Britton induced Nolan Arenado's game-ending, double-play grounder for the save as the AL cut its deficit to 43-42 with two ties.

 

Ortiz hit a smash down the first-base line that Anthony Rizzo snagged to rob him of a potential RBI double in the first and walked against Jose Fernandez in the third.

 

When Edwin Encarnacion came out to pinch run for him in the fourth, Ortiz waved to the crowd and then spent his AL teammates came out of the dugout to exchange hugs as the crowd of 42,386 rose in tribute.

 

The popular Big Papi plans to retire at 40 after this season with Boston.

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NBA Changes Rules for 'Hack-a' Intentional Fouls

With intentional fouling seen as a scourge on the league, the NBA took steps on Tuesday to tweak the strategy. Overall though, the "Hack-a" strategy is not going away just yet. It will just now be slightly harder for teams to implement certain aspects of the strategy.

 

The big takeaway is teams will stop fouling near the end of quarters to get extra offensive possessions and that jumping on a player's back, will result in a flagrant foul not a common foul, like it was in the past. Also, now away-from-the-ball fouls, which resulted in a free throw and possession of the ball, will be called at the end of all quarters.

 

While these aren't sweeping changes, it shows the league is taking steps to make the "Hack-a" strategy less of a drain on actual game play. And perhaps, it will lead to even more changes down the road.

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Chris Sale Named All Star Game Starter; Reflects on Tony Gwynn's Impact

>>Chris Sale Named All Star Game Starter

 

Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox will start for the American League in Tuesday night's All-Star Game and Johnny Cueto of the San Francisco Giants for the National League.

 

Sale, a 27-year-old left-hander, is 14-3 with a 3.38 ERA and leads the major leagues in wins. He has 123 strikeouts and just 26 walks in 125 innings, and batters are hitting .225 against him.

 

Cueto, a 30-year-old right-hander who left Kansas City to sign with the Giants last offseason, tops NL pitchers in victories. He is 13-1 with a 2.47 ERA, striking out 115 in 131 1/3 innings. He has won 10 consecutive decisions since an April 21 loss to Arizona.

 

>>Sale Says Tony Gwynn Impacted His Decision on Chewing Tobacco

 

American League All-Star starter Chris Sale paid tribute to late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, saying he quit chewing tobacco when the San Diego Padres great died of salivary gland cancer in June 2014 at age 54.

 

The Chicago White Sox pitcher, who leads the major leagues with 14 wins, was picked to start Tuesday night's game at Petco Park.

 

He says "I chewed tobacco from 2007 until the day he passed away. I remember seeing that, and just being so shocked."

 

Sale says "I quit that day, and I haven't touched it since," adding "I owe him a huge thank you for not only myself but for my family."

 

A 15-time All-Star, Gwynn spent his entire big league career with the Padres, hitting .338 with 3,141 hits from 1982-01.

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Giancarlo Stanton Wins HR Derby with Epic Display

Not only did Giancarlo Stanton homer 61 times on the night -- thereby setting a new Derby record -- he dominated the distance leaderboards, blasting the contest's eight-longest homers between 481 and 497 feet.

Stanton earned his Derby victory, the first by a Marlins player.

 

He blew past Robinson Cano in the first round, then dropped the top-seeded Mark Trumbo in the semifinals. In the finals, Stanton met the defending champion, Todd Frazier, whom proved to be no match.

 

Indeed, Stanton won by seven, therefore becoming the first non-All-Star to win since Yoenis Cespedes in 2013.

 

As such, Stanton will have the next few days to recover from an impressive performance. Consider that a bad sign for the league's pitchers.

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Tim Duncan Retires; Draymond Green Arrested for Assault

>>Future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, Calls It A Career

 

Tim Duncan, regarded as the best power forward in NBA history, announced his retirement from the San Antonio Spurs on Monday. And true to the form, the always understated Duncan announced his retirement with a simple team press release.

 

Since drafting Duncan, the Spurs won five championships and posted a 1,072-438 regular season record, giving the team a .710 winning percentage, which is the best 19-year stretch in NBA history and was the best in all of the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB over the last 19 years.

 

Duncan spent his entire 19-year career with the Spurs, winning five championships, two regular season MVPs and three Finals MVPs. The 15-time All-Star, drafted No. 1 overall from Wake Forest in 1997, averaged 19 points (while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor), 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.17 blocks throughout his career.

 

Duncan will likely stay under the radar and fade away from the NBA spotlight until we see him in Springfield in a few years.

 

>>Warriors Star Green Arrested on Assault Charges

 

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green reportedly was arrested on assault charges in Lansing, Michigan, on Sunday.

Here's more from that incident, via ESPN's Ethan Strauss:

 

"We are confirming that Draymond Green was arrested for assault in our downtown business district early Sunday morning at around 2:30 a.m. The victim was a male. It was basically an altercation between two guys. There's no injuries. He was released with a $200 bond on Sunday. And he's got 10 days to get arraigned and then prosecution will continue from there."

 

Police confirm that the establishment where the altercation occurred was Conrad's Grill in East Lansing.

The Warriors issued a statement acknowledging the existence of the news but providing no further comment.

Green is from Saginaw, Michigan, which is about 90 minutes from Lansing. This follows a tumultuous postseason in which Green often was under scrutiny for questionable, if not dirty play. There were debates throughout the playoffs of whether or not Green was going too far and should be suspended for individual incidents.

In fact, after accumulating enough flagrant foul points, he was suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, which opened the door for the Cleveland Cavaliers to come back from a 3-1 deficit and win the title.

Green has been selected to play for USA Basketball at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Jordan Spieth Withdraws from Rio Olympics

Jordan Spieth started hedging a few weeks ago at the U.S. Open about whether he was going to play in the Olympics. On Monday, it was revealed that he has withdrawn his name and will not be on the U.S. team. He cited "health issues" which equates to the Zika virus.

With Rickie Fowler's commitment on Sunday, that leaves the U.S. with Fowler, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar. Reed took Dustin Johnson's slot when Johnson pulled out on Friday and Kuchar will take Spieth's spot. If any other U.S. players pull out, the U.S. will simply be left with just three players for Rio.

 

The Spieth announcement was made by International Golf Federation President Peter Dawson as he posted the final teams (see below). Spieth has not yet spoken on the subject yet although he will be peppered with questions later this week at the British Open at Royal Troon.

 

The top four players in the world (Day, Johnson, Spieth and McIlroy) will not be in Rio which is probably a dagger in any future hope anyone had at keeping this sport around. 

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Cardinals Beat Brewers

Mike Leake struck out a season-high 10 over seven innings, Matt Adams and Randal Grichuk homered, and the Cardinals cooled off Milwaukee rookie Junior Guerra in a 5-1 victory over the Brewers on Sunday.

 

Aledmys Diaz scored from first on a single in the fifth to snap a tie and the Cardinals entered the All-Star break having cut a 12-game deficit to the Cubs to seven in the NL Central.

 

Jonathan Lucroy had two hits, including an RBI single in the first for the Brewers, who are 0-13-1 in their last 14 series with St. Louis.

 

St. Louis returns from the break Friday against Miami to start a 10-game homestand.

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Cubs Salvage Finale Against Bucs

Kris Bryant's RBI single in the eighth inning lifted the Chicago Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

 

Pinch-hitter Matt Szczur doubled to left field with one out against Pirates reliever Tony Watson (1-3). Bryant, who had three hits and reached base four times, followed with his tiebreaking hit to put the Cubs back ahead.

 

Chicago avoided a series sweep ended its five game losing streak. Pittsburgh lost for just the second time in 11 games heading to the All-Star break.

 

Cubs reliever Pedro Strop (2-2) gave up Andrew McCutchen's tying sacrifice fly in the seventh, Carl Edwards pitched a hitless eight and Hector Rondon got the last three outs for his 14th save.

Chicago won't play again until Friday, when it will come out of the All-Star break to face the surging Texas Rangers, who limped into the break.

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Chicago Native Foltynewicz Dominant in Win over White Sox

Mike Foltynewicz allowed five hits in seven innings, Jeff Francoeur and Jace Peterson homered and the Atlanta Braves beat the Chicago White Sox 2-0 on Sunday.

 

Foltynewicz (3-3), who grew up in the far southwest suburbs of Chicago, had a career-high 10 strikeouts without allowing a walk. He struck out the side in the seventh on 12 pitches.

 

The 24-year-old right-hander won for the first time since beating the Giants on May 30. He was placed on the disabled list on June 4 with a bone spur and made his third start since returning.

Chris Withrow pitched a scoreless eighth for the Braves and Jim Johnson finished for his second save in four chances.

 

White Sox starter James Shields (4-10) allowed six hits, including both homers, in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out two and fell to 2-3 with Chicago.

 

Jose Quintana (7-8) was tentatively scheduled to start on Friday after the break at the Angels before he was announced to the All-Star roster. Now that he was named to the team Ventura will go with RHP Miguel Gonzalez on Friday and Shields on Saturday.

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Quintana To Replace Indians Salazar on AL All Star Roster

Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana has replaced Cleveland's Danny Salazar on the AL All-Star roster.

 

A first-time All-Star, Quintana is 7-8 with a 3.21 ERA, sixth-best in the AL at the start of Sunday. He joins teammate Chris Sale on the AL roster.

 

Kansas City's Wade Davis, Boston's Craig Kimbrel and Toronto's Marco Estrada also were dropped from the AL pitching staff because of injuries, and Cleveland's Corey Kluber and Toronto's Aaron Sanchez were added.

 

In the NL, Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw and New York's Noah Syndergaard got hurt and won't pitch along with Stephen Strasburg, who just came off the disabled list, and San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner, who starts Sunday. New York's Bartolo Colon, San Diego's Drew Pomeranz and Washington's Max Scherzer were added.

 

In the infield, Aldemys Diaz replaced St. Louis teammate Matt Carpenter, and in the outfield Cincinnati's Jay Bruce and Pittsburgh's Starling Marte replaced the Mets' Yoenis Cespedes and Chicago's Dexter Fowler.

 

Miami's Marcell Ozuna and Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez entered the starting lineup in place of Cespedes and Fowler.

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Former Illini Leonard Agrees To Deal With Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have some tough decisions with their restricted free agent. Allen Crabbe has signed a substantial offer sheet with the Nets that the Blazer have until Sunday at midnight to match. Moe Harkless remains on the market after Portland issued its qualifying offer to him.

One player they've decided to retain, however, is stretch forward/center Myers Leonard according to The Vertical.

 

Even as Portland surged last year, Leonard struggled in a contract year, averaging 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds with more minutes and shot just 45 percent from the field after being above 50 percent the year prior, before losing the rest of the season to injury.

 

Leonard is still just 24 with great size and skills and posted a 50-40-90 shooting split the year before last. It's a big investment from Portland, but they needed considerable size for depth and the pickings on the market are slim. 

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Dustin Johnson Withdraws From Olympics

The seemingly endless flow of top golf talent pulling out of the 2016 Rio Olympics has been well-documented here, but it was still a harsh blow for the United States and the sport in general when, late Friday, the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world announced that he would also be withdrawing his name for consideration from his country's national team.

Dustin Johnson, winner of back-to-back tournaments including his first career major in the 2016 U.S. Open, announced in a statement that he will not play for the United States in Brazil next month.

 

In a statement Johnson said quote - "As an athlete, I can think of no greater honor than representing the United States in the Olympic Games. However, after much careful consideration and discussion with both my family and my team, I have made the decision to withdraw from the 2016 Olympic Games."

 

Johnson has joined a list including Australia's Jason Day (No. 1) and Adam Scott (No. 8), Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (No. 3), South Africa's Branden Grace (No. 11) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 14), and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (No. 17). There is also an expectation that America's Jordan Spieth (No. 3) will eventually withdraw from the Olympics as he recently hedged that he is seriously considering whether playing is worth the risk.

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Cardinals Top Pirates

Adam Wainwright worked seven effective innings to help St. Louis beat Pittsburgh 5-1 on Thursday to avoid a four-game sweep and end the Pirates' season-best seven-game winning streak.

 

Wainwright matched his season best with nine strikeouts and got his 129th career win, passing Harry Brecheen for seventh on the franchise list. He's permitted one run over 14 innings his last two outings.

 

Stephen Piscotty hit a three-run home run and Randal Grichuk also went deep for St. Louis, which reclaimed second place in the NL Central by a half-game over Pittsburgh to end a rough 4-5 homestand.

 

Jordy Mercer doubled and had an RBI for the Pirates, who had come from behind to win the previous six games.

 

Aledmys Diaz tripled off the top of the left-field fence and scored on a wild pitch to tie it in the fourth. Grichuk's first homer since June 12 gave the Cardinals the lead for good in the fifth.

 

All-Star Matt Carpenter (oblique) joined Brandon Moss (ankle) and Brayan Pena (knee) on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day.

 

Diaz was named an All-Star earlier in the day to replace Carpenter.

Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.38) has won three straight starts and faces the Brewers for the second straight time.

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Markakis Homers Lead Braves Over Cubs

Nick Markakis homered twice, including a tying solo shot in the ninth inning, and Tyler Flowers' two-out single in the 11th early Friday morning gave the Atlanta Braves a 4-3 victory over the slumping the Chicago Cubs.

 

Willson Contreras hit a two-run triple in a three-run eighth inning to put the Cubs up 3-2. But closer Hector Rondon blew his fourth save when he gave up the second homer to Markakis to lead off the ninth, Atlanta's first hit since the second inning.

 

Flowers singled to right off Spencer Patton (1-1) and Freddie Freeman, who walked, barely beat Ben Zobrist's throw home.

Dario Alvarez (3-1) worked a perfect 10th before giving up consecutive singles to Contreras and Jason Heyward to lead off the 11th.

The extra-inning game followed a rain delay of 1 hour, 35 minutes.

Jake Arrieta (12-3, 2.33) starts Friday night in the opener of a division series at surging Pittsburgh and LHP Francisco Liriano (5-8, 5.34).

A man was carted off Wrigley Field and hospitalized after he slipped and fell while attempting to jump from the bleachers before the game. The Cubs didn't identify the man and didn't provide his condition.

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White Sox Slugger Frazier To Defend Derby Title

On Thursday, MLB announced the eight participants for this year's Home Run Derby on Monday night, July 11.

 

Robinson Cano, Mariners
Adam Duvall, Reds
Todd Frazier, White Sox
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Wil Myers, Padres
Corey Seager, Dodgers
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Mark Trumbo, Orioles

 

Frazier, who won last year's Home Run Derby, will indeed get a chance to defend his crown.

Cano has a Home Run Derby title to his credit too. He won back in 2011.

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Packers Great Files Lawsuit Against Helmet Company

Former Packers running back Paul Hornung has filed a lawsuit against Riddell, a company that makes football helmets.

 

In the lawsuit, which obtained by the New York Times, the Hall of Famer alleges that Riddell led players to believe that the company's plastic helmets would provide protection against brain trauma.

 

The lawsuit states quote-"Prior to, during and after Paul Hornung's NFL football career, Riddell knew of the harmful long-term effects of brain traumas sustained by football players while wearing Riddell's supposed protective equipment; however, it misrepresented and concealed these facts from Paul Hornung."

 

The lawsuit also states that Riddell promoted its helmets as "safe," which was a known lie, according to Hornung's attorney William T. Gibbs.

 

The lawsuit also states that the helmet didn't work and that Hornung suffered "numerous concussive and sub-concussive brain traumas."

 

The lawsuit is seeking damages of at least $50,000.

 

Hornung won the Heisman Trophy while at Notre Dame in 1956. A year later, the Packers made him the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. During his college career, Hornung wore a leather helmet, but he switched to Riddell's plastic helmets once he got to the NFL because the company claimed that they were safer, according to the lawsuit.

 

The running back led the NFL in scoring for three straight years (1959-61), was named MVP in 1962 and was a part of four Packers teams that would win NFL championships (1961, '62, '65, '66).

 

Hornung, 80, was inducted into the Pro Football hall of Fame in 1986.

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Sox Win; Cubs, Cards Lose

>>Gonzalez Terrific As White Sox Blank Yankees

 

Miguel Gonzalez pitched five-hit ball over seven innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Yankees 5-0 on Wednesday night.

One night after getting blanked for the fifth time, the White Sox returned the favor and handed the Yankees their fifth shutout.

 

Gonzalez (2-4) matched his longest outing of the season and shut down New York after it pounded out a season-high 20 hits in Tuesday's 9-0 romp.

 

Tim Anderson capped a four-run second with a two-run double off Michael Pineda (3-8), and the White Sox won for the sixth time in eight games. They took two of three from New York to capture their fifth straight series, another twist for a team that got off to a 23-10 start and then went into a huge tailspin.

 

Chris Sale (14-2, 2.93) goes for his 15th win as the White Sox open a three-game series against Atlanta on Friday.

 

>>Reds Get By Reeling Cubs

 

Tucker Barnhart hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off Trevor Cahill in the seventh inning, and the Cincinnati Reds beat Chicago 5-3 Wednesday in the Cubs' 12th loss in 17 games.

 

A day after having seven players selected for next week's All-Star Game, the Cubs lost to the last-place Reds for the second time in three days and dropped below Texas for the best record in the major leagues. Cincinnati is 3-10 against the Cubs this year.

 

Zack Cozart homered for the third straight game, starting Cincinnati's offense with his eighth career leadoff homer.

 

Chicago led 3-1 when Brandon Phillips and Jose Peraza hit consecutive one-out singles against Cahill (1-3) and Barnhart sent a 2-2 sinker into the basket in center field for his third home run this year. The Reds' lone All-Star, Adam Duvall, walked and scored on Carl Edwards Jr.'s wild pitch in the eighth.

 

Jason Hammel (7-5, 3.45) is to face Atlanta LHP Lucas Harrell (1-0, 1.50) Thursday night at Wrigley Field in the makeup of an April 30 rainout.

 

>>Pirates Outlast Cardinals

 

Jung Ho Kang drove in two key runs with a seventh-inning double a day after Chicago police announced their investigation, and Pittsburgh beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-5 on Wednesday night for its sixth straight comeback win.

 

Kang's double off Jonathan Broxton (1-1) put the Pirates up 6-5 after they trailed 5-1.

The Pirates have won three straight series at Busch Stadium after dropping their previous seven in St. Louis.

 

Pirates relievers combined for five scoreless innings. A.J. Schugel (2-2) got the win and Mark Melancon picked up his 26th save.

 

Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke lasted just four innings and had his three-start winning streak snapped.

 

Rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz went 3 for 5. His 12th homer of the season tied the game 1-1 in the third and his single in the fourth capped a four-run rally for the Cardinals.

 

Jaime Garcia exited after giving up a pair of walks to start the sixth. Both walks came around to score.

 

The Cardinals have lost three straight and fell to 18-26 at home. They have lost 10 games in a row at home to teams with winning records.

 

Tyler Glasnow will make his major league debut. He went 7-2 with a 1.78 ERA at Indianapolis.

Adam Wainwright (7-5, 4.70 ERA) pitched seven shutout innings in his last start and St. Louis is 10-3 in his last 13 outings.

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Cubs, Sox Place Catchers on DL; Mets Put Harvey on DL

>>Cubs Place C Ross on DL, DFA Peralta

 

The Chicago Cubs placed catcher David Ross on the seven-day concussion disabled list Wednesday and designated veteran reliever Joel Peralta for assignment.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon also said it's uncertain if center fielder Dexter Fowler will be recovered from his right hamstring strain in time to start in the All-Star Game.

 

The moves before Chicago's game against Cincinnati opened roster spots for two players. Right-hander Adam Warren was called up from Triple-A Iowa to make a spot start against the Reds, and utility player Tommy La Sa Stella was activated off the disabled list and started at third base.

 

Ross took a foul ball off his mask in Tuesday's loss to Cincinnati that Maddon said "got him pretty good."

 

The 40-year-old Peralta signed with Chicago on June 13 after being released by Seattle. The right-hander had a 9.00 ERA in five appearances that included a scoreless inning Tuesday that Maddon called his "best day."

 

>>White Sox C Avila To DL

 

The Chicago White Sox have placed catcher Alex Avila on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

 

They also purchased catcher Omar Narvaez's contract from Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday and transferred reliever Jake Petricka to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Narvaez on the 40-man roster.

 

Avila left Tuesday's game against the New York Yankees with the injury. He is batting .236 with three home runs and six RBIs in his first season with the White Sox.

 

Narvaez is batting a combined .239 with Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham and has thrown out 12 of 48 attempted base stealers this season.

 

Petricka had season-ending surgery on his right hip last month.

 

>>Mets Place Harvey on DL

 

After a rather terrible first half of the season, Mets Opening Day starting pitcher Matt Harvey has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder discomfort and will see a doctor to undergo some tests on the injury. The club told reporters (Anthony DiComo) of the news after a 4-2 victory Wednesday.

 

Needless to say, it has been a disappointing season from an individual standpoint for Harvey. He sits 4-10 for a team that is now 46-38.

 

Including the regular season and playoffs, Harvey threw 216 innings in 2015. Harvey and his agent, Scott Boras, said doctors recommended a 180-inning limit, as this was his first full season returning from Tommy John surgery.

 

The Mets still have a very good rotation in Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom and Bartolo Colon, but they do need a fifth starter until either Zack Wheeler (coming back from Tommy John surgery and Marc Carig reports it'll be over a month) or Harvey are ready to rejoin.

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Bulls To Sign D-Wade, Make Room With Trades

Dwyane Wade is leaving the Miami Heat after 13 seasons and going home to Chicago.

In letter released to The Associated Press, Wade says Wednesday: "This was not an easy decision, but I feel I have made the right choice."

 

The Bulls will send Mike Dunleavy to the Cleveland Cavaliers to help make room for Wade.

Shortly after Wade informed the Bulls that he was leaving Miami to return to play in his hometown, Chicago told Dunleavy he was headed to Cleveland.

 

The 35-year-old Dunleavy averaged a career-low 7.2 points in 31 games for the Bulls last season. Cavaliers star LeBron James has long wanted to play with the versatile forward, and now he has him.

 

The Chicago Tribune first reported the trade.

 

The Los Angeles Lakers are getting Spanish guard Jose Calderon and two second-round draft picks in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, who are clearing salary cap space to sign Dwyane Wade.

 

Los Angeles will give up the rights to a player not currently in the NBA.

 

The 34-year-old Calderon will be another veteran presence around the young Lakers, who are rebuilding after the worst season in franchise history. Los Angeles also has added Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov.

 

Calderon is an 11-year NBA veteran who spent the last two years with the New York Knicks. He was traded to Chicago two weeks ago.

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Cards, Cubs, Sox Lose

>>Reds Top Sloppy Cubs

 

John Lackey's winless streak stretched to five games, Chicago manager Joe Maddon was ejected and the Cincinnati Reds beat the struggling Cubs 9-5 Tuesday behind Zack Cozart's 13th home run.

Lackey (7-5) allowed six runs - five earned - six hits and five walks in six innings, dropping to 0-3 in his past five starts. The Cubs have lost five of their last six games and 10 of 15.

 

Maddon got ejected for the second time this season. David Ross was batting in the second, took a 3-0 pitch and started heading to first, only for plate umpire Jerry Meals to call a strike. Maddon got tossed by Meals as he protested from the dugout, then came out for a spirited argument that lasted a few more minutes.

 

Adam Warren (3-1, 4.56 ERA) is to make a spot start for Chicago after getting stretched out in the minors while RHP Anthony DeSclafani (2-0, 1.78) is to pitch for Cincinnati.

 

>>Pirates Outlast Cardinals

 

Eric Fryer had two hits and three RBIs in his first game with the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 5-2 victory Tuesday night.

 

The Cardinals released Fryer when backup catcher Brayan Pena came off the 15-day disabled list and the Pirates, with whom he played in the minors, claimed him off waivers on Sunday.

 

The Pittsburgh bullpen worked five scoreless innings in support of lefty Steven Brault, who allowed one earned run in four innings while throwing 82 pitches and adding a single in his debut.

 

Juan Nicasio (7-6) worked two scoreless innings and Mark Melancon finished for his 21st consecutive save and 25th in 26 chances.

 

Josh Harrison and David Freese added RBIs for the Pirates, who have taken the first two games of a four-game set and are 7-4 in the season series, closing within one-half game of the second-place Cardinals in the NL Central.

 

Mike Leake (5-7) gave up five runs in six innings for the Cardinals, who got RBIs from Jedd Gyorko and Matt Holliday. Leake has lost his last three outings with a 6.06 ERA.

 

Jeff Locke (8-5, 5.13) has won his last three starts with a 1.93 ERA and bested Oakland ace Sonny Gray his last time out.

 

Jaime Garcia (6-6, 3.84) allowed one run in eight innings against the Brewers his last time out. He has a 0.57 ERA against Pittsburgh in six games, four starts.

 

>>Yankees Pound Sox

 

Carlos Beltran celebrated his ninth All-Star selection with three of New York's season-high 20 hits, and the Yankees cooled off the Chicago White Sox with a 9-0 win on Tuesday night.

 

Chase Headley hit a two-run homer for the second straight day for New York, which improved to 2-3 on a 10-game trip that takes the club to the All-Star break. Austin Romine also connected, and Masahiro Tanaka (6-2) pitched into the eighth inning while improving to 4-1 with a 1.14 ERA in eight road starts.

 

Beltran and relievers Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances were picked for the AL roster before the win, and White Sox ace Chris Sale joined the trio.

 

Chicago (43-41) had won three in a row and six of eight, but it never recovered after Carlos Rodon (2-7) labored through five innings. The left-hander matched season highs by allowing six runs and 12 hits while dropping to 0-3 with a 4.93 ERA in his last six starts.

 

Michael Pineda of the Yankees and Miguel Gonzalez of the White Sox face off in the series finale on Wednesday night. 

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Five Cubs Voted into All Star Game

On Tuesday, July 12, baseball's best and brightest stars will convene in San Diego's Petco Park for the 2016 All-Star Game. The Home Run Derby will be held on July 11 and the Futures Game will kick off the All-Star festivities on July 10.

 

Tuesday night, MLB announced the All-Star Game starters and reserves for both the AL and NL. Fans were given the opportunity to vote for the starting position players in each league. The 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot -- available exclusively via MLB.com, team sites and mobile devices -- was accessible through June 30.

 

AL Starters

 

C Salvador Perez, Royals (leading vote-getter among all players)
1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
2B Jose Altuve, Astros
SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
3B Manny Machado, Orioles
OF Mike Trout, Angels
OF Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
OF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox

 

This is the first time in history the entire All-Star starting infield and catcher are age 26 and younger.

 

NL Starters

 

C Buster Posey, Giants
1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B Ben Zobrist, Cubs
SS Addison Russell, Cubs
3B Kris Bryant, Cubs
OF Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF Yoenis Cespedes, Mets
OF Dexter Fowler, Cubs

 

NL Reserves

 

C Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
C Wilson Ramos, Nationals
1B Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
1B Wil Myers, Padres
2B Daniel Murphy, Nationals
SS Corey Seager, Dodgers
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
IF Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
OF Odubel Herrera, Phillies
OF Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
OF Adam Duvall, Reds

 

NL Pitchers

 

RHP Jake Arrieta, Cubs
LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants
RHP Johnny Cueto, Giants
RHP Jose Fernandez, Marlins
LHP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (injured, will be replaced)
LHP Jon Lester, Cubs
RHP Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
RHP Noah Syndergaard, Mets
RHP Julio Teheran, Braves
RHP Jeurys Familia, Mets
RHP Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
RHP Mark Melancon, Pirates
RHP A.J. Ramos, Marlins
RHP Fernando Rodney, Padres/Marlins

 

AL Reserves

 

C Stephen Vogt, Athletics
C Matt Wieters, Orioles
1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B Robinson Cano, Mariners
SS Francisco Lindor, Indians
3B Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
IF Eduardo Nunez, Twins
OF Carlos Beltran, Yankees
OF Ian Desmond, Rangers
OF Mark Trumbo, Orioles
DH Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

 

AL Pitchers

 

RHP Marco Estrada, Blue Jays
LHP Cole Hamels, Rangers
RHP Danny Salazar, Indians
LHP Chris Sale, White Sox
RHP Steven Wright, Red Sox
RHP Dellin Betances, Yankees
RHP Brad Brach, Orioles
RHP Zach Britton, Orioles
RHP Alex Colome, Rays
RHP Wade Davis, Royals (injured, will be replaced)
RHP Will Harris, Astros
RHP Kelvin Herrera, Royals
RHP Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox
LHP Andrew Miller, Yankees

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Pirates IF Kang Being Investigated For Sexual Assault in Chicago

Chicago police say they're investigating an allegation of sexual assault against Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang.

In a statement Tuesday, police said a 23-year-old female reported being assaulted by Kang inside a hotel. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the Chicago woman met Kang through a dating app. Kang invited the woman to his hotel room on June 17.

 

The woman said she blacked out, then drifted in and out of consciousness as he sexually assaulted her.

 

The 29-year-old Kang has not been charged. He was not the lineup Tuesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

Pirates team president Frank Coonelly said in a statement the team was taking the allegation "extremely seriously" and was cooperating with Major League Baseball. Coonelly declined further comment.

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Cubs, Sox Win; Cardinals Lose

>>Bryant, Contereas Lead Cubs Route of Reds

 

Kris Bryant hit his 24th home run before leaving with a bruised leg, Willson Contreras and Addison Russell also went deep, and the Chicago Cubs pounded the struggling Cincinnati Reds 10-4 on Monday.

Playing the NL Central's last-place team was just what the major league-leading Cubs needed after getting outscored 32-11 in a four-game sweep by the Mets in New York.

 

The Reds, meanwhile, continued their slide. They dismissed pitching coach Mark Riggins in an effort to shake up a staff with the majors' worst ERA, then lost for the 11th time in 13 games.

Bryant hit a two-run drive in the second inning and scored three times before exiting with a bruised lower left leg in the fifth.

 

John Lackey (7-4, 3.27 ERA) looks to get back to winning for Chicago, while Reds LHP Brandon Finnegan (3-7, 4.48) tries to bounce back from the shortest start of his career.

 

>>Sox Pound Yankees

 

Tim Anderson and Dioner Navarro each hit a two-run homer off CC Sabathia, helping James Shields and the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Yankees 8-2 on Monday.

Chicago had a string of 15 consecutive solo shots, matching a franchise record, before Anderson connected in the third inning, tying it at 2. Brett Lawrie hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the fifth before Navarro belted a drive to left field for his fifth homer.

 

Anderson went 2 for 4 for his 12th multihit game since he was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte on June 10. Navarro has seven RBIs in the last three games - all wins for resurgent Chicago.

Chase Headley hit a two-run homer for New York, which has lost three of four.

 

>>Pirates Double-Up Redbirds

 

Left-hander Jonathon Niese (7-6) turned in his strongest performance in almost a month for Pittsburgh and helped lead them to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals Monday afternoon.

Niese (7-6) allowed just one run on seven hits over 5 2-3 innings. He struck out three and walked one. Niese had given up at least four earned runs in each of his last four starts including surrendering eight earned runs in an 8-3 loss to St. Louis at home on June 12.

 

Pittsburgh has won five in a row, all on the road. St. Louis had a three-game winning streak snapped.

 

Gregory Polanco's two-run homer in the sixth off Carlos Martinez (7-6) put the Pirates ahead to stay 2-1. He added a solo shot in the eighth for the first two-homer game of his career.

 

The Cardinals went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.

 

Mike Leake (5-6, 4.13) will take on LHP Steven Brault (0-0, 0.00), who will be called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, in the second game of the four-game series on Tuesday.

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NBA Free Agency Notes

>>Pau Gasol Headed To San Antonio

 

The San Antonio Spurs didn't waste any time after losing out in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes.

The Spurs agreed to a two-year deal with veteran forward Pau Gasol on Monday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

 

The deal is worth more than $30 million and final terms will be completed after the Spurs make a move or two to create the necessary cap space.

 

Gasol has been one of the league's most talented and versatile big men for the last 15 years. He spent the last two seasons in Chicago and averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists this year, his game showing few signs of aging even as he prepares to turn 36 on Wednesday.

 

>>Durant Headed To Golden State

 

In a stunning turn of events, Kevin Durant has decided Monday to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the 73-win Golden State Warriors.

Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting it's a two-year deal for $54.3 million and the second year is a player option.

 

The best regular-season team of all-time just got significantly better despite an Oklahoma City team that was right on the cusp of becoming the best team in the world itself is now officially scrambling.

 

>>Tim Duncan Reportedly Leaning Towards Retirement

 

Hidden under the fervor of Kevin Durant's free agency decision to head to Golden State, a future Hall of Fame icon could also be leaving, for good. Yahoo Sports reports that San Antonio Spurs icon Tim Duncan is "leaning strongly," toward walking away.

 

Duncan has left team officials, close associates and friends with a strong belief he's preparing to make an announcement in the near future on his departure, sources said.

 

Duncan turned 40 this year, and was left nearly unplayable against the Thunder, though obviously that's not as much of a concern now. Several times during their series vs. the Thunder, Duncan would stand alone at the free-throw line during OKC's introductions, absorbing the moment. After being blocked in the Thunder's Game 6 victory over the Spurs, he ambled to the bench slowly.

 

Durant activated his player option for next season at around $6 million, and Manu Ginobili announced earlier this week that he would return for his 15th season. There's ample reason for Duncan to return, but he may simply have reached the end of his time as an NBA player.

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College Basketball Notes

>>Kansas Picks Up Former Five-Star Recruit

 

Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman has committed to Kansas, a source told CBS Sports on Friday morning.

The development was first reported by ESPN.

 

Newman must sit out next season per NCAA rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2017-18 season.

 

As a freshman, Newman averaged 11.3 points last year for the Bulldogs, but the guard was never healthy after suffering a toe injury in the preseason.

 

Newman was the No. 8 player in the class of 2015 according to the 247Sports composite rankings and was one of the first notable recruits signed by MSU coach Ben Howland after he was hired last year.

 

>>Oregon G Ennis Receives Fifth Year of Eligibility

 

Oregon got a good dose of good news late Thursday: Dylan Ennis has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Players don't always get rewarded with a sixth year, but Ennis -- who suffered a left foot injury early last season -- will be allowed to suit up for Dana Altman in 2016-17.

Per Oregon: "Officially termed a Fifth-Year Rule Waiver, Ennis was granted a sixth year 'based upon the totality of the circumstances and student-athlete well-being."

 

It's the right call by the NCAA. Ennis played just two games for Oregon last year. Given he's in good academic standing, this is the proper decision.

 

Ennis began his career at Rice, then transferred after one year to Villanova. His time at Oregon has been as a graduate student/transfer. In his junior season he posted averages of 9.9 points, 3.7 rebound sand 3.5 assists. He's a strong combo guard, and Oregon will certainly see him on the floor plenty next season.


The Ducks will have a terrific backcourt, now that Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey (both could be 2017 draft picks) are returning to school.

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Dustin Johnson Wins Bridgestone

Dustin Johnson shot 66-66 on the weekend and birdied three of his last six holes on Sunday for the close and title. He has, in the span of two weeks, erased the flimsy narrative about himself that he's not a closer. His last three wins (Doral in 2015, Oakmont and Firestone in 2016) have all come when he was trailing by three or more going to the final round.
 
He's in the top 50 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting and finished No. 8 in the field this week at Bridgestone. The tour heads to the British Open and PGA Championship as two of its next three events.

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Loyola parts ways with women's basketball coach Swoopes

Loyola University has parted ways with women's basketball coach Sheryl Swoopes.
 
The school said in April that it would investigate allegations against Swoopes brought by former players. One former player, Cate Soan, has said Swoopes humiliated her and created a hostile environment.
 
On Sunday, the school released a three-sentence statement.
 
"Sheryl Swoopes is no longer serving as the women's basketball coach at Loyola University Chicago," athletic director Steve Watson said in the statement. "A search for her replacement will begin immediately. Loyola thanks Sheryl for her service to the women's basketball program."
 
Swoopes has been at the private Chicago university for three seasons with a record of 31-62. She was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year. She was the first player signed by the WNBA and won three Olympic gold medals.
 
Late Sunday night, Swoopes' spokeswoman Kimberly Blackwell released a statement.
 
"In response to the inquires made about the investigation, Sheryl is comfortable with its outcomes, Blackwell said. "She is disappointed, however, with the actions that have followed. In respect of the holiday, we plan to have Sheryl's voice heard at an appropriate time."
 

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Cubs put Coghlan on DL, recall Candelario from Triple-A

The Chicago Cubs have put outfielder Chris Coghlan on the 15-day disabled list with a right ribcage strain and recalled infielder Jeimer Candelario from Triple-A Iowa.
 
Candelario is starting at third base Sunday in his major league debut. He struck out his first two times up against New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard.
 
The 22-year-old switch-hitter was batting .333 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 25 games at Iowa after getting promoted from Double-A Tennessee this season. He had a .452 on-base percentage, a .600 slugging percentage and was selected to participate in the Futures Game for top minor league prospects during All-Star festivities next week in San Diego.
 

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Rajon Rondo goes to Chicago for 2 years, $30M

A person with knowledge of the negotiations tells reporters that Rajon Rondo is going to the Chicago Bulls, agreeing on a $30 million, two-year deal.
 
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because no deal can be signed until the league's offseason moratorium ends on Thursday.
 
Rondo essentially becomes the Bulls' replacement at point guard for Derrick Rose, the former NBA MVP who was traded to the New York Knicks last month.
 
Chicago becomes Rondo's fourth team in less than two years. He spent his first eight full NBA seasons in Boston, winning a championship with the Celtics in 2008. The Celtics traded him to Dallas in December 2014, and Rondo spent last season in Sacramento.

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Flores 6 for 6 with 2 HRs, Mets romp to 4-game sweep of Cubs

Wilmer Flores went 6 for 6 with two of New York's five home runs, and the Mets romped to another four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs by battering Jon Lester in a 14-3 blowout Sunday.
 
Curtis Granderson homered immediately in his return to the starting lineup, and New York also got long balls from Rene Rivera and pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson while setting season highs for runs and hits (22) in support of Noah Syndergaard (9-3).
Before Friday night, the Mets had never hit five home runs in a game at Citi Field, which opened in 2009. They did it twice in 45 hours against a Cubs pitching staff that began the day with a 2.97 ERA - by far the lowest in the majors.
 
After sweeping four games from Chicago in the NL Championship Series last October, the Mets outscored the Cubs 32-11 in winning their first four matchups this year. It was New York's first four-game sweep of Chicago in the regular season since June 1985 at Shea Stadium.

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Quintana snaps losing skid as White Sox beat Astros 4-1

Jose Quintana pitched seven solid innings to get his first win in almost two months, and Jose Abreu had two hits and an RBI to lead the Chicago White Sox over the Houston Astros 4-1 on Sunday.
Quintana (6-8) allowed two hits and one run while fanning four for his first win since May 8. Since then he'd gone 0-7 with a 4.58 ERA in nine starts.
 
George Springer hit a leadoff homer and drew a walk with no outs in the third. Quintana sailed through the rest of his day, retiring his last 15 batters before he was replaced by Nate Jones to start the eighth inning. Jones pitched a perfect eighth to make it 18 in a row before David Robertson allowed a single and walk before striking out rookie A.J. Reed for his 23rd save.
 
Houston starter Collin McHugh (5-6) allowed five hits and two runs while walking four with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings to remain winless since May 30.

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Sox Win; Cubs, Cards Lose

>>Shuck's RBI Single Lifts Sox Over Twins

 

J.B. Shuck's two-out single scored the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning, Todd Frazier hit his 23rd home run and the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 Thursday.

Fernando Abad (1-2) got the first two batters in the eight before consecutive walks. Shuck's career high-tying third hit of the game to left scored Avisail Garcia from second.

 

Nate Jones (4-2) allowed a hit while getting four outs and David Robertson worked around a single in the ninth for his 21st save in 23 tries as the White Sox won their third straight series for the first time this season.

 

Tim Anderson added three hits and Matt Davidson had an RBI single in his White Sox debut before leaving with a sore right foot.

 

Brian Dozier homered and drove in two runs and Eduardo Nunez had RBI singles in the sixth and seventh innings as the Twins rallied from a 5-2 deficit to tie it.

 

Miguel Gonzalez (1-3, 5.17) starts Friday night at Houston against RHP Mike Fiers (5-3, 4.41).

 

>>Mets Rally Past Cubs

 

Yoenis Cespedes socked a colossal home run, Jeurys Familia pitched out of a huge jam in the ninth inning and rookie replacement Brandon Nimmo keyed a three-run rally in the seventh that sent the New York Mets past the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Thursday night in their first meeting since last year's NL Championship Series.

Chicago put runners on second and third with no outs against Familia, who got two strikeouts and a bases-loaded popup for his 27th save, most in the majors. He screamed and pumped his arms repeatedly after Javier Baez popped up to end it.

 

Baez's throwing error at second base allowed Nimmo to score the go-ahead run, and the Mets overcame a 3-0 deficit to stop their four-game slide. New York, which swept Chicago last October to reach the World Series, had lost nine straight regular-season games to the Cubs dating to August 2014.

 

Jason Hammel (7-4, 2.58 ERA) starts Friday night against RHP Jacob deGrom (3-4, 2.67), who won Game 3 of the NLCS last year at Wrigley Field.

 

>>Royals Double-Up Cardinals, Take 3 of 4

 

Kendrys Morales homered and recorded his sixth straight multi-hit game on Thursday to lead the Royals to a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Kansas City won for the fourth time in five games and took the two-city, four-game series three games to one.

 

Brandon Moss and Jhonny Peralta homered for the Cardinals who have lost their last seven home games.

 

Wade Davis recorded his 19th save in 21 opportunities.

 

Dillon Gee (3-2) picked up the win allowing one run in two innings.

 

Jaime Garcia (5-6, 4.09) takes on Milwaukee RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 2.81) in the opener a three-game series in St. Louis on Friday.

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Blackhawks Sign Rozsival, Mashinter

The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to one-year contracts with veteran defenseman Michal Rozsival and forward Brandon Mashinter.

The 37-year-old Rozsival had a goal and 12 assists last season - his fourth with the Blackhawks and 15th in the NHL.

 

The 27-year-old Mashinter, an enforcer, had four goals and an assist in his first season with Chicago. He played parts of three seasons with San Jose (2010-11) and the New York Rangers (2012-14).

 

The deals were announced Thursday.

 

Chicago finished third in the Western Conference before losing to St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs.

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Former Bulls F Noah Headed To Knicks

The New York Knicks appear committed to signing free agent center Joakim Noah as soon as possible. Shortly after free agency began at midnight ET on Friday, The Vertical's Shams Charania reported that the two sides were working on a four-year deal worth more than $70 million.

 

The signing has seemed imminent for days now and it would represent not just a homecoming for Noah, who grew up in Hell's Kitchen, but an opportunity to continue playing with guard Derrick Rose. Noah and Rose have been teammates since the Bulls drafted Rose first overall eight years ago.

 

In 2014, Noah won Defensive Player of the Year and finished fifth in MVP voting. If he comes close to that level of play with the Knicks, this is a bargain.

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Loaded Leaderboard at Bridgestone

For most players, hitting 6-of-14 fairways and only 7-of-18 greens in regulation would spell disaster, but Jordan Spieth showed why he's not "most players" on Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone.

Spieth posted a 2-under 68 at Firestone Country Club despite fighting his swing all day -- an extension of issues he's had since the Memorial. Spieth watched as Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose had a stripe show all day, but Spieth needed only 21 official putts to get around Firestone on Thursday.

 

That putting performance made the difference in the round, as Spieth finished ahead of Johnson and Rose -- who each shot 69 -- despite scrambling for most of the day from tee-to-green. He closed his round with four birdies in the final four holes to climb into T5, four back of the leader, William McGirt.

 

Jason Day sits at 3-under par and tied for second while Rickie Fowler was among the groups tied for fifth with Spieth.

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Coastal Carolina Wins College World Series

Severe weather in Omaha, Nebraska caused Game Three of the College World Series to be postponed from its original Wednesday night start time.

Fortunately, for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, it did not wash away their chance at history as they were able to win the school's first national championship in any sport on Thursday afternoon with a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Wildcats.

 

Arizona's Bobby Dalbec and Coastal Carolina's Andrew Beckwith traded zeroes in the early going, with neither side giving up a run through the first five innings. Dalbec, in fact, allowed just one baserunner through the first four -- a leadoff single that was promptly erased on a double-play ball. Beckwith, for his part, had to consistently work out of trouble, with the Wildcats putting at least two runners on board in both the second and third innings.

 

The game was not without some controversy. In the third inning, the Wildcats had a runner on third with one out when outfielder Zach Gibbons hit a chopper back to Coastal Carolina starter Andrew Beckwith. Beckwith, who was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player, was able to throw home for the out.

 

The sixth inning proved to be the most critical frame as, with the score tied 0-0, Coastal Carolina scored two runs on an error by Arizona second baseman Cody Ramer. Later in the inning, Coastal Carolina DH G.K. Young hit a massive home run to right field to give them a 4-0 lead they would never relinquish. Young, by the way, accounted for two of Coastal Carolina's five hits, and was the only Chanticleer with multiple hits on the day.

 

The Wildcats answered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and put together a strong rally in the bottom of the ninth, adding another run. However, with the tying run on third and the potential winning run on second base, Alex Cunningham struck out backup catcher Ryan Haug swinging to end the game and win the College World Series.

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