Local Sports

Wainwright Goes Distance, Cardinals Down Indians

Adam Wainwright turned back the clock with a complete game on his 39th birthday as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2 Sunday.

 

Wainwright threw a four-hitter for his 23rd career complete game and first in four years. The Cardinals snapped a four-game skid in which they scored six total runs.

 

Dexter Fowler homered and had three RBIs for St. Louis, which stopped Cleveland's four-game winning streak. The Indians had won nine in a row on the road.

 

Wainwright (3-0) settled in after allowing a two-run homer to Tyler Naquin in the second inning. The right-hander struck out nine and walked two, going the distance for the first time since July 16, 2016, against the Marlins.

 

Fowler's two-run double was followed by Dylan Carlson's two-run single to give the Cardinals a 4-2 lead in the second. St. Louis had mustered just three runs in the past 28 innings before the outburst.

Paul Goldschmidt scored on a balk by Aaron Civale in the third.

 

Fowler sent the second pitch from reliever Cam Hill into the Cardinals' bullpen behind the right-field wall leading off the seventh. Molina made it 7-2 with an RBI single in the eighth.

 

Dakota Hudson (0-2, 3.32 ERA) begins a three-game series in Cincinnati when he faces RHP Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.71) on Monday night. Hudson is 3-0 with a 3.16 ERA in five career starts against the Reds.

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Cubs Crush Reds

Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Ian Happ became the first starting outfield to hit multiple homers in the same game, and the Cubs pounded the Cincinnati Reds 10-1 on Sunday for a split of their four-game series.

 

Schwarber hit the first and the last of the Cubs' season-high six homers, belting a solo drive in the fourth against Luis Castillo (0-5) and a grand slam off Jose De Leon in the ninth. Heyward connected for solo drives in the fourth and sixth, and Happ hit a two-run shot in the fifth and a solo homer in the seventh.

 

Joey Votto homered in the sixth for Cincinnati, which rallied for a doubleheader split against Chicago on Saturday. Castillo allowed four runs and five hits in five innings.

 

Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood left in the third inning with right elbow discomfort. Colin Rea, Jose Quintana (1-0), Ryan Tepera, Kyle Ryan and Duane Underwood Jr. then combined for 6 2/3 innings of two-hit ball.

 

Castillo, a National League All-Star last season while going 14-8, had allowed one homer all season before surrendering three against the Cubs. He struck out seven and walked one.

 

Jon Lester (2-1), Tuesday's starter in Pittsburgh, allowed one run in six innings in his last start against the Pirates, a 2-1, 11-inning Cubs win on Aug. 2.

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Big Ten Working on Multiple Options for Football

Big Ten coaches, athletic directors and medical personnel are working on multiple plans for staging a football season — including one that would have the league kicking off as soon as Thanksgiving weekend.

 

The conference is in the early stages of a complicated process that also involves broadcast partners and possible neutral site venues, a person with direct knowledge of the conference’s discussions told The Associated Press.

 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the Big Ten was considering a possible Thanksgiving start to the season.

 

The Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 it was postponing its fall football season because of concerns about playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pac-12 soon followed suit, but six other major college football conferences, including the powerhouse Southeastern Conference, are still forging ahead toward a season that will start in September.

 

The Big Ten and first-year commissioner Kevin Warren have faced push back and criticism ever since, including a lawsuit filed by eight Nebraska players who want the decision overturned.

 

The Big Ten’s decision and the subsequent backlash have trickled into politics in this election year, with Democrats and Republicans pointing fingers over who is responsible for taking away college football in the Midwest.

 

Any plan will need the approval of university presidents and chancellors, and the Big Ten will only play if certain benchmarks related to the coronavirus — such as transmission rates, testing capacity and availability, and testing accuracy — are met in each of the 11 states that are home to the league’s 14 schools.

 

One option includes playing games at domed stadiums across the Midwest, including in Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Detroit.

 

The person said using neutral sites could help broadcast partners televise the games and help avoid potential complications of playing through winter weather.

 

A two pronged-plan, laying out a framework for how a season can be staged and what benchmarks need to be met for it to be safe enough to play during the pandemic, could be rolled out by the Big Ten within two weeks, the first person said.

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White Sox Walk-Off Royals

Luis Robert belted a three-run drive in the 10th inning that gave the Chicago White Sox a 5-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

 

Dane Dunning threw five no-hit innings before being pulled from his second major league start, and the surging White Sox won for the 11th time in 13 games to move into a first-place tie with Cleveland in the AL Central.

 

Kansas City reliever Tyler Zuber (1-2) intentionally walked Jose Abreu to start the 10th, putting runners on first and second before James McCann struck out. Robert drove the next pitch a few feet beyond the left-field wall after being retired on two long fly balls earlier in the game. The home run was the Cuban slugger's ninth, tops among big league rookies.

 

Dunning struck out seven and allowed just one runner, when he walked Maikel Franco on a 3-2 count with one out in the third. Dunning threw 79 pitches, 45 for strikes, after being recalled from Chicago's alternate training site.

 

Abreu extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and the White Sox bounced back from a loss to take two of three from the AL Central's last-place team.

 

Yoan Moncada was held out of the lineup after he irritated the back of his left leg running the bases in the ninth on Saturday. 

 

Coming off a no-hitter against Pittsburgh, Lucas Giolito (3-2, 3.09) gets the ball as the White Sox open a three-game series at Minnesota. LHP Rich Hill (1-1, 3.55) pitches for the Twins.

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Rahm Stores Back to Outduel DJ at BMW Championship

John Rahm was on the range on the other side of the Olympia Fields clubhouse, preparing for a playoff that no one really expected, when Dustin Johnson rolled in a 45-foot birdie putt down the ridge for birdie to force a playoff Sunday in the BMW Championship.

 

Moments later, Rahm faced a putt even longer and more difficult on the 18th — just outside 65 feet that he had to send at nearly a 90-degree angle to the top of the ridge. From there, it was a replay of Johnson’s putt as it headed down the slope, kissed off the pin, and disappeared into the cup.

 

Johnson at least kept his No. 1 ranking in the world and in the FedEx Cup.

 

The putts overshadowed a command performance by Rahm, who closed with a 66-64 weekend on an Olympia Fields course that played like the toughest test in golf. His only bogey on the weekend came on the fifth hole Saturday when he spaced out and picked up his golf ball from the green without marking it.

 

There was the 6-iron from 218 yards for his third shot on the par-5 15th after his tee shot went into the trees and barely came out, setting up a key birdie. There was his 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th for a two-shot lead that Johnson erased with two birdies of his own, none bigger than the last one.

 

Rahm won for the second time this year, and for the 11th time worldwide in his four years as a pro. His first win came at Torrey Pines when he made a 60-foot eagle putt and wound up winning by three.

 

Rahm tore through the back nine Sunday on his way to a 64, the lowest round of the week, to finish at 4-under 276.

 

Johnson, a 54-hole leader for his third straight tournament and coming off an 11-shot victory last week at the TPC Boston, birdied three of his opening four holes to open a three-shot lead, dropped a pair of shots around the turn and then delivered in the clutch with his 45-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 67.

 

Johnson goes into the Tour Championship as the No. 1 seed, meaning he will start the chase for the $15 million prize at East Lake at 10-under par, two ahead of Rahm, who moved up seven spots to the No. 2 seed.

 

Joaquin Niemann, the 21-year-old from Chile, also made a spirited run with a 67 and was in the lead until a bogey on the 14th and no birdies the rest of the way. He tied for third with Hideki Matsuyama, who had a 69. Tony Finau closed with a 65 to finish three behind. They were the only five players under par at Olympia Fields.

 

Mackenzie Hughes needed a par on the 18th to move into the top 30 in the FedEx Cup, he put his approach into the front bunker, splashed out to 5 feet and raised both arms when the par putt dropped.

 

Niemann also moved into the top 30, though he was chasing victory all day.

 

Adam Long and Kevin Streelman were bumped out, and Long suffered the worst of those fates. He was projected 30th in the FedEx Cup until Corey Conners three-putted from 5 feet for double bogey on the final hole. That allowed Billy Horschel to move up enough spots on the leaderboard to move to the 30th and final spot by three points over Long.

 

Tiger Woods missed all the action. He made double bogey on his 17th hole for a 71, making this the first time he was over par in all four rounds of a tournament since the Bridgestone Invitational in 2010.

 

Woods failed to reach the Tour Championship for the second straight year. He now gets two weeks off before the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and Olympia Fields proved to be a good test for that.

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William Byron Avoids Overtime Wreckage, Wins at Daytona

William Byron snaked his way through a smoky crash late Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway and narrowly avoided another melee a few laps later.

 

Those moves got him to victory lane for the first time in his young NASCAR Cup Series career and back in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

 

They also helped knock out Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time series champion whose final season won’t end with another title.

 

Winless in 120 races, Johnson made a trip to victory lane to congratulate Byron and the No. 24 team, the one now directed by Johnson’s former and long-time crew chief, Chad Knaus.

 

Byron won the race in overtime after two late cautions and locked up one of the three postseason berths available going into the finale. Matt DiBenedetto finished 12th and secured the final spot. Clint Bowyer wrapped up a berth at the end of the opening stage.

 

Chase Elliott finished second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Bubba Wallace.

 

It was the ninth overtime finish at Daytona’s summertime race in the last 13 years.

 

Tyler Reddick started the first multi-car crash by trying to block Kyle Busch after getting a huge push to take the lead. Busch clipped Reddick’s bumper, sending him into the outside wall and collecting several other cars.

 

Busch, Erik Jones, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and others were knocked out.

 

Byron swerved his way through clouds of smoke to stay in the mix there. He was even luckier after Hamlin and Logano got together.

 

The playoffs begin at next Sunday Darlington Raceway.

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Local Athletes Adapting to Fall Sports Adjustments

With the fall high school sports scene altered in 2020 due to the pandemic, senior athletes in Illinois are keeping a positive attitude.

 

Cordell Workman plays football at Clinton High School and is a senior lineman. As a captain, he gives his teammates a lot of credit for controlling what they can control and working hard to get better.

 

 

Hayden Graham is a senior defensive back and wide receiver on the Monticello football team. He explains all throughout the summer, he was just focused on getting better and letting the situation play itself out. He is grateful there will at least be an adjusted season in the spring. 

 

 

Tonight (Friday) was supposed to be the kickoff of the high school football season but because of the COVID pandemic, the IHSA has pushed football to an early spring schedule.

 

Hear more from these players and others tonight when WHOW and WEZC air special one-hour specials highlighting the coaches and athletes of the fall sports programs that have been impacted by the IHSA's decision to alter the sports calendar.

 

Hear from Clinton High School players and coaches tonight at 7 pm on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.

 

From 7 pm to 8 pm tonight, hear from Monticello High School coaches, players and sports administrators on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

These specials will each Friday night from 7 pm to 8 pm for the duration of the high school football season.

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Clinton High School Volleyball Adjusting to Fall Without Sports

The Clinton High School volleyball program would have a handful of matches under their belt at this point in the fall sports season any other year, but this year is different.

 

The COVID pandemic not only pushed the high school football season to the spring but it did so for girls high school volleyball. CHS head volleyball coach Morgan Hickman understands the decision was made to protect the kids and says their focus right now is the kids getting back to school safely.

 

 

During the summer, the girls were able to get together for workouts without a volleyball. Hickman says that changed in July and starting in a few weeks they will be able to gather together again.

 

 

According to Hickman, her players have responded very well. IHSA mandates require players wear masks during practices and she says that has not phased them one bit.

 

 

Hickman points out many of her girls are three-sport athletes and is disappointed for the altered calendar but is hopeful things will improve for the season to be played in February. She believes things could have been worse and is glad there was a plan put in place to at least give the kids a season even if it isn't what they are used to.

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Pirates Sweet Thursday Doubleheader with Cardinals

Cole Tucker drove in the go-ahead run in extra innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 in a doubleheader opener Thursday.

 

The seven-inning game went to extras tied at one, and Tucker scored automatic runner Jarrod Dyson with a single off John Gant (0-2) in the eighth. Pittsburgh added two more runs with two outs on an RBI single by Bryan Reynolds and an error by third baseman Brad Miller of a ball hit by catcher Jacob Stalling.

 

Chad Kuhl delivered six innings of one-run ball for Pittsburgh, Chris Stratton (2-0) pitched a scoreless seventh and Richard Rodriguez allowed two runs but got his second save by pitching the eighth.

 

 

 

Erik Gonzalez and Adam Frazier singled in runs, rookie Cody Ponce earned his first big league victory and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 Thursday night for a doubleheader sweep.

 

Ponce (1-1) was used as a reliever in his first two appearances this season and made his first major league start. He went 5 2/3 innings, holding the Cardinals scoreless and scattering five hits.

 

St. Louis rookie Johan Ovideo (0-1) took the loss. He pitched five innings, allowing four hits and two runs. 

 

It was the fifth extra-inning game this season for Pittsburgh and the first for St. Louis. This was the Pirates' first victory in the new format, and dating to last season, they had lost 11 straight extra-inning games.

 

Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-2, 5.25) will start against the visiting Indians. allowed two runs on three hits with four walks in 4 2/3 innings against the Reds last Sunday. He fell one out shy of recording his first win in a starting role. Cleveland will counter with Triston McKenzie (1-0, 1.50), who turned in one of the best Major League debuts in team history last Saturday against the Tigers, fanning 10 in six innings and allowing just two hits.

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Matsuyama Atop BMW Leaderboard

One of the toughest tests of the year made it clear that par would be a great score at Olympia Fields. Leave it to Hideki Matsuyama to make a 65-foot birdie putt on his final hole Thursday to lead the BMW Championship.

 

Matsuyama, the Japanese player who has gone three years since his last victory, birdied two of his last three holes for a 3-under 67, one of only three rounds under par on a course that was long, tough, firm, fast and nothing like the last two weeks.

 

Tyler Duncan, just outside the top 30 as he tries to earn his first trip to the Tour Championship, made an 8-foot par putt on his last hole for a 68. Mackenzie Hughes, one of only four players who reached 3 under at any point in his round, was another shot behind.

 

Dustin Johnson, who won The Northern Trust last week at 30-under par, opened with a 71 and felt like it was a good day’s work. He was told that even three straight rounds of 60 would not be enough to reach 30 under at Olympia Fields.

 

Tiger Woods needs to finish around fourth to have any hope of returning to East Lake next week in Atlanta to chase the $15 million bonus for the FedEx Cup winner. He was hovering around even par a few shots out of the lead. He finished with three straight bogeys for a 73 and was running hotter than the weather.

 

The average score was 72.8, and only four of the 18 holes played under par. That included both par 5s. 

 

Rory McIlroy was among 10 players who finished at 70 and felt the day was a success. He hasn’t registered a top 10 since golf returned from the coronavirus shutdown in June.

 

Also in that group at even par was Carlos Ortiz of Mexico, notable because he was the latest player to be grouped with Woods for the first time. 

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Monticello Football Coach Disappointed No Football To Be Played Friday

Wanting just a little bit of high school football, Monticello football coach Cully Welter packed up with a few of his assistant coaches and made tracks to Indianapolis to catch a pair of powerhouse high school football programs last Friday night.

 

In the traditional Illini Prairie slate, Coach Welter's Sages would be preparing for a Week 1 matchup with Olympia, but due to the pandemic, that won't be happening this year. Coach Welter says its now just about getting kids bigger, faster and stronger.

 

 

Coach Welter says it is definitely frustrating to watch programs in Indiana, Missouri and Iowa among others begin their high school football seasons around this time of the year. He is trying to keep an open mind about the situation.

 

 

The Hall of Fame coach calls his kids resilient and believes they're taking these changes in stride despite it being a difficult and unprecedented situation.

 

 

Starting this Friday night, hear from Coach Welter and a few of his seniors as WEZC and dewittdailynews.com broadcasts weekly hour-long player spotlights with the football program and other fall sports programs that are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

The program begins at 7 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Illini Beat Writer Disappointed in Hasty Decision Made by Big Ten

Not even a week after the Big Ten announced their 10-game conference only schedule for a pandemic college football season, the league announced the cancellation of the fall sports season and its hope for a spring season.

 

A veteran of the Big Ten sports journalism scene, Bob Asmussen believes the Big Ten made the right decision but was disappointed in how quickly it was made.

 

 

Many believe putting young adults through the rigors of a season twice in a calendar year is not going to good for their health. Asmussen disagrees though and wrote this week about how two seasons in one calendar year could be successfully executed.

 

 

Asmussen believes the Big Ten wants to return to normal as soon as possible but at the same time there are vulnerable populations in each program that need to be considered. 

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White Sox Pound Pirates

Jose Abreu homered again, Dallas Keuchel followed Lucas Giolito's no-hitter with six dominant innings, and the surging Chicago White Sox pounded the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-3 on Wednesday for their ninth win in 10 games.

 

Abreu's 12th home run and seventh in five games, a two-run shot in the seventh, was Chicago's fourth of the game and broke it open. Eloy Jimenez slugged a three-run homer, Danny Mendick lined a two-run drive and Edwin Encarnacion added a solo shot for Chicago, which leads the AL with 60 home runs.

 

Yoan Moncada doubled twice and Luis Robert and Nomar Mazara had RBIs.

 

Keuchel (5-2) allowed two runs on four hits and struck out seven in his third straight win. The veteran left-hander worked briskly in a quick turnaround on a warm afternoon after Giolito shut down Pittsburgh 4-0 in the first no-hitter of the pandemic-delayed year on Tuesday night.

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Tigers Edge Cubs

The Detroit Tigers scored five runs in the sixth inning, then nearly blew a four-run lead in the ninth, topping the Chicago Cubs 7-6 Wednesday night in Detroit.

 

The Cubs trailed 7-3 entering the ninth. Nico Hoerner hit an RBI single and Albert Almora added a run-scoring double. An infield single by Ian Happ put the tying run on first with nobody out, then Anthony Rizzo hit a sacrifice fly that center fielder Victor Reyes caught against the wall, some 420 feet from the plate.

 

The next two hitters went down in order. Detroit pitcher Buck Farmer snagged Kyle Schwarber's line drive to end it.

 

Schwarber homered for the Cubs, who led 3-1 before imploding in the sixth. Catcher Willson Contreras failed to catch a foul popup near the screen, and that misplay proved costly when the Tigers scored four runs with two outs.

 

Joe Jimenez (1-1) allowed Schwarber's solo homer in the sixth but got the win in relief. Ryan Tepera (0-1) took the loss.

 

Detroit finished with a season-high 18 hits. Jonathan Schoop, Miguel Cabrera, Cameron Maybin and Austin Romine had three each.

 

The NL Central-leading Cubs opened the scoring with two runs in the third off Detroit starter Michael Fulmer. Rizzo hit an RBI single, and Javier Baez followed with a sacrifice fly.

 

Jon Lester allowed a run and eight hits in five innings for the Cubs. 

 

The Cubs are 5-9 since starting the season 13-3.

 

The Cubs have Thursday off before starting a series at Cincinnati on Friday night.

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Cardinals Topple Royals

Kolten Wong drew a bases-loaded walk to cap off a four-run rally in the ninth inning that lifted the St. Louis Cardinals over the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Wednesday night.

 

Tyler O'Neill tied the game at 5 with a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded off the glove of third baseman Maikel Franco.

 

Wong coaxed a five-pitch walk off Randy Rosario (0-1).

 

Alex Reyes (1-0) got the victory.

 

Ryan McBroom and Cam Gallagher homered for Kansas City, which has lost 13 of its last 17 to its cross-state rival.

 

Dylan Carlson tied it at 2 with an RBI double in the fourth. He also added a key hit in the ninth inning.

 

St. Louis starter Dakota Hudson allowed two runs on three hits over six innings. He retired the last 10 batters he faced.

 

Kansas City starter Jakob Junis gave up two runs and four hits over 3 2-3 innings in first start since Aug. 7. He struck out six and walked one.

 

Kwang Hyun Kim (1-0, 1.69) will start against Pittsburgh RHP Chad Kuhl (1-1, 2.84) in the first game of a doubleheader in St. Louis.

 

Johan Oviedo (0-0, 3.60) will start the second game for St. Louis. Pittsburgh has yet to name a starter.

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Clinton Football Coach Finding Positives Despite Delayed Season

The coronavirus pandemic adjustments to the traditional high school sports calendar turned into somewhat of a blessing for the Clinton High School football program.

 

Head Coach Chris Ridgeway indicates not being able to participate in contact drills allowed for him and his staff to focus in on implementing a new offense for their team. He says it is an adjustment to the talent he has.

 

 

Ridgeway credits his players for taking the initiative to better themselves. He says they got creative in how they made themselves better.

 

 

The Maroons traditionally would be preparing for a Week 1 matchup for the opening of the high school football season this Friday night but because of the season being pushed to the spring, the lights at Clinton High School will be off Friday.

 

You can hear more from Coach Ridgeway and his players this Friday night in a special series on WHOW and its many online platforms starting at 7 pm. WHOW will be highlighting the football program, its seniors and several other programs impacted by the IHSA fall sports calendar adjustments. 

 

Again that is starting at 7 pm Friday night on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa. 

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Giolito Fires No-Hitter

With the seats at Guaranteed Rate Field empty, Lucas Giolito pitched the first no-hitter of the pandemic-delayed season, striking out 13 in leading the White Sox over the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 Tuesday night.

 

After right fielder Adam Engel extended on the run to catch Erik Gonzalez's slicing drive toward the line for the final out, the hollers of Giolito's teammates in the middle of the diamond echoed around the stadium.

 

An All-Star last year, the 26-year-old Giolito (3-2) matched his career high for strikeouts set in his previous start against Detroit.

 

Only a four-pitch walk to Gonzalez leading off the fourth inning got in Giolito's way of perfection. That was only runner he permitted while throwing 101 pitches.

 

Giolito pitched the 19th no-hitter in White Sox history - second most to the Dodgers' 23 - and first since Philip Humber threw a perfect game at Seattle in 2012. This was the seventh time the Pirates have been held hitless, with Washington's Max Scherzer having done it in 2015.

 

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson made a nifty play on a grounder by Bryan Reynolds up the middle in the seventh to preserve the gem, helped by first baseman Jose Abreu's stretch at the bag.

In the ninth, Gonzalez hit a liner that Engel, a fleet center fielder for most of his career, caught on the run at knee-high height.

 

Dallas Keuchel (4-2, 2.65) looks for his third straight win Wednesday afternoon against Pirates RHP Trevor Williams (1-4, 3.70).

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Royals Rally Past Cardinals

Ryan McBroom had two hits and drove in the winning run with a single in the eighth inning, Ryan O'Hearn added a solo homer, and the Kansas City Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 on Tuesday night.

 

In the eighth, Hunter Dozier reached on an infield single to lead off. With two outs, McBroom singled to left, scoring Dozier for the winning run.

 

The Royals had lost six of their previous eight games before getting the victory. The Cardinals had won five of their previous seven games.

 

Josh Staumont (1-1) pitched one inning of relief to earn his first major league win. Trevor Rosenthal pitched the ninth, earning his seventh save in seven opportunities. Rosenthal gave up a one-out triple and then hit a batter before getting out of the jam.

 

In his six years with St. Louis, Rosenthal recorded 65 saves at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals were the only team Rosenthal had yet to face in his career.

 

John Gant (0-1) took the loss.

 

St. Louis gambled in the eighth, sending Paul DeJong home on a double to left center by Yadier Molina, but DeJong was out easily at the plate.

 

O'Hearn, who also had two singles, tied the game 4-4 with a leadoff homer in the sixth off St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright. In his 320th career start, Wainwright went seven innings.

 

The Cardinals chased Kansas City starter, Matt Harvey, with a four-run third inning. All the runs came home with two outs. Tommy Edman hit a ground-rule double to score two runs. Brad Miller and DeJong each added RBI singles.

 

Paul Goldschmidt walked for a personal-best 10th consecutive game. He then scored in the third on an infield single by DeJong.

 

Jakob Junis (0-0, 4.00) is making his first start since Aug. 2 and his third start this season. The Royals will have to make a roster move prior to Wednesday's game to make room for Junis, who was eligible to come off the injured list (back spasms) on Sunday before they activate him.

 

Dakota Hudson (0-2, 3.46) allowed just one hit and two walks over 4 2/3 scoreless innings against Cincinnati, while striking out six in his last outing. He made one career appearance in relief at Kansas City in 2018.

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Tigers Pull Away from Cubs

Jonathan Schoop hit a grand slam in a five-run sixth inning as the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs 7-1 on Tuesday night.

 

The Tigers have won three of five since a nine-game losing streak dropped them out of serious postseason contention. Chicago still leads the NL Central despite going 5-8 in its last 13 games.

 

Spencer Turnbull (3-2) picked up the win with 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and walked three while striking out five. In his previous start, he only lasted two innings, walking four batters.

 

Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood (2-2) struggled in his return from the injured list, allowing eight baserunners while getting just four outs.

 

Miguel Cabrera gave the Tigers the lead with a first-inning RBI single. Jeimer Candelario doubled and Niko Goodrum walked to load the bases with one out and JaCoby Jones made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly.

 

Chatwood walked the bases loaded again with one out in the second, ending his game. Duane Underwood came out of the bullpen to strike out Candelario and Goodrum.

 

The Tigers put the game away with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Cameron Maybin made it 3-0 with an RBI double off Jose Quintana and Schoop hit his fourth career grand slam, off Casey Sadler.

 

Willson Contreras led off the ninth with a homer off Buck Farmer.

 

The teams conclude their three-game series on Wednesday night, with Chicago's Jon Lester (2-1, 5.06) against Michael Fulmer (0-0, 9.53).

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Cardinals Power Past Royals

Paul DeJong drove in three runs in his second game back from battling COVID-19 and Jack Flaherty tossed five shutout innings to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Kansas City Royals 9-3 Monday.

 

Paul Goldschmidt homered and also drove in three for the Cardinals, who have won four of five.

 

Flaherty (2-0), in just his second start in 30 days, allowed one hit in a 64-pitch effort. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

 

Brad Keller (3-1) had not permitted run in his first three starts this season, covering 17 2/3 innings. That string was halted by DeJong's sacrifice fly in the first.

 

Keller left in the fifth after giving up three singles and a walk to begin the inning.

 

Reliever Greg Holland allowed two-run doubles by DeJong and Dexter Fowler that made it 6-0.

DeJong was 0 for 4 on Sunday against Cincinnati in his first game since June 29.

 

Jorge Soler hit his seventh homer of the season for the Royals, a three-run shot in the sixth inning off Alex Reyes.

 

Brad Miller had three hits and reached base four times for St. Louis, which has won 12 of the last 15 games between the cross-state rivals.

 

Kansas City has lost four of five.

 

Matt Harvey (0-1, 9.00) will face RHP Adam Wainwright (2-0, 2.00) in the second of a three-game series on Tuesday. Harvey will be making his second start for the Royals. He allowed three runs over three innings in a 5-0 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday. Wainwright is 5-2 with a 3.84 ERA in nine career starts against the Royals.

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Cubs Throttle Tigers

Javier Baez hit two home runs and the Chicago Cubs became the second franchise in major league history to post 11,000 wins, beating the Detroit Tigers 9-3 on Monday night.

 

David Bote homered and drove in four runs for the NL Central-leading Cubs.

 

Baez had three RBIs.

 

Cubs starter Alec Mills (3-2) got the win, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out seven.

 

Tigers top prospect Casey Mize (0-1) made his first home start, allowing four runs - three earned - on five hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out two.

 

The teams play the second of three games Tuesday evening, with Spencer Turnbull (2-2, 3.65) starting against Tyler Chatwood (2-1, 5.40), who will be activated from the 10-day disabled list. Chatwood (back) last pitched on Aug. 6.

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Heat Sweep Pacers Out of NBA Bubble

Goran Dragic scored 23 points, Bam Adebayo had 14 points and 19 rebounds and the fifth-seeded Heat completed a first-round sweep, beating the Pacers 99-87 on Monday night. Tyler Herro had 16 points for the Heat, who made it out of the first round for the first time since 2016.

 

Victor Oladipo had 25 points and Myles Turner added 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who have been bounced in the first round of the playoffs in five straight seasons.

 

Miami's bench outscored Indiana's depleted reserves 38-3.

 

Dragic's layup at the end of the third quarter gave the Heat an eight-point lead and the Pacers never mounted a serious comeback in the fourth.

 

Indiana cut the lead to 91-85 with 3 minutes left, but the Heat got three offensive rebounds on one possession before Herro scored on a driving layup.

 

The Heat set a franchise playoff record with 124 points in Game 3, but this time they won with defense.

 

Heat guard Jimmy Butler left the game in the first quarter with a left shoulder strain. He returned after halftime and finished with six points in 23 minutes, although he made a handful of big plays on defense.

 

Miami moves on to face the winner of the Magic-Bucks series. Top-seeded Milwaukee dropped the opener to Orlando but has won three straight and would close out the series with a win Wednesday.

The Pacers played the series without Domantas Sabonis.

 

The Heat held a 60-34 edge in rebounding.

 

T.J. Warren scored 21 points for Indiana.

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Preseason College Football Rankings Out - Clemson No. 1

Clemson is the preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25, a poll featuring nine Big Ten and Pac-12 teams that gives a glimpse at what has already been taken by the pandemic from an uncertain college football season.

 

Ohio State (1,504 points) was a close No. 2 behind Trevor Lawrence and Clemson (1,520), which starts atop the rankings for the second straight season. The Tigers beat the Buckeyes in a thrilling College Football Playoff semifinal last season.

 

Alabama is No. 3, Southeastern Conference rival Georgia is No. 4 and defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma is No. 5. Defending national champion LSU is No. 6.

 

When the season starts the Buckeyes and 53 other Bowl Subdivision teams will no longer be eligible for inclusion in the Top 25 because they have postponed their seasons to the spring.

 

The Big Ten, where Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State play, and the Pac-12, home to No. 9 Oregon, canceled their fall sports seasosn because of concerns about the coronavirus. The Mid-American and Mountain West conferences have also said they will try to play spring football.

 

The SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, American Athletic, Conference USA and Sun Belt are forging ahead with fall sports, with changes: The three remaining Power Five conferences, the SEC, ACC, and Big 12, have eliminated all or most nonconference games and delayed the start of their seasons from one to three weeks.

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IHSA Board Meets Today

The IHSA Board of Directors meets  today and it marks the first time they have met since announcing the modified schedule on July 29th. Fall sports like golf and cross country began their seasons on August 10th. 

 

Will those sports be able to crown state champs? That question was asked to IHSA executive director Craig Anderson earlier this month.

 

 

The IHSA Board verified last month that IHSA by-laws do not prevent schools who are conducting remote learning from participating in IHSA sports.

 

Also last month, the board discussed IHSA activities for this school year but did not take final action. The IHSA’s activity offerings include scholastic bowl, music, chess, debate, drama & group interpretation, journalism and bass fishing.

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Cubs Edge Sox

Yu Darvish struck out 10 in his career-high fifth consecutive victory, and the Cubs beat the White Sox 2-1 on Sunday to stop the South Siders' seven-game win streak.

 

Schwarber hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning as the Cubs won for just the fourth time in their last 11 games. The NL Central leaders were outscored 17-5 in the first two games of the series.

 

Jose Abreu went deep for the White Sox in the second, matching a major league record with a home run in four consecutive at-bats. Abreu connected five times in the first two games against the Cubs, including three homers and four RBIs in Saturday night's 7-4 win.

 

Darvish (5-1) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. He is 5-0 with a 1.09 ERA since he struggled in his first start of the year against Milwaukee on July 25.

 

Jeremy Jeffress got four outs for his third save, escaping jams in each of the last two innings.

 

White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease (4-2) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings in his first game against his former team. He had won his last four starts.

 

After an off day, RHP Lucas Giolito (2-2, 3.89 ERA) will take the mound Tuesday against Pittsburgh and LHP Steven Brault (0-0, 3.00 ERA) to open a two-game series. Giolito matched a career-high 13 strikeouts in his last start Thursday against Detroit.

 

Alec Mills (2-2, 4.76 ERA) will make his first career start against Detroit and RHP Casey Mize (0-0, 6.23 ERA) to open a three-game road series Monday. Mills has lost two straight and threw only 3 2/3 innings against St. Louis in his last start.

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Cardinals Topple Reds

Yadier Molina had four hits and top prospect Dylan Carlson hit his first career homer, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 on Sunday.

 

Harrison Bader also connected for St. Louis, which won three of four in the series. Molina, Carlson and Bader each finished with two RBIs.

 

The Cardinals scored the last six runs after Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the Reds.

 

Bader went deep for a two-run shot in the second after he also homered during Saturday's 3-0 win.

 

Molina put St. Louis ahead to stay with an RBI single against Tyler Mahle (0-1) in the third.

 

The Cardinals added three more in the seventh against Nate Jones. Molina singled in Matt Carpenter and scored on Carlson's drive to right-center.

 

Genesis Cabrera (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

 

St. Louis shortstop Paul DeJong returned to the lineup after he was sidelined as part of the team's coronavirus outbreak. He went 0 for 4 in his first game since July 29 in Minnesota.

 

Jack Flaherty (1-0, 3.12 ERA) will make his third start Monday against visiting Kansas City. His last outing was the shortest start of his career, coming out after 1 2/3 innings against the Cubs.

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DJ Runs Away with Northern Trust Open, First Leg of FedEx Cup Playoffs

Dustin Johnson capped off his dominant week at The Northern Trust with an 8-under 63, finishing with a tap-in birdie in the dark following a storm delay for an 11-shot victory at the TPC Boston.

 

It was the largest margin of victory since Phil Mickelson won by 13 at the TPC Sugarloaf in 2006.

 

Johnson hit every green in regulation Sunday, and missed only three greens over his last 54 holes. His final 54 holes were rounds of 60-64-63.

 

Johnson finished at 30-under 254, making him only the third player in PGA Tour history to finish at 30 under or better. He missed the record by one shot set by Ernie Els in 2003 at Kapalua.

 

Harris English figured that out early when he trailed by five shots at the start of the final round, shot 32 on the front nine and fell seven shots behind.

 

It was DJ's fifth victory in a FedEx Cup playoff event, tied for most with Rory McIlroy.

 

Tiger Woods opened with four straight birdies and had to settle for a 66 to tie for 58th. He fell to No. 57 in the FedEx Cup, in danger of missing the Tour Championship for the second straight year.

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Harvick Takes Day 2 Race at Dover; Hamlin Wins Saturday

A day after Denny Hamlin’s victory, Kevin Harvick regained the Cup Series lead with his seventh, dominating Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

 

Harvick and Hamlin have emerged as the clear contenders to win it all -- and again they proved their mettle in doubleheaders. At Pocono in late June, Harvick won the Saturday race and Hamlin followed with the checkered flag 24 hours later.

 

Under the lights, the final three playoff spots are up for grabs, with seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson about needed a win to make a run at a record eighth title in his farewell season.

 

Harvick secured his title as best in the regular season, and has 57 playoff points that he can build up all the way to the Phoenix finale.

 

The 44-year-old Harvick continues to rack up milestones at Stewart-Haas Racing. He has 56 career Cup victories to tie Kyle Busch for ninth on the career list. Harvick swept the stages in the No. 4 Ford and won for the third time in seven races. He gave Ford its 700th Cup victory.

 

All seven of Harvick’s wins have come in the 14 starts since NASCAR resumed on May 17.

 

With just Daytona left next week before the 16-driver field is set, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch and brother Kurt Busch all wrapped up spots on points.

 

Martin Truex Jr. finished second in both Dover races. He had finished third in five straight races headed into the weekend.

 

Jimmie Johnson, Dover’s career winner with 11, was third. Johnson’s No. 48 team gambled on a late two-tire pit stop that gave the seven-time champion a late surge.

 

There are 13 drivers with a spot in the playoffs. Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBendetto and William Byron hold the final three spots on points.

 

DiBendetto finished 20th and 17th in the two Dover races to derail his playoff momenteum.

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Giolito Impressive As Sox Power Past Tigers

Lucas Giolito matched his career high of 13 strikeouts in seven dominant innings, hot-hitting Tim Anderson stroked his fourth home run of the series, and the Chicago White Sox beat Detroit 9-0 Thursday to complete their first four-game sweep of the Tigers in 15 years.

 

Giolito (2-2) allowed three hits and one walk to earn the victory, his fifth in seven career decisions against Detroit, as Chicago completed a 5-2 homestand with its fifth straight win. The right-hander also struck out 13 against Oakland on Aug. 11, 2019.

 

Anderson hit a solo homer off reliever Tyler Alexander to extend the lead to 5-0 in the fourth. The shortstop had eight hits and seven RBIs in the series.

 

Free-falling Detroit (9-14) dropped its ninth straight. At 15-11, Chicago moved as many as four games over .500 for the first time since April 29 of the 2017 season.

 

The White Sox wasted no time to jump on right-hander Spencer Turnbull (2-2), who walked three batters in a torturous 37-pitch first inning. No Tigers starter lasted more than 4 1/3 innings in the series.

 

With one out, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez walked around a Jose Abreu double to load the bases. Edwin Encarnacion also coaxed a free pass to force home a run, then Nomar Mazara's fielder's choice groundout and James McCann's double plated two more.

 

Danny Mendick doubled off Alexander to extend the lead to 4-0 in the third.

 

Detroit threatened against Giolito only in the third when it loaded the bases with one out on two singles and an error. He fanned Niko Goodrum and Cristin Stewart to squelch the rally.

 

The Tigers hoped for a respite after they suffered their 20th straight loss against Cleveland last weekend, but the White Sox were no less a challenge themselves. A year ago, Chicago won 12 of 18 games between the two clubs and outscored Detroit by a 113-86 margin.

 

Dallas Keuchel (3-2, 3.07) will oppose the Cubs' Jon Lester (2-0, 2.74) in a duel of veteran left-handers on Friday night.

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Cardinals Walk Off Reds

Kolten Wong hit an RBI single and the St. Louis Cardinals returned to Busch Stadium with a rousing rally, scoring three runs in the ninth inning to beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 Thursday night.

 

St. Louis played its first home game since July 26. The Cardinals were idle for 17 days after 10 players tested positive for the virus.

 

Wong tossed high-fives in the general direction of his delirious teammates while jumping up and down. Yet he did not come into contact with anyone.

 

Yadier Molina drove in three runs, including an RBI single in the ninth. The nine-time All-Star catcher made his first appearance since being sidelined by COVID-19 earlier this month.

 

A hit batter and a balk helped put the Cardinals in position in the ninth, and Wong hit a one-out, bases-loaded fly over the head of center fielder Travis Jankowski to win it.

 

St. Louis put the first four runners on in the ninth against closer Raisel Iglesias (1-2). Dexter Fowler loaded the bases with a single and Molina hit a grounder off the glove of Iglesias, cutting the deficit to 4-3.

 

Iglesias followed with a run-scoring balk to tie it and set up Wong.

 

Seth Elledge (1-0) picked up his first major league win with a scoreless ninth inning.

 

Cincinnati starter Sonny Gray struck out six over six innings to bring his NL-leading total to 51. He walked four.

 

Freddy Galvis homered off Wainwright, who gave up four runs, two of them earned, on six hits in seven innings. The 38-year-old retired the last 15 batters he faced after allowing a run-scoring double to Mike Moustakas in the third that pushed the lead to 4-2.

 

The Reds pushed across of a pair of unearned runs in the first on errors by third baseman Brad Miller and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

 

St. Louis INF Paul DeJong was sent to the Cardinals alternate camp in Springfield, Missouri, to resume workouts as he returns from COVID-19. DeJong was one of 10 players to come down with the virus. St. Louis manager Mike Shildt indicated DeJong could return as soon as Monday.

 

 Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 6.23) will face RHP Dakota Hudson (0-2, 5.40) is the second game of the four-game series on Friday. DeSclafani gave up nine earned runs in two innings of a 9-6 loss to Pittsburgh on Aug. 13. Hudson is 3-0 in four career starts against Cincinnati.

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Heat Roll Pacers, Take 2-0 Series Lead

Duncan Robinson made his first six shots - all from 3-point range - and finished with 24 points as the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 109-100 on Thursday for a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

 

Robinson opened the game by making the Heat's first three buckets, all 3s. He didn't miss until midway through the third quarter, and Robinson tied the Heat record for 3s in a playoff game with seven. He finished 7-of-8 shooting, all beyond the arc, in a big improvement from Tuesday when he was 2 of 8.

 

Dragic scored 20 points, Jimmy Butler had 18 points and six assists, rookie Tyler Herro added 15 points off the bench, and Jae Crowder scored 10.

 

Victor Oladipo, who had been questionable with an injured left eye, led Indiana with 22 points. Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon each had 17 points. T.J. Warren had 14 and Aaron Holiday had 12.

 

Robinson's early 3s gave the Heat a 12-3 lead. Indiana led 24-22 at the end of the first quarter. The Pacers last led 39-38 on a jumper by Warren with 3:43 left in the second.

 

Butler hit a 3 as Miami took control. The Heat led 51-46 at halftime, then used an 11-2 run for their biggest lead of the game at 79-63 on a 3-pointer by Crowder with 4:51 left in the third. Indiana couldn't get closer than eight in the fourth.

 

Game 3 is Saturday.

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FedEx Cup Playoffs Open As Crowded Leaderboard Highlights Day 1 of Northern Trust Open

Facing the tough stretch at TPC Boston in the middle of his round, Harrison English hit 5-iron on the 11th and 12th holes, both of them to about 8 feet for birdies. He followed with two long birdie putts to run his streak to four, and finished at 7-under 64.

 

By the end of the opening round, English shared the lead with Kevin Streelman, Cameron Davis of Australia and Russell Henley, who finished with a tap-in eagle.

 

English doesn’t face that dilemma at the moment. His good start was 11 months ago when he began the season for the first time in his career without a full PGA Tour card. That was due to a slump that had him chasing after a swing that wasn’t his own, leading to six lean years without winning.

 

He parlayed conditional status into five top 10s before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf for three months, and then he resumed his steady play to reach No. 27 in the FedEx Cup when the playoffs began.

 

Good starts were important to so many in the FedEx Cup playoffs, which are as much about advancing as avoiding elimination. The top 70 from the 122-man field (three players have withdrawn) move on to next week for another $9.5 million event. The goal then is to reach the top 30 for the Tour Championship and its $15 million prize to the winner.

 

Tiger Woods opened with a 68 with five birdies over his last 10 holes.

 

Of the top 11 players who were separated by one shot after the first round, five of them began the week outside the top 70, with Bubba Watson on the bubble at No. 66.

 

Streelman made two early birdies and then holed out from 154 yards for eagle on the 15th hole. He had one of nine birdies on the 213-yard eighth hole to tie for the lead. Davis was at 8 under until a bogey on No. 8, his penultimate hole. He is at No. 102 in the FedEx Cup.

 

Among those at 65 were Louis Oosthuizen, Charley Hoffman and Scott Piercy, all well outside the top 70. Sebastian Munoz began his round with seven straight birdies to quickly tie for the lead, only to make double bogey on No. 9 and record only one birdie the rest of the way.

 

Justin Thomas, the No. 1 seed, opened with a 68. Collin Morikawa, in his first start since winning the PGA Championship, twice made bogey on par 5s and had a 71, leaving him outside the cut line — rare territory for him — going into Friday.

 

Woods is at No. 49 and hopes to play four out of the next five weeks, taking him to East Lake and through the U.S. Open. He didn’t make a birdie until his ninth hole, but finished with the five birdies over the last 10 holes. Woods went back to his old putter — the one he has used for 14 of his 15 major championships. His bigger issue was getting it close enough to have reasonable birdie chances. Those came at the end.

 

Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, was in danger of missing the BMW Championship for the first time since the FedEx Cup began in 2007. He came in at No. 67 and opened with a 74.

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Cubs, Cardinals Split Another Double Header

Matt Carpenter belted a grand slam and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cubs 9-3 in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Wednesday, holding Chicago to two hits even though a shaky Jack Flaherty couldn't make it out of the second inning.

 

Flaherty gave up a leadoff homer to Ian Happ and recorded just five outs in his first start since a season-opening win over Pittsburgh.

 

Carpenter drove a rope to center in the first against Alec Mills (2-2) for his second career grand slam. Tommy Edman had three hits and Kolten Wong scored four runs.

 

Flaherty threw 41 pitches, walked two and exited with the bases loaded after hitting Nico Hoerner with an 0-2 pitch. Austin Gomber struck out Happ to end that threat and escaped another bases-loaded jam in the third when Jason Kipnis grounded out.

 

Tyler Webb (1-1) got four outs and the Cardinals got back to winning after dropping two straight to the NL Central leaders. Baseball's seven-inning doubleheader format, implemented this season to help teams push through a frequently disrupted 60-game schedule, allowed St. Louis to use four relievers for 1 1/3 innings apiece after Flaherty's exit. No team has been more disrupted than the Cardinals, who were sidelined for 15 days by a COVID-19 outbreak.

 

John Gant and Ricardo Sanchez finished the game for the Cardinals, with Sanchez allowing the Cubs' only other hit - Josh Phegley's two-run homer in the seventh.

 

Happ hit the right field video board with his team-leading sixth homer - and third in four games. Mills lasted lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and seven hits.

 

 

 

David Bote hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh and final inning, Adbert Alzolay pitched five solid innings in his season debut, and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 on Wednesday night to split a doubleheader.

 

St. Louis' Brad Miller hit a tying RBI single in the bottom of the sixth against Jeremy Jeffress (2-1). But the Cubs quickly answered.

 

Playing as the visitor in the nightcap because the game was a makeup from a postponed series in St. Louis from earlier this month, the Cubs loaded the bases against Andrew Miller (0-1) on singles by Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and Nico Hoerner with one out. Bote, whose pinch-hit, hit three-run homer won the second game of Monday's doubleheader, then lined a single to center against Giovanny Gallegos, making it 4-2 and propelling the Cubs to their third win in four games.

Craig Kimbrel, who lost the closer's job after a shaky start to the season, worked the seventh for his first save. He struck out Kolten Wong after hitting Tommy Edman with two out to close out an unusual five-game, three-day series.

 

Alzolay gave the Cubs what they were looking for in his third major league start, holding the reigning division champions to an unearned run and two hits. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out six and walked one after being called up from Chicago's alternate site in South Bend, Indiana.

 

Johan Oviedo made an impressive major league debut for St. Louis a day after he found out he was being called up. He went five innings, giving up two runs and two hits.

 

Manger Mike Shildt said C Yadier Molina could return as soon as Thursday against Cincinnati, while INF Paul DeJong might need more time.

 

Cubs: 3B Kris Bryant missed his third consecutive game after getting an injection Tuesday for his ailing left wrist. The 2016 NL MVP was hurt on a diving attempt on Cesar Hernandez's flare to left field in the fifth inning of a 7-2 victory at Cleveland last week. 

 

LHP Jose Quintana (thumb surgery) is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Friday.

 

The Cardinals open a 12-game homestand, with RHP Adam Wainwright (2-0, 1.64 ERA) going against RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.05) of the Reds. Wainwright got the win in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader against the White Sox - the Cardinals' first game since July 29.

 

Cubs LHP Jon Lester (2-0, 2.74) gets the ball as the Cubs open a three-game series against the crosstown White Sox at Wrigley Field on Friday. LHP Dallas Keuchel (3-2, 3.07) starts for the South Siders.

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White Sox Stay Hot, Roll Tigers

Jose Abreu hit a tie-breaking homer in the eighth inning, then Edwin Encarnacion followed with his second solo shot of the game to lift Chicago over the Detroit Tigers 5-3 on Wednesday night, the White Sox fourth straight win.

 

Abreu lofted the first pitch he faced from Gregory Soto (0-1) just over the wall in right to give Chicago a 4-3 lead with one out. Encarnacion then sent a drive to left-center for his 37th career multi-homer game, sealing the Tigers' eighth loss in row.

 

The right-handed hitting Abreu at first thought he had just poked a deep opposite-field fly. Through an interpreter, he said he realized he had homered ''when it was gone.''

 

Evan Marshall (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Alex Colome followed with a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save.

 

Prized right-handers Casey Mize and Dane Dunning started impressively in their major league debuts before running into trouble and exiting in the fifth inning with nearly identical lines.

 

Encarnacion hit a long solo shot off Mize in the second. Jeimer Candelario tagged Dunning for a towering three-run drive with one out in the fifth that put Detroit ahead 3-1 and ended 25-year-old's first outing since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2019.

 

Mize, the No. 1 pick overall in the 2018 draft, allowed three runs on seven hits, while striking out seven and walking none in 4 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old was replaced by Jose Cisnero after Yoan Moncada's RBI single tied it at 3.

 

Dunning also yielded three runs on five hits and struck out seven while walking one through 4 1/3.

Candelario lined Dunning's first pitch of the game to the wall in right for a double, but the big righty set down the next 11 hitters, fanning six of and striking out the side in the third.

 

Encarnacion launched Mize's hanging curve deep to left for his third homer to lead off the second. Nomar Mazara followed with a line-shot double off the left-field wall. But Mize retired nine of the next 10 Chicago hitters.

 

Dunning was nursing a 1-0 lead until Candelario's towering fly narrowly cleared the wall in right center to make it 3-1.

 

Detroit's RHP Spencer Turnbull (2-1, 2.78) faces Chicago RHP and ace Lucas Giolito (1-2, 4.88) in the series finale on Thursday afternoon. Giolito will try to rebound from a loss against St. Louis last Saturday when he allowed four runs in the first inning.

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White Sox Stay Hot, Roll Tigers

Jose Abreu hit a tie-breaking homer in the eighth inning, then Edwin Encarnacion followed with his second solo shot of the game to lift Chicago over the Detroit Tigers 5-3 on Wednesday night, the White Sox fourth straight win.

 

Abreu lofted the first pitch he faced from Gregory Soto (0-1) just over the wall in right to give Chicago a 4-3 lead with one out. Encarnacion then sent a drive to left-center for his 37th career multi-homer game, sealing the Tigers' eighth loss in row.

 

The right-handed hitting Abreu at first thought he had just poked a deep opposite-field fly. Through an interpreter, he said he realized he had homered ''when it was gone.''

 

Evan Marshall (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Alex Colome followed with a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save.

 

Prized right-handers Casey Mize and Dane Dunning started impressively in their major league debuts before running into trouble and exiting in the fifth inning with nearly identical lines.

 

Encarnacion hit a long solo shot off Mize in the second. Jeimer Candelario tagged Dunning for a towering three-run drive with one out in the fifth that put Detroit ahead 3-1 and ended 25-year-old's first outing since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2019.

 

Mize, the No. 1 pick overall in the 2018 draft, allowed three runs on seven hits, while striking out seven and walking none in 4 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old was replaced by Jose Cisnero after Yoan Moncada's RBI single tied it at 3.

 

Dunning also yielded three runs on five hits and struck out seven while walking one through 4 1/3.

Candelario lined Dunning's first pitch of the game to the wall in right for a double, but the big righty set down the next 11 hitters, fanning six of and striking out the side in the third.

 

Encarnacion launched Mize's hanging curve deep to left for his third homer to lead off the second. Nomar Mazara followed with a line-shot double off the left-field wall. But Mize retired nine of the next 10 Chicago hitters.

 

Dunning was nursing a 1-0 lead until Candelario's towering fly narrowly cleared the wall in right center to make it 3-1.

 

Detroit's RHP Spencer Turnbull (2-1, 2.78) faces Chicago RHP and ace Lucas Giolito (1-2, 4.88) in the series finale on Thursday afternoon. Giolito will try to rebound from a loss against St. Louis last Saturday when he allowed four runs in the first inning.

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Canucks Rally Past Blues, Sending Top-Seed to Brink of Elimination

Fourth-line grinder Tyler Motte scored two breakaway goals to power the Vancouver Canucks to a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.

 

The Canucks lead the best-of-seven opening-round series 3-2 and can send the defending Stanley Cup champions packing from the post-season with a win Friday night.

 

J.T. Miller and Jake Virtanen also scored for Vancouver. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 36 saves.

 

Ryan O'Reilly, with his fourth goal of the series, Brayden Schenn, and Zach Sanford scored for the Blues.

 

Goaltender Jake Allen stopped 26 shots and took his first loss in three starts in the series.

 

It was a tale of two games.

 

The Blues were up 3-1 midway through the second period, blasting away at Markstrom and forcing him to make some acrobatic saves. Then, the Canucks scored three unanswered goals.

 

Miller cut the lead to 3-2. He won a puck battle behind the net, came around the front and whacked away as Blues jostled and shoved him until the puck found its way under Allen and over the goal line.

 

Vancouver tied it when Virtanen, standing on the goal line to Allen's right, fired a severely sharp-angle shot that bounced off Allen's arm and in. As the seconds ticked down in the period, Motte jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone, raced in and fired a shot low blocker side for a 4-3 lead.

 

Markstrom made some more point-blank saves in the third period to hold off a furious Blues charge.

 

Motte got Vancouver on the scoresheet while short-handed in the first period when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo broke his stick attempting a shot at the Canucks blue line. Motte jumped on the puck and raced in on Allen with a stick-less Pietrangelo eventually chasing him down, but Motte simply turned him inside out and fired a shot stick-side high and in.

 

After Motte's icebreaker, it was three straight goals for St. Louis that began when Oskar Sundqvist outworked Canuck defender Chris Tanev in the corner to deliver a picture-perfect backhand pass to Schenn in the slot for a shot high glove-side on Markstrom.

 

With the seconds ticking down in the first period, O'Reilly showed off some sweet hands and slick skating, going wide around defenseman Alex Edler, swooping around the net and banking the puck in off Markstrom's skate while defenseman Jordie Benn got caught standing and watching.

 

Sanford made it 3-1 on the power play, deking and juking through the right face-off circle and using Edler as a screen to rip a wrist shot high glove side on Markstrom.

 

After that it was all Vancouver.

 

It was a tough game for Edler. The Swedish defenseman got injured in the waning moments of the second period when Blue Jordan Kyrou fell down and his leg flew up and his skate caught Edler on the right ear. Edler grabbed his ear, skated right off the ice and down the tunnel.

 

The Blues were without scoring winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who has gone back to St. Louis to have his shoulder reassessed by medical staff. The Russian winger played only 10 games in the regular season before dislocating his left shoulder and undergoing surgery in October.

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Miller Media Group Radio Stations To Air Weekly Player Spotlights Featuring Clinton, Monticello Starting August 28

With the absence of high school football play-by-play this fall, the Miller Media Group radio stations in Clinton have announced they'll produce and air Player Spotlights featuring interviews with players and coaches of sports not being played this fall, every Friday night at 7 starting August 28th.

 

The Player Spotlights will air on the stations that normally follow area teams. 

 

 

WHOW's many platforms on AM, FM, and on-line, will air the weekly Clinton Maroon Player Spotlight.

 

 

WEZC "Your EASY Choice!" 95.9 FM, the Voice of the Monticello Sages, will interview Sages players and coaches.  

 

Each week's Player Spotlights will also be streamed on each station's streaming platform from dewittdailynews.com.

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Monticello Wins Golf Meet at Clinton Country Club

Maroa-Forsyth's Tyler Davis shot a 2-under 33 and Monticello shot a team-best 165 Tuesday afternoon as high school sports resumed Tuesday afternoon in high school boys golf action from the Clinton Country Club. 

 

Clinton was led by Aiden Toohill and Mason Walker who each shot 46s. Drew Milton shot a 51 and Trenton Sanders shot a 54. The Maroons finished last between Clinton, Monticello, Maroa-Forsyth and Mahomet-Seymour. 

 

Monticello won the day with a 165, led by Will Ross who shot a 36 1-over. Tanner Bunerkemper and Matthew Erickson each shot 42s. Ben Potts shot a 45, Jared Lockmiller logged a 47 and Ian Whetstone shot 64. 

 

Maroa-Forsyth's Tyler Davis was the day's low score with a 33, 2-under. Brandon Hill shot a 41, Grant Reid scored a 49, Ryan Crowe logged a 50 and Rob Gentle and Jaxson Grubbs each followed with 55 and 58, respectively. 

 

Mahomet-Seymour was led by Zach Courson's 43.

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Cubs Double Up Cardinals

Yu Darvish pitched six effective innings in his fourth straight win, and the banged-up Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Tuesday night.

 

Darvish allowed one run and eight hits while improving to 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA since he struggled in his first start of the season July 25 against Milwaukee - matching his career-best win streak. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one.

 

Darvish, who turned 34 on Sunday, really started to find his form last season, when he had a 2.76 ERA in his last 13 starts. He traces some of his success to a conversation with pitching coach Tommy Hottovy last summer about going back to a more deliberate style.

 

St. Louis pushed across two runs in the eighth and had runners on the corners when pinch-hitter Andrew Knizner looked at a called third strike from Rowan Wick, ending the inning. Wick then worked the ninth for his fourth save.

 

Chicago played without Kris Bryant after the slugger got an injection for his ailing left wrist, sidelining the 2016 NL MVP for at least two days. The NL Central leaders also placed outfielder Steven Souza Jr. on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain.

 

Paul Goldschmidt had three hits for St. Louis, including a two-out RBI single in the fifth. But the Cardinals wasted a couple of prime scoring opportunities while falling to 3-3 since returning from a coronavirus outbreak that put their season on hold for more than two weeks.

 

The longtime rivals conclude their unusual five-game series with another doubleheader Wednesday. They split two seven-inning games on Monday.

 

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said he appreciated the effort by Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-2) and his four relievers, who combined for 207 pitches in a game that lasted 4 hours, 9 minutes.

 

The Cubs jumped in front when Ian Happ led off the third with an opposite-field shot to left for his fifth homer, matching Anthony Rizzo for the team lead. Kyle Schwarber added a two-run homer in the fifth, making it 4-1 with a drive deep into the bleachers in right.

 

Jason Heyward also had an RBI triple against Ponce de Leon (0-2), who allowed two runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings.

 

St. Louis put runners on the corners in the second, but Matt Wieters bounced into an inning-ending double play. Darvish (4-1) also escaped a jam in the fourth, retiring three in a row after the Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs.

 

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, INF Paul DeJong, INF Rangel Ravelo and RHP Kodi Whitley have started working out again after they were cleared by Major League Baseball, according to Shildt. Each player was sidelined by the coronavirus.

 

St. Louis ace Jack Flaherty (1-0, 2.57 ERA) will start Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader. Flaherty hasn't pitched since he threw seven solid innings in a 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh on opening day. Alec Mills (2-1, 2.84 ERA) will get the ball for Chicago in Game 1. Neither team was ready to announce a starter for the second game.

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Power Surge Continues as White Sox Topple Tigers

Tim Anderson welcomed Tigers pitching prospect Tarik Skubal to the majors with a leadoff homer, and the Chicago White Sox beat Detroit 10-4 Tuesday night for their third straight win.

 

Anderson homered leading off the first for the second straight night and finished with four hits and three RBIs. The reigning AL batting champion raised his average to .379 with his second four-hit game this season - the other was against Detroit last week.

 

Anderson had a pair of singles and a double along with his homer. He is the fifth White Sox player to hit leadoff home runs in back-to-back games. His eight career leadoff homers are tied for fourth on the franchise list.

 

Jose Abreu had three hits and three RBIs, and Dylan Cease pitched into the seventh inning to win his fourth straight start as Chicago handed Detroit its seventh loss in a row.

 

White Sox center fielder Luis Robert was pulled in the eighth inning with a sore right hand. X-rays were negative, and the team says he is day to day.

 

Cease (4-1) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings to improve to 5-0 in five career starts against Detroit. Yoan Moncada had two RBIs.

 

Jonathan Schoop hit a solo shot off Cease and added a single.

 

Skubal (0-1) lasted just two innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. The 23-year-old ranks among the top left-handed prospects in baseball.

 

He and right-hander Casey Mize, the No 1 pick overall in the 2018 draft, were called up to fill a gap in the Tigers injury-depleted rotation. Mize is slated to make his major league debut Wednesday. Neither had pitched above Double-A prior to this season.

 

After Anderson put Chicago ahead, Schoop lined a homer to almost the same spot to start the second.

 

The White Sox jumped back ahead 4-1 in the bottom half, with Anderson's double, Moncada's sac fly and Abreu's single driving in the runs. That ended Skubal's night

 

Abreu drove in two runs with a double off Daniel Norris in the fourth to make it 6-2.

 

The Tigers scored twice in the eighth. The White Sox replied with four in the bottom half with Anderson's fourth hit, a single, plating Chicago's ninth run.

 

Mize (0-0, 0.00) takes the mound Wednesday. The White Sox will counter with RHP and highly-rated prospect Dane Dunning, who also makes his major league debut.

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Heat Pull Away Late From Pacers

Bam Adebayo has been imploring Jimmy Butler to shoot 3-pointers, and Butler knocked down two big ones late in the fourth quarter to help the Heat pull away for a 113-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series.

 

Butler scored 28 points and Goran Dragic had 24 for the Heat, who pulled away in the closing minutes, long after the Pacers had lost star guard Victor Oladipo to an eye injury.

 

Adebayo had 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who were just a little bit better in a mostly even matchup between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds, who were separated by a game in the standings in this pandemic-shortened season.

 

Indiana went 6-2 in the seeding games and Miami was 3-5, with the teams splitting a pair of meetings. The Pacers' victory on Friday in the finale allowed them to take the No. 4 seed, which in other years would have been a bigger deal because it meant Indiana would have had home-court advantage.

 

Butler seemed to treat it like a road game, appearing to jaw at one point toward the virtual Pacers fans filling the sides of the arena in the NBA's Disney World bubble - though he said it was to a coach he heard yapping at him.

 

Butler's first 3-pointer pushed a six-point lead to 104-95 with 3:26 left. He then forced a jump ball with T.J. Warren that he won, then came down and hit another 3 with 2:29 to play.

 

T,J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points apiece for the Pacers, who will try to even the series on Thursday.

 

Oladipo was limited to 8 minutes before he was scratched in the left eye with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter, appearing to be hit first by Miami's Jae Crowder. The Pacers said he visited the NBA's on-campus clinic for further evaluation, which showed no initial concerns. He will monitored over the next few days.

 

Miami opened a 72-62 lead midway through the third quarter but the Pacers used a good finish to knock it down to an 81-80 deficit heading to the fourth.

 

Derrick Jones Jr., who sustained a neck injury Friday that appeared serious when he was taken off the floor on a stretcher, was cleared to play and had six points in 13 minutes. Tyler Herro scored 15 points.

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Vegas Eliminates Chicago From NHL Playoffs

Alex Tuch scored the tiebreaking goal 1:34 into the third period, and the Vegas Golden Knights rallied from an early two-goal deficit to eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks with a 4-3 win in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.

 

Vegas became the first team in the playoffs to advance to the conference semifinals. The Golden Knights will face the lowest remaining seed in the next round.

 

The Blackhawks' unlikely postseason run came to an end despite controlling most of the first period. Jonathan Toews scored his fifth of the postseason and Alex DeBrincat scored at 18:19 of the first to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead.

 

Corey Crawford, who made 48 saves in a masterful Game 4 performance to keep Chicago alive, made 35 saves in Game 5. But Crawford couldn't withstand a continued onslaught of pressure by the Golden Knights, capped by Tuch's goal, using his size to hold off defenseman Adam Boqvist and score the deciding goal.

 

Chicago started strong looking to keep going after trailing in the series 3-0. Toews poked a rebound past Lehner midway through the first period to give Chicago the early lead, and DeBrincat finished a beautiful build up at 18:19 for the two-goal advantage. DeBrincat was the recipient, but it was Connor Murphy's spin and feed to Dylan Strome that set up DeBrincat's second goal of the postseason.

 

But the potency of the Golden Knights' offense quickly responded. Pacioretty collected Brayden McNabb's deflected pass at the side of the net and scored his first of the playoffs with 31 seconds left in the period. And less than a minute into the second, Stone tipped William Karlsson's pass over Crawford's glove and the Golden Knights were even.

 

Kane scored his 52nd career playoff goal, but Martinez's goal was the first scored on the power play by Vegas in the series. It snapped Chicago's streak of 14 straight power plays killed off, dating back to its qualifying series win over Edmonton.

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Cardinals, Cubs Split 7-Inning Double Headers

Brad Miller hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning, and St. Louis beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Monday in the opener of an unusual five-game series between the NL Central rivals.

 

The Cardinals won for the third time in four games since returning from a coronavirus outbreak that derailed their season, leaving them idle for weeks and resulting in 18 confirmed cases in the organization. They swept a doubleheader against the White Sox on Saturday before dropping the series finale Sunday.

 

The reigning division champions had a three-game series against the Cubs postponed while they waited for clearance to play again - leading to the five-game set that includes two doubleheaders and two ''home'' games for the Cards at Wrigley Field.

 

The opener was tied at 1 when St. Louis loaded the bases with none out in the seventh against Kyle Hendricks. After Dylan Carlson bounced into a forceout at home, Hendricks (3-2) was replaced by Rowan Wick.

 

Miller then hit a liner toward the gap in left-center. Center fielder Albert Almora Jr. made a leaping try, but it landed out of his reach on the warning track. Tyler O'Neill and Matt Carpenter scored before Carlson was thrown out at the plate.

 

Giovanny Gallegos pitched a scoreless inning for the win in the doubleheader opener. Andrew Miller got three outs for his second save.

 

Ian Happ homered for Chicago in its fourth straight loss. Hendricks was charged with three runs and three hits.

 

Kwang Hyun Kim pitched 3 2/3 innings of three-hit ball in his first start for St. Louis.

 

Hendricks retired his first seven batters before Dexter Fowler hit a drive to right in the third for his second homer.

 

The Cubs wasted a prime scoring opportunity when Happ struck out on three pitches and David Bote grounded out in the first, leaving the bases loaded. But Happ bounced back with a leadoff drive to left in the fourth for his fourth homer.

 

Happ was a late addition to the Game 1 lineup after right fielder Steven Souza Jr. was scratched with right hamstring tightness.

 

 

 

David Bote hit a three-run homer in Chicago's four-run sixth inning, and the Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 on Monday for a doubleheader split.

 

With two outs and runners on the corners, Bote put Chicago ahead to stay with a massive drive to center off Tyler Webb (0-1) for his second career pinch-hit homer. Bote belted a game-ending grand slam for his first pinch-hit shot in a 4-3 win against Washington on Aug. 12, 2018.

 

Chicago was still searching for its first hit before Willson Contreras hit an RBI double off Webb (0-1) earlier in the inning, setting the stage for Bote's third homer of the season.

 

St. Louis wasted a big performance by Brad Miller, who homered twice and drove in three runs. Miller also had a big swing in Game 1, hitting a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh in the Cardinals' 3-1 victory.

 

Dexter Fowler connected for St. Louis in the opener of an unusual five-game series, and Max Schrock hit his first career homer in Game 2.

 

The NL Central-leading Cubs stopped a four-game slide. Duane Underwood Jr. (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for his first major league win, and Jeremy Jeffress got three outs for his second save.

 

Right-handers Daniel Ponce de Leon and Yu Darvish pitch Tuesday night. Ponce de Leon (0-1, 6.75 ERA) started St. Louis' last game before its coronavirus outbreak, allowing three runs over 3 2/3 innings in a 3-0 loss at Minnesota on July 29. Darvish (3-1, 1.88) is 3-0 with a sparkling 0.90 ERA in his last three starts for Chicago.

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Blues Even First Round Series With Vancouver

Ryan O'Reilly had two goals and an assist as the St. Louis Blues beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 in Game 4 on Monday night to even in their first-round playoff series.

 

Alex Pietrangelo also scored and had an assist and David Perron had two assists for the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues. Jake Allen made 22 saves.

 

J.T. Miller scored for the Canucks, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 34 shots.

 

The teams were playing on a quick 24-hour turnaround after the Blues beat the Canucks 3-2 late Sunday night in overtime.

 

They outshot the Canucks 37-23, scored two goals with the man advantage to turn around what had been an abysmal 2-for-11 power play going into Game 4.

 

Most importantly, the Blues shut down a Canucks power play that had torched them for six goals in the first three games, but went 0 for 7 on this night.

 

O'Reilly gave the Blues a 2-1 lead at 6:52 of the second as he took a pass out of the corner from Perron, walked out in front of the net and flicked a backhander into the top corner for the second two-goal playoff game of his career.

 

The Blues then caught a break on a two-man advantage. Pietrangelo zipped the puck through traffic in the crease and the puck hit Edler's stick and went in with 4:13 to go in the middle period.

 

The Blues have now won two straight after dropping five in a row in return-to-play action.

 

O'Reilly has three goals in the series. Perron recorded two assists and has registered a point in every game this series (two goals, four assists).

 

St. Louis won without winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who missed his second straight game. The NHL has not divulged the reason.

 

Vancouver defenseman Tyler Myers was also scratched for a second time. He fell awkwardly head-first into the boards late in Game 2.

 

Game 5 is Wednesday.

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White Sox Power Past Tigers

Tim Anderson hit two home runs, including his second leading off a game against Matthew Boyd in six days, and the Chicago White Sox coasted to a 7-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

 

Yoan Moncada followed Anderson's first shot with another long drive on the next pitch. That made Chicago the first team in major league history to open two games in one season with back-to-back home runs off the same pitcher, according to STATS.

 

Anderson and Eloy Jimenez tagged Boyd last week.

 

Luis Robert also homered twice for Chicago (12-11), which launched six long balls in all and has 10 in the last two games. The White Sox won for the fourth time in six tries to move back over the .500 mark.

 

Robert and Danny Mendick homered off reliever Rony Garcia in the sixth. Robert went deep again for the final runs, this time off Kyle Funkhouser after Edwin Encarnacion doubled in the eighth.

 

White Sox starter Gio Gonzalez allowed two runs on six hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings but fell one out short of qualifying for his first win of the season. He struck out 10, the 15th time he reached double figures in his career.

 

Codi Heuer (1-0), the second of five Chicago relievers, pitched one scoreless inning to get a first big league win.

 

Prior to their sixth consecutive loss, the Tigers (9-11) promoted right-handed pitcher Casey Mize, left-hander Tarik Skubal and infielder Isaac Paredes, an indication that player development will become an even bigger priority in the shortened 60-game season. All three are on the shortlist of top prospects in the organization.

 

In his major league debut, Peredes, 21, had a two-run single in the fourth in four at-bats. Mize and Skubal are scheduled to make their debuts in the four-game series.

 

White Sox RHP Dylan Cease (3-1, 3.26 ERA) will oppose Skubal on Tuesday night.

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Bears Still Unsure About Fans at Soldier Field in 2020

The Chicago Bears remain unsure if fans will be allowed at Soldier Field this season.

 

The Bears said Monday the team and city will “continue to monitor the environment” and both “believe there can be a sound plan in place to bring fans back to Soldier Field once it is deemed safe and appropriate.”

 

The Bears canceled season ticket packages last month because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They offered holders the option to get refunds for this year or have their payments credited toward 2021.

 

Chicago opens the season Sept. 13 at Detroit and hosts the New York Giants a week later.

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White Sox hit 4 straight HRs vs Cardinals reliever in debut

The Chicago White Sox tied a major league mark with four consecutive home runs and went on to beat the Cardinals 7-2 on Sunday.

 

Roel Ramirez is the first pitcher to allow four straight homers in his debut. Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez connected during a six-run fifth inning.

 

Ramirez took the mound in the fifth with Chicago leading 1-0. He struck out Luis Robert to start, but things went south quickly. After two singles, a caught stealing and a walk, Moncada smacked a three-run homer to right.

 

Grandal followed with another drive into the right-field seats, and then Abreu and Jimenez each homered to left.

 

Shildt replaced Ramirez with the debuting Seth Elledge, and he struck out Edwin Encarnacion on three straight pitches to end the inning.

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Arcia, Hiura power Brewers over Cubs 6-5

Keston Hiura and Orlando Arcia homered, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-5 on Sunday for their third straight win against the NL Central leaders.

 

Arcia had three hits and scored the go-ahead run on Ryan Braun's seventh-inning single off Jason Adam (0-1) at Wrigley Field. Hiura belted a tying three-run drive in the third for his fifth homer.

 

Eric Yardley (1-0), the first of four Milwaukee relievers, pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Josh Hader got three outs for his fifth save.

 

Hader, David Phelps and Devin Williams combined to strike out six over the final three innings. The Cubs struck out 53 times during the four-game set.

 

Steven Souza Jr. and Jason Kipnis each drove in two runs for Chicago.

 

Cubs left-hander Jon Lester permitted five runs and nine hits in six innings.

 

Brewers starter Josh Lindblom also struggled, allowing five runs in five-plus innings. He struck out eight and walked four.

 

The Cubs jumped on top 3-0 in the first. Kyle Schwarber singled in Anthony Rizzo and scored on Souza's two-run double.

 

Lester retired his first seven batters before running into trouble. Luis Urias and Arcia hit consecutive singles with one out in the third. After Braun struck out, Hiura sent a drive deep to center.

 

Before the homer, Hiura was mired in a 1-for-21 slide.

 

In the fifth, Urias led off with a triple and Arcia followed with a two-run homer to put the Brewers on top 5-3.

 

The Cubs tied it on a two-run single by Kipnis with two out in the sixth.

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Crawford stars as Blackhawks beat Golden Knights 3-1

Corey Crawford made 48 saves in a stellar performance, and the Blackhawks beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 on Sunday night to stay alive in their first-round playoff series.

 

Drake Caggiula and Matthew Highmore scored first-period goals for the Blackhawks, and Alex DeBrincat added an empty-netter with 10 seconds left.

 

Shea Theodore scored his fourth playoff goal for Vegas in the first period when his shot from the point slipped through traffic in front of the net. But it was the only time the Golden Knights managed to beat Crawford on a night when the playoff-tested veteran was the best player on the ice.

 

Playing less than 24 hours after a 2-1 loss in Game 3, Crawford was under attack from the outset, especially after the Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead on Highmore's unexpected goal. Highmore threw a shot on net from below the goal line and got a fortunate deflection when Lehner attempted to redirect the puck with his head, but instead sent it into his net.

 

Theodore's shot slipped through, but nothing else did. Crawford was up to every challenge, especially as the Golden Knights continued to test him with high shots to the glove side. Crawford made a diving save on Max Pacioretty and stuffed William Karlsson on a breakaway in the second period.

 

But Crawford's best sequence may have come midway through the third period when he stopped Karlsson's attempt with his mask, and then gloved Zach Whitecloud's wrist shot from inside the right circle.

 

Chicago's penalty killers also had a solid night. Vegas went 0 for 3 with the man advantage and has not scored a power-play goal in the series. The Blackhawks have killed off the past 14 power plays dating to the qualifying round against Edmonton.

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Schenn scores in OT, Blues beat Canucks in Game 3

Brayden Schenn scored 15:06 into overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.

 

Schenn, circling in the neutral zone, took a stretch pass, raced in and fired a shot high past Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom for the defending champion Blues' first win this postseason.

David Perron and Justin Faulk also scored, and Jake Allen stopped 39 shots as St. Louis pulled to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

 

Game 4 is Monday night.

 

Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller scored for the Canucks, and Markstrom finished with 46 saves.

 

All the scoring in regulation play came in the second period, starting on the power play when Pettersson hit Miller with a tape-to-tape stretch pass with Miller in full flight at the Blues blue line.

 

Miller streaked in and snapped a shot high glove side on Allen for a 1-0 lead at 1:19.

 

The Blues tied it nearly 7 minutes later when Faulk jumped into the slot, took a seam pass from Robert Thomas and ripped the puck past Markstrom.

 

Perron gave the Blues their first lead of the series, taking a dish pass from Ryan O'Reilly and delivering a sharp angle shot over Markstrom's shoulder with 1:58 left in the period.

 

Vancouver replied just 37 seconds later when St. Louis defensemen Colton Parayko and Marco Scandella got tangled up with the puck in the high slot. Pettersson jumped in and fired a quick shot short-side under the bar on Allen.

 

It was Allen's first appearance in the series, replacing Jordan Binnington, the hero of the 2019 Cup run.

 

Binnington has struggled in return to play, fighting rebounds while letting in nine goals in the first two games (.809 save percentage) against the Canucks.

 

Allen saw limited action in the regular season but compiled a 12-6-3 record and a .927 save percentage. The 30-year-old stopped 37-of-38 shots against Dallas in his lone appearance in the round robin.

 

St. Louis was the Western Conference leader (42-29-10) when the NHL halted, and eventually ended, the regular season on March 12 due to COVID-19. The Blues lost all three games in the round robin, dropping to the fourth seed and lost the first two games against the Canucks.

 

The Canucks were 36-27-6, good for 18th in the NHL, when play was suspended. They defeated the Minnesota Wild in four games in the qualifying round.

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Darvish takes no-hitter into 7th, Cubs beat Brewers 4-2

Yu Darvish took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his third straight dominant start, and the major league-leading Chicago Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Thursday night.

 

Darvish (3-1) allowed just one hit - Justin Smoak's towering solo homer to right field with one out in the seventh inning on his 98th pitch - before Casey Sadler relieved to start the eighth. The 33-year-old right-hander from Japan struck out 11 and threw 104 pitches.

 

Before Smoak's drive, Darvish allowed only three baserunners. He walked Ben Gamel in the second and Orlando Arcia in the fifth, and hit Christian Yelich with a low pitch in the first.

 

Darvish notched his final two strikeouts, both swinging, around Smoak's homer.

 

Kyle Schwarber hit a solo homer in the second as Chicago improved to 13-3 for the first time since 1907. Javier Baez, Ian Happ and David Bote each had an RBI.

 

Sadler worked around a single by Arcia in a scoreless eighth. Rowan Wick allowed a single by Avisail Garcia and a ground-rule double to Smoak with two outs in the ninth for Milwaukee's second run, but closed it out for his third save and a combined four-hitter.

 

Cubs slugger Kris Bryant was held out of the starting lineup with a sore left wrist and ring finger.

 

With Bryant out, Schwarber started in left field and Bote at third base.

 

The Cubs jumped ahead 1-0 in the first. Nico Hoerner laced Brett Anderson's first pitch for a double and scored on Baez's groundout.

 

Schwarber led off the second with an opposite-field shot to left to make it 2-0.

 

Chicago tacked on two more runs in the sixth off reliever Corbin Burnes. Happ drove in the first with a double and Bote followed with an RBI single.

 

Darvish's pitch count was piling up entering the seventh. There was no doubt on Smoak's drive, which sailed out to right. Before that, the hardest-hit ball off Darvish was Yelich's liner straight at right fielder Steven Souza Jr. leading off the fourth.

 

Anderson (0-2) allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings.

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Smith scores in OT, Vegas takes 2-0 series lead on Chicago

Reilly Smith scored in overtime, Robin Lehner made 22 saves and the Golden Knights beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Thursday to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series. Vegas has won all five of its games since the NHL resumed.

 

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 35 of the 39 shots he faced, including 16 in the third period alone.

 

Paul Stastny opened the scoring for Vegas 10:44 in after strong work down low by Smith and Jonathan Marchessault, and Nosek made it 2-0 at the 15:35 mark of the first period. It was Stastny's first goal since hockey returned.

 

Chicago got goals from rookies Kirby Dach and Dominik Kubalik in the second to tie it. Mark Stone restored the lead for Vegas with 2:40 left in the period, then Dylan Strome got it right back for the Blackhawks 13.6 seconds before intermission.

 

Patrick Kane assisted on all three Chicago goals in the second period.

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White Sox Outlast Tigers

Tim Anderson homered to cap a 10-pitch at-bat leading off the first inning, and Luis Robert added a bases-clearing double in the fifth to lift the Chicago White Sox to a 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.

 

Anderson had four hits and finished a double shy of the cycle, and the White Sox have won two in a row since he returned from a groin injury.

 

Anderson and Eloy Jimenez led off the game with consecutive home runs. Jonathan Schoop and Willi Castro homered for the Tigers, who scored four unearned runs in the fourth before Matthew Boyd (0-2) gave the lead right back.

 

Anderson, who led the majors in batting last year at .335, fouled off six straight two-strike pitches before his first-inning homer. He had a triple, too, by the end of the third inning and added two singles before striking out on three pitches in the eighth.

 

Dylan Cease (3-1) allowed one earned run and seven hits in six innings. Three Chicago relievers held Detroit scoreless, with Alex Colome working a perfect ninth for his fifth save in five chances.

 

Both teams took advantage of extra opportunities in their big innings. Detroit's Victor Reyes reached base on a passed ball on a third strike, and that came back to haunt the White Sox when Grayson Greiner hit a two-out, two-run double that tied the game at 3 in the fourth.

 

Castro followed with a two-run homer.

 

But the Tigers let Boyd, their opening day starter, labor well into the fifth, and Chicago eventually broke through. Anderson played a big role again. After leading off the inning with a single, he moved to second on a walk and hustled to third when Edwin Encarnacion hit a slow grounder to shortstop Niko Goodrum.

 

Anderson rounded the bag a bit, which caught Goodrum's attention, and the Tigers didn't get any outs on the play. It was scored a fielder's choice. Boyd ended up one out short of escaping the jam.

 

Robert's drive off the wall in right-center field scored three runs. Nomar Mazara added an RBI double to make it 7-5 and finally chase the Detroit left-hander.

 

The next scheduled game for Chicago is at home Friday night against St. Louis, although the Cardinals haven't played since July 29 because of issues they've been having with the coronavirus.

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Cubs Stay Hot, Beat Indians

Kyle Hendricks pitched six strong innings in his first appearance against Cleveland since Game 7 of the 2016 World Series and Anthony Rizzo homered, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 win over the Indians on Wednesday night to match their best start in 50 years.

 

Hendricks (3-1) didn't have much trouble with the slumping Indians, who came in batting a major league-worst .192. He allowed one run and seven hits - threw 18 straight strikes in one juncture - and handled everyone in Cleveland's lineup but Franmil Reyes, who got three hits.

 

The Cubs are 12-3 in their first season under Ross, matching the club's start after 15 games in 1970.

Rizzo homered in the third off Carlos Carrasco (2-2), David Bote drove in two runs and Kris Bryant connected for a 430-foot shot as the Cubs swept the two-game interleague set.

 

Hendricks hadn't faced the Indians since Nov. 2, 2016, when he started the dramatic finale as the Cubs beat the Indians in extra innings to clinch their first Series title since 1908. The right-hander is as efficient now as he was four years ago.

 

Kyle Schwarber was scratched from the starting lineup with a bruised right knee suffered when he got hit with a pitch Tuesday. He struck out pinch-hitting in the ninth.

 

The Cubs open a 10-game, 11-day homestand on Thursday against Milwaukee with Yu Darvish (2-1) starting against Brewers left-hander Brett Anderson (0-1).

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Blues' Struggles Continue In Game 1 of First Round NHL Playoff Series

Bo Horvat scored twice and the Vancouver Canucks beat the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues 5-2 on Wednesday in the opening game of their best-of-seven first-round series.

 

J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Troy Stecher also scored for Vancouver.

 

David Perron and Jaden Schwartz scored for St. Louis.

 

Horvat has four goals in return-to-play action while rookie teammate Quinn Hughes logged an assist to reach seven points (one goal, six helpers) in five games.

 

Stecher broke a 2-2 tie in the third period when he raced down the right-wing and sent a slap shot from the circle under the arm of St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington.

 

Jacob Markstrom made 29 stops for the win.

 

The Canucks were making their first playoff appearance since 2015, having defeated the Minnesota Wild in the qualifying round.

 

They never trailed in the game.

 

The teams swapped mirror-image power-play goals in the first period.

 

Horvat opened the scoring about five minutes in when he one-timed a feed from Hughes from the top of the left circle past Binnington.

 

St. Louis countered with under four minutes to go. Perron slapped a pass from Brayden Schenn from the top of the right circle high over the glove of Markstrom.

 

Vancouver regained the lead on the power play midway through the second period. Pettersson whipped the puck under the bar off a goalmouth scramble for his second goal.

 

The Blues tied it just over a minute later when Schwartz tipped the puck past pinching Canuck defenseman Chris Tanev at the Blues' blue line, then charged in on a breakaway and beat Markstrom with a nifty backhander through the pads.

 

After Stetcher's goal, Horvat turned Blues defenseman Vince Dunn inside out, raced in and fired a wrist shot past Binnington on the blocker side.

 

Miller added the fifth goal on the power play with less than 40 seconds left.

 

Game 2 is set for Friday night.

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Pacers Edge Rockets; Bucks Star to Be Suspended

Myles Turner had 18 points, reserve Edmond Sumner added a season-high 17 and Indiana held off a late rally by Houston and James Harden to break a five-game losing streak to the Rockets, 108-104 on Wednesday.

 

It looked as if the Pacers had locked up the win when they went up 104-90 with 5:05 remaining. That's when Harden got Houston going, cutting it to 106-104 on with a driving basket with 27 seconds to go.

 

Harden had 11 of Houston's 14 points during the surge.

 

But after Victor Oladipo missed a 3-pointer, Turner tipped out the rebound to Justin Holiday with six seconds left. Holiday hit two foul shots to finish off Indiana's first victory over Houston since February 2017.

 

Indiana coach Nate McMillan let starters like Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren rest because of lingering injuries. The coach was glad to see the rest of the lineup step up in their absence of the pair, who've combined to average 36 points in a game this season.

 

Harden could not get off a final 3-pointer before the buzzer sounded. The Rockets have lost two straight for the first time since the NBA restarted the season.

 

Harden had 45 points and tied his career high with 17 rebounds. He came an assist shy of his fifth triple-double this season. It was Harden's 21st game this season with 40 points or more.

 

Holiday also has 18 points for the Pacers. Oladipo and Doug McDermont had 16 points apiece. Turner led the Pacers with 12 rebounds.

 

Jeff Green had 14 points for Houston. The Rockets struggled from the outside, going just 16 of 57 on 3-pointers.

 

McMillan said they knew Houston liked to take a lot of threes and the plan was to control the rebounds and get back quickly the other way.

 

Indiana is locked into fifth place and a matchup with No. 4 seed Miami in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Heat have won all three games against Indiana this season, including on Monday.

The two will meet Friday night to conclude the regular season. 

 

>>Bucks Antetokounmpo to be Suspended For Tuesday Headbutt of Wizards Forward

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo let his emotions get the best of him on Tuesday, and the reigning MVP is paying the price for it. In a tense second quarter between his Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Wizards, Giannis, who had been fouled several times, finally lost his temper after a charge call. The Bucks called timeout, but Antetokounmpo, in his frustration, delivered a headbutt to Wizards big man Moe Wagner. He was called for a flagrant-2 foul and ejected. 

 

As a result of the head shot, the NBA is suspending the Greek Freak for the Bucks' final seeding game Thursday against the Memphis Grizzlies, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

 

Antetokounmpo was remorseful in his actions when speaking to the media after the game.

 

Antetokounmpo said quote - "Terrible action. If I could go back and turn back time and go back to that play, I wouldn't do it. But at the end of the day, we're all human, we all make mistakes. I think I've done a great job all year, in my career, of keeping my composure and focusing on the game, but like I said, we're human, we make mistakes. But at the end of the day, learn from it, keep playing good basketball and keep moving forward."

 

In relation to why he reacted that way, the reigning MVP said that he was responding to what he felt was a build-up of emotion over the course of the game. While Wagner received the brunt of Antetokounmpo's frustration, he wasn't necessarily angry with him.

The ejection was the third of Antetokounmpo's regular-season career and fourth overall. Based on historical precedent, Antetokounmpo's one-game suspension was expected. Hasheem Thabeet (2013) and Kevin Garnett (2015) both headbutted opposing players and were suspended for their team's next game. Milwaukee's next game comes against Memphis as the Grizzlies desperately try to fight their way into the play-in tournament for the Western Conference's final playoff spot. 

Milwaukee has nothing to play for having long-since clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, so losing Antetokounmpo for a game has no bearing on its playoff future. 

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NFL, Union Agree to Daily Coronavirus Testing

The NFL extended daily coronavirus testing for players and staff until further notice even though the positive test rate from the first two weeks of camp has been less than 1 percent.

 

Under the original agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association, players and staff needed three negative tests in a four-day period before they could report to the facility and then daily testing for the next two weeks.

 

If the positive rate from that first stretch of daily testing was below 5 percent, the plan had been to shift to testing every other day.

 

But the league and the union decided Wednesday to extend that period as they use more rapid onsite testing and as contact increases when padded practices start around the league next week.

 

Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer reported that there were 53 new positives out of 2,840 tests of players upon arrival, which works out to 1.9%. The rate of new positives for all staff upon arrival was at 1.7%

 

Since then, the league has conducted 109,075 tests through Tuesday with 0.46% of all tests coming up as positive and 0.81% of players testing positive.

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No Fans to Attend The Masters This Year

The Masters, known as much for the roars as the raw beauty of Augusta National, will be on mute this year. The club decided Wednesday there will be no spectators.

 

That means all three majors in this year of COVID-19 will not have fans, and the silence figures to be most deafening at Augusta National when the Masters is played Nov. 12-15.

 

From the opening holes down to Amen Corner all the way through the back nine, players can often figure out what’s happening with others just by listening. That will be missing this year, along with the azalea and dogwood blooms from having to move it from April.

 

Golf is coming off its first major without fans last week at the PGA Championship. The U.S. Open, moved from June to Sept. 17-20 because of the pandemic, previously announced it won’t have spectators at Winged Foot.

 

The British Open announced in April it would be canceled this year.

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Cubs Pound Indians

Jon Lester looked comfortable on a mound where he helped make history, Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer and Chicago returned from a four-day layoff and rolled to a 7-1 win over the Cleveland Indians, who welcomed back manager Terry Francona after a couple bumpy days.

 

Lester (2-0) allowed three hits in six innings as the Cubs, whose weekend series at St. Louis was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the Cardinals, moved to 11-3 for the first time since 2016.

 

Four years ago, Lester pitched three scoreless innings of relief in a drama-filled Game 7 of the World Series when the Cubs beat the Indians to win their first title since 1908. This start had been delayed by the postponements, but Lester said he was picked up by his teammates, who cheered like Little Leaguers from the dugout.

 

Heyward, who drove in Chicago's first run in the second, connected for his second homer to put the Cubs ahead 6-0 in the sixth. Progressive Field is also filled with pleasant memories for Heyward, who famously called a team meeting late in Game 7 to regroup the Cubs after the Indians rallied.

 

For the first time this year the Indians gave up more than four runs, ending the second-longest run (18 games) to open a season.

 

Cleveland played for the first time since it was revealed that pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac violated team rules by leaving the team's Chicago hotel over the weekend. Both are being quarantined, although the Indians don't think they were near anyone with COVID-19 when they ventured out.

 

Clevinger had been scheduled to face the Cubs, but his risky behavior landed him on the restricted list and in the doghouse. Adam Plutko (1-1) started for Clevinger and made it clear after the game that his teammates have some making up to do to win back trust.

 

Francona returned after missing eight games to rest and treat a gastrointestinal ailment that has bothered him for nearly a year. He underwent another procedure last week at the Cleveland Clinic and said he's going to do try and finish the season.

 

The Cubs pushed a run across in the second, which began with Kyle Schwarber battling for 11 pitches - to the delight of Chicago's barking bench - before Plutko struck him out. But the at-bat may have helped Contreras, who singled, moved up on a walk and scored on Heyward's single.

 

Chicago tacked on five more in the sixth of reliever Cam Hill on a sacrifice fly by Contreras and Happ's RBI single before Heyward went deep off Phil Maton.

 

Carlos Carrasco (2-1) starts for the Indians, who will have another flashback from in 2016 when they face Kyle Hendricks (2-1). He started Game 7 when the Cubs clinched.

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Sox Right Ship, Double-Up Tigers

Eloy Jimenez hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and the Chicago White Sox snapped Detroit's four-game wining streak with an 8-4 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday night.

 

Edwin Encarnacion also went deep for the White Sox, who won for only the second time in seven games. Austin Romine hit a two-run shot for Detroit.

 

Jose Abreu had three hits, including a pair of RBI doubles.

 

Gio Gonzalez was pulled one out shy of the win. He allowed two runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Matt Foster (2-0) was credited with the win after striking out four in two perfect innings.

 

Tyler Alexander (1-1) allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first start of the season. His previous appearance was a memorable one - he struck out an American League record-tying nine straight hitters during a relief appearance Aug. 2 against Cincinnati.

 

Matthew Boyd (0-1) starts for Detroit in Wednesday's series finale against RHP Dylan Cease (2-1).

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Vegas Knocks of Blackhawks in Game 1 of Playoff Series

Shea Theodore and William Carrier scored 2:17 apart midway through the second period, Robin Lehner made 19 saves against his former team, and the Golden Knights beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoffs first-round matchup.

 

Reilly Smith scored twice in the third period as the top-seed in the Western Conference kept their scoring outburst from the round-robin seeding games going in the playoff opener. The Golden Knights scored 15 goals in the three seeding games and didn't slow down against the Blackhawks.

 

Lehner, who was traded from Chicago to Vegas in February, was the backbone of a Golden Knights defense that shut down the Blackhawks. Lehner's biggest problem was a faulty skate blade that led to delays in the second period.

 

Chicago's veteran stars Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith were mostly held quiet. Toews and Kane both hit posts, but combined the trio had just five shots on goal.

 

David Kampf scored short-handed for the Blackhawks in the second period thanks largely to the work of Brandon Saad forcing a turnover, but that was the extent of Chicago's scoring.

 

Chicago was an unexpected first-round opponent for the Golden Knights. The Blackhawks, as the No. 12 seed, were impressive in dispatching heavily-favored Edmonton in four games in the qualifying round.

 

Game 2 is Thursday.

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Big Ten, Pac-12 Pull Plug on Fall Sports

A crumbling college football season took a massive hit Tuesday when the Big Ten and Pac-12, two historic and powerful conferences, succumbed to the pandemic and canceled their fall football seasons.

 

Five months almost to the day after the first spikes in coronavirus cases in the U.S. led to the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournaments, the still-raging pandemic is tearing down another American sports institution: fall Saturdays filled with college football.

 

Despite pleas from players, coaches and President Donald Trump in recent days to play on, 40% of major college football teams have now decided to punt on a fall season, a decision that will cost schools tens of millions of dollars and upends traditions dating back a century.

 

Both conferences cited the risk of trying to keep players from contracting and spreading the coronavirus when the programs are not operating in a bubble-like the NBA and NHL are doing. They also cited the broader state of the pandemic in the United States, which has had more than 5 million cases of COVID-19.

 

Two smaller conferences, the Mid-American and Mountain West, had already announced the uncertain move to spring football. The decisions by the deep-pocketed Big Ten and Pac-12, with hundred-million-dollar television contracts and historic programs, shook the foundation of college sports.

 

The Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference released statements expressing cautious optimism. The Big 12 was quiet, but a person familiar with the conference’s discussions told The Associated Press the league was continuing to work toward playing in the fall. The Big 12 has still not released its revised schedule.

 

The Big Ten said it was postponing all fall sports and hoping to make them up in the second semester. An hour later, the Pac-12, the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl partner, said all sports would be paused until Jan. 1, including basketball.

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Clinton Schools AD Says Partial Fall Sports Season Better Than No Season

 Kids having a partial sports season is better than kids not having a sports season.

 

That is the message from Clinton Schools Athletic Director Matt Koeppel who indicates everyone was disappointed when the IESA canceled the fall sports season, though they ultimately reversed that decision within days. He believes having some sports is better than having no sports.

 

 

The junior high competition season begins this week. Koeppel anticipates hiccups ahead but indicates they will do everything they can to make sure their kids have a fall sports season.

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Tigers Down White Sox

JaCoby Jones hit an inside-the-park home run in the seventh inning and the Detroit Tigers breezed to their fourth straight victory, 5-1 over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.

 

Niko Goodrum homered and had four hits for the Tigers, who handed Chicago its fifth loss in six games. Detroit is 4-0 since returning from a four-day layoff created by a postponed series against St. Louis, which had a coronavirus outbreak.

 

White Sox slugger Jose Abreu came up limping after grounding out in the eighth and left the game.

The Tigers improved to 9-5 on the year after losing 114 games in 2019.

 

Detroit was up 3-1 in the seventh when center fielder Adam Engel went for a lunging catch on a sinking liner by Jones. Engel missed, and it's a long way out to the wall in center field at Comerica Park. Jones circled the bases and scored standing up for a two-run homer, his fifth of the season.

 

Michael Fulmer pitched three scoreless innings for Detroit, and Daniel Norris (1-1) worked two.

Gregory Soto went 1 1/3 hitless innings in relief for the Tigers.

 

Chicago starter Dallas Keuchel (2-2) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.

 

Detroit's Jeimer Candelario slapped a double down the right-field line to bring home the first run in the fourth. Goodrum hit a solo shot in the sixth, and Victor Reyes added a run-scoring single in the seventh.

 

Chicago's only run came in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Engel.

 

CJ Cron was struck by Danny Mendick's hard-hit grounder in the fourth and stayed down for a while. He eventually walked off with some assistance. Norris made an acrobatic play, hustling over to retrieve the ball and retiring Mendick with a diving tag while Cron lay on the ground in pain.

 

Tyler Alexander (1-0) starts for Detroit on Tuesday night against LHP Gio Gonzalez (0-1). Alexander makes his first start of the season. He struck out the first nine hitters he faced in an Aug. 2 relief appearance against Cincinnati.

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Heat Topple Pacers

Jimmy Butler returned from a foot injury and scored 19 points, Derrick Jones scored 18 off the Miami bench and the Heat kept T.J. Warren largely in check on the way to a 114-92 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

 

Butler also had 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

 

Tyler Herro scored 17 while Duncan Robinson and Jae Crowder each added 14 for Miami, which snapped a two-game slide. The Heat took control for good in the third quarter, blowing open what was a tie game with a 35-17 run.

 

Goran Dragic scored 11 and Bam Adebayo added 10 for Miami.

 

Warren scored 12 for Indiana on 5 for 14 shooting in 29 minutes. He came into Monday averaging a bubble-leading 34.8 points per game on 61% shooting from the field, 56% from 3-point range, but never got rolling against Butler and the Heat.

 

Victor Oladipo scored 14 and Malcolm Brogdon added 12 for Indiana.

 

Miami moved a game ahead of Indiana in the race for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Heat (44-27) and Pacers (43-28) both have two games left, and sixth-place Philadelphia (42-28) ends its regular season with three games in four days starting Tuesday.

 

The Heat own the tiebreakers over both Indiana and Philadelphia, so one more Miami victory would lock up a spot in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 series that will start early next week.

 

The teams play again Friday in the seeding-game finale for both teams and could meet in the opening round of the playoffs that start next week - raising the possibility that Miami and Indiana could face off as many as nine times in a 10-game span.

 

It was the first meeting between the clubs since Jan. 8, a game in Indiana where Butler and Warren's individual matchup stole the show.

 

What happened that night, in seven seconds of court time, has been talked about for seven months since. Warren grabbed Butler's arm on a drive midway through the third quarter, and the reaction by each player resulted in double-technicals. Butler fouled Warren on the next possession, Warren taunted him with some clapping after the call and got ejected.

 

Butler blew kisses his way, Warren offered an obscene gesture in reply and both players got fined.

The Pacers play Houston on Wednesday.

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Cardinals, Tigers Doubleheader Later This Week Postponed

A doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers this week is being postponed to allow more time for additional COVID-19 testing.

 

MLB opted to postpone Thursday’s doubleheader to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play. More details about the Cardinals’ resumption of play will be announced later this week.

 

The Cardinals had a series against Pittsburgh set to start on Monday postponed after a weekend series against the Cubs was scrapped due to three positive coronavirus tests.

 

St. Louis had two more players and a staff member test positive for the virus on Friday and have had eight positive players overall, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

 

There have now been 29 games postponed by Major League Baseball because of coronavirus concerns. The Cardinals have not played since July 30 and have had 15 games scrapped.

 

Miami and Philadelphia each had seven games postponed earlier and have returned to the field since the disruptions.

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NY Rangers Win NHL Draft Lottery

The New York Rangers got a timely assist with their rebuilding efforts.

 

New York won the second phase of the NHL draft lottery, giving the franchise a shot at selecting winger Alexis Lafreniere.

 

The Rangers were among eight teams that lost in the qualifying round with a chance to claim quite a consolation prize.

 

Carolina finished off a sweep of the Rangers last week, leading to them boarding buses in Toronto while players and coaches from other teams in the league were drinking coffee at the same hotel.

 

The Rangers have the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since they selected Andre Veilleux in 1965, four years before the universal draft began.

 

While the Rangers would rather still be skating in the playoffs, they will have the rights to draft a player for a short- and long-term gain.

 

The sturdy, 6-foot-1 Lafreniere had 114 goals and 297 points in 173 games in the Quebec Major Junior League. The 18-year-old winger also captained Canada’s gold medal-winning team and earned MVP honors at the world junior championships earlier this year.

 

The league’s bottom seven teams had their seasons concluded March 12. Those teams also ended up not winning the lottery in June. The Los Angeles Kings landed the No. 2 pick overall.

 

The winning placeholder team, which became the Rangers, got the top pick despite a 12.5% chance.

 

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the process was fair because the eight teams that were eliminated from the 24-team field would have had a chance to win the lottery if the pandemic didn’t alter the season.

 

Ottawa ended up with the third selection overall as part of the 2018 Erik Karlsson trade with San Jose along with the fifth pick overall. The league-worst Detroit Red Wings dropped to No. 4 in the first phase of the lottery.

 

The final 16 spots in the draft, which is tentatively scheduled for October, will be tied to postseason results.

 

The Rangers also were fortunate in the lottery last year, landing the No. 2 pick overall that they used to select Kaapo Kakko. The Finnish winger finished his rookie season with 10 goals and 13 assists in 66 games.

 

Lafreniere said his favorite Ranger is Artemi Panarin, who was among NHL scoring leaders with 95 points in his first season with the franchise.

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College Football Players, Coaches Joined By President to Play Football Season

President Donald Trump on Monday joined a U.S. senator and a number of coaches calling to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown as supporters pushed the premise that the players are safer because of their sport.

 

There was speculation two of the five most powerful conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — might call off their seasons and explore the possibility of spring football.

 

The Mountain West became the second conference in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivison to do just that, joining the Mid-American Conference in giving up hope on playing any sports in the first semester. Back east, Old Dominion canceled fall sports, too, becoming the first school in college football’s highest tier to break from its league; the rest of Conference USA is going forward with plans to play.

 

A Big Ten spokesman said no votes on fall sports had been taken by its presidents and chancellors as of Monday afternoon. The conference’s athletic directors were scheduled to meet later in the day, but it’s the university presidents who will have the final say on whether football is played. In the Pac-12, presidents were scheduled to meet Tuesday, a person familiar with the meeting told AP condition of anonymity because the meeting was not being made public,

 

The powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not ready to shutter its fall season.

“Best advice I’ve received since COVID-19: ‘Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day,’” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey posted on Twitter. ”Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying.”

 

A growing number of athletes have spoken out about saving the season, with Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence among a group posting to Twitter with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. Trump threw his support behind them Monday.

 

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says the Wolverines have shown that players can be safe after they return to school. He cited Michigan’s COVID-19 testing stats, including 11 positives out of 893 administered to the members of the football program and none in the last 353 tests.

 

Nebraska coach Scott Frost made similar claims and said if the Big Ten doesn’t play, that might not stop the Cornhuskers.

 

Ohio State coach Ryan Day said the Buckeyes might look elsewhere for games, too, and Penn State coach James Franklin on Twitter implored Big Ten leaders to have patience, delay and seek clarity.

 

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, picked up on the safer-with-football theme in a letter to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten.

 

On Outkick the Coverage Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also made a case for the fall college sports season. 

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IHSA Fall Sports Start Today

Illinois high school sports set to return today. The first day of fall practices begin for boys and girls golf, boys and girls cross country, girls tennis and girls swimming and diving. It’s been a long wait says IHSA executive director Craig Anderson.

 

 

The last IHSA competitions were held March 11th and then the pandemic shut everything down.

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Cardinals Series With Pirates Postponed

The upcoming St. Louis Cardinals-Pittsburgh Pirates three-game series has been postponed due to the Cardinals' coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the league announced Sunday. The outbreak has seen at least nine players and seven staff members test positive for the virus. This is the fourth series in a row to be called off for the Cardinals, who have played just five games this season.

 

The league said it made the decision "in light of the most recent positive test results."

 

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, at least one more positive COVID-19 test is expected from the Cardinals in their latest round of testing. It's unclear if the positive case is a player or staff member. On Sunday, manager Mike Shildt revealed that multiple members of the team have had to go to the emergency room because they were experiencing symptoms. 

 

The club has not played since July 29. Due to the Cardinals outbreak as well as the Marlins outbreak earlier this season, the league announced an updated schedule for the teams impacted by positive COVID-19 tests last week, but more changes will have to be made if MLB still intends for the Cardinals to try and play 60 games by late September.

 

There have already been 27 games postponed because of the coronavirus in the abbreviated 2020 season. 

 

The next scheduled game for the Cardinals is for Thursday, Aug. 13: a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

 

The Cubs will open a three-game series in Cleveland Tuesday night.

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Indians Outlast Rain, White Sox Sunday

Delino DeShields snapped a tie with a perfectly placed squeeze bunt in the 10th inning, and the Cleveland Indians topped the Chicago White Sox 5-4 on Sunday night.

 

DeShields' bunt drove in Jose Ramirez, who started the inning on second as part of baseball's extra-inning rule for the pandemic-shortened season. Mike Freeman added a two-out RBI single that gave Cleveland a 5-3 lead.

 

Veteran left-hander Oliver Perez got the final two outs following a 46-minute rain delay for his first save. It was just the fifth save of his 18-year career.

 

Phil Maton (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Jimmy Codero (0-1) allowed two runs, one earned, in the loss.

 

Jose Abreu and James McCann homered for Chicago.

 

Ramirez, who made the last out in the ninth, advanced to third in the 10th on a one-out infield single by Carlos Santana and scored on DeShields' safety squeeze. One out later, Freeman singled to center to drive in Santana.

 

In the bottom of 10th, with the rain turning from light to heavy, Nomar Mazara started on second and advanced to third on a flyout by Luis Robert. McCann followed with a fly to short center that dropped in front of Bradley Zimmer - who appeared to slip as he started to come in - for an RBI single.

 

Brad Hand then walked Danny Mendick to put runners on first and second before the game was suspended.

 

When the delay was over, Perez got Leury Garcia to pop out and struck out Yoan Moncada to close it out.

 

The game started as a battle of young aces with Lucas Giolito outdueling Shane Bieber.

 

Giolito allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings while striking out nine and walking five. Giolito retired the final seven batters he faced, including striking out the side in the seventh, and left with Chicago holding a 3-2 lead.

 

Bieber allowed three runs in six innings while striking out eight. His ERA nearly doubled from 0.83 to 1.63.

 

Indians pitcher Zach Plesac was sent back to Cleveland in a car service after violating team rules and Major League Baseball's coronavirus protocols. The 25-year-old Plesac went out with friends in Chicago on Saturday following his win against the White Sox.

 

White Sox: DH Edwin Encarnacion (left shoulder inflammation) missed his fifth straight game. He is improving and was scheduled to do more aggressive work in the batting cage Sunday night. 

 

SS Tim Anderson (strained right groin) will travel with the team to Detroit and is expected to test the injury with a full workout on Monday.

 

Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 2.55 ERA) takes the mound Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Detroit.

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Stars Knock Off Blues

Joe Pavelski tied it with 31.4 seconds left in the third period, Anton Khudobin stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout and the Dallas Stars beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in round-robin play Sunday to clinch the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

 

After Denis Gurianov scored the only goal of the shootout, Dallas will face the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs. The Stars have some momentum going into that best-of-seven series after picking up their first win of any kind since Feb. 25.

 

Defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis went winless in the round-robin and will next face the Vancouver Canucks. The Blues dropped from first in the West when the NHL season was halted in March to the conference's fourth seed.

 

Khudobin made 12 saves in regulation and overtime for the Stars, who were without top center Tyler Seguin and starting goaltender Ben Bishop. The team said they were ''unfit to play,'' and coach Rick Bowenss termed them ''day to day.''

 

Jordan Binnington did not dress, though Blues coach Craig Berube said last year's Cup-winning goalie is healthy. Robert Thomas scored on the first shot of the game, and St. Louis didn't have another goal the rest of the way.

 

The Blues scored first in all three games, but couldn't hold any lead.

 

The two teams that played in the 2019 Cup Final, the Blues and Boston Bruins, each went 0-3 in round-robin play to go from first to fourth.

 

Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko returned after missing their previous game for precautionary reasons.

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College Football Players Pushing for Season

After the Power Five conference commissioners met Sunday to discuss mounting concern about whether a college football season can be played in a pandemic, players took to social media to urge leaders to let them play.

 

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said no decisions on the season have been made, but conceded the outlook has not improved.

 

Bowlsby cited “growing evidence and the growing pool of data around myocarditis.”

 

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart and it has been found in some COVID-19 patients. There is concern it could be a long-term complication of contracting the virus even in young, healthy people, a group that has usually avoided severe cardiovascular symptoms.

 

Also Sunday night, the Big Ten’s university presidents and chancellors held a previously unscheduled meeting. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was not announced by the conference.

 

Another person with direct knowledge of the meeting said no votes were taken or decisions made about the college football season.

 

The final call on whether major college football will played this season rests in the hands of the university presidents who oversee the largest conferences.

 

Meanwhile, college football players took to social media Sunday to push for a season, led by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with a series of tweets.

 

Lawrence tweeted, quote - “People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play. Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19.”

 

Other players tweeted with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay, and within a few hours that movement merged with another. Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma State All-America running back Cuba Hubbard, Alabama running back Najee Harris and numerous other players from across the country posted a graphics with #WeWantToPlay and #WeAreUnited, the hashtag used by a group of Pac-12 players who announced a college player rights movement a week ago.

 

Under the logos of each Power Five conference — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — the players pronounced their platform. 

 

The parents of Ohio State football players weighed in, too, posting a letter saying they were confident in the university’s plan to keep their sons safe.

 

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said he has heard the same from Fighting Irish football players. Notre Dame has had only two COVID-19 cases since it began testing athletes.

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Morikawa Uses Big Weekend En Route to First Major

Collin Morikawa hit driver on the 294-yard par 4 16th that was perfect in flight and even better when it landed, hopping onto the green and rolling to 7 feet for an eagle that all but clinched victory on a mostly quiet, chilly afternoon at Harding Park.

 

In the first major without spectators, the 23-year-old Californian finished with a bang. The chip-in for birdie, the tee shot for eagle, it added to a 6-under 64 and the best closing round by a PGA champion in 25 years, and a two-shot victory over Paul Casey (66) and Dustin Johnson (68).

 

Casey, with his first good shot at winning a major, birdied the 16th to tie Morikawa for the lead.

 

Standing on the tee at the par-3 17th, he looked back and saw the ball roll toward the cup.

 

Now Morikawa has three PGA Tour victories and is No. 5 in the world, taking his place among the young stars by beating a cast of world-class players on the public course in San Francisco.

 

For Johnson, it was another major that got away. He had a one-shot lead and didn’t do too much wrong on the day except for not keeping it in the fairway for better chances of birdie. He drove into the hazard on the 16th and chipped in for birdie when it was too late, and a birdie on the 18th gave him a tie for second.

 

It was his fifth runner-up finish in a major — his only title is the 2016 U.S. Open — and his second straight runner-up in the PGA Championship.

 

Brooks Koepka proved to be all talk. He looked at the crowded leaderboard on Saturday night and didn’t see anyone with his experience of four major championships, even dishing on Johnson because he has “only won one.”

 

Koepka didn’t make a birdie until the 12th hole. He went from two shots behind to a 74, tying for 29th.

 

Matthew Wolff, who grew up with Morikawa in Southern California and turned pro last summer with him, shot a 65 and joined Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and PGA Tour rookie Scottie Scheffler at 10-under 270.

 

Cameron Champ, among eight players who had a share of the lead at some point, lost momentum with a double bogey at the turn. DeChambeau dropped two shots at the turn and never caught up until it was too late.

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Kevin Harvick Takes Two in Michigan

 Kevin Harvick won just about everything he could in a stellar weekend at Michigan International Speedway, although fittingly, Denny Hamlin was the last driver to pressure him.

 

Harvick held off Hamlin on Sunday to complete a doubleheader sweep in the NASCAR Cup Series. He’d also won Saturday’s race, and the two victories gave him six on the season — the most of any driver.

 

Hamlin, who has five victories, nearly chased Harvick down at the very end, and this weekend did nothing to dispel the notion that these two are top contenders for this year’s championship.

 

Hamlin was right behind Harvick for the final few laps and came close to passing him a couple of times, but Harvick stayed in front. Hamlin’s final desperate bid came up short at the end when Harvick crossed the finish line 0.093 seconds ahead.

 

The two Michigan races were pretty similar, with no major incidents through the first two stages.

 

Saturday’s finish was more chaotic with a number of late cautions. On Sunday, there were only three cautions, not including the yellow periods at the end of the first two stages.

 

But one of those cautions Sunday came after a wreck that knocked out two of Team Penske’s stars.

Brad Keselowski’s Ford made contact with Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 car shortly after the start of the final stage, sending the teammates slamming into the wall.

 

That wasn’t enough to ruin the day for Ford, which has now won six straight Cup races at Michigan. Harvick has taken four of the past five.

 

Harvick’s 55th career victory moved him into a 10th-place tie with Rusty Wallace, one behind Busch.

Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch remain the top drivers without a win in the points standings with four races left in the regular season.

 

Keselowski has still never won a Cup race in his home state of Michigan. He finished second Saturday in the first of the two races held without fans at MIS.

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Brewers Topple White Sox

Christian Yelich hit his first career inside-the-park homer and walked four times, helping the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago White Sox 8-3 on Thursday night.

 

Jedd Gyorko homered and drove in three runs for Milwaukee, and Mark Mathias had two hits and two RBIs. Josh Lindblom (1-0) struck out a career-high seven in five innings.

 

The Brewers and White Sox split a home-and-home series, with each team winning two games in their opponent's ballpark.

 

Yelich had been slumping this season, going 3 for 34 in his first eight games. But the 2018 NL MVP made the most of an ugly misplay by left fielder Eloy Jimenez in the fifth.

 

Rookie phenom Luis Robert went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts as the White Sox dropped their second straight game game after winning six in a row. Gio Gonzalez (0-1) was charged with five runs, four earned, and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.

 

Jimenez's miscue raised another round of questions over whether the talented White Sox slugger might be better suited for designated hitter in the long run.

 

Yelich's one-out drive dropped inside the line and just out of the reach of Jimenez, who misjudged the flight of the ball. Jimenez's momentum carried him into the protective netting. By the time he regained his footing, Yelich was flying around second base and he beat the throw home, tying it at 2.

 

After Avisail Garcia walked, Gyorko hit a two-run drive on a 3-2 pitch for his first homer of the season. Orlando Arcia tacked on an RBI single against Matt Foster, giving the Brewers a 5-2 lead.

Yelich's drive was the 30th inside-the-park homer in franchise history. He scored three times after he got Wednesday night off for a mental break.

 

Gonzalez is winless in his last 14 starts. The left-hander struck out three and walked three.

Leury Garcia also doubled home a run in the ninth. He is hitting .440 (11 for 25) with four RBIs in his last seven games for the White Sox.

 

Dylan Cease (1-1) is scheduled to start against the Indians on Friday night.

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Cardinals Back Tonight After Coronavirus Outbreak

The St. Louis Cardinals will return from an eight-day pandemic break to host the division-leading Chicago Cubs on Friday.

 

A COVID-19 outbreak within their roster forced the Cardinals to postpone a series at Milwaukee and home-and-home series against the Detroit Tigers.

 

Meanwhile, the Cubs won six straight to take control of the NL Central race. However, they fell flat Thursday night during a 13-2 road loss to the Kansas City Royals to end their winning streak.

 

The Cardinals will be without players who tested positive for the coronavirus, including shortstop Paul DeJong and catcher Yadier Molina.

 

Kwang Hyun Kim will move from the closer's role into the rotation to replace Carlos Martinez, who is on the injured list for an undisclosed reason. Right-hander Alex Reyes and lefty Genesis Cabrera joined the active roster to fortify the bullpen, which will fill the closing role by committee.

 

Infielder Brad Miller came off the injured list to help offset the loss of DeJong. Miller will share third base and designated hitter duty with Matt Carpenter and also back up Tommy Edman at shortstop. Matt Wieters will do the bulk of the catching in Molina's absence.

 

The Cardinals will start right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-1, 6.75 ERA) Friday at Busch Stadium after deciding that Jack Flaherty needed more time to rebuild arm strength. Ponce de Leon has pitched one shutout inning against the Cubs during his career.

 

Flaherty hasn't pitched since July 24 in a 5-4, season-opening victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the team was quarantined in its Milwaukee hotel, Flaherty and Co. tried to prevent rust by throwing into mattresses and pillows.

 

The Cubs will counter with left-hander Jon Lester (0-1, 0.82). He held the Pirates to one run on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts over six innings in a 2-1 victory Sunday.

 

Lester was 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals last season. In his career, he is 8-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 20 starts against St. Louis.

 

Like the Cardinals, the Cubs hope to find strength in numbers for their late-inning relief needs.

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Royals Pound Red Sox

Whit Merrifield, Maikel Franco and Jorge Soler homered, and the Kansas City Royals stopped a six-game slide by pounding the Chicago Cubs 13-2 on Thursday night.

 

Soler and Salvador Perez each had three hits and two RBIs, helping Brad Keller to the win in his first major league appearance in nearly a year. Keller (1-0), who opened the season on the injured list after testing positive for the coronavirus, struck out seven in five scoreless innings.

 

Kansas City finished with a season-high 18 hits. It scored a total of 14 runs during its losing streak.

Chicago had won six in a row. Tyler Chatwood (2-1) allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 2 1/3 innings after winning each of his two starts this year in impressive fashion.

 

Kansas City grabbed control with nine runs over the first three innings.

 

 

Soler made it 12-0 with a solo drive in seventh against his former team.

 

Struggling Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel worked the eighth, allowing a run when Alex Gordon singled in Brett Phillips.

 

Victor Caratini and Nico Hoerner each had run-scoring singles in the ninth for Chicago.

 

Jon Lester (1-0, 0.82 ERA) starts at St. Louis on Friday night. He has given up one earned run in 11 innings this season.

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Suns Topple Pacers

Deandre Ayton had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns continued their improbable run in Disney World on Thursday, beating the Indiana Pacers 114-99 for their fourth straight win. The Suns have now climbed out of the basement in the West among the teams in Orlando, while keeping their postseason hopes alive.

 

Devin Booker added 20 points and 10 assists and Cameron Johnson had 14 points and 12 rebounds as the Suns pulled away with a 21-0 run that bridged the end of the the third quarter and the start of the fourth.

 

Malcolm Brogdon had 25 points, six assists and six rebounds to lead the Pacers, who fell to 3-1 in Orlando.

 

Trailing 75-72 with 2:10 left in the third quarter, Saric scored nine of Phoenix's 14 points and Cameron Payne added the other five as the Suns finished the quarter on a 14-0 tear. Saric also had four rebounds during the stretch.

 

Dario Saric finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Payne chipped in with 15 points.

 

The win pulls the Suns out of the basement in the Western Conference among the teams in Orlando, passing Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. New Orleans lost to the Kings 140-125 earlier in the day.

 

T.J. Warren was limited to 16 points on 7-of-20 shooting for the Pacers.

The Pacers play Lakers on Saturday.

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Knights Top Blues

Mark Stone scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection with under 7 minutes left, and the Vegas Golden Knights took a big step toward clinching the top seed in the Western Conference by beating the St. Louis Blues 6-4 in round-robin play Thursday night.

 

Despite leading the conference when the NHL season was shut down in March, defending champion St. Louis can finish no higher than third and needs to beat Dallas on Sunday to avoid the No. 4 seed.

 

The Golden Knights dominated the Blues in each team's second game, outshooting them 38-17. St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington was sharp early and made 32 saves but wound up getting shelled.

Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore each scored twice for Vegas, while defenseman Zach Whitecloud and Stone added a goal each. Tuch also had an assist on Whitecloud's goal.

 

After Robin Lehner won Vegas' first game against Dallas, Marc-Andre Fleury was solid in making 13 saves against St. Louis.

 

The got two goals from defenseman Colton Parayko, David Perron's second in two games and one from Troy Brouwer, who was inserted into the lineup amid several injuries.

 

Scoring forward Vladimir Tarasenko, forward Robert Thomas and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson were all scratched for the Blues. Tarasenko's absence was precautionary.

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Jason Day Atop Loaded Leaderboard at PGA Championship

Jason Day and Brendon Todd wound up in a share of the lead Thursday after an opening-round packed with action, just not cheers. Each posted a 5-under 65 at Harding Park, where fog gave way to the sun and the wind eased just enough to make the public course accessible to reasonable scoring.

 

The one constant appears to be Koepka.

 

Just two weeks after he missed a cut and was so frustrated he said he heaved a club 70 yards during practice, he powered his way to six birdies for a 66 that left him in a large group one shot behind.

 

Day, trying to emerge from a slump that has kept him from winning since 2018 and contending in majors since 2016, hit an approach to 6 feet for birdie on No. 9, the second-toughest hole on the course at 518 yards for a par 4 at sea level.

 

Todd’s round was equally impressive. Playing in the afternoon, as the wind strengthened, Todd made seven birdies and finished with a 10-foot par putt.

 

Koepka is the two-time defending champion, presented the opportunity this week to become only the seventh player in the 160-year history of major championship golf to win the same major three years in a row. It was last done 64 years ago.

 

Koepka hasn’t won in more than a year. His left knee has been bothering him since last August. No matter. After a slow start, he quickly moved his way up the leaderboard and stayed there with a series of key putts for par — and one 12-footer for bogey — that gave him an ideal start to this major.

 

He was at 66 with eight other players, a list that included former major winners Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Zach Johnson, rising star Xander Schauffele and tour rookie Scottie Scheffler.

 

Woods ran off three birdies in a four-hole stretch toward the end of his round that offset a few mistakes. He opened with a 68, a solid start for a 15-time major champion who has played just one tournament in the last six months.

 

Woods put a new putter into play — this one is a little longer, which he says helps him practice longer without straining his surgically repaired back — and it came in handy. He made a 30-foot birdie early. He was most pleased with a 20-foot par putt on No. 18 as he made the turn.

 

 Just under one-third of the field —47 players — broke par. That included Bryson DeChambeau, who broke his driver on the seventh hole after another vicious swing. Oddly enough, it finally gave way when he leaned on it ever so slightly while picking up his tee.

 

He was able to replace it and challenged the lead — he was 4 under through 10 — until he slid back to a 68.

 

Rory McIlroy overcame three straight bogeys early in his round for an even-par 70. Justin Thomas was going along fine until a pair of double bogeys, one on the seventh hole when his ball never came down from a Monterey Cypress tree. He shot 71.

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Junior High Baseball, Softball See Increase in Numbers for Tryouts

Less than a week after announcing the cancellation of the fall sports season, the IESA last week announced they were reversing their decision and would allow fall sports to be played under guidance from the Governor's office.

 

Clinton Athletic Director Matt Koeppel on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio News, baseball saw over 30 kids tryout and softball was over 20. He believes part of the numbers increase is due to other activities being canceled, like JFL.

 

 

Junior high sports can have two competitions per week but they have to be played within a 'COVID-Zone'. Koeppel indicates this be challenging for their scheduling but he believes they will be able to make it work and also points out it will allow plenty of time for make-ups in the event of rainouts.

 

 

When competitions begin, for outdoor sports with spectators, Koeppel says they will give spacing priority to their student-athletes and parents will likely have to watch from the fences that outline the fields. He says they'll have things set up for the kids outside the dugouts for baseball and softball. 

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Illinois Gets 2020 Revised Football Schedule

The revised 2020 Illinois football schedule was released by the Big Ten Conference today, with the Fighting Illini opening the season September 3 with a Thursday Night Special against Ohio State at Memorial Stadium. Game times and television assignments will be announced at a later date. 

 

Sept. 3 Ohio State

Sept. 12 at Nebraska

Sept. 19 at Indiana

Sept. 26 Purdue

 

Oct. 3 BYE

Oct. 10 Iowa

Oct. 17 at Northwestern

Oct. 24 at Wisconsin

Oct. 31 Minnesota

 

Nov. 7 at Rutgers

Nov. 14 BYE

Nov. 21 Penn State

 

Nov. 28 BYE (All Big Ten teams bye)

 

Dec. 5 Big Ten Championship

 

Out of an abundance of caution with the COVID-19 pandemic, Varsity I Weekend and the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Induction will not occur this fall. The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are tentatively being postponed until a men's basketball weekend in early 2021. Information for traditional football weekends including Homecoming, Dad's Day and Foundation Weekend will be forthcoming from the appropriate UI campus sponsoring committees.

 

State of Illinois Restore Illinois Phase 4 guidelines allow for attendance up to 20 percent of stadium capacity. Season tickets for 2020 have sold out, however, a limited number of single-game tickets will be available exclusively to I FUND members on August 17 starting at 1 pm CT. Remaining tickets would be available to the general public on August 18 at 1 pm CT. These single-game tickets will be sold online only through FightingIllini.com.

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Brewers Blank White Sox

Adrian Houser dominated over seven innings and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the White Sox 1-0 Wednesday night to snap Chicago's six-game win streak.

 

Houser (1-0) simply dazzled in a game where Dallas Keuchel (2-1) was about as good for Chicago. The 27-year-old right-hander gave up five hits and struck out five for the win.

 

Houser started to break through last season when he split time between the rotation and the bullpen. In two starts this year, he has allowed just one run through 12 innings.

 

Mark Mathias singled in his first major league at-bat in the third inning before Eric Sogard drove him in with a base hit, and that was all Milwaukee needed.

 

Milwaukee held struggling star Christian Yelich out of the lineup, with the 2018 NL MVP and two-time defending NL batting champion mired in a season-opening 3-for-34 slump.

 

The Brewers stopped Chicago's best streak since a six-game run in April 2017. The White Sox won the previous two nights at Miller Park.

 

Keuchel struck out eight over seven innings while allowing one run and five hits. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award walked one, but fell to 0-5 in six starts against the Brewers.

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Cubs Down Royals

Yu Darvish pitched seven sharp innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the skidding Kansas City Royals 6-1 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight victory.

 

Javier Baez drove in two runs for the Cubs (10-2), who handed Kansas City its sixth consecutive defeat. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo each had two hits and scored twice.

 

Darvish (2-1) was in midseason form for the second straight outing. He gave up five hits, struck out four and walked one.

 

With the score 2-1, the Royals' best chance to tie the game came in the sixth when Whit Merrifield was on third with one out. Darvish struck out Ryan O'Hearn and retired Salvador Perez on a grounder, ending the threat.

 

The Cubs capitalized on one bad stretch for Royals starter Kris Bubic, who set down his first nine batters, including four strikeouts, before Bryant singled in the fourth.

 

Rizzo followed with a walk, and then a bloop hit by Baez tied it 1-all. Willson Contreras grounded into a double play, but Rizzo scored to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

 

The Cubs took advantage of two fielding mistakes in the eighth and ninth, tacking on four runs to make it 6-1.

 

Bubic (0-2), making his second career start, went six innings and gave up two runs. He struck out six.

 

Brad Keller makes his season debut Thursday night after returning from the IL due to COVID-19. Tyler Chatwood (2-0, 0.74 ERA) will start for the Cubs.

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Cardinals Return to St. Louis, Prepare for Weekend Series With Cubs

The St. Louis Cardinals returned to the field for light workouts Wednesday, nearly a week after an outbreak of COVID-19 forced the club and its staff members to quarantine in Milwaukee and set the rest of their season into upheaval.

 

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt called it “a breath of fresh air” after five days spent in The Pfister Hotel, where players tried to keep their arms limber by throwing baseballs into mattresses and pillows. The Cardinals had returned 13 positive tests in their traveling party, seven of those players, forcing them to suspend their season.

 

They were finally cleared to travel back to St. Louis late Tuesday when they returned negative tests for the second straight day. Their flight left Wednesday morning and that gave them the afternoon and Thursday to get in workouts.

 

Among the players that confirmed they tested positive for COVID-19 were a pair of All-Stars in catcher Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong. All-Star right-hander Carlos Martinez also went on the injured list, though no reason was given, which means the Cardinals will be down seven players when they take on their bitter NL Central rivals.

 

To help fill the vacancies, which become two fewer with rosters reduced from 30 players to 28 on Thursday, the Cardinals recalled pitchers Alex Reyes and Genesis Cabrera from their alternate training site in Springfield, Missouri. They also purchased the contracts of infielder Max Schrock and pitcher Roel Ramirez, neither of whom has appeared in a big-league game, while placing infielder Rangel Ravelo on the injured list and adding catcher Jose Godoy to the taxi squad.

 

The Cardinals will resume their season against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night at Busch Stadium.

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MLB Tightening Virus Protocols

Major League Baseball is cracking down on coronavirus safety protocols, mandating that players and staff wear face coverings at all times, including in the dugouts and bullpens, except for players on the field of play.

 

The league sent a memo to teams Wednesday outlining changes to its 2020 operations manual after outbreaks on the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals led to 21 postponements in the first two weeks of a shortened 60-game season.

 

The memo, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday night, says that repeated or flagrant violators of the protocols could be banned from participating in the 2020 season and postseason.

 

That includes those who don’t wear face coverings while watching from the dugout. Although such measures were suggested in MLB’s operations manual before Wednesday, some players have continued to not wear face masks, offer high fives, spit and violate the protocols in other ways during games.

 

Umpires are also being instructed to wear face masks at all times, except when it would make it unfeasible for them to do their jobs.

 

Compliance officers have been appointed for each team, and they have been charged with enforcing protocols outlined in the operations manual in an effort to keep baseball’s season running.

 

Players and staff must wear face coverings at all times at team hotels and in public places while on the road. On team buses and airplanes, personnel must wear surgical masks or N95/KN95 respirators.

 

At hotels, teams have been instructed to provide a large private room -- a ballroom, for instance -- where staff and players can get food and other amenities with enough space to keep their distance. Players are discouraged from talking to each other or facing each other if their mask is pulled down while eating.

 

If players want to leave the hotel, they must get approval first from the team’s compliance officer.

While in their home cities, players and staff are banned from visiting bars, lounges, malls or other places where groups of people are gathered.

 

Clubs are being instructed to provided spaces for visiting players that are covered and outdoors, and that home and visiting teams must have access to areas where personnel can socially distance during weather delays. Players are being told to use those outdoor areas as much as possible, rather than linger in the clubhouse.

 

Among other changes: teams must limit the size of traveling parties to essential personnel, maintain unoccupied rows between passengers on team buses, and distance seating on airplanes while ensuring players do not change locations.

 

MLB said in the memo it made many of the changes after evaluating the results of its investigation into the Marlins outbreak. The league also said it is working with the union to review contact tracing protocols, specifically the requirements for identified close contacts. Close contacts do not currently include passing interactions or physical contact unlikely to pass secretions, such as elbow bumps.

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Blackhawks Outlast Oilers

Matthew Highmore tied the score with 5:47 left in the third period, and Jonathan Toews got his second of the game 4 1/2 minutes later to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of their qualifying round series Wednesday night.

 

Leon Draisaitl scored twice for Edmonton, and Connor McDavid got his fifth of the series to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead with 8 seconds left in the second period. Koskinen had 21 saves as Edmonton was pushed to the brink of elimination in the best-of-five series.

 

Maatta got the Blackhawks on the board first at 9:14 of the opening period with a slap shot from the blue line through traffic past a screened Koskinen.

 

Draisaitl responded 28 seconds later., converting one-timer off a pass from Tyler Ennis through the crease.

 

Edmonton got into penalty trouble late in the first and Chicago made the Oilers pay. On a 5-on-3 advantage, Kirby Dach centered the puck into a scrum of bodies in the crease. The puck bounced off Toews' skate and in with 5 seconds left in the period.

 

The Oilers tied it at 4:07 of the second. Catching the Blackhawks running around in their own end, Oilers defenseman Matt Benning stepped into a blue-line slap shot that bounced off Crawford's pad to Draisaitl, who knocked in the rebound.

 

McDavid gave Edmonton a 3-2 lead on the power play late int he period. Draisaitl shot the puck from the right half boards. Crawford stopped it with his pad, but McDavid scooped up the rebound.

Highore tied it as he tipped Slater Koekkoek's slap shot over Koskinen's shoulder.

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White Sox Get By Brewers

Jose Abreu hit a tiebreaking two-out single in the seventh inning, helping Lucas Giolito and the White Sox edge the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 on Tuesday. The White Sox have won six straight games for the first time since April 2017.

 

White Sox rookie second baseman Nick Madrigal left the game in the third inning after he was thrown out trying to get from first to third on a single up the middle. Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion departed in the sixth.

 

Renteria said both had soreness in their left shoulders and will be re-evaluated Wednesday.

The White Sox overcame the losses of both players to rally in the late innings, thanks once again to Abreu.

 

After Milwaukee's Ben Gamel and Chicago's Eloy Jimenez hit two-run homers, the White Sox broke the tie in the seventh by capitalizing on the Brewers' mistakes.

 

A throwing error by shortstop Eric Sogard allowed leadoff batter Danny Mendick to reach second. Brewers reliever Devin Williams (0-1) responded by striking out Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada, but Mendick advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored the go-ahead run on Abreu's hit.

 

The Brewers threatened in the eighth and ninth but couldn't tie the game.

 

Alex Colome earned his third save when Gamel grounded out with runners on third and second after consecutive two-out hits by Ryon Healy and Omar Narvaez.

 

Brock Holt walked and Sogard singled to start the eighth, but Jimmy Cordero got of the jam as Keston Hiura grounded into a double play and Christian Yelich struck out looking.

 

Giolito (1-1) struck out nine and allowed two runs, three walks and four hits in six innings. He spent much of the night dueling with Woodruff, who also allowed two runs over six innings. Woodruff scattered eight hits while striking out six and walking one.

 

The pandemic is preventing the between-inning sausage races from taking place at Miller Park this year, but the tradition hasn't been scrapped entirely. It's just moving out of the ballpark.

 

The sausage races instead are taking place at various Milwaukee-area locations and being shown on the Miller Park scoreboard and on social media at select home games. For Monday's home opener, the Polish sausage won a race that took place at the Sheboygan Falls headquarters of Johnsonville, the event's sponsor. The chorizo won Tuesday's race, with the Milwaukee Art Museum serving as the backdrop.

 

The Brewers and White Sox continue this four-game series but move it to Chicago for matchups Wednesday and Thursday.

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Cardinals Cleared to Travel, Resume Playing Friday

The St. Louis Cardinals received negative results from a round of rapid COVID-19 testing and are now free to travel and return to the field. The team had been quarantining in its Milwaukee hotel room following a cluster of 13 positive cases in recent days, including seven players. Team president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced the lifted restrictions during a Tuesday night Zoom call with media. 

 

The Cardinals are scheduled to begin a three-game series against the rival Cubs on Friday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Barring the unexpected, that series should proceed as planned. Per MLB.com's Anne Rogers, the team will return to St. Louis on Wednesday and conduct a Thursday workout in advance of the Cubs series.

 

The Cardinals will enter that series short-handed, as they'll be without catcher Yadier Molina and shortstop Paul DeJong, who were among the Cardinals players to test positive. They'll also be without starter Carlos Martinez, who was placed on the IL for undisclosed reasons. Infielders Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo and right-handed relievers Junior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley also tested positive for COVID-19 and are on the IL. The outbreak caused two scheduled series, one against the Brewers in Milwaukee and another against the Tigers in Detroit, to be postponed.

 

The Cardinals are not the only team to experience a COVID-19 outbreak this year. The Marlins had 21 members of their traveling party test positive last week, including 18 players. Miami returned to action Tuesday night against the Orioles.

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Cubs Outlast Royals

Jason Heyward, Jason Kipnis, and Willson Contreras homered and the Chicago Cubs overcame another shaky outing by closer Craig Kimbrel to beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.

 

Kimbrel took over to begin the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead, but struggled again and allowed two runs and two hits while getting only one out. He's yielded six runs in 1 2/3 innings in three appearances this season.

 

Cubs reliever Kyle Ryan closed it out for his first save, getting Bubba Starling to ground out sharply to third baseman Kris Bryant with a runner on third to end it. Bryant made a nifty play, ranging to his right and toward the line to glove the ball before throwing to first.

 

Kyle Hendricks tossed seven solid innings to help the Cubs improve to 9-2, their best start through 11 games since 2016 when they went on to win the World Series.

 

Hendricks (2-1) allowed two runs on seven hits but walked none as he rebounded from a shaky loss last Wednesday at Cincinnati. Jeremy Jeffress pitched a perfect eighth before the Royals rallied in the ninth.

 

Mondesi had three hits and an RBI for the Royals, who lost their fifth straight and dropped to 3-9.

Brady Singer (0-1), making his third major league start on his 24th birthday, allowed four runs - on two-run homers by Heyward and Kipnis -and five hits, while striking out eight.

 

Although Jorge Soler drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, the former Cubs player failed to reach base in ending a 25-game streaking dating to last Sept. 14.

 

Hendricks, who pitched a three-hit shutout against Milwaukee on opening day, gave up three straight hits to open the second. The Royals stopped a 26-inning scoreless drought at Wrigley Field.

 

Yu Darvish (1-1, 2.70) takes the mound when the two teams meet in Kansas City on Wednesday night. Darvish tossed six scoreless innings against Pittsburgh last Friday for the win. Royals LHP Kris Bubic (0-1, 4.50) makes his second career start. He yielded three runs, all on Adam Engel's homer, in losing his major league debut to the White Sox last Friday.

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Pacers Drop Magic

T.J. Warren scored 32 points, tying Jermaine O'Neal's franchise record for most in a three-game span, to send the Indiana Pacers past the Orlando Magic 120-109 on Tuesday for their third consecutive victory.

 

Warren has topped the 30-point mark in each game at Walt Disney World, starting with his 53-point outburst in the opener. He has 119 points (39.7 per game) in the restart.

 

Myles Turner added 21 points for the Pacers.

 

Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, whose season-best five-game winning streak ended. Aaron Gordon added 20 points for Orlando, trying to claim its second straight playoff appearance for the first time since a six-year run ended in 2011-12.

 

Warren again proved to be the catalyst as the Pacers scored the first 10 points and needed less than five minutes to take a 17-3 lead. They made it 43-20 after one and led by as much as 26 before Orlando righted itself in the second half.

 

The Magic opened the third quarter with eight straight points and eventually cut the deficit to 78-66 after back-to-back baskets from Vucevic. But Indiana responded with a 10-2 spurt to make it 88-68 and Orlando couldn't get closer than 12 until the final minute.

 

The Pacers face Phoenix on Thursday, seeking a third consecutive season sweep.

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PGA Championship Features Dynamic Groupings

It took four months of waiting, but the first (and only) major championship of 2019-20 season has finally arrived with the 102nd PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park teeing off on Thursday. The golf world has turned its attention to the San Francisco area for this rescheduled, back-to-August edition of the championship that is set to include 95 of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Rankings along with 20 PGA of America professionals from across the country. 

 

The headlines for the event are plentiful, even without considering the absence of fans or the change in date amid the coronavirus. Two-time winner Brooks Koepka is chasing history to become the first player to win three straight since Walter Hagen captured four straight in the 1920s. Jordan Spieth is chasing the career grand slam. And because of the shifts in the PGA Tour schedule, the PGA Championship is the penultimate event before the beginning of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. 

 

Tiger Woods is also looking to win his 16th major championship and 83rd PGA Tour event, which would break the tie for first with Sam Snead and make him the winningest player in tour history. 

All of these storylines and more -- including Bryson DeChambeau's first major since bulking up, Jon Rahm looking to reclaim the No. 1 ranking in the world and newly-minuted No. 1 Justin Thomas adding a second Wanamaker Trophy to his rapidly expanding trophy case -- will converge when the action gets underway on Thursday.

 

2020 PGA Championship tee times, Thursday pairings

 

Tee No. 1

 

4:14 p.m. -- Kevin Na, Patrick Reed, Robert MacIntyre
4:25 p.m. -- Matthew Wolff, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell
4:36 p.m. -- Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Hideki Matsuyama
4:47 p.m. -- Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Scott
4:58 p.m. -- Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia

 

Tee No. 10

 

10:27 a.m. -- Tony Finau, Danny Willett, Patrick Cantlay
10:38 a.m. -- Martin Kaymer, Jason Dufner, Jason Day
10:49 a.m. -- Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Steve Stricker
11 a.m. -- Henrik Stenson, Collin Morikawa, Zach Johnson
11:11 a.m. -- Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland, Shane Lowry
11:22 a.m. -- Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose
11:33 a.m. -- Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas
12:06 p.m. -- Corey Conners, Zach J. Johnson, Chez Reavie

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White Sox Rally Past Brewers

Jose Abreu hit a tying, two-run homer in the seventh inning, Leury Garcia scored on a wild pitch in the eighth and Yoan Moncada added a solo shot in the ninth to lift the Chicago White Sox over Milwaukee 6-4 in the Brewers' belated home opener Monday night

 

Chicago has won five straight, all on the road. Starter Carlos Rodon was pulled after two innings with left shoulder soreness, but Ross Detwiler (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, and Alex Colome worked the ninth for his second save.

 

Nomar Mazara, reinstated from the injured list before the game, moved Garcia to third with a pinch-hit single in the sixth off David Phelps (1-1). Phelps walked Nick Madrigal on a wild pitch that allowed Garcia to score.

 

Moncada connected off Corey Knebel leading off the ninth.

 

Avisail Garcia doubled, singled and drove in three for Milwaukee. His two-out single off Steve Cishek with the bases loaded in the fifth gave Milwaukee a 4-2 lead.

 

Ben Gamel added a two-out RBI single in the sixth, but that was it for Milwaukee as the White Sox bullpen shut them down after the sixth.

 

Leury Garcia went 3 for 4 with three singles for Chicago.

 

Lucas Giolito (0-1, 6.52 ERA) makes his third start of the season, second on the road and first against the National League. He is 1-6 with a 6.96 ERA during interleague play, including 1-3 with a 7.57 ERA in five starts on the road.

 

Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.59 ERA) looks to build on beating the Pirates 3-0 on Wednesday when he allowed one hit in 6 1/3 innings. He has never faced the White Sox.

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Cubs Blank Royals

Kris Bryant homered in his return to the lineup and Alec Mills pitched seven effective innings, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Kansas City Royals 2-0 on Monday night for their fourth consecutive win.

 

Javier Baez had a sacrifice fly and a nice play in the field as NL Central-leading Chicago improved to 8-2 for the first time since 2016. Bryant also doubled in the first after missing two games with a stomach ailment.

 

Mills (2-0) allowed three hits, struck out four and walked three on a wet, windy night at Wrigley Field. Mills got a chance to start when Jose Quintana had surgery on his left thumb last month, but the right-hander is making a strong bid to keep his spot in the rotation.

 

Kansas City wasted a solid performance by Danny Duffy, who pitched six innings of one-run ball. The Royals finished with five hits in their fourth straight loss.

 

Bryant connected for his first homer of the season in the seventh, hitting a drive to center off Ian Kennedy. The 2016 NL MVP struggled in his first six games of the year, going 3 for 25 at the plate.

Mills allowed two runners in each of the first two innings and one more in the third and fourth, but danced out of trouble each time. He got Franchy Cordero to bounce to first with runners on the corners for the final out of the first.

 

Mills got some help when Baez made a slick tag at second to catch Adalberto Mondesi attempting to steal in the fourth, ending the inning. Third baseman David Bote also made a great, barehand play to rob Mondesi of a hit in the seventh.

 

Duffy (0-2) matched Mills zero for zero until the fifth. The Cubs loaded the bases on two walks and a single. After Anthony Rizzo popped out, Baez drove in Nico Hoerner with a liner to right for a sacrifice fly.

 

Duffy then coaxed Willson Contreras into an inning-ending groundout, but the damage was done. The left-hander allowed three hits, struck out six and walked four in his third start of the season.

 

Jose Quintana threw 30 pitches during a bullpen. He is scheduled for a two-inning simulated game Thursday at the team's alternate site in South Bend, Indiana.

 

Right-handers Brady Singer and Kyle Hendricks get the ball when the series resumes Tuesday night. Singer (0-0, 3.60 ERA) is making his third major league start for Kansas City on his 24th birthday. Hendricks (1-1, 4.05 ERA) is looking to bounce back after he allowed six runs and seven hits over 4 1/3 innings in Chicago's 12-7 loss at Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

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More in Cardinals Organization Test Positive, Series in Detroit Called-Off

The number of positive tests in the St. Louis Cardinals' COVID-19 outbreak grew to 13 on Monday, Major League Baseball announced. Seven positive tests were from players and six were from staff members. The league postponed St. Louis' four-game series against the Tigers that was scheduled to run Tuesday-Thursday after the latest round of testing.

 

The Cardinals did not play their weekend series against the Brewers after learning of multiple positive tests late Thursday night. They now will have seven games in a row postponed due to the outbreak. MLB is still planning on the Cardinals playing the Cubs on Friday.

 

The Cardinals are the second MLB team dealing with an outbreak in a season that is not yet two weeks old. The Miami Marlins had four players test positive last weekend, and that number grew to 18 over the course of the week.

 

Another concern is whether the Cardinals spread the disease to the Minnesota Twins, their opponents and hosts earlier this week. The Twins have not had anyone test positive and were on the field for a four-game series against Cleveland that started Thursday. If there is good news in that regard, it's that team-to-team transmission during a game seems unlikely.

 

The Philadelphia Phillies, who played a series against the Marlins, have not yet had a player test positive, the team announced on Saturday. 

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Logistical Concerns Cancels Cardinals, White Sox Field of Dreams Game

Before the global pandemic fundamentally altered life and the Major League Baseball calendar, one of the original schedule's novelties was the "Field of Dreams" game that was supposed to take place at the movie's filming site in Dyersville, Iowa. '

 

The game was still on the docket as part of the revised, 60-game regional schedule, with the St. Louis Cardinals (who had taken the place of the New York Yankees) and the Chicago White Sox slated to play in front of the ghosts and the corn next Thursday. On Monday, however, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported that the game had officially been scrapped. Rosenthal reports the game is being called off due to "logistical" issues rather than the Cardinals' mounting COVID-19 outbreak. 

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Oilers Double Up Blackhawks, Even NHL Return to Play Play-In Series

Connor McDavid recorded his first playoff hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, tying their best-of-five qualifying series at one game apiece.

 

McDavid scored 19 seconds into the game, then off an electrifying solo rush just past the four-minute mark, and once more on the power play late in the second period on Monday night.

 

At the 4:05 mark, McDavid knocked down a stretch pass in full stride at center ice and, with his speed, blew past Chicago defenseman Olli Maatta on the backhand and flipped the puck up and over the short-side left shoulder of Crawford.

 

Chicago battled back, but never took the lead.

 

Midway through the first frame, Alex DeBrincat, circling the net, fed a backhand pass to Patrick Kane, who jumped into the play and redirected the puck low stick side on the far side past Edmonton goalie Mikko Koskinen.

 

Edmonton outshot Chicago 35-26, after being outshot 42-29 in the opener.

 

McDavid, the NHL's second-leading scorer in the regular season (34 goals, 97 points), had a goal and two assists in the opening game but he, along with the rest of his team, had been roundly criticized for getting outhustled and outmuscled by the lower-ranked Hawks in a 6-4 loss in Saturday's opener.

 

Game 3 is Wednesday night.

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Pacers Beat Wizards

T.J. Warren kept up his red-hot restart with 34 more points, helping the Indiana Pacers pull away from the Washington Wizards for a 111-100 victory Monday.

 

Two nights after scoring a career-best 53 points in the Pacers' first game at Disney, Warren had 16 points in the third quarter to spark a 22-2 run after Washington had fought back into the game.

Warren shot 14 for 26 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who improved to 2-0 since resuming the season. They played without star guard Victor Oladipo, who rested on the first night of back-to-back games.

 

Indiana pulled within a game of Miami for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

 

Malcolm Brogdon had 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists in his Disney debut, and Myles Turner and Aaron Holiday each added 17 points.

 

Thomas Bryant had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards, who fell to 0-3 at Disney and likely won't be sticking around terribly long. They dropped to 7 1/2 games behind eighth-place Brooklyn and need to be within four games to force a play-in for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

 

Washington had a 38-31 lead in the second quarter, but the Pacers ripped off a 20-2 run to take a 51-40 lead on Myles Turner's three-point play with 1:39 left.

 

The Wizards recovered and trailed just 68-66 after Bryant's 3-pointer with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter. But Turner had a dunk before Warren scored the next eight points, converting a pair of three-point plays, to kick off the second big run and Washington couldn't bounce back from that one.

The Pacers play Orlando on tonight.

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Illini's Dosunmu, Cockburn Returning to Illinois

Illinois basketball star Ayo Dosunmu plans to return for his junior season rather than turn pro.

 

The first-team, all-Big Ten guard said in a video posted Friday on Twitter playing in the NBA is his dream. “But first, I need that national championship. Year three,” he added.

 

Dosunmu declared for the draft in April. He averaged 16.6 points — fifth in the conference — and shot 48.4 percent.

 

Big Ten Freshman of the Year Kofi Cockburn is returning to Illinois for his sophomore season.

 

The 7-foot, 290-pound Cockburn posted “IM BACK ??” with a graphic on Twitter on Saturday. The announcement means the Illini will have their top two players return from a team that was in line to make the NCAA Tournament last season, after all-conference guard Ayo Dosunmu said Friday he plans to return for his junior year rather than turn pro.

 

Cockburn, who’s from Jamaica and played at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, averaged 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds — a record for an Illinois freshman.

 

The Illini have four starters returning from a team that went 21-10 overall and 13-7 in conference play. They were in line for their first NCAA appearance before the season got shut down because because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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White Sox Blast Royals

Nick Madrigal followed his first career hit with three more on Sunday, pacing the Chicago White Sox to a 9-2 romp over the Kansas City Royals. The 23-year-old infielder had a pair of hits in a seven-run seventh inning, when he scored the go-ahead run and had his first career RBI, and barely missed out on a 5-for-5 day on a ground ball in the ninth inning.

 

Yasmani Grandal added three RBIs and Nicky Delmonico two in support of right-hander Dylan Cease (1-1), who gave up a homer to Alex Gordon in the third inning but otherwise steered clear of trouble. Cease wound up allowing two runs and five hits over six innings in a solid bounce-back performance from a miserable start in Detroit.

 

Madrigal, the fourth overall pick out of Oregon State in the 2018 draft, had been hitless through two games. He finally got the first of his career in the third inning - and the White Sox made sure he got the ball - then added another in the fifth before scoring on a bases-loaded walk.

 

Madrigal put an exclamation mark on his big afternoon in the seventh. He led off with a single and scored the go-ahead run on Jose Abreu's base hit, then singled again and drove in his first career run when the White Sox batted through the lineup.

 

If not for Salvador Perez beating him to first base in the ninth, it would have been even more spectacular.

 

Tyler Zuber walked three while recording just two outs. 

 

The White Sox conclude an eight-game, nine-day trip with left-hander Carlos Rodon (0-1, 12.27 ERA) on the mound Monday night in the opener of a two-game series in Milwaukee.

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Cubs Outlast Pirates in Extra Innings

Javier Baez singled through a drawn-in infield in the 11th inning, scoring David Bote from third base and giving the Chicago Cubs a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

 

Bote, who made the last out in the 10th, started the inning on second base as mandated by Major League Baseball's extra-inning rule for the pandemic-shortened season. He advanced to third on a deep fly to right by Anthony Rizzo and jogged home on Baez's first career game-ending hit against Cody Ponce (0-1).

 

Jeremy Jeffress (1-0) worked a scoreless 11th for the win.

 

The game was delayed 64 minutes by rain before the bottom of the ninth.

 

Chicago has won 10 straight games against Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field. The Cubs outscored the Pirates 81-31 in the previous nine games, hitting 24 homers during that span.

 

In both the 10th and 11th, the Pittsburgh runner on second base to start the inning made a baserunning out. In the 10th, catcher Jacob Stallings tried to score from second on a single by Josh Bell with no outs and was thrown out by left fielder Kyle Schwarber. In the 11th, Kevin Newman was thrown out at third trying to advance on a grounder to shortstop.

 

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first on Newman's first homer of the season.

 

After being held without a baserunner in the first four innings, the Cubs tied it at 1 in the fifth. Willson Contreras led off with a double and Schwarber followed with a liner off the wall in center for an RBI double.

 

Cubs starter Jon Lester allowed four hits in six innings.

 

Pirates starter Steven Brault retired all nine batters he faced in three innings, striking out four.

 

Chicago star Kris Bryant was out of the lineup for a second straight game, a day after reporting a stomach ailment. Bryant was tested for the coronavirus on Friday and Saturday, and the Cubs said both tests were negative. He is scheduled to be tested again on Monday.

 

Alec Mills (1-0) makes his second start of the season in the opener of a two-game series against Kansas City at Wrigley on Monday night.

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Avalanche Rallies Past Blues

Nazem Kadri scored a buzzer-beating power-play goal to give the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 comeback victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in Western Conference round-robin play Sunday night.

 

Kadri's shot crossed the goal line with 0.1 seconds on the clock. The NHL reviewed the play for several minutes before calling it a good goal.

 

Colorado took an early lead in the seeding race among the top four teams in the West. The Avalanche, Blues, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars have byes into the traditional first round of the NHL playoffs and will each face the winner of a best-of-five qualifying round series.

 

The frenzied finish included St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo going off slowly after taking a shot off the side of his right knee, teammate Alex Steen taking a penalty and the Avalanche putting goaltender Jordan Binnington and the Blues penalty kill under siege and got even crazier with Kadri's goal.

 

The Blues wasted a 36-save performance from Binnington, who was as sharp as he was during the 2019 playoffs. He made 16 saves in the first period.

 

David Perron scored a power-play goal for the Blues in the first period, and Ryan Graves tied it for the Avalanche in the third. Sandwiched in between was a penalty-filled second period in which Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog boarded Zach Sanford - a two-minute minor penalty that may warrant a look from the league's department of player safety.

 

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced, and the Avalanche carried over their domination of the Blues from the shortened regular season.

 

The Blues will be the ''home'' team against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.

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Keselowski Holds Off the Field at New Hampshire

Brad Keselowski, the 2012 Cup champion took the checkered flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, beating Hamlin by 1.647 seconds after trading the lead with him for most of the 301-lap race.

 

The two swapped stage wins and held the lead a combined 18 times before Keselowski claimed his third victory since the sport returned from the pandemic shutdown, along with the now-traditional prize of a 18-pound, live lobster. 

 

Hamlin also finished second in New Hampshire last year following a sprint to the finish that left him 0.210 seconds behind Kevin Harvick. Hamlin has five victories this year, including last week in Kansas.

Martin Truex Jr. was third after working his way back from the rear of the field because of a penalty for a runaway tire in the pits. Joey Logano was fourth and Harvick fifth.

 

Kyle Busch was last after a flat front right tire on the backstretch sent him skidding into the wall after just 15 laps. The reigning Cup champion is a 12-time winner in New Hampshire, including three in the top series.

 

Hamlin won the first stage after fighting for the lead with Keselowski and Ryan Blaney. Keselowski took the second stage, passing Hamlin on the final lap of a two-lap sprint following a series of cautions late in the stage. It was his sixth stage win – the most of any driver.

 

In his last start in New Hampshire, where he swept the Cup Series events in 2003, Jimmie Johnson recovered from an early spin to finish 12th. The seven-time NASCAR champion finished the day 18th in the playoff race -- below the cut line -- and has only six races left to make up ground.

 

Others on the bubble jostling for the 16 playoff spots are 14th-place Clint Bowyer, who finished 18th on Sunday, Matt DiBenedetto (15th, finished sixth), William Byron (16th, finished 11th), Tyler Reddick (17th, finished 10th), Johnson and Erik Jones (19th, finished 24th).

 

Bubba Wallace and Corey LaJoie were sent to the back of the grid because of improperly mounted ballast that was discovered during pre-race inspection. Both crews were also docked 10 points in the driver and owner standings.

 

Jerry Baxter, the crew chief for Wallace’s No. 43 car, and Ryan Sparks, the crew chief doe LaJoie’s No. 32, were suspended for the race.

 

Wallace finished 23rd. He is also a free agent, and Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner Andrew Murstein said earlier Sunday that the team had offered Wallace an ownership stake as part of a proposed extension.

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Justin Thomas Surges Early, Wins FedEx St. Jude Invitational to Return to No. 1 in World

Justin Thomas dueled defending champion Brooks Koepka down the final holes, sealing the World Golf Championship victory on the par-5 16th. Thomas took the lead for good with his second straight birdie, while Koepka bogeyed the hole.

 

Koepka pulled within a stroke with a 39-footer for birdie on No. 17. But Koepka put his tee shot into the water along the 18th fairway on his way to double bogey, allowing Thomas to finish up an easy par putt for what wound up a three-stroke victory.

 

Thomas closed with a 5-under 66 to finish at 13-under 267 and take the $10.5 million winner’s check for his 13th PGA Tour title. At 27, he became the third-youngest player since 1960 to reach 13 PGA Tour wins, trailing only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

 

The last time Thomas was No. 1, he spent four weeks at the top of the ranking. He will supplant Jon Rahm, who became No. 1 after winning at Memorial two weeks ago and tied for 52nd this week.

 

Koepka will go to TPC Harding Park in San Francisco looking to defend his PGA Championship title, and he said he’s feeling good about how he’s playing. He finished with a 69 and tied for second with Phil Mickelson (67), Daniel Berger (65) and Tom Lewis (66).

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