Local Sports

Football Coaches Finding Empty Friday Nights Friendly in Neighboring States

What does a hall of fame football coach due with his Friday nights when he should be coaching young men and women?

 

For Monticello hall of fame football coach Cully Welter, he is finding neighboring Indiana to be a place of solace from the shutdown of high school football in Illinois. Coach Welter says Indiana athletic directors are sympathetic to the situation facing Illinois coaches.

 

 

Coach Welter's wife, Angela, is a mainstay in the press box for the football program handling the filming of the games. Coach Welter believes she is misisng the games as well and says behind any great coach is a supportive wife. 

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Cardinals Open Crucial 4-Game Set With Milwaukee With Win

Yadier Molina singled twice to reach 2,000 career hits and the St. Louis Cardinals began a five-game series between playoff contenders by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Thursday night.

 

Rookie Dylan Carlson homered, doubled and drove in three runs as the Cardinals (28-26) kept their slim lead over Cincinnati (29-28) for second place in the NL Central. St. Louis trails division leader Chicago by 2 1/2 games.

 

Milwaukee (27-29) missed a chance to move up in the wild-card standings. The Brewers and Cardinals play four more times this weekend, including a doubleheader Friday.

 

St. Louis starter Kwang Hyun Kim (3-0) went five innings to pick up the win. He allowed five hits and just one run in his seventh career start. Andrew Miller got the final two outs - both on strikeouts - to record his fourth save.

 

Corbin Burnes (4-1), who began the day with a 1.77 ERA, left the game with lower back discomfort in the fourth inning. He pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and six hits.

 

Carlson, the No. 1 St. Louis prospect, gave the Cardinals a 3-1 lead with a two-run homer in the fourth after Dexter Fowler drew a one-out walk.

 

The clubs will play a doubleheader today. Brent Suter (2-0, 3.58) starts Game 1 and Josh Lindblom (2-3, 4.81) will pitch the nightcap.

 

Jack Flaherty (4-2, 4.84)will start Game 1 and RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-3, 5.74) will start Game 2. Flaherty makes his 12th career start against the Brewers, his most against any MLB opponent. In his last start against Milwaukee on Sept. 15, Flaherty allowed a career-high nine runs on eight hits in three innings as the Brewers went on to win 15-3.

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Monticello Athletic Director Expresses Frustration With Sports Situation

Criticism is coming from all directions towards Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the IHSA over high school football, volleyball and soccer being banned in Illinois.

 

Monticello athletic director Dan Sheehan defended the IHSA noting they were ready to roll out a plan to play in the summer before the Governor and IDPH stepped in. He says there's a lot of considerations on the table for the IHSA.

 

 

According to Sheehan, the frustration for him is the data suggests things with COVID are going so well in Illinois and believes other states with higher infection rates are making sports work - leading him to ask - why can't Illinois make it work.

 

 

Sheehan has his doubts on if winter sports will be a possibility at this time given the guidance Governor Pritzker laid out in August.

 

 

Sheehan wanted to attend the rallies in Springfield over the weekend but obligations at the Monticello sports campus kept him from going. From all indications of what he heard second-hand, things went very well but notes the window of opportunity for a fall sports schedule is quickly closing.

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Indians Sweep White Sox in Crucial Series

Jose Ramirez delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 Thursday night for a four-game sweep in a matchup of playoff-bound teams.

 

The victory pulled the Indians within one game of Chicago for the fourth seed and home-field advantage in the first round of the postseason. Idle Minnesota leads the White Sox by one game in the AL Central with three to play.

 

The Indians have won five straight and the White Sox have lost a season-high five in a row.

 

Chicago scored three times in the top of the seventh to take a 4-1 lead, but the Indians answered with four in the bottom half. Ramirez's two-out double to center off Carlos Rodon (0-2) drove in Cesar Hernandez and Delino DeShields.

 

White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel allowed one run in six innings in his second start since a stint on the injured list with back spasms. The left-hander went 1-0 with a 0.45 ERA in four September outings, lowering his season mark to 1.99, second-best in the AL.

 

Zach Plesac went 6 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs and striking out seven. He was chased in the seventh after Nomar Mazara singled home two runs, which was preceded by an RBI groundout by Yasmani Grandal.

 

White Sox OF Luis Robert, who is mired in a 0-for-28 slump and doesn't have a hit since Sept. 15, was not in the lineup. The 23-year-old Cuban leads all rookies with 30 RBIs and is tied for first with 11 homers, but has just six hits in his last 70 at-bats (.086).

 

Dylan Cease (5-3, 3.52 ERA) opens a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field against Cubs RHP Yu Darvish. The White Sox took two of three from their Windy City rivals at Wrigley Field from Aug. 21-23.

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Bucs Blank Cubs

Chad Kuhl pitched seven sharp innings and Colin Moran and Bryan Reynolds each homered in three-hit games in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 7-0 victory over the slumping Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

 

Kuhl (2-3) retired the first nine batters and had a no-hitter until Anthony Rizzo doubled to the wall in right-center with one out in the sixth inning.

 

The right-hander finished his comeback season on a strong note. He allowed two hits, struck out five hits and gave up three walks.

 

The Cubs, who clinched a postseason berth Tuesday, are stumbling toward the playoffs with five losses in six games. They have scored two or fewer runs in each of the five defeats.

 

Chicago's magic number for clinching the NL Central remained two with three days left in the regular season. The Cubs' only other hit was Jason Kipnis' double in the seventh.

 

Alec Mills lasted 3 2/3 innings and gave up four runs and eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts. He threw a no-hitter Sept. 13 at Milwaukee.

 

The Cubs visit the crosstown White Sox on Friday night to open a three-game series to end the regular season. RHP Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.22 ERA) gets his last chance to impress NL Cy Young Award voters as he faces RHP Dylan Cease (5-3, 3.52).

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IHSA Adds Sectional Competitions for Cross Country, Golf

The IHSA announcing the expansion of postseason opportunities this fall. A sectional round is being added for both golf and cross country. IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson says there have been very little issues with the two sports thus far this season.

 

 

When the IHSA announced a modified schedule in late July, they were planning only regional competitions for both sports.

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IHSA's Anderson Discusses Return to Play

Why can’t the IHSA just play? And why do they need permission from the Governor? That’s two common questions IHSA executive director Craig Anderson gets frequently.

 

 

Rallies were held last weekend in Springfield and Chicago to lobby the Governor to allow contact sports like football to be played in the fall. As it stands now the IHSA football season will be played in the spring.

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Hall of Fame RB Gale Sayers Dies at 77

Gale Sayers, the dazzling and elusive running back who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite the briefest of careers and whose fame extended far beyond the field for decades thanks to a friendship with a dying Chicago Bears teammate, has died. He was 77.

 

Nicknamed “The Kansas Comet” and considered among the best open-field runners the game has ever seen, Sayers died Wednesday, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 

Relatives of Sayers had said he was diagnosed with dementia. In March 2017, his wife, Ardythe, said she partly blamed his football career.

 

Sayers was a blur to NFL defenses, ghosting would-be tacklers or zooming by them like few running backs or kick returners before or since. Yet it was his rock-steady friendship with Piccolo, depicted in the film “Brian’s Song,” that marked him as more than a sports star.

 

Sayers became a stockbroker, sports administrator, businessman and philanthropist for several inner-city Chicago youth initiatives after his pro football career was cut short by serious injuries to both knees.

 

A football and track star at Omaha Central High School in Nebraska, Sayers was a two-time All-American at Kansas and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was selected by Chicago with the fourth pick overall in 1965, and his versatility produced dividends and highlight-reel slaloms through opposing defenses right the start.

 

He tied an NFL record with six touchdowns in a game and set another with 22 touchdowns in his first season: 14 rushing, six receiving, one punt and one kickoff return. Sayers was a unanimous choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

 

Sayers was an All-Pro during the first five of his seven NFL seasons (1965-71). But he was stuck on a handful of middling-to-bad Bears teams and, like Dick Butkus, another Hall of Fame teammate selected in the same 1965 draft, he never played in the postseason. Sayers appeared in only 68 games total and just two in each of his final two seasons while attempting to return from those knee injuries.

 

In 1977, at age 34, Sayers became the youngest player inducted into the Hall of Fame.

 

The Bears drafted them with back-to-back picks in ’65, taking Butkus at No. 3 and Sayers at No. 4. It didn’t take long for Sayers to win over veterans who had helped the Bears take the NFL championship in 1963.

 

Sayers served as athletic director at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and founded several technology and consulting businesses.

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Indians Drop Sox Again

Shane Bieber lowered his ERA to 1.63 in his final regular-season start, the lowest in the American League since Luis Tiant's 1.60 for Cleveland in 1968, and Jordan Luplow hit a game-ending home run that gave the Indians a 3-2 win over Chicago on Wednesday night.

 

The loss dropped the White Sox in second place in the AL Central at 34-22, a half-game behind Minnesota (35-22). Chicago has lost a season-high four in a row and us 1-5 on a seven-game trip.

 

Bieber, who leads the big leagues with eight wins, allowed an unearned run and two hits in five innings with 10 strikeouts. The right-hander also is first in baseball with 122 strikeouts and eight double-digit strikeout games.

 

Cleveland closed within two games of the first place with their second straight last at-bat victory. Jose Ramirez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th for a 5-3 win Tuesday to clinch a playoff spot.

 

With the score 2-2, Luplow homered onto the porch in left field off Gio Gonzalez (1-2). Luplow, a .194 hitter, struck out in his first three at-bats and followed with his second home run of the season.

Brad Hand (2-1) earned the win with a perfect ninth.

 

White Sox starter Lucas Giolito gave up two runs and four hits in six innings, striking out 11. 

 

Carlos Santana hit a 441-foot home run in the second and with 215 homers tied Hall of Famer Larry Doby for sixth place on the Indians list.

 

Edwin Encarnacion had an RBI groundout that tied the score in the fourth by bringing home Jose Abreu, who reached on an error by Ramirez at third.

 

Dallas Keuchel (6-2) had a no-decision on Sept. 19 at Cincinnati, throwing four scoreless innings in his return from a stint on the injured list caused by back spasms.

 

Zach Plesac (4-2, 1.85 ERA) has not allowed a run in two starts against the White Sox this season, striking out 18 without a walk over 14 innings. Plesac, who will not have enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, will be pitching on five days' rest for the second straight outing.

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Pirates Edge Cubs

Pittsburgh's Adam Frazier and Ke'Bryan Hayes led off the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back homers off Kyle Hendricks as the last-place Pirates slipped by the postseason-bound Cubs 2-1 on Wednesday night.

 

Chicago clinched a spot on Tuesday night and have a healthy 3 1/2-game lead over St. Louis and Cincinnati in the NL Central with four days left in the regular season. Still, the Cubs have dropped four of five because they are struggling to generate runs, scoring two runs or less in each of the losses.

 

A situation the Cubs are in thanks in large part to Hendricks (6-5). He put together another solid outing, giving up just two runs over 7 2/3 innings but his unbeaten September came to a halt with two first-inning swings by the top of Pittsburgh's lineup.

 

Frazier turned on the fourth pitch he saw from Hendricks and sent it to the railing atop the seats in right field and Hayes continued his impressive rookie season when he followed with his fourth of the season, a lined shot to right-center field. Frazier and Hayes became the first Pirate teammates to lead off the game with consecutive home runs since Jose Tabata and Neil Walker did it on Sept. 20, 2013.

 

Richard Rodriguez worked the ninth for his fourth save, striking out Ian Happ with a runner on second at the end of a nine-pitch at-bat.

 

Cameron Maybin doubled twice for the Cubs but Chicago managed just five hits total and went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and left at least one runner on base in each of the last four innings.

 

Alec Mills (5-4, 4.14 ERA) will make his final start of the regular season in the series finale on Thursday.

 

Chad Kuhl (1-3, 5.03) is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in his last seven starts for Pittsburgh.

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Royals Pound Cardinals

Salvador Perez and Franchy Cordero each hit two homers and drove in five runs Wednesday night, and the out-of-contention Kansas City Royals got a solid start from Danny Duffy while pummeling the playoff-chasing St. Louis Cardinals 12-3 in their series finale.

 

The Cardinals (27-26) remain 3 1/2 games back of first-place Chicago in the NL Central after the Cubs lost to Pittsburgh, but their edge for the No. 2 spot in the division was nearly wiped out. The Reds (29-28) beat the Brewers (27-28) in their series finale to close within percentage points of St. Louis headed toward a pivotal final weekend.

 

Both of Perez's homers came off Carlos Martinez (0-3), who departed with a strained lower back with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth. Seth Elledge inherited a 1-0 count against Cordero, who had just returned from a wrist injury, and he crushed his first homer of the year two pitches later to extend the Kansas City lead.

 

Cordero added a solo shot off Kodi Whitley in the seventh for his second career multi-homer game.

Duffy (4-4) allowed Dexter Fowler's single in the fifth inning and loaded the bases in the sixth, but reliever Scott Barlow retired pinch-hitter Brad Miller to preserve a 6-1 lead. The Royals' bullpen handled the Cardinals the rest of the way to give Kansas City its first rubber-game win in six tries this season.

 

Cincinnati has three games left against Minnesota, while the weary Cardinals face Milwaukee. If needed to settle who is in the playoffs or home-field advantage, the Cardinals also could have two makeup games against Detroit on Monday.

 

Kwang Hyun Kim (2-0, 1.59 ERA) starts against the Brewers on Thursday night at Busch Stadium.

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Cardinals Blank Royals

Austin Gomber threw six innings of four-hit ball in a crucial spot start against Kansas City on Tuesday night. And with Dylan Carlson and the rest of Gomber's offense providing support, the Cardinals rolled to a 5-0 victory that gave them the slightest of cushions in the race for a playoff spot.

 

Gomber (1-1), who dealt with biceps tendinitis throughout last season, wound up striking out three without a walk while blanking an opponent for the 11th time in 13 appearances. He also won for the first time since Sept. 18, 2018, at Atlanta.

 

The Cardinals, who trail the Chicago Cubs by 3 1/2 games in the NL Central, improved to 27-25 by evening their series with their cross-state rivals. They also built the slightest of cushion in the race for the No. 2 spot in the division after Milwaukee (28-28) eked out a win over Cincinnati (27-27) earlier in the evening.

 

Brad Miller, Tommy Edman and Kolten Wong also drove in runs for the Cardinals.

 

Meanwhile, Royals starter Brady Singer watched the 14-inning scoreless streak that he carried into the game go away, along with his command. He walked two in the first inning, then walked the first two batters of the second, when Carlson's double brought them home. Wong made it 3-0 later in the inning.

 

Singer (3-5) wound up walking five in three-plus innings, throwing just 44 of 81 pitches for strikes.

Carlos Martinez (0-1, 2.37 ERA) tries to rebound from a rough outing in Pittsburgh when he allowed five runs but just one earned over 3 2/3 innings, when he faces Royals LHP Danny Duffy (3-4, 5.01 ERA) on Wednesday night.

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Pirates Edge Cubs

The Chicago Cubs clinched a playoff spot under rookie manager David Ross, returning to the postseason after a one-year absence despite losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Tuesday night on a walk-off home run by Jacob Stallings.

 

The Cubs began the day with a 4 1/2-game lead over St. Louis and Cincinnati in the division standings and a magic number of four to clinch the title. Chicago missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014.

 

Stallings connected with one out in the ninth inning off Andrew Chafin (1-2) to help the Pirates end their five-game losing streak and win for the just second time in 15 games. It was Stallings' third home run of the season and the third game-ending hit of his career.

 

Chafin got the final out of the eighth and first of the ninth before Stallings sent a 2-2 pitch down the left field line and into the bleachers. The Pirates' shouts of joy echoed over throughout the empty ballpark.

 

Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer in the eighth inning had pulled the Cubs into a tie at 2-all.

Richard Rodriguez (3-2) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

 

Chicago's Jose Quintana was activated from the injured list and made his first start of the season. The left-hander went two innings and gave up one run and one hit with one strikeout.

 

Pittsburgh starter Steven Brault pitched seven shutout innings. He threw a two-hitter to beat the Cardinals in his previous start last Thursday.

 

Kyle Hendricks (6-4, 2.93) will start Wednesday night in the third game of the four-game series. He has allowed just seven walks in 73 2/3 innings this season.

 

Trevor Williams (1-8, 6.70) has lost five straight decisions since getting his lone win Aug. 13 at Cincinnati.

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Indians Outlast White Sox

Jose Ramirez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning, giving Cleveland a 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox that clinched a postseason berth Tuesday night.

 

Ramirez's drive to right off Jose Ruiz scored Cesar Hernandez and Francisco Lindor, setting off a wild celebration at home plate as the Indians reached the postseason for the fourth time in five years.

 

Lindor had pulled Cleveland within one on a two-out double that plated Roberto Perez, who began the inning on second base. After Matt Foster (5-1) walked Hernandez, Ruiz entered and gave up the game-ending drive.

 

AL Central-leading Chicago lost for the fourth time in five games, creating a log jam at the top of the division. Minnesota is a half-game back in second, and Cleveland trails by three games.

 

Aces Lucas Giolito of the White Sox and Shane Bieber of the Indians face off Wednesday.

 

Chicago grabbed a 3-1 lead with two runs in the top of the 10th against Phil Maton (3-3). Adam Engel hit an RBI triple and scored on Nick Madrigal's single.

 

Earlier in the inning, White Sox manager Rick Renteria and shortstop Tim Anderson were ejected by umpire Angel Hernandez after Luis Robert looked at a called third strike.

 

Hernandez hit a solo shot in the first and Chicago tied it in the sixth when Jose Abreu connected off Adam Plutko, sending a drive to right-center for his 19th homer.

 

Abreu leads the AL with 56 RBIs and 74 hits. He is second in homers and third with a .332 batting average. Fellow MVP candidate Anderson went 1 for 4, dropping his average to .353, while Ramirez has 12 home runs and 26 RBIs in his last 24 games.

 

White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez worked five innings, allowing three hits and striking out three. Closer Alex Colome worked a perfect ninth before experiencing back spasms that prevented him from continuing in extra innings.

 

Right-hander Cal Quantrill gave up one hit in four scoreless innings for the Indians, becoming the ninth Canadian-born pitcher to start for the franchise.

 

Lucas Giolito (4-3, 3.53 ERA) has not logged a decision in two starts against Cleveland this season, posting a 1.38 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 13 innings. Giolito is expected to start Chicago's first postseason game.

Shane Bieber (8-1, 1.74 ERA) makes his 12th and final start of the r

egular season. The 2019 All-Star Game MVP leads the AL in wins, ERA and strikeouts with 112. Bieber is widely considered the Cy Young Award favorite.

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Bulls Tab Billy Donovan as Next Head Coach

The Chicago Bulls struck it big Tuesday, hiring Billy Donovan and landing one of the top candidates on the market to lead a rebuilding team with an overhauled front office.

 

The 55-year-old Donovan spent the past five seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He replaces Jim Boylen, who was fired after the Bulls finished 22-43 and were one of the eight teams that didn’t qualify for the NBA’s restart at Walt Disney World.

 

In a statement, Donovan thanked ownership and said he’s looking forward to working with new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.

 

The Bulls came into the season with their sights set on a playoff spot. They were 11th in the Eastern Conference when play was stopped in March and decided they needed new leadership.

 

Chicago hired Karnisovas as executive vice president of basketball operations in April out of Denver’s front office and shifted John Paxson into an advisory role. The Bulls also brought in general manager Marc Eversley to replace the fired Gar Forman, and they let Boylen go last month.

 

Donovan went 243-157 as coach of the Thunder and reached the playoffs each year. He was a finalist for Coach of the Year this season after his team outperformed expectations and pushed the Houston Rockets to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. But with his contract expiring, the Thunder announced two weeks ago he would not return, saying it was a mutual decision.

 

Before his time with the Thunder, Donovan coached for 19 seasons at the University of Florida, winning two NCAA titles.

 

The Bulls are counting on Donovan to give them a lift after the team missed the postseason for the fourth time in five years.

 

On the court, the Bulls are led by Zach LaVine, who averaged 25.5 points this season, and Lauri Markkanen, who took a step back. The 7-footer from Finland missed 15 games with a pelvic injury and his scoring and rebounding numbers dropped.

 

Chicago hosted the All-Star game but didn’t have a player selected. That hammered home just how far the Bulls have fallen.

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Clinton Football Coach: We Are Prepared for Any Scenario

Yesterday, Minnesota became the latest state to bring back banned high school sports, including football.

 

Clinton Football Coach Chris Ridgeway says his team is ready for any scenario although he does not believe the actions of other states, specifically Minnesota and Michigan in recent weeks, will have any impact on the decisions of Illinois.

 

 

Illinois remains one of the few states in the country not allowing high school football to be played. Governor JB Pritzker last week indicated the weekend rallies would not impact his decision to now allow high school football, volleyball and other close contact sports to be played. 

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Monticello Football Coach Discusses Football's Importance to Kids Futures

As the battle over high school sports continues, a central Illinois hall of fame football coach has countless examples of how football has empowered young men to attend college and achieve the success they otherwise may not have.

 

Monticello football coach Cully Welter has won state titles at two different Illinois schools and is a hall of fame coach with 231 career victories. He has countless examples of young athletes who have been able to use football as a means to greater success they otherwise may not have achieved.

 

 

Rallies were held in Springfield and Chicago over the weekend with hundreds of parents, student-athletes, and coaches seeking to get a reversal of the ban on high school football, volleyball,

and soccer among others in Illinois. 

 

Yesterday, Minnesota became the latest state with such a ban to reverse course and allow high school athletics.

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Gov. Pritizker Still Skeptical on Allowing High School Sports

NFL and Big Ten teams are testing players everyday for coronavirus. Would a widespread testing plan be a way for Illinois’ high school teams to get back to action? 

 

Governor JB Pritzker says even though the state continues to test more and more people each week he’s suspect to the idea that high school teams should be back on the field even if you could test kids more.

 

 

Illinois surpassed five million completed COVID-19 tests this past weekend.

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Denny Hamlin, Michael Jordan Team Up to Start New NASCAR Team

Denny Hamlin has joined Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan to form a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver, a high-profile pairing of a Black majority team owner and the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level.

 

The partnership was announced Monday night in coordinated social media posts by Jordan and Hamlin, with Wallace adding his own comment. The posts showed a picture of Jordan alongside a firesuit-clad Hamlin in a motorhome at a race track.

 

Jordan becomes the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup team since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott drove his own race car in 495 races from 1961 to 1973. Scott’s 1964 victory at the Jacksonville 200 is the only win by a Black driver in Cup history.

 

The NBA great, who earlier this year pledged $100 million over 10 years for initiatives combating systemic racism, said the move into NASCAR is another step toward racial equality.

 

Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and a top contender for this year’s Cup title, will be part of a single-car Toyota entry aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin has raced his entire career for Gibbs, a Hall of Fame NFL coach.

Wallace is the only Black driver in the Cup Series and this season used his platform to push for racial equality. The 27-year-old successfully urged NASCAR to ban the display of the Confederate flag at its events.

Wallace is winless in 105 Cup starts over four seasons, but he has six career victories in the Truck Series. He’s been hampered by mid-level equipment driving the No. 43 for Hall of Famer Richard Petty and, until this summer, the team struggled to land sponsorship.

 

There’s been speculation for months that Hamlin was organizing some sort of ownership group as he expects NASCAR’s business model to become more favorable for team owners when the “Next Gen” car is released in 2022. NASCAR rules prohibit a current driver from owning a team and driving for another, but Hamlin works around the policy with Jordan as the principal owner.

 

Jordan dabbled in racing before with Michael Jordan Motorsports. He owned an AMA Superbike team and had one win in 10 years. Jordan has twice traveled to the NASCAR season finale to watch Hamlin race for the championship. Hamlin, who’s 39, is still seeking his first title.

 

Wallace has cobbled together about $18 million in sponsorship deals since he made racial equality his platform.

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Cubs Blank Pirates

Kyle Schwarber responded to a very public benching by first-year manager David Ross by doubling twice and driving in two insurance runs with a shot to the gap in right-center field in the eighth inning to push the Cubs past the reeling Pittsburgh Pirates 5-0 on Monday night.

 

Ross pulled Schwarber early in a loss to Minnesota on Sunday for misplaying a ball in the outfield. Schwarber insists he took the benching in stride. 

 

Jon Lester (3-2) struck out one and walked one in six efficient innings to pick up his first win since Aug. 11. Lester retired the first nine batters he faced and kept the lowest-scoring team in the majors in check. Only two of Pittsburgh's four hits left the infield, and the Pirates managed to get to third base just once while losing for the 13th time in 14 games.

 

Javy Baez drove in a run with a surprise bunt and Victor Caratini added an RBI double for the Cubs.

It wasn't all good news for Chicago. Third baseman Kris Bryant's injury-plagued 2020 took another turn when he left in the bottom of the third with what the team called right lower oblique tightness.

 

The three-time All-Star and 2016 NL MVP spent time on the injured list earlier this season with a sprained ring finger on his left hand while also dealing with a wrist problem. Bryant has appeared in just 32 of Chicago's 54 games.

 

Pittsburgh rookie starter J.T. Brubaker (1-3) pitched 6 2/3 solid innings to bolster his bid for a shot at the starting rotation in 2021. Brubaker allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and a career-high nine strikeouts. While Brubaker demurred when asked if he thinks he is in the mix to join the rotation next season, the 26-year-old believes he's shown he can be effective.

 

The Pirates have scored two runs or less seven times during their current 1-13 skid. Their .215 batting average is next to last in the National League and their run total (190) is last in the majors.

 

Jose Quintana will make his first start in nearly a year on Tuesday. The 31-year-old lefty has spent most of the season on the injured list with multiple health issues.

 

Steven Brault (1-3, 4.04 ERA) will try to back up his two-hit gem last Thursday against St. Louis. Brault has struggled against the Cubs, going 0-2 with a 7.62 ERA in 15 appearances.

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Royals Down Cardinals

Maikel Franco hit the go-ahead single off Adam Wainwright with two outs in the sixth inning, and the Kansas City bullpen shut down the Cardinals from the fourth inning on, allowing the Royals to rally for a 4-1 victory on Monday night.

 

Wainwright wound up allowing three runs on six hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings.

 

The Cardinals fell 4 1/2 games back of the Cubs in the NL Central and, more importantly, into a tie with Cincinnati for the division's second guaranteed playoff spot. The Reds beat the Brewers earlier in the night.

 

Alex Gordon and Jorge Soler also drove in runs for the Royals, who returned for their final homestand after getting swept in Milwaukee, and were starting off with a playoff contender in the Cardinals that had won four straight games.

 

It didn't matter to Carlos Hernandez, making his second career start, and a stout Kansas City bullpen. Hernandez allowed one run over 3 2/3 innings before giving way to Jake Newberry, Scott Barlow, Josh Staumont (2-1) and Jesse Hahn. They combined to allow one hit - a two-out single by Paul Goldschmidt - without a walk over the next 4 1/3 innings.

 

Greg Holland worked around a leadoff single in the ninth for his sixth save.

 

The Cardinals activated OF Dexter Fowler and RHP Giovanny Gallegos from the injured list before the game. 

 

The Royals reinstated Soler from the injured list before the game and optioned infielder Kelvin Gutierrez to their alternate training site. Soler was hitting .235 with eight homers and 22 RBIs before hurting his oblique on Sept. 5.

 

Brady Singer (3-4, 4.14 ERA) tries to build on a 14-inning scoreless streak covering his last two starts when the Royals continue their series against St. Louis. It is the sixth-longest active streak in the majors. The Cardinals go with LHP Austin Gomber (0-1, 2.37) , who pitched in relief of injured starter Dakota Hudson on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

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Indians Get By White Sox

Carlos Santana's two-run homer snapped a fifth-inning tie and Jose Ramirez homered again as Cleveland moved closer to clinching a postseason spot - and slowed Chicago's push for the AL Central title - with a 7-4 win over the White Sox on Monday night.

 

The Indians, who missed the playoffs a year ago, cut their magic number to one. They could have locked up one of the AL's eight postseason spots, but Seattle beat Houston 6-1 to prolong Cleveland's wait.

 

By winning the series opener, Cleveland improved to 5-2 this season against the White Sox, who are on the verge of winning their first division crown since 2008. It's possible the rivals could meet again next week in the playoffs depending on how the final days of the regular season unfold.

 

After the White Sox tied it with four runs in the fifth against Aaron Civale (4-5), Santana came to the plate in the bottom half batting just .189 after striking out in his two previous at-bats.

 

But with Ramirez on first after a one-out walk, Santana pulled a 2-1 sinker from Jace Fry (0-1) over the left-field wall and into the empty bleachers. Franmil Reyes hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh to put Cleveland up 7-4.

 

Nick Wittgren struck out the side in the seventh and James Karinchak worked the eighth before Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 14 tries. He struck out slugger Jose Abreu for the final out with two runners on.

 

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected for arguing a called third strike to James McCann by plate umpire Dan Bellino.

 

The Indians will start reliever Cal Quantrill in the second game of the series against Reynaldo Lopez. Cleveland is also moving Zach Plesac's start back to Wednesday.

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Bears Hold Off Giants

Mitchell Trubisky threw two touchdown passes and the Bears hung on to beat the Giants 17-13 on Sunday.

 

The Bears (2-0) chewed up New York early on, grabbing a 17-0 halftime lead, and withstood a big push a week after rallying from 17 down at Detroit for their first season-opening win in seven years.

 

The Giants (0-2) refused to go quietly even though they lost RB Saquon Barkley to a right knee injury on the opening play of the second quarter.

 

Limited to 6 yards on 15 attempts against Pittsburgh on Monday night, Barkley came up clutching his right knee when he was dragged down by Jackson at the end of a run. The 2018 offensive rookie of the year was taken for X-rays after being helped to the sideline and will be examined further on Monday.

 

New York's Dion Lewis made it a seven-point game when he plowed in from the 1 in the opening minute of the fourth.

 

James Bradberry then intercepted Trubisky when he ripped the ball out of Allen Robinson's hands, leading to a 37-yard field goal by Graham Gano that cut it to 17-13 with 7:43 remaining.

 

The Bears caught a break on fourth down at the New York 36 with just under four minutes left. New York's Blake Martinez deflected a pass intended for Jimmy Graham, and the ball ricocheted to tackle Bobby Massie for a first down. Cairo Santos missed wide left on a 50-yard field goal attempt, giving New York the ball on the 40 with 2:02 remaining.

 

The Giants drove to the 10 before Golden Tate got called for pushing off against Eddie Jackson near the goal line on an incomplete pass as time expired.

 

Trubisky completed 18 of 28 passes for 190 yards. He threw two interceptions and was sacked four times.

 

He hit David Montgomery for a 28-yard touchdown on the game's opening possession and added a 15-yarder to Darnell Mooney in the closing seconds of the first half to give the Bears a 17-0 lead.

 

Montgomery ran for 82 yards. Robert Quinn had a strip sack in the first quarter that led to a field goal in his Bears debut after missing the opener with an ankle injury. Khalil Mack had his first sack of the season and recovered a fumble. And Chicago held New York to 295 yards after giving up 426 last week.

 

Second-year QB Daniel Jones threw for 241 yards and an interception.

The Bears visit Atlanta next Sunday.

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Packers Blow By Lowly Lions

Aaron Jones rushed for a career-high 168 yards and scored three touchdowns, including a 75-yard breakaway, as the Green Bay Packers rallied from an early 11-point deficit to beat the Detroit Lions 42-21 on Sunday.

 

After his first touchdown of the day, a 7-yard reception from Aaron Rodgers, Jones did a different kind of Lambeau Leap. He jumped atop a green tarpaulin that covered the first several rows of the stands; the pandemic didn't allow for any spectators.

 

Jones also had a team-high 68 yards receiving on four catches as the Packers (2-0) won their home opener for an eighth consecutive year and improved to 8-0 against NFC North foes during coach Matt LaFleur's tenure. Jones had a 14-yard touchdown run to go along with his 75-yarder.

 

Rodgers was 18 of 30 for 240 yards with touchdown passes to Jones and Robert Tonyan.

 

One week after blowing a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 27-23 loss to the Chicago Bears, the Lions (0-2) allowed an 11-point advantage to vanish by halftime. Detroit allowed 31 straight points to turn a 14-3 lead into a 34-14 deficit.

 

Green Bay took the lead for good 17-14 on Rodgers' 11-yard pass to Tonyan with 14 seconds left in the second quarter. Jones then raced through a hole on the right side and scored on the Packers' first play from scrimmage in the second half.

 

Jones' 75-yard burst was the longest touchdown run by a Packer since Ahman Green had a 90-yarder against Dallas in 2004.

 

The Packers extended the lead to 31-14 later in the third quarter when Rashan Gary pressured Matthew Stafford into throwing an interception that Chandon Sullivan returned for a 7-yard touchdown.

 

The Packers travel to New Orleans for a Sunday night game.

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Flaherty Leads Redbirds Over Pirates

Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer and Jack Flaherty struck out 11 as the St. Louis Cardinals kept their hold on a postseason spot with a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

 

Molina's home run to the bleachers in left field came in the seventh inning off Derek Holland and extended St. Louis' winning streak to a season-high four games. The Cardinals had been shut out by Joe Musgrove over the first six innings.

 

Flaherty (4-2) allowed only one run and two hits in six innings while walking two. It was his ninth career double-digit strikeout game.

 

The Cardinals (26-24) hold a one-game lead on Cincinnati (27-27) and Milwaukee (26-26) for second place in the NL Central with one week left in the regular season. The top two finishers in each division gain berths in the expanded postseason during this pandemic-affected season.

 

Musgrove also had 11 strikeouts - a career high -- in six innings but remained winless in seven starts this season. He gave up three hits and one walk.

 

That came a day after Pirates rookie Mitch Keller pitched six shutout innings.

 

Matt Carpenter singled in the St. Louis seventh off Holland (1-3) and Molina hit his fourth homer of the year.

A night earlier, Molina left the game after being on the left wrist by a pitch. The nine-time All-Star was also hit in nearly the same spot Tuesday by a swing while behind the plate.

 

Pittsburgh scored its run in the fourth inning. Bryan Reynolds hit a leadoff double, moved to third on Adam Frazier's sacrifice bunt and scored on Colin Moran's sacrifice fly.

 

By pitching Sunday, Andrew Miller's $12 million option for next season vested. He is the final guaranteed season of the two-year, $25 million contract he signed I free agency.

 

The Cardinals open a three-game series against the Royals at Kansas City on Monday night. Adam Wainwright (5-1, 2.87 ERA) faces rookie RHP Carlos Hernandez (0-0, 3.86 ERA).

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Reds Cool Off White Sox

Mike Moustakas hit a two-run single as Cincinnati scored five times in the fourth inning on just one hit, and the Reds took advantage of wild Chicago White Sox pitching for a 7-3 win Sunday.

 

Aristides Aquino hit a two-run homer as the surging Reds stayed in contention for a playoff spot, taking two out of three from the the AL Central leaders for their seventh win in eight games.

 

Cincinnati broke away by turning six walks, a hit batter and Moustakas' single into a big inning. The playoff-bound White Sox issued a season-high 11 walks and hit three batters overall.

 

Chicago starter Dylan Cease (5-3) was pulled after walking the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth. At that point, he hadn't allowed a run or hit, but had walked a career-worst seven and struck out five.

 

Two runs scored on infield outs and another came home on a bases-loaded walk before the left-handed hitting Moustakas singled off lefty reliever Ross Detwiler for Cincinnati's first hit.

 

The White Sox scored on back-to-back RBI singles by Nick Madrigal and Jose Abreu in the fifth.

Aquino answered with an upper-deck drive to left. He celebrated his second homer with his trademark right arm flex as he rounded third.

 

Reds starter Michael Lorenzen struck out a career-high eight in 4 2-3 innings. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks.

 

Lucas Sims (3-0) pitched 2 1-3 innings to get the win. He struck out the top three batters in Chicago's lineup, including Abreu in an 11-pitch at bat to end the seventh, after walking the first two batters.

 

Former Reds star Edwin Encarnacion lined an opposite-field homer into the right field seats for his 10th homer of the season in the eighth.

 

Joey Votto's three walks boosted him past Pete Rose for the franchise career walks record with 1,211.

 

Tim Anderson left the game with cramping in his left hamstring one pitch into his seventh inning at-bat.

 

Dane Dunning (2-0) makes his first career appearance against Cleveland on Monday.

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Twins Blank Cubs

Max Kepler homered, Jose Berrios threw six shutout innings to outduel Yu Darvish and the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 on Sunday night.

 

Kepler had three hits and Josh Donaldson added two for the Twins, who took two of three from the NL Central-leading Cubs.

 

After winning the AL Central last year, Minnesota clinched its second straight postseason berth on Saturday and trails the Chicago White Sox by two games in the division.

 

The Cubs scored just two runs in the series and maintain a 3 1/2-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central. Chicago had won five of six.

 

The Cubs loaded the bases in the ninth on a passed ball, a hit batter and a walk against Sergio Romo, who struck out Nico Hoerner to end the game.

 

Darvish (7-3), an NL Cy Young candidate, allowed a season-high four runs and nine hits in his quest to become the NL's first eight-game winner. He struck out nine and walked one, ending a streak of nine consecutive quality starts. Darvish was 5-2 with a 2.16 ERA in his previous eight starts at Wrigley.

 

Jon Lester (2-2, 4.91) takes the mound Monday to open a four-game series at Pittsburgh. He is 0-2 with a 6.82 ERA in his last seven starts. The Pirates will start RHP JT Brubaker (1-2, 4.79).

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DeChambeau Powers Way to First Major

Bryson DeChambeau rolled in a 7-foot par putt and thrust his powerful arms in the air when he capped off a 3-under 67 at Winged Foot - historically the toughest of all U.S. Opens. - and a course that didn’t allow another round under par. 

 

Two shots behind Matthew Wolff at the start of a chilly September afternoon, he caught him in four holes, passed him in five and pulled away along the back nine.

 

With his extra 40 pounds of muscle and mass, he wanted to pound it into submission with his driver, even if his errant shots were buried in deep grass.

 

That’s how he plays the game. And for skeptics who said that wouldn’t work in a U.S. Open at Winged Foot, just look at that shiny silver trophy he kissed, and the record score he posted Sunday in a six-shot victory.

 

This victory was as much about validating his out-of-the-box approach to the royal and ancient game.

 

Part of the course’s fame is the “Massacre of Winged Foot” in 1974 when the winning score was 7-over par.

 

Wolff, trying to become the first player since Francis Ouimet in 1913 to win the U.S. Open in his debut, closed with a 75. He made a 10-foot eagle putt on the par-5 ninth to stay within one shot.

 

That was his only hole under par. Wolff finished at even-par 280, a score that would have won four of the previous five U.S. Opens at Winged Foot.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf for three months, leading to the U.S. Open being postponed from June to September. It also gave DeChambeau more time to execute his plan of swinging faster and harder, stretching the limits. He added 40 pounds through intense workout and a diet of 6,000 calories a day.

 

His work ethnic borders on insanity, and the eve of the final round was no exception. Unhappy with how he played Saturday, hitting only three fairways, DeChambeau had the lights turned on so he could stay on the range well past 8 p.m., pounding driver, searching for the right swing.

 

Temperatures were in the 40s. He was in a short-sleeve shirt.

 

Louis Oosthuizen birdied the 18th to finish alone in third.

 

In six U.S. Opens at Winged Foot among 894 competitors, DeChambeau is only the third to finish a tournament under par. His 6-under 274 was the lowest score, and no one saw it coming this week.

 

Wolff, the 21-year-old Californian who can drive it past DeChambeau with a lower flight and more roll in the fairway, gave him a good run in his quest to become the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923.

 

The U.S. Open was still up for grabs for a fleeting moment around the turn. DeChambeau and Wolff each got out of position on the eighth hole and made bogey. DeChambeau was at 3 under, one shot ahead of Wolff. Ahead of them, Oosthuizen and Xander Schauffele were lurking at even par.

 

DeChambeau and Wolff blasted drives down the fairway on the par-5 ninth. DeChambeau rolled in a 40-foot eagle putt with perfect pace. Wolff, who had pitching wedge for his second shot, matched his eagle with a 10-foot putt.

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More Shakeups in College Football Rankings

A week before Big Ten teams become eligible again for The Associated Press college football poll, No. 25 Marshall is ranked for the first time since 2014 and Miami jumped to No. 12 after a conference road victory.

 

Clemson remained a nearly unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 on Sunday after another light week in college football. The Tigers received 59 of 61 first-place votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters. The rest of the top 10 was basically unchanged. No. 2 Alabama received one first-place vote. Oklahoma was No. 3, followed by Georgia, Florida and LSU at No. 6. The defending champion Tigers also received a first-place vote.

 

Notre Dame is seventh. Auburn and Texas are now tied for eighth and Texas A&M is No. 10.

 

A season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic cranks up next week. The Southeastern Conference, which has eight teams ranked, kicks off. The Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 have full slates of games.

 

The Big Ten set a fall schedule Saturday, but it won’t kick off until the weekend of Oct. 24. Voters will still be allowed to include Big Ten teams on their ballots starting next week. There were seven Big Ten teams ranked in the preseason Top 25, including Ohio State at No. 2.

 

Miami moved up five spots after beating ACC rival Louisville on the road. The Cardinals hung on to a ranking, slipping six spots to No. 24.

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Hamlin Holds Off Kyle Busch To Take Bristol Night Race

Kevin Harvick steamrolled his way into the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs in a championship that is clearly his to lose.

 

Harvick held off a charging Kyle Busch over the final 40 laps Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway for his career-best and Cup Series-high ninth victory of the season. He did it in front of a sold-out crowd of 30,000 spectators, the most Bristol was allowed to admit and the largest crowd since March.

 

Harvick took the lead from Busch and denied Busch his first victory of the season. Busch furiously tried to catch him as the two weaved their way through lapped traffic, but Harvick held firm in the No. 4 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.

 

Only six cars finished on the lead lap in a tepid event at the 0.533-mile bullring revered for bumping and banging. Track officials sold all 30,000 tickets allowed — making Bristol one of the largest sporting events since the pandemic — and the spectators crowded the fence as Harvick celebrated his second win of the playoffs.

 

Harvick also won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway to open the playoffs. He’s ninth on NASCAR’s career list with 58 Cup victories.

 

Busch, who failed inspection twice before the race and drove from the back of the field to lead in his Toyota, was disappointed to finish second. Busch took aim at Joey Logano, who failed to move out of the way as Harvick and Busch battled for the lead — “he’s nobody’s friend for a reason” — as well as younger drivers Garrett Smithley and Joey Gase.

 

The first elimination race of the playoffs knocked William Byron, Cole Custer, Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto from title contention. All four were below the cutline at the start of the race and failed to produce a finish strong enough to get them into the next round.

 

Blaney, who was ranked as high as second in the standings earlier this season, simply had a third consecutive below-average race. He finished 13th.

 

The second round of the playoffs begin next Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the opener of the most challenging three-race series. The playoffs go from Las Vegas to Talladega Superspeedway and then end at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the combination road course and oval.

 

Denny Hamlin, considered the closest challenger to Harvick this year, closed out a sub-par opening round of the playoffs with a 21st-place finish. His Toyota also failed pre-race inspection and Hamlin started at the back, but he’s been unable through three playoff races to crack the top 10.

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IHSA Supports Weekend Rally Efforts, Though Not Involved

With coaches, players, and fans set to hold a rally in Springfield and Chicago this weekend to bring back high school sports, the top leader of the IHSA says he supports the movement.

 

IHSA Executive Director and Cambridge native Craig Anderson says he thinks the protest with supporters at the Thompson Center and the State Capitol will demonstrate why Gov. Pritzker needs to bring back sports.

 

 

On Tuesday, Gov. Pritzker doubled-down on his choice of no high school sports, saying he has no plans to change his mind. Only two states, Illinois and Minnesota, are the only Midwest states who have no plan to play high school football this fall.

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White Sox Roll Twins, Clinch Playoff Birth

Eloy Jimenez's tiebreaking double capped a two-run, seventh-inning rally in a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins for the Chicago White Sox Thursday clinching a postseason berth for the first time since 2008.

 

Jose Abreu homered and drove in two runs and Edwin Encarnacion also homered for Chicago, which won three of four in the series.

 

Chicago trailed 3-2 in the seventh when Abreu, who leds the major leagues with 51 RBIs, beat out an infield hit on a slow grounder to shortstop that drove in Jarrod Dyson from third base.

 

Jimenez, who had struck out in his three previous at-bats, followed with a double that drove in pinch-runner Yolmer Sanchez.

 

Byron Buxton homered twice, giving him seven in his last nine games and 12 this season. Josh Donaldson also went deep for Minnesota, whose lead for home-field advantage in the first round was cut to one game over the New York Yankees.

 

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning after a strike was called on a checked swing on a 2-0 pitch. After manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, Donaldson homered on the next offering and kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it after rounding the bases.

 

Codi Heuer (3-0) pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, and Alex Colome got four outs for his 12th save in 13 chances.

 

Jonathan Stiever (0-0, 2.45 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series Friday night at Cincinnati.

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Pirates Shutdown Cardinals

Steven Brault pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game, Gregory Polanco hit a three-run homer and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped an eight-game skid with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.

 

St. Louis dropped to third place in the NL Central, 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs and one back of the Cincinnati Reds. The top two finishers in each division advance to the expanded playoffs this year, along with two wild-card teams.

 

Brault retired his final 16 batters. He struck out eight, walked two and threw 110 pitches.

 

Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson left after two innings because of right elbow tightness. Hudson, who allowed one hit and walked two, has a 2.77 ERA in eight starts.

 

X-rays were negative, but Hudson will undergo imaging tests Friday.

 

Trevor Williams (1-7, 6.35 ERA) and Chad Kuhl (1-2, 5.50 ERA) are the scheduled starters. Williams is tied for the major league lead in losses with Arizona's Luke Weaver.

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Packers Open Home Schedule Hosting Lions

The Packers swept their two regular-season meetings with the Lions last year despite never leading either game until Mason Crosby made a game-winning field goal as time expired. They meet again Sunday in Green Bay's home opener.

 

The Lions are trying to bounce back after blowing a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 27-23 loss to Chicago last week.

 

That marked Detroit's 10th consecutive defeat, a skid that began last November.

 

Green Bay went 9-1 last year in games decided by eight points or fewer before opening this season with a 43-34 victory at Minnesota.

 

Aaron Rodgers threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns without an interception against the Vikings. Davante Adams caught 14 passes to tie Don Hutson's 78-year-old franchise single-game record.

 

The Packers lost starting right guard Lane Taylor to a season-ending knee injury against Minnesota.

 

Right tackle Billy Turner sat out the Vikings game with a knee problem, and his status for Sunday's game is uncertain.

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Bears Host Giants Sunday

The Bears aim to win back-to-back games to start a season for the first time in seven years and deny the Giants their first victory under new coach Joe Judge when New York visits Soldier Field on Sunday.

 

Chicago rallied from 17 points down behind three fourth-quarter touchdown throws by Mitchell Trubisky and hung on for a 27-23 victory at Detroit last week. The Giants lost 26-16 to Pittsburgh on Monday night.

 

Saquon Barkley got swarmed by the Steelers and was held to 6 yards on 15 carries in one of his worst games since he was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in 2018. He'll try to get going against a top 10 defense that got picked apart at times last week.

 

The Bears were 2 of 11 on third downs in the opener, failed on all six in the first half and missed their first seven in all. They finally broke through late in the third quarter, when Anthony Miller caught an 18-yarder to keep a touchdown drive going.

 

At 18%, Chicago tied San Francisco for the worst rate in the NFL.

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Justin Thomas Tames Wing Foot, Round 1 Leader at US Open

Justin Thomas led the way with six birdies and only one bogey from a bad lie in the bunker, finishing with a 25-foot birdie putt that he barely touched for a 5-under 65 at the U.S. Open from Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, NY. 

 

It was the lowest score in a U.S. Open at Winged Foot, which is hosting the Open for the sixth time dating to 1929. And it was worth only a one-shot lead over Patrick Reed, University of Illinois alum Thomas Pieters of Belgium and Matthew Wolff, the 21-year-old Californian making his U.S. Open debut.

 

Rory McIlroy, who has been struggling to get off to a decent start in the majors, opened with a 67 and tried to contain his disappointment it wasn’t lower. He had a pair of three-putts that held him back, one on the 329-yard sixth where he hit driver onto the middle of the green and had to settle for par.

 

McIlroy was among those two shots behind on a scoreboard filled with red numbers, an unusual site for Winged Foot. In the previous five U.S. Opens, a total of 17 players were under par after the first round. On Thursday, there were 21.

 

Patrick Reed and Will Zalatoris made a hole-in-one on No. 7, and Zalatoris somehow missed another ace on No. 13. Spanish amateur Eduard Rousand holed out for eagle from the first fairway with his second shot in his U.S. Open debut. Louis Oosthuizen holed out for eagle on second fairway.

 

Tiger Woods was in five bunkers through five holes and then appeared to steady himself with three straight birdies around the turn to get under par, but only briefly. He made three bogeys coming in, still had a chance to post a reasonable score and then let it get away.

 

From short of the steep shelf fronting the 18th green, he flubbed a flop shot, pitched the next one about 8 feet beyond the pin and missed the putt to take double bogey for a 73.

 

Colin Morikawa, who shot 40 on the back nine for a 76.

 

Pieters and Wolff dropped only one shot along the way while playing in the afternoon when the greens became a little more difficult because of all the foot traffic. 

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Sam Mayer Wins NASCAR Truck Race at Bristol

Sam Mayer celebrated his recent promotion to JR Motorsports with a sweep at Bristol Motor Speedway. The teen sensation opened Thursday night with his first NASCAR national series victory with a Truck Series win and followed it immediately after with an ARCA Series win.

 

It was quite the party for the 17-year-old Mayer, who was hired this week to race in the Xfinity Series next season for JR Motorsports. He won in his seventh career Truck Series start — fourth this year — for an upset in the opening race of the playoffs.

 

Mayer passed title contender and teammate Brett Moffitt with 30 laps remaining to score the victory for GMS Racing. He’s the second youngest Truck Series winner behind Cole Custer, who was 16 when he won at New Hampshire in 2014.

 

A win in the Truck Series by any playoff driver would have earned an automatic berth into the next round. But the field was upstaged by the teenager who signed his career-changing deal Wednesday.

Mayer first joined JR Motorsports’ Late Model program in 2018, and now will return for the second half of the 2021 Xfinity Series season when he’s 18 and eligible to run at that level. He is slated to race full-time in 2022.

 

Mayer is the son of former IndyCar and road racing driver Scott Mayer.

 

Moffitt led a race-high 117 laps, finished second and moved to the top of the Truck Series standings. The defending race winner made it a 1-2 finish for GMS Racing. Sheldon Creed and Zane Smith, both GMS drivers also in the playoffs, finished 12th and 17th.

 

Tanner Gray was third and followed by Parker Kligerman, Chandler Smith and Grant Enfinger sixth — the second best finish among playoff drivers. Trevor Bayne initially finished fifth but was disqualified for failing post-race inspection.

 

Tyler Ankrum picked up his first career stage victory and finished seventh, followed by Ross Chastain and Johnny Sauter.

 

Moffitt has a 37-point lead over eighth-place, the cutoff line, for the playoffs. The series goes to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week then eliminated two drivers at Talladega Superspeedway in October. Christian Eckes and Todd Gilliland are both below the cutline.

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Gov. Pritzker Not Backing Down on Sports Stance

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE WILL NOT GIVE IN TO PRESSURE ABOUT LETTING YOUTH SPORTS RESUME. 

 

THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN HEARING FROM A LOT OF COACHES, PARENTS AND STUDENT ATHLETES WHO WANT TO GET BACK ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD OR HOCKEY RINK. HE SAYS THE RISK OF SPREADING COVID-19 IS TOO HIGH AND THAT YOUR ACTIONS AFFECT OTHERS.

 

 

AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT AT THE GOVERNOR’S PRESS CONFERENCE AGREED AND SAID IT’S NOT JUST THE ACTUAL GAME THAT’S A PROBLEM. HE SAYS A SPORTS TEAM IS TOGETHER IN THE LOCKER ROOM, WORKING OUT IN THE GYM AND WHILE TRAVELING, GIVING THE VIRUS MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO SPREAD.

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Medical Expert Backs Gov. Pritzker's Conclusion Contact Sports are Too Risky

Contact youth sports are still a no go in Illinois. 

 

Rush University Medical University Infectious Disease Specialist Michael Linn says that contact sports, including football and hockey, are too risky right now as they pose an opportunity to act as a super spreader event.

 

 

Linn says he had to tell his own son this year why he shouldn’t be playing contact sports this fall.

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Clinton High School Football Coach Questions if Marching For Fall Sports Will Accomplish Much

This Saturday, rallies are scheduled in Springfield and Chicago to get the attention of Gov. JB Pritzker to allow a fall high school football season and fall sports as a whole. 

 

While in recent comments, Gov. Pritzker has said rallies are not going to change his mind, coaches, and players across the state plan to converge on the two cities to show their desire to play. Clinton Football Coach Chris Ridgeway questions how effective a rally will be and also wonders if playing is the best thing right now. 

 

 

In the meantime, Coach Ridgeway is focused on working with his team within the guidelines they have in place. He says practicing football under the current guidance is pretty tricky but they are finding ways to get the kids reps.

 

 

According to Ridgeway, it is important for coaches and players to get creative in how they are approaching the situation and believes this is giving him and his staff a chance to focus on getting their minds right. 

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Monticello Football Coach Frustrated By Not Being Able to Play

As states on all sides of Illinois begin to or continue to play football, a hall of fame football coach is growing frustrated as Illinois continues to remain sidelined.

 

Monticello head football coach Cully Welter says it is frustrating to watch every state on every side of Illinois play high school football, meanwhile, Illinois is only one of two states in the union to remain sidelined.

 

 

Coach Welter believes we are discrediting the fact other states are successfully playing football and the statistics of COVID's impact on youth.

 

 

Coach Welter says he and several of his players plan to be in Springfield on Saturday despite the Governor's latest comments suggesting he will note be changing his mind on high school football.

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Big Ten Reverses Course, Allowing Athletes to Compete

The Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all.

 

Less than five weeks after pushing fall sports to spring in the name of player safety during the pandemic, the conference ran a reverse Wednesday and said it plans to open its football season the weekend of Oct. 23-24.

 

All 14 teams will be scheduled to play eight regular-season games in eight weeks, plus have the opportunity to play a ninth game on Dec. 19 when the conference championship game is played. The College Football Playoff selections are scheduled for Dec. 20, which means the Big Ten’s best should be back in the hunt for a national championship.

 

Other conferences built in bye weeks, which allows time to deal with potential disruptions. The Big Ten itself did that back in early August, but now must go forward with a condensed schedule and signs that things could go awry.

 

Across major college football since Aug. 26, 13 games have been postponed because of teams dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. Some have not been rescheduled.

 

The Big Ten is banking on daily testing to mitigate the risk of outbreaks and decrease the probability that a few positive tests will gut rosters when contact tracing sends players into 14-day quarantines.

 

The Big Ten will begin daily antigen testing of all fall sports athletes, coaches and staff Sept. 30.

 

The Big Ten is taking an especially cautious approach with those who do test positive: The earliest an athlete will be able to return to game competition is 21 days after a positive diagnosis, and following a cardiac evaluation and clearance from a cardiologist.

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Cubs Outlast Indians

Javier Baez's RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Chicago Cubs to their fourth straight win, 3-2 over the Cleveland Indians, on Wednesday night in a game that was briefly delayed when a drone entered Wrigley Field and landed on the outfield grass.

 

Automatic runner Ian Happ advanced to third when Kris Bryant greeted Phil Maton (2-2) with a groundball single to open the 10th.

 

After Anthony Rizzo was walked intentionally, Maton fanned Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber. Then Baez's liner to left scored Happ and sent the Indians to their eighth straight loss, their longest slide since June 2013.

 

Like many of the Cubs' hitters, Baez has struggled in the pandemic-shortened season - he's hitting just .211. But Chicago's high-energy shortstop delivered.

 

The Cubs won their fourth straight and strengthened their grip on first place in the NL Central.

Oscar Mercado hit a solo shot off Jon Lester in the fifth to tie the game at 2.

 

Five Cubs relievers followed Lester with a scoreless inning each. Jason Adam (2-1) pitched the 10th.

 

The Indians remain in position for an AL wild card despite their second straight one-run, walk-off loss to the Cubs.

 

Aaron Civale allowed two runs on seven hits, leaving with runners at second and third and none out in the seventh. The right-hander hasn't won since Aug. 19 and is 0-3 in his last five starts.

 

Lester yielded two runs on four hits in five innings in his second effective start following two rough ones.

 

Following a day off Thursday, RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-4, 3.29) faces LHP Rich Hill (2-1. 3.81) in the opener of a three-game home set against Minnesota at Wrigley Field.

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Cardinals Brewers Split Another Doubleheader

Adam Wainwright shook off an early home run and pitched a four-hitter, leading the St. Louis Cardinals past the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader.

 

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt ran the team in the opener. He was to miss the nightcap while serving a one-game suspension, imposed by Major League Baseball after tempers flared during the Brewers' 18-3 romp Tuesday night.

 

Wainwright (5-1) struck out nine in the seven-inning complete game as the Cardinals reached .500 in their bid for a spot in the expanded playoff field.

 

Christian Yelich hit a one-out single in the Milwaukee first and Keston Huira followed with his 13th home run. Wainwright quickly settled down and allowed just two singles and a walk the rest of the way.

 

Tyler O'Neill hit a solo homer in the second and Brad Miller's seventh homer, a solo drive in the sixth, put the Cardinals up 4-2.

 

After the first, Wainwright was only in trouble once. With two outs in the fifth, Omar Narvaez walked and Avisail Garcia singled, bringing up Yelich, coming on after a slow start.

 

Wainwright retired Yelich on a bouncer to second.

 

Brandon Woodruff (2-4), who also went the distance, allowed three earned and seven hits. He struck out five and walked none.

 

St. Louis snapped a 2-2 tie with an unearned run in the fifth. Harrison Bader reached on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Jace Peterson and Tommy Edman sliced an opposite-field double to left.

 

O'Neill answered with his sixth homer to make it 2-1. O'Neill's homer was the first of the series for the Cardinals, the first time since 2005 that St. Louis had gone without a home run over three games at Miller Park.

 

 

 

Brent Suter and three relievers combined on a two-hitter, Ryan Braun hit his 350th career homer and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 Wednesday night to split a doubleheader.

 

St. Louis manager Mike Shildt ran the team in the opener. He missed the nightcap while serving a one-game suspension, imposed by Major League Baseball after tempers flared during the Brewers' 18-3 romp Tuesday night.

 

The Brewers scored four runs in the first inning on just one hit, the three-run homer by Braun.

Suter allowed two hits over three scoreless innings, walking two and striking out three. Freddy Peralta (3-1) followed with two perfect innings, striking out three. Devin Williams struck out two in a perfect sixth, and Eric Yardley retired the side in the seventh.

 

Jacob Nottingham's third homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, put the Brewers up 6-0.

 

Oviedo (0-3), activated off the injured list earlier in the day after passing a rapid test for COVID-19, allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings. He hit three batters with pitches.

 

Dakota Hudson (3-2, 2.92 ERA) opens the five-game series Thursday at Pittsburgh, which includes two games on Friday, the Cardinals' third doubleheader of the week. Hudson has won his last three starts. He allowed one run on one hit in six innings in his last outing, although he walked four.

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Twins Power Past White Sox

Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano each hit a two-run homer, and the Minnesota Twins denied the Chicago White Sox a chance to clinch their first playoff berth in 12 years with a 5-1 victory Wednesday night.

 

Eddie Rosario also went deep and Minnesota pitchers retired their final 18 batters against the AL Central leaders. Chicago, which had won six straight and nine of 10, could have secured its first postseason spot since 2008 with a win and a Mariners loss.

 

After dropping the first two in the four-game series, the second-place Twins moved within two games of Chicago in the division standings.

 

Minnesota won despite losing starter Jake Odorizzi to a blister in the fourth inning.

 

Minnesota reliever Cody Stashak (1-0) relieved Odorizzi and was perfect for 2 1/3 innings with two strikeouts.

 

Tyler Duffey worked the seventh and the eighth with two strikeouts, and Trevor May struck out the side in the ninth to finish the two-hitter.

 

Jose Abreu homered in the fourth for the White Sox, who have lost just six times in 28 games.

 

Giolito allowed three runs and three hits in six innings. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.37 ERA in four starts since throwing a no-hitter against Pittsburgh on Aug. 25.

 

Kenta Maeda (5-1, 2.43 ERA) pitches for Minnesota on Thursday night. He beat Cleveland ace Shane Bieber last Friday with seven scoreless innings. Reynaldo Lopez (1-2, 5.52) goes for Chicago.

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US Open Tees Off Today

Tee times for the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot are out, and there are some absolutely loaded groups for what will almost assuredly be the toughest test of golf this season beginning this Thursday in southern New York. The USGA always creates interesting trios, and that's true again this year with most of the best players in the world in attendance at the 2020-21 season's first major championship.

 

The threesome of Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa headlines the groups but it's far from the only tee time worth keeping an eye on this week. Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Justin Rose will play together on Thursday and Friday as well. So will Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. World No. 2 Jon Rahm is grouped with Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey.

 

The group that maybe most intrigues me is the Oklahoma State trio of Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff. It seems unlikely that any of them would win the event this year, but all three are currently ranked in the top 50 in the world and should be expected to make the cut.

 

Starting from the first tee:

 

7:56 a.m. -- Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth
8:07 a.m. -- Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods

 

1:16 p.m. -- Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau
1:27 p.m. -- Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey, Jon Rahm
1:38 p.m. -- Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolff, Viktor Hovland

 

Starting from the tenth tee:

 

7:45 a.m. -- Tyrrell Hatton, Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett
7:56 a.m. -- Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day
8:07 a.m. -- Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose

 

12:21 p.m. -- Jim Herman, John Pak, Thomas Pieters
12:54 p.m. -- Lee Westwood, James Sugrue, Bubba Watson
1:38 p.m. -- Billy Horschel, Xander Schauffele, Brandt Snedeker

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Fall Sports Still a No-Go for Gov. Pritzker

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS UNFORTUNATELY, CONTACT SPORTS ARE STILL A NO-GO THIS FALL. 

 

HASHTAG, LET US PLAY RALLIES ARE SCHEDULED FOR THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO AND SPRINGFIELD, WITH PARENTS, STUDENTS AND COACHES URGING THE GOVERNOR TO ALLOW THEM TO GET BACK ON THE FOOTBALL AND SOCCER FIELDS AND VOLLEYBALL COURTS. PRITZKER SAYS IT'S STILL NOT SAFE.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THIS ISN'T A POLITICAL DECISION AND POINTS TO AN OUTBREAK AMONG A COMMUNITY COLLEGE BASEBALL TEAM IN DOWNSTATE FAIRFIELD AS AN EXAMPLE OF WHY CERTAIN SPORTS SHOULD BE DELAYED.

 

 

"LET THEM PLAY" RALLIES ARE SCHEDULED FOR CHICAGO AND SPRINGFIELD THIS WEEKEND, URGING THE GOVERNOR TO ALLOW STUDENT ATHLETES TO PLAY FOOTBALL, SOCCER AND VOLLEYBALL IMMEDIATELY.

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Chicago Sports Writer Discusses Governor Pritzker's Rule Over High School Football

Momentum is picking up for high school football to return this fall as administrators, coaches and athletes are planning weekend rallies in Springfield and Chicago.

 

It all comes down to the decision of one individual in Illinois - Gov. JB Pritzker - who yesterday indicated he would not be changing his mind on allowing high school football to be played. Jon Kerr is a sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune and was on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, has started a personal blog that had an op-ed that made the rounds among high school administrators and coaches last week, pushing for the return of high school football.

 

 

Many ask why does the Governor care so much about high school football? Kerr believes Pritzker made a very hasty decision back in July and notes the IHSA was not ready for the announcement made by Governor Pritzker which all but negated any possibility of playing high school football in the fall.

 

 

Many wonder, especially after Gov. Pritzker's emphatic response to the upcoming rallies this weekend, is it too little too late? Kerr wonders that as well but says, we have to continue to fight if this is something we really want.

 

 

Many high school coaches have been outspoken about their desire to find a way to play this season and despite Gov. Pritzker's Tuesday comments regarding decisions on high school sports, rallies in Springfield and Chicago are still planning to go on.

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Sox Top Twins Again

Dane Dunning tossed seven effective innings, Luis Robert had a key two-run single and the White Sox strengthened their hold on the AL Central by topping the Minnesota Twins 6-2 Tuesday night.

 

Dunning (2-0) permitted one earned run and three hits in by far his biggest start since his Aug. 19 debut. Appearing poised and confident, the 25-year-old right-hander struck out seven and walked two in the longest outing of his career.

 

Tim Anderson and James McCann homered as Chicago (32-16) posted its sixth straight win and moved three games ahead of second-place Minnesota, which won the AL Central last year. The AL-best White Sox also moved 16 games over .500 for the first time since they were 71-55 on Aug. 26, 2012.

 

Byron Buxton hit his third career inside-the-park homer for Minnesota, but the Twins finished with just four hits. Randy Dobnak (6-4) allowed four runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings in his second straight loss.

 

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and designated hitter Nelson Cruz were ejected by plate umpire Will Little after Ryan Jeffers took a called third strike for the final out of the seventh. It was third career ejection for both.

 

Anderson had three hits and scored twice, and Abreu also finished with three hits. Anderson and Abreu are both strong contenders for the AL MVP award.

 

Lucas Giolito (4-2, 3.43 ERA) pitches for Chicago on Wednesday night. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA in three starts since he threw a no-hitter against Pittsburgh on Aug. 25. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 8.10 ERA) is expected to come off the IL for Minnesota.

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Cubs Beat Reds

Willson Contreras and Cameron Maybin were plunked by consecutive pitches from Cleveland reliever Nick Wittgren in the ninth inning, forcing home the winning run as the Chicago Cubs beat the Indians 6-5 Tuesday night.

 

Cleveland's Francisco Lindor hit a tying, two-run homer in the top of the ninth, but the Indians couldn't take advantage.

 

Left-hander Oliver Perez (1-1) allowed a one-out walk to Kris Bryant in the bottom of the inning. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single that advanced Bryant to third. Wittgren drilled Contreras with a 1-1 fastball, then hit Maybin with a bases-loaded changeup.

 

Trailing 5-3 in the ninth, Josh Naylor drew a leadoff walk from Cubs closer Jeremy Jeffress. One out later, Lindor hit a two-run shot to left. It was his eighth of the season and the second blown save for Jeffress (4-1).

 

Javier Baez also homered for the Cubs, who increased their lead to five games in the NL Central.

Lindor's home run took away a victory for Cubs starter Yu Darvish. The NL Cy Young Award candidate allowed three runs and nine hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one as he bounced back from a loss to the Reds in his last outing.

 

Tyler Naquin was 4 for 4 for the Indians, who lost their season-high seventh straight game.

Bryant, who has been struggling all season, scored three runs.

 

Ian Happ doubled to center for the Cubs in the fifth and scored on Bryant's single.

 

Indians starter Carlos Carrasco pitched six innings and allowed three runs and eight hits with five strikeouts and one walk in the no-decision.

 

Jon Lester (2-2), who is coming off one of his best starts of the season, is Chicago's scheduled starter. He struck out a season-high eight batters in six scoreless innings against the Brewers on Friday.

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Brewers Throttle Cardinals; Yadi Injury Sparks Benches Clearing Incident

Christian Yelich broke out of his slump with a home run and three hits, Ryan Braun also went deep and the Milwaukee Brewers romped to an 18-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Keston Hiura and Daniel Vogelbach also homered for the Brewers.

 

Well after the game was out of hand, both managers were ejected following a catcher's interference call on Yadier Molina that led to a tense confrontation in front of the Brewers' dugout.

 

Milwaukee jumped on St. Louis early, a night after the teams combined for only eight runs in splitting a doubleheader in which both games went to extra innings.

 

With St. Louis leading 1-0 in the first, Yelich and Braun hit back-to-back solo home runs off Jack Flaherty (3-2). Neither was hit particularly hard. And Flaherty, who had allowed two runs or fewer in five of his six previous starts, showed some dominance, as six of the first seven outs he recorded were strikeouts.

 

But Yelich, who singled, and Braun, who walked, hurt Flaherty again in the third inning. They scored on a double by Vogelbach, a designated hitter claimed off waivers Sept. 3.

 

The game broke loose in the fourth, after Flaherty gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases. There were still no outs when three runs crossed the plate, giving Milwaukee a 7-1 lead, and Flaherty was pulled.

 

Jake Woodford came on and gave up a three-run homer to Hiura that put Milwaukee up 11-1. The solo shot by Vogelbach came in the seventh, off Nabil Crismatt.

 

Cardinals pitchers entered Tuesday having given up the fewest home runs in the National League.

Milwaukee left-hander Brett Anderson (3-3), scratched from his last scheduled start on Sept. 12 because of a tight right hip, pitched five innings. He gave up an RBI double and a bases-loaded walk, both to Paul Goldschmidt.

 

Counsell and Cardinals manager Mike Shildt were ejected in the fifth, with Milwaukee leading 13-2, after Braun was awarded first base on the interference call. Shildt examined Molina's left arm, then he and Molina approached the Milwaukee dugout and exchanged words with Brewers players.

Players from both teams' dugouts and bullpens massed in front of the Milwaukee dugout, but that was the extent of it.

 

A full slate of pitchers for Wednesday had not been announced. St. Louis RHP Adam Wainwright (4-1, 2.91 ERA) will start the first game of the doubleheader. The 39-year-old has pitched six or more innings, including a complete game, in each of his last five starts. RHP Brandon Woodruff (2-3, 3.40) will start one of the games for Milwaukee.

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#LetUsPlay Movement Picking Up Steam with Scheduled Rallies

A rally will be held in Chicago and Springfield this weekend to support getting high school students back on the field of competition.

 

The “Let Us Play” event will aim to fill the grounds of the Thompson Center and State Capitol with coaches, players, parents and supporters of returning all fall sports to action. Currently in Illinois high school football isn’t being contested and supporters want that to change. East St. Louis head football coach Darren Sunkett is one of the organizers of the event and he says they have a plan to play football in just a few weeks.

 

 

Currently, Illinois and Minnesota are the only states in the Midwest who have no plan to play high school football this fall.

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Sox Get Big Win Over Twins

Adam Engel delivered a tiebreaking pinch-hit single in the eighth inning, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 3-1 on Monday night to increase their lead in the AL Central.

 

Chicago opened its pivotal four-game set against Minnesota with its ninth win in 10 games. The White Sox (31-16) moved two games ahead of the second-place Twins (30-19).

 

Twins reliever Taylor Rogers (1-3) walked Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert with no outs in the eighth. Engel then made it 2-1 with a bouncer up the middle.

 

The White Sox have relied on their power all year, but Engel faked a bunt before swinging away.

 

After Nick Madrigal lined out, Tim Anderson added an RBI double off the fence in left. Anderson had three hits, strengthening his position in the race for the AL MVP award.

 

White Sox reliever Gio Gonzalez retired the first two batters in the eighth before issuing consecutive walks. Alex Colome relieved Gonzalez and walked Josh Donaldson to load the bases for Nelson Cruz, who grounded out to leave the bases loaded for the second time in the game.

 

Minnesota went 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position and left 15 runners on base. It had won three in a row.

 

Colome (2-0) also worked around another adventure for left fielder Eloy Jimenez in the ninth.

 

Byron Buxton hit a line drive by Jimenez that went to the fence. Jimenez put his hands up because he thought the ball was lodged at the bottom of the wall. Buxton didn't hesitate and ran around the bases for what appeared to be an inside-the-park homer.

 

After a replay review, the home run was overturned and Buxton went back to second for a ground-rule double. Colome recorded the final out by striking out Jake Cave looking.

 

Twins starter Jose Berrios allowed six hits in five innings.

 

Randy Dobnak (6-3) is Tuesday's scheduled starter for the Twins. The right-hander will try to bounce back after struggling in his previous outing. Dane Dunning (1-0) gets the ball for the White Sox.

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Cardinals, Brewers Split Doubleheader

Keston Hiura hit a sacrifice fly to score Avisail Garcia with the winning run in the eighth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers rallied to edge the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 in the opening game of a doubleheader Monday.

 

The Cardinals broke a scoreless tie in the top of the eighth when Tommy Edman's two-out single up the middle off Freddy Peralta (2-1) brought home Tyler O'Neill, who had started the inning on second base under Major League Baseball's new extra-inning format.

 

The Brewers answered off reliever Ryan Helsley (1-1) in the bottom of the eighth.

 

Avisail Garcia's leadoff walk put runners on first and second. Helsley struck out Christian Yelich, but Ryan Braun followed with a double off the center-field wall that scored Tyrone Taylor and advanced Garcia to third.

 

Austin Gomber replaced Helsley and walked Jace Peterson to load the bases before Hiura hit his fly to left. Garcia scored without a throw.

 

Milwaukee's rally in the eighth snapped the Brewers' string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings.

 

Chicago Cubs right-hander Alec Mills threw a no-hitter against them Sunday in a 12-0 blowout.

 

Monday's doubleheader opened a three-day, five-game series between these NL Central rivals who were facing each other for the first time this season. The Brewers are playing the Cardinals 10 times over their last 16 games.

 

Milwaukee was supposed to open its home schedule against St. Louis on July 31, but the Cardinals had a coronavirus outbreak that caused that weekend series to get postponed.

 

The opener of this doubleheader was a pitchers' duel between St. Louis' Kwang Hyun Kim and Milwaukee's Josh Lindblom, who both spent last season in the Korea Baseball Organization.

 

Kim struck out six and allowed three hits and three walks after getting activated from the injured list.

 

Since earned runs became an official statistic in 1912, Kim is the first NL pitcher to have four straight starts in a season in which he threw at least five innings while allowing three or fewer hits and no earned runs.

 

The 32-year-old rookie from Korea hasn't allowed an earned run over his last 24 innings, though he has given up one unearned run during that stretch.

 

Lindblom struck out six while allowing three hits and no walks in five shutout innings.

 

 

 

Both games of their doubleheader split went into extra innings after being scheduled for seven, with the winning team coming from behind each time. The Cardinals rallied to take the nightcap 3-2 in nine innings.

 

The Brewers led the nightcap 2-1 in the seventh thanks to Jedd Gyorko's two-run homer, but ace relievers Josh Hader and Devin Williams were unavailable after pitching in the first game. St. Louis tied it when Brad Miller's single off Eric Yardley scored Paul Goldschmidt in the seventh.

 

In the ninth, DeJong hit a liner off Justin Topa (0-1) that barely eluded the reach of shortstop Orlando Arcia and went into left field to score Tommy Edman from third. Edman had started the inning on second base under Major League Baseball's new extra-inning format.

 

The Brewers had runners on first and second with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, but Tyler Webb induced a double-play grounder from Luis Urias and struck out Jace Peterson to earn his first save.

 

The Cardinals and Brewers meet again Tuesday in the lone single game of this three-day, five-game series. Jack Flaherty (3-1, 3.08 ERA) pitches for St. Louis and Brett Anderson (2-3, 4.64) starts for Milwaukee.

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Mets Sold to Billionaire Steve Cohen

Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has agreed to buy the New York Mets from the Wilpon and Katz families.

 

The team announced the agreement on Monday. The deal is subject to the approval of Major League Baseball owners.

 

Sportico reported Cohen will own 95% of the team, with the rest staying with the Wilpon and Katz families. The deal reportedly values the franchise at about $2.4 billion.

 

Former major league star Alex Rodriguez and fiancee Jennifer Lopez also attempted to buy the team, but they dropped out of the bidding last month.

 

Cohen also entered negotiations to buy the Mets last year, but the deal fell apart in February. He bought an 8% limited partnership stake in 2012 for $40 million. The deal that failed to close would have seen him acquire an 80% controlling share in a transaction that valued the team at $2.6 billion.

 

The current Mets ownership group is headed by Fred Wilpon, brother-in-law Saul Katz and Wilpon’s son Jeff, the team’s chief operating officer.

 

Cohen first bought into the Mets when the team sought $20 million minority investment stakes following the collapse of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, which heavily cost the Wilpons and their companies. The limited partnership shares were sold after a proposed $200 million sale of a stake of the Mets to hedge fund manager David Einhorn fell through in 2011.

 

The 64-year-old Cohen is CEO and president of Point72 Asset Management.

 

Cohen controlled SAC Capital Advisors, which in 2013 pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges. SAC agreed to pay a $900 million fine and forfeit another $900 million to the federal government, though $616 million that SAC companies had already agreed to pay to settle parallel actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission was to be deducted from the $1.8 billion.

 

The publisher Doubleday & Co. bought the Mets in 1980 from the family of founding owner Joan Payson for $21.1 million, with the company owning 95% of the team and Fred Wilpon controlling 5%.

When Doubleday & Co. was sold to the media company Bertelsmann AG in 1986, the publisher sold its shares of the team for nearly $81 million to Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday, who became 50-50 owners.

 

Wilpon led a buyout of Doubleday’s shares in 2002 and became chairman and sole controlling owner. Katz, the owner’s brother-in-law and partner in the real estate firm Sterling Equities Inc., became team president and Jeff Wilpon became COO.

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Ohio State Football Players Declaring for NFL Draft With Season In Limbo

With the chances of the Big Ten Conference playing a football season slipping away, two of Ohio State’s best players have chosen to opt out and start preparing for the NFL draft.

 

Cornerback Shaun Wade, a preseason All-American and likely first-round pick in the 2021 draft, announced his decision Monday on Twitter, saying the Big Ten waited too long to decide what to do about playing. Wyatt Davis, an offensive guard who is another potential first-round pick, announced his decision on Friday.

 

All eyes will now be on quarterback Justin Fields, who could be one of the top picks in the 2021 draft regardless of whether he plays another down of football for the Buckeyes. Fields hasn’t publicly commented recently about his situation.

 

Time is slipping away for players choosing to remain with idle Big Ten and Pac-12 teams, who now must watch teams from other conferences — including the SEC and ACC — that decided to go ahead with their seasons.

 

The Big Ten postponed its entire fall sports season on Aug. 11 because of COVID-19 concerns and how football could be played safely. The emergence of daily rapid-response COVID-19 testing, not available when university leaders decided to pull the plug on the season, now looms large.

 

If the presidents vote to start by late October, an eight-game season and conference championship game in mid-December is still possible. That schedule could set up Big Ten teams to be part of the College Football Playoff.

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Monticello Athletics Leaders Discuss Statewide Push for Return to Sports

Last Friday afternoon, many reports surfaced of the plans of statewide sports leaders' plans to rally in Springfield and Chicago.

 

Monticello Athletic Director Dan Sheehan and football coach Cully Welter are among local advocates for these rallies. Sheehan recently expressed his frustration with the situation with Regional Radio News....

 

 

Coach Welter has been following the situation and says as other states begin to bring back fall sports, while it would be stressful, he'd be all for sports coming back.

 

 

Friday afternoon, the IHSA confirmed a letter was sent to Governor JB Pritzker however, called the contents of such a letter 'misconstrued' and noted the IHSA is not involved in any of the planning for any forthcoming rallies in Illinois.

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Bears Rally Past Lions

Mitch Trubisky perfectly lofted a 27-yard go-ahead touchdown pass into the fingertips of Anthony Miller with 1:54 remaining and the Chicago Bears held on to beat the Detroit Lions 27-23 on Sunday.

 

Detroit drove to the Chicago 16 with a chance to win on the final possession, and rookie running back D'Andre Swift dropped a pass in the end zone.

 

On the next snap, Matthew Stafford threw another incomplete pass as time expired to complete the collapse.

 

Trubisky threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to help Chicago rally from a 23-6 deficit. It looked familiar to Lions fans: Detroit opened last season by blowing an 18-point lead at Arizona and settling for a tie. That began a trend of blown leads and Detroit finished with a 3-12-1 record.

 

Trubisky, who held off Nick Foles to keep his job, completed 20 of 36 attempts for 242 yards with three touchdowns, including short passes for scores to Jimmy Graham and Javon Wims.

 

Stafford was 24 of 42 for 297 yards with a TD pass to T.J. Hockenson in the third quarter - and an interception that put Chicago in position to take its only lead of the game. He tried to force a pass to Marvin Jones that was deflected to Kyle Fuller.

 

Adrian Peterson ran for 93 yards on 14 carries in his Detroit debut, just four days after signing with the team, and he plans to lead the franchise with his play and words.

 

Lions linebacker Jamie Collins was ejected in the first half when he made contact with an official, pressing his helmet against Alex Kemp's chest.

 

The Bears host the New York Giants on Sunday.

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Alec Mills Throws No-Hitter as Cubs Pound Brewers

Alec Mills cruised through baseball's second no-hitter this season in just the 15th start of his career, completing the gem in a 12-0 romp over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

 

Mills got Jace Peterson - who replaced Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP, on defense late in the blowout - to hit a routine grounder to shortstop Javier Baez with two outs in the ninth. Baez completed the play, and the Cubs swarmed around Mills, tearing off his cap and pulling at the smiling right-hander's uniform after his first career complete game.

 

Mills (5-3) threw 114 pitches and hardly had any close calls in Chicago's 16th no-hitter. Avisail Garcia almost got to him twice, hitting a line drive to right in the first and nearly legging out an infield hit to shortstop in the sixth. Garcia crossed first and immediately called to the Brewers dugout for a review, but after a very brief stoppage, the Brewers opted not to challenge.

 

Mills would have faced Garcia again in the ninth, but Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell pulled the 2017 All-Star along with Yelich in the eighth with his team trailing big. Mills struck out Garcia's replacement, Tyrone Taylor, for the second out in the ninth.

 

Mills struck out five and walked three. His five strikeouts are the fewest in a Cubs no-hitter since Ken Holtzman in 1969. He only induced five swings and misses, tied with Oakland's Dallas Braden during his perfect game in 2010 for fewest in a no-hitter since at least 1988, per Stats Inc.

 

Mills was a 22nd-round draft pick by Kansas City in 2012 and had Tommy John surgery in 2013. He had started just six major league games prior to this season but cracked Chicago's rotation because of an injury to Jose Quintana.

 

He went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his first two starts, struggled in his next five but pitched solidly Tuesday against the Reds with six shutout innings. The no-hitter dropped his ERA to 3.93.

 

Mills completed the Cubs' first no-hitter since Jake Arrieta did it twice in eight months: at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 30, 2015, and at Cincinnati on April 21, 2016.

 

Milwaukee had not been held hitless since Detroit's Justin Verlander pitched the first of his three no-hitters on June 12, 2007. It's the fourth time the Brewers have been no-hit.

 

After a day off Monday, Chicago opens a two-game interleague series at home against Cleveland. Yu Darvish (7-2, 1.77 ERA) will start for the Cubs. Darvish is 1-3 with a 3.52 ERA in six career starts against the Indians.

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Packers Hold Off Vikings for Season Opening Win

Aaron Rodgers took full advantage of the young cornerbacks and the empty building in Minnesota, beginning his 13th season as Green Bay's starting quarterback by passing for 364 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Packers past the Vikings 43-34 on Sunday.

 

Davante Adams thrived all over the field with a franchise-record-tying 14 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard each reached the end zone, too, as Green Bay had its way with a Minnesota defense renovated this year out of salary-cap necessity as hefty new contracts were given to quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook.

 

Aaron Jones rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown for the Packers, who posted their highest score against the Vikings since a 44-31 victory at the Metrodome on Oct. 27, 2013. This was the most points Minnesota has allowed since coach Mike Zimmer was hired in 2014.

 

Cook rushed 12 times for 50 yards, two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions. Adam Thielen caught six passes for 110 yards, two scores and another 2-pointer, but Cousins underthrew him in the final minute of the first half. Jaire Alexander, who also recorded a safety on an untouched cornerback blitz in the second quarter, made the bobbling interception.

 

Then Rodgers hit Valdes-Scantling on a fade route up the right sideline with rookie Cameron Dantzler in position but too late to turn for the ball, a 45-yard touchdown that gave Green Bay a 22-7 lead with 11 seconds left in the first half.

 

The Packers host Detroit next Sunday.

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Reds Double Up Cardinals

Andrew Miller loaded the bases with a hit batter, followed with a tying four-pitch walk, then threw a wild pitch that put Cincinnati ahead in a three-run seventh inning as the Reds kept up their slim playoff hopes with a 10-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

 

St. Louis, second in the NL Central at 20-20, dropped four games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs (28-20) with two weeks left. The fourth-place Reds are 21-26 and also trail Milwaukee (20-24) .

The Cardinals led 5-3 before Nick Castellanos' RBI single in the sixth off Alex Reyes.

 

Archie Bradley (2-0) pitched two hitless innings for his first win since he was acquired from Arizona on Aug. 31. Raisel Iglesias pitched around a walk in two hitless innings for his seventh save in nine chances.

 

Carlos Martinez allowed three runs and six hits in four innings and struck out eight in his longest outing since pitching 4 2/3 innings against Colorado on July 30, 2018.

 

Kwang Hyun Kim (2-0, 0.83) faces Brewers RHP Corbin Burnes (3-0, 1.99) in game one of a doubleheader at Milwaukee to start a 13-game, nine-day trip. RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-3, 7.47) will be recalled from the club's alternate training site to start game two.

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White Sox Down Tigers

Eloy Jimenez homered, Yoan Moncada had three hits and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 5-2 on Sunday for their fourth straight win.

 

AL Central-leading Chicago tuned up for a big series against Minnesota with its ninth consecutive victory against Detroit. The second-place Twins visit the Windy City on Monday for the opener of a four-game set.

 

Jimenez had two hits and two RBIs for the White Sox, who have won eight of nine overall. Jose Abreu had a run-scoring single for his major league-best 48th RBI.

 

Detroit lost for the fifth time in six games. Jorge Bonifacio had two hits and two RBIs, and Spencer Turnbull (4-3) allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings.

 

Jimenez had two hits and two RBIs for the White Sox, who have won eight of nine overall. Jose Abreu had a run-scoring single for his major league-best 48th RBI.

 

Detroit lost for the fifth time in six games. Jorge Bonifacio had two hits and two RBIs, and Spencer Turnbull (4-3) allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings.

 

HP Dylan Cease (5-2, 3.33 ERA) takes the mound Monday night against Minnesota. RHP Jose Berrios (4-3, 4.40 ERA) starts for the Twins. Berrios allowed one run in six innings on Sept. 2 to get the win in his last outing against Chicago.

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Keselowski Takes Saturday Checkered Flag at Richmond

Brad Keselowski dominated Saturday night at Richmond Raceway, leading 192 laps in the second playoff race and advancing into the next round.

 

On a night when the only caution flags were scheduled by NASCAR, leading to plenty of green-flag pit stops that jumbled the leaderboard, Keselowski kept rising to the top.

 

Kevin Harvick, the title favorite, won last week’s opener to earn the automatic berth into the second round. Hamlin, derailed at his home track of Richmond by a speeding penalty, finished 12th but still advanced into the next round based on points.

 

Keselowski also gave Team Penske a sweep of the day – Will Power won for the IndyCar arm of the organization earlier Saturday.

 

Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Keselowski are the only drivers locked into the next round of the playoffs. Hamlin has six wins, but just ne in the last nine races, leading to frustration.

 

Headed into next Saturday night’s elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway, William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney are below the cutoff line.

 

Martin Truex Jr. finished second at Richmond, followed by Keselowski teammate Joey Logano and Austin Dillon, who has opened the playoffs with back-to-back top-five finishes for the first time in his career. Harvick finished seventh.

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Ten New Teams in AP Top 25 College Football Poll

Sun Belt rivals Louisiana-Lafayette and Appalachian State were among 10 new teams ranked Sunday in first regular-season Associated Press college football poll, which was stripped of the teams not yet scheduled to play a fall season.

 

There was no change at the very top: Preseason No. 1 Clemson received 60 of 61 first place-votes this week.

 

After all Division I teams were eligible to be voted on for the preseason Top 25, the panel of 61 voters was permitted to consider only the 60% of Football Bowl Subdivision teams scheduled to play in the fall now that the season has started.

 

That meant preseason No. 2 Ohio State, No. 7 Penn State and No. 9 Oregon, along with six other Big Ten and Pac-12 teams, dropped out of the rankings. The Big Ten, Pac-12, Mid-American Conference and Mountain West have delayed their seasons due to concerns about playing amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the Big Ten is taking some steps toward a possible mid-October start.

 

With those teams gone, Alabama moved up to No. 2. Oklahoma is No. 3, followed by No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Florida. Defending champion LSU, with one first-place vote, is No. 6.

 

The Sun Belt Conference has two teams ranked for the first time since the conference began sponsoring football in 2001, with Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 19 and Appalachian State at No. 23, tied with Kentucky.

 

The Ragin’ Cajuns pulled off maybe the biggest upset of the weekend, winning at Iowa State 31-14 on Saturday. The Cyclones had been ranked No. 23 and are the one team currently scheduled to play to fall out of the rankings after being in the preseason Top 25.

 

Louisiana-Lafayette was last ranked in 1943.

 

No. 16 Memphis has the highest ranking of those teams entering the poll.

 

No. 17 Miami also garnered some support in the preseason. The Hurricanes join on the strength of a 31-14 victory Thursday against Conference USA contender UAB.

 

No. 18 Louisville beat Western Kentucky 35-21 to open its season and is ranked for the first time since 2017.

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Clinton, Monticello Coaches Glad to Be Back Practicing

Under direction from Governor JB Pritzker and the IHSA, high school athletes were able to get back to practice this week.

 

High school football and volleyball were among athletes able to train this week for the first time since most students returned to school. Clinton High School football coach Chris Ridgeway indicates they can do 7-on-7 drills, a mostly offensive-oriented scrimmage. He says under the current guidelines, they really have to get creative.

 

 

Clinton High School volleyball coach Morgan Hickman says it is nice to back with her girls and is excited at the attendance from the players in the program.

 

 

Monticello football coach Cully Welter indicates his program is reviewing some of the things they worked on over the summer and focus on the playbook.

 

 

Hear from Coach Ridgeway and Coach Hickman tonight on WHOW and our many online platforms for our weekly player spotlights beginning at 7 pm.

 

Hear from Coach Welter on WEZC and dewittdailynews.com tonight at 7 pm as well.

 

Both stations continue their weekly player spotlights in place of the suspended high school football season.

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Cardinals, Tigers Split Double Header

Yadier Molina hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the second inning that started the St. Louis Cardinals to a 12-2 win over the skidding Detroit Tigers in a doubleheader opener on Thursday.

 

Lane Thomas, Tyler O'Neill, Paul Goldschmidt and Rangel Ravelo also homered for St. Louis, which has won five of seven.

 

Jeimer Candelario homered for the Tigers, who have lost seven of nine. They were coming off a 19-0 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday, the largest defeat in franchise history.

 

Jack Flaherty (3-1) allowed four hits in five innings, struck out six and walked two.

 

Skubal gave up six runs and three hits over two-plus innings.

 

 

 

Jeimer Candelario capped off a two-homer day with a two-run, bases-loaded single in the seventh inning to help the Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Thursday for a doubleheader split.

 

Jose Cisnero (2-2) picked up the win for the Tigers. Giovanny Gallegos (1-2) took the loss.

Jorge Bonifacio added a two-run homer for Detroit in a late five-run rally. Tommy Edman homered for St. Louis.

 

St. Louis played its seventh doubleheader this season, including three in six days. They were idle for 16 days earlier this season after 10 players tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Adam Wainwright (4-0, 2.68) is to face visiting Cincinnati and RHP Luis Castillo (1-5, 3.95) in the opener of a three-game series on Friday. Wainwright has won his last two starts. allowing four earned runs over 15 1/3 innings.

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Cubs Roll Reds

Willson Contreras had four hits to tie a career high, rookie Nico Hoerner added three RBIs and the Chicago Cubs overcame an early three-run deficit to top Sonny Gray and the Cincinnati Reds 8-5 Thursday on a long, wet night at Wrigley Field.

 

Ian Happ drove in two runs and Hoerner, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Cameron Maybin each had two hits as the Cubs broke out of an offensive funk and strengthened their grip on first place in the NL Central. Maybin and Contreras each drove in a run and scored twice in a game that started 75 minutes late because of rain and ended after 4 hours, 7 minutes, with 1 a.m. approaching.

 

Six relievers combined for 5 1/3 innings of six-hit ball and allowed only one earned run for the Cubs after Adbert Alzolay permitted three runs on three hits over 3 2/3 innings in his third start this season. Kyle Ryan (1-0) closed out the fourth and got the first out in the fifth to earn the win. Jeremy Jeffress pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

 

Nick Castellanos tripled to drive in a run against his former team, but the Reds lost for the third time in four games. Brian Goodwin, Jesse Winker, Shogo Akiyama and Tyler Stephenson each had an RBI.

 

The Cubs rebounded with 13 hits to take the rubber match of the three-game series after the Reds held them to just three in a 3-0 win Wednesday.

 

Bryant was back in the lineup at third base after being held out Wednesday. He was hit by a pitch on the left elbow Tuesday.

 

Jon Lester (2-2, 5.80) starts the opener of a three-game set at Milwaukee on Friday against Brandon Woodruff (2-3, 3.91). Lester has been roughed up in his last two starts, allowing 10 runs over 8 2/3 innings.

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Bubba Wallace Leaving Richard Petty Motorsports

Bubba Wallace, loaded with several new sponsors he personally signed, will leave Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the season and take his new wealth elsewhere.

 

Wallace, who has driven Petty’s iconic No. 43 the last three seasons, told the team Thursday he would not sign a contract extension.

 

Wallace said in a statement, quote - “This was not an easy decision as I have nothing but the utmost respect for Richard Petty and his family. but I believe it’s time for someone else to take over the No. 43."

 

Wallace, who is 26, has a career-best five top-10 finishes this season and is ranked a career-best 23rd in the Cup Series standings. Wallace did not make the playoffs in any of his three Cup seasons and is winless at NASCAR’s top level.

 

Wallace in 2013 became the second Black driver to win a national series NASCAR race when he won the Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway. He is the only full-time Black driver at NASCAR’s national level.

 

Wallace this season has taken an active role in pushing for racial inclusion and equality, pushing NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its races earlier this year. He parlayed that into several sponsorship deals that have been negotiated in a way that Wallace could take them with him if he left RPM.

 

Among his new partners are Door Dash, Columbia Sportswear Co., Cash App, and a personal deal with Beats by Dre. He also has an affiliation with McDonald’s, one of the sponsors at Chip Ganassi Racing.

 

It’s not clear where Wallace is headed because several major teams with seats available told The Associated Press they were not in play for the driver. 

 

RPM, meanwhile, said it would finish the season with Wallace and announce its plans at a later date. The team has had difficulty landing sponsorship — one of the reasons the No. 43 has struggled to be competitive — and there has been speculation the team would be absorbed by a new owner.

 

The team said in a statement, quote - “We look forward to the next chapter in the making for the iconic No. 43 team. We will announce our new driver in the future.”

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Grant Enflinger Takes Truck Series Regular Season Finale

Grant Enfinger took the lead with seven laps to go, passing reigning champion Matt Crafton and rallied to win the NASCAR truck race at Richmond Raceway on Thursday night for his third victory of the season. Crafton held on for second and Ben Rhodes finished third.

 

Enfinger matched Sheldon Creed for the most victories among series regulars this season in the last race to determine the final two spots in the playoffs that begin next weekend.

 

Those berths went to Todd Gilliland and Tyler Ankrum, who used a late pit strategy call to finish fifth.

After a caution on Lap 174, most of the leaders stayed out, and got burned because of it.

 

Austin Hill, who had clinched the regular season championship earlier in the race, was running second, just behind Rhodes, but was passed quickly by David Ragan and Brett Moffitt, and Moffitt kept on surging, grabbing the lead from Rhodes on Lap 186.

 

Crafton also joined the fray, climbing to second followed by Ankrum, who was fighting for that playoff berth, and Enfinger, who’d gone a lap down after a tire rub earlier.

 

The parade of cars on new tires left those on older tires hoping for a caution, and time to do something on them, but it never materialized. The last restart came with 68 laps to go.

 

Rookie Zane Smith won the first stage, which was dominated by pole-sitter Hill until a late caution. Hill and most of the leaders stayed on the track when the yellow flew, but Smith pitted and was able to track Hill down before the 70th lap went on the scoreboard.

 

Rhodes won the second stage after passing Enfinger with 20 laps to go. Enfinger had grabbed the lead from Zane Smith 10 laps earlier, and his night took a bad turn shortly after the restart for the third stage. Running second, a tire rub sent him to the pits.

 

It was the series’ first visit to Richmond since 2005 and only two drivers — Crafton and Johnny Sauter — had ever raced on the 0.75-mile oval. But familiarity did Sauter no favors as he went to pit road early and emerged two laps down. He finished 27th.

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White Sox Roll Pirates on Roberto Clemente Day

James McCann went deep twice for the first multi-homer game of his seven-year career as the White Sox rolled to an 8-1 victory.

 

McCann's fourth home run of the season landed in the grass beyond the center-field wall leading off the third inning. He took JT Brubaker (1-1) deep again in the sixth, a long two-run shot that landed beyond the tarps that cover the first section of bleachers. 

 

Chicago rookie Dane Dunning (1-0) pitched into the seventh to earn his first career victory. Dunning allowed just three hits in six-plus shutout innings, with one walk and three strikeouts.

 

Yoan Moncada had two hits for the White Sox, who finished a 10-day road trip 6-3 to help them keep pace in the tightly contested AL Central. Nick Madrigal chipped in a two-run single during a four-run outburst in the fourth against Brubaker that broke things open.

 

Colin Moran doubled for Pittsburgh's only extra-base hit as the Pirates failed to put together just their second three-game winning streak of the season. A night after putting together an inspired rally to win it in the ninth, Pittsburgh spent most of the night pounding the ball into the ground against Dunning.

 

The White Sox will skip Dallas Keuchel's next turn in the rotation scheduled for this weekend to give him more time to recover from back soreness. Keuchel (6-2, 2.19 ERA) left his last start against Kansas City due to back discomfort.

 

Chicago is off Thursday, then open a seven-game homestand Friday when they host Detroit. Lucas Giolito (4-2, 3.29 ERA) gets the nod in the opener. Giolito has thrown 17 straight scoreless innings at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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Reds Blank Cubs

Trevor Bauer tossed three-hit ball into the eighth inning to outpitch Chicago Cubs ace Yu Darvish and lift the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 victory Wednesday night.'

 

Mike Moustakas hit a three-run homer in the first inning as Darvish's seven-start winning streak was snapped.'

 

Bauer (4-3) struck out 10 and walked none in 7 2/3 innings while tying his season-hig with 112 pitches. The right-hander dropped his three previous starts, including a 3-0 loss to Darvish on Aug. 29 in Cincinnati.

 

Bauer allowed just one hit - a leadoff single in the fifth by Victor Caratini - through seven innings. In the eighth, Bauer gave up a one-out single to Jason Heyward and was pulled after Ildemaro Vargas singled with two outs to put runners on the corners.

 

Lucas Sims got Ian Happ to line out to second, ending the threat.

 

Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth for his sixth save.

 

Darvish (7-2) allowed three runs and two hits in six innings, walking three and striking out nine. All three runs and both hits came in the first inning. After that, the right-hander retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. The only blemish was a two-out walk to Brian Goodwin in the fourth.

 

Kris Bryant was held out of the lineup after being hit with a pitch on the left elbow by Tyler Mahle in the third inning Tuesday night. Manager David Ross said he decided to sit the struggling slugger as a precaution.

 

Cincinnati veteran Sonny Gray (5-2, 3.19 ERA) takes on Cubs rookie Adbert Alzolay (0-1, 2.08) in the finale of the three-game series Thursday night.

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Brooks Koepka Withdraws from US Open

Two-time champion Brooks Koepka withdrew from the U.S. Open on Wednesday because of lingering pain in his left knee that has troubled him for most of the year.

 

Koepka had played eight times in a 10-week span, including six in a row, to try to catch up from missing so much time from a knee injury suffered last October. It reached a point where he withdrew before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs, ending his season in the hopes that time off would help.

 

Based on his post on Twitter, it didn’t.

 

Koepka said, quote - “Unfortunately, I have decided to withdraw from next week’s U.S. Open. I’m looking forward to getting healthy and competing at 100% again very soon.”

 

Koepka was replaced in the field by Paul Waring, the first alternate based on the Aug. 23 world ranking.

 

Even after having gone more than a year since his last victory, he would have been looked upon as one of the favorites at Winged Foot for no other reason than his reputation for playing his best in the biggest events.

 

He went back-to-back in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills and Shinnecock Hills, and he nearly became the first player in more than a century to win three straight until Gary Woodland held him off in the final hour at Pebble Beach last year.

 

Koepka also is a back-to-back PGA champion who nearly made it three in a row at Harding Park until he faded to a 74. He wasn’t at his best that week, which was evident when a trainer came out and worked on his hip.

 

Koepka now gets at least another month of rest — he has said this isn’t an injury that needs surgery — before contemplating whether he can play the CJ Cup in Las Vegas or the Zozo Championship in California, two big events that would lead into the Masters in November.

 

Koepka, who began the year at No. 1 in the world, now is down to No. 8.

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Monticello Volleyball Coach Weighs In On Suspended Season, Senior Leadership

Different and awkward are just a few of the ways Monticello's volleyball coach describes some of the hoops her and her team have had to jump through so far this year as they navigated practicing in a pandemic.

 

The high school volleyball season was among the fall sports that will be transitioned to a shortened early spring season as the IHSA adjusts its calendar for the COVID pandemic. Volleyball coach Kim Allison explains they focused on a lot of team building during a period early in the summer when they could not actually use a volleyball during practice.

 

 

Coach Allison says there were a lot of things she had the kids do that required a lot of self-accountability. She was pleased with the way her seniors took the leadership role and the way that trickled through the program.

 

 

Coach Allison says they will be practicing on Mondays in September and October. She indicates there was a lot of coordination between the different programs to make sure multi-sport athletes were able to participate in all the practices for the sports they are involved in.

 

Coach Allison was a guest on the WEZC player spotlight program last Friday night. Hear the special broadcast of player spotlights on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com each Friday night starting at 7 pm. 

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Cardinals, Twins Split Tuesday Doubleheader

Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz and Miguel Sano all homered, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon.

 

Jose Berrios (4-3) pitched into the sixth before being lifted to earn the win. He gave up three runs on four hits and struck out eight.

 

Twins catcher Willians Astudillo had two hits and scored twice.

 

Donaldson hit a three-run drive into the left field bullpen to give the Twin a 3-0 lead in the third. He snapped an 0-for-8 rut with his third home run this season.

 

Carlos Martinez (0-2), who had missed more than a month while dealing with the coronavirus, was chased in the fourth.

 

Tommy Edman hit a two-run homer in the sixth for St. Louis. After Paul Goldschmidt singled, Matt Wisler relieved. Goldschmidt scored on a wild pitch after a passed ball and a ground out to cut the lead to 5-3.

 

The two-game series between Minnesota and St. Louis was condensed to one day so the Cardinals could have one more day off before the end of the season, with a backlog of makeup games this month.

 

Behind second base, a large No. 20 was placed touching the grass to honor Hall of Fame outfielder Lou Brock, who died on Sunday at the age of 81. The six-time All-Star used his speed and bat to help the Cardinals win three NL pennants and two World Series championships.

 

 

 

Matt Wieters hit 14 foul balls during a grueling 19-pitch at-bat that finished with a deep flyout with the bases loaded during a wild rally that sent the Cardinals over the Minnesota Twins 6-4 Tuesday night for a doubleheader split.

 

Wieters, a switch-hitter, estimated his longest plate appearance before might have been 11 or 12 pitches. He nearly missed a grand slam earlier in the at-bat on a long foul against reliever Caleb Thielbar.

 

Wieters, hit by a pitch from Randy Dobnak (6-3) earlier in the inning, came up with two outs and the bases loaded against Thielbar.

 

Wieters quickly fell behind 0-2 before eventually working the count full. He then fouled off nine straight pitches before flying out to the warning track in center field.

 

Genesis Cabrera (3-1) pitched one inning in relief to earn the win. Giovanny Gallegos earned his fourth save in as many chances by pitching 1 1/3 innings although he gave up a solo homer to Cruz in the seventh.

 

The Cardinals optioned 21-year-old rookie OF Dylan Carlson to the alternate training site. The club activated Martinez, recalled right-handed pitcher Daniel Ponce De Leon as the 29th man and designated right-handed pitcher Ryan Meisinger for assignment. The highly touted Carlson was hitting .162 with one home run and five RBIs since his big league debut.

 

The Cardinals are off Wednesday. In hosting Detroit in a doubleheader Thursday. RHP Jack Flaherty ( 2-1, 2.95) will start the opener. LHP Austin Gomber (0-0, 0.64) will pitch in the second game. No starters for the Tigers have been announced.

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Cubs Blank Reds

Alec Mills pitched six sharp innings and David Bote drove in two runs, leading the Cubs to a 3-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

 

Taking the mound on a wet, windy and cool night at Wrigley Field, Mills (4-3) permitted four hits, struck out six and walked three in his first win since Aug. 24. The right-hander went 1-3 with a 7.66 ERA in his previous five starts for the NL Central leaders.

 

Duane Underwood Jr. and Ryan Tepera each got three outs before Jeremy Jeffress finished the five-hitter for his sixth save.

 

Shogo Akiyama reached three times on two hits and a walk, but the fourth-place Reds lost for the third time in four games. They wasted another strong outing by Tyler Mahle (1-2), who struck out 10 in seven innings.

 

Chicago scored each of its runs on two-out triples by Bote in the second and Javier Baez in the third. Bote's triple drove in Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras. Kris Bryant scored from first on Baez's hit.

 

Darvish (7-1, 1.44 ERA) goes for his eighth straight win Wednesday. He has a sparkling 0.98 ERA during his win streak. Trevor Bauer (3-3, 2.05 ERA) pitches for Cincinnati. The right-hander was terrific at the beginning of the season, but he is 0-3 with a 4.08 ERA in his last three starts.

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Pirates Rally Past White Sox

Pinch-runner Jason Martin scored the winning run on catcher Yasmani Grandal's error in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

 

With the score tied at 4-4, the Pirates loaded the bases with none out as Gregory Polanco and Josh Bell singled and Ke'Bryan Hayes walked.

 

Kevin Newman then laid down a bunt. Pitcher Jimmy Cordero fielded the ball and shoveled it to Grandal in attempt to get a force out at home plate, but Grandal dropped the toss and Martin, who ran for Polanco, scored.

 

Newman started the game-tying rally in the eighth inning with a double as the Pirates scored twice. After Jacob Stallings followed with another double to drive in Newman, Erik Gonzalez flared an RBI single into left field to make it 4-4.

 

Richard Rodriguez (2-2) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win. Ross Detwiler (1-1) took the loss, as he was charged with an unearned run in 1/3 inning.

 

Grandal hit a two-run home run and Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 21 games for the White Sox.

 

Grandal's blast capped a three-run fifth inning that broke a scoreless tie and included an RBI single by Yoan Moncada. Abreu kept his streak going in the eighth when he singled.

 

Abreu then scored from first base when Polanco, the right fielder, bobbled Eloy Jimenez's double for an error. That put the White Sox ahead 4-2, but they did not hold that lead for long.

 

White Sox starter Dylan Cease faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four innings before faltering with two outs in the fifth. Josh Bell doubled and scored on Ke'Bryan Hayes' triple and Newman's RBI infield single moved Pittsburgh within 3-2.

 

After allowing a leadoff single in the sixth inning, Cease was lifted after allowing two runs and five hits with two strikeouts and no walks.

 

Making his second straight since being sidelined nearly a month by a strained right triceps, Pittsburgh's Joe Musgrove pitched four scoreless innings. He allowed three hits while striking out five and walking two.

 

Dane Dunning (0-0, 3.86 ERA) will make his fourth career start Wednesday night in the finale of the two-game series.

 

JT Brubaker (1-0, 3.96 ERA), also a rookie, is coming off his first career win Sept. 3 against the Chicago Cubs.

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Local Administrators Weigh In On Importance of Young People Getting Chance to Compete in Sports

Young people from as young as five or six to young adults were left devastated last spring when the sports world from coast to coast came to a screeching halt.

 

While the return of athletic competitions looked different across the country and the world, some local athletes are still waiting for the return of the thrill of competing in front of family, friends, and fans. Monticello Athletic Director Dan Sheehan says while sports often seem trivial to some, he believes the experiences for kids is something that cannot be replaced.

 

 

Clinton High School Athletic Director Matt Keoppel since the shutdown and now the return of sports has had the mindset of getting the kids the opportunity and he'll make it work for them.

 

 

Tune into WHOW for an IHSA Town Hall as RFD personalities will talk with IHSA representatives Craig Anderson and Sam Knox for a two-hour special on WHOW's many platforms Friday, September 18 from 8 pm to 10 pm. RFD's Jim Taylor will navigate the two-hour discussion surrounding this year's high school sports calendar amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cubs Down Cardinals

Kyle Hendricks went eight innings, and the NL Central-leading Cubs beat the second-place St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Monday.

 

Led by Hendricks and a 10-hit attack, Chicago closed out the five-game series on a winning note after losing three straight. It leads the defending division champions by 2 1/2 games.

 

Hendricks (5-4) gave up a run and seven hits in his second straight win. He also struck out four and walked none in his 38th consecutive start with two walks or less - the most by a Cubs pitcher since at least 1901.

 

Javier Baez had three singles and scored a run, helping the Cubs earn a split of the 10-game season series against the Cardinals. Jason Kipnis had two hits and drove in a run. Willson Contreras made it 5-0 with a two-run single against Johan Oviedo in the fifth.

 

Oviedo (0-2) went 4 2/3 innings in his fourth major league start, allowing three earned runs and eight hits.

 

Catcher Yadier Molina exited in the sixth with a bruised left elbow. Matt Wieters replaced the nine-time All-Star and drove in St. Louis' lone run with a seventh-inning single. But the Cardinals came up short after matching a season high with three straight wins.

 

Carlos Martinez (0-1, 14.73 ERA) returns from the coronavirus to start the first game against Minnesota. His only appearance was against the Twins on July 28. RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-3, 7.82 ERA) likely will be added as the 29th man and start the nightcap, Shildt said. The Twins will go with right-handers Jose Berrios (3-3, 4.29 ERA) in the opener and Randy Dobnak (6-2, 2.72 ERA) in Game 2.

 

Alec Mills (3-3, 5.50) starts as the Cubs open a three-game series against Cincinnati. RHP Tyler Mahle (1-1, 3.90 ERA) pitches for the Reds.

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Dustin Johnson Holds Off Field of Young Stars, Wins FedEx Cup

Dustin Johnson delivered a key par putt and steady play down the stretch for a 2-under 68 and a three-shot victory in the Tour Championship at  East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia taking home the $15 million prize for winning the FedEx Cup. 

 

DJ won two of the three FedEx Cup postseason events and lost in a playoff by a 65-foot putt in the other. It all came down to the final day of the final event, and even with a five-shot lead, it was never easy.

 

Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas each got within three shots on the front nine. They each got within two shots of Johnson with two holes to play. He never let them catch them, and his only birdie of the back nine on the final hole gave him his third victory since June and the 23rd of his PGA Tour career.

 

A 20-foot par putt on the 13th hole kept his lead at three shots, a 5-iron safely on the green on the toughest hole at East Lake, another 5-iron over the water on the par-3 15th — the one hole where big numbers lurk — and a wedge out of a deep bunker and onto the green at the 16th.

 

Johnson became the first No. 1 seed at the Tour Championship to win the FedEx Cup since Tiger Woods in 2009. Now he has his name etched on the silver trophy alongside some of the best from his generation, starting with Woods and most recently Rory McIlroy, with Hall of Famers, major champions and former world No. 1 players in between.

 

Schauffele closed with a 66 and had the lowest 72-hole score of the tournament at 265.

 

JT made bogey from a wild tee shot to the right on the 17th. Schauffele also had to scramble on the 17th, escaping with par after a tee shot into the bunker. And on the par-5 18th, Johnson unleashed a drive that started left along the pine trees and faded gently toward the middle of the fairway.

 

That set up a birdie from the front bunker, a hug with brother Austin, his caddie, and a trophy he long wanted.

 

Johnson was staked to a five-shot lead at 19-under par — 9 under on his own score and starting the tournament at 10 under as the No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup. He finished at 21 under.

 

Schauffele and Thomas tied for second, each earning $4.5 million.

 

Jon Rahm, the No. 2 seed, closed with a 66 to finish fourth and earn $3 million. Scottie Scheffler, who a year ago was getting ready to start his rookie year, had a 66-65 finish and was fifth for a $2.5 million payoff.

 

And so wrapped up the strangest season on the PGA Tour, which doesn’t feel like the end at all except for the $15 million awarded to Johnson, $14 million now and $1 million deferred.

 

The new season starts Thursday. Two majors are still to be played. The US Open is in two weeks from Wing Foot and The Masters will see its first ever November competition. 

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Goldschmidt homers as Cardinals beat Lester, Cubs 7-3

Paul Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer off a struggling Jon Lester, and the Cardinals gained ground in the NL Central race with a 7-3 victory over the Cubs.

St. Louis pulled within 1 1/2 games of Chicago with its third consecutive win over the division leaders, sweeping a doubleheader on Saturday after the Cubs won 4-1 in the series opener Friday night. The longtime rivals have one game left in their pandemic-shortened season series on Monday.

 

Tommy Edman also homered for the Cardinals, and Harrison Bader had three hits. Dakota Hudson (2-2) worked five innings of three-run ball, shrugging off a shaky start.

 

Chicago dropped to 10-15 since its 13-3 start. Anthony Rizzo and Jason Kipnis homered for the Cubs, but Lester (2-2) lasted just 3 1/3 innings in another lackluster performance.

 

St. Louis went ahead to stay with four runs in the third. With one out and runners on first and second, Goldschmidt hit a massive drive to left that landed on Waveland Avenue for his fourth homer.

Tyler O'Neill singled with two out and scored on Rangel Ravelo's double, giving the Cardinals a 5-3 lead.

 

Paul DeJong, who had two hits and drove in a run, said St. Louis' lineup has been working well as a group.

 

Lester allowed six hits, struck out four and walked two, extending his winless stretch to five starts. The 36-year-old left-hander is 0-1 with a 9.26 ERA during the slump, yielding 40 hits in 23 1/3 innings.

 

The Cardinals added two more in the sixth, taking a 7-3 lead on RBI singles by Kolten Wong and DeJong. Wong is batting .393 (11 for 28) in his last seven games.

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Encarnación homers, White Sox finish 4-game sweep of Royals

Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer, Dallas Keuchel threw five scoreless innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 8-2 on Sunday to complete a four-game sweep.

 

Keuchel (6-2) left the game with lower back stiffness after throwing a few warmup pitches before the sixth inning. He threw 49 pitches, allowed two hits and struck out two.

 

The AL Central-leading White Sox went ahead 5-0 in the seventh inning against reliever Josh Staumont. Encarnacion hit a 448-foot blast into the second deck of the fountains beyond the wall in left-center to score Yasmani Grandal and Jose Abreu, who had singled to extend his hitting streak to 20 games.

 

Royals starter Matt Harvey (0-3) was yanked after throwing 40 pitches. He went 2 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and one run.

 

Tim Anderson had three hits for the White Sox.

 

Yolmer Sanchez, making his second start of the season, led off the third inning with a double to left-center and scored on a single by Grandal.

 

With two outs in the sixth, Luis Robert walked and stole second, and Nomar Mazara doubled to the gap in left-center to put the White Sox ahead 2-0.

 

Edward Olivares hit his first home run as a Royal, a two-run blast into the left-field bullpen off Steve Cishek that got Kansas City within 5-2 in the seventh.

 

Grandal, Encarnacion and Abreu drove in runs in the eighth for Chicago.

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Clinton High School Hosting Unique Cross Country Event Tonight (Friday)

If you've been missing the staple of the fall - Friday night football in central Illinois - a Clinton High School administrator is hoping to pull off a perhaps first of its kind event. 

 

Cross country under the lights is the theme of an event at Clinton High School tonight. Athletic Director Matt Keoppel indicates boys and girls high school cross country are still competing this fall explains they are doing a special senior night competition with Tolono Unity and Monticello coming to town.

 

 

Koeppel says this was something he thought about and approached his coaches. He felt creating a cross country course at the high school could be done with all the light fixtures for the various fields on their campus and he's excited to see how it turns out.

 

 

Koeppel credits his coaches for helping to get everything in place for tonight. He notes it is a lot of work to put a cross country course in place.

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Exciting Week for Monticello Sports

It's been an eventful week for a Piatt County district's sports programs.

 

Monticello athletes have created a lot of buzz around their community. The Lady Sages golf program saw a record-breaking performance this week that not only was a school record but also for the course she was playing on. Monticello Athletic Director Dan Sheehan explains...

 

 

The long-running rivalry with St. Joseph-Ogden continued this week with an exciting game in the IESA junior high boys baseball series. Sheehan says Coach Mike Stokowski's boys squad played a thriller opposite the Trojans on Tuesday.

 

 

The Monticello boys and girls cross country teams have very high expectations under head coach Dave Remmert this year. Sheehan says the season so far has been brief but they are just excited to be competing.

 

 

Boys and girls junior high cross country teams kick off their competition team this weekend. Sheehan also notes girls junior high softball defeated Clinton earlier this week 9-0.

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White Sox Outslug Royals

Luis Robert's 458-foot home run capped a second five-run inning of the night for Chicago as the White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 11-6 Thursday night.

 

Robert was one of three White Sox to homer in the contest, joining Edwin Encarnacion and Tim Anderson.

 

The White Sox pulled within a half-game of the idle Cleveland Indians for the lead in the American League Central. They lead the third-place Twins by one game.

 

Dylan Cease (5-2) picked up the win. He allowed three runs on four hits in five-plus innings. Cease only had one 1-2-3 inning, but he kept the Royals at bay.

 

The White Sox will send rookie RHP Dane Dunning (0-0, 2.89 ERA) for his second straight start against the Royals. In his last outing, he threw five hitless innings, allowing only one walk and only one out to leave the infield.

 

Brady Singer (1-3, 5.19) will get the start for the Royals. Singer has lost his last two decisions. In his last start, against the White Sox, he took a no-decision when he allowed three runs on five hits in five innings.

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Pirates Topple Cubs

First-time father Bryan Reynolds hit a three-run homer in his return from paternity leave to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Chicago Cubs 6-2 on Thursday.

 

Reynolds, who along with wife Blair welcomed son Reese on Monday, sent a drive off Alec Mills (3-3) into the seats in right field in the third inning for his third home run of the season to help Pittsburgh snap a four-game losing streak. Reynolds also doubled leading off the second and celebrated by pretending to rock a baby to sleep.

 

Cole Tucker added two hits, including a flare to left field in the sixth off reliever Jason Adams to give Pittsburgh plenty of cushion and boost rookie JT Brubaker (1-0) to his first major league win.

 

Brubaker navigated some traffic in five innings but avoided major damage, allowing one earned run on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts.

 

Kyle Schwarber, Victor Caratini and Jason Kipnis had two hits apiece for the Cubs, but the NL Central leaders ended a 10-game, 12-day road trip with a thud. Mills gave up four runs in five innings as his ERA crept up to 5.50.

 

Ian Happ exited in the fourth inning with a right eye contusion when he was hit in the face by the ball after it bounced off the plate.

 

The Cubs start an eight-game homestand on Friday when they host St. Louis. Yu Darvish (6-1, 1.47 ERA), the NL Pitcher of the Month in August, will look to win his seventh straight decision when he faces Jack Flaherty (2-0, 1.93) in the opener.

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PGA Tour Regular Season Wraps Up At Tour Championship

The 2019-20 PGA Tour season concludes on this Labor Day weekend with over $45 million on the table for the remaining 30 golfers taking the course at the Tour Championship from East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia

 

This will be the second year of the staggered start with top players starting farther under par. 

The quartet of Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa has won seven of the last eight events in which at least one of them was entered in the field. They start out at 10 under, 8 under, 7 under and 5 under, respectively, this week and will have a nice head start on nearly everyone in this tournament.

 

Rory McIlroy, who has two FedEx Cups to his name, will start this week at 3 under, but he might not finish at all. His wife Erica is expecting, and Rory said last week at the BMW Championship that if the baby comes, he's out.

 

For somebody like Mackenzie Hughes or Lanto Griffin, this week could be a big deal financially. Players like that have a chance to double or triple their career earnings by winning the $15 million first prize. Of course, they aren't likely to come from eight or nine or 10 strokes back. But this week is about far more than just a trophy at the end of it all, especially for less-established players than stars like Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas.

 

There are some monster names not in attendance this year. Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Tommy Fleetwood will all be watching from home. But as far as 30-man fields go, this one is great. The fact that the top three players in the world are the top three on the leaderboard make it that much better. 

 

The No. 1 player in the FedEx Cup standings -- currently Dustin Johnson -- will start at 10 under. Jon Rahm will start at 8 under and so on down the list. The leaderbaord beginning Friday, will look as follows:

 

10 under -- Dustin Johnson
8 under -- Jon Rahm
7 under -- Justin Thomas
6 under -- Webb Simpson
5 under -- Collin Morikawa
4 under -- Bryson DeChambeau, Sungjae Im, Daniel Berger, Hideki Matsuyama, Harris English
3 under -- Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Brendon Todd, Sebastian Munoz, Xander Schauffele
2 under -- Lanto Griffin, Tyrrell Hatton, Tony Finau, Scottie Scheffler, Joaquin Niemann
1 under -- Abraham Ancer, Kevin Na, Ryan Palmer, Kevin Kisner, Marc Leishman
Even -- Mackenzie Hughes, Billy Horschel, Cameron Champ, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Smith

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Reds Edge Cardinals

Joey Votto's single in the bottom of the ninth inning drove in Shogo Akiyama with the winning run as the Cincinnati Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on Wednesday night.

 

Facing Giovanny Gallegos (1-1), Akiyama and Curt Casali walked with one out and Votto delivered a sharp line drive to right to send Akiyama sliding across the plate and extend his hitting streak to six games (9 for 20, .450) after sitting out three games.

 

The Cardinals had loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but Raisel Iglesias (2-2) struck Tyler O'Neill and Lane Thomas to escape.

 

The Reds avoided a three-game sweep to finish 3-4 on a homestand against the Cubs and Cardinals, two of the teams they're chasing in the NL Central.

 

One night after the Reds needed five relievers and an infielder to pitch during a 16-2 loss, an efficient Tyler Mahle turned in a season-high seven innings. Mahle yielded four hits and three runs with two walks and three strikeouts.

 

Yadier Molina led off the Cardinals' two-run fifth with his second homer of the season, a liner to left that clanged off a metal banister. O'Neill doubled to deep left-center field with one out and scored on Kolten Wong's two-out double to left-center.

 

St. Louis starter Johan Oviedo lasted two outs into the fifth inning, allowing three hits and three runs with one walk and five strikeouts. He hit two batters, both in the fifth.

 

Oviedo hit Akiyama with a pitch with one out in the fifth inning. Tucker Barnhart followed with his second homer of the season, a line drive to center field that barely cleared the glove of a leaping Lane Thomas.

 

Brad Miller picked up where he left off on Tuesday, clubbing a shot to center field leading off the second inning for St. Louis, his fifth homer of the season. He hit a pair of two-run homers on Tuesday.

 

Eugenio Suarez led off the bottom of the second with a double to left-center field, went to third on a wild pitch to Mike Moustakas and scored the game-tying run on Akiyama's two-out single up the middle.

 

Jack Flaherty (2-0) starts against the Cubs on Friday. His last outing against the Cubs on Aug. 19 was the shortest of his career, but St. Louis came away with a 9-3 win.

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Cubs Topple Pirates

Javier Baez hit a three-run home run and Kyle Hendricks pitched one-run ball over six innings Wednesday night to lead the Chicago Cubs to an 8-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 

Baez connected in the fourth inning to put Chicago in front 3-1. The blast carried 443 feet to the back set of bleachers in left-center field and came one pitch after Nick Tropeano relieved starter Joe Musgrove.

 

Hendricks (4-4) scattered six hits to go with six strikeouts and two walks. He had been winless in his previous three starts.

 

Anthony Rizzo added a two-run single in the seventh and the Cubs scored three times in the eighth to make it 8-2. Willson Contreras doubled in a run and the other two scored on a fielding error by shortstop Kevin Newman.

 

Contreras finished with three hits and lifted his batting average to .216 while Baez is hitting .200. Neither player is playing at his accustomed All-Star level, but both have been working regularly on their swings in the indoor batting cages before the game.

 

The Pirates' runs came on homers by Colin Moran in the second inning and Anthony Alford in the seventh.

 

Musgrove (0-4) went three-plus innings after being activated from the injured list prior to the game. He gave up three hits, struck out four and walked none while being limited to 46 pitches.

 

Musgrove had been sidelined by right triceps inflammation since Aug. 5.

 

The NL Central-leading Cubs won their third straight game and the Pirates lost their third in a row.

The start of the game was delayed one hour and 11 minutes because of rain.

 

Alec Mills (3-2, 5.23 ERA) will start Thursday in the finale of the three-game series. Mills has never started against Pittsburgh but notched his lone career save against them last season.

 

Pirates rookie JT Brubaker (0-0, 4.50 ERA) will continue his quest for his first career win in his fifth start and seventh appearance.

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Blues Trade G Allen to Montreal in Hopes to Bring Back Pietrangelo

Trading a longtime goaltender who lost his starting job could be the first step toward the St. Louis Blues keeping their Stanley Cup-winning captain.

 

The Blues traded goaltender Jake Allen to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday in a move that clears valuable salary cap space to try to re-sign captain and top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. St. Louis received a third- and a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft and also sent a 2022 seventh-rounder to Montreal.

 

The key to the deal is getting Allen’s $4.35 million cap hit off the books to potentially keep Pietrangelo in the fold.

 

That math equation isn’t solved yet. Even after trading Allen, St. Louis has just over $6 million in space under the $81.5 million cap ceiling. General manager Doug Armstrong joked that the equation was “81.5 million divided by 23” for the Blues roster size, but more than that will be required to keep Pietrangelo, who is expected to be among the top players available when free agency opens in October.

 

One option is putting injured winger on Vladimir Tarasenko on long-term injured reserve when next season begins, deferring a decision until he returns from shoulder surgery. It’s the third operation in 2 1/2 years on Tarasenko’s left shoulder, and he will be re-evaluated in five months.

 

Pietrangelo, 30, who lifted the Cup in Boston last year after St. Louis won its first title in franchise history, has said he wants to stay with the Blues.

 

Trading Allen makes it clear Jordan Binnington is the Blues’ starting goalie. After coming out of nowhere in the middle of the 2018-19 season and backstopping them to the Cup, Binnington was only average during the regular season and he struggled in the playoffs.

 

Allen gets a fresh start as a clear backup to Montreal starter Carey Price. While the Canadiens have wavered year to year on their backup situation, Price playing a league-high 58 games this season was enough to prompt a change.

 

The 30-year-old Allen didn’t expect to be starting next season in St. Louis.

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Twins Route White Sox

Josh Donaldson returned from the injured list with two hits and two RBIs for the Twins, who backed Jose Berrios with three home runs and beat the Chicago White Sox 8-1 on Wednesday night.

 

Jake Cave and Miguel Sano hit solo shots, Eddie Rosario had a two-run homer and Berrios (3-3) pitched six sharp innings for the Twins. Two of Chicago's four errors directly contributed to Minnesota's highest score in 19 games.

 

White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez (0-2) struggled again, getting only five outs before Donaldson's two-run double in the second prompted a call to the bullpen. Chicago (22-15) fell one game behind AL Central leader Cleveland (23-14), with Minnesota (22-16) in third place, 1 1/2 games back.

 

Berrios struck out eight batters, with only three hits allowed and two walks.

 

The Twins stopped a six-game losing streak on Tuesday, directly boosted by the return of starting pitcher Michael Pineda from suspension and center fielder Byron Buxton from a sore shoulder.

 

White Sox infielder Yoan Moncada returned from a three-game absence due to discomfort in the back of his lower left leg. 

 

Dylan Cease (4-2, 3.00 ERA) takes the mound Thursday to begin a four-game series at Kansas City. Danny Duffy (2-2, 4.11 ERA) pitches for the Royals.

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Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver Dies at 75

Seaver, the galvanizing force who steered the New York Mets from National League laughingstock to a stunning World Series title in 1969, has died. He was 75.

 

The Hall said Wednesday night that Seaver died Monday from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19. Seaver spent his final years in Calistoga, California.

 

Seaver’s family announced in March 2019 he had been diagnosed with dementia and had retired from public life. He continued working at Seaver Vineyards, founded by the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and his wife, Nancy, in 2002 on 116 acres at Diamond Mountain in Northern California.

 

Seaver was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 1991, and it reoccurred in 2012 and led to Bell’s Palsy and memory loss, the Daily News of New York reported in 2013.

 

“He will always be the heart and soul of the Mets, the standard which all Mets aspire to,” Mike Piazza, a former Mets catcher and Hall of Famer, tweeted when Seaver’s dementia diagnosis was announced.

 

Said ex-Mets closer and captain John Franco: “As a kid, you always wanted to be Tom Seaver.”

 

Nicknamed Tom Terrific and The Franchise, the revered Seaver was a five-time 20-game winner and the 1967 NL Rookie of the Year. He went 311-205 with a 2.86 ERA, 3,640 strikeouts and 61 shutouts during an illustrious career that lasted from 1967-86. He became a constant on magazine covers and a media presence, calling postseason games on NBC and ABC even while still an active player.

Seaver was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992 when he appeared on 425 of 430 ballots for a then-record 98.84%.

 

Seaver’s plaque in Cooperstown lauds him as a “power pitcher who helped change the New York Mets from lovable losers into formidable foes.”

 

He changed not only their place in the standings, but the team’s stature in people’s minds.

Seaver pitched for the Mets from 1967-77, when he was traded to Cincinnati after a public spat with chairman M. Donald Grant over Seaver’s desire for a new contract. It was a clash that infuriated baseball fans in New York.

 

“My biggest disappointment? Leaving the Mets the first time and the difficulties I had with the same people that led up to it,” Seaver told The Associated Press ahead of his Hall induction in 1992. “But I look back at it in a positive way now. It gave me the opportunity to work in different areas of the country.”

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Cardinals Crush Reds

Brad Miller homered twice and drove in a career-high seven runs, and the St. Louis Cardinals pounded Sonny Gray and the Cincinnati Reds 16-2 on Tuesday night.

 

Miller sparked St. Louis' six-run first inning against Gray with a two-run double that glanced off the glove of diving first baseman Joey Votto and bounced down the line. He hit a two-run shot in the second, an RBI single in the fifth and another two-run homer in the eighth, clanging a drive off the foul pole in right.

 

Kolten Wong went 4 for 4 and scored four times as the Cardinals set season highs for runs and hits with 23. St. Louis has won three straight games after a four-game losing streak.

 

It was the worst loss of the season for the free-falling Reds, who have dropped three straight and four of five. They have been outscored 33-8 during the losing streak.

 

St. Louis left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim (2-0) pitched five innings of three-hit ball, extending his scoreless streak against the Reds to 11 innings over two starts. No Reds baserunner got past second base against him.

 

Votto greeted Ryan Helsley with a leadoff home run in the sixth. Curt Casali added an RBI double in the ninth.

 

Archie Bradley and Brian Goodwin each made their debut for Cincinnati after they were acquired in a pair of trades on Monday. Bradley pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, and Goodwin went 1 for 3.

 

Gray (5-2) had been one of baseball's best pitchers so far this season, but he recorded just two outs in his worst start of the year. He permitted six runs and five hits, struck out one, and walked three.

Eleven Cardinals batted in the 27-minute first inning.

 

Johan Oviedo (0-1) makes his first career appearance against the Reds on Wednesday night.

 

Tyler Mahle (1-1) is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in six career starts against the Cardinals. He is 0-3 over his last five starts against St. Louis.

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Cubs Outlast Pirates in Extra Innings

Ian Happ finished what he started, singling home Nico Hoerner in the 11th to lead the Cubs to an 8-7 win over the Pirates on Tuesday night. Happ, a Pittsburgh native who led off the game with a home run, finished with three hits as the NL Central leaders won for the third time in four games.

 

Ke'Bryan Hayes, the son of longtime major league infielder Charlie Hayes, collected his first career hit with an RBI double to left off Jon Lester in the sixth. The 23-year-old emerged from a 71-minute rain delay in the eighth, took the second pitch he saw and deposited it over the wall in center to knot the game at 6.

 

Happ finally put the Pirates away when he sent a sharp single to center off Kyle Crick (0-1) in the 11th. Jeremy Jeffress (3-1) held Pittsburgh scoreless in the bottom of the inning to help Chicago escape.

 

Happ and Kyle Schwarber each hit their 10th homer of the season for the Cubs. Kris Bryant added two hits in his return from a trip to the injured list due to a wrist issue.

 

The Cubs have been mostly stuck in neutral since their 13-3 start, but Bryant's return along with the arrival of reinforcements at the trade deadline gave Ross a chance to hit reset entering September.

 

David Ross kept Happ in the leadoff spot and slotted Bryant - who spent time in the leadoff position earlier in the year - right behind Happ believing it lengthened the lineup. It only took two pitches to make it look like the right call.

 

Happ turned on Chad Kuhl's second offering and sent it to the concourse behind the seats in right-center field. Happ's third leadoff homer of the season pushed his career home run total to 60, the most ever by a Cubs switch hitter.

 

Kyle Hendricks (3-4, 4.09 ERA) is just 1-2 with a 6.61 ERA in three road starts this season.

Joe Musgrove (0-3, 6.75 ERA), Pittsburgh's opening-day starter, looks for his first win of the year.

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Twins Edge White Sox

Back on the field Tuesday night, Michael Pineda and Byron Buxton demonstrated just what Minnesota has been missing, rallying the Twins past the Chicago White Sox 3-2 to snap a six-game losing streak.

 

Buxton came off the injured list and had two hits, including the go-ahead single in the seventh inning. The Gold Glove center fielder also robbed Edwin Encarnacion of a home run in the sixth.

 

Pineda threw six strong innings, giving up two runs and six hits in his first outing after being suspended 60 games last year for using a banned diuretic. He served the final 36 games of the penalty this season, returning to provide a big boost to Minnesota's rotation.

 

Caleb Thielbar (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief after the Twins rallied against Chicago's bullpen. Matt Wisler got his second career save and first since 2016 with Atlanta.

 

Jimmy Cordero (0-2) permitted two runs in relief of White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel.

 

Tim Anderson had three hits and Eloy Jimenez delivered a two-run double, but Chicago lost for just the third time in 15 games and fell into a tie with Cleveland atop the AL Central.

 

Keuchel allowed just an unearned run on seven hits, but his night was cut short as he dealt with a stomach issue. He pitched a season-low five innings. He's permitted two runs or fewer in all but one of his eight starts this season.

 

Chicago sends RHP Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 9.00 ERA) to the mound Wednesday. Lopez will be making his third start since a stint on the injured list due to right shoulder soreness. He allowed two runs in four innings, his longest outing of the season, at Kansas City last time out. Minnesota counters with RHP Jose Berrios (2-3, 4.75), who gave up five runs in four innings to the White Sox in the season opener.

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Trump Makes Case to Big Ten Commissioner for Fall Sports Season

The Big Ten Conference, already in court and under pressure from players and parents over its decision to cancel fall football, is now hearing from President Donald Trump.

 

Trump tweeted Tuesday that he had spoken with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren about reinstating the fall season.

 

The tweet said, quote - “Had a very productive conversation with Kevin Warren, Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, about immediately starting up Big Ten football. Would be good (great!) for everyone - Players, Fans, Country. On the one yard line!”

 

The Big Ten, in a statement, said a White House representative reached out to Warren to set up a phone call with Trump. The statement said Warren and Trump had a “productive conversation.”

 

The conference is filled with teams from battleground states that will prove critical in the upcoming election between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

 

The Big Ten announced Aug. 11 it would move its football season to the spring semester because of health risks associated with the pandemic. The Pac-12 followed suit, joining the Mid-American Conference and the Mountain West. Other leagues are playing shortened seasons.

 

Warren has been under pressure for three weeks as the outcry against the decision has grown louder. Last week, a group of Nebraska players filed a lawsuit seeking a reversal of the decision, and Gov. Pete Ricketts has been a vocal proponent of the Cornhuskers playing fall football.

 

The Associated Press and other outlets reported last week that Big Ten officials are working on multiple plans for staging a football season — including one that would have the league kicking off during the Thanksgiving weekend. Soon after, Trump brought up the state of college football.

 

Trump said he spoke with Warren and “we had a very good conversation, very productive, and maybe we’ll be very nicely surprised.”

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Cardinals Slam Reds

Paul DeJong slugged his first career grand slam, helping Dakota Hudson to his first win of the season as the St. Louis Cardinals held on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-5 on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series.

 

The Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning on Kolten Wong's single and walks by Paul Goldschmidt and Brad Miller. DeJong capitalized, sending Anthony DeSclafani's full-count pitch over the centerfield fence for his second homer of the season.

 

Hudson (1-3) finished with a season-high seven strikeouts and no walks. He allowed four hits and two runs, one earned. With the help of a double play, he faced the minimum 13 batters, starting from the last out of the first through the fifth.

 

Goldschmidt collected three hits and DeJong, Wong and Tommy Edman each had two hits for the Cardinals, who won their second straight after dropping four in a row.

 

Eugenio Suarez drove in four runs for Cincinnati, three on a ninth-inning home run, his eighth of the season. The Reds have lost three of four after winning three straight.

 

Giovanny Gallegos got two outs for his second save.

 

Kwang Hyun Kim (1-0) limited the Reds to three hits over six innings in his first career start during St. Louis's 3-0 win on August 22.

 

Sonny Gray (5-1) has a combined 1.59 ERA in 22 2-3 innings over four career starts against St. Louis.

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White Sox Rally Past Twins

Luis Robert hit a tying homer in the seventh inning and the go-ahead double in the ninth, and the White Sox took the AL Central lead into September by rallying past the skidding Minnesota Twins 8-5 on Monday night.

The White Sox are in sole possession of first place for the first time since April 2, 2018, leading Cleveland (21-14) and Minnesota (20-16). The last time Chicago entered September alone in first place was 2012, the last winning season on the south side. The White Sox have not won the division since 2008.

 

The afterglow from Giolito's no-hitter faded fast, as the right-hander fell behind 4-0 in his follow-up start, but the White Sox (22-13) surged back to win for the 12th time in 14 games.

 

Miguel Sano homered and scored three runs for the Twins, who have lost six straight games.

 

Jose Abreu tied it with a two-run double off Tyler Clippard in the sixth before Jake Cave's RBI single in the bottom of the inning pushed the Twins back in front.

 

The dynamic Robert responded with his 10th homer, a soaring drive that cleared the juniper wall beyond center field off Trevor May. With Twins closer Taylor Rogers (1-3) in for the ninth, right fielder Max Kepler dropped a lazy fly ball for a devastating one-out error. Robert put the White Sox ahead two batters later. Nomar Mazara tacked on a two-run single.

 

Matt Foster (4-0) pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Alex Colome picked up his seventh save.

 

After a bases-loaded line drive died in front of Luis Arraez and fell out of his glove, the second baseman flipped the ball to shortstop Jorge Polanco on the bag for one out. Polanco threw to first instead of home, where another out could have been recorded. Adam Engel then ripped a two-run single to cut Minnesota's lead in half.

 

The Twins reached a third straight day in third place, their longest consecutive stay there since July 2-4, 2018. The defending division champions dropped to third on Saturday, the lowest they'd fallen since April 10, 2019.

 

Yoan Moncada missed a second straight game with discomfort in the back of his left leg, from running the bases on Saturday. 2B/3B Yolmer Sanchez was added to the roster, returning to his original club. The 2019 Gold Glove winner was recently released by San Francisco.

 

Dallas Keuchel (5-2, 2.70 ERA) takes the mound for the middle game of the series. He has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his seven turns and just three in the other one.

 

Michael Pineda will come off the restricted list to pitch Tuesday for the first time in 361 days, his 60-game suspension for testing positive for a banned diuretic finally finished. The right-hander went 11-5 with a 4.01 ERA in 26 starts last season.

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