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Giants Double Up Cubs

Alex Wood took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and the San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Thursday night to stop a seven-game slide.

 

Yermin Mercedes hit an early two-run single, and four Giants pitchers combined on a three-hitter to snap Chicago's six-game winning streak.

 

An umpire's ruling that appeared to give the Cubs a break instead contributed to San Francisco's three-run third.

 

Wood (7-8) allowed two hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out two and walking two.

 

Wood's no-hit bid ended in the seventh on Ian Happ's leadoff single. Two outs later, Wisdom belted his 18th homer of the season, a drive to left field on an 0-1 pitch.

 

That trimmed San Francisco's lead to 4-2 and prompted Giants manager Gabe Kapler to summon right-hander Dominic Leone, who struck out Frank Schwindel to end the inning.

 

John Brebbia threw eight pitches in a hitless eighth and Camilo Doval struck out three in a one-hit ninth for his 13th save.

 

The Giants opened the scoring against starter Justin Steele (4-7) in the third, which began with Wisdom's misplay of Yastrzemski's grounder to third for an error.

 

With runners at the corners and two outs, Steele uncorked what appeared to be a wild pitch that allowed Yastrzemski to score from third base. But a replay review requested by the Cubs determined the pitch grazed the right pants leg of batter Wilmer Flores, loading the bases.

 

Mercedes' bloop single to center scored Yastrzemski and Austin Slater. Thairo Estrada's infield single brought home Flores to make it 3-0.

 

Slater added an RBI double in the fourth.

 

All four runs Steele permitted in 3 2/3 innings were unearned. He allowed five hits and walked one while striking out six.

 

Cubs SS Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa. 

 

RHP Adbert Alzolay (lat strain) could begin throwing bullpens next week. Alzolay has been out since March with an injury originally sustained in spring training.

 

Marcus Stroman (2-5, 4.38 ERA) takes the mound Friday night for the Cubs seeking his first win since coming off the injured list July 9. The right-hander hasn't won since May 24 overall.

 

Giants RHP Alex Cobb (3-4, 4.26) has lost his last three decisions and will be going for his first victory since May 17.

NASCAR Notes

>>NASCAR Cup Series Heads to Indy Road Course

 

After a wild weekend at Pocono Raceway, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Indianapolis Motorspeedway and for a second straight year takes on the road course in Indianapolis.

 

Chase Elliott finished third on the track at Pocono, but was declared the winner when 1-2 finishers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing were disqualified after postrace inspection.

 

Elliott has officially finished in the top two in five consecutive races, including three victories. His four victories overall are twice as many as any other driver, and he leads Ross Chastain by 105 points and Ryan Blaney by 111 in the standings. 

 

Hamlin was the first Cup winner to be disqualified since April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis’ victory at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina was thrown out because of an oversized fuel tank. 

 

Aric Almirola stands 13th in points but is the only driver to have been running at the finish of every race.

 

A.J. Allmendinger won after starting eighth last year on the Indy Road Course.

 

The 200 miles, 82 lap race runs at 1:30 pm local time Sunday.

 

Noah Gragson held off Ty Gibbs in a 15-lap finishing duel to win at Pocono last weekend in the XFinity Series. 

 

A.J. Allmendinger posted his 16th top-10 finish in 19 races and remains the points leader by 16 over Justin Allgaier and 22 over Gibbs. Gibbs still leads with four wins. Gragson and Allgaier each have won three times. 

 

Allgaier had led a series-best 534 laps; Gibbs is next with 459.

 

Austin Cindric won after starting second last year at Indy. Race time is 2:30 pm local time Saturday.

 

The Camping World Truck Series takes to Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park oval course for the first time this weekend. 

 

Chandler Smith won at Pocono for his second victory of the season, and Zane Smith clinched the regular-season championship.

 

Chandler Smith became just the second series regular to have multiple victories through 16 races. Zane Smith has won three times. 

 

Zane Smith leads Chandler Smith by 15 points, defending series champion Ben Rhodes by 20 and John Hunter Nemechek by 21.

 

Race time for the trucks is 8 pm tonight.

 

>>Kurt Busch to Miss Indy Race With Continued Concussion Issues

 

Kurt Busch will miss Sunday’s NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with concussion-like symptoms and be replaced again by Ty Gibbs in the Toyota for 23XI Racing.

 

The team said Wednesday that Busch has not been cleared to race for a second consecutive week. He crashed in qualifying last Saturday at Pocono Raceway and missed the next day’s race.

 

Gibbs, the 19-year-old grandson of NFL and NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, made his Cup debut last weekend as Busch’s replacement in the No. 45. He finished 16th.

Gibbs will also compete Saturday in the Xfinity Series race.

 

Busch, who turns 44 next week, is in his 22nd full season of Cup racing.

 

23XI said Busch has received a medical waiver from NASCAR and remains eligible for the playoffs. Busch earned his playoff spot with a victory at Kansas in May.

Cardinals Down Blue Jays

Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer and finished with three hits, passing Rogers Hornsby on St. Louis' career list, and the Cardinals stopped Toronto's seven-game win streak with a 6-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

 

Adam Wainwright pitched seven sparkling innings to help St. Louis earn a split of the two-game set while playing without unvaccinated sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. Nolan Gorman homered, and Dylan Carlson and Lars Nootbaar each hit an RBI double.

 

Foreign nationals who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 are not allowed to enter Canada, save for limited exceptions that require a 14-day quarantine.

 

Unvaccinated baseball players are placed on the restricted list, where they are not paid and do not accrue major league service time.

 

Goldschmidt, Arenado, and catcher Austin Romine, who all went on the restricted list Tuesday, will be eligible to return when the Cardinals begin a three-game series at Washington on Friday.

 

Facing Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman, Pujols singled in the second and doubled in the fourth. The hits were his 2,110th and 2,111th with the Cardinals, moving him past Hornsby for fourth-most in franchise history.

 

Gausman left after walking Tyler O'Neill in the fifth and Pujols greeted Trevor Richards with his seventh homer of the season and No. 686 for his career. Pujols ranks fifth on baseball's homer list, 10 behind Alex Rodriguez.

 

Pitching in Toronto for the first time since June 24, 2010, Wainwright (7-8) allowed one run and five hits for his first victory since June 27 against Miami. He bounced back nicely after allowing a season-worst seven runs in his previous outing, a loss at Cincinnati.

 

Gorman hit an opposite-field homer off Gausman to begin the fifth, his 10th.

 

Miles Mikolas (7-8, 2.87 ERA) will start Friday's game at Washington. RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-2, 6.30 ERA) goes for the Nationals.

Rockies Outlast White Sox

Elias Diaz hit a two-run single off Kendall Graveman in the ninth inning, and the Colorado Rockies overcame the loss of starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela to beat the Chicago White Sox 6-5 on Wednesday.

 

Senzatela, making his second start since returning from a shoulder injury, led 3-2 with two outs in the seventh when Leury Garcia hit a comebacker off the pitcher's left shin that rolled away for a single. The 27-year-old right-hander threw some warmup pitches before walking off the mound.

 

After Senzatela left, Lucas Gilbreath allowed three straight runners, including Tim Anderson's RBI single. Carlos Estevez replaced him and A.J. Pollock hit his first pitch for a two-run single as the White Sox went ahead 5-3.

 

Jose Iglesias, who drove in a pair of runs, had an RBI single in the bottom half off Jose Ruiz.

 

With closer Liam Hendricks unavailable after throwing 27 pitches Tuesday, Graveman (3-2) blew a save for the fifth time in 10 chances.

 

He walked Brendan Rodgers, Iglesias and Ryan McMahon on 16 pitches, then gave up Diaz's hit on a first-pitch sinker. Iglesias slid home as right fielder Andrew Vaughn's throw skipped to the backstop to give Colorado only its second walkoff win this season.

 

Robert Stephenson (2-1) pitched a perfect ninth as Colorado won for the second time in seven games.

 

Chicago (49-49) had been trying to move two games over .500 for the first time since April, when the White Sox opened 6-2 and then lost eight in a row. White Sox pitchers walked nine in Chicago's 16th loss this season after leading.

 

Charlie Blackmon hit his 39th leadoff homer, his third this season, and C.J. Cron drove in his 71st run for the Rockies, who built a 3-0 first-inning lead.

 

Yasmani Grandal had a two-run single in the fourth for the White Sox, who played their second of 19 straight games against teams with losing records.

 

Lucas Giolito allowed three runs, six hits and four walks, needing 104 pitches to get through five innings.

 

Lance Lynn (1-3, 6.43 ERA) starts Friday night against Oakland RHP James Kaprielian (1-5, 4.74) to kick off a six-game homestand.

Bears Put LB Smith on PUP List

Bears LB Roquan Smith was placed on the active/PUP list Wednesday.

 

Smith remains in the middle of contract negotiations with the Bears, which likely explains his addition to the PUP list. He had said Monday that he did not plan to report to training camp this week, and he didn't. 

 

The organization will likely come to terms with Smith at some point on a new contract and he will return to the team ahead of the 2022 campaign. The linebacker produced a career-high 163 tackles last season while also adding three sacks, three pass deflections and an interception that he returned for a touchdown.

 

Linebacker Sam Kamara was placed on the active/PUP list Wednesday.

 

Kamara finished last season healthy, so it's unclear what may be holding back the 24-year-old from practicing to open training camp. Once back at full health, Kamara will work to earn a spot in the Bears' linebacker unit.

 

Michael Joseph was placed on Chicago's active/non-football injury list Wednesday, Sean Hammond of the Daily Herald reports.

 

Joseph is still able to practice and play at any point in the preseason once he recovers from this undisclosed off-field injury. The 27-year-old made his NFL debut with the Bears last year when he was elevated from the team's practice squad for Week 15.

 

Wide receiver Tajae Sharpe was placed on the active/non-football injury list Wednesday.

 

Sharpe signed with the Bears in May, but he will now open training camp on the NFI list with an unspecified injury. 

 

The 27-year-old appeared in 15 games with the Falcons last season and caught 25 passes for 230 yards over those contests. He'll compete for a depth role at wide receiver once healthy.

 

Dane Cruikshank was placed on the active/non-football injury list Wednesday.

 

The exact details of Cruikshank's injury have yet to be reported, but he will be sidelined for the time being at training camp. The safety signed with the Bears this offseason after he made 43 tackles while deflecting a pass and forcing a fumble over 14 games with the Titans in 2021. 

 

He's expected to be a top reserve option behind Jaquan Brisker this season.

Blues Sign W Kostin

Winger Klkim Kostin signed a one-year, one-way contract extension with the Blues on Wednesday.

 

Kostin spent most of the 2021-22 game with the big club, picking up nine points through 40 appearances, but he also drew into 17 games with AHL Springfield, collecting six points over that span. 

 

The 23-year-old winger will probably take on a larger role with the Blues in 2022-23.

Packers Getting Healthy

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby underwent a minor scope procedure on his right knee two weeks ago, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic reports.

 

Crosby did not participate in Wednesday's opening practice of training camp after he was added to the Packers' active/PUP list last Friday. 

 

The 37-year-old said the scope was meant to address some lingering issues in his right kicking knee and that he doesn't "expect it be to a long, nagging thing." 
Crosby has yet to miss a single game during his 15-year career, while rookie Gabe Brkic should continue to handle Green Bay's kicking duties during the veteran's absence.

 

General Manager Brian Gutekunst said Wednesday that offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins (knee) is "ahead of schedule" in his recovery, Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports.

 

Finally some good news for the Packers' offensive line. Star left tackle David Bakhtiari underwent another surgery this offseason, Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports, and Jenkins is the most logical replacement at that position.

 

Jenkins has demonstrated the ability to excel at all five offensive line positions and is by far his team's most valuable asset there until Bakhtiari returns.

 

Gutekunst described Watkins' unspecified injury as a "very short-term thing" after the wideout was placed on the non-football injury list for the start of training camp, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic reports.

 

Gutekunst seemed to say wide receiver Sammy Watkins is expected back before rookie wideout Christian Watson, who was placed on the PUP list after suffering an injury during OTAs. 

 

Watkins' spot on the NFI list suggests he was hurt while away from the team, but it doesn't sound like anything serious. He does have a sketchy medical record, with multiple missed games in all but two of his eight NFL seasons. 

 

Watkins has played 99 of a possible 129 regular-season games (76.7 percent) since entering the NFL as the fourth overall pick in 2014. 

 

He has a nice opportunity to earn snaps in Green Bay this year, but the 29-year-old hasn't reached 500 yards since 2019 and hasn't gone over 700 since 2015.

 

Green Bay activated DL Dean  Lowry off the PUP list Wednesday, Wes Hodkiewicz of the Packers' official site reports.

 

There was never much concern that Lowry would miss extended time -- he hasn't missed a game since his rookie season in 2016.

 

He figures to be a starter and frequent contributor for the Packers' defensive line this season as he looks to build off of a career-high five sacks in 2021.

 

Green Bay activated RB Patrick  Taylor off the PUP list Wednesday, Wes Hodkiewicz of the Packers' official site reports.

 

It's still unclear why Taylor was placed on the PUP list to begin with, but his term there lasted less than a week. 

 

He'll continue to compete for the Packers' third running back spot, and his toughest competition for that role, Kylin Hill, is still on the PUP list himself.

 

Green Bay activated OL Caleb Jones off the non-football injury list Wednesday, Wes Hodkiewicz of the Packers' official site reports.

 

It's still unclear what type of injury Jones was dealing with, but whatever it was, it took him less than a week to come back . 

 

The gargantuan rookie will compete for a depth role on a Packers offensive line that is now precariously thin after the team lost utility knife Billy Turner this offseason and as cornerstone tackle David Bakhtiari continues to scuffle in his injury rehab efforts.

 

WR Ishmael Hyman signed a contract with the Packers on Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com reports.

 

Hyman, who last played in the NFL during the 2019 season, will become the 13th wideout on Green Bay's 90-man offseason roster. 

 

The 26-year-old most recently saw action in the spring with the Michigan Panthers of the USFL, where he caught 15 of 22 targets for 158 yards and two touchdowns over four games. 

 

Hyman will face an uphill battle to make the Packers' final roster heading into the regular season.

Sox Edge Rockies

In a game heard on WHOW, Michael Kopech pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning, and the Chicago White Sox topped the Colorado Rockies 2-1 on Tuesday night.

 

Yasmani Grandal had three hits in Chicago's third straight win. Yoan Moncada doubled home Adam Engel in the seventh.

 

All-Star closer Liam Hendriks worked a rocky ninth for his 19th save, surrendering Ryan McMahon's leadoff homer. Pinch-hitter Elias Diaz walked with two out, but Hendriks got Charlie Blackmon to bounce to shortstop.

 

Hendriks has allowed at least one run in each of his last three outings.

 

Colorado wasted a stellar performance by German Marquez (6-8), who permitted one run and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander has allowed five earned runs over his last 19 2/3 innings.

 

Kopech (4-6) worked out of jams in the second and fifth and departed after allowing six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Jimmy Lambert got two outs, and Joe Kelly worked the seventh. Kendall Graveman pitched the eighth before Hendriks came in.

 

Chicago jumped in front in the fourth. With runners on first and third, Eloy Jimenez scored on an error by shortstop Garrett Hampson on a potential double-play ball by AJ Pollock.

 

White Sox OF Luis Robert (lightheadedness and blurred vision) has begun some baseball activities.

 

White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (6-6, 5.12 ERA) faces Colorado right-hander Antonio Senzatela (3-5, 4.98 ERA) on Wednesday to wrap up the two-game series.

Cubs Double Up Pirates

Willson Contreras drew a standing ovation in perhaps his last home game at Wrigley Field, then keyed an early burst as the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 Tuesday for their season-high sixth straight win.

 

Contreras, one of three members left from the 2016 World Series title team, tipped his cap after being cheered at the plate his first time up. He hit a soft single to center field in a three-run first inning off Bryse Wilson (1-6).

 

Contreras, an All-Star catcher who can become a free agent after this season, has acknowledged this might be his last homestand as a member of the Cubs before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. He saluted the fans with a fist in his last at-bat in the seventh but struck out against reliever Tyler Beede.

 

Seiya Suzuki, Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner hit consecutive doubles in the first to give Keegan Thompson (8-4) ample run support. Suzuki provided insurance with a homer in the eighth off reliever Will Crowe.

 

Thompson went a career-high seven innings.

 

Mychal Givens pitched the ninth to earn his second save. Closer David Robertson wasn't used for the second consecutive game after earning a win and save Saturday and Sunday at Philadelphia.

 

Thompson retired 16 of 18 batters before Hoerner committed a fielding error at shortstop with one out in the seventh, and 6-foot-7 rookie Oneil Cruz followed later with a two-run homer to center field.

 

Thompson completed the inning without further damage to top his previous high of 6 1/3 innings against the Reds on June 28.

 

Since the All-Star break, Cubs starters are 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA. Thompson has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his last seven starts.

 

After Hoerner's double, Wilson retired 14 of the next 17 hitters.

 

The Cubs will start LHP Justin Steele (4-6, 4.02) in the first game of a four-game series Thursday against the Giants. Steele allowed one run in five innings in a 15-2 win Friday over the Phillies.

Blue Jays Pound Cardinals

George Springer hit his seventh career grand slam, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a two-run drive and the Toronto Blue Jays extended their winning streak to seven by beating the short-handed St. Louis Cardinals 10-3 Tuesday night.

 

Alejandro Kirk added his 12th homer and Matt Chapman had two hits, including the tiebreaking single in a five-run sixth as Toronto improved to 8-1 under manager John Schneider.

 

Springer had three hits, scored twice, and made a fine catch at the wall in deep right to end the game, leaving the bases loaded.

 

Dylan Carlson hit a solo home run as St. Louis played the first of two games in Canada without unvaccinated sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. The two biggest bats in the Cardinals lineup were placed on the restricted list before the game, along with catcher Austin Romine.

 

Foreign nationals who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 are not allowed to enter Canada, save for limited exceptions that require a 14-day quarantine.

 

Unvaccinated baseball players are placed on the restricted list, where they are not paid and do not accrue major league service time.

 

A seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove award winner at first base, Goldschmidt leads the Cardinals in batting average (.333), home runs (22), RBIs (74), on-base percentage (.416) and hits (116). He was named NL player of the week Monday after homering in five straight games.

 

Arenado is a seven-time All-Star and a nine-time Gold Glove winner at third base. The former Colorado star has led the NL in home runs three times.

 

Veteran slugger Albert Pujols started at first base in place of Goldschmidt, while Brendan Donovan was at third base. The crowd of 39,756 gave Pujols a loud ovation before his first at-bat.

 

Carlson connected off Jose Berrios in the first, his sixth. Guerrero answered in the bottom half with his 21st home run and Chapman added an RBI single to make it 3-1.

 

Carlson and Pujols tied it with RBI hits in the third, but Chapman restored the lead with a hit off Jordan Hicks (2-5) in the sixth. Hicks walked the next two batters to load the bases before Junior Fernandez came on and served up Springer's slam, his 18th home run this season.

 

HIcks and Fernandez combined for eight outs, four walks, and seven earned runs.

Berrios allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. Tim Mayza (5-0) got one out for the win.

 

Making his second career interleague start, Cardinals rookie right-hander Andre Pallante allowed three runs and seven hits in four innings.

 

It will be about a week before St. Louis knows whether LHP Steven Matz will require season-ending surgery, Marmol said. Matz left Saturday's start against Cincinnati in the sixth inning after straining his left knee while trying to field Joey Votto's dribbler up the first-base line.

 

Adam Wainwright (6-8, 3.40) starts Wednesday against Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (7-7, 3.00). Wainwright's only prior start in Toronto was a 5-0 loss on June 24, 2010.

Packers Extend GM, VP and Coach

The Green Bay Packers have agreed to contract extensions with coach Matt LaFleur, general manager Brian Gutekunst and executive vice president/director of football operations Russ Ball, a person familiar with the deals told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

 

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the extensions haven’t been announced. ESPN first reported the extensions. Details haven’t been revealed.

 

When asked after the Packers’ annual shareholder meeting Monday whether the team had agreed to extensions with LaFleur and Gutekunst, team president/CEO Mark Murphy said he’d prefer to keep those matters “internal.”

 

The Packers have posted a 39-10 regular-season record and 41-13 overall mark in LaFleur’s three seasons as coach while winning the NFC North in each of those years. They lost 13-10 to the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC divisional playoff game last season after falling in the NFC championship game each of LaFleur’s first two seasons.

 

Gutekunst took over as the Packers’ GM in January 2018 after working as their director of college scouting (2012-15) and director of player personnel (2016-17).

 

Green Bay’s first-round draft picks during Gutekunst’s stint as general manager have included cornerback Jaire Alexander, outside linebacker Rashan Gary, safety Darnell Savage Jr., quarterback Jordan Love, cornerback Eric Stokes, linebacker Quay Walker and defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt. Gutekunst boosted the Packers’ defense last season with the offseason addition of All-Pro linebacker DeVondre Campbell and the midseason signing of cornerback Rasul Douglas.

 

Gutekunst worked over the last year to smooth things over with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who had skipped the Packers’ organized team activities and mandatory minicamp in a standoff with team management. Rodgers produced a second straight MVP season and discussed his improved relationship with team officials before signing a contract extension that keeps him in Green Bay.

 

Ball joined the Packers as a vice president of football administration/player finance in February 2008. He was promoted to his current position in January 2018.

Bears LB Smith, DE Quinn Report to Camp; Unclear If They'll Practice

Star linebacker Roquan Smith and defensive end Robert Quinn showed up Tuesday on time for the Chicago Bears’ first training camp under general manager Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus.

 

Whether they’ll choose to participate when practices begin Wednesday remains to be seen.

 

While most of the attention figures to center on quarterback Justin Fields and his development as he prepares for his second season, the Bears could have a big issue on their hands if two of their best defensive players decide not to practice. Smith and Quinn could opt instead to “hold in” by simply attending meetings while not participating in on-field activities.

 

Smith wants an extension as he enters the fifth and final season of his rookie deal, while the 32-year-old Quinn’s future with a rebuilding team is unclear.

 

Poles said he hadn’t seen either player. But he was told on the way to his news conference that they had reported. Neither was made available to the media on Tuesday.

 

The Bears made big changes after going 6-11 and missing the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 years. Chicago fired former GM Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy, and traded star pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers.

 

On defense, they’re implementing a 4-3 scheme after the team played a 3-4 for the past seven years. And now, they might be practicing without two of their best players.

 

There was no sign of problems between Smith and the organization as he went through offseason workouts. He expressed a desire to get an extension done.

 

The 25-year-old Smith was a second-team All-Pro the past two years. But now, his long-term future is somewhat in doubt.

 

The most immediate question is when Smith will practice, and Poles didn’t have an answer for that.

 

Quinn set the franchise record in 2021 with 18 1/2 sacks. He was at Halas Hall for an April ceremony after winning the veterans Brian Piccolo Award, but wasn’t at a single voluntary or mandatory practice.

 

Quinn’s contract runs through 2024. But it’s not clear if he wants to remain in Chicago. The Bears cleared out veterans in the offseason, and he could be attractive to teams looking for help on the edge.

Michael McDowell Latest Driver Hit With Penalty From NASCAR

NASCAR levied another round of massive penalties on Tuesday, this time against Michael McDowell and Front Row Motorsports, for illegal modifications discovered after McDowell’s sixth-place finish at Pocono Raceway.

 

NASCAR fined crew chief Blake Harris $100,000 and suspended him for four races. McDowell was docked 100 driver points and Front Row docked 100 owner points.

 

If the No. 34 team wins one of the five remaining regular-season races to qualify for the playoffs, McDowell will be docked 10 playoff points.

 

The L2-level penalty was issued for an illegal modification of a single source supplied part — which is strictly prohibited on NASCAR’s new Next Gen car.

 

The penalties on Front Row come after NASCAR disqualified Pocono winner Denny Hamlin and runner-up Kyle Busch when their Toyotas failed post-race inspection at Pocono. Chase Elliott finished third and didn’t lead a lap but was given the win following the DQ’s.

 

NASCAR found illegal tape on the front fascia of the Joe Gibbs Racing cars in its post-race inspection.

 

The disqualifications moved McDowell up to sixth in the final finishing order at Pocono. Both his Ford and the Chevrolet driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. of JTG Daugherty Chevrolet had been randomly selected for further inspection at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord.

 

McDowell was ranked 20th in the standings with a career-best eight top-10 finishes prior to the penalty.

Cubs Down Pirates

Nico Hoerner hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on Monday night for their season-high fifth straight win.

 

Hoerner finished with two hits and two RBIs. Rafael Ortega homered for Chicago, and Adrian Sampson pitched seven innings of two-run ball.

 

Seiya Suzuki set up Hoerner's clutch hit when he reached on rookie shortstop Oneil Cruz's throwing error. Suzuki advanced on Ian Happ's groundout and then hustled home on Hoerner's drive into the gap in right-center.

 

Mychal Givens (6-2) worked the eighth for the win, and Scott Effross got three outs for his first save in three chances.

 

Josh VanMeter hit a tying RBI double for the Pirates in the fifth. Cruz singled home a run, and Yerry De Los Santos (0-2) got the loss.

 

Pittsburgh has dropped two straight and seven of nine overall.

 

Ortega's fifth homer - a two-out drive to right against JT Brubaker in the third - gave Chicago a 2-1 lead. Ortega also singled in the first, stopping an 0-for-29 slump.

 

Brubaker allowed eight hits, struck out four and walked two in six innings.

 

Pittsburgh's Bryse Wilson (1-5, 6.52 ERA) faces fellow right-hander Keegan Thompson (7-4, 3.43 ERA) on Tuesday afternoon in the series finale.

Packers Notes

>>Packers Sign S Leavitt

 

The Green Bay Packers have signed former Las Vegas Raiders safety Dallin Leavitt, who could provide a boost to a special teams unit that struggled throughout last season.

 

Leavitt is the second former Las Vegas defensive back and special teams performer to join the Packers since ex-Raiders interim head coach and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia took over as Green Bay’s special teams coordinator. Cornerback Keisean Nixon signed with the Packers in March.

 

The Packers ranked last in the NFL in special teams last season according to efficiency metrics from Football Outsiders. The Packers allowed a touchdown on a blocked punt return and also had a field-goal attempt blocked in their 13-10 NFC divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

 

Leavitt played 42 games with the Raiders, who signed the undrafted free agent from Utah State in 2018. He made his first career start on defense last season and also had 12 tackles on special teams.

 

>>Packers OT Bakhtiari Put on PUP List Ahead of Camp

 

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari has gone on the physically unable to perform list, the latest setback in his recovery from a knee injury that caused him to miss nearly the entire 2021 season.

 

The Packers gave Bakhtiari that designation Saturday, four days before they hold their first training camp workout. Players placed on this list in training camp can be activated at any time but can’t practice until they pass a physical.

 

Packers coach Matt LaFleur had expressed cautious optimism during organized team activities last month that his star left tackle would be available for the start of training camp.

 

Bakhtiari, 30, has played in just one game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Dec. 31, 2020, a week before he earned first-team All-Pro honors for the second time in his career. He returned to play 27 snaps in the Packers’ 2021 regular-season finale but was held out of their NFC divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

 

The 2013 fourth-round pick from Colorado was a first-team All-Pro in 2018 and 2020. He was a second-team selection in the 2016, 2017 and 2019 All-Pro balloting.

 

>>Packers Say Revenues at Pre-Pandemic Levels

 

The Green Bay Packers’ revenues and profits soared above their pre-pandemic levels over the last year as they capitalized on the opportunity to play in full stadiums again.

 

Packers officials released their financial totals for the 2022 fiscal year on Friday, three days before the NFL’s only publicly owned franchise holds its annual shareholders meeting.

 

The Packers reported revenues of $579 million, a 56% increase over its 2021 total of $371.1 million and a 14.2% rise over its 2020 total of $506.9 million. The Packers had $501.3 million in expenses for a $77.7 million profit.

 

That’s a dramatic change from the previous year, when the Packers reported $409.8 million in expenses and $371.1 million in revenues, marking the first time since 2000 the team spent more money than it brought in. The Packers didn’t have any paying spectators at Lambeau Field during the 2020 regular season due to the pandemic.

 

The Packers reported a profit of $70.3 million in the 2020 fiscal year, which accounted for the 2019 season.

 

Their total revenues and expenses for the most recent fiscal year both set franchise records.

 

The Packers’ reported revenues didn’t account for the $64.7 million they raised last year from their sixth stock offering. The Packers added about 177,000 shareholders during this recent offering, increasing their total to 539,000.

 

The stock offering was the first the Packers had held since 2011.

 

When the Packers conduct a stock offering, the team has no obligation to repay the amount a buyer pays to purchase stock. The Packers reminded potential shareholders that anyone considering whether to buy stock in the team shouldn’t make the purchase in the interest of making a profit or receiving a dividend or tax deduction.

 

Murphy made his comments the day before Lambeau Field hosts its first international soccer event, an exhibition match between FC Bayern Munich and Manchester City FC. Murphy said fans from all 50 states and 19 different countries have purchased tickets to that game.

MLB Players Union Rejects International Draft Proposal

Major League Baseball’s goal of an international amateur draft was thwarted again when the players’ association rejected management’s final offer on Monday and retained direct draft-pick compensation for free agents.

 

The quirky tie between the two provisions was established in the March 10 agreement that ended the 99-day lockout and preserved a 162-game season. The sides gave themselves until July 25 to reach an agreement on an international draft, which MLB has sought since 2002, and specified the draft-pick provision would be dropped in the event of a deal.

 

There was little movement over the four months. The union made an offer during a Zoom meeting Saturday, and MLB presented what it termed its final proposal in an email Sunday. Union officials forwarded that plan to the players’ executive board and said they planned to reject it.

 

Hearing no opposition, union deputy executive director Bruce Meyer telephoned deputy commissioner Dan Halem with the rejection at about 3:45 p.m. EDT Monday.

 

The decision, announced about eight hours before the deadline, was the final step needed to complete the collective bargaining agreement that expires on Dec. 1, 2016. Retaining compensation is likely to limit the market for some older players set to become free agents, a group set to include Anthony Rizzo, J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale and Charlie Morton.

 

As a result, the international signing bonus pool total for 2022-23 will remain at $167 million, its level in 2021-22, according to a side letter between MLB and the union whose contents were divulged to The Associated Press. The total will increase starting in 2023-24 by any corresponding percentage rise in industry revenue since 2019 — the last year before the pandemic.

 

The decision keeps in place a system of qualifying offers for free agents that began in 2012. A club can make a qualifying offer following the World Series to a free agent who has been with the team since opening day, a one-year contract for the average of the top 125 deals by average annual value. Last year’s figure was $18.4 million.

 

If a player rejects a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, the signing team is subject to a loss of one or two amateur draft picks and a reduction in international signing bonus pool allotment.

 

Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel, unhappy with offers during the offseason and spring training. delayed signing in 2019 until June, after the draft pick compensation no longer was attached.

 

Top players have found robust markets. This year’s free-agent group is headed by Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom and Trea Turner.

 

An amateur draft was established for residents of the United States and Canada in 1965 and extended to residents of U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico in 1990. MLB has pushed for a similar international amateur draft, saying part of its rationale was to combat illicit agreements made before players are age eligible — at least 17 at the time of signing or 16 at the time as long as the player turns 17 by the Sept. 1 of the contract’s first season.

 

MLB proposed last July 28 that a 2024 international draft include spending of $181 million for the top 600 players and $190 million in total, up from $166 million in the 2021 signing period.

 

Players waited until this July 8 to make a counteroffer. They proposed a draft be allocated $260 million for the 2024 signing period, with teams having to guarantee slot values while having the flexibility to exceed them within bonus pools.

 

MLB increased its offer Saturday to $191 million for 2024 and said it was a final proposal. MLB dropped mandatory drug testing with penalties for positive tests and also changed its proposed medical combine from mandatory to optional.

 

Management also offered to guarantee a minimum of $5,000 in educational money, a figure rising to $10,000 if the player passes a General Educational Development Test.

 

The union said MLB’s offer was not sufficient and cited a change management made to its calculation of growth beyond 2024. Players also wanted guarantees to maintain the current number of annual international signings and teams and jobs in the Dominican Summer League. They asked for a $40,000 cap on bonuses for draft-bypassed players, double MLB’s offer. They wanted MLB to contribute $10 million for an international human rights foundation and to hire a joint compliance officer.

JGR Accepts Penalties From Sunday Pocono Race

NASCAR warned its teams it was serious about stamping out a culture of cheating that stretched back to its roots and let illegitimate race winners often walk away unscathed with nothing worse than a fine or a few docked points for the team.

 

But the drivers always kept the trophy and added the number in the win column.

 

No more and not again. NASCAR carried out its stiffest punishment against a race winner in more than 60 years when it stripped Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin of his Pocono Raceway victory and teammate Kyle Busch of his runner-up finish.

 

JGR didn’t bother to fight the penalties, declining Monday to take the matter to an appeals panel.

 

Message received.

 

The JGR Toyotas flunked postrace inspection Sunday night when NASCAR found issues in both cars that affected the aerodynamics. Miller said Monday on Sirius XM the exact issue was “extra layers of vinyl” found under the wrap of the car — more commonly known as the paint scheme — that essentially modified that area of the lower nose on each car.

 

Joe Gibbs Racing apologized in a statement and said changes were underway to make sure it did not happen again.

 

Hamlin was the first Cup winner to be disqualified since April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis’ victory at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina was thrown out because of an oversized fuel tank. Hamlin was stripped of his third Cup Series win of the season and a track-record seventh at Pocono.

 

Chase Elliott finished in third place and was awarded the win without the Hendrick Motorsports driver ever leading a lap in his No. 9 Chevrolet.

 

NASCAR introduced a new car this year that spent years in development and was designed to cut costs and essentially attempt to level the playing field. The 2022 version is pretty much a kit car; teams get all the same pieces from varying vendors and have detailed instructions regarding how to put it together.

 

And many of the pieces that fit under the car, items that used to cost hundreds of thousands annually to develop, are now spec parts that are essentially bought off store shelves. They’re the same for everyone and not allowed to be manipulated.

Four years after NASCAR first threatened to tighten up inspection rules, it doubled down this season on going after potential rule benders.

 

NASCAR’s three manufacturers — Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota — and their race teams never stop trying to find that extra edge that can give them more speed. They look for gray areas and wiggle room that give them an advantage yet keep them under the inspection radar.

 

Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson said the manufacturer stood by NASCAR’s decision.

 

NASCAR’s inspection team usually tears down the first- and second-place cars at the track, and third- through fifth-place cars (such as Elliott’s Chevrolet) are also inspected. All cars go through a prerace inspection and multiple failures can result in the car losing its starting spot and getting sent to the back of the field.

 

NASCAR said the Toyota infractions were not caught in the prerace inspection because the wrap was not removed from the cars until after the race.

Young Lady Maroons Volleyball Squad Working on Improving This Summer

Third year Clinton Volleyball Coach Morgan Hickman has a young team she's working with this summer as the volleyball season quickly approaches.

 

The summer season wraps up this weekend with a trip to Tri-Valley for the young Clinton High School squad and Coach Hickman says the girls are getting some valuable experience.

 

 

Depending on the experience of the group she's working with will drive how Coach Hickman will handle the summer. The Lady Maroons have participated in a couple of tournaments so far and wrap up the summer at Tri-Valley this weekend.

 

 

Coach Hickman indicates she has just three seniors and is looking forward to watching the chemistry of the team come together. 

 

The Lady Maroons will have 'Meet the Maroons' on Friday, August 19 and open the season on Tuesday, August 23 hosting Tri-Valley.

Monticello Football Using Offseason to Build Chemistry and Develop Roles

The high school football season is a little more than a month away.

 

As kickoff looms, Monticello High School's football program is in the midst of an active offseason. Coach Cully Welter indicates he uses practice and 7-on-7 competitions to familiarize his team with the playbook.

 

 

The Sages will be moving a lot of new faces into key positions this season and so for Coach Welter, it's about finding out how the kids and their talents fit into what he wants to do.

 

 

Coach Welter is a Hall of Fame coach but that doesn't mean he isn't trying to get better. Coach Welter has a diverse playbook and admits he struggles with having too much going on in his playbook.

 

 

The Sages host St. Joe-Ogden Friday, August 26 at 7 pm to open the regular season. 

NASCAR to Hit Streets of Chicago in '23

The NASCAR Cup Series will race against the backdrop of Lake Michigan and Grant Park next July 2 as part of a three-year deal with the city of Chicago. 


It will be paired with an IMSA sports car race the day before, as well as music and entertainment options located along the 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course.

 

The course will include Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and South Columbus Drive, where the start/finish line and pit road will be located directly in front of Buckingham Fountain. It will pass through Grant Park and approach the northern edge of Soldier Field — site of the only other Cup Series race to take place in downtown Chicago, in 1956.

 

The Chicago announcement comes after NASCAR’s successful January exhibition race inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that will return for a second running in 2023. Kennedy told The Associated Press he began working on both the Coliseum and Chicago street race in 2019.

 

It’s part of NASCAR’s sweeping changes to its oval-heavy schedule, first by adding both a dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway and additional road courses and now a completely new concept. It sounds as if it plans to keep going, too.

 

NASCAR last month confirmed the Coliseum would return next January, but the rest of the 2023 schedule has yet to be announced. The Chicago street course will replace the road course race at Road America on the Cup schedule.

 

By moving into downtown Chicago, NASCAR keeps a race in the Midwest region while returning to a coveted market. NASCAR ran 19 Cup races at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, a 45-mile drive from downtown.

 

NASCAR had tried to build interest in the market and even made Chicagoland the opening race of the playoffs in 2011. But the track was simply too far from downtown to attract a new audience and NASCAR pulled out after the 2019 season.

 

The decision to hold a race in downtown Chicago presents all sorts of logistical challenges for NASCAR, mostly centered around the safety of drivers and fans.

Clinton High School Football Team Readies For Upcoming Season

The high school football pre-season is well underway in central Illinois and the Clinton Maroons are looking to continue to improve under second-year Coach Ron Bass.

 

Monday night before practice, Coach Bass told Regional Radio they have had a good turnout for the offseason weight lifting sessions and are in the second week of summer practices. He is very pleased with the improved strength of his team.

 

 

According to Coach Bass, the Maroons use 7-on-7s to install the pass defense. He explains many schools are starting to spread out their offenses and throw more so if they can install a pass defense in those competitions, it opens up the things they can do in practices.

 

 

As the season nears, Coach Bass explains they are going to work on finding an offensive identity while also focusing heavily on the fundamentals.

 

 

Last season with Clinton was Bass' first year as a head coach. He admits getting better at in-game decisions is something he'll be looking to improve.

 

 

Maroons' captains have set a goal to have a winning season and make the postseason. They also want to get 40 kids in the program and maintain that number. He also says finishing close games and turning those one-score games into victories will be something the team looks to improve on this season. 

 

The Maroons open the season by hosting Lincoln Friday, August 26 at 7 pm. 

Olczyk Leaving Blackhawks Booth, to Join Kraken

Eddie Olczyk is leaving the Chicago Blackhawks after 16 years as a color commentator on their television broadcasts.

 

He’s expected to work Seattle Kraken games next season, joining the team his brother Ricky works for as an assistant general manager.

 

In a statement the team said though they are disappointed to learn that he has decided to go in another direction, Eddie will always be part of the Blackhawks family. 

 

Olczyk also does national broadcasts for TNT. He has become one of the leading hockey voices in the U.S. after playing more than 1,000 NHL games.

White Sox Blank Twins

In a game heard on WHOW, Dylan Cease spun a one-hitter over seven innings as the White Sox walloped Minnesota 11-0 on Sunday to surge into the break by winning three out of four games against the first-place Twins.

 

Cease (9-4) allowed only a fifth-inning single to Alex Kirilloff and two walks. Andrew Vaughn had three hits and three RBIs to help bring the White Sox within three games of Minnesota in the AL Central. Cleveland is two games back.

 

The White Sox had 16 hits on a hot and humid afternoon, including home runs by Yoan Moncada, Vaughn and Josh Harrison in the seventh inning. Chicago outscored the Twins 32-10 during the series to pick up two games in the standings.


Lowering his ERA to 2.15 with his fifth scoreless start of the season, Cease struck out eight to become the fastest pitcher in White Sox history to record 500 career strikeouts. He got there in 399 1/3 innings, well ahead of seven-time All-Star Chris Sale (472 1/3).

 

Tim Anderson's two-out, two-strike, two-run single gave Chicago the lead in the fifth inning against Twins starter Chris Archer (2-4), who was cruising in his return from the 15-day injured list for left hip tightness until a two-out walk to Seby Zavala.

 

Vaughn followed with a two-run double four batters later to prompt Baldelli to pull Archer.

 

The White Sox then roughed up right-hander Joe Smith in a six-run seventh inning with a two-run homer by Moncada, a solo drive by Vaughn and a three-run homer by Harrison. The 38-year-old Smith did not allow an earned run in his first 16 appearances of the season. In 14 games since May 23, Smith has surrendered 23 hits, 16 runs and six homers.

 

The defending division champion White Sox were one of baseball's most egregious first-half underachievers, having not been above the .500 mark since May 25.

 

They're 11-7 in July, though, and looking every bit the a formidable challenger to a Twins club that has been in first place for all but one day since April 24 when they finished a three-game sweep of the White Sox.

 

White Sox CF Luis Robert was out of commission for the third straight day after feeling lightheaded in the first inning Friday night. He'll have a medical exam Monday.

 

The All-Star break is up next.

Cubs Rally Past Mets

Nico Hoerner hit a tiebreaking RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Cubs stopped a nine-game slide by topping the New York Mets 3-2 on Sunday.

 

Christopher Morel sparked Chicago's winning rally with a leadoff infield single against Drew Smith (1-3). Morel advanced to third on Willson Contreras' single and scored on Ian Happ's tapper to the right of the mound.

 

After Seiya Suzuki popped out, Hoerner's third hit of the day drove in Contreras from second for a 3-2 lead.

 

Rowan Wick (2-5) pitched a scoreless inning for the win, and Robertson got three outs for his 13th save.

 

New York (58-35) had won four in a row and five of six overall. Coming off a taxing doubleheader Saturday that included two extra-inning victories, it closed out a 5-2 trip and headed into the break with a 2 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East.

 

The Mets had a chance to open a 3-1 lead in the eighth, but rookie left fielder Nelson Velazquez threw out Lindor when he attempted to score from second on Eduardo Escobar's single.

 

David Peterson worked five effective innings for New York, and Pete Alonso snapped a tie with a well-placed RBI single. Lindor and Starling Marte had two hits apiece.

 

Peterson yielded an unearned run and three hits. With Jacob deGrom nearing a return from a stress reaction in his right scapula, Peterson could be moved back to the bullpen when New York returns from the break.

 

It was a sorely needed victory for Chicago (35-57), which had a rough series against New York right up until the very end. The Cubs scored four times and left 24 runners on base in the first three games of the four-game set.

 

Chicago was helped by another solid performance by Adrian Sampson, who was charged with two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He threw a career-high 112 pitches, 69 for strikes.

 

Sampson was hurt by a pair of shaky defensive plays.

 

With two out and runners on the corners in the first, Sampson picked off Lindor at first. But Lindor avoided shortstop Hoerner's tag attempt with a dive to the ground, and Marte scampered home on the back end of what was scored as a double steal.

 

Alonso's fifth-inning popup landed just out of the reach of first baseman Frank Schwindel and in front of right fielder Suzuki, driving in Brandon Nimmo for a 2-1 lead.

 

The All-Star game is next.

Local Picks from MLB Draft Sunday

The 2022 MLB Draft got started Sunday night in Los Angeles. 

 

The three-day, 20-round process started with the Baltimore Orioles selecting high school shortstop Jackson Holliday, former Cardinals' slugger Matt Holliday's son, with the No. 1 pick. The Arizona Diamondbacks then took high school outfielder Druw Jones, former Braves star Andruw Jones' son, with the No. 2 pick. Kumar Rocker was taken third overall by the Texas Rangers, Termarr Johnson was selected fourth by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Elijah Green was drafted by the Washington Nationals to round out the top five.

 

The Chicago Cubs owned the seventh overall pick and took Oklahoma University right-hander Cade Horton. Horton, a draft-eligible sophomore who missed the 2021 season because of Tommy John surgery, put himself into first-round consideration with a phenomenal run during the College World Series that culminated with a Finals record 13 strikeouts. 

 

His arsenal is all about power, including a high-spin fastball that can touch into the upper-90s and a slider that was clocked as high as 90 during that aforementioned start. Horton has a limited track record -he threw just over 50 regular-season innings for the Sooners - and scouts still have lingering doubts about whether he'll be a starter for the long haul.

 

At 22nd overall, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Oregon State left-hander Cooper Hjerpe. A decade ago, Hjerpe would've been classified as a reliever, and perhaps even a left-handed specialist, based on his unorthodox release point and his heater-heavy arsenal; these days, he's viewed as a fairly safe starting pitching prospect. 

 

Hjerpe throws from a sidearm slot after stepping slightly closed, creating some crossfire effect in the process. Stuff-wise, he relies on a low-to-mid-90s fastball that downright bumfuzzles hitters thanks to the marriage between its rise and his flat vertical approach angle. His top secondary pitch, a sweeping slider, plays well off the heat while his changeup has shown enough promise to think he'll be able to neutralize righties. Hjerpe pounds the zone and he should be able to ascend the ladder quickly.

 

The Chicago White Sox took hometown talent Noah Schulzt from Oswego East High School in suburban Chicago. Schultz is a big lefty, listed at 6-foot-9, who has a promising three-pitch mix. He releases the ball from a low-three-quarters slot, creating a tough angle for hitters. Schultz is committed to Vanderbilt.

 

In the second round, the Cubs selected amateur pitcher Jackson Ferris from IMG Academy in Florida. The Cardinals selected San Diego University pitcher Brycen Mauts. The White Sox took Cal-Poly pitcher Drew Thorp. 

 

A total of 80 picks were made Sunday night with Rounds 1 and 2, plus compensatory and Competitive Balance rounds. 

 

The draft resumes Monday with Rounds 3-10 before finishing up with Rounds 11-20 on Tuesday. 

Cardinals, Reds Postponed

The game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds was postponed on Sunday because of rain.

 

The final game of the three-game set was called at 12:31 p.m. local time. It will be made up on Sept. 17 as part of a day-night doubleheader.

 

St. Louis won the first two games of the series 11-3 and 7-3. The teams will meet in the first game after the All-Star break on Friday in Cincinnati.

 

The rainout stalled the comeback of St. Louis pitcher Steven Matz, who was scheduled to start. Matz returned from the 15-day injured list on Sunday and would have made his first appearance since May 22 when he left the game after four pitches because of left shoulder impingement.

 

Nolan Arenado was selected to the All-Star team, but has decided not to attend the event in order to rest his back.

 

The All-Star game is Tuesday. 

Christopher Bell Makes Late Pass, Holds on At New Hampshire

Christopher Bell crashed the NASCAR playoffs — and tightened the pressure on the remaining winless drivers — winning Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to become the 14th Cup Series winner this season.

 

Bell mastered the track where he won Xfinity Series races in 2018, 2019 and 2021 and was second in the Cup race last year, holding off Chase Elliott — last week’s winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

 

Bell is the 14th driver to earn a spot in the 16-driver playoff field. With six races left in the regular season, it leaves open the possibility that more than 16 drivers could win a race and the final playoff spot or spots would be decided on points.

 

Bell chased down Elliott late and led the final 42 lap for Joe Gibbs Racing. His only other Cup win came in the second race of the 2021 season in the Daytona road course race.

 

Elliott finished second for Hendrick Motorsports and Bubba Wallace was third for 23XI Racing. Martin Truex Jr. dominated early and finished fourth and Kevin Harvick completed the top five.

 

Elliott, who had led 13 laps overall when he was caught by Bell, finished first or second for the fourth straight race.

 

Bell led JGR to its fourth win this season and 12th at New Hampshire.

 

Bell was one of those drivers who would have had to worry about his playoff chances during the rest of the summer stretch. He entered the race in 16th place in the points standings — 19 above the cutline. Bell reeled off five straight top-10 finishes over May and June before he ran into a recent hiccup with only one finish better than 18th over his last four.

 

Truex won the first two stages and led 172 laps before he faded after a poor pit stop and finished fourth. Truex dominated early from the pole and seemed poised to snap a season-long winless drought. Without a win, Truex is on the playoff bubble. Ryan Blaney is third in the points standings and Truex fourth, yet both could possibly miss the playoffs without a win. This is the third time in the last 20 years (2002, 2003, 2011) there have been 14 winners in the first 20 races.

 

Brad Keselowski and Austin Dillon used their cars as battering rams under a caution midway through the race. Dillon hit Keselowski in the door on the backstretch. Keselowski retaliated and smacked Dillon on the passenger’s side of the car and ran him off the track.

 

NASCAR’s Cup Series heads to Pocono Raceway for its only stop of the year. The track long held two Cup races each year and Alex Bowman and Kyle Busch won the races in a doubleheader weekend last year.

Sox Pound Twins

In a game heard on WHOW, Luis Robert hit his first grand slam, Johnny Cueto pitched six strong innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 12-2 Thursday night to extend their winning streak to three games.

 

Robert's 452-foot blast to the second deck in left field gave the White Sox a 6-1 lead in the fourth inning. He added a run-scoring single in the sixth inning and a double in the eighth for his third consecutive three-hit game. Robert has a team-high 54 RBIs this season.

 

Andrew Vaughn also homered and drove in two runs for Chicago, and Tim Anderson had two hits and scored three runs. Sebby Zavala added a three-run homer in the ninth off Twins infielder Nick Gordon.

 

The White Sox started the four-game weekend series in third place, trailing the Twins by five games in the AL Central Division.

 

Byron Buxton and Max Kepler had two hits apiece for the Twins, and Kyle Garlick hit a solo homer in the ninth inning.

 

Cueto (4-4) gave up one run and seven hits over six innings while throwing a season-high 118 pitches. He pitched out of trouble in the first three innings before settling down and retiring 12 of the final 14 batters he faced. It was Cueto's third straight victory and 10th time in 12 starts this year that he has pitched at least six innings.

 

Jimmy Lambert, Tanner Banks and Jose Ruiz each pitched an inning to close it out for the White Sox.

 

Twins starter Sonny Gray (4-3) gave up six runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. With one out in the fourth, Gray was hit on the right shoulder by Josh Harrison's line drive. After being checked by the Twins' trainer and manager Rocco Baldelli, Gray stayed in the game, but his outing quickly went south.

 

Seby Zavala followed Harrison's hit with a single before Anderson walked to load the bases. Gray induced a grounder for a force out at the plate, but he left a slider over the plate to Robert, who crushed it for his 12th homer of the season.

 

White Sox OF Eloy Jimenez (hamstring) was held out of the lineup after leaving Wednesday's game at Cleveland in the seventh inning. Tony La Russa said Jimenez had experienced some cramping in the leg, but expressed hope that he might return to action during the four-game series in Minnesota.

 

Michael Kopech (2-6, 3.35 ERA) will take the mound on Friday night. Kopech is 0-4 in his last five starts and has seen his ERA rise by almost a run and a half over that span. On July 5 in Chicago, the Twins tagged him for four home runs in five innings in a 8-2 defeat.

 

Minnesota will counter with LHP Devin Smeltzer (4-2, 3.92). In his last start, Smeltzer gave up three homers and allowed seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings at Texas on July 9.

Mets Blank Cubs

Carlos Carrasco pitched six sharp innings, Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso homered, and the New York Mets handed the Chicago Cubs their seventh straight loss, 8-0 on Thursday night.

 

The Mets won for the third time in four games, maintained their 2 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East and improved their road record to 28-19. The Cubs have totaled three runs over their last three games.

 

Thanks to Carrasco, Mets starters improved to 7-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 14 July games.

Carrasco (10-4) allowed only one runner to advance past first base. Yan Gomes hit a single and Christopher Morel walked with one out in the fourth, but Carrasco got a double-play grounder from Rafael Ortega.

 

In his last three starts, Carrasco has allowed three runs over 15 2/3 innings (1.72 ERA).

 

Nimmo's three hits paced a 12-hit attack. His homer off reliever Mark Leiter Jr. in the sixth extended the Mets' streak of hitting at least one homer at Wrigley Field to nine consecutive games.

 

Alonso hit his 24th homer, a two-run shot to center field, off Leiter in the eighth. Alonso has hit six homers in his last eight games at Wrigley.

 

Patrick Mazeika's two-run double highlighted a three-run second against Keegan Thompson (7-4) and provided ample support for Carrasco.

 

Mets right fielder Starling Marte, who missed the last four games due to left groin tightness, hit a single in the first and scored on Francisco Lindor's double without showing any signs of discomfort.

 

Cubs manager David Ross was ejected by third base umpire John Tumpane with two out in the fourth while arguing for a balk to be called on Carrasco.

 

Thompson, who had allowed one earned run over 9 2/3 innings in his previous two starts, was tagged for four runs on six hits in the first two innings. He then retired eight of nine batters before hitting Alonso with a 3-0 pitch with one out in the fifth.

 

That led to an RBI single by Eduardo Escobar, ending Thompson's night.

 

Nico Hoerner had two of the Cubs' five hits.

 

Cubs 1B Frank Schwindel (low back strain) was activated from the 10-day injured list. INF Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder strain) was placed on the 10-day IL.

 

The Mets will start RHP Taijuan Walker (7-2, 2.63) on Friday. Walker pitched seven scoreless innings July 10 in a 2-0 loss to the Marlins. Marcus Stroman (2-5, 4.91), who threw four scoreless innings July 9 in a 4-2 loss to the Dodgers, starts for the Cubs.

Dodgers Blank Cardinals

Tyler Anderson pitched six shutout innings, Gavin Lux hit a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 on Thursday night.

 

Anderson (10-1) scattered three hits, struck out four and walked two while needing just 88 pitches to get through six innings. It was the first career victory against St. Louis for Anderson, who entered 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA in three previous starts, all as a member of the Colorado Rockies.

 

Yency Almonte, Evan Phillips and Craig Kimbrel each pitched an inning of scoreless relief to finish the combined five-hitter.

 

The Dodgers won for the 13th time in their last 15 games. They improved to 9 1/2 games ahead of San Diego for first place in the National League West after being tied with the Padres on June 22.

 

Freddie Freeman singled in the first and doubled in the fourth to continue his torrid hitting streak. He has 14 hits in his last 17 at-bats and has reached base 17 times in his last 20 plate appearances.

 

Justin Turner singled home Freeman to break a scoreless tie in the fourth and Smith's two-out double scored Trea Turner to make it 2-0 in the sixth. It was the first time in five games the Dodgers scored first.

 

Lux drove a 90.4 mph sinker 402 feet over the right field wall in the seventh. It was his fourth home run of the season and chased Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson from the game.

 

St. Louis has lost eight of its last 12 games.

 

Hudson (6-6) gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out three, walked one and hit three batters.

 

Dylan Carlson had a pair of hits and reached three times for the Cardinals.

 

The Cardinals activated OF Tyler O'Neill, who had missed 23 games due to a left hamstring strain and a right hand injury, and optioned OF Lars Nootbaar to Triple-A Memphis. O'Neill batted sixth and went 0 for 4.

 

Cardinals INF Brendan Donovan (illness) returned to the lineup and batted eighth, going 0 for 2 with a walk, after being held out of the starting lineup the past five games. He did pinch hit in Wednesday's game.

 

Clayton Kershaw (6-2, 2.40 ERA) will kick off a two-game series against the Los Angeles Angels and LHP Patrick Sandoval (3-4, 2.95 ERA) on Friday night. Kershaw was selected to his ninth All-Star Game last Sunday.

 

Cardinals: Andre Pallante (2-4, 3.18 ERA) starts the first of a three-game series against Cincinnati, who counters with RHP Hunter Greene (3-1, 5.70 ERA), on Friday night. Pallante is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances against the Reds this season.

Pats, Bears Make Trade

N’Keal Harry is getting the new beginning to his NFL career that he was looking for a year ago.

 

The Patriots traded the 2019 first-round pick to Chicago on Wednesday for a seventh-round pick in 2024, ending a tenure in New England that never really got going after he missed half his rookie season with an ankle injury.

 

Coach Bill Belichick hoped the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Arizona State product would provide the Patriots with a playmaker who had an ability to stretch the field. Instead, Harry managed just 57 catches for 598 yards and four touchdowns over three seasons.

 

Harry had his 2019 season disrupted after he had an ankle injury in the first preseason game and spent a part of it on injured reserve, appearing in only seven games.

 

In his first two seasons, he played in 21 games and was targeted 81 times, totaling just 45 catches for 414 yards and four touchdowns.

 

It led his agent to request a trade prior to the start of training camp last season. Harry downplayed the request and said he and Belichick remained on good terms afterward.

 

But Harry was buried deep on the depth chart and appeared in only 12 games in 2021, starting four. His fate for the future appeared to be sealed after the Patriots drafted former Baylor receiver Tyquan Thornton in the second round of April’s draft.

 

Harry seemingly will have a better opportunity to gain playing time in Chicago, joining a roster that includes Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown.

NASCAR Heads to Northeast

Chase Elliott passed Corey LaJoie with under two laps to go and won at Atlanta under yellow after LaJoie spun and crashed on the final lap as the Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Ambetter 301. 

 

Elliott led 97 of the 260 laps. He also extended his points lead to 47 over Ryan Blaney and 50 over Ross Chastain. The race featured 27 lead changes among 12 drivers and 13 caution periods. 

 

Elliott and his father, Bill, are the only Georgia-born drivers to win in the Cup Series on the 1.54-mile layout. They join the Jarretts (Ned and Dale) and the Earnhardts (Dale and Dale Jr.) as father-son duos to win there. 

 

Elliott became the first three-time winner this season.

 

Aric Almirola won after starting 22nd last year.

 

Practice and qualifying is Saturday at 10:30 and the green flag drops around 2 pm on Sunday.

 

Georgia native Austin Hill led an eight-car train to the checkered flag at Atlanta, his first victory there after three consecutive second-place finishes in the XFinity race last weekend as the series also heads to New Hampshire this weekend.

 

Hill’s runner-up results came in the Truck Series in 2020 and 2021 and in last spring’s Xfinity Series race. He also earned the first stage win in his series career, taking the second stage. 

 

Pole-sitter Ty Gibbs had his chance at a season-best fifth victory end when he crashed after 93 laps. He limped home 35th. 

 

A.J. Allmendinger extended his points led to 29 over Gibbs and 30 over Justin Allgaier after his 15th top-10 run in 17 races.

 

Christopher Bell won after starting 14th last year.

 

Practice and qualifying is this afternoon at 4 pm and the green flag drops in Loudon, New Hampshire at 1:30 pm on Saturday.

 

The Camping World Truck Series is off this week and readies for the Poconos next weekend. 

White Sox Down Guardians

In a game heard on WHOW, Lucas Giolito pitched one-run ball into the seventh inning and the Chicago White Sox beat Cleveland 2-1 on Wednesday night after Guardians' starter Aaron Civale exited after one inning because of a sore right wrist.

 

Giolito (6-5) yielded an unearned run in 6 1/3 innings and extended his dominance of Cleveland hitters. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 0.83 ERA in 10 starts against Cleveland since May 17, 2019.

 

Giolito's strong outing, along with RBIs by Jose Abreu and Andrew Vaughn, helped the White Sox earn a split of the four-game series between the teams battling for second place in the AL Central Division.

 

Civale allowed two hits and threw 20 pitches in the scoreless first inning. Civale's injury forced manager Terry Francona to use five relievers, one day after the teams played a doubleheader. 

 

Eli Morgan and Enyel De Los Santos each pitched two scoreless innings, but the White Sox got on the board in the sixth inning, scoring two runs off Sam Hentges (2-2) in the sixth. A double by Abreu scored Yoan Moncada, who had drawn a leadoff walk. Vaughn followed with an RBI groundout.

 

Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth and earned his 18th save in 21 chances.

 

Giolito retired the first batter in the seventh and was lifted after Franmil Reyes singled and rookie Nolan Jones walked. Owen Miller hit into a fielder's choice. Miller was ruled out at first, but the call was reversed after a replay review.

 

Chicago's All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson remained in the game after being hit in the lower back by Luis Robert's sharply hit grounder while running the bases in the seventh.

 

Left fielder Eloy Jimenez came up limping after catching Jose Ramirez's liner to end the sixth and was removed from the game with tightness in his right leg.

 

Chicago begins a four-game series Thursday night against first-place Minnesota at Target Field. The White Sox haven't been over .500 since they were 22-21 on May 25. Johnny Cueto (3-4, 2.91 ERA) looks to go 4-0 lifetime against the Twins on Thursday. Chicago is 1-5 versus Minnesota this season.

Orioles Win Tenth Straight in Defeat of Cubs

Anthony Santander hit a two-run double to spark Baltimore's three-run first inning, Spenser Watkins and four relievers scattered six hits and the Orioles extended their winning streak to 10 games with a 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

 

It's the Orioles' longest winning streak in a single season since they won 13 in a row from Sept. 7-22, 1999.

 

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the only team with a longer current drought without a double-digit win streak in a season is Miami, which has never had one.

 

With the victory, the Orioles (45-44) also went over the .500 mark for the first time since April 8, 2021, when they were 4-3. Baltimore finished off the game to chants of ''Let's Go O's!'' at Wrigley Field, where the Orioles were laying their first series since 2014.

 

The Cubs lost their sixth consecutive game, their longest skid since dropping 10 straight games June 4-16.

 

Watkins (3-1) limited the Cubs to four hits in five-plus innings. Watkins is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his last four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on June 25. He allowed a single to Ian Happ to start the sixth and was lifted in favor of Dillion Tate.

 

Tate, Cionel Perez, Joey Krehbiel and Bryan Baker combined to allow two hits the rest of the way.

 

Meanwhile, Cubs starter Justin Steele (3-6) - pitching on eight days rest after his girlfriend gave birth Monday to the couple's first child - retired the final 11 batters he faced over six innings.

 

The Cubs scored their lone run off Watkins in the fifth when Christopher Morel tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rafael Ortega.

 

The Cubs will start RHP Keegan Thompson in Thursday's series opener against the Mets. Thompson allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings Friday in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers.

Blues Extend Leddy, Thomas

The St. Louis Blues kept blue liner Nick Leddy around for four more years and extended talented forward Robert Thomas through 2031.

 

St. Louis, which won the Cup in 2019 and has remade its blue line since, re-signed Leddy for $16 million over four years. The Blues got Leddy from Detroit at the deadline and plugged him into a unit that has gotten faster and more skilled since bruising to a championship three years ago.

 

The Blues signed Thomas, who just turned 23, to a $65 million contract extension that carries an $8.125 million cap hit.

Dodgers Rally Past Cardinals

Hanser Alberto hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers climbed out of a huge hole in a 7-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.

 

Los Angeles, which has won eight of nine, charged back from a 6-0 deficit with seven runs over the final three innings. The late rally took unbeaten All-Star Tony Gonsolin off the hook for his first loss of the season after an ineffective start.

 

Mookie Betts had an RBI double in the eighth and Trea Turner's two-run single cut it to 6-5. Max Muncy tied it in the ninth with a sacrifice fly.

 

The Dodgers were shut out on four hits over the first six innings.

 

Los Angeles got its NL-leading 26th come-from-behind win. This marked its largest comeback of the year.

 

Will Smith started the rally with a two-run homer in the seventh. Freddie Freeman went 3 for 3 for the Dodgers and has 12 hits in his last 14 at-bats.

 

Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer and Paul Goldschmidt had a two-run single early for St. Louis, which had won three straight.

 

Alberto, who entered in the eighth, singled to left field off reliever Giovanny Gallegos (2-4) to score Cody Bellinger from third base.

 

Justin Turner doubled and Bellinger singled to start the ninth.

 

Craig Kimbrel (3-4) got the win with a scoreless inning of relief. Evan Phillips earned his second major league save and first this season.

 

The Cardinals got to Gonsolin quickly.

 

The right-hander, who carried an 11-0 record and a major league-best 1.62 ERA into the game, gave up five earned runs and seven hits over five innings. He had not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his previous 16 starts this season.

 

Arenado capped a four-run uprising in the third with his 18th homer. Goldschmidt, the previous hitter, broke a scoreless tie with his two-run single.

 

St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright allowed four hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out five and walked four in a 114-pitch stint. The 40-year-old right-hander, the fourth-oldest player in the majors, has worked five innings or more in 16 of 18 starts this season. He left with a 5-0 lead.

 

Lars Nootbaar and Andrew Knizner had run-scoring hits for St. Louis.

 

Los Angeles LHP Tyler Anderson (9-1, 3.15 ERA) will face RHP Dakota Hudson (6-5, 4.00) in the finale of the three-game series Thursday. Anderson, who has already set a career high for wins, is 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA against St. Louis. Hudson tossed six scoreless innings in a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday.

White Sox, Guardians Split Tuesday Doubleheader

Shane Bieber pitched a three-hitter for his first complete game this year and Jose Ramirez and Amed Rosario drove in two runs apiece, sending the Cleveland Guardians over the Chicago White Sox 4-1 in a doubleheader opener Tuesday.

 

Bieber (4-5) struck out seven and walked none in just the 17th complete game in the major leagues this season. He had been 0-2 in six starts since beating Baltimore on June 3, the longest winless streak of his career.

 

The 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner carried a one-hit shutout into the seventh en route to his first complete game since Aug. 4, 2019.

 

It was the fourth complete game of Bieber's big league career and the first by a Cleveland pitcher since Aaron Civale's five-hitter at Pittsburgh on Aug. 19, 2020. The 27-year-old right-hander only needed 95 pitches to wrap up the 2-hour, 9-minute ballgame.

 

Rosario had a pair of RBI doubles off Davis Martin (1-3), driving in Austin Hedges in the third and Myles Straw in the fifth. The Guardians took a 3-0 lead in the third, when Ramirez's two-run single scored Steven Kwan and Rosario.

 

Ramirez, selected for his fourth All-Star Game, leads the AL with 68 RBIs, three more than Yankees slugger Aaron Judge.

 

Eloy Jimenez singled home Andrew Vaughn in the seventh, cutting Chicago's deficit to 4-1. The White Sox had two on with one out before Gavin Sheets bounced into an inning-ending double play.

 

Martin worked a season-high six innings, giving up four runs while striking out three after being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. The 25-year-old right-hander made his big league debut May 17 at Kansas City.

 

Nolan Jones of the Guardians went 0 for 3, going hitless for the first time in the majors. Jones batted .538 with seven hits and eight RBIs over his first four games.

 

Cleveland designated hitter Franmil Reyes fouled a pitch off his right ear in the third but remained in the game. The ball ricocheted off the dirt and struck Reyes below his helmet.

 

Dylan Cease struck out nine over 5 2/3 innings in his first start since being left off the AL All-Star team, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Guardians 7-0 on Tuesday night for a doubleheader split.

 

Jose Abreu, Luis Robert and Josh Harrison homered for Chicago, which had dropped four of six before its sorely needed victory in the nightcap. The White Sox won in Cleveland for the first time in five tries this season.

 

Cease (8-4) allowed five hits while continuing his bid to become an injury replacement for the July 19 Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium. The right-hander has not allowed more than one earned run in nine straight starts, posting a 0.53 ERA over his last 51 innings.

 

Abreu sparked Chicago in the second game with a two-run homer in the first against Konnor Pilkington (1-2). Harrison added a solo shot in the second.

 

Pilkington was charged with four runs, three earned, and six hits in five innings.

 

Robert curled a three-run drive off Bryan Shaw in the ninth just inside the foul pole in right.

 

Reynaldo Lopez, Kendall Graveman and Matt Foster followed Cease in the eight-hit shutout.

 

The Guardians played their league-high eighth doubleheader, their seventh at Progressive Field. The White Sox, in their fourth doubleheader, were swept by Cleveland on April 20.

 

Lucas Giolito (5-5, 5.05 ERA) makes his 12th career start against Cleveland in the four-game series finale. Aaron Civale (2-5, 6.28 ERA) seeks his first victory in his fifth start since returning from a left glute injury on June 21.

Cardinals Hold Off Dodgers

Albert Pujols and rookie Nolan Gorman hit solo home runs and the St. Louis Cardinals ended Los Angeles' seven-game winning streak, beating the Dodgers 7-6 Tuesday night.

 

The teams squared off for the first time this season. Their last matchup came in last season's NL wild-card game, when Chris Turner hit a two-run, walk-off homer off Alex Reyes for a 3-1 victory.

 

Andrew Knizner, the No. 9 hitter, drove in three runs on three singles as St. Louis won its third straight.

 

Trea Turner had a two-run homer and single, and scored a season-high three runs for the Dodgers, who are 11-2 in their last 13 games. Freddie Freeman added a solo homer, two singles and an RBI double. It was Freeman's fourth four-hit game of the season, leading the majors.

 

Juan Oviedo, the second of seven St. Louis pitchers, improved to 2-1 with the win. He worked 1 1/3 innings. Giovanny Gallegos gave up a leadoff homer to Freeman, but hung on in the ninth inning for his 10th save.

 

Pujols hit a 0-1 pitch into the left field seats with two outs in the second inning off Mitch White, who had retired the first five batters he faced before giving up consecutive hits in the second. It was Pujols' 685th career home run and sixth this season. He celebrated his 451st homer with the Cardinals in style, with a double high five with rapper Nelly.

 

Pujols, MLB's oldest player at 42 years old, is 11 homers behind Alex Rodriquez, who has career 696 homers. Pujols has hit homers off 446 pitchers in his career. Barry Bonds leads the way, hitting homers off 449 pitchers.

 

The Cardinals added two more runs in the second, stringing together a single, ground rule double, wild pitch and another single for a 3-0 lead.

 

The Dodgers scored a run in the third off Oviedo on a double by Freeman, scoring Trea Turner.

 

Gorman snapped an 0-for-12 skid with a two-out homer to center in the third, giving St. Louis a 4-1 lead. It was his eighth homer since joining the club May 20.

 

St. Louis added two runs in the fourth on singles by Knizner and Nolan Arenado, extending the lead to 6-1.

 

Turner hit a two-run homer in the fifth off Matthew Liberatore, who originally was scheduled to start the game. Hanser Alberto scored on a single by Austin Barnes in the sixth.

 

An RBI single by Will Smith cut the St. Louis advantage to 6-5 in the seventh. Rookie reliever Packy Naughton came on with the bases loaded and pitched out of the jam, getting two shallow fly outs and a strikeout of Cody Bellinger.

 

Freeman capped a 4 for 5 night with a lead off homer in the ninth.

 

Jordan Hicks started, serving as the opener, and threw 38 pitches in the 1 2/3 innings. It was Hicks' eighth start this year and his first since May 24, when he went four innings in a loss to the Blue Jays.

 

White (1-2) took the loss. He pitched five innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs.

 

Tony Gonsolin (11-0, 1.62) leads the majors in ERA. He is 1-0 in two starts against the Cardinals. This will be his second start at Busch Stadium.

 

Adam Wainwright (6-7, 3.15) will make his 18th career appearance (15th start) against the Dodgers. St. Louis is 11-5 in those games. He has pitched six or more innings in his last 13 regular season starts (11 quality) against the Dodgers. He has won his last three home starts against the Dodgers dating back to 2017.

Red Hot Orioles Down Cubs

Ramon Urias hit a two-run homer and made a big defensive play, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Tuesday night for their ninth straight victory.

 

Jorge Mateo also homered as Baltimore (44-44) reached .500 for the first time this season. It's the longest win streak for the Orioles since the franchise won 13 straight in September 1999.

 

Baltimore right-hander Jordan Lyles (6-7) pitched seven innings of two-run ball in his second straight win. Jorge Lopez, the Orioles' lone All-Star selection, worked the ninth for his 17th save in 21 chances.

 

All-Star Ian Happ homered for Chicago, which dropped its fifth in a row. Adrian Sampson (0-1) allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

 

Baltimore trailed 2-1 in the fourth before Urias almost cleared the left-field bleachers with a two-run drive for his seventh homer.

 

The Cubs trailed 3-2 in the sixth and had Seiya Suzuki at third with one out. But Urias gloved Nico Hoerner's liner inches off the ground and trotted to third to complete the double play.

 

Mateo went deep in the seventh against Brandon Hughes. It was his seventh homer of the season.

 

Spenser Watkins (2-1, 4.15 ERA) faces Justin Steele (3-5, 4.13 ERA) in Wednesday's finale of the two-game series.

Scotty Bowman Moving On From Blackhawks

Scotty Bowman has left the Chicago Blackhawks after what the Hall of Famer said was a difficult year.

 

Bowman announced Tuesday he no longer works for the organization as of July 1, saying he decided it was time to move on after 14 years as the Blackhawks’ senior hockey operations adviser.

 

Bowman’s son Stan stepped down as general manager in October after an independent investigation into the team’s mishandling of sexual assault allegations in 2010 revealed he knew about the situation.

 

Bowman, who turns 89 in September, said he left the organization on good terms. He’s not closing the door on another job in the NHL but isn’t looking for work immediately. He plans to continue his routine of splitting time between his homes in suburban Buffalo, New York, and Sarasota, Florida, which allows him to make appearances in the press box at Tampa Bay Lightning games.

 

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame 31 years ago, Bowman won the Stanley Cup a record nine times as a coach, leading the Montreal Canadiens to the championship in 1973, ’76, ’77, ’78 and ’79, the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992 and the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, ’98 and 2002. Counting his four titles as a member of a front office, including three with Chicago in 2010, ’13 and ’15, his 14 are second-most in league history behind Habs great Jean Beliveau’s 17.

 

Another championship seems far away for the Blackhawks.

 

Kyle Davidson replaced Stan Bowman on an interim basis in the fall and was given the full-time GM job after a lengthy search. Davidson is now in charge of a major teardown of the roster, which has already included trading young forwards Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach and letting Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik leave rather than tendering them qualifying offers to retain their rights.

 

The big question now concerns the future of franchise cornerstones Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who have a year left on their respective contracts.

Former Blackhawks D Keith Retires

Former Chicago Blackhawks’ defenseman Duncan Keith announced his retirement Tuesday, at times fighting back tears during a news conference as he thanked teammates, coaches and family members for helping him along the way of his Hall of Fame-caliber career.

 

Keith will turn 39 on Saturday, and said there’s a noticeable change in how he’s felt in recent postseasons. That, coupled with the desire to spend more time with his son Colton, helped him reach a difficult decision.

 

In his final season, he put up 21 points (one goal, 20 assists) over 64 games with an average ice time of nearly 20 minutes. He added a goal and four assists in 16 playoff outings as the Oilers made it to the Western Conference final for the first time since advancing to the Stanley Cup series in 2006.

 

Keith was selected by Chicago in the second round, 54th overall, in the 2002 NHL draft. Keith went on to anchor a Blackhawks blue-line that won the Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2015 after piling up 21 points (three goals, 18 assists) in 23 games and won Norris Trophy as top defenseman in 2010 and 2014.

 

Keith thanked many of the teammates he found success with in Chicago — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp — but had special praise for longtime defense partner Brent Seabrook. Keith and Seabrook played their 1,000th game together on Dec. 11, 2018.

 

Keith said the opportunity to play with Edmonton superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl “speaks for itself” and called them “the two best players in the world.”

 

Keith finished his career with 106 goals, 540 assists and 675 penalty minutes over 1,256 games.

 

Internationally, Keith helped Canada win Olympic gold at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games.

Tyler Reddick Signs With 23XI Racing

23XI Racing got a jump on the 2024 Cup Series season with the surprising announcement Tuesday that it signed Tyler Reddick to join the NASCAR team owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.

 

Reddick, a two-time Xfinity Series champion, is in his third full season driving for Richard Childress Racing. He is coming off his breakthrough first career Cup victory on July 3 at Road America.

 

The 26-year-old Reddick still has one season left driving for RCR, a potentially awkward situation the team addressed in a tweet when it wrote the “ timing of this announcement could not be any worse.”

 

It seemed a perfect moment to strike for 23XI. The race team fields cars this season for Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch and both drivers are signed through the end of next season. Hamlin said he expected 23XI to remain a two-car organization and did not address how Reddick and the other drivers would fit -- though at 43, Busch’s career could be winding down. Both drivers won a race -- Wallace won last season at Talladega; Busch this year at Kansas -- for 23XI.

 

The 26-year-old Reddick signed a multi-year deal with 23XI and is now positioned as an anchor for the team for years ahead.

 

Reddick made the playoffs last season and finished 13th in the points standings. His win at Road America earned him a second straight playoff berth and solidified his credentials as a driver on the rise. He’s made 93 career starts and has 11 top-five finishes -- five this season - for RCR.

 

Reddick said his decision should have not been a “total shock” to team owner Richard Childress and that he was ready to chase championships in the No. 8 Chevrolet with the time he has left at RCR.

 

Hamlin said Busch and Wallace were expected to return in 2023 and it was too early to determine all the important details for Reddick such as sponsor, car number -- and even which driver he would replace in the lineup, if any at all.

 

Hamlin said he wanted Busch, the 2004 Cup champion, to end his career with 23XI.

 

The race team was founded in 2021 with Wallace as the lone driver. Busch was added this season. The only Black driver in the Cup series, Wallace has struggled this season and has two top-10 finishes in 19 Cup races. Hamlin said “all scenarios are always out there” but appeared committed to keep 23XI a two-car lineup.

 

Reddick, who is part of a two-car lineup at RCR with Austin Dillon, “crashed” a scheduled Toyota video call Tuesday that included Hamlin, Toyota Racing Development David Wilson and 23XI Racing President Steve Lauletta. Reddick defended the decision to announce his 2024 jump almost a year and a half ahead of his scheduled first points race for 23XI Racing in the Daytona 500.

 

The decision to announce a driver signing this far out from his debut has happened before in NASCAR -- and 23XI strongly felt Reddick, who won the Xfinity Series title in 2018 with JR Motorsports and 2019 with RCR, was too talented to let him test the free-agent market.

Guardians Double Up White Sox

In a game heard on WHOW, Nolan Jones drove in four runs in his first game at Progressive Field, leading Cleveland to an 8-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series between the AL Central rivals.

 

A 24-year-old outfielder with a sweet left-handed swing, Jones hit a two-run single in the first inning off Lance Lynn (1-2). He then chased the right-hander by driving home two more runs with a double in the fifth.

 

Jones is batting .538 (7 for 13) with a homer - a 457-footer that splashed into Kansas City's famous fountains on Saturday - and eight RBIs in four games since coming up from Triple-A Columbus.

 

Back from a 1-6 road trip to Detroit and Kansas City, the Guardians staked Cal Quantrill (5-5) to a five-run lead in the first and moved back to .500 (42-42).

 

Yoan Moncada hit a three-run homer as the White Sox began an eight-game trip leading into the All-Star break.

 

Jones, who has climbed through Cleveland's organization since being drafted in 2016, came to the plate with the bases loaded for his first at-bat. He then delivered a broken-bat single as the Guardians scored five times off Lynn - all with two outs - in the first.

 

Cleveland's big inning was triggered by Josh Naylor hustling down the line to beat out an infield single with two down. Franmil Reyes followed with an RBI single and Andres Gimenez walked before Jones, who was called up from the minors on Friday in Kansas City, blooped his single to center to make it 3-0.

 

Two batters later, Myles Straw brought in two more runs with a single off Lynn, who settled down but only lasted four innings.

 

In the fifth, Reyes singled and Gimenez, a first-time All-Star, was hit by a pitch before Jones ripped his double to right-center. Straw followed with a hard comebacker that struck reliever Matt Foster and caromed into right field for an RBI.

 

The Guardians play their seventh doubleheader at home - and fourth overall since June 28 - on Tuesday. RHP Shane Bieber (3-5, 3.44 ERA) starts the first game for Cleveland against Davis Martin (1-2, 4.29 ERA). Rookie Konnor Pilkington (1-1, 4.08 ERA) goes in the nightcap against White Sox RHP Dylan Cease (7-4, 2.45 ERA).

Cardinals Roll Phillies

Miles Mikolas pitched effectively into the eighth inning, Albert Pujols passed Stan Musial on the career extra-base hits list, and Corey Dickerson and Lars Nootbar homered as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 Monday night.

 

The teams split the four-game series and are tied for the final wild-card spot in the National League. The Cardinals have won two straight but are just 3-6 in their last nine games.

 

Philadelphia lost consecutive games for the third time since the start of June.

 

Mikolas (6-7) gave up six hits, including a first-inning home run to Rhys Hoskins, struck out five and walked none in 7 1/3 innings.

 

Mikolas has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his past seven starts.

 

Aaron Nola (6-6) cruised until the bottom of the Cardinals order touched him for three runs in the fifth. Nola went seven innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. He struck out seven and walked none.

 

Pujols doubled off the right field wall to lead off the seventh, just missing a home run, to take sole possession of third place with 1,378 extra-base hits. He snapped a tie with Musial, passing the Cardinals great to join a top three including Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.

 

Dickerson followed with his third home run of the season, a 395-foot shot into the Cardinals bullpen.

 

Nootbar also connected for his third on the first pitch from reliever Michael Kelly in the eighth. Nootbar, who came in as a defensive substitution in the top of the inning, placed his shot over the left field wall to give the Cardinals a 6-1 lead.

 

Dylan Carlson singled to start the fourth and reached second on a fielder's choice. With one out, Dickerson singled in Carlson and took second on the throw home. Dickerson came in on Edmundo Sosa's double down the left-field line, and Sosa scored on Andrew Knizner's blooper down the right field line.

 

Pujols revealed after the game that he'll participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby this month, his fifth time in the event.

 

Cardinals LHP T.J. McFarland was activated from the COVID-19 injured list Monday. Also, St. Louis transferred RHP Jack Flaherty to the 60-day IL and optioned LHP Zack Thompson to Triple-A Memphis.

 

Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 4.74) opens a three-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and starter RHP Mitch White (1-1, 3.38). Liberatore is 2-0 and has yet to give up an earned run at home in 10 innings over two games.

White Sox Double Up Tigers

In a game heard on WHOW, left fielder Robbie Grossman dropped Luis Robert's short fly with two outs in the eighth to end his record errorless streak at 440 games and set up two unearned Chicago runs that snapped a tie, lifting the White Sox to a 4-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

 

Robert reached second when Grossman raced in and the ball bounced off his glove and fell in. The 32-year-old outfielder hadn't made an error since June 13, 2018, while with Minnesota, setting a major league record for a position player.

 

After Jose Abreu was intentionally walked, pinch-hitter A.J. Pollock hit a tiebreaking two-out RBI single that got past the reach of second baseman Jonathan Schoop to score Robert from second and put Chicago ahead 3-2. Eloy Jimenez followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2.

 

Both hits were off All-Star reliever Gregory Soto and lifted Chicago to its second straight win.

 

Gavin Sheets homered and had two hits for the second straight game. His solo shot in the sixth tied it at 2. Yoan Moncada had an RBI single in the fifth.

 

Javier Baez hit a two-run homer for the Tigers, who dropped their second straight following a six-game winning streak.

 

Kendall Graveman (3-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Liam Hendriks tossed a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

 

Michael Fulmer (2-3) took the loss.

 

Baez played his first seven-plus seasons with the crosstown Cubs and was booed by South Side fans before each plate appearance. The shortstop took his time leaving the batter's box when he went deep in the first and watched his ninth homer sail into the left field bullpen.

 

Chicago starter Michael Kopech settled in after Baez's blast and allowed two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

 

Detroit spot starter Drew Hutchison allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, his longest outing since July 7, 2016.

 

Kopech's first five pitches missed the strike zone. The right-hander's sixth might have been high and inside, but the free-swinging Baez turned on it for a 2-0 Detroit lead.

 

Moncada's RBI single in the fifth cut it to 2-1. Sheets homered to right-center on Hutchison's full-count pitch with two outs in the sixth to tie it.

 

White Sox Shortstop Tim Anderson, a starter for the AL in the All-Star Game, got the day off. Leury Garcia took his place in the lineup. Manager Tony La Russa said Anderson will get another day off before the break ''because he's very active on his legs'' in playing his position. 

 

Jimenez started in left on Sunday after getting Saturday off as he works his way back from surgery for a hamstring tendon tear.

 

Lance Lynn (1-1, 5.33) takes the mound Monday at Cleveland as Chicago opens an eight-game road trip against the Indians and Twins, the AL Central rivals it hopes to catch in the division.

Cardinals Down Phillies

Albert Pujols hit his 684th homer and Tommy Edman drove in the tiebreaking run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to help the scuffling St. Louis Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 on Sunday.

 

St. Louis had lost two straight and six of seven.

 

Kyle Schwarber hit his NL-leading 28th homer for the Phillies, who had won three in a row.

 

Pujols, who singled to start the go-ahead rally in the eighth, has 1,377 extra-base hits to tie Stan Musial for third place on the career list.

 

Pujols' fifth homer of the season was a solo shot in the sixth that brought the Cardinals within 3-2.

 

The Cardinals tied it in the seventh on Nolan Gorman's groundout.

 

Edman drove in pinch-runner Dylan Carlson with a short fly to center. Carlson was originally ruled out at the plate, but the call was overturned after a replay review.

 

Jordan Hicks (2-4) picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief. All-Star reliever Ryan Helsley got his seventh save.

 

Matt Vierling broke a 1-all tie with a run-scoring single in the fourth before Schwarber's homer an inning later put the Phillies in front 3-1.

 

Cardinals starter Andre Pallante allowed three runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.

 

Seranthony Dominguez (4-3) took the loss.

 

Lars Nootbaar broke the Cardinals' 19-inning scoreless stretch with an RBI single in the second.

 

Schwarber scored on a single by Nick Castellanos in the first.

 

Philadelphia shut out the Cardinals in the three previous meetings.

 

St. Louis RHP Miles Mikolas decided to burn some sage in the outfield before the game in an effort to change the team's luck. Mikolas says he deals in holistic medicinal healing and felt the move might help.

 

Mikolas (5-7, 2.72 ERA) faces Philadelphia RHP Aaron Nola (5-6, 3.15) in the finale of the four-game series Monday. Mikolas has received zero run support in seven of 17 starts this season. Nola is 5-2 with a 2.19 ERA in eight career starts against St. Louis.

Dodgers Outslug Cubs

Freddie Freeman went 4 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs, and the top team in the National League rallied from a pair of huge early deficits for its seventh consecutive victory, 11-9 over the Chicago Cubs.

 

Trea Turner and Will Smith also drove in two runs apiece as Los Angeles finished 10-1 on a homestand for the first time since 1980 despite falling behind 5-0 in the first inning and 8-3 in the third. Gavin Lux reached base four times while Los Angeles surged from behind early and eventually held on to win its final home game before hosting Dodger Stadium's first All-Star Game in 42 years.

 

With a seventh straight win over the Cubs, the Dodgers swept their season series with Chicago for the first time in the venerable NL franchises' history. Los Angeles beat the Cubs for the 10th straight time overall, matching the longest winning streak in this rivalry since 1947, and swept a four-game series with Chicago at Chavez Ravine for the first time since 1965.

 

P.J. Higgins hit his first career grand slam during Chicago's five-run first inning, and David Bote had a three-run homer in the third to put the Cubs up big.

 

But Chicago's bullpen again failed to contain Los Angeles' powerhouse lineup, blowing a lead for the third time in four games. Chicago finished 2-5 on its road trip and dropped to 0-7 at Dodger Stadium since throwing a combined no-hitter here last July 24.

 

Turner's RBI single put the Dodgers up 9-8 after a six-run third inning in which Los Angeles sent 11 batters to the plate. The inning was extended when Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom botched a simple throw to first on Mookie Betts' two-out grounder, allowing two runs to score.

 

Shortly after Freeman was left off the NL All-Star team, he got his 11th homer of the season in the sixth off Anderson Espinoza. The five-time All-Star added an RBI single in the seventh for his third four-hit game since joining the Dodgers this season.

 

Nelson Velazquez homered off $30 million left-hander David Price on the first pitch of the eighth for Chicago, but Brusdar Graterol escaped a two-on, nobody-out jam to end the inning. Graterol also pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.

Both starters were done early in a nearly four-hour game.

 

Julio Urias' four-start winning streak ended when he lasted just two innings, and he matched his previous season high in runs allowed after the first six Chicago batters. The former 20-game winner's ERA went from 2.57 to 3.01 while he equaled his shortest start of the season.

 

Drew Smyly yielded five hits and four runs in two-plus innings for Chicago during his first start since May 30. He spent the past month on the injured list with a right oblique strain.

 

Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford then struggled on his 27th birthday, giving up Bote's first homer of the season.

 

After a day off, Adrian Sampson (0-0, 2.91 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday at Wrigley Field against Baltimore to open a six-game homestand.

Elliott Holds Off LaJoie Winning at Home Track

Georgia-born driver Chase Elliot powered past the upset-minded Corey LaJoie with just under two laps to go and crossed the finish line under yellow after a big block sent LaJoie smashing into the wall Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

 

It was Elliott’s first NASCAR Cup victory at what he considers his home track after coming up short on his first eight tries.

 

Elliott pulled back around in front of the main grandstand, greeted by a boisterous ovation from fans who cheered loudly every time he went to the front and seemingly stretched all the way to Dawsonville, the north Georgia town that produced the winner and his father, longtime NASCAR Cup star Bill Elliott.

 

The Elliotts are the only Georgia-born drivers to win a Cup race in Atlanta. They are the third father-son duo to take the checkered flag at the 1.54-mile trioval, joining the Jarretts (Ned and Dale) and the Earnhardts (Dale and Dale Jr).

 

The wild capper to another eventful Atlanta race denied LaJoie the first victory of his career, which would’ve been a huge shocker for the low-budget Spire Motorsports team.

 

On a restart with three laps to go. LaJoie led the field from the inside lane and did everything he could to hold off Elliott. But, after they crossed the start-finish line for the next-to-last time, Elliott surged to the lead on the outside with a helpful push from Erik Jones.

 

LaJoie was setting up a good run on the leader as they took the white flag, looking to pass Elliott in the same spot where he gave up the lead.

 

Elliott slid up the banking to cut off his challenger. LaJoie, who has only one top-five finish in his career, ran out of room and smashed the outside wall.

 

Ross Chastain looked to make a move on Elliott, but the yellow lights flashed with No. 9 still nearly a car length ahead.

 

That was it. Elliott could finally relax, becoming the first three-time winner in a season that has produced 13 different winners.

 

Chastain was the runner-up, followed by Austin Cindric, Jones and Ryan Blaney.

LaJoie settled for the 21st spot.

 

LaJoie, whose best career finish was a fifth-place showing at this year’s Atlanta spring race, nearly pulled off the most improbable victory of a wild season. He had no complaints about Elliott’s aggressive move.

 

Martin Truex Jr. was leading a tight pack at the front when Chastain caused his second wreck of the day with 14 laps to go.

 

A two-time winner this season, Chastain also has made plenty of enemies with his overly aggressive driving. He tapped the left rear quarter-panel of Denny Hamlin’s car, which sent the No. 11 into a spin that ruined his hopes of winning.

 

Truex led on the restart with eight laps to go, LaJoie pulled ahead on the backstretch, but the yellow flag came out again when Hamlin was bumped for a second time. This time, it was Christopher Bell trying to squeeze between Hamlin and Joey Logano, setting off a spin that took out all three cars.

 

Hamlin finished 25th.

 

There were 26 lead changes among 12 drivers. Elliott led a race-high 96 laps. 

Justin Haley turned in his second-best finish of the season in seventh place. His only other top 10 was a third-place showing in Darlington.

 

The Cup drivers will head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next Sunday. Aric Almirola, who is stepping back from full-time racing at the end of this season, is defending champion on the 1.058-mile Loudon oval.

Cardinals Salvage Series Finale With Braves

Dylan Carlson hit a tiebreaking single in the top of the 11th inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Thursday night to snap their four-game losing streak.

Nolan Gorman singled to begin the 11th and move automatic runner Nolan Arenado to third. Carlson's single glanced off the glove of second baseman Phil Gosselin, and the Cardinals led 3-2.

 

Spencer Strider dominated with a career-high 12 strikeouts in six innings for the defending World Series champion Braves, who began the game a major league-best 26-7 since June 1 but fell 3 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East.

 

Juan Yepez's sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th broke a 1-all tie for St. Louis. Matt Olson's RBI single tied it at 2 in the bottom half.

 

Michael Harris II hit a tying homer off Giovanny Gallegos in the seventh for Atlanta. Albert Pujols delivered a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the top of the inning for St. Louis, giving him 121 sacrifice flies to tie Hank Aaron and Frank Thomas for fourth place on the career list.

 

Strider mixed a fastball that regularly touched 99 mph and a high 80s slider that was equally effective, recording a strikeout for each of the first nine outs, the first time that's happened since the Braves debuted in Atlanta in 1966.

 

Strider, a fourth-round draft pick out of Clemson in 2020, has struck out 102 in 65 2/3 innings this year. He allowed two hits, no runs and two walks.

 

Only two other pitchers have recorded strikeouts in their first nine outs since the start of 2020: Miami's Pablo Lopez on July 11, 2021, and Philadelphia's Aaron Nola on June 25, 2021.

 

Ryan Helsley (5-1) earned the win in 2 1/3 innings. Packy Naughton earned his first save, and Tyler Matzek (0-2) took the loss.

 

St. Louis struck out 19 times. The Cardinals, second in the NL Central, had dropped six of seven. Prior to Thursday, the Braves had never struck out more than 18 hitters in a game that lasted 11 or fewer innings.

 

Arenado popped up to begin the fourth, the first out that was put in play by the Cardinals. Strider struck out three more the rest of the way.

 

Strider, who struck out 11 in a win last Saturday at Cincinnati and has three double-digit strikeout games in eight career starts, gave up a bloop double to Paul Goldschmidt and a walk to Arenado in the first but struck out Gorman to end the threat. He struck out the side and faced the minimum in the second.

 

Carlson went 3 for 3 after entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. He also turned a double play in the ninth when Carlson caught Harris' liner in center field and doubled up pinch-runner Gosselin, who had advanced from first past second and was easily forced out.

 

Adam Wainwright (6-6, 3.26 ERA) will face RHP Zack Wheeler as St. Louis hosts Philadelphia to begin a four-game series. Wainwright is 7-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 16 career starts and two relief appearances against the Phillies.

Tigers Down White Sox

Beau Brieske tossed two-hit ball into the seventh inning while outpitching Dylan Cease, Javier Baez homered and Detroit hung on beat the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Thursday night.

 

The Tigers won their fifth straight. They followed up their first four-game sweep of Cleveland in nine years by taking the opener of a four-game set against the reigning AL Central champions.

 

Pinch-hitter Spencer Torkelson had an RBI single in the ninth to give Detroit a two-run lead. Chicago then made it interesting in the bottom half against closer Gregory Soto.

 

Tim Anderson singled with one out, AJ Pollock walked and Luis Robert cut it to 2-1 with a double down the line that a diving first baseman Torkelson said popped over his glove. But with runners on second and third, Soto struck out Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez to earn his 17th save in 19 chances.

 

The only hits Brieske (2-6) allowed were singles by Josh Harrison leading off the sixth and by Abreu, who chased him with one out in the seventh. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out four and walked one to win for the second time in 14 major league starts. He also beat Toronto on June 11.

 

Baez, greeted with more boos than cheers in his first game in Chicago since the crosstown Cubs traded him to the New York Mets last July, gave Detroit a 1-0 lead when he connected against Cease leading off the fourth. The drive to left was the two-time All-Star's eighth home run.

 

Cease (7-4) - 10-0 in his first 11 starts against Detroit - was a tough-luck loser. The right-hander went six innings, allowing one run on three hits. He struck out eight and walked three.

 

Harrison, who also walked in the third, got stranded after breaking up the no-hit bid in the sixth. He moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Reese McGuire and advanced to third with two out on a wild pitch before AJ Pollock lined to Baez at shortstop.

 

Abreu extended his hitting streak to 12 games with his single in the seventh. But he also got tagged out between first and second by Barnhart to end the inning after Alex Lange struck out Jimenez.

 

Detroit's Andrew Chafin retired Yoan Moncada on a flyball to the warning track leading off the eighth, then got the next two batters.

 

Yoan Moncada was in the lineup after leaving Wednesday's win over Minnesota in the sixth inning because of a bruised right foot. OF/1B Andrew Vaughn (illness) was not in the lineup. The White Sox won't have a timeline on LHP Aaron Bummer (strained left lat) until he starts throwing off a mound, Tony La Russa said. Bummer has not pitched since June 7.

 

The series continues with RHP Lucas Giolito (5-4, 4.90 ERA) opposing Tigers LHP Tarik Skubal (5-7, 4.06). Giolito pitched three-hit ball over six innings in a win at San Francisco on Sunday after posting a 9.00 ERA in his previous four starts.

Bears WR Moore Arrested in Texas

Bears wide receiver David Moore was arrested in his hometown of Gainesville, Texas, on Monday, according to KXII. Moore, 27, was arrested on drug and weapon charges. Records obtained by KXII show that Moore posted a $5,000 bond and was released from Cooke County Jail on Monday. 

 

According to the Gainesville Police Department, via TMZ Sports, officers found Moore asleep in the driver's seat of a 2018 Ford F250 at a local Taco Bell drive-thru at around 11:18 p.m. on July 3. Police say they were able to make contact with Moore and an ensuing search of the vehicle revealed that he was in possession of "a package of THC edible candies along with three pistols." 

 

Moore signed a one-year deal with Chicago on April 21. The former seventh-round pick originally came into the league as a draft choice of the Seattle Seahawks, where he'd play the first four years of his career. In March of 2021, he signed a two-year, $4.75 million contract with the Panthers, but was released later that September. From there, he bounced around the league, making stops with the Raiders, Broncos, and Packers. 

 

In 50 career regular-season games over five years, Moore has totaled 78 receptions for 1,163 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Dodgers Power Past Cubs

Tony Gonsolin pitched seven strong innings for his 11th win, and Mookie Betts hit a pair of leadoff homers in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the series opener on Thursday night.

 

Gonsolin is the first Dodgers pitcher to start a season 11-0 since Alex Wood in 2017. He and Houston's Justin Verlander are tied for most wins in the majors.

The NL West leaders won their fourth in a row.

 

Gonsolin allowed two runs and four hits, struck out three and didn't walk anyone for his second straight start and third time this season. His 1.62 ERA is the best in baseball.

 

The right-hander even did a little fielding in the sixth. Ian Happ hit a line drive that ricocheted off Gonsolin's glove and went behind the mound. Gonsolin raced to pick up the ball and fired to first base for the third out.

 

Betts blasted solo shots in the first and the eighth for his 19th and 20th homers. He got hit by a pitch in the fifth and had his left hand examined but stayed in the game. He said the soreness eventually went away.

 

Hitting in the ninth spot, Gavin Lux extended the Dodgers' lead to 3-0 on a two-run shot with two outs in the second after Trayce Thompson doubled.

 

Justin Turner went deep in the fourth to make it 4-0.

 

The Cubs cut their deficit to 4-2 on Christopher Morel's two-run homer with two outs in the fifth.

 

They didn't have another hit until Happ's two-out single in the ninth off closer Craig Kimbrel. Rookie Seiya Suzuki hit a flare to right that Betts chased mightily, but it dropped for an RBI double that left the Cubs trailing 5-3.

 

Suzuki took third on Kimbrel's wild pitch and Kimbrel walked Patrick Wisdom to put the potential tying run at first.

 

Alex Vesia retired pinch-hitter Nelson Velazquez on a called third strike to earn his first save.

 

Chicago starter Mark Leiter Jr. (2-3) gave up four runs and five hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked none.

 

Keegan Thompson (7-3, 3.41 ERA) is 0-1 with a 2.16 ERA in his only other start against LA. Tyler Anderson (9-1, 3.09) has 73 strikeouts to 15 walks over 15 games, including 13 starts.

Blackhawks Trade DeBrincat, Dach on Draft Night

The long-anticipated dismantling of the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster began Thursday with the team trading Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators and Kirby Dach to the Montreal Canadiens.

 

In completing a third trade to acquire goalie Petr Mrazek from the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Blackhawks went from having nothing in the first round at the NHL draft in Montreal to making three picks through the evening.

 

Chicago acquired the seventh and 39th picks in this year’s draft and a third-rounder in 2024 for DeBrincat, who is likely a year away from a big payday. The Blackhawks acquired the No. 13 pick by trading Dach to Montreal.

 

In adding Mrazek, the Blackhawks acquired the No. 25 selection for helping the Maple Leafs free up much-needed salary cap space. Mrazek has two years remaining on a three-year $11.4 million contract he signed with Toronto.

 

Dealing DeBrincat signals a shift into win-soon mode for the Senators, while the Blackhawks moved even further away from contending again a year after making moves like acquiring defenseman Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury.

 

With a lot of losses coming up next season and beyond, the attention now turns to the future of longtime Blackhawks stars and three-time Stanley Cup-winners Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, whose matching contracts expire after next season.

 

They already gained some financial flexibility by trading DeBrincat, who is expected to attract a hefty raise once his current deal expires after the 2022-23 season.

 

DeBrincat, 24, has one year left on a $19.2 million, three-year contract, after which he is eligible to become a restricted free agent. Dorion said the Senators expect to start extension talks with DeBrincat’s agent next week when league rules allow them but added the team wants to make sure he’s a good fit in coach D.J. Smith’s system.

 

Chicago selected Canadian junior defenseman Kevin Korchinski with the 13th pick, U.S. development team center Frank Nazar at No. 13 and Minnesota high school defenseman Sam Rinzel at No. 25.

 

DeBrincat has been one of the NHL’s most prolific scorers since his debut with the Blackhawks in 2017. The winger matched his career-high with 41 goals this past season and set a career-best with 37 assists in 82 games.

 

Overall, he has 160 goals and 147 assists in 368 games.

Blues Select Snuggerud 23rd Overall

Jimmy Snuggerud was selected 23rd overall by the Blues in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft on Thursday.

 

Snuggerud is a strong and skilled two-way force on the wing. His shot is his best asset -- he can beat goalies from distance and in tight, and his one-timer is sharp. He's diligent in all three zones and strong on the fore check, and that makes him closer to the NHL than most in this draft class. 


Snuggerud spent this season riding shotgun beside USNTDP stars Logan Cooley and Cutter Gauthier, so you know the guy can play. And every team needs talented two-way guys to complement their best -- just look at what Ondrej Palat did during the Bolts' recent run. 

 

A future top-six role in St. Louis is more than possible. He'll work on his skating at the University of Minnesota and might be a one-and-done.

XFinity, Cup Series Heads to Atlanta, Trucks Race on Road Course in Ohio

The NASCAR Cup Series and XFinity Series head to Atlanta while the Gander Mountain Truck Series will race in Lexington, Ohio on the road course.

Tyler Reddick outdueled Chase Elliott and cruised to victory at Road America for his first victory in NASCAR’s premier series last weekend in Wisconsin.

Reddick became the 13th different race-winner through 18 events and the fifth first-time winner this season. His victory made 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick, the fourth-ranked non-winner in the standings, the first driver who would not make the 16-driver playoffs if the standings remain the same through the final eight races of the regular season. 

 

Elliott expanded his points lead to 33 over Ryan Blaney and 35 over Ross Chastain. Blaney, Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell are the non-winners in the top 16.

 

Kurt Busch won after starting eighth in the season's second race at Atlanta last year. William Byron won the first of his two races this season at the repaved Atlanta in March.

 

Practice and qualifying is at 10:35 am on Saturday with the green flag dropping at 2 pm Sunday. 

 

Ty Gibbs passed Kyle Larson on the last lap of overtime at Road America and won for the series-best fourth time this season in the XFinity race last weekend in Wisconsin. 

 

Gibbs trimmed his deficit from 25 points to nine behind points leader AJ Allmendinger. Justin Allgaier is third, 34 points behind. Gibbs has won four times in 16 races this season and eight times in 34 races for his career; no other driver has won more than twice this season. 

 

Allmendinger registered his 14th top-10 finish of the season. Fourth-place Noah Gragson is next with 11. Gragson was penalized points earlier this week for his role in a massive wreck last week.

 

Practice and qualifying is at 9 am Saturday morning and the green flag drops at 4 pm Saturday afternoon.

 

Ryan Preece pulled away on a restart with 10 laps to go, then held off challenges from Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar to win at Nashville for the second year in a row two weeks ago in the Gander Mountain Truck Series. Preece’s two victories have come in just eight career starts. 

 

Zane Smith is the new points leader by 21 over John Hunter Nemechek and 30 over defending series champion Ben Rhodes. Smith also leads with eight top-five finishes, 12 top 10s and 339 laps led. 

 

The top five in the standings are the only series regulars to have won races this season.

 

This will be the trucks first appearance at the Mid-Ohio Road Car Course. Practice is at 8:30 this morning, qualifying is at 2:30 pm this afternoon while the green flag drops at 12:30 pm tomorrow afternoon.

White Sox Outlast Twins

Andrew Vaughn tied the game with a two-run homer in the eighth inning, and Leury Garcia hit a game-ending single in the 10th to give the Chicago White Sox a 9-8 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.

 

The White Sox trailed five times in the game and tied it each time before taking their first and only lead in extra innings to avoid a three-game sweep. Chicago snapped a seven-game losing streak to the AL Central-leading Twins.

 

Playing his first game since April 23, Eloy Jimenez made an immediate impact for the White Sox, hitting a two-run homer in the fourth inning that tied the game 3-all and an RBI single in the seventh that made it 6-6. Jimenez had been sidelined with a torn tendon in his left hamstring. He also made a difficult catch before running into the netting down the left-field line to end the sixth.

 

Jorge Polanco homered twice, both times giving Minnesota the lead.

 

Jose Ruiz (1-0) walked Jose Miranda to start the 10th but got out of trouble with an inning-ending double play.

 

In the bottom of the inning, automatic runner Adam Engel advanced to third on a passed ball by catcher Ryan Jeffers as Josh Harrison walked. Engel scored on Garcia's hit off Jovani Moran (0-1).

 

Vaughn hit his game-tying homer off reliever Trevor Megill with two out in the eighth, and he robbed Gilberto Celestino of a hit by making a leaping catch at first base in the ninth.

 

Luis Arraez had four hits for the Twins, extending his hitting streak against the White Sox to 15 games. Arraez is batting .441 (26 for 59) during those contests.

Gio Urshela put the Twins ahead 8-6 in the eighth with a two-run homer off Matt Foster.

 

Luis Robert hit a two-run homer in the fifth for Chicago.

 

Polanco had the fifth multi-homer game of his career and first since Sept. 11, 2021, hitting a two-run shot in the fifth off Lance Lynn and a solo drive in the seventh off Kendall Graveman.

 

White Sox designated hitter Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI double in the first.

 

Jake Burger (bruised right hand) was placed on the 10-day injured list. RHP Vince Velasquez (right index finger blister) was placed on the 15-day IL. RHP Jimmy Lambert was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. INF Danny Mendick (right knee ligament tear) was transferred to the 60-day IL.

 

White Sox 3B Yoan Moncada left after six innings because of a right foot bruise. X-rays were negative, and he was listed as day-to-day.

 

The White Sox welcome Detroit for a four-game series starting Thursday night with RHP Dylan Cease (7-3, 2.51) on the mound. Cease is 10-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 career starts against the Tigers.

Cubs Get By Brewers

PJ Higgins delivered a tiebreaking two-out double-off three-time All-Star Josh Hader in Chicago's 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.

 

Chicago took two of three at Milwaukee as the Cubs continue recovering from their June swoon.

 

The Cubs lost 10 straight games last month to fall to 23-40, but they've gone 11-8 since and have won each of their last four series.

 

After Brewers starter Corbin Burnes threw seven shutout innings, the Cubs broke through against Milwaukee's bullpen by scoring in each of the last two frames.

 

Patrick Wisdom led off the ninth by walking on four straight pitches and stole second one out later. Higgins brought home Wisdom by sending Hader's 1-1 slider just inside the right-field line.

 

Hader (0-2) has a 1.63 ERA but gave up a run in each of his two appearances in this series.

 

David Robertson retired the side in order amid chants of ''Let's go, Cubbies'' from the large contingent of Chicago fans at American Family Field to earn his 12th save in 16 opportunities.

 

Keston Hiura homered for the Brewers and made a superb catch in left field, where he made a rare start.

 

The Cubs' comeback began when Christopher Morel hit a one-out triple to right-center off Brad Boxberger in the eighth. Morel's drive went just over the glove of center fielder Jonathan Davis, hit the yellow line at the top of the wall and caromed back into play.

 

After Boxberger walked pinch-hitter Seiya Suzuki, Rafael Ortega lined an RBI single to right.

 

Counsell said usual eighth-inning setup man Devin Williams wasn't available Wednesday because of his recent workload.

 

The Brewers wasted an opportunity to regain the lead in the bottom of the inning.

 

Davis hit a leadoff single, advanced to second on Mychal Givens' wild pickoff attempt and moved to third when Christian Yelich grounded out. After Willy Adames popped out, Givens (5-0) intentionally walked Rowdy Tellez and struck out Luis Urias to end the threat.

 

Until the Cubs rallied, the story of the game had been two remarkable fifth-inning plays by Hiura.

 

He crashed into the wall in left-center while making a catch to rob Higgins of an extra-base hit that would have driven in Alfonso Rivas from second. Normally an infielder, Hiura was making just his second career start and fourth appearance in left field.

 

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Hiura connected on a 3-2 sinker from Adrian Sampson and sent it 440 feet, well beyond the wall in left-center field for his eighth homer.

 

Sampson struck out five, walked none and allowed four hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings.

 

Burnes was even better, striking out 10 and allowing three hits and one walk. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has 18 career games with at least 10 strikeouts, tying Yovani Gallardo for the most in Brewers history.

 

Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks went on the injured list Wednesday with a sore throwing shoulder after lasting three innings - his shortest start of the season - in Tuesday's 8-3 win. The Cubs recalled RHP Anderson Espinoza from Double-A Tennessee.

Cubs C Willson Contreras was out of the starting lineup for a second straight day due to hamstring tightness.

 

The Cubs head to Los Angeles to begin a four-game series against the Dodgers on Thursday. Scheduled starters are Mark Leiter Jr. (2-2, 4.85 ERA) for the Cubs and Tony Gonsolin (10-0, 1.54) for LA.

Chicago Mayor to Recommend Potential Soldier Field Dome

The Bears are positioned for a future relocation from downtown Chicago to the suburb of Arlington Heights in order to build a new "world-class" stadium. But Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is proposing the city make its own renovations to keep the team in town. A mayoral committee is set to recommend Chicago "explore the feasibility" of adding a dome to Soldier Field, the Bears' longtime open-air stadium, along with other significant updates to the historic venue, per Crain's Chicago Business.

 

Lightfoot has openly floated the idea of enclosing Soldier Field before, most recently in February. But her Lakefront Museum Campus Working Group, established to recommend strategic investments to Chicago's lakefront landmarks, is now expected to formally propose Soldier Field improvements. This would include rebuilding parts of the nearly 100-year-old stadium and potentially selling or granting naming rights to the venue, which has been home to the Bears since 1971.

 

A dome, meanwhile, would likely require taxpayer contributions, per Crain's, with costs estimated between $400 million to $1.5 billion. The most recent NFL stadiums to open with enclosed roofing include the Chargers' and Rams' SoFi Stadium in California, which reportedly cost more than $5 billion; and the Raiders' Allegiant Stadium in Nevada, costing approximately $1.9 billion.

 

The Bears can exit their Soldier Field lease in 2026, and the team last fall finalized a purchase agreement for the Arlington International Racecourse, a 326-acre property in Arlington Heights, with eyes on construction of an entirely new complex. Last renovated in 2002, Soldier Field is an iconic destination among NFL venues because of its history, but it also has the smallest capacity (61,500) of any current stadium. The Arlington Heights area would conceivably also give the Bears room to expand their stadium into a multipurpose entertainment complex.

Braves Blank Cardinals

Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario hit back-to-back homers, Max Fried threw six strong innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the slumping St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 on Wednesday night.

 

Fried (9-2) combined with three relievers on a seven-hitter. He gave up only five hits, including two to Albert Pujols, with one walk and four strikeouts in winning his nine consecutive decision after losses in his first two starts.

 

Fried was pulled after experiencing tightness in the back of his upper right leg.

 

Fried and Miles Mikolas (5-7) each threw four scoreless innings before Ozuna led off the fifth with his 17th homer deep into the left-field seats. Rosario followed with his first homer.

 

Rosario returned from the injured list on Monday after needing laser surgery to correct blurred vision and a swollen right retina, forcing him to miss 62 games.

 

Austin Riley and Travis d'Arnaud added back-to-back doubles off Mikolas in the sixth, giving Atlanta a 3-0 lead.

 

St. Louis loaded the bases against right-hander Jesse Chavez in the eighth, but pinch-hitter Nolan Gorman grounded out to end the threat.

 

The Braves remained 2 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East. Atlanta is 26-7 since June 1, when it was 10 1/2 games behind the Mets.

 

The Braves flexed their power game with the homers by Ozuna and Rosario.

 

Atlanta has seven players, including two catchers, with 10 or more homers before the All-Star break for the first time since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966. The Braves lead the NL and rank second in the majors with 126 homers. The New York Yankees began the night with 133.

 

Left-hander A.J. Minter, who has shared the closer's role with Will Smith while Kenley Jansen is on the injury list with an irregular heartbeat, pitched the ninth for his second save.

 

The Cardinals have lost four straight, their longest skid of the season, including the first three of the four-game series against Atlanta. They remain three games behind division-leading Milwaukee in the NL Central.

 

Mikolas allowed three runs on five hits in six innings, ending his streak of allowing no more than two earned runs in five consecutive starts and bemoaned the mistakes to Ozuna and Rosario.

 

The Cardinals left nine runners on base and have been outscored 16-4 in the first three games of the series. Tommy Edman had one hit as he returned to the leadoff spot for St. Louis after hitting seventh on Tuesday night.

 

The Braves will try to complete a four-game sweep when RHP Spencer Strider (4-2, 2.87 ERA) faces Cardinals LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.66) in a matchup of rookies on Thursday night.

NASCAR Suspends Gragson for Saturday Incident with Karam

NASCAR on Wednesday penalized Noah Gragson for a deliberate and dangerous crash he caused in the Xfinity Series race at Road America.

 

Gragson, who turns 24 later this month, was docked 30 points and fined $35,000 by NASCAR for intentionally crashing into Sage Karam on Saturday at the road course in Wisconsin. NASCAR cited a rule against “intentionally wrecking another vehicle” and “actions by a NASCAR Member that NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR.”

 

Gragson’s swerve into Karam triggered a frightening multicar crash that was so egregious, Gragson was criticized publicly by Dale Earnhardt Jr. ahead of the penalty announcement. The NASCAR Hall of Famer and co-owner of the JR Motorsports team Gragson has represented since 2019 was surprised NASCAR didn’t immediately penalize his driver.

 

NASCAR said it did not immediately issue the penalty after the 13-car crash because the racing Saturday on the road course had been so aggressive that it wanted to speak with Gragson and examine his Chevrolet to ensure he had not suffered a mechanical failure.

 

The points deduction did not drop Gragson in the standings; he has two victories this season.

 

Kelley Earnhardt Miller, who was initially defiant against calls for Gragson to be punished, said on Twitter the team she co-owns with her brother “understands” the NASCAR penalty.

 

Gragson lost his temper after he and Karam banged several times shortly after the start of the third stage. Gragson turned right deliberately to hook Karam on the straightaway between Turns 3 and 5, which triggered other crashes.

 

Karam was immediately critical of the danger Gragson’s action caused other drivers, and Gragson was unapologetic for crashing Karam.

 

Karam crashed in 2015 while leading an IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway and a piece of broken debris from his car bounced up and struck Justin Wilson’s helmet, delivering a fatal blow.

 

Karam is now trying a mix of both NASCAR and IndyCar and has been unimpressed with Gragson in his time in NASCAR’s second-tier series.

 

Karam is entered in Saturday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he will face Gragson again but said he won’t retaliate.

Twins Roll White Sox

In a game heard on WHOW, Alex Kirilloff hit two of Minnesota's five homers, Jorge Polanco went deep on his birthday for the second time, and the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 8-2 on Tuesday night.

 

Kirilloff went back to back with Polanco against slumping White Sox starter Michael Kopech in a three-run fifth, and then hit a two-run drive against Vince Velasquez in the seventh. The lefty-swinging Kirilloff drove the ball the opposite way both times in his second career multihomer game.

 

Max Kepler and Jose Miranda also connected, and the AL Central-leading Twins finished one homer shy of their season high.

 

Josh Winder pitched five solid innings on short notice after Chris Archer went on the 15-day injured list because of tightness in his left hip, and Minnesota improved to 5-0 against the reigning division champions.

 

The game was delayed 35 minutes in the bottom of the eighth because of rain. By then, the Twins were in control.

 

Kopech (2-6) allowed just just five home runs in his first 14 starts and none in his first seven outings at home. But things sure were different for him this time.

 

He got tagged for six runs and eight hits - both season highs - over 4 2/3 innings in losing his fourth straight start. His ERA has climbed from 1.92 to 3.34.

 

The four home runs he allowed matched his career high during a lopsided loss to Detroit on Sept. 5, 2018, in his fourth major league appearance.

 

White Sox OF Eloy Jimenez (hamstring tear) could be activated from the injured list as soon as Wednesday, manager Tony La Russa said. He has been cleared to play the field, though the White Sox probably will avoid having him do it three days in a row at least for now. Jimenez has been sidelined since April 23, when he was hurt stretching for first base as he tried to run out a ground ball at Minnesota. 

 

C Yasmani Grandal (back spasms) is scheduled to start a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday and likely will return after the All-Star break, La Russa said.

 

The three-game series wraps up, with RHP Joe Ryan (6-3, 3.00 ERA) starting for Minnesota and RHP Lance Lynn (1-1, 4.50 ERA) getting the ball for Chicago. Ryan has a 4.37 ERA in four starts since returning from the COVID-19-related IL. Lynn threw six scoreless innings in Chicago's 1-0 win at San Francisco on Friday, though he did not figure in the decision.

Cubs Pound Brewers

Seiya Suzuki homered for the second straight night and had three RBIs as the Chicago Cubs overcame Kyle Hendricks' early exit to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-3 on Tuesday.

 

Suzuki ripped a pitch well off the inside corner for a tiebreaking, two-run shot in the fifth inning. That came one night after he hit an inside-the-park homer in the ninth to give Chicago a 2-1 lead, though the Cubs lost 5-2 in 10 innings. The team activated Suzuki from the injured list Monday after a sprained left ring finger caused him to miss about five weeks.

 

The Cubs needed power from Suzuki and precision from their bullpen to overcome the loss of Hendricks, who left after three innings with a sore right shoulder. He threw 69 pitches, with his velocity slightly lower than usual.

 

Hendricks said he felt fine before the game but could tell as soon as he threw his first warmup pitch at the start that something was off. The Cubs' pitching staff already is at far less than full strength with Marcus Stroman, Drew Smyly, Wade Miley and Alec Mills on the injured list.

 

Chicago's bullpen stepped up in Hendricks' absence. Matt Swarmer (2-3), Rowan Wick and Michael Rucker combined to allow just one run over the last six innings.

 

Most of Milwaukee's offense came on Rowdy Tellez's two-run homer off Hendricks in the first inning. Tellez's last 10 hits have gone for extra bases, tying a Brewers record Ryan Thompson set in 2002.

 

After starter Jason Alexander (2-1) held Chicago scoreless for the first three innings, the Cubs totaled eight runs over the next three frames to turn a 2-0 deficit into an 8-2 advantage.

 

The Cubs scored a run in the fourth without hitting the ball out of the infield. After they loaded the bases on a walk, a hit batter and an infield single, Patrick Wisdom scored from third when Nelson Velazquez grounded out.

 

 

Chicago pulled ahead with three runs in the fifth.

 

The rally started when Brewers shortstop Willy Adames fielded a one-out grounder and threw wildly to first, allowing Nico Hoerner to reach second on the error. Hoerner scored the tying run when Ian Happ hit a grounder that got past third baseman Luis Urias and went into the left-field corner for a double.

 

Suzuki then lined a first-pitch sinker and sent it just to the right of the left-field foul pole.

 

The Cubs extended the lead to 8-2 in the sixth as Rafael Ortega drove in two runs and knocked Alexander out of the game with a triple into the right-field corner. Ortega scored as part of a double steal with Happ. Suzuki's single to left brought home Happ.

 

Alexander allowed seven runs - six earned - and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two.

 

Milwaukee loaded the bases when Swarmer opened the sixth inning with three straight walks, but the Brewers failed to capitalize. Wick took over and retired Urias on a liner and Jace Peterson on a double-play grounder.

 

Cubs C Willson Contreras was out of the lineup after leaving in the 10th inning Monday due to hamstring tightness. Ross said Contreras is day to day.

 

The three-game series concludes Wednesday afternoon as Corbin Burnes (7-4, 2.36 ERA) pitches for the Brewers and Adrian Sampson (0-0, 3.38) starts for the Cubs in a matchup of right-handers.

Braves Down Cardinals

Ian Anderson allowed one run in five innings, Austin Riley homered and drove in three runs, and the Braves beat the struggling St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 on Tuesday night.

 

Anderson (7-5) gave up eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

 

Anderson had allowed a combined 11 earned runs in back-to-back losses as his ERA climbed to 5.31. He worked on his mechanics in side sessions after allowing seven runs in two innings of a 14-4 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday.

 

Anderson escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, getting an inning-ending groundout from Dylan Carlson. He was welcomed by an appreciative manager Brian Snitker in the dugout.

 

Riley hit a two-run homer, his 21st, and William Contreras also went deep in the first inning as Atlanta took a 5-0 lead. Matt Olson drove in two runs with two hits, including a first-inning single after Ronald Acuna Jr. singled and stole second.

 

The Cardinals have lost three straight and five of six. They remain three games behind division-leading Milwaukee in the NL Central.

 

The Braves moved within 2 1/2 games of the first-place New York Mets in the NL East. They have won the first two games of the four-game series.

 

Cardinals rookie right-hander Andre Pallante was pulled in the fourth after allowing consecutive run-scoring doubles to Olson and Riley, who finished with three hits. Pallante (2-4) allowed career highs of seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings - his shortest of six starts.

 

Miles Mikolas (5-6, 2.61 ERA) will make his first start against Atlanta since 2019 when he faces Braves LHP Max Fried (8-2, 2.66) on Wednesday night. Mikolas is 1-2 with a 2.61 ERA in five career appearances, including four starts, against Atlanta. Fried is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals.

Bulls Add G Dragic

The Chicago Bulls and guard Goran Dragic have agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million contract.

 

The 36-year-old Dragic has averaged 13.7 points and shot 36.2% on 3-pointers over 14 seasons with Phoenix, Houston, Miami, Toronto and Brooklyn. From Slovenia, he made an All-Star team with the Heat during the 2017-18 season and helped them advance to the 2020 NBA finals.

 

Dragic averaged 7.5 points while shooting 25.4% from beyond the arc last season for Toronto and Brooklyn. Though the Bulls ranked fourth in the NBA in 3-point accuracy, they were last in attempts.

 

The Bulls took a big step by winning 46 games with DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading the way and posting their best record in seven years. They settled their biggest offseason issue when they agreed to a five-year max contract with LaVine last week.

Twins Double Up White Sox

In a game heard on WHOW, Luis Arraez had three hits, including a tiebreaking RBI single in Minnesota's four-run 10th inning, and the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 6-3 on Monday night.

 

Arraez's leadoff grounder against Joe Kelly (0-2) drove in pinch-runner Gilberto Celestino. Jorge Polanco added a sacrifice fly, and Alex Kirilloff made it 6-2 with a two-run single.

 

Kelly hurt himself with two consecutive walks ahead of Polanco's fly ball to left. Manager Tony La Russa was thrown out by plate umpire David Rackley as the 10th fell apart for the White Sox.

 

Chicago also ran itself into a triple play with an embarrassing baserunning display in the seventh.

 

The AL Central contenders faced off hours after a gunman opened fire on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago, killing at least six people. The White Sox talked to Major League Baseball about postponing the game, but it went on as scheduled.

 

The division-leading Twins (46-37) won for the third time in four games. The White Sox (38-40), who played the first of 19 consecutive games against AL Central opponents, had won three in a row. They missed a chance to reach the .500 mark for the first time since June 21.

 

Emilio Pagan (3-3) got three outs for the win. Jhoan Duran allowed AJ Pollock's RBI single in the 10th before closing it out, striking out Tim Anderson with runners on the corners on his final pitch.

 

Arraez hiked his major league-leading batting average to .348 and extended his hitting streak against the White Sox to 13 games. He is batting .429 (21 for 49) against the Sox since the streak started on June 5, 2021.

 

Chicago trailed 2-1 before Yoan Moncada singled home Jose Abreu in the seventh. With pinch-runner Adam Engel on second and Moncada on first, Pollock hit a deep drive to center that Buxton tracked down with an over-the-shoulder catch.

 

Engel and Moncada were running as Buxton brought in the ball. The Gold Glove-winning center fielder then threw quickly to third baseman Gio Urshela, who tagged Moncada between second and third and stepped on second to complete the Twins' first triple play since June 6, 2021, at Kansas City.

 

Buxton also went deep, hitting a two-run homer against Johnny Cueto in the fifth. Buxton extended his hitting streak against the Sox to 10 games, during which he's batting ,488 (19 for 37) with eight homers and 15 RBIs.

 

The White Sox had grabbed a 1-0 lead on Abreu's homer off Dylan Bundy in the second. It was Abreu's team-high 10th on the season.

 

White Sox closer Liam Hendriks, who was activated from the 15-day injured list after being sidelined since June 11 due to a right forearm strain, struck out the side in the eighth. Hendricks' fastball topped out at 97 mph.

 

The Twins send RHP Chris Archer (2-3, 3.08 ERA) to the mound Tuesday night. Archer allowed one run in four innings in a 5-3 loss to the Guardians on Thursday. The White Sox will start RHP Michael Kopech (2-5, 2.78 ERA). Kopech allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 4-1 loss to the Angels on Wednesday.

Braves Double Up Cardinals

Dansby Swanson hit a three-run double in a five-run second inning and the Braves held off the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 early Tuesday in a game delayed more than 2 1/2 hours by rain.

 

Swanson's bases-loaded double was the big hit against Dakota Hudson (6-5) in the second. Swanson also doubled and scored in the first.

 

Swanson was hitting only .236 on May 23. Since then, he has the most hits in the majors while raising his batting average to .304. His 37 hits in June were the most by a Braves shortstop in a month since Omar Infante's 43 in August 2010.

 

The surge has come as Swanson is approaching possible free agency while being represented by the same Excel Sports Management, including agent Casey Close, used by former Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.

 

Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers after he was unable to reach agreement on a deal with Atlanta.

 

Swanson, 28, hit only .248 but set career highs with 27 homers and 88 RBIs while helping Atlanta win the World Series last season.

 

The Braves (47-34) went 21-6 in June after finishing May at 23-27.

 

Matt Olson had two RBI singles for Atlanta, driving in Swanson both times.

 

There was a delay of 2 hours, 37 minutes, before the matchup of second-place teams resumed in the fifth inning at 11:29 p.m.

 

The Braves remained 3 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East. The Cardinals fell three games behind division-leading Milwaukee in the NL Central.

 

Atlanta right-hander Jesse Chavez (2-1) gave up homers to rookies Juan Yepez and Conner Capel in the sixth. Capel's homer to center field was the first of his career.

 

Hudson allowed six runs on nine hits and three walks in four innings.

 

St. Louis right-hander Johan Oviedo left the game after a line drive hit by Michael Harris II struck Oviedo's right hand in the sixth. The Cardinals said X-rays were negative.

After scoring one run in the first when Olson's single drove in Swanson, the Braves sent nine batters to the plate in the second. Ronald Acuna Jr. drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk after Hudson hit Harris with a pitch.

 

With three runners on the move on a full-count pitch, Swanson's double to left-center made it 5-0. Olson's second run-scoring single pushed it to 6-0.

 

Eddie Rosario, who had laser surgery to correct blurred vision and a swollen right retina, came off the injured list and had one hit while starting in left field for Atlanta.

 

Braves RHP Ian Anderson (6-5, 5.31 ERA), who has allowed a combined 11 runs in losing his last two starts, will face Cardinals rookie RHP Andre Pallante (2-3, 2.10) on Tuesday night. Anderson will be making his first career start against St. Louis.

Brewers Outlast Cubs in Extra Innings

After striking out in each of his first four plate appearances, Victor Caratini hit a three-run homer off Scott Effross with two outs in the 10th inning to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Monday.

 

His big hit followed an eventful ninth inning that featured an inside-the-park homer from Chicago's Seiya Suzuki and a two-out, bases-loaded walk by Milwaukee's Christian Yelich.

 

Brewers officials said Caratini was the fifth major league player since 1900 to strike out in his first four plate appearances of a game before hitting a walk-off homer his fifth time up. The others were Mike Schmidt in 1983, Ray Knight in 1986, David Justice in 2001 and Derek Norris in 2015.

 

Chicago's only other run came when rookie Nelson Velazquez hit his first career homer in the third inning. According to Stats Perform, this was the first time in major league history to feature one player hitting his first career homer, another hitting an inside-the-park homer and another producing a walk-off homer.

 

Caratini, who played with the Cubs from 2017-20, hit a 2-1 sinker from Effross (1-4) over the center-field wall for his second career walk-off homer. He also did it June 17, 2021, for San Diego against Cincinnati's Amir Garrett.

 

Milwaukee's Brad Boxberger (3-1) worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 10th by striking out Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, who had been ahead 3-1 in the count.

 

A game that started out as a pitchers' duel between Chicago's Justin Steele and Milwaukee's Eric Lauer went haywire in the ninth inning.

 

It was 1-all when Suzuki, activated from the injured list earlier in the day, hit a drive off Josh Hader that ricocheted off an angled portion of the center-field wall, bounced past center fielder Jonathan Davis and rolled along the warning track back toward right field.

 

Davis finally chased the ball down and threw to second baseman Luis Urias as Suzuki sprinted around the bases. After Urias threw to the plate, Suzuki slid around Caratini's tag attempt at the plate.

 

Suzuki was playing for the first time since May 26 due to a sprained left ring finger. He was activated from the injured list earlier in the day.

 

Hader, who entered the game with a 1.05 ERA, was working for the second straight day after throwing 33 pitches in a 2-0 victory at Pittsburgh on Sunday. He also allowed a one-out double to Nico Hoerner but left him stranded at third.

 

Cubs closer David Robertson couldn't protect the lead.

 

Urias led off with a single and with one out, Keston Hiura hit a ground-rule double that bounced over the wall in left-center field.

 

Robertson struck out Jace Peterson but hit Kolten Wong with a pitch to load the bases. After the Cubs held a conference on the mound, Robertson stayed in the game and walked Yelich on four pitches to bring home the tying run.

 

Willy Adames had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth but struck out against Robertson.

 

Steele held Milwaukee hitless for the first four innings and helped the Cubs carry a 1-0 lead into the seventh, when Severino delivered a two-out, tying double.

 

Lauer struck out nine, walked two and allowed two hits and one run in six innings. Steele also struck out nine and threw a career-high 108 pitches while allowing four walks, two hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings.

 

Contreras left the game midway through the 10th inning with hamstring tightness.

 

The three-game series continues Tuesday as Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 4.76) starts for the Cubs and Jason Alexander (2-0, 3.82) pitches for the Brewers in a matchup of right-handers.

Wick's 2-run error in 11th gifts Red Sox 4-2 win over Cubs

Pitcher Rowan Wick threw Trevor Story's comebacker down the right-field line for a two-run error with two outs in the 11th inning, and the Boston Red Sox outlasted the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

 

With automatic runner Bobby Dalbec on second, Wick (1-3) walked Christian Arroyo leading off the 11th. Jarren Duran struck out and Rafael Devers popped out before Story hit a soft hopper that Wick threw well over first baseman David Bote.

Willson Contreras hit an RBI single in the first.

 

Boston tied the score in the fourth when with runners at the corners, Franchy Cordero's infield popup fell for an RBI single. Second baseman Christopher Morel appeared to settle under the ball, but lost it in the sun. Wind blew the ball to the right side, and it fell off the glove of first baseman Alfonso Rivas, who tried for a basket catch.

 

Keegan Thompson forced in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk to Duran later in the inning after getting ahead in the count 0-2.

 

Patrick Wisdom tied the score in the eighth against Matt Strahm with his 16th homer, a 450-foot drive to center.

 

Jake Diekman (3-0) struck out four in two hitless innings.

 

Red Sox starter Connor Seabold allowed one run and six hits in four innings.

Thompson gave up two runs, seven hits and three walks in four innings.

Giolito sharp as White Sox complete sweep of Giants 13-4

Lucas Giolito gave up just three hits in six innings to help the Chicago White Sox beat the San Francisco Giants 13-4 on Sunday and complete a three-game sweep.

 

Selby Zavala had three hits and three RBIs, Gavin Sheets drove in three and Leury Garcia added three hits.

 

Joc Pederson had two hits, including an RBI double, for San Francisco, which began the day a season-high 8 1/2 games out of first place.

 

Giolito (5-4) pitched out of a two-out, two-on jam in the fourth, then set down the final three batters in the sixth after Pederson's RBI double.

 

Chicago took a 2-0 lead when Luis Robert blooped a broken-bat single to right off Sean Hjelle (0-1) in the third.

 

Zavala's RBI single in the fourth made it 3-0, and the White Sox loaded the bases to open the fifth. Sheets then lined a 2-2 pitch to left-center to clear the bases.

 

Hjelle, the Giants' 6-foot-11 reliever allowed eight hits and six runs - four of them earned - in two innings.

Wheeler, Hoskins, Realmuto lift Phillies over Cardinals 4-0

 Zack Wheeler threw seven shutout innings of four-hit ball and Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto slugged home runs as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 Sunday night.

 

Wheeler didn't allow more than one Cardinals baserunner to reach in an inning, scattered four singles through seven innings while striking out five and walking one in improving to 7-4 with a 2.66 ERA. 

 

In the sixth, Hoskins doubled off the center-field wall to start the inning and scored on a Nick Castellanos single up the middle. Two hitters later, Realmuto plated Castellanos with his sixth homer of the season.

 

Both Hoskins and Realmuto went 2 for 4 - the only hitters for either team with multiple hits. 

 

Wainwright (6-6) allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one.

Reddick wins at Road America for 1st NASCAR Cup victory

Tyler Reddick won Sunday at Road America by outdueling Chase Elliott, the defending champion on the course and the current points leader. The victory came in the 92nd start of his Cup career, which has included five second-place finishes.

 

The Richard Childress Racing driver won by 3.304 seconds over Elliott, who had the pole position and led for 36 of the 62 laps. 

 

Kyle Larson was third, followed by Ross Chastain and Daniel Suárez.

 

Elliott and Reddick were both well ahead of the field before making pit stops with about 20 laps remaining. Elliott had a narrow lead over Reddick as they came out of the pits, but Reddick eventually pulled ahead of him as they headed back toward the front of the pack.

 

Reddick took over the lead for good on the 47th lap once all the cars that had been ahead of him made their pit stops.

Cubs Pound Reds

Patrick Wisdom hit a grand slam and a solo homer en route to a career-high six RBIs, rookie Christopher Morel had a career-high five hits and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 15-7 Thursday night.

 

The Cubs collected 23 hits off five pitchers, tying their season high from a 21-0 rout of the Pirates on April 23. Seven of those hits came in the eighth against outfielder Max Schrock, who allowed a two-run homer to P.J. Higgins and a solo shot to Morel.

 

Wisdom's slam off Graham Ashcraft capped a five-run second, and he also connected against Dauri Moreta in the sixth. It was his fifth multihomer game. He hit his other grand slam on Sept. 15, 2018 against the Dodgers while a member of the Cardinals.

 

The Cubs (30-46) won for the third time in four games. The Reds (26-49) lost for the 10th time in 13 games.

 

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks (4-6) pitched six innings of six-hit ball and tied a season high with seven strikeouts. Hendricks has allowed two runs in his last 13 1/3 innings.

 

Joey Votto continued his dominance of Hendricks by hitting a solo home run in the sixth and is batting .415 (17 for 41) with six homers lifetime against Hendricks.

 

Morel hit an RBI single that knocked out Ashcraft in the third, and he hit a double in the seventh and that set up Narciso Crook's first major league hit, a double down the left-field line.

 

Morel is 7 for 9 with a double, two homers and four RBIs since being dropped to the ninth spot Wednesday.

 

Nico Hoerner extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games with a single in the fourth and finished with three hits.

 

Ashcraft (4-2) allowed a career-high seven runs in 2 1/3 innings and has allowed six runs or more in two of his last three starts.

 

Tommy Pham hit a three-run home run in the ninth off Cubs left-hander Brandon Hughes.

 

Cubs second baseman David Bote left after four innings due to left shoulder soreness. Bote collided with Hoerner on a groundball single by Votto that scored Pham, but Bote finished the inning. Bote underwent surgery on the same shoulder last season.

 

Cubs RHP Adrian Sampson (0-0, 1.69) will face the Red Sox in Friday's series opener at Wrigley Field. Sampson allowed two runs in five innings of a 5-3 loss Saturday to the Cardinals.

NASCAR Opens July on Road Course

NASCAR heads to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for a road course 4th of July weekend race.

 

Last year's winner Chase Elliott rallied from 25th after 120 laps and pulled away on a restart with four laps to go to win at Nashville, his second victory of the season. Elliott won after starting 34th, the deepest starting spot for any race winner last season.

 

The Joe Gibbs Racing trio of pole-stter Denny Hamlin (114), Martin Truex Jr. (82) and Kyle Busch (54) combined to lead 250 of the 300 laps at Nashville, but late-race traffic relegated Busch to 21st and Truex to 22nd. 

 

Kurt Busch finished second, followed by Ryan Blaney, Kye Larson, Ross Chastain and Hamlin. 

 

Elliott became the fifth multiple race-winner through 17 events. He leads Chastain by 30 points and Blaney by 31. The race was delayed twice by lightning with the second delay lasting more than 2 hours.

 

Practice and qualifying are at 10:30 am Saturday morning and the green flag drops at 2 pm on Sunday.

 

In the XFinity Series, Riverton-native Justin Allgaier led five times for 134 laps, won both early stages and coasted to victory at Nashville, his second victory of the season.

 

Kyle Busch won after starting fifth last year in Elkhart Lake. 

 

JR Motorsports drivers have won five of the last seven races, and Chevrolet has won all seven. JRM also has won 12 consecutive stages on oval tracks. 

 

AJ Allmendinger, already a two-time winner on road courses this season, remains the series points leader by 25 over Ty Gibbs and 32 over Allgaier. Allmendinger’s 16th-place finish was just his second outside the top 10 through 15 races. 

 

The top five in points have all won at least twice. Allgaier has led a series-best 462 laps.

 

Practice and qualifying are tonight at 4:30 pm with the green flag drops at 1:30 pm Saturday.

 

Ryan Preece pulled away on a restart with 10 laps to go, then held off challenges from Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar to win at Nashville for the second year in a row in the Camping World Truck Series. 

 

Preece's two victories have come in just eight career starts. The trucks take the week off and return next week at Mid-Ohio. 

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