Update on the latest in sports:
Rockets try to bounce back
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The Houston Rockets will try to bounce back tonight from the most lopsided loss in their post-season history — the 126-85 defeat by the Golden State Warriors in Game 3.
The win gave the Warriors a 2-1 series lead in the NBA’s Western Conference finals.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr knows his team has shown a tendency to lose focus when there’s not as much on the line. That may have contributed to Golden State coming out flat in a 127-105 loss in Game 2 after winning the series opener by 13 points.
There has been only one Western Conference playoff game this month decided by fewer than eight points — and there hadn’t been a single playoff game in either conference decided by single digits since May 9, until Monday night’s nine-point win by the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Boston Celtics, 111-to-102. That Eastern Conference series is now tied at two apiece.
Game 7 needed in NHL playoffs
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – The Vegas Golden Knights will have to wait until Wednesday night to find out which team they’ll play for the Stanley Cup.
The Washington Capitals evened-up the NHL’s Eastern Conference final at three games apiece Monday night with a physical 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, setting up a deciding Game 7 at Tampa Bay.
Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik led the charge in the grueling Game 6, throwing their bodies around all night like human wrecking balls. The Capitals outhit the Lightning 39-19 and outshot them 34-24, bruising and battering them all over the ice.
Cubs, Indians meet again in regular season
UNDATED (AP) – It’s another rematch of the 2016 World Series when the Chicago Cubs host Cleveland at Wrigley Field. Trevor Bauer pitches for the Indians after throwing eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts last Wednesday in Detroit. Tyler Chatwood goes for the Cubs. Bauer and Chatwood both won when the teams split a two-game series last month in Cleveland.
Of course, it was the Cubs who rallied to win the World Series in seven games two years ago, taking Game 7 in extra innings at Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.
Elsewhere in the majors:
– Nationals outfielder Juan Soto looks to add to his hit total. The youngest player in the majors at 19, he launched a 442-foot home run Monday night in his first big league start. Soto also singled while driving in three runs at home against San Diego. According to Baseball-Reference.com, he was the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Washington teammate Bryce Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.
– Gerrit Cole starts at home for Houston, facing the Giants. The right-hander has been dominant in his first season with the Astros, going 4-1 with a 1.75 ERA while striking out 93 in 61 2/3 innings.
– Matt Harvey makes his home debut for Cincinnati against Pittsburgh. Acquired in a May 8 trade with the Mets, the former ace has started twice on the road for the Reds with mixed results in a pair of no-decisions. He threw four shutout innings of one-hit ball at Dodger Stadium and then was touched up for three runs and seven hits in four innings at San Francisco. One bright spot: Harvey hasn’t walked a batter since joining the Reds’ rotation, striking out seven. Jameson Taillon gets the ball as the Pirates try to snap a three-game skid. He is 0-3 in his last seven starts.
– For the fourth time already this season, Braves right-hander Brandon McCarthy pitches against Vince Velasquez of the Phillies. It was the same thing Monday night when Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz and Philadelphia’s Nick Pivetta squared off for the fourth time this year. McCarthy will look to improve to 4-0 against the Phillies. He has a 2.25 ERA in three starts spanning 16 innings. Velasquez is 0-3 versus the Braves. He’s lasted just 12 2/3 innings in those three outings.
– Both starters in the Yankees-Rangers matchup have had a lot of extra time to rest. Texas lefty Cole Hamels will be pitching for the first time in 11 days, and Domingo German is going to the mound for the first time in 10 days. Hamels was scratched from his last turn in the rotation because of neck stiffness. German, a rookie right-hander, got pushed back because New York had two scheduled off days in what turned out to be a rainy week.
Former big-league slugger gets another round-tripper for independent team
CLEBURNE, Texas (AP) – Rafael Palmeiro still has power, even at 53.
After hitting more than 500 home runs in the major leagues, Palmeiro went deep Monday night for the first time in his return to baseball with an independent team.
He connected in the fifth inning for the Cleburne Railroaders in Texas, who went on to a 4-3 loss in 11 innings against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
Starting for the first time this season at first base, where he spent the majority of his 20-year big league career, Palmeiro batted sixth in the lineup, right behind his son, Patrick.