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March 21, 2019
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Update on the latest in sports:





Ichiro walks off to loud cheers, Mariners beat A’s 5-4 in 12


TOKYO (AP) – Ichiro Suzuki (EE’-cheer-oh soo-ZOO’-kee) was showered with cheers and chants while taking what appeared to be his final bow in a magnificent career that lasted nearly three decades Thursday when the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4 in 12 innings.


The 45-year-old Ichiro went 0 for 4 in the second game of the Major League Baseball season. He got a chance at a storybook ending at the jammed Tokyo Dome when he came up with two outs, a runner on second base and a tie score in the eighth inning, but grounded out.


He drew a huge ovation from fans and teammates when he was pulled from right field in the bottom of the eighth. The buzz from the sellout crowd of 45,000 diminished after his exit.


Ichiro was a 10-time All-Star in the majors. He made 3,089 hits over a 19-year career in the big leagues after getting 1,278 in Japan. His combined total of 4,367 is a professional record.


Domingo Santana, who hit a grand slam in Seattle’s 9-7 win in the opener Wednesday, beat out a double-play relay with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead run in the 12th.


Ryon Healy and Mitch Haniger homered for the Mariners, off to their first 2-0 start since opening 3-0 in 2014.




NCAA Tournament: Let the games begin – in earnest


UNDATED (AP) – Let the madness begin.


Reigning national champion Villanova will be in action along with Michigan, the runner-up from a year ago, while Belmont and Murray State open the NCAA Tournament as trendy upset picks.


There’s Kansas and Michigan State to provide some blue-blood flavor, and Murray State’s Ja Morant and Marquette counterpart Markus Howard some star power. There are big-name coaches, such as Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, and the under-appreciated in Wofford’s Mike Young.


Tonight’s game sites are: Hartford, Connecticut; Jacksonville, Florida; Des Moines, Iowa; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Louisville and Minnesota kick off the action in Des Moines.




Calipari tweet: Plan and desire is to retire at Kentucky


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – John Calipari has tweeted that his “plan and desire” is to retire at Kentucky, quashing the latest rumor in what has been an annual ritual linking him as a candidate for vacant coaching jobs.


The 10th-year Wildcats coach said on his verified Twitter account Wednesday night “there is no better job in the world” to coach basketball than at Kentucky. Calipari has periodically been mentioned as a candidate for NBA jobs, only to state his commitment to the Wildcats. His tweet did not refer to a specific opening, but the 247Sports UCLA website had reported the Hall of Fame coach was showing “serious interest” in coaching the Bruins, who fired coach Steve Alford early in the season.


Calipari is set to coach second-seeded Kentucky in Thursday’s NCAA Tournament game against No. 15 seed Abilene Christian. He followed with another tweet that said, “Now let’s focus on this game tomorrow.”


Ichiro was a 10-time All-Star in the majors. He made 3,089 hits over a 19-year career in the big leagues after getting 1,278 in Japan. His combined total of 4,367 is a professional record.




Top teams in NBA action tonight


UNDATED (AP) – In NBA action tonight, the Denver Nuggets are vying for the No. 1 seed in the West as they take on the about-to-be-eliminated Washington Wizards.


And, after rejoining the Golden State Warriors, Andrew Bogut (BOH’-gut) makes his Oracle Arena season debut when the two-time defending champions return home to host the Pacers.





Top ice action tonight


UNDATED (AP) – UNDATED (AP) – The Dallas Stars, the NHL Western Conference wild-card leader, is home against playoff-chasing Colorado.


The Avalanche are the second team behind the second wild card, like they were after a 4-0 loss at Dallas two weeks ago.


In other top ice action, the Carolina Hurricanes host the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Ottawa Senators travel to play the Calgary Flames, and the Vegas Golden Knights host the Winnipeg Jets.




Flyers, Blackhawks, Sabres and Lightning to Europe in ’19-20


UNDATED (AP) – The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers will open next season in Prague and the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning will play two games in Stockholm as part of the NHL’s Global Series.


Chicago and Philadelphia will face off in the Czech Republic’s capital Oct. 4, while Buffalo and Tampa Bay play their games in Sweden’s capital on Nov. 8 and 9.


It’s the third consecutive year the NHL is staging games in Europe as part of its Global Series. This season, the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers opened the regular season in Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets played twice in Helsinki.


Like the Devils and Oilers, the Blackhawks and Flyers will finish training camp in Europe and play an exhibition game against a local team.




China claims gold in pairs at world figure skating


SAITAMA, Japan (AP) – Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China won the free skate to claim the gold medal in pairs at the figure skating world championships on Thursday.


Skating to “Rain in Your Black Eyes” by Ezio Bosso, Wenjing and Cong produced a near-flawless free skate and received 155.60 points for a total of 234.84.


Russian skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov took the silver with 228.47 points followed by compatriots Alexander Enbert and Natalia Zabiiako with 217.98.


China’s Peng Cheng and Jin Yang came fourth in 215.84.


The men’s short program is later Thursday. Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan seeks a third world title beginning with the short program.




NBA 2K makes the Hall of Fame cut


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) – Twelve more video games have a shot at joining favorites like “John Madden Football” and “Pac-Man” in the World Video Game Hall of Fame.


The hall announced the finalists for the Class of 2019 from among thousands of nominees.


”NBA 2K” joins the list along with, “Candy Crush,” ”Centipede,” ”Colossal Cave Adventure,” ”Dance Dance Revolution,” ”Half-Life,” ”Microsoft Windows Solitaire,” ”Mortal Kombat,” ”Myst,” ”Sid Meier’s Civilization,” ”Super Mario Kart” and “Super Smash Bros. Melee.”


The winners will be inducted May 2 at the hall, housed at The Strong museum in Rochester, New York.


An expert committee will choose the honorees. Fans can weigh in with an online ballot through March 28.



AP-WF-03-21-19 1509GMT