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Update on the latest in sports:





Hot starts highlighted by Harper’s big return


UNDATED (AP) – In his return to Washington, D.C., Bryce Harper was greeted with boos as he took the field and cheers as he struck out in his first two at-bats. After that, he let loose, ripping a double, an RBI-single and a two-run home run in his next three, as the Phillies cruised to an 8-2 bruising of the Nationals. Philadelphia remains undefeated after four games.


Meanwhile, the Orioles unexpectedly hot start continues. Andrew Cashner pitched six shutout innings as Baltimore extended its road winning streak to four for the first time since July 2016 with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays before another small crowd. Jonathan Villar had two hits and scored once for the Orioles, who improved to 4-1. Coming off a 115-loss season, the Orioles opened by winning two of three at the New York Yankees.


And Tampa Bay continues to pile up wins. Blake Snell matched a career high with 13 strikeouts, pitching seven innings of two-hit ball to lift the Rays over the Colorado Rockies 4-0 for their fifth straight win. The AL Cy Young Award winner struck out six straight during one stretch, helping Tampa Bay improve to a franchise-best 5-1. Snell rebounded splendidly after allowing five runs in an opening day loss to Houston.


Elsewhere in the majors:


– Zack Greinke hit a career-best two homers and struck out 10 in six innings to rebound from a rocky opening day, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres 8-5 in a wild game that included an unusual batter’s interference call on Manny Machado. Greinke allowed two homers to Hunter Renfroe but was otherwise stellar. He was backed by homers from John Ryan Murphy, Ketel Marte and Christian Walker. Wil Myers also went deep for San Diego.


– Mike Fiers gave Oakland another stellar start, center fielder Ramon Laureano threw out a baserunner for a second straight game and the Athletics made Matt Chapman’s homer stand in a 1-0 win over Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox. Fiers pitched six innings of five-hit ball. Oakland starters have allowed just one run over 36 innings in the last six games since the team returned from an 0-2 trip to Tokyo. The A’s have won four straight and five of six.


– Marco Gonzales pitched into the ninth inning after Dan Vogelbach hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth, lifting the Seattle Mariners over the Los Angeles Angels 2-1 to move to 7-1 for the first time in franchise history. Gonzales was hoping to pitch the first complete game in baseball this season, but a one-out walk to Mike Trout and a single to center by Andrelton Simmons ended his night. Anthony Swarzak came off the injured list and earned the save in his first appearance of the season.


– Cody Bellinger hit a grand slam off Madison Bumgarner in the third inning, the sixth consecutive game the Dodgers have homered in to start the season, and Los Angeles hung on to beat the rival San Francisco Giants 6-5. The Dodgers have slugged 17 homers so far, tied with the Seattle Mariners for most in the majors.


– Dustin Peterson laced a tiebreaking double off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning for his first major league hit, and the Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 3-1 on a nippy night in the Bronx. Jordy Mercer added an RBI single for insurance, and the Tigers got another strong start from Jordan Zimmermann after he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning on opening day in Toronto last week.


– Orlando Arcia ended his season-opening slump with a three-run homer and the Milwaukee Brewers extended their domination of the Cincinnati Reds by holding on for a 4-3 victory. Milwaukee has won the first two games of the series and 15 of 21 against Cincinnati over the last two seasons.


– Amed Rosario hit a two-run double in the New York Mets’ five-run first inning against Jose Urena and started a game-ending double play in a 6-5 victory over the Miami Marlins. Wilson Ramos and Dominic Smith each had two hits and an RBI for the Mets, who improved to 4-1 for the second straight year. Jason Vargas allowed two runs in five innings in his season debut.


– Joey Gallo grounded a hard single to right field between two diving infielders to drive in two runs and put the Texas Rangers ahead to stay in a 6-4 win over the Houston Astros. The Rangers are 3-2 and over .500 for the second time this season in manager Chris Woodward’s managerial debut. They never had a winning record at any point last year.


– Nelson Cruz got a second chance and delivered a go-ahead single with two outs in the 10th inning, giving the Minnesota Twins a 5-4 victory over the sloppy Kansas City Royals. Trevor Hildenberger got the final out of the ninth inning for Minnesota, and Blake Parker breezed through the bottom half of the 10th to earn the save.




Blue Jackets grip on wildcard slips, as Hurricanes leaps past and Canadiens close in


UNDATED (AP) – Columbus failed to clinch a playoff spot, dropping a 6-2 decision to the Bruins at home.


Jake DeBrusk had two goals and an assist to lead Boston, while Tuuka Rask made 32 saves. Brad Marchand and Karson Kuhlman each had a goal and an assist. Boston has its playoff spot locked up, while the Blue Jackets fall to the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.


The Canadiens came up with a big win against the league-leading Lightning. Artturi Lehkonen and Max Domi scored third period goals to lead Montreal to a 4-2 win. That keeps the Canadiens within reach of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Montreal and Columbus both have 94 points and two games left in the regular season. But the Blue Jackets currently own the tiebreaker.


The Carolina Hurricanes leapfrogged Columbus with a 4-1 road win in Toronto. Justin Williams and Dougie Hamilton each banked in goals from behind the Maple Leafs’ net. Jordan Staal also scored for the Hurricanes, while Hamilton added an empty-netter. The victory also pulled the Canes within two points of the Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division.


Pittsburgh missed out on a chance to clinch a playoff spot when Tyler Bertuzzi led the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-1 home victory. Bertuzzi had two goals and an assist as the Red Wings earned their sixth consecutive win.


In other NHL action:


– Tanner Pearson scored twice, leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-2 comeback win over the San Jose Sharks. The loss added to a tough stretch for the Sharks, who are 1-8-1 in their past 10 games and haven’t had a regulation win since March 12.


– Jack Campbell made 49 saves, Trevor Lewis scored 3:29 into the third period, and the Los Angeles Kings hurt Arizona’s playoff chances with a 3-1 victory over the Coyotes. Tyler Clifford had a goal and an assist for Los Angeles (30-41-9), which had dropped three of four. Drew Doughty added an empty-netter with 44.4 seconds left.


– The Dallas Stars clinched their first trip to the playoffs in three years, getting two goals and two assists from Alexander Radulov in a 6-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jason Dickinson, Esa Lindell, Tyler Pitlick and Blake Comeau also scored for the Stars. Dallas holds the first wild-card spot with 91 points.


– Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie scored a minute apart during a four-goal second period, helping the playoff-chasing Colorado Avalanche rally for a 6-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Down 2-0 after the opening period to an Edmonton team already eliminated from postseason contention.


– Zach Parise scored twice in his return from injury, Devan Dubnyk made 32 saves as the Minnesota Wild won, 5-1, against the Winnipeg Jets. However, the Wild were eliminated from the postseason when Colorado beat the Edmonton.


– Ryan Johansen scored the go-ahead goal 6:32 into the third period, and the Nashville Predators stayed in the hunt for the Central Division title with a 3-2 win over the slumping Buffalo Sabres. P.K. Subban had a goal and assist and Craig Smith also scored in upping the Predators’ point total to 96 with two games left.




Warriors beat Nuggets


SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Kevin Durant emphatically showed who is still No. 1 in the West, delivering a pair of jarring dunks late in the first half and finishing with 21 points and six assists before being ejected to lead the Warriors past the Denver Nuggets 116-99 in a matchup of the top two teams in the conference.


DeMarcus Cousins had a season-best 28 points for the Warriors, who have a two-game lead and the tiebreaker on Denver with five games to go in the chase for the Western Conference’s top playoff seed.


In other NBA action:


– DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points and the San Antonio Spurs defeated Atlanta 117-111, their 21st straight win at home over the Hawks. Spurs point guard Derrick White added 23 points after scoring 12 total points in his previous two games. San Antonio remains seventh in the Western Conference at 45-33.


– Russell Westbrook became just the second player in league history to have 20 points, 20 rebounds and 20 assists in a game as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 119-103. Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player to accomplish the feat. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Lakers with 23 points.


– James Harden had 36 points and 10 assists, Houston matched its season high with 26 3-pointers and the Rockets beat the Sacramento Kings 130-105 Tuesday night. Eric Gordon and Danuel House Jr. each scored 19 points, Kenneth Faried added 12 points and 11 rebounds, and P.J. Tucker scored 13. The Rockets have won 17 of 20.




Ernie Grunfeld fired as president of the Washington Wizards


WASHINGTON (AP) – Ernie Grunfeld has been fired as president of the Washington Wizards after 16 seasons in charge of the team. The Wizards announced his dismissal on Tuesday with four games left in a disappointing, no-playoffs season.


Washington is 32-46 and in 11th place in the 15-team Eastern Conference. The club went 568-724 during Grunfeld’s tenure with eight postseason appearances. But Washington never made it past the second round of the playoffs.


Tommy Sheppard will take over Grunfeld’s duties for now and will be a candidate to replace him permanently.


In other NBA news:


– Golden State Warriors teammates Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have been fined by the NBA for criticizing the officiating. Green was fined $35,000, Curry $25,000 and Durant $15,000. The discipline stems from the Warriors’ 131-130 overtime loss at Minnesota.




Braves agree to 8-year deal with Acuna


UNDATED (AP) – Outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a $100 million, eight-year contract, the largest deal for a player under club control with less than one year of major league service.


The NL Rookie of the Year, Acuna agreed to a deal with two team options that, if exercised, would raise the value to $124 million over 10 years.


He made his major league debut last April 25 and began Tuesday with 165 days of service. Acuna would have been eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.


In other baseball news:


– Nationals shortstop Trea Turner broke his right index finger in a loss against Philadelphia Tuesday night and will be out indefinitely. Batting in the first inning, Turner squared to bunt against Zach Elfin. The fastball hit a finger on his right hand, which was wrapped around the bat. The injury was determined to be a nondisplaced fracture. Turner was batting .385 and coming off a game against the Mets in which he hit two home runs, including a game-ending solo shot.


– Outfielder Kevin Pillar was traded by the veteran-shedding Toronto Blue Jays to the San Francisco Giants for infielder Alen Hanson, right-hander Derek Law and minor league pitcher Juan De Paula. Pillar had been Toronto’s longest-tenured player, in his seventh season with the Blue Jays. Known for stellar defense in center field, the 30-year-old has a .260 average with 55 home runs and 231 RBIs in 695 games. Pillar has a $5.8 million salary and can become a free agent after the 2020 season.


– The Blue Jays have signed outfielder Randal Grichuk to a new five-year agreement. Grichuk had been eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. Grichuk gets salaries of $7 million this year, $12 million in 2020 and $9,333,333 in each of the final three seasons.


– Rockies first baseman Daniel Murphy probably will be sidelined for at least a month, Colorado manager Bud Black said Tuesday. The 34-year-old Murphy went 1 for 10 in two games after signing a $24 million, two-year contract. He was injured diving for a sharp grounder in the fourth inning Friday night against Miami.


– Indians All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor (lihn-DOHR’) will miss more time because of a sprained left ankle that has delayed his season debut. Lindor was making a steady recovery from a strained right calf when he injured his ankle running the bases during a minor league scrimmage last week in Arizona. He visited a specialist on Monday as his teammates won their home opener without him.


– Major League Baseball’s is taking over the former Dodgertown spring training camp in Vero Beach for its amateur development initiatives. It will be re-named the Jackie Robinson Training Complex. The sport is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947.




Duke freshmen Williamson, Barrett top AP All-America team


UNDATED (AP) – Duke’s Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett are the second freshman teammates to earn first-team All-America honors.


Williamson and Barrett headed The Associated Press All-America team released on Tuesday, joined by Tennessee’s Grant Williams, Murray State’s Ja Morant and Cassius Winston of Michigan State.


The Blue Devils’ duo are the 11th pair of teammates to be named to the AP first team and first freshman teammates since Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall in 2010.


Williamson electrified college basketball with his array of massive dunks and soaring blocks, earning unanimous selection to the first team from 64 voters. He averaged 22.1 points while Barrett scored 22.9 per game.


Morant, who led the nation with 10 assists per game, is the first Murray State player to be a first-team AP All-American.




Olson, Majerus headline college hoops Hall of Fame class


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Longtime coach Lute Olson and the late Rick Majerus headline the 2019 class of six former players and three influential coaches selected Tuesday for the College Basketball Hall of Fame.


Joining them during the induction ceremony this November are former Indiana star Calbert Cheaney, Duke’s Shane Battier, Purdue’s Terry Dischinger, Ernie DiGregorio of Providence, UNLV’s Larry Johnson, Stanford standout Todd Lichti and longtime Valparaiso coach Homer Drew.


Olson won 781 games during a decorated career at Long Beach State, Iowa and Arizona, taking the Hawkeyes to the Final Four and the Wildcats to a trio of Final Fours and winning the 1997 title.


Majerus, who died in 2012, won 517 games at Marquette, Ball State, Utah and Saint Louis. He was best known for his time with the Utes, leading them to the national championship game in 1998.




Boston College star Ky Bowman declaring for NBA draft


BOSTON (AP) – Ky Bowman is foregoing his senior season at Boston College and declaring for the NBA draft.


The point guard announced his decision on Instagram, calling it a lifelong dream to play in the NBA and expressed gratitude to his teammates and coaches at BC.


Bowman was an Associated Press All-ACC first-team selection this season. He averaged 19 points, 7.5 rebounds and four assists in an NCAA-high 39.4 minutes per game for an Eagles team that finished 14-17.


Bowman also put his name in for draft consideration following last season but did not sign with an agent and eventually returned to school. He is expected sign with representation this time around.




AP Source: AAF suspending operations 8 games into season


UNDATED (AP) – The Alliance of American Football is suspending operations eight games into its first season.


A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press the eight-team spring football league is not folding, but games will not be played this weekend. The decision was made by majority owner Tom Dundon, who also owns the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.


The league was co-founded by former NFL executive Bill Polian and television and film producer Charlie Ebersol. Polian says he’s “extremely disappointed” but and all he’s heard is “that it’s about the money.”


The AAF aspired to be a league for players with NFL hopes, but it could not reach agreement with the NFLPA to use players at the end of NFL rosters.




Broncos’ Harris a no-show


UNDATED (AP) – Star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. skipped the start of the Denver Broncos’ offseason program. Harris is angling for a new contract. General manager John Elway is expected to begin negotiations with Harris’ agent by summertime. One of the NFL’s most versatile defensive backs, Harris is due $7.8 million next season in the final year of his team friendly, five-year, $42.5 million contract that he signed in 2015.


The perennial Pro Bowl selection who is equally adept at playing the slot, on the outside or even at safety has said since the end of last season that he doesn’t want to play in 2019 without an extension.


In other NFL news:


– The Jacksonville Jaguars are adding some offensive depth. They signed running back Benny Cunningham and offensive tackle Josh Wells today. The 5-foot-10 Cunningham is entering his seventh NFL season and likely will help mostly on special teams. The 6-foot-6, 306-pound Wells re-signed with Jacksonville. He has appeared in 39 games with eight starts since signing with the Jaguars an undrafted rookie in 2014.He missed more than half of last season with a groin injury and then a concussion.


– The Arizona Cardinals have signed cornerback Tramaine Brock to a one-year contract. The 30-year-old Brock has played nine NFL seasons with Denver, Minnesota and San Francisco. He played seven seasons with the 49ers after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Belhaven College in 2010. Brock had a career-high five interceptions in 2013 and played 12 games with the Broncos last season, finishing with 21 tackles and six passes defended.




Most states’ sports betting revenue misses estimates


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – An Associated Press analysis shows that the tax revenue from sports betting has so far failed to hit projections in most of the states that legalized wagering after the Supreme Court cleared the way last year.


Only New Jersey and Delaware are bringing in the money they expected. Mississippi, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are falling short.


The reasons vary by state, from slower-than-expected rollouts and the unavailability in some places of mobile betting, to an all-too-predictable Super Bowl. When the Patriots won the Super Bowl again – and covered the spread, too – all of New England was delirious, with the possible exception of Rhode Island’s tax collectors.


The state’s sportsbooks lost $2.35 million when they paid out on the winning bets. That, in turn, cut into Rhode Island’s tax revenue.



AP-WF-04-03-19 1057GMT