Update on the latest sports
Nationals look to stay hot versus Royals
UNDATED (AP) – The Washington Nationals go for their ninth win in 10 games when they host the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a weekend series.
Washington has gone 26-10 since May 24 to move a season-high four games above .500 at 45-41. Anthony Rendon hit his 20th homer to lead the Nationals to a 5-2 victory over the last-place Marlins on Thursday, completing a three-game series sweep. Kansas City, another last-place club, has dropped four in a row and seven of eight overall. Brad Keller pitches for the Royals after he went 1-3 with a 4.76 ERA in six starts in June. Rookie right-hander Austin Voth gets the ball for the Nationals.
– The Chicago Cubs have pulled back into a first-place tie with the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central, ending their four-game losing streak with an 11-3 victory in Pittsburgh yesterday. The Cubs have a rare Friday night off as they head back to Chicago for a meeting with the White Sox Saturday. Meanwhile, the Brewers head into Pittsburgh, where the Pirates are just three games off the division lead. Milwaukee just dropped three of four in Cincinnati, including a 1-0 series finale yesterday.
– Brendan McKay makes his second career start when the Tampa Bay Rays host the New York Yankees in the second of a four-game series between the AL East’s top two teams. McKay, one of baseball’s top prospects, pitched six scoreless innings in a 5-2 victory over Texas in his major league debut Saturday. McKay, a two-way player, was selected by Tampa Bay with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft. Masahiro Tanaka pitches for division-leading New York. Tanaka was hit hard in his last start against Boston in London, recording just two outs and allowing six runs and four hits.
– Two of baseball’s best are expected to face off when Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander pitches against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels. Trout is batting just .132 (5 for 38) with two homers and 11 strikeouts against Verlander. But Trout, who turns 28 in August, is in the middle of another big year. Verlander is coming off a so-so June, going 2-1 with a 4.02 ERA in six starts for the AL West leaders. He is 13-9 with a 3.10 ERA in 26 career starts versus the Angels.
– Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw struggled in a loss at Colorado on Saturday, but he gets to face one of his favorite opponents on this turn through the rotation. Kershaw is 19-6 with a 2.02 ERA in 36 career starts against San Diego. He went 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in two May starts versus the Padres. Eric Lauer pitches for San Diego. The lefty is 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers.
The rest of the major league schedule has Baltimore at Toronto, Detroit home against Boston, Philadelphia visiting the N.Y. Mets and Miami up in Atlanta. Texas is at Minnesota, Colorado visits Arizona, Seattle hosts Oakland and the St. Louis Cardinals are in San Francisco to play the Giants.
Coco Gauff headlines play on Centre Court at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) – Coco Gauff (gahf) will be the headline act on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
The 15-year-old American who’s playing her first Grand Slam tournament will play the last match of the day at the All England Club’s biggest stadium when she faces Polona Hercog of Slovenia, another unseeded player.
Gauff has quickly become a star at the grass-court major championship. She beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the first round and 2017 semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova in the second.
Another exciting teenager, 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, will also try to reach the fourth round when he takes on Ugo Humbert on No. 1 Court.
Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic faces Hubert Hurkacz earlier in that arena.
In early matches:
– Zhang Shuai (shwy) of China became the first player to reach the second week of Wimbledon after knocking out former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki (wohz-nee-AK’-ee) in the third round, 6-4, 6-2. Wozniacki won the 2018 Australian Open but has never been past the fourth round at Wimbledon.
– Former finalist Milos Raonic (MEE’-lohsh ROW’-nihch) ended Reilly Opelka’s Wimbledon run by beating the towering American in straight sets in the third round. Raonic broke twice in each of the last two sets to win 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-1.
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
FIFA looks to expand Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams
LYON, France (AP) – FIFA is looking to expand the Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams.
The plan was revealed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino ahead of Sunday’s final between the United States and the Netherlands.
If the expansion was to start for the next edition in 2023, Infantino says FIFA would have to re-open the bidding process which has yet to conclude. The vote was due to take place in March 2020 but the FIFA Council decision could now be delayed.
FIFA has already decided to expand the men’s World Cup from 32 to 48 teams from 2026.
Infantino wants to double the Women’s World Cup prize money, team preparation funding and cash for clubs releasing players, lifting the figure to $100 million.
The 2022 men’s tournament will have prize money of $440 million and $209 million is made available to clubs releasing players.