Braves host Phillies…Cardinals visit Cubs…Yankees try again to clinch AL East
UNDATED (AP) – With the Braves closing in on their second consecutive NL East crown, a marquee pitching matchup in Atlanta Thursday afternoon features All-Star rookie Mike Soroka (suh-ROH’-kah) against Aaron Nola and the wild card-contending Phillies.
Atlanta has lost three in a row for the first time since July, but still leads the division by nine games and can reduce its magic number to one with a win.
Soroka has the third-lowest ERA in the majors, but a 4.82 mark in two starts versus Philadelphia this year.
Elsewhere in the majors Thursday:
– Old rivals meet at Wrigley Field when the first-place Cardinals face the Cubs in the opener of a four-game series that could go a long way toward deciding the NL Central. Jack Flaherty pitches against Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks. The teams play seven times in their final 10 games, pivotal matchups in a three-way division race that also includes Milwaukee. St. Louis is three games ahead of both the Cubs and Brewers.
– The Yankees can clinch their first AL East title since 2012 with a win over the Angels in the Bronx. New York pushed back J.A. Happ’s scheduled start by a day and will star Masahiro Tanaka (mah-sah-HEE’-roh tah-NAH’-kah) against Los Angeles. The Yankees’ magic number stayed at one when they lost to the Angels 3-2 last night and second-place Tampa Bay rallied past the Dodgers 8-7 in 11 innings.
– Cleveland is one win shy of its best streak against an opponent heading into its series finale against Detroit. The Indians have won 16 in a row against the Tigers this season, including a 2-1 victory last night on Yasiel Puig’s (yah-SEEL’ pweegz) walkoff single in the 10th inning.
Overall, Cleveland is 17-1 versus the Tigers this year and has outscored them 109-38. The Tigers, with the worst record in the majors at 45-106, matched their longest losing streak against an opponent – they also dropped 16 in a row to Minnesota in 2002-03. Mike Clevinger (KLEH’-vihn-jur), who is 10-1 with a 2.02 ERA, takes the mound for the Indians. Daniel Norris will start for Detroit before being relieved by Drew VerHagen.
– Minnesota opens its final regular-season home series when Kyle Gibson starts against Royals lefty Mike Montgomery. Twins outfielder Max Kepler has missed four straight games with left shoulder soreness. The leadoff man has 36 home runs and 90 RBIs for the AL Central leaders.
Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour out with hand injury
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour will miss the remainder of training camp because of a hand injury and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be ready for the start of the season in two weeks.
The Sabres released no details of Montour’s injury on Thursday.
The team said it will provide an update on his status at the end camp. It’s unclear when Montour was hurt after he logged more than 17 minutes in a 4-1 preseason loss at Columbus on Tuesday.
Montour is a fourth-year NHL player and projected to play a top-four role on Buffalo’s blue line. He was acquired in a trade with Anaheim in February.
Buffalo will start the season minus defensemen Zach Bogosian and Lawrence Pilut, who are recovering from offseason surgery.
The Sabres also announced forward Scott Wilson and defenseman Casey Fitzgerald are listed day to day with lower body injuries.
US keeps top spot in FIBA men’s world rankings; Spain No. 2
UNDATED (AP) – USA Basketball has kept its No. 1 spot in the FIBA world men’s rankings, even after a disappointing seventh-place showing in the World Cup that ended earlier this week.
It’s now nine-years-and-counting in the top spot for the U.S., which has held the No. 1 ranking since winning the 2010 world championship. World Cup champion Spain stayed No. 2, Australia leaped eight spots to No. 3, World Cup finalist Argentina rose one spot to No. 4 and World Cup bronze-medalist France fell two slots to No. 5.
FIBA’S rankings take results from the most recent eight years into account – which means the U.S. is still reaping point benefits from the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medals and the 2014 World Cup title.
It’s now expected that the U.S. will retain the No. 1 ranking going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Several top NBA players, including Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Damian Lillard have said in recent days that they intend to play for the U.S. in Tokyo, where the Americans will try to win a fourth consecutive gold medal. Most top U.S. players declined to be part of the World Cup team.
Plans call for Amazon operations at Pontiac Silverdome site
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) – Online retail giant Amazon has proposed using the site of the former home of the Detroit Lions as a distribution center in a $250 million project that could bring 1,500 jobs.
Details of plans for the Pontiac Silverdome site in suburban Detroit were made public Wednesday night.
The city says its planning commission approved a permit for the site to be used as a warehouse, distribution and fulfillment campus. Pontiac says Seattle-based Amazon would lease buildings from a developer. Plans call for Amazon to start operating at the site as soon as next year.
The Lions played at the Silverdome from 1975-2001. It also was the home of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and hosted the Super Bowl in 1982.
The Silverdome was taken down with a partial implosion in 2017.