Update on the latest sports
Eds: Adds item on Royals hiring Matheny.
Nationals celebrate their first World Series title
HOUSTON (AP) – After a long season of comebacks, it’s time for the Washington Nationals to celebrate.
The team that was 12 games under .500 before the end of May is now the World Series champion.
The Nationals’ 6-2 Game 7 win in Houston Wednesday night was their fifth comeback win in a potential elimination game this postseason.
They had to win the NL wild-card game, when they rallied in the eighth inning to beat Milwaukee. They went the full five games in the NL Division Series to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road in extra innings, setting up a sweep of the Cardinals in the NLCS.
Washington won the last two games of the World Series against a team that posted the best home record in the majors, 60-21, over the last two decades. Houston earned home-field advantage throughout the postseason, but it didn’t help in the end as the Astros went a stunning 0-4 in their own ballpark during the Series.
A parade is planned in Washington on Saturday to celebrate the first World Series championship in the nation’s capital since Walter Johnson delivered the crown for the Senators in 1924.
Kansas City Royals hire Mike Matheny as manager
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Kansas City Royals have hired Mike Matheny (muh-THEE’-nee) as manager.
The 49-year-old Matheny was manager of the cross-state St. Louis Cardinals from 2012-18, going 591-474 and becoming the first manager to reach the postseason his first four seasons. The Cardinals reached the World Series in 2013, losing to the Boston Red Sox.
Matheny was fired in July 2018 with the Cardinals 7 1/2 games out of the NL Central race at the time. He was hired last November by the Royals as a special adviser for player development, putting him in place to succeed Royals manager Ned Yost.
Yost announced his retirement last month.
Undefeated 49ers visit Arizona
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – The Thursday night NFL game features undefeated San Francisco at Arizona.
The 7-0 49ers are coming off a 51-13 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, and have been plowing through their schedule with one of the league’s best defenses. The 3-4-1 Cardinals saw their three-game winning streak end Sunday with a 31-9 loss to New Orleans.
Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray said that after Sunday’s poor performance, the team is eager to get back on the field, especially at home.
Li delights home crowd and takes lead in Shanghai
SHANGHAI (AP) – Li Haotong gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about Thursday with an 8-under 64 for a one-shot lead in the HSBC Champions.
Li practically grew up with this World Golf Championship, posing with Phil Mickelson as a junior 10 years ago and threatening to win in 2015 at age 20. He finished his round with an 8-foot par save to lead Victor Perez of France.
Defending champion Xander Schauffele (ZAN’-dur SHAWF’-lee) turned a birdie chance into a three-putt bogey late in his round and had to settle for a 66, joining a group that included Adam Scott and Sungjae Im.
Rory McIlroy opened with a 67.
Phil Mickelson, in danger of falling out of the top 50 for the first time in 26 years, shot 71.
Nelly Korda and Mi Jung Hur share first-round lead in Taiwan
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Defending champion Nelly Korda and Mi Jung Hur each shot 6-under 66 to share the first-round lead at the Swinging Skirts on Thursday.
Korda, who earned her first U.S. LPGA Tour victory here last year, had three bogeys but made up for it with seven birdies and an eagle.
Despite strong gusts at Miramar Golf Country Club, 28 players managed to shoot under par.
Minjee Lee of Australia, who was the runner-up a year ago, was a stroke off the pace after a 67.
Four more players were another stroke behind – Amy Olson, Caroline Masson, Angel Yin, Su Oh – and six others were three off the lead.
3-time Olympic rowing champion Reed paralyzed after stroke
LONDON (AP) – Three-time Olympic rowing champion Pete Reed says he has become partially paralyzed from a stroke.
Reed won a gold medal for Britain at each of the last three Olympics before retiring last year. He says on Instagram he is paralyzed from the chest down after suffering a stroke in the middle of his spine last month. Reed says the extent of the damage is still not clear.
He adds “there is a very small chance I will make no recovery and a very small chance I will make a full recovery. Much more likely it will be somewhere in between.”
The 38-year-old Reed is an officer in the British Navy. He was a member of the gold-winning coxless four crew at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and switched to the eight for 2016.
CHURCHILL DOWNS PROJECT
Churchill Downs project includes hotel, gaming, new seats
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – The home of the Kentucky Derby plans to begin work next month on a $300,000 million project that will include a hotel, historical racing machines, new stadium seating and a Millionaires Row renovation.
News outlets report Churchill Downs announced the tentative plans Wednesday in a statement saying it would also create 300 new jobs. The track says it is awaiting approval from the state.
The project would include a 156-room hotel that would offer track-side suites and a gaming floor. The plans would also add about 5,500 new seats at the track.
The millionaires row renovation would include private dining spaces, lounges and window dining and would be done before next year’s Derby.
The rest of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.