Update on the latest sports
Eds: UPDATES: Adding start of U.S. Open
US Open underway at Winged Foot
MAMARONECK, N.Y. (AP) – Brandon Wu has kicked off the 120th U.S. Open with a drive into the right side of the fairway at Winged Foot.
He found the fairway. He made par. That’s a good start at this U.S. Open. Winged Foot is reputed to be among the toughest of all U.S. Open tests.
It’s hard to advance the ball very far. The greens are severe, and the bunkers are as much as 8 feet deep. That explains why only two players out of 750 who have started the previous five U.S. Opens at Winged Foot finished under par: Fuzzy Zoeller (ZEHL’-ur) and Greg Norman in 1984. Zoeller won in an 18-hole playoff.
Geoff Ogilvy won at 5-over par the last time at Winged Foot. Something similar is expected this week.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will get an early start Thursday, though they begin on opposite ends of the West Course. The opening round began with cloud cover. The rest of the week is expected to feature plenty of sunshine and mild weather, unusual for a U.S. Open.
Then again, it’s been 113 years since the U.S. Open was played in September. It was moved from its traditional June spot in the calendar when golf shut down for three months in America because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dodgers 1st team to clinch playoff spot, beat Padres 7-5
UNDATED (AP) – The Los Angeles Dodgers are the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the pandemic-shortened season.
They beat the San Diego Padres 7-5 behind Dustin May’s gutty effort out of the bullpen and home runs from AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor. Will Smith drove in three runs for the seven-time defending NL West champion Dodgers, who opened a 3 1/2-game lead in the division by winning two of three in the matchup of the NL’s two best teams.
San Diego is closing in on its first playoff berth since winning the division in 2006. It has lost two straight for the first time since mid-August.
In other action:
– Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria homered for San Francisco, and the visiting Giants playing at home beat the Seattle Mariners 9-3 in a game moved to the Bay Area because of smoky, dangerous air in Western Washington. Donovan Solano and Mauricio Dubon hit early RBI singles as the Giants snapped a three-game losing streak with a “road” victory at Oracle Park. One encouraging development: A familiar mist hovered over the outfield late in the game, not smoke.
– Kole Calhoun hit his third homer in two games against his former Angels teammates, and David Peralta homered and drove in two runs in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 9-6 victory over Los Angeles. Nick Ahmed had a two-run single during Arizona’s four-run second inning against Dylan Bundy, who had the worst start of his strong season for the Angels. Max Stassi, Jared Walsh and Justin Upton homered for the Angels, who have lost two straight at home after an 8-3 surge briefly invited hopes of playoff contention.
– Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano each hit a two-run homer, and the Minnesota Twins denied the Chicago White Sox a chance to clinch their first playoff berth in 12 years with a 5-1 victory. Eddie Rosario also went deep and Minnesota pitchers retired their final 18 batters against the AL Central leaders. Chicago had won six straight and nine of 10. The second-place Twins moved within two games of Chicago in the division standings.
– Rookie Luis Garcia hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning and the Washington Nationals beat the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays 4-2. With Carter Kieboom on second base to start extra innings, the 20-year-old Garcia hit a leadoff shot on the first pitch from Nick Anderson. Tampa Bay completed a stretch of eight consecutive games against last-place teams at 3-5.
– Kyle Higashioka hit a career-high three home runs, DJ LeMahieu connected twice and the resurgent New York Yankees hit a season-best seven home runs in another Bronx air show, thumping the Toronto Blue Jays 13-2 to back another overpowering start by ace Gerrit Cole. Luke Voit lofted a three-run drive for his major league-leading 19th homer and Clint Frazier added a solo shot as the Yankees won their seventh straight game following a 5-15 slide. New York moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Toronto for second place in the AL East, with the top two teams ensured spots in the expanded postseason that begins in less than two weeks.
– Javier Baez’s RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Chicago Cubs to their fourth straight win, 3-2 over the Cleveland Indians. Automatic runner Ian Happ advanced to third when Kris Bryant greeted Phil Maton with a groundball single to open the 10th. After an intentional walk and two strikeouts, Baez’s liner to left scored Happ and sent the Indians to their eighth straight loss, their longest slide since June 2013. The Cubs won their fourth straight and strengthened their grip on first place in the NL Central.
– Brent Suter and three relievers combined on a two-hitter and Ryan Braun hit his 350th career homer, leading the Milwaukee Brewers over the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 for a doubleheader split. The Cardinals took the opener 4-2 behind Adam Wainwright’s four-hitter. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt ran the team in the opener. He missed the nightcap while serving a one-game suspension, imposed by Major League Baseball after tempers flared during the Brewers’ 18-3 romp Tuesday night. Umpires warned both teams after Braun was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. He was at the center of the trouble the previous night when he hit Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina in the wrist during a swing.
– Kyle Gibson threw a four-hitter and Joey Gallo hit a ground-rule RBI double with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Texas Rangers over the Houston Astros 1-0. It was the first career shutout for the 32-year-old Gibson and third complete game. The victory snapped a seven-game road skid for the Rangers, who are 5-18 away from home this season.
– Cole Hamels finally got on the mound in an Atlanta uniform, allowing three runs to the Baltimore Orioles before reaching his predetermined pitch count in the fourth inning, and the Braves struggled offensively in a 5-1 loss Wednesday night. Rookie Keegan Akin struck out nine over five scoreless inning to earn his first big league victory and help the Orioles win the deciding matchup of a three-game set against the NL East leaders.
– Jorge Alfaro homered twice before he took a foul ball to his helmet and the Miami Marlins beat the Boston Red Sox 8-4. Garrett Cooper also homered and scored twice for Miami, which moved within 2 1/2 games of first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
– Jacob deGrom left after two innings with a right hamstring spasm, but the New York Mets rallied from four runs down to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4. Phillies reliever Hector Neris dropped the ball on the mound for a balk that moved the go-ahead run to second base in the ninth. Rookie infielder Andres Gimenez hit an RBI single to put the Mets ahead.
– Luis Castillo threw seven shutout innings, Shogo Akiyama drove in the Reds only run and Cincinnati completed a four-game sweep of Pittsburgh with a 1-0 win that keeps the Reds in the postseason picture. Castillo (3-5), coming off his first career complete game, retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced and gave up only three hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts.
– Mike Fiers threw six sharp innings before turning it over to a lights-out bullpen and the Oakland Athletics snapped a six-game skid against the Colorado Rockies with a 3-1 win. Next up, a well-earned day off for the Athletics, who have played 16 games in 13 days. They finished the stretch 9-7. The Rockies were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position against the 35-year-old Fiers.
– Brady Singer was stellar for a second straight start, allowing two hits in six innings, and the Kansas City Royals blanked the Detroit Tigers 4-0. The rookie right-hander struck out the first five Detroit hitters and retired the first 10. Salvador Perez homered and drove in three runs for the Royals, who have won seven of eight.
AP sources: MLB umpire tests positive for virus, crews shift
NEW YORK (AP) – Several people familiar with the situation tell The Associated Press that a Major League Baseball umpire has tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting a late shift in crew assignments in Florida this week.
The affected umpire wasn’t identified. He was not on the field when the result was learned. MLB medical experts didn’t believe the positive test represented a threat of infection or presented a risk to other personnel, according to those familiar with the matter. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.
In other baseball news:
– The Colorado Rockies have shut down right-hander Jon Gray for the season due to a sore shoulder. The 28-year-old last pitched Sept. 1 before going on the injured list with what was described as inflammation in his shoulder. Gray finished the season 2-4 with a 6.69 ERA. Gray has a 45-37 career mark with a 4.59 ERA. His 692 career strikeouts are fifth-most in team history.
– Umpires hastily cleared the field during a game between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs when a small drone flew into Wrigley Field over the bleachers and landed on the grass in deep left center. As Willson Contreras came to bat with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and the game tied at 2, the device was spotted over the left-center stands. Before the drone landed, umpires rushed players into their dugouts. The blinking drone took off, hovered at about 100 feet, then pulled away and vanished past the vintage center-field scoreboard.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-BIG TEN
Big Ten changes course, will play fall football after all
UNDATED (AP) – The Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all. Less than five weeks after pushing football and other fall sports to the spring in the name of player safety during the pandemic, the conference changed course and said Wednesday that it plans to begin its season the Oct. 23-24 weekend.
Each team will play eight games in eight weeks and the conference championship game will be held Dec. 19 – if all goes well. That should give the Big Ten an opportunity to compete for the national championship.
The Big Ten said its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Tuesday to restart sports. The vote last month was 11-3 to postpone, with Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska voting against.
The decision to play came after sharp pressure from coaches, players, parents and even President Donald Trump, all of them pushing for a Big Ten football season. The conference is home to a number of battleground states in the November election, and Trump swiftly applauded the move in a tweet.
Another factor in triggering the re-vote was the emergence of daily rapid-response COVID-19 testing, which wasn’t available when university presidents and chancellors decided to pull the plug on the season. The Big Ten said it will begin daily antigen testing of its athletes, coaches and staff on Sept. 30.
The Big Ten’s plan to play also includes the establishment of a cardiac registry to study the effects COVID-19 has on athletes’ hearts. Dr. Leslie Cooper chairs the cardiovascular department at the Mayo Clinic in Florida. He says the registry can potentially close a gap in research when it comes to the new coronavirus.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-PAC 12
Pac-12 football plans remain in holding pattern
UNDATED (AP) – Any plans for the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten in returning to football are on hold due to health policies in two states within the conference. The Big Ten changed course and said it will begin an eight-game football schedule on Oct. 23. The Pac-12 has also reconsidered starting its football season this fall, but does not have approval from state and local health officials in California and Oregon to start contact practices. The Pac-12 has announced a partnership that would give the conference’s schools the capacity to perform daily, rapid COVID-19 tests on athletes.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE BASKETBALL
NCAA basketball season set to open day before Thanksgiving
UNDATED (AP) – The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball seasons will begin Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.
The Division I Council voted to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus. The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19.
Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for nonconference games. The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.
Eric Reid still hasn’t received an offer or workout invite
UNDATED (AP) – Despite setting two defensive franchise records for the Carolina Panthers last season, Eric Reid remains unsigned, like his close friend Colin Kaepernick.
Reid tells The Associated Press he has not received any offers nor been invited for a visit by any team since the Carolina Panthers released him in March.
The 28-year-old safety had 130 tackles, four sacks, six passes defended, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 2019. The tackles and sacks are a franchise record for Carolina.
Washington coach Ron Rivera, Reid’s former coach in Carolina, gave him a strong endorsement Wednesday, describing him as “a heck of a teammate.” Rivera says his team is set at the position, otherwise he’d call Reid. And he hasn’t received any calls from other coaches or general managers inquiring about Reid.
A first-round pick by San Francisco in 2013, Reid went to the Pro Bowl his rookie season. He joined with Kaepernick in 2016 when the former star quarterback took a knee during the national anthem to protest against police violence, racism and social injustice. Reid has also been a vocal opponent of the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement.
In other NFL news:
– Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson are among 14 first-year eligible candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Joining the two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback and the star cornerback/safety on the ballot are receivers Calvin Johnson, Wes Welker and Roddy White; running back Steven Jackson; tight end Heath Miller; offensive linemen D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Logan Mankins; defensive linemen Jared Allen, Justin Tuck and Kevin Williams; linebacker Jerod Mayo; and defensive back Charles Tillman. In all, there are 130 nominees for five modern-era spots. Enshrinement at the hall in Canton, Ohio, will take place next August.
– The New York Giants have reached a multi-year arrangement with DraftKings that makes the Boston-based company the official sports betting, i-gaming and daily fantasy operator of the NFL team. The deal grants DraftKings access to official Giants marks and logos. There will also be a first of its kind virtual SportsLounge open on Giants’ game days, providing attendees access to all DraftKings platforms. The value of the deal wasn’t disclosed.
– The Denver Broncos have placed injured linebacker Von Miller on injured reserve following his operation to repair a dislodged tendon in his left ankle. Miller was injured during a practice and is expected to miss the season, although there’s a chance he could return in December if his recovery is faster than anticipated. The Broncos promoted cornerback De’Vante Bausby from their practice squad with starter A.J. Bouye expected to miss a couple of weeks after injuring a shoulder in the opener against Tennessee.
– San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman will miss at least the next three games after injuring his calf in the season opener. A person familiar with the injury says Sherman will be placed on injured reserve and won’t be eligible to return until after missing the next three weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t made an announcement. Sherman is the latest key player on the defending NFC champions to be hampered by an injury so far this season.
– Star receiver Allen Robinson said he expects to remain with the Chicago Bears the rest of the season, though he wouldn’t say if he requested a trade. Robinson is in the final season of his three-year, $42 million contract and is seeking an extension. He deleted references to the Bears from his social media accounts on Tuesday, and the Chicago Tribune reported he asked to be traded if they can’t agree to a new deal. He said Wednesday he is “not gonna get into that detail.”
– Zach Banner’s season is over. The Steelers placed the right tackle on injured reserve two days after he tore the ACL in his right knee in a win over the New York Giants. Banner edged Chukwuma Okorafor during an extended training camp battle to earn the starting job. His season ended in the fourth quarter against the Giants when his knee appeared to give out while dropping back in pass protection. Okorafor, a third-round pick in the 2018 draft, figures to get the start when the Steelers host Denver in their home opener.
– The Patriots have promoted kicker Nick Folk and cornerback Myles Bryant from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Folk handled kicking duties in their win over Miami, but was sent back down after the game.
– Bills starting linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds missed practice, and their availability is uncertain for Buffalo’s game at the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Coach Sean McDermott wouldn’t provide an update on the players’ status other than to say they were receiving treatment after getting hurt in a season-opening 27-17 win against the New York Jets.
LeBron James makes All-NBA team for record 16th time
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – LeBron James now stands alone in All-NBA recognition history, getting there unanimously. James was revealed Wednesday as an All-NBA player for a record 16th time, breaking the mark he shared with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. He was a first-team pick on all 100 ballots, joining Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo as the only unanimous first-team selections this season. Joining them on the first team: Houston guard James Harden, Lakers forward Anthony Davis and Dallas guard Luka Doncic, who got the nod in just his second season in the NBA.
Sabres acquire Eric Staal in sending Johansson to Wild
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The Buffalo Sabres acquired veteran center Eric Staal in a trade that sent forward Marcus Johansson to the Minnesota Wild.
The trade was the first completed by newly hired Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams, who took over after Jason Botterill was fired in June.
Adams is very familiar with Staal, as they were teammates in Carolina and members of the Hurricanes team that won 2006 Stanley Cup.
Both players are in the final year of their contracts, with the cost-conscious Sabres saving $1.25 million in space under the salary cap. Buffalo, however, takes on a 35-year-old Staal, who is six years older than Johansson.
Djokovic behaves better in 1st match since US Open default
ROME (AP) – Novak Djokovic behaved better in his first match since being defaulted from the U.S. Open. The top-ranked Serb was mostly courteous with the chair umpire during a 6-3, 6-2 win Wednesday over local wild-card entry Salvatore Caruso in his opening match at the Italian Open.
The performance came in sharp contrast to the scene in New York 10 days ago, when Djokovic was disqualified for unintentionally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball. Djokovic said earlier this week that the incident taught him “a big lesson.”
Nine-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal is set to make his return to competition after a seven-month absence against Pablo Carreno Busta. Other winners included Matteo Berrettini and Marin Cilic (CHIHL’-ihch).
Fed Cup changes name to honor tennis great Billie Jean King
UNDATED (AP) – The Fed Cup is changing its name to honor tennis great Billie Jean King. The Billie Jean King Cup will become the first major global team competition to be named after a woman.
International Tennis Federation President David Haggerty calls the move “long overdue.” He says “it’s fitting that the women’s world cup of tennis would be named after someone as iconic as Billie Jean King, who changed the face of women’s sports.”
The 76-year-old American’s lifelong battle for equality and social justice laid the foundation for generations that followed.
The rebranding follows earlier changes to bring prize money in line with the men’s Davis Cup and coincides with the upcoming 50th anniversary of King’s pioneering effort to launch a women’s pro tennis circuit.
LUGE-WORLD CUP-LAKE PLACID
Coronavirus fears cancel Lake Placid’s luge World Cup stop
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) – Lake Placid won’t play host to any major international sliding events this winter, after the International Luge Federation said Wednesday it will not hold a World Cup competition there because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
The upstate New York village was supposed to host a luge World Cup in mid-January. It will now be held in Oberhof, Germany, meaning the entire sliding-sports season will be held in Europe and Asia – skipping North America entirely.