Sports – Press Herald Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:56:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Major league roundup: Astros hang on to defeat Orioles, 8-7 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:21:53 +0000 BALTIMORE — Rookie Yuli Gurriel had a career-high four hits Friday night, including a home run, and the Houston Astros received a gritty pitching performance from Mike Fiers in an 8-7 victory against the Baltimore Orioles.

Colin Moran hit his first major league homer and first triple for Houston, and Brian McCann also went deep.

The Astros took an 8-2 lead into the ninth before Adam Jones hit a two-run double off James Hoyt and Jonathan Schoop homered with two on against Chris Devenski.

After Chris Davis was thrown out trying to bunt against the shift, Ken Giles struck out Mark Trumbo to earn his 21st save.

Fiers (7-4) threw 105 pitches over seven innings. He struck out nine, including Jones three times, and allowed one run and six hits.

INDIANS 13, BLUE JAYS 3: Edwin Encarnacion homered and drove in four runs against his former team, and Cleveland broke open a close game with an eight-run seventh inning at home.

Encarnacion, who played the last six seasons with Toronto before signing a three-year, $60 million contract with Cleveland in January, hit a leadoff home run in the second, broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth with a two-run double and added an RBI single in the seventh.

Encarnacion was 3 for 4 with a walk and nearly added to his total later in the seventh, but center fielder Kevin Pillar tracked down his fly ball on the warning track with two runners on.

RANGERS 4, RAYS 3: Elvis Andrus homered early, then snapped a 10th-inning tie with a two-out infield single that gave Texas a victory at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Andrus, who homered in the first inning, hit a sharp grounder off Brad Boxberger (2-1) that forced Evan Longoria to make a diving stop. Pinch-runner Delino Shields scored when the third baseman was unable to complete the throw to first base.

Alex Claudio (2-0) pitched two innings in relief to get the win.


CARDINALS 11, CUBS 4: Paul DeJong hit a tie-breaking two-run double in a nine-run eighth inning as St. Louis won at Chicago.

Chicago carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth, looking for its seventh consecutive win. But St. Louis sent 14 batters to the plate in its highest-scoring inning of the season, taking advantage of a combined six walks by three relievers while improving to 4-4 since the All-Star break.

PHILLIES 6, BREWERS 1: Aaron Nola tied a career high with nine strikeouts in seven sharp innings, Freddy Galvis hit a two-run homer and Philadelphia won at home.

Nola (7-6) allowed one run and five hits. He has six straight quality starts, going 4-1 and lowering his ERA from 4.76 to 3.38 in that span.


METS 7, ATHLETICS 5: Michael Conforto hit a pair of two-run homers and Jerry Blevins rescued the Mets’ bullpen with a five-out save as New York held on at home for its third straight victory.

T.J. Rivera put the Mets ahead in the sixth inning with a two-run single. Rivera then scored on the play after third baseman Matt Chapman, trying to get him at second, threw the ball into right field.

]]> 0 Altuve of the Houston Astros, right, steals second base as Ruben Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles takes the throw Friday night in the first inning of Houston's 8-7 victory.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:23:35 +0000
Friday’s local baseball roundup: Fayette-Staples qualifies for Legion state tournament Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:07:03 +0000 SACO — Zach Ham hit a triple and a double in the first inning as Fayette-Staples sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs, then held off Saco Bay PT/York for a 10-7 win in an American Legion Zone 4 playoff game Friday.

Ham, the winning pitcher, and Ben Lambert each finished with three hits for Fayette-Staples (11-7), which earned the runner-up position in Zone 4 behind Wells and qualified for the state tournament that starts Wednesday at Husson University.

Tommy Carr, Trevor LaBonte. Chris Neilson and Alex Neilson each hit an RBI single for York, which got four runs in the fifth and two in the seventh.


WINNIPESAUKEE 6, SANFORD 5: Conrad McMahon tied the game with an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning and scored on a catcher’s error as the Muskrats (13-20) rallied to beat the Mainers (13-22) in Laconia, New Hampshire.

Sanford got a home run from Colby Maiola in the third inning and added a pair of runs in the fifth to open a 3-0 lead. Riley Pittman’s two-run homer made it 5-1 in the seventh before the Muskrats started their comeback.


SURGE SPLITS WITH REDBIRDS: Sebastian Diaz blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the second and the Old Orchard Beach Surge (14-14) salvaged a doubleheader split with a 4-1 win over the Plattsburgh Redbirds (17-10) at The Ballpark.

The Surge added two runs in the third inning on a bases-loaded walk and a passed ball.

Christian Nazario-Cruz went 3 for 5 to lead Plattsburgh to an 11-2 win in Game 1. Jake Walters had a pair of doubles for OOB.


PATRIOT INSURANCE 3, ON TARGET 1: Cody Cousins allowed six hits over six innings as Patriot Insurance (11-6) beat On Target (4-12) in Portland.

Drew Lashua opened the scoring for Patriot with an RBI single in the second inning.

Ben Rollins had a double for On Target.

EDGE ACADEMY SPLITS WITH AERO H&V: Alex Curtis lined an RBI double and scored on an Andrew Merlino single in the first inning to start Edge Academy (8-8) on its way to a 3-1 win over Aero Heating & Ventilating (10-7) in the first game of a doubleheader at Deering Oaks.

Chaz Reade collected two hits for Edge.

In Game 2, Connor MacDowell singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning to lift Aero to a 4-3 win.

Jacob Shapiro hit a two-run homer for Edge in the second game.


SOUTH PORTLAND 12, GORHAM 4: South Portland (14-3) sent 13 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the fifth inning to defeat Gorham (6-8-1) in Gorham.

Caden Horton went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBI for South Portland. Anthony Poole and Dan Mickiewicz each added two hits and two RBI.

Will Prescott had two hits for Gorham.

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Sports Digest: Froome keeps overall lead in Tour de France Sat, 22 Jul 2017 02:14:15 +0000 CYCLING

Froome keeps overall lead as Norwegian wins stage

After two second-place finishes, Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway finally got a stage victory at the Tour de France, using his guile and strength to hold off chasers in the final section Friday at Salon-de Provence.

Boasson Hagen was part of a 20-man group that Chris Froome and Team Sky gave freedom to escape from the peloton because none of them presented a threat to his overall lead.

The overall standings remained unchanged, with Froome still leading French rider Romain Bardet by 23 seconds and Rigoberto Uran of Colombia by 29 seconds. The race ends Sunday.


HALL OF FAME: Top-seeded John Isner beat fellow American Dennis Novikov 6-4, 6-4 to reach the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships semifinals at Newport, Rhode Island.

The only seeded player remaining, Isner will face American Bjorn Fratangelo in the semifinals. In the other semifinal, Peter Gojowczyk of Germany will face Matthew Ebden of Australia.

CROATIA OPEN: Local wild card Ivan Dodig upset top-seeded David Goffin 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the semifinals at Umag, Croatia.


NFL: Cincinnati cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was suspended for the regular-season opening game after his role in an altercation at a downtown Cincinnati hotel earlier this year.

Jones pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge from the January incident, the latest in a history of off-the-field legal issues for the NFL veteran. The NFL said the suspension was for a violation of its personal conduct policy.

The Chiefs signed quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a four-year rookie contract.

COLLEGE: Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop doesn’t expect a lawsuit filed against him by his former employer to be a distraction as the Volunteers’ defense attempts to bounce back from a disappointing season.

Penn State sued Shoop for breach of contract over the circumstances of his January 2016 departure. Shoop has filed a counterclaim indicating he was forced out rather than leaving Penn State on his own.

Coastal Carolina Coach Joe Moglia will miss the Sun Belt Conference’s yearly football gathering after having a precautionary medical procedure.


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Olympic champion Shi Tingmao led a China 1-2 in the women’s 3-meter springboard competition at Budapest, Hungary.

Earlier, Russia again showed its class in synchronized swimming, taking the women’s team free title for its sixth gold from seven competitions.


PREMIER LEAGUE: Alvaro Morata joined Chelsea from Real Madrid and is set to take over from Diego Costa as the main striker for the English champion.

Chelsea announced the signing of the Spain international without giving a fee. He signed for five years.

EUROPA LEAGUE: UEFA ordered Hajduk Split of Croatia to play its next home game in an empty stadium as punishment for racist chants by fans.


NHL: Detroit agreed to terms with winger Tomas Tatar on a $21.2 million, four-year contract.

Tatar, 26, a Czech native, led Detroit with 25 goals last season and also had 21 assists.

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West carries packed lineup into WNBA All-Star Game Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:42:17 +0000 SEATTLE — It’s hard not to look at the rosters for the WNBA All-Star Game, see the names and accomplishments associated with the West lineup, and not think Saturday’s showcase could be one-sided.

Even for those playing.

“I’m like, ‘Is this the super All-Star team against the younger All-Star team?’ ” Atlanta guard and first-time All-Star Layshia Clarendon said. “I think they have the more seasoned talent, obviously the bigger names, legends in women’s basketball right now and we have the younger generation names. It’s cool that we’re getting to play against them.”

The WNBA brought its midseason showcase to the Pacific Northwest for the first time and it’s probably appropriate it’s taking place out West where most of the league’s big-name stars play. Whether it’s Sue Bird of Seattle, reigning MVP Nneka Ogwumike of Los Angeles or Diana Taurasi of Phoenix, the names on the West roster are among the most recognizable in the sport.

The East? Not so much, especially with the loss of former MVP Elena Delle Donne due to an injury. The East roster features eight first-time selections.

“I think it speaks to the dynamics and the progression of the league,” Ogwumike said. “You have a lot of established players in the West and you have a lot of first-timers that are playing at an All-Star level. I think it shows the growth of the league and its different styles, and I don’t think any of them should be ignored.”

Among the starters selected through voting, there were a combined 12 All-Star appearances by the East and 31 by the West.

Bird nearly tops the entire East by herself, making a record-tying 10th All-Star appearance.

The total all-time All-Star selections among both rosters: East, 25; West, 55.

“They’ve got some run-and-gunners over there and they’re going to be ready to go,” Taurasi said. “They’re not going to know what to expect. They’re going to think it’s a real game.”

NOTES: Delle Donne has been an All-Star in each of her four seasons but will miss the game for the third time after suffering an ankle injury July 14. Delle Donne was replaced by New York guard Sugar Rodgers, making her All-Star debut.

The West will be without Phoenix center Brittney Griner due to ankle and knee injuries suffered on July 14. …

The 3-point contest returned for the first time in eight years. The contest will take place at halftime and features Bird, Rodgers, Maya Moore of Minnesota, Jasmine Thomas of Connecticut and Allie Quigley of Chicago.

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Busch happy to be back in Indianapolis Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:42:16 +0000 INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis is quickly becoming Kyle Busch’s favorite racing venue.

Ten years ago, he met his future wife, Samantha, at the 2.5-mile oval.

Last year, he pulled off a rare sweep by winning both poles and both races on Brickyard 400 weekend. It’s the last time Busch celebrated a Cup win, and now that he’s back at the historic track, he doesn’t want to wait until next September to make a return trip. He’d like to add a May stop to his already full 2018 schedule and attempt the fabled double bill of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600.

“I had (a deal) done last year, sold it and everything,” Busch said when asked about competing in the Indy 500. “I had a boss that said no.”

Busch, the 2015 Cup champion and two-time defending Brickyard champ, hasn’t given up on his dream; he’s just putting it on hold temporarily this weekend as he chases history and tries to end a 12-month victory drought.

He couldn’t have picked a better place to come. Over the past two years, Busch has been the most dominant stock-car driver at Indy.

The two-time defending Brickyard champion has led 168 of the last 189 laps here, including a record 149 out of 170 last year when he won from the pole. He also won the 2015 and 2016 Xfinity Series races from the pole, giving him four consecutive wins at Indianapolis.

When the track opened for Xfinity practice Friday, Busch’s car was near the top again – even with restrictor-plate motors.

Busch still had the third-fastest car in the first two practice sessions, turning a fast lap of 166.162 mph as overcast skies cooled the track. The Xfinity qualifications and race will be held Saturday, the same day Busch and the other Cup drivers also will take their first laps.

Even as Busch talks about winning an unprecedented third straight Brickyard, the thrill of taking a shot in IndyCar’s marquee race – and trying the 1,100-mile Memorial Day weekend double – remains a major attraction for the 32-year-old driver.

“I thought I had a great opportunity to do it (in May), but I’m kind of glad it didn’t come together because (Fernando) Alonso kind of stole the headlines the last time it was done,” Busch said. “It would be fun. It would be a unique opportunity. The thing that scares my boss is that I’ve never driven those cars.”

If he goes for it, Busch would start the day in Indianapolis for the 500, then fly to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the 600-mile Cup race. His brother, Kurt Busch, tried that in 2014 and finished sixth at the Indy 500 before a blown engine knocked him out of the NASCAR nightcap.

]]> 0 Busch tries to cool down following a practice session for Saturday's Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch swept the Xfinity and Cup Series races each of the previous two years.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:09:49 +0000
British Open notebook: Reigning champion victimized by burglary Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:14:39 +0000 SOUTHPORT, England — Henrik Stenson was receiving physical therapy at Royal Birkdale on Thursday evening when he was told his rented house was burgled during the first round of his British Open title defense.

Thieves targeted Stenson’s possessions rather than those of his wife’s, making off with watches, credit cards and his suitcase containing most of his golf clothing.


Stenson said he felt “anger from the word go,” but also relief that none of his family was there at the time of the burglary and that no one was hurt. His two kids aren’t with him this week, only his wife, Emma.

There was also frustration at having to spend “four semi-chaotic hours” dealing with police reports on Thursday night. After all, not only should Stenson have been preparing for his second round, but he has been a busy man this week as the defending champion.

“Would rather just go back and wind down and take it easy,” he said on Friday after his second round. “That was all I was looking forward to and that didn’t happen. I had to get some new gear and so on.

“But all in all we’re in good shape. And nothing happened to any person, which is the main thing.”

STEVE STRICKER kept a streak alive by making the cut in the British Open – the 25th consecutive time since 2010 he has made the cut in a major championship in which he has played.

Former champions Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington weren’t as fortunate, heading home after failing to get inside the cut line of 5-over par.

Harrington came close, barely missing out on holing a chip on the final hole. Mickelson, meanwhile, added a 77 to the 73 he shot in the first round to finish 10 over.

“Unfortunately it’s the first cut I’ve missed this year,” Mickelson said. “And I missed it with flair.”

Mickelson, with his brother, Tim, on the bag in place of former longtime caddie Jim Mackay, looked like he might make a run at playing on the weekend when he opened with a birdie on the first hole. But a triple-bogey 7 on the third hole set him back and he made four straight bogeys to open the back nine.

The 50-year-old Stricker, who tied for 16th at both the Masters and U.S. Open this year, has never won a major championship. He opened this one with an even-par 70, then added a 72 in blustery conditions.

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Bolt wins 100 meters in Diamond League finale Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:11:00 +0000 MONACO — In the last Diamond League race of his glittering career, Usain Bolt held on to win the 100 meters at the Herculis track meet on Friday.

The eight-time Olympic champion was under pressure from Isiah Young of the United States in the last 30 meters but used his famed finish to win in 9.95 seconds at Stade Louis II. Young clocked 9.98. Akani Simbine of South Africa was third in 10.02.

Bolt is retiring after the world championships in London next month.

Last month, he won at the Golden Spike in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in 10.06 after a slow start. He got away better this time, but was made to work hard by Young.


“It’s always good to get a win. My time is going down at the right time,” the Jamaican said, looking ahead to the worlds. “Everything is coming together.”

He was given a rousing ovation and expects to sorely miss that close bond with the crowd when his running days are over.

“I’m always here for the fans, and of course I will miss the vibe around the track. Mixed emotions always, happy for my career, sad that it is ending,” he said. “I’m planning to chill after London with my family, but I’m not sure what will be my next plan after this season.”

Young was happy enough to have pushed Bolt hard and is confident he can challenge in London.

“I was so close to Bolt at the end of his great career. Couple of days ago, I was told I will run the 200 in London, so this sub 10 is great preparation for that,” he said. “I need to execute well, and then I can attack a medal in that event.”

Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa won the 400 in 43.73, and countrywoman Caster Semenya pulled clear in the last 50 meters to win the 800 in a world-leading time this year of 1 minute, 55.27 seconds.

“It was a fantastic race, a very fast pace,” Semenya said. “It was one of the hardest races I’ve had.”

She set a personal best. Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi was second, followed by Ajee Wilson, who broke the American record with a time of 1:55.61.

Hellen Obiri of Kenya ran a world-leading time of 8:23.14 in the women’s 3,000. Countrywoman Beatrice Chepkoech was five seconds behind.

Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager also got a year’s best time, easily winning the men’s 3,000 steeplechase in 8:01.29, less than one second behind his personal best. Still, the American was six seconds clear of Kenyan runner Jairus Kipchoge Birech.

“We are keeping our options open for the best possible tactical plan for the worlds,” Jager said. “But one thing is clear: I’m going for gold.”

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Dempsey, U.S. ready for Gold Cup semifinal Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:07:32 +0000 ARLINGTON, Texas — Clint Dempsey is back in his home state of Texas, one goal from a scoring record for a United States team that’s one win from being in another Gold Cup final.

The Americans play a semifinal Saturday night against Costa Rica in a stadium synonymous with American football – the home of the Dallas Cowboys, the Cotton Bowl and where the first College Football Playoff championship game was played three seasons ago.

It’s only about 180 miles from Dempsey’s hometown of Nacogdoches.

“It’s always great to be home, and play in front of family and friends, especially for a big game,” Dempsey said Friday. “I have a lot of great memories of playing in Dallas as a kid, and I’m proud to represent Nacogdoches. Being from there made me who I am today.”

Dempsey, one goal from matching Landon Donovan’s American record of 57 national-team goals, wasn’t part of soccer’s only Gold Cup games at the $1.2 billion AT&T Stadium.

In a 2013 semifinal game there when the Americans were on the way to their fifth Gold Cup title, they beat Honduras, 3-1. Donovan scored twice in that game and assisted on the other goal. Two months later, he scored his final U.S. goal in a World Cup qualifier win over Mexico.

Within a week after Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in World Cup qualifying last November, Jurgen Klinsmann was out as the U.S. coach and Bruce Arena was rehired to the position he had been fired from a decade earlier.

Costa Rica Coach Oscar Ramirez said Friday that Arena seemingly has had a positive impact on the U.S. team.

“They look more relaxed in terms of what they’re doing on the field,” Ramirez said through an interpreter.

This U.S. roster for the Gold Cup knockout rounds also is much different than the one that played in Costa Rica eight months ago – not just the change at coach. Only five players from that game that are set for this semifinal – Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi.

“That’s in the past,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t think about that game. … This is just another game. It’s another opportunity for us to see what we’re made out of.”

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Major league notebook: Carter heads to Oakland on a minor league deal Sat, 22 Jul 2017 00:58:18 +0000 NEW YORK — The Oakland Athletics signed free-agent slugger Chris Carter to a minor league deal Friday, and promoted right-hander Frankie Montas and first baseman/outfielder Matt Olson to the majors.

Carter recently was cut by the New York Yankees after hitting .201 with eight home runs and 26 RBI. He tied for the NL lead with 41 homers for Milwaukee last year but struggled as a first baseman and designated hitter for the Yankees.

Carter was assigned to Triple-A Nashville. He played for Oakland in 2010-12 and hit 19 home runs.

Montas was 1-1 with a 6.91 ERA in 21 relief appearances for Oakland before being sent down June 11.

INDIANS: Left-hander Boone Logan will miss significant time after being placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his back, Manager Terry Francona said.

Logan fell and grabbed his left shoulder after throwing a pitch Thursday against San Francisco. He was examined by a team trainer and walked to the dugout with a lat muscle injury. Logan underwent tests by Indians doctors and will seek a second opinion.

CARDINALS: St. Louis activated outfielder Randal Grichuk and reliever Zach Duke from the disabled list, and recalled catching prospect Carson Kelly from Triple-A Memphis.

St. Louis also acquired minor league outfielder Tyler O’Neill in a trade with Seattle for left-hander Marco Gonzales, and designated catcher Eric Fryer for assignment. Right-hander Sam Tuivailala and outfielder Magneuris Sierra were optioned to the minors after Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Mets.

CUBS: Third baseman Kris Bryant was out of the lineup with a finger injury and could miss this weekend’s series against St. Louis.

Bryant sprained his left little finger on a headfirst slide in the first inning of an 8-2 victory Wednesday at Atlanta. X-rays were negative but Bryant has soreness.

]]> 0, 21 Jul 2017 21:09:46 +0000
Golf roundup: Collins shoots 60 at Barbasol Championship Sat, 22 Jul 2017 00:51:48 +0000 OPELIKA, Ala. — Chad Collins missed a chance for the 10th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history and third of the season, parring the final two holes for an 11-under 60 on Friday in the second round of the Barbasol Championship.

Collins hit his approach to the back fringe on the par-4 18th, leaving a 70-foot downhill birdie try that he hit 5 feet past.

“I just got myself out of position off the tee, which you can’t do,” Collins said. “Probably one of the easiest hole locations on the green, so it was kind of unfortunate to not hit the fairway and I probably would have had a better look at birdie there. I gave it a run. I’m not too disappointed at all by 60, so I’ll take it.”

After six straight birdies on Grand National’s rain-softened Lake Course, the 38-year-old player from Indiana missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th.

“Hit a good shot, but I hit it a little heavy,” Collins said of his approach on No. 17. “I didn’t think it was going to get back there and it must have had a lot of overspin, hit the downslope, chased back there. I wasn’t sure how close it came to going in, but had to come pretty close. And then the putt was a little tricky. We couldn’t quite figure out if it was kind of right center, right edge or left center, left edge. Just kind of lost a little bit of speed and broke off the left edge.”

Collins was at 15-under 127 for a four-stroke lead over Grayson Murray (64) and Cameron Tringale (66).

Collins made the 36-hole cut for only the fifth time in 23 events this year and tied the course record set last year by Jhonattan Vegas.

“This year’s been kind of a struggle for me,” Collins said. “I haven’t been playing that well and it’s super nice to see putts fall in, good ball-striking and being in position on the weekend.”

Jim Furyk, who set the PGA Tour record with 58 last year in the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, had a 68 to get to 5 under.

The 47-year-old U.S. Ryder Cup captain failed to qualify for the British Open. He took the last three weeks off for a long-planned European river cruise with his family and has been fighting a shoulder problem.

LPGA: Gerina Piller followed her opening 8-under 63 with a 68 to maintain a one-stroke in the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.

Piller had four birdies and a bogey at Highland Meadows in the second round to reach 11-under 131.

“Very satisfied,” Piller said. “I feel like I was pretty steady. I kind of had a par streak going there. But I gave myself chances for birdie, and at that point, you’ve just got to be patient, and there’s some birdie holes out there. I stayed patient, (just one birdie) on my front nine, and then reeled off three in a row on the back. It is difficult, but … you can just kind of plug along and hit fairways and greens and keep it simple.”

She’s winless on the LPGA Tour.

“Well, it’s only Friday, so I wouldn’t put the cart before the horse, but to get that first win, I think, would be really special, no matter where it is,” Piller said. “I’m just going to try to focus on the process, and the result will take care of itself.”

U.S. Solheim Cup teammate Lexi Thompson had a 65 to move into a tie for second with fellow American Nelly Korda (64), South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim (67) and Taiwan’s Peiyun Chien (68).

]]> 0 Collins needed one birdie on his final two holes Friday to join a short list of PGA Tour players who have shot a round in the 50s, but wound up with an 11-under 60.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:11:37 +0000
NBA notebook: Point guard set to join Celtics Sat, 22 Jul 2017 00:43:39 +0000 Shane Larkin, a point guard who played last season in the EuroLeague, told the website Hoops Hype that he’s joining the Boston Celtics.

Larkin was a first-round draft pick, 18th overall, by Atlanta in 2013. He played parts of three seasons in the NBA with Dallas, the Knicks and Brooklyn before heading overseas.

He told Hoops Hype he’s “extremely excited” to join the Celtics.

“After talking with Danny Ainge over the phone and hearing him describe what he envisions for me, I knew that it was a great opportunity to continue to grow as a player and eventually become the guy I am supposed to be in this league,” Larkin told Hoops Hype.

Larkin will head to training camp with the Celtics looking to hook on as a depth player. He’ll be among a group of players – such as Abdel Nader, Kadeem Allen and Jabari Bird – looking to earn a spot on the roster this fall.

CAVALIERS: Point guard Kyrie Irving has asked the team to trade him, two people familiar with the situation said. Irving made the request last week to the owner, Dan Gilbert.

A four-time All-Star, Irving has spent six seasons with the Cavs, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. Irving, 25, has overcome injury issues and blossomed into one of the league’s elite point guards and biggest stars.

And now that he’s finally established himself playing alongside LeBron James, Irving wants out.

He’s under contract for two more seasons with Cleveland, but the Cavs could be inclined to move him to begin another rebuild around James, who can opt out of his contract next summer and leave Ohio for the second time.

A person familiar with the decision says the Cavaliers are promoting assistant general manager Koby Altman to be their full-time GM.

Altman has been serving as the club’s interim GM for the past few weeks.

GRIZZLIES: Memphis signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Brooks was selected by Houston with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

SPURS: A person with knowledge of the situation said Pau Gasol agreed to terms on a three-year contract with San Antonio.

Gasol, a 7-foot Spaniard, and the Spurs came to agreement with the team on a deal that’s partially guaranteed for the third season.

Gasol declined the $16 million option on his contract in June with the intent of signing a longer-term deal with the Spurs.

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Garcia gets scare after temper outburst Sat, 22 Jul 2017 00:22:39 +0000 SOUTHPORT, England — Sergio Garcia thought his British Open might be over after he hurt his right shoulder angrily swinging a club into shrubs on the fourth hole at Royal Birkdale on Friday.

Sergio Garcia holds his shoulder in pain after he swung his club into a shrub in response to a poor shot on the fourth hole Friday. Garcia was able to complete his round and moved up the leaderboard with a 1-under 69. Reuters/Hannah McKay

The Masters champion clutched his shoulder after the incident and took a painkiller on the fifth tee. He spoke with a medical official on the seventh hole, and his shoulder still felt sore at the end of his second round.

“Obviously, I’m not happy about it,” Garcia said, “because I almost screwed up my British Open.”

The shoulder problem didn’t affect his power. Garcia drove the green on the 346-yard fifth hole and made eagle, and wound up shooting a 1-under 69 in gusty conditions. He was 2 over for the tournament.

Garcia said he was frustrated after sending his tee shot at the par-3 fourth to the back left of the green near some bushes. He didn’t have a full back swing and could only jab his second shot short of the green.

After taking his shot, Garcia looked behind him and swung his club into the shrubs. He grabbed his shoulder immediately with his left hand and grimaced with pain. He made bogey.

“I hit (the shrubs) backwards, it was a very weak position, and it felt like the muscles went on top of each other,” Garcia said. “So it didn’t feel good at all.

“Sometimes you are out there and you are trying your hardest. When you can’t do it, you get frustrated. We’ve all had this.”

Garcia said he played the fifth hole not knowing if he’d be able to finish his round.

He planned to see a physiotherapist later Friday and get some work done on his shoulder.

Garcia played the 14 holes after his club rage in 1 under. He was one of only four players in the first 18 three-man groups to break par Friday.

]]> 0 Garcia holds his shoulder in pain after he swung his club into a shrub in response to a poor shot on the fourth hole Friday. Garcia was able to complete his round and moved up the leaderboard with a 1-under 69.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:28:26 +0000
Commentary: It’s perfectly fine to roll your eyes at thoughts of a 19-0 season for Patriots Sat, 22 Jul 2017 00:01:58 +0000 Dumbest sports argument of 2017?

As they say on the radio: No more calls, we have a winner.

It’s this business – this, this … argument – over whether the 2017 Patriots should “go for” an undefeated season.

Those who espouse this point of view believe an undefeated season would somehow be a “feather in the cap” of the first football dynasty of the 21st century.

They believe it would deliver yet another gotcha moment to the masses beyond New England who despise the Patriots.

They believe it would make for yet another Pepto-Bismol night for NFL czar Roger Goodell.

They are nuts.

As Vito Corleone said during the big sit-down with the heads of the five families, “How did things ever get so far?”

When did it become a goal, a mission, a Vision Quest, to turn a season, any season, into a march to 19-0? And why does it matter?

Is it because it would somehow heal the wounds of 2007, when the angry, Spygate-penalized Patriots ran the board before being upended by the New York Giants in the Super Bowl? Really?

What it would do, I guess, and this would be a good thing, is smoosh a Boston cream pie into the faces of aging members of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins, who each season climb out of their La-Z-Boys and pop open the champagne as soon as the last remaining undefeated team has bit the dust. We’re all a little tired of the ’72 Dolphins.

But it’s not as though Patriots Coach Bill Belichick has a secret “Project Undefeated” plan in his desk drawer and is mulling whether to put it into action. If he did, maybe he has a “15-1 Plan,” a “14-2 Plan,” and so on. Which is nonsense.

What he does have is a plan to assemble the best team possible and craft weekly game plans that serve the dual purpose of maximizing his manpower and exploiting the opposition’s weaknesses. That’s pretty much what coaches have been doing since the days of George Halas and Curly Lambeau, and Belichick has done it to aplomb during his days with the Patriots.

Fate brought Belichick and Tom Brady together, and together they have coached and quarterbacked the Patriots to seven trips to the Super Bowl, and five championships.

The plan will be to win every game. Duh. But you can only win one game at a time, with one game plan at a time. And while I have never been invited to a Bill Belichick players meeting, I’m confident he’s never opened training camp with an impassioned speech about the glory of going undefeated.

By now we’ve all taken a course in Introductory Belichick. And we learned, right off, that the focus is always on the next game of the schedule. Not last week’s game. Not the game that will be played in two, three or nine weeks. It’s the next game.

At some point during Rosevelt Colvin’s days with the Patriots, I asked the Indianapolis native about an upcoming game against the Colts at the RCA Dome. All I wanted was a rehashing of old stories, such as how he used to sell popcorn at the RCA Dome when he was a kid, but he wouldn’t go there because he wouldn’t be going there for a couple of weeks. It wasn’t the next game on the schedule.

A week later he happily talked about returning home to play the Colts, because the Colts were the next game on the schedule.

When there’s a Week 1 on the schedule, Week 2 doesn’t exist. When there’s a Week 2, there’s no Week 3. That’s the way they roll, the way they should roll, and it makes a 16-0 regular season run nothing more than a hazy, lazy summertime sports “argument” to roll out when we’re all tired of talking about middle relief and what the hoop rookies are up to in Vegas.

After the ’07 season, after David Tyree held onto the ball, after the Pats’ bid for perfection was shown the door, somebody down Foxbororough way came up with the really bad idea of ordering up a “16-0” banner to commemorate the regular- season run. The banner always looked tacky and out of place, and it was finally taken down. I think it’s now hanging in the bathroom where the footballs were deflated.

The problem with that banner was it didn’t make anyone happily nostalgic for the 2007 regular season. It served as a painful reminder of what went wrong in the Super Bowl.

No rational Pats fan cares about 16-0 or 19-0. Right now 1-0 is the goal.

]]> 0 Belichick already has four Super Bowl championships to his credit and would become the first head coach to win five titles if the Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in Houston.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:31:40 +0000
Commentary: Red Sox should deal now and not wait until deadline day Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:43:50 +0000 The Boston Red Sox won’t be unrecognizable when they return from their West Coast trip next Friday, but they sure better have a different look.

That’s what they need, at least, and it would make little sense to wait much longer to go get what they need – a third baseman and a reliever, and maybe even a nice, new shiny big bat.

The Red Sox have until 4 p.m. on July 31 before the trade deadline comes and goes. There’s really no sense waiting much longer to see if the asking price for an infielder of the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera of the Mets drops.

Winning games is more pressing now than waiting to win a trade for the sake of a lower asking price. Right now the Sox are playing games like a team that has a couple of parts missing. After beginning July winning 7 of 8, they have lost eight of their last 13. Their lead over Tampa Bay in the American League East was 21/2 games entering the weekend.

They’re not pulling away. They’re pulling even.

And they’re pulling for a trade, said Manager John Farrell.

“I think it’s always a plus (to make a trade),” Farrell said Thursday. “It’s a strong sign that everyone is aligned to support, add to, fortify, however you want to describe it, an area of need. There’s almost an injection of, maybe, that support or, further momentum that’s ‘OK, this is going to better equip us to go deep into the season.”

If anticipation creates anxiety for one or two players at the bottom of the depth chart, that’s hardly an obstacle to overcome.

“(Players are) well in tune,” Farrell said. “Maybe some of them might be wondering ‘OK, am I out or am I (in),’ so there’s a tentative period of time that we’ll go through here in the next 10 to 14 days.

“But adding to, I think, is always a positive.”

Tuesday night’s trade that sent third baseman Todd Frazier from the White Sox to the Yankees injected a healthy dose of anxiety that should spur a move for a third baseman sooner than later. Given the known pool of available third basemen, a swift move should trump any temptation the Red Sox should have to see if a seller will drop an asking price.

That’s unlikely because the Sox are the only known team to be in the third baseman market. Again, that should motivate the Red Sox to strike now versus drag this out any longer.

Cabrera, who has only played third base in one major league game – 10 years ago – is now going to start taking grounders at third. The timing is hardly coincidental and not lost on anybody.

There’s no way the Mets could be asking for much in return for Cabrera, a veteran with a decent bat but a bat without power, as well as with defensive skills that have seen better days.

That’s hardly a ringing endorsement, but of the known pool of options the Red Sox are looking at – the list includes the David Freese and Josh Harrison of the Pirates, T.J. Rivera of the Mets, Eduardo Nunez of the Giants and Martin Prado of the Marlins – Cabrera and probably Freese could be had quickly and cheaply.

Harrison remains the best talent remaining but his price tag is probably too high. There is no reason for the Mets to trade Rivera, a 28-year-old rookie who blossomed this year, before dealing Cabrera.

On the reliever front, the Sox have plenty of company but again, striking quickly could be more advantageous than waiting around when the supply begins to dry up and sellers can stand pat on their asking price.

Pat Neshek of the Phillies, Justin Wilson of the Tigers, Addison Reed of the Mets – the list is well known, and on Thursday it shrunk by one when the Mariners snagged David Phelps from the Marlins.

Last July the Red Sox were two games back and the president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, moved far more quickly than he has this year.

On July 9, he traded for reliever Brad Ziegler and five days later got starter Drew Pomeranz.

On the trade deadline day he snagged reliever Fernando Abad. The day after the trade deadline, the Red Sox called up outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

This year, when July rolled around, the Sox were playing some of their best ball. They held a two-game lead and one week later it was at 41/2 games.

And the Red Sox have been subtracting from their big league roster, releasing Pablo Sandoval, and not adding to it.

The only shocking transaction that could occur between now and July 31 would be if Dombrowski did absolutely nothing. That’s not Dealin’ Dave’s style. And while he knows how to play the waiting game as well as any other executive in the game, there’s really not a ton of suspense left in this trading deadline season for the Red Sox.

Dombrowski’s not going to stand pat. And while he’s also going to be very hesitant about adding too big of a salary to the payroll, plus not trade away too good of a prospect from the team’s limited supply of good prospects, he has a mandate to win now.

As Farrell indicated, the clubhouse is waiting for reinforcements.

So is everyone else.

The Red Sox schedule shows nine games to play before July 31.

That’s way too many to start getting too picky at this point.

]]> 0 Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) talks to reporters in the dugout before a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Monday, March 6, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:33:36 +0000
Sea Dogs swept by Yard Goats Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:08:05 +0000 One night after slamming five home runs for the first time this season, the Portland Sea Dogs were barely able to get a hit Friday night during an Eastern League doubleheader against the Hartford Yard Goats before 5,041 at Hadlock Field.

Konnor Weeks allowed just two hits in five innings as Hartford rolled to a 7-1 win in the second game, after Ryan Castellani pitched a three-hitter to lead the Yard Goats to a 2-0 win in Game 1.

“I don’t like to give much credit to the opposition, but they pitched well and we couldn’t get anything going,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said. “They just made pitches, and we couldn’t make any adjustments.”

Brian Mundell of the Hartford Yard Goats slides safely into home as Jake Romanski handles the late throw in the first game of a doubleheader Friday at Hadlock Field. Hartford won both games, 2-0 and 7-1. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Castellani (8-8) faced only 22 batters, one more than the minimum for a seven-inning game. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.

Henry Owens, pitching on his 25th birthday, took the loss in Game 1. It was his fourth start since he was sent down from Triple-A Pawtucket to work on a new delivery. He is abandoning his over-the-top delivery for a three-quarters arm slot.

Owens dropped to 1-3 with the Sea Dogs, but it was his strongest performance to date. He allowed six hits, struck out six, walked three and hit two batters in six innings.

“That’s a good step forward for him,” Febles said. “He was aggressive. He was throwing strikes and making pitches when he needed to. It was good to see him perform the way he did.”

Josh Fuentes of the Yard Goats is picked off at first base by the catcher Jake Romanski as Mike Olt applies the tag. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Owens lowered his earned-run average from 8.38 to 6.31.

The Yard Goats got three of their hits in the fourth inning, when they scored both of their runs. Brian Mundell led off with a single and came around to score when Stephen Cardullo doubled off the wall in left. Josh Fuentes followed with run-producing single.

Catcher Jake Romanski helped Owens get out of a couple ticklish situations. In the third, he caught Anthony Phillips trying to steal third at the front end of a double-steal attempt with two on and nobody out. In the fourth, with two runners on board, he picked Fuentes off first base to end the inning.

Michael Chavis of the Sea Dogs puts the tag on Hartford’s Anthony Phillips, who was trying to steal third. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Drew Weeks went 4 for 4 and drove in three runs for Hartford in Game 2.

The Yard Goats took a 4-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, Rodgers slammed his fifth homer of the season off the scoreboard in center. Six consecutive singles produced three more runs.

Hartford made it 6-0 in the second inning, on an error and back-to-back doubles by Brendan Rodgers and Weeks.

Cole Sturgeon broke up Wade’s bid for a no-hitter when he led off the bottom of the fourth with his second home run of the season.

The Yard Goats completed the scoring in the sixth when Rodgers and Weeks opened the inning with back-to-back doubles.

]]> 0, 21 Jul 2017 23:01:58 +0000
Spieth thrives on bad day at British Open Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:15:05 +0000 SOUTHPORT, England — Jordan Spieth expected a rough time at the British Open before he even got to the golf course.

He spent Friday morning at his rented house in front of the television, watching players battle a relentless wind at Royal Birkdale, all the while checking a forecast that was even worse for when he played in the afternoon.

“It wasn’t a great feeling knowing we were coming into something harder than what we were watching,” he said.

Spieth did more than just survive.

With a short game as sharp as it has been all year, and a 3-wood that turned out a lot better than it looked and led to an eagle, Spieth seized control with a 1-under 69 that gave him a two-shot lead over Matt Kuchar going into the weekend.

Spieth turned a bogey or worse into an unlikely par by chipping in from just short of the 10th green. And he learned enough from watching TV to know that going a little long on the par-5 15th would give him a better birdie chance than playing short. So he switched from a 3-iron to a 3-wood, hit it a little off the neck and watched it run hot and fast some 100 yards along the wet turf to about 18 feet away.

“I mishit the shot, which is probably why it looked so gross,” Spieth said. “I hit it low off the heel, which is easy to do when you’re trying to carve a cut. And it just … one hop, scooted around the group of bunkers there, and then it was obviously fortunate to get all the way to the green.”

The flight of that 3-wood looked as ugly as the weather. The outcome was as bright as his chances of getting his name on another major championship trophy.

Spieth was at 6-under 134. It was the 12th time he has been atop the leaderboard at a major, including the fourth rounds of the Masters and U.S. Open that he won in 2015. Spieth is the sole leader at a major for the first time since the third round of the Masters last year, when he was runner-up to Danny Willett.

“Anytime you’re in the last group on a weekend in a major … you get nervous. And I’ll be feeling it this weekend a bit,” he said. “But I enjoy it. As long as I approach it positively and recognize that this is what you want to feel because you’re in the position you want to be in, then the easier it is to hit solid shots and to create solid rounds.”

Kuchar played in the morning in steadily strong wind, but without rain, and pieced together a solid round until a few mistakes at the end for a 71. He was at 4-under 136, and it would have been a good bet that he would be leading with the nasty weather that arrived.

“I think that’s what people enjoy about the British Open is watching the hard wind, the rain, the guys just trying to survive out there,” Kuchar said. “Today is my day. I get to kick back in the afternoon and watch the guys just try to survive.”

He wound up watching another short-game clinic from Spieth.

The key to his round came in the middle, starting with a 10-foot par putt on No. 8 after he drove into a pot bunker. The biggest break came at No. 10, when the rain was pounding Royal Birkdale. Spieth hit into another pot bunker off the tee, could only advance it out sideways, and came up short of the green in light rough.

“Massive,” he said about the chip-in par. “Nothing said ‘4’ about this hole. I feel a little guilty about taking 4 on the card.”

And he wasn’t through just yet. Spieth rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt across the 11th green, and then after watching Henrik Stenson’s tee shot on the par-3 12th land softly, Spieth realized he could take on the flag. He hit 7-iron to 2 feet for another birdie, and followed that with a beautiful pitch to tap-in range for par on the 13th.

Even so, his work is far from over.

The chasing pack features U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who failed to make a birdie but stayed in the hunt with 16 pars in a 72, and Ian Poulter with his newfound confidence, which is growing even higher with the support of the English crowd. Poulter shot 70.

Not to be overlooked was Rory McIlroy, who recovered from a horrific start Thursday to salvage a 71, and then kept right on rolling. McIlroy, who was 5 over through the opening six holes of the tournament, ran off three birdies with full control of every shot on the front nine.

And much like Spieth, he kept his round together with crucial par saves early on the back nine when the wind was at its worse. McIlroy posted a 68 and was at 1-under 139, just five shots behind with only five players in front of him.

“To be in after two days and be under par for this championship after the way I started, I’m ecstatic with that,” McIlroy said.

Others weren’t so fortunate, including Justin Thomas, who started the round just two shots behind. He took a quintuple-bogey on the sixth hole and also made two double bogeys while shooting an 80.

]]> 0 Spieth hits his approach shot on the sixth hole during the second round of the British Open. Spieth was one of only eight players who broke par Friday, as he followed his opening-round 65 with a 1-under 69.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:28:09 +0000
Thursday’s local baseball roundup: Fayette-Staples advances in Legion playoffs Fri, 21 Jul 2017 02:46:24 +0000 SACO — Zach Ham’s two-run single to fueled a five-run rally in the fifth inning as Fayette-Staples beat Staples Crossing 6-3 in an American Legion Zone 4 playoff game on Thursday evening.

Ben Lambert added a pair of hits for Fayette-Staples (10-7).

Shane MacNeill and Holden Jackman each had two hits for Staples Crossing.

Fayette-Staples will face York at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Thornton Academy, with the winner qualifying for next week’s state tournament as the Zone 4 runner-up. York advanced with 10-4 victory over Noble.

Wells has already qualified for the state tournament as the zone’s regular-season champion.

COASTAL LANDSCAPE 10, HIGHLAND GREEN 5: Tim Greenlaw lined a two-run single to highlight a five-run fifth inning as Coastal Landscape (12-7) broke a 5-5 tie against Highland Green (7-10-1), in Portland.

Kyle Brennan’s two-run single in the top of the second inning helped Highland Green take a 5-2 lead.

Coastal got a run back in the bottom of the inning and tied the game in the third on RBI singles from Luc Harrison and Logan McCarthy.

YANKEE FORD 8, ZONE 3 UNITED 4: Matt Riggle blasted a grand slam to highlight a seven-run third inning as Yankee Ford (14-5) beat Zone 3 United (2-17-1) in Gray.

Marshall Peterson had three hits for Yankee Ford, including a two-run double in the third.

Gibson Harnett hit a single and a triple for Zone 3 United. Elijah Winchester and Zach Mann also had two hits apiece.


VALLEY 11, SANFORD 4: Niko Hulsizer started the scoring with a home run in the fourth inning, and the Blue Sox (18-14) added five runs in the fifth and four in the seventh to cruise past the Mainers (13-21) at Goodall Park.

Andrew Rouse had a triple and a double for Valley, and Chas Hadden and Joe Mercadante each drove in two runs.

Shaine Hughes hit a two-run homer for Sanford.


BIRD’S EYE PAINTING 8, GREELY 4: Kyle Herzig lined an RBI single and Mason Rosborough followed with a two-run single in the first inning to start Bird’s Eye Painting (12-5-2) on its way to a win over Greely (10-7) in Windham.

Greely scored two runs in the fifth to trim the lead to 4-2, but Bird’s Eye got four runs in the bottom of the inning, including a two-run single by Cam McCartney.

GORHAM SPLITS WITH NOVA SEAFOOD: Nick Gray hit a two-run double as Gorham (6-10) earned a 10-1 win over Nova Seafood (9-6) in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday in Scarborough after losing the opener, 8-4.

In the first game, Noah Frink’s two-run single highlighted a four-run third inning as Nova erased a 2-0 deficit. Morgan Pratt went the first six innings to pick up the win, allowing one earned run on four hits and one walk while striking out eight.

]]> 0 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:46:24 +0000
Major league roundup: Pirates complete sweep of Brewers Fri, 21 Jul 2017 02:45:39 +0000 PITTSBURGH — Gregory Polanco homered, Chris Stewart added three hits and the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a four-game sweep of the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers with a 4-2 victory Thursday.

The Pirates have won 11 of 13 and moved within three games of the Brewers. Milwaukee has lost five straight.

Polanco hit a solo shot off Jimmy Nelson (8-5) in the fourth inning, his ninth homer. Stewart scored the go-ahead run in the fifth on a single by Josh Harrison.

Jameson Taillon (6-3) struck out a season-high eight in 51/3 innings. Felipe Rivero worked a perfect ninth for his ninth save.

It was 2-2 in the fifth when Stewart led off with a single and Taillon sacrificed. Harrison and Andrew McCutchen had RBI singles with two outs.

METS 3, CARDINALS 2: Cardinals pitcher Trevor Rosenthal was late covering first base on a two-out grounder by Jose Reyes that turned into a winning single in the ninth inning, lifting New York at home.

A leadoff walk and T.J. Rivera’s single put runners on the corners with two outs. Reyes then hit a grounder up the first-base line, and Matt Carpenter fielded it cleanly well behind the bag. Rosenthal (2-4) was slow to leave the mound, and the speedy Reyes easily beat him to the base with a headfirst dive.

Carpenter never even made a throw. Rosenthal hurdled Reyes as they crossed paths.

Reyes’ fourth career walkoff RBI gave the Mets a split of the four-game series.

DIAMONDBACKS 12, REDS 2: Jake Lamb hit a pair of three-run homers and Patrick Corbin pitched into the eighth inning, leading Arizona at Cincinnati.

Arizona stabilized itself by taking 2 of 3 in the series. The Diamondbacks had dropped 8 of 9 heading into the set, falling behind Colorado for the second NL wild-card spot.

Lamb homered in the first inning off Luis Castillo (1-3) and again in the ninth for a career-high six RBI.

Gregor Blanco and Ketel Marte added two-run shots for the Diamondbacks.

Scheduled starter Taijuan Walker was scratched after his wife, Heather, went into labor Thursday morning.


ORIOLES 9, RANGERS 7: Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones both homered and drove in three runs, and Baltimore rallied at home to complete a four-game sweep.

Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis also went deep for the Orioles, who trailed 5-1 in the fifth inning before coming back to hand Cole Hamels (4-1) his first loss in 10 starts this season.

Baltimore hit 10 home runs in the series and outscored Texas 34-11.

]]> 0, 20 Jul 2017 23:26:26 +0000
Sports Digest: Ole Miss football coach resigns Fri, 21 Jul 2017 02:10:57 +0000 COLLEGES

Freeze steps down as Mississippi football coach

Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure.

The school confirmed Freeze’s resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach.

The Rebels had a quick rise under Freeze, recruiting at a high level and reaching an apex with a Sugar Bowl victory over Oklahoma State following the 2015 season.

But an NCAA investigation – alleging 21 charges of academic, booster and recruiting misconduct – has overshadowed much of that success, especially over the past year. The school already has self-imposed several penalties, including a one-year postseason ban for the upcoming season.

Freeze – who was making more than $5 million per year – had a 39-25 record over five seasons, including a 19-21 mark in the Southeastern Conference.


TOUR DE FRANCE: French rider Warren Barguil triumphed on the barren slopes of the fearsome Col d’Izoard climb in the Alps, winning his second stage this year while Chris Froome held his overall race lead, putting him a step closer to his fourth Tour crown.

On the last day of climbing in the Alps, Froome lost two seconds to Romain Bardet, who moved up to second in the overall standings, relegating Rigoberto Uran of Colombia to third.

But Froome still leads Bardet by 23 seconds, a margin that the French rider is unlikely to close before the finish Sunday in Paris. The last opportunity is in a time trial Saturday, but Froome excels at that discipline.


GOLD CUP: Jamaica got an early goal from Shaun Francis and led the rest of the way, beating Canada 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Glendale, Arizona.

Jamaica will face Mexico or Honduras in the semifinals Sunday night in Pasadena, California.

MLS: The league will begin using video review for all matches Aug. 5.

MLS has been testing the system at matches throughout the first half of the season. The league announced that it will be implemented following the All-Star game in Chicago on Aug. 2.

All matches will now include a video assistant referee, who will be allowed to review video to confirm calls in four situations: goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Mexico striker Javier Hernandez is heading back to the Premier League with West Ham.

The London club said it has agreed to terms with German team Bayer Leverkusen for the transfer of Hernandez, who was at Manchester United from 2010 to 2015.


LPGA: Gerina Piller shot an 8-under 63 in the Marathon Classic at Sylvania, Ohio, to take a one-stroke lead over U.S. Women’s Open champion Sung Hyun Park and Peiyun Chien.


WNBA: Stefanie Dolson hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 13 seconds left and scored 15 points to help the Chicago Sky beat Los Angeles 82-80 for the Sparks’ first home loss of the season.


CROATIA OPEN: Rogerio Dutra Silva upset second-seeded Gael Monfils 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals in Umag, Croatia.

]]> 0, 20 Jul 2017 22:20:42 +0000
Sea Dogs hit five homers, rout Hartford 12-6 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 02:01:50 +0000 The American flag in center field was rarely still Thursday night, with a steady 11 mph breeze heading out of Hadlock Field.

The flag was blowing out. Soon the baseballs would follow.

The Sea Dogs hit five home runs and beat Hartford 12-6 before 5,417 at Hadlock.

Mike Olt, Jeremy Barfield, Danny Mars, Chad De La Guerra and Jordan Procyshen went deep for Portland, which improved to 44-50. Hartford dropped to 44-51.

Hartford Yard Goats outfielder Stephen Cardullo comes up short on a fly ball against the Portland Sea Dogs on Thursday. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Barfield slugged the longest homer, an estimated 430-foot shot over the message board in left-center.

“I don’t want any wind-aided home runs,” Barfield quipped. “The wind doesn’t hurt but you still have to hit it.”

Hartford swatted three home runs off Portland starter Elih Villanueva (4-3), but he contained the damage.

Yard Goats starter Parker French (7-8), who gave up four home runs the last time he faced Portland – in Hartford – allowed four more, lasting only 22/3 innings.

Elih Villanueva pitches for Portland Sea Dogs against the Hartford Yard Goats Thursday. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Villanueva looked in major trouble in the first inning. After giving up solo home runs to two of the first three batters, Max White and Drew Weeks, Hartford loaded the bases with three singles.

But Villanueva escaped with the first of his five strikeouts, and a groundout.

De La Guerra tied the game with a two-run blast in the first.

De La Guerra, who missed six days with a strained groin muscle, is batting .353 in 18 games with the Sea Dogs.

“He’s been good since Day 1,” Manager Carlos Febles said. “I like his swing. He keeps his bat in the zone.”

Portland took control with nine runs over the second and third innings.

Portland’s pitcher Elih Villanueva fields an infield ball and sets to throws out a Hartford runner. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Josh Smith followed Villanueva with three hitless innings of relief. Jake Cosart pitched a hitless ninth with three strikeouts for his sixth straight scoreless appearance.

NOTES: Because of a rainout, Friday’s schedule was changed to a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. Both games will be seven innings. … Saturday will feature a rehab appearance of left-handed pitcher Roenis Ellis for the 6 p.m. game. Ellis has been on the disabled list since spring training with a right oblique strain. Obtained from Seattle in the Wade Miley-for-Carson Smith deal in 2015, Elias pitched three games in Boston last year. … The Salem Red Sox announced that left-hander Dedgar Jimenez (10-3, 3.07) has been promoted to Portland. Jimenez, 21, has 93 strikeouts in 99 innings. The Sea Dogs did not confirm the news, but have TBA listed as Sunday’s starter. … With Rafael Devers promoted, Olt leads the Sea Dogs with 13 home runs. Barfield is second with 11. … Olt went 3 for 3 and is batting .396 (21 for 53) in July. … Mars has five home runs, more than his combined total from the past three seasons. … Hartford brought one of the top prospects in baseball, shortstop Brendan Rodgers, who was promoted from Class A last month. Rodgers, 20, was a first-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2015 ($5.5 million signing bonus) and is ranked the seventh-best overall prospect by Baseball America.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: @ClearTheBases


]]> 0 Olt, right, is greeted at home plate by Jeremy Barfield after Olt hit a three-run home run in the third inning of Thursday's game against Hartford at Hadlock Field in Portland. The Sea Dogs hit five home runs and won, 12-6. (Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)Thu, 20 Jul 2017 23:42:31 +0000
Major league notebook: Trade may help Tigers defensively in right field Fri, 21 Jul 2017 01:40:11 +0000 KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Detroit Tigers may be a better team this season without J.D. Martinez.

That seems preposterous, given that he was batting .305 with 16 home runs and 39 RBI in 57 games before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three infield prospects Tuesday.

But Martinez ranked as one of the worst defensive right fielders in baseball this season. According to FanGraphs, Martinez has a defensive runs above average value of minus-7.2. The only full-time right fielders rated worse in baseball are Hunter Renfroe of the Padres (minus-10.8) and Nick Markakis of the Braves (minus-10.7).

“We’re definitely going to miss the bat,” said Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus. “You’re not going to replace the bat. Now you can get a left-handed bat in the lineup but let’s be honest, J.D.’s right-handed bat against a righty is better than most left-handed bats against a righty. In that sense you’re not going to replace the offense.

“We probably will cover a little bit more ground in right field, but the offense won’t be replaced.”

Ausmus said the foot injury Martinez suffered to begin the season hampered him. “I thought the foot affected him this year for sure,” Ausmus said.

Andrew Romine got the start in right field Thursday against lefty Danny Duffy. Romine entered the game 0 for 3 lifetime against Duffy.

“Romine hasn’t played in a while,” Ausmus said, adding that Duffy was a “tough lefty.”

The Tigers started Jim Adduci in right in Wednesday’s 4-3 setback.

MARLINS-MARINERS: Miami traded right-hander David Phelps to Seattle for four prospects, including a highly regarded outfielder, Brayan Hernandez.

Also going to the Marlins are right-handed pitching prospects Pablo Lopez, Brandon Miller, and Lukas Schiraldi.

Phelps is 2-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 44 games and 47 innings this season, all out of the bullpen. He’s a six-year veteran with 64 career starts.

Hernandez, a 19-year-old Venezuelan, is batting .259 in 31 games in the minors this year. He’ll be assigned to short-season Class A Batavia.

The Mariners shored up their bullpen at the start of a 10-game homestand that begins against the New York Yankees and leads into the trade deadline.

After a 5-1 trip following the All-Star break, the Mariners are 48-48 and just behind the Yankees in the AL wild-card standings.

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Kuchar’s resume is missing a major win Fri, 21 Jul 2017 01:13:21 +0000 SOUTHPORT, England — The smile is still there, and so is the week-in, week-out consistency that has made Matt Kuchar a very rich man.

He’s also got an Olympic medal, though tellingly it’s not gold.

What’s missing are the wins, especially in the major championships that truly define a golfer’s career. He’s never won one, even while cashing enough top-10 checks to earn more than $40 million playing professional golf.

Kuchar, 39, took a first baby step toward changing that Thursday, shooting a 5-under-65 that got him into a three-way tie for the lead after the opening round of the British Open.

His history indicates his name probably will still be on the leaderboard Sunday. The odds are it may not still be on top.

“I always think you can judge a lot about a golf course by its leaderboard Sunday afternoon,” Kuchar said. “A Thursday afternoon, it’s Thursday. Sunday is the proper four-round test. So we’ll wait until Sunday and see what the leaderboard looks like.”

Kuchar took advantage of an afternoon tee time, when the sun came out and conditions became more favorable, to join Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka atop the leaderboard. He did it right out of the box, shooting a 29 on the front side and then parring every hole on the back at Royal Birkdale.

Kuchar was helped by a rare birdie on the brutal par-4 sixth hole that played to a 4.5 stroke average.

“Made an incredible birdie on the sixth hole, one of the hardest holes out here,” he said. “My goal on six wasn’t to tee off and make birdie. My goal was to kind of survive the sixth hole, however made a birdie. And I just kept plotting away.”

That’s a good strategy at Royal Birkdale, especially if the wind howls and the rain comes down sideways.

It’s a course Kuchar has some familiarity with, having played his first British Open here as an amateur in 1998.

He missed the cut that year, but already fans were talking about the kid with his father on the bag who smiled his way around the course.

The month before, fans sang “Happy Birthday” to him at the U.S. Open as he celebrated turning 20 with a 14th-place finish.

It seemed a good time to turn pro and Kuchar was thinking about leaving college to do so. But a chat with Payne Stewart at Birkdale helped convince him it was not the right path to take.

Now he’s in a position to make a good career – he’s won seven times on the PGA Tour and took the bronze medal in Rio – an even better one.

“I think everyone thinks, if I put the week together, it could be me at the end of the week holding the trophy,” he said. “I know I’ve been around a while, but I also feel like I’m in about the prime of my golfing career. I feel like I certainly have as good a chance as anybody.”

]]> 0 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:15:30 +0000
British Open notebook: Rahm manages to avoid penalty again Fri, 21 Jul 2017 01:09:14 +0000 SOUTHPORT, England — Jon Rahm thought he was moving a loose twig, didn’t realize he had violated a rule and eventually was cleared of a penalty Thursday in the opening round of the British Open.

It was the second straight tournament in which Rahm was caught up in a rules dispute.

This one came on the 17th hole when he was playing his second shot out of deep grass. Rahm noticed what he thought was a loose impediment to the right of his ball and went to move it.

But it was a vine growing just above the ground with thorns. Lee Westwood noticed and mentioned to Rahm that he was violating Rule 13-2 for improving the area of his intended swing.

The walking rules official was called over and after a brief discussion, Rahm was assessed a two-shot penalty.

That changed in the scoring area when Rahm, a 22-year-old Spaniard, met with David Rickman, the rules director.

“It would not have affected my swing unless I hit a 50-yard slice, which was not the case for any player in the world in that situation,” Rahm said.

Why move it if it wasn’t in the way of his swing? Rahm said it was a reflex because he thought it was a dead twig, similar to a player moving away leaves or other loose impediments as a visual distraction.

There was no video of the incident, and Westwood and Patrick Reed were not close enough to him to see for themselves. Rickman said he weighed the balance of facts and rescinded the penalty. The bogey became a birdie. Rahm’s 71 became a 69.

“At the end of the day, it’s not my call, honestly,” Rahm said. “I can describe what happened as honestly and truthfully as possible, as detailed as can happen. And they make the judgment call. It’s up to them. They did say it’s a very fine line. I would have been fine with whatever the rules official … they know the rules better than any of us and it’s their call.”

Two weeks ago at the Irish Open, Rahm avoided a two-shot penalty in the final round for replacing his ball incorrectly on the sixth green after the European Tour received emails and calls from TV viewers. Andy McFee, chief referee of the European Tour, said Rahm made a “reasonable judgment” after having moved his marker one putter head to the side to get it off the line of his playing partner.

Rahm won by six shots.

MARK O’MEARA was honored to be asked to be the first to tee off at the British Open because it will be his last time playing and he won at Royal Birkdale in 1998.

The honor quickly turned into mild embarrassment.

It was raining, and O’Meara had his left hand on the driver as he waved to the fans that filled the grandstand. He felt his grip slightly wet but figuring it wouldn’t be a problem, O’Meara took a swing. The ball shot to the right into the gorse, and O’Meara hit another tee shot. That one went into the pot bunker on the left. He wound up starting his final British Open with a quadruple-bogey 8.

He followed with another bogey into the wind. He made double bogey on the par-3 seventh. He was 9 over at the turn. O’Meara wound up with an 81, the highest score of the day. In his 109th round at the Open, it was only his third in the 80s.

“It’s not the end of the world. I realize kind of where I’m at in my life,” O’Meara said. “But you know, you still play for your pride. When I play like that, I don’t care who plays like that, they’re disappointed. And certainly I’m disappointed that I didn’t do better today.”

At age 60, O’Meara has reached the age limit for the Open. He got one last chance at Royal Birkdale, where he beat Brian Watt in a playoff in 1998 to add the claret jug to the green jacket he won earlier in the year at the Masters.

But it wasn’t his day, though O’Meara was happy to somewhat limit the damage.

“My day was toast after that first tee shot,” he said. “But I still had to play.”

PAUL CASEY is a cycling enthusiast at home in Arizona, and took it on the road to Italy two weeks ago.

Casey said he cycled 300 miles, which involved 3,700 feet of climbing, from Verona and up to Corvara. He was accompanied by his caddie, John McLaren, on the occasion of his 50th birthday.

“There was a lot of wine drinking going on, as well,” Casey said.

Casey has had a resurgence since he brought McLaren, known as “Johnny Long Socks,” on his bag. He hasn’t won yet, but he had two close calls in the FedEx Cup playoffs last year, losing out to great final rounds by Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.

It’s the majors that have his attention. He opened with a 66 on Thursday.

“When Johnny McLaren came on the bag, it was kind of a five-year bag to try and win one of these, win a major,” Casey said. “The Open has never been the one I’ve seem to have fared the best at, but I feel really good about this week. Don’t know why. Maybe I’m more in love with links golf than I was before. Certainly this course helps. I really like this course. Not putting that much pressure on myself, but very much wanting to win it.”

JUSTIN THOMAS had his “coat” and tie. Jason Day had his high tops.

Together they made a fashion statement at the British Open. More importantly, perhaps, both played well.

Thomas, wearing a Polo Golf cardigan and a loosely knotted tie, shot a 67 and was two strokes off the lead. Day shot 69 while wearing white Nike high-top shoes that stood out against his black pants wherever he walked.

“If you wear golf shoes with these pants, they don’t look that great,” Day said. “So they look all right with these shoes. I’m happy with them.”

]]> 0 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:14:53 +0000
NFL notebook: Welker regrets willingness to take big hits Fri, 21 Jul 2017 00:52:02 +0000 Former NFL wide receiver Wes Welker reportedly suffered at least six concussions during his career, but he said he’s not spending time worrying about his brain.

“I can’t sit here and worry about it; I don’t want to live my life that way,” Welker said Wednesday. “Is there a possibility (of long-term implications)? Maybe, I don’t know. We’ll have to see how everything kind of happens, I guess.

“I’m going to try to do everything I can to put myself in a position where I’m healthy and hopefully good. If I’m good, then great. At the same time, I’m not going to live my life worrying if my brain is going to explode at any second.”

Welker, 36, played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams during his 12 seasons in the NFL. He caught 903 passes for 9,924 yards with 50 touchdowns.

Welker’s best seasons were with the Patriots. He had at least 111 receptions and 1,150 receiving yards during five of his six seasons with the Patriots and led the NFL in receptions three times.

A slot receiver, Welker developed a reputation for catching passes in the middle of the field and absorbing hard hits. That style led to the concussions, a style Welker said he wished he would’ve altered when he was younger, now that he knows the possible long-term impact of those hits and his health.

“Do I wish, looking back, (that I) would have gone out of bounds or gotten down, earlier in my career especially? There’s always a warrior mentality, but trying to be smart about some of those things; I mean, yeah, I probably would have,” Welker told “When you don’t have any concussions and you’re just kind of going out there recklessly, you’re 20-something years old, you don’t think about it. You just go play.”

CARDINALS: Arizona re-signed nine-year NFL veteran Chris Johnson to a one-year contract.

The 31-year-old running back played only four games last season before a groin injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year.

He led the Cardinals in rushing in 2015 with 814 yards, but his playing time diminished with the emergence of All-Pro David Johnson.

CHIEFS: Kansas City signed its first-round draft pick, quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal would be for four years – the standard rookie contract.

Mahomes, who played at Texas Tech, is expected to back up Alex Smith. Smith is playing out the final year of his contract, and the Chiefs aren’t expected to re-sign him for 2018.

COWBOYS: Dallas is bringing back linebacker Justin Durant for a second season in his second stint with the team.

Durant, 31, played for the Cowboys in 2013-14 before going to Atlanta as a free agent for one year. He returned to the Cowboys last season, finishing with 54 tackles in a reserve role.

]]> 0, 20 Jul 2017 21:12:30 +0000
NBA notebook: Celtics sign Yabusele, Theis Fri, 21 Jul 2017 00:49:16 +0000 BOSTON — The Boston Celtics announced the signings Thursday of Guerschon Yabusele, a 2016 first-round draft pick, and Daniel Theis, an undrafted center from Germany.

Guerschon Yabusele

Yabusele, the No. 16 overall pick in 2016, played in China last season before joining the Maine Red Claws in late March. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound Frenchman averaged 20.9 points and 9.4 rebounds for the Shanghai Sharks, and 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in five playoff games for the Red Claws.

Theis, 25, averaged 9.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in the German League last season and was the league’s defensive player of the year.

Terms of the contracts weren’t disclosed.

HEAT: Udonis Haslem signed a one-year, $2.3 million deal to remain with the team for what will be his 15th season.

Haslem was already the longest-tenured player in franchise history, with all of his NBA seasons coming for his hometown team.

Among active players, only Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have spent the entirety of a career spanning at least 15 years with one franchise.

Haslem and Dwyane Wade are the only players who were on all three Heat championship teams – 2006, 2012 and 2013.

Haslem is extremely popular with the Miami fan base, and 150 children attending a Heat summer basketball camp erupted into cheers when it was announced there that he had re-signed.

Haslem, going into his 11th season as team captain, heard interest from other clubs this summer but said all along he wanted to be stay in Miami.

CAVALIERS: Looking to close the gap on the champion Golden State Warriors, Cleveland is in contract talks with free agent guard Derrick Rose, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

Rose, whose career has been sidetracked by injuries, could sign a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum.

Cleveland has salary cap issues and is limited in what it can offer Rose, who made $21.3 million while playing in 64 games for the New York Knicks last season. first reported the Cavs’ pursuit of Rose, 28. Other teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, are interested in him.

The Cavaliers signed free agent Jose Calderon last month as a backup to All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Rose, if healthy, would be a better option than the 34-year-old Calderon.

JAZZ: Utah signed big man Eric Griffin to a two-way contract.

The 6-foot-8, 205-pound center/forward played in Israel last season, averaging 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds.

]]> 0, ME - MARCH 23:Maine Red Claws vs Canton Charge. Guerschon Yabusele, recently signed by Maine, is greeted by players while watching the game. (Staff photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:09:30 +0000
Biddeford softball all-stars heading to yet another Little League Regional tournament Fri, 21 Jul 2017 00:24:56 +0000 BIDDEFORD — It’s the job of the coach in any sport to keep his players calm. But in the case of the Biddeford Little League softball 11-12 all-stars, that role might be reversed.

Biddeford has put together a mini-dynasty, with its 11-12 all-stars advancing to the Little League East Regional in Bristol, Connecticut, for the second consecutive year. It’s the third straight year that many of these girls have won a state championship.

“I’ve never had a group like this,” said Manager Andy Donovan. “This is probably the most relaxed I’ve ever coached in my 13 years and that’s because they know what to expect. I tell them not to get nervous, don’t get nervous. And they tell me not to get nervous. ‘We’ve got this.’ It’s pretty unique for them and for me.”

Biddeford won the Little League softball 11-12 state championship last weekend by beating Scarborough 3-1 in the title game. Biddeford will play Morrisville, Pennsylvania, at 8 p.m. Saturday in the first game of the double-elimination tournament. The regional has champions from 10 states, with the winner heading to the World Series in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 9-16.

Biddeford was 3-2 in the East Regional last year. In 2015, five of these players were on the 9-10 all-star team that won the state championship and advanced to the regionals in Pennsylvania. Those players have won four consecutive District 4 championships, their lone loss in Maine competition coming in the 2014 9-10 state championship game.

Lexi Libby, the outstanding defensive shortstop, said that success added a little pressure this year. “There were a lot of people who expected us to bring home another state championship,” she said.

And they did, relying heavily on the experience they’ve gained over these last four years.

“It’s the leading factor in our success,” said Donovan. “It almost was kind of seamless (this year) in the sense that many of the girls knew the positions they wanted, or expected, to play … They were coaching themselves. They called out the plays, they knew what to do. I was able to sit back and enjoy.”

It also helps to have pretty good players.

Charlotte Donovan has been a dominant pitcher, going 8-0 in the playoffs with a 1.40 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. She has 71 strikeouts in 43 innings and has pitched all but one inning for Biddeford.

She’s also a pretty good hitter, leading the team with a .741 batting average, one home run, 21 runs and 10 RBI. Hannah Gosselin is hitting .455 with nine RBI and seven runs, followed by Laura Perreault (.400, eight RBI, eight runs), Cheyenne Tardif (.350, six RBI and four runs) and Baylor Wilkinson (.333, seven RBI and five runs).

“These girls focus a lot on offense,” said Andy Donovan. “We hit daily and they look forward to it. As a result you better score a lot of runs against these girls or you’re in trouble.”

Biddeford outscored opponents 41-9 in the state tournament.

“This team is amazing,” said Charlotte Donovan. “We just want to go there and do our best. Hopefully we can go further this year.”

Wilkinson, the first baseman who drove in two runs in the state game, said the key to further success is pretty simple: “Hitting, pitching, fielding. Everything.”

And they’re confident they can get it done. Continued success does that to a team.

“We all just work together as a team,” said Perreault, the catcher. “We try our best. Always.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0 Biddeford Little League softball team carries the Maine banner to a regional again. Back, left to right: Hannah Gosselin, Savannah Petrin-Kendrick, Emilee Petrin-Kendrick, Grace Tardif, Kerri Scott, Vanessa Hale, Aliya Tingley, Lexi Libby, Cheyenne Tardif and Baylor Wilkinson. Front, left to right: Laura Perreault and Charlotte Donovan.Thu, 20 Jul 2017 20:40:01 +0000
Suspensions urged as a deterrent to biting in soccer Fri, 21 Jul 2017 00:11:55 +0000 PHILADELPHIA — Pushing and shoving? Of course. Pinching? Borderline. But biting? Retired stars Landon Donovan, Alexi Lalas and Steve McManaman said lengthy suspensions are needed to stop players from sinking their teeth into opponents, as El Salvadorans did Wednesday night against Americans Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez in the Gold Cup.

“In my hierarchy of things, it’s spitting at the top and then biting as a close second of the most vile, disgusting and to be quite honest ridiculous things to do on a sporting field,” Lalas said Thursday, after Altidore was bitten on the back of a shoulder by Henry Romero in the 57th minute of the Americans’ 2-0 quarterfinal win. Gonzalez was gnawed by El Salvador captain Darwin Cerin in the 81st.

Bites have become a meaty problem for soccer.

“The only way to put a stop to this is to have lengthy suspensions. I understand that people make bad decisions in the heat of the moment, but it can never be acceptable to bite an opponent,” said Donovan, like Lalas now an analyst for Fox Sports. “I would assume that CONCACAF will take a particularly hard stance given their insistence on the captains speaking before each game about the importance of acting in an appropriate manner and that ‘our children are watching.'”

Victor Montagliani, president of the Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Association Football, said a subset of the group’s disciplinary committee will examine the report from the match commissioner, Randolph Harris of Barbados, and share it with the involved federations along with other evidence. The subset group then will decide whether discipline is warranted.

Uruguay forward Luis Suarez was suspended three times for bites: seven Dutch league matches in 2010, 10 games in England in 2013, and four months and nine international matches in 2014.

“That set the precedent, and everything else will be longer than that,” predicted McManaman, a former Liverpool and England star who now is an analyst for ESPN and BT Sport. “It’s incredible. It’s been so unusual. We’ve had a raft of them in the last four to five years. Beforehand, you can’t remember anything like that going on.”

Romero also twisted Altidore’s nipple during the jostling ahead of a corner kick. While the Americans had stinging criticism for the behavior, Coach Bruce Arena said he couldn’t fault Canadian referee Drew Fischer, a Major League Soccer regular, for not noticing the incidents away from the ball ahead of restarts.

Retired Premier League referee Peter Walton, now general manager of the Professional Referee Organization that oversees on-field officials in the U.S. and Canada, said video technology can be a solution. FIFA experimented with Video Assistant Referees during this year’s Confederations Cup and Under-20 World Cup.

“Part of the protocol for the VAR is that they can identify serious missed incidents from the referee,” he said.

“Acts of violent conduct should be and ought to be picked up on VAR and then the information would be given to the referee to adjudicate.”

Walton said MLS referees have become more proactive to limit pushing and shoving.

“What you’ll find is players will try to circumvent the law, and if that means they bring in other acts of disrepute, then that’s maybe something officials need to be aware of,” he said.

Lalas said VAR would have changed Wednesday night’s game.

“This would have been seen and flagged, and the player would have been kicked out,” he said.

]]> 0 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 20:11:55 +0000
True, Keitany coming back to defend Beach to Beacon titles Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:57:19 +0000 Defending champions Ben True of North Yarmouth and Mary Keitany of Kenya will be back to defend their titles in the 20th TD Beach to Beacon 10K on Aug. 5 in Cape Elizabeth.

The elite fields, announced Thursday by race organizers, include three other former racewinners and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Last year, True became the first American to win Beach to Beacon, and Keitany broke the women’s course record with a time of 30 minutes, 45 seconds.

True’s likely challengers this year include the 2015 winner, Stephen Kosgei Kibet of Kenya, and another Kenyan, Stephen Sambu, who won the New York City Half Marathon in March. Sambu finished second behind True at the B.A.A. 5K in April when True broke his own American 5K road race record.

Will Geoghegan, a former Brunswick High star, also is returning for the first time since his eighth-place finish in 2015.

The women’s field includes three former winners – Keitany, Wude Ayalew of Ethiopia (2015) and Joyce Chepkirui of Kenya (2013) – as well as Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, the 2004 and 2012 Olympic champion at 5,000 meters.

In addition to her victory last year, Keitany won the New York City Marathon for the third straight year. This April, she won the London Marathon for the third time in 2:17:01 – the fastest women’s marathon ever without male pacesetters.

The top American women in this year’s Beach to Beacon field are Shalane Flanagan, an Olympic silver medalist who finished second in 2014, and Jordan Hasay, who placed fourth in 2014.

For the second straight year, the elite women will get a 12-minute head start before the rest of the 6,500-plus runners begin their journey to Fort Williams Park.

]]> 0 True, shown last August winning the Beach to Beacon 10K, set a new American record in the 5K on Saturday, winning the Boston Athletic Association 5K in 13 minutes, 20 seconds. (File photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:26:36 +0000
Blue Jays top Red Sox 8-6 to split grueling series Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:23:58 +0000 BOSTON — Steve Pearce blooped the ball to the edge of the outfield grass and Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt was there.

He planted his feet and raised his arm to catch it. But something wasn’t quite right.

Holt lost the ball in the sun Thursday, allowing it to glance off his glove for a two-run single that tied the game as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied from an early deficit to take the lead for good and hold off Boston, 8-6.

“As weakly as I hit it, I didn’t” expect it to fall, said Pearce, who had three hits. “When you put the ball in the air, sometimes (the fielder) just can’t do it. Day game, clear sky. It was a great time for it.”

Ryan Goins followed with a two-run single to give the Blue Jays the lead. Justin Smoak homered twice, but it was a 140-foot pop that turned things around and allowed Toronto to leave Boston with a split in the four-game series.

“I don’t care how hard it’s hit, it’s a two-RBI knock. Then Goins comes right behind me, keeps things rolling,” said Pearce, whose team lost nine of the first 10 games of the season and hasn’t been above fourth place. “We’ve had a lot of things going against us so it’s nice to finally have something go for us.”

Dustin Pedroia had three hits, including a three-run homer, while serving as designated hitter on a 90-degree day at the end of a grinding homestand. Including the 15-inning game Tuesday night with Toronto, the AL East-leading Red Sox played 76 innings in about 144 hours – the equivalent of 81/2 games in six days.

But it was the sun more than the heat that was the problem, especially for the right fielders and anyone else who tried to field a popup.

“During day games it’s always pretty bad for the right side of the field – second basemen, right field,” Holt said. “It was one of those balls that wasn’t really high enough where I could do anything to move myself and maneuver myself to get that out of the sun. … I tried to stay with it as long as I could and unfortunately couldn’t make the play. So that one’s on me.”

Dominic Leone (2-0) earned the win. Toronto starter Francisco Liriano got just five outs, allowing three runs in the second, but the Blue Jays came back with four in the third to take a 5-3 lead against Doug Fister (0-4).

Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

Smoak’s RBI single in the sixth gave Toronto a 7-3 lead, then Pedroia’s homer in the seventh made it a one-run game. Smoak added his second homer in the ninth. Mookie Betts had two hits and two RBI for Boston.

Liriano gave up three runs, two earned, five hits and a walk, striking out one. He gave up back-to-back doubles to Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon, and Betts scored two with a single to give Boston a 3-1 lead in the second.

But the Blue Jays came back with four in the third, when Fister walked four batters, and also gave up run-scoring singles to Pearce and Goins. Fister allowed six runs, seven hits and four walks, striking out three in 41/3 innings.

NOTES: Leon was hit in the left foot by Russell Martin’s foul tip in the fourth inning. The training staff came out to look at it, and the Boston catcher remained in the game. … Goins ended the fifth inning when he raised his bat to protect himself from an inside pitch and wound up grounding it back to reliever Fernando Abad. Home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman signaled a fair ball, Abad made the casual throw to first, and Hanley Ramirez, seemingly confused, paused before stepping on the base. Goins remained on his knees in the batter’s box, smiling, long after the other players cleared the field.

]]> 0 second baseman Brock Holt dives but can't make the potential inning-ending play on a single by Toronto's Steve Pearce in the third inning Thursday at Fenway Park in Boston. Two runs scored, then Blue Jays scored two more runs before the inning was over and went on to an 8-6 win. (Associated Press/Charles Krupa)Thu, 20 Jul 2017 20:35:30 +0000
Spieth, Koepka, Kuchar share lead at British Open Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:27:28 +0000 SOUTHPORT, England — The wind off the Irish Sea pushed away the rain clouds and bathed Royal Birkdale in sunshine, Stars and Stripes.

The British Open began Thursday with an All-American flavor.

Jordan Spieth, chomping away on gum as he watched one putt after another pour into the center of the cup, worked some bunker magic of his own late in the round to keep his card filled only with birdies and pars for a 5-under 65.

U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, with no competition and barely any practice since capturing his first major a month ago, ran off three straight birdies and holed a tough shot from a pot bunker for eagle on the par-5 17th hole for a 5-under 65.

Joining them was Matt Kuchar, who first endeared himself to these British fans as a 19-year-old amateur in 1998 at Royal Birkdale. Kuchar tied the course record with a 29 on the front nine, only to fall into a routine of pars the rest of the way. He still shot 65, his best score ever in a major.

They had a one-shot lead over Paul Casey and Charl Schwartzel on a day that started nasty and ended with 39 players breaking par. The biggest question after a long day on the links was what was in store for Friday, when high wind and occasional showers were in the forecast.

“I thought today’s round was extremely important, as they all are,” Spieth said, atop the leaderboard at a major for the first time since last year’s Masters. “But given the forecast coming in, I thought you really needed to be in the red today. You can certainly make up ground in a round tomorrow, and we’ll see it happen. But being able to kind of play with shots, or play a little more conservative because you don’t try to do too much on a day like tomorrow, that’s nice and very helpful.”

Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy fall into that category.

Johnson, the No. 1 player who hasn’t played the weekend at a major since the British Open last year, managed only one birdie on a decent day for scoring and shot 71. McIlroy also shot 71 and was relieved. Coming off three missed cuts in his last four events, he was 5 over through six holes when his caddie gave him a pep talk. McIlroy closed with three birdies over the last four holes to stay in the game.

Phil Mickelson failed to make a birdie, the first time that has happened in a major in five years, and shot 73.

Kuchar was the only one at 65 who played in the afternoon. The wind remained strong, though the course was manageable for everyone who stayed out of bunkers and deep grass and who holed putts.

“I watched some of the golf this morning on TV. It looked awfully challenging,” Kuchar said. “It looked like anything under par was going to be a good score. Seemed like the later your tee time, the better draw you got. … For me, to start my British Open with a 29 on the front nine is a great way to start.”

Charley Hoffman had the best start of all, holing out from the rough on the daunting opening hole for an eagle. He was poised to join the leaders when he reached 5 under with a birdie on the 15th, only to drop shots on the next two holes. Hoffman shot 69 and was in a group that included Ian Poulter and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson, who played with Spieth, had a 71. Stenson also played with Spieth the first two rounds of the 2015 Masters that the Texan won wire-to-wire and knew what to expect.

“He was rolling it superbly that week, and I don’t think it was that far behind today,” Stenson said.

But his best shot was with his feet in the sand. Spieth was in thick rough to the right of the 16th fairway when his shot crept into the back of a pot bunker. Not only was the ball on a slight slope, the rake marks left his ball between two ridges.

“This is dangerous,” he said to his caddie.

He aimed to the right of the hole to avoid it going off the green on the other side and into another bunker, and it came off perfectly about 10 feet away.

“That was awesome,” were his next words to his caddie.

He made the par putt – Spieth made a lot of putts on picked up a two-putt birdie on the 17th and narrowly missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the last. It was his best start in a major since he shot 66 at the Masters a year ago. Spieth rated it among the top five or six rounds he has ever played in a major, not bad for someone who came close to the Grand Slam two years ago.

“I couldn’t have done much better today,” he said.

Royal Birkdale was much more kind than it was nine years ago in raging wind and rain. The 146th Open began in cool temperatures, a light rain and a strong wind. Mark O’Meara, a winner at Royal Birkdale in 1998 who is playing in his last British Open, hit the opening tee shot.

And then he hit another one.

O’Meara’s first shot was lost in the gorse, he made a quadruple-bogey 8 and was on his way to an 81. His threesome required 18 shots to play that hole. But the weather settled down a few hours later, and the scorecards filled up with plenty of birdies and eagles.

Just not for McIlroy until late in the round, or Johnson and Mickelson all day.

“With the weather we’re expecting tomorrow, I still feel I’m in the golf tournament,” McIlroy said. “If I can go out and play a good, quality round of golf in the morning and try to get in the clubhouse somewhere around even par, under par, I’ll still be around for the weekend.”

]]> 0 Spieth plays off the fifth tee during the first round of the British Open Thursday at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:15:39 +0000
Here’s how to pitch a name for Portland’s new pro hockey team Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:12:35 +0000 Let’s get one thing straight about the contest to name Portland’s new minor league hockey franchise.

“The team name will not be Hockey McHockface or anything like that,” said Adam Goldberg, vice president of business operations for the ECHL franchise that’s scheduled to begin play at Cross Insurance Arena in October 2018. “We have some liberty in making sure the name is appropriate to the region and something we can take pride in.”

After announcing a contest to name the team Thursday morning on the floor of the arena, Goldberg joined half a dozen other speakers, all wearing ECHL hats and gripping hockey sticks, on a makeshift stage. He said it is important to seek public input for a franchise that will follow the Portland Pirates (1993-2016) and Maine Mariners (1977-1992), both members of the American Hockey League, which is considered a rung above the ECHL and one below the National Hockey League on the ladder of professional hockey.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what ideas people have for us,” he said. “I want to make sure it’s not some guy coming in and saying, ‘All right, here’s the team name,’ and shove it down their throats. This is a first step for showing the fans that they have a say right from the get-go.”

Fans can submit suggestions for the name at, the team’s website, by Aug. 14. Five finalists will be announced Aug. 17, followed by a popular vote.

“This is your hockey team,” Goldberg said. “We want a name that showcases the region, the hardworking people of Portland, and represents a competitive team on the ice. The name will show the spirit of the team that embraces its community, and one whose community embraces it in return.”

Entrants must be at least 18 years old and residents of Maine, New Hampshire or Massachusetts. The winner will receive four season tickets for the 2018-19 campaign and a team-signed jersey, and will take part in a ceremonial puck drop on Opening Night. Should there be multiple submissions of the winning name, a random drawing will determine the lucky fan.

Goldberg was one of six speakers at Thursday’s event, designed to introduce the new franchise’s management. The others were Paul Holmgren and Danny Briere of the Philadelphia Flyers (who will run the team), ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna, Cross Insurance Arena trustees Chair Mitch Berkowitz, City Manager Jon Jennings and CIA General Manager Matt Herpich.

Goldberg is the only employee of the new franchise who is now living in Maine – he just moved to Portland’s Back Cove from Connecticut, where he worked for the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. He grew up in New Jersey and went to college in Arizona, and has worked for several minor-league operations in baseball and hockey.


Comcast Spectacor, parent company of the Flyers, purchased the ECHL’s Alaska Aces with plans to move the troubled franchise to Maine to fill the void left by the Pirates, who were sold in May 2016 and relocated to Springfield, Massachusetts. Aces owners announced in February that they would fold their franchise because of mounting financial losses.

Spectra, a subsidiary of Comcast Spectacor, counts the arena formerly known as the Cumberland County Civic Center among the more than 300 public assembly facilities it operates in the United States, Canada and Singapore.

That synergy between arena and team management resulted in unanimous approval of the sale and relocation by the ECHL Board of Governors at its most recent meeting, according to McKenna. The league commissioner said he first discussed the possibility with Holmgren and Comcast Spectacor CEO Dave Scott in November.

“The more we got into those conversations,” McKenna said, “the more evident it was that they understood the market, they had an appreciation for the history and the tradition that’s here, going all the way back to the fact that the Flyers were affiliated with the Mariners back in the ’70s. And with their association with the building, they wanted to make sure it’s successful. Having a hockey tenant that’s committed for the long term, that’s part of the community, was very important to them.”

Holmgren asked several former Mariners for advice and support of the new franchise, and several showed up for Thursday’s press conference.

“We stick together,” said Frank Bathe, 62, who made a home in Scarborough after a 10-year playing career that included parts of three seasons with the Maine Mariners. “We’re very excited. This is a first-class organization and they’re going to do it the right way.”

Bathe said lowering ticket prices is an important step so that families can afford to come to games. The Pirates charged $18 for single-game seats in their final season.

“That’s something that we know is very important, so we’re taking our time with that,” Goldberg said of ticket prices. “We want to have a kids’ price. We want this to be a family-friendly environment, and the last thing we want to do is price out our fans.”


The team also announced that it will start accepting deposits for season tickets on Sept. 1 and will make every effort to allow former ticket-holders of the Pirates to keep their same seats. The team also plans to hire front-office staff and has posted openings for directors of ticket sales and marketing.

“We’re probably not going to hire a coach until April or May,” said Briere, 39, a former Flyers player now working as vice president of hockey operations. “Right now, it’s mostly about setting up the front office the right way and, I guess, repairing ties with the community. We want to do things right and let people know we’re here for the long haul.”

Holmgren, who declined to reveal the purchase price of the Alaska franchise, said building a roster will come later, as will an affiliation with an NHL parent club. The Flyers already have an ECHL affiliate, in nearby Reading, Pennsylvania.

“We’re willing to go it alone if we have to,” he said. “That’s another thing that’s tough to do now, because anybody who has an affiliation with a team now is not going to all of a sudden sidestep that deal they have.

“We’ll be patient. We’ll figure it out.”

The Boston Bruins, the NHL team closest to Portland, have an ECHL affiliation with the Atlanta Gladiators that began in 2015 and this winter was extended for two more seasons.

“Regardless of how we go,” Holmgren said, “we’ll have a good team here.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 from the ECHL and Cross Insurance Arena pose for a portrait with hockey gear after a news conference Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena, where they announced plans for the franchise.Thu, 20 Jul 2017 23:04:38 +0000
Dartmouth women’s swim team placed on probation for hazing incident Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:34:18 +0000 HANOVER, N.H. – The women’s swimming and diving team at Dartmouth College is on probation for telling first-year members to give sexualized PowerPoint presentations to teammates.

The team admitted violating the Ivy League school’s hazing policy during a winter-break training trip in December. According to school officials, neither drugs nor alcohol was involved, and no students were physically harmed. While police were informed, the case was not pursued as a criminal violation under state hazing laws.

“We hold our teams to high standards and our student-athletes understand their collective responsibility to the community,” said Harry Sheehy, director of Athletics and Recreation. “The members of the team have acknowledged that their behavior was unacceptable and that their actions have consequences.”

In addition to being placed on probation for a year by the college, the team will be required to participate in a series of educational and team development activities. Members will be allowed to train in the fall but won’t compete in three intercollegiate meets during the fall term. The team will resume its competition schedule in December, but will not be allowed to travel for training.

Hayley Winter, one of two co-captains of the team for the 2017-18 season, declined to comment Thursday.

In the last several years, Dartmouth has been implementing an ambitious plan to overhaul its campus culture to address problems such as high-risk drinking, sexual assault and a lack of inclusion of students who felt marginalized. The school had received nationwide attention for allegations of fraternity hazing and, like many other schools, was under intense scrutiny to address the intertwined problems of sexual assault and alcohol as students increasingly began speaking up and the federal government started cracking down.

]]> 0, 20 Jul 2017 20:38:57 +0000
Sports Digest: U.S. advances in Gold Cup soccer Thu, 20 Jul 2017 03:41:46 +0000 SOCCER

U.S. beats El Salvador in Gold Cup quarterfinals

Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj scored late in the first half Wednesday night and the United States beat El Salvador 2-0 in a Gold Cup quarterfinal at Philadelphia in which El Salvador defender Henry Romero appeared to bite Jozy Altidore on the back of a shoulder.

Canadian referee Drew Fischer, a Major League Soccer regular, didn’t penalize the incident, which occurred during a skirmish on the goal line in the 57th minute ahead of a U.S. corner kick. A furious Altidore fell to the ground but remained in the game.

The Americans, who started five veterans added for the tournament’s knockout phase, overcame shaky defensive play and poor passing, advancing to a semifinal Saturday night against Costa Rica at Arlington, Texas.


WINTER OLYMPICS: Players on American Hockey League contracts will be eligible to play in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

President and CEO David Andrews confirmed through a league spokesman that teams were informed they could loan players on AHL contracts to national teams for the purposes of participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics. The AHL sent a memo to its 30 clubs saying players could only be loaned for Olympic participation from Feb. 5-26.


NFL: Green Bay receiver Geronimo Allison was suspended without pay for the season opener against Seattle for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.


NBA: Aron Baynes, a 6-foot-10 Australian, signed with the Boston Celtics as a free agent.

Baynes played for the Pistons and Spurs, and has averaged 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in his career.

Manu Ginobili re-signed with San Antonio for a 16th season.

• Mario Chalmers signed with Memphis, nearly 11/2 years after he ruptured his right Achilles tendon playing for the team.


WIMBLEDON: The Tennis Integrity Unit said four matches at Wimbledon and the French Open were flagged for unusual betting patterns.

The TIU’s quarterly report says 53 match alerts were received from April to June out of a total of more than 31,000 pro matches.

Three were at Wimbledon – two in qualifying, one in the main draw – and one was at Roland Garros. Only four were at ATP or WTA tour events.

The TIU said that each alert is assessed but is not, on its own, evidence of match-fixing.

CROATIA OPEN: Top-seeded David Goffin, the 14th-ranked Belgian, marked his return from injury with a 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-2 victory over 174th-ranked qualifier Attila Balazs of Hungary in the second round.


FORMULA ONE: Motor sport’s governing body said the “halo” cockpit protection system will be used on Formula One cars from next year onward.

The FIA has been looking at ways to improve cockpit protection after French F1 driver Jules Bianchi died in July 2015 and British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died a month later.


TOUR DE FRANCE: Speeding downhill at 45 mph on unprotected Alpine roads, Tour de France rookie Primoz Roglic scaled the race’s highest peak and then barreled down the other side while holding off the competition on the famed Galibier climb to win Stage 17.

]]> 0 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:45:17 +0000
Major league roundup: Twins down Yankees Thu, 20 Jul 2017 03:07:41 +0000 MINNEAPOLIS — Miguel Sano hit a three-run home run, Jose Berrios went strong into the seventh inning and the Minnesota Twins beat New York 6-1 on Wednesday to win their first home series against the Yankees in nine years.

Berrios (9-3) allowed only one run, his fewest in 11 starts, on a two-out single by Brett Gardner in the seventh before being removed.

Berrios improved to 6-0 in seven afternoon turns this season and helped drop the Yankees to 0-8-2 in their past 10 series.

Zack Granite sparked a six-run surge by the Twins in the second inning against Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery (6-5) with a two-run single, his first major league RBI.

Eduardo Escobar tacked on an RBI single before Sano crushed an 0-2 curveball into the bullpen for a 6-0 lead. The All-Star has 23 homers this year.

ATHLETICS 7, RAYS 2: Sonny Gray struck out six pitching into the seventh in what might have been his final home start in Oakland if the club tries to deal him before the trade deadline, and the host Athletics rallied in the fifth inning to beat Tampa Bay.

Matt Joyce hit a towering homer to the right-field seats in the eighth for Oakland.

Rajai Davis doubled home Oakland’s first run in the fifth, then Joyce followed with a tying sacrifice fly before Davis scurried home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Gray (6-4) won his third straight start and fourth in five.

ORIOLES 10, RANGERS 2: Kevin Gausman pitched six innings of four-hit ball, Adam Jones homered and scored three runs, and Baltimore beat faltering Texas at home.

Trey Mancini contributed two hits in a seven-run seventh inning, including a bases-loaded triple, and Jonathan Schoop finished with three hits and three RBI.

Having thus far outscored Texas 25-4 in the series, the Orioles will attempt to complete a four-game sweep Thursday.

MARINERS 4, ASTROS 1: James Paxton had another strong start against host Houston and rookie Ben Gamel powered the offense with a two-run homer to give Seattle a win. Paxton (9-3) allowed six hits and one run in seven innings.


CUBS 8, BRAVES 2: Mike Montgomery hit his first home run, and allowed two hits and one run in six innings to lead streaking Chicago at Atlanta.

Javier Baez hit a three-run homer in the eighth for Chicago, which stretched its season-best winning streak to six games.

ROCKIES 18, PADRES 4: Nolan Arenado lined three homers as part of his five-hit afternoon and tied a career high with seven RBI, helping Colorado complete a three-game sweep at home.

Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon also homered.

PHILLIES 10, MARLINS 3: Daniel Nava tied a career high with four hits and Philadelphia had a season-best 20 hits to win at Miami. Nava singled in each of his first four at-bats and drove in two runs.

METS 7, CARDINALS 3: Staked to an early lead, Jacob deGrom pitched into the seventh inning and won his career-best seventh straight start as New York won at home.

PIRATES 3, BREWERS 2: Max Moroff got his first career game-ending hit with a single in the 10th inning, lifting host Pittsburgh over Milwaukee.


GIANTS 5, INDIANS 4: Buster Posey pinch hit a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning and San Francisco won at home.

The Indians lost for the sixth time in seven games and concluded a 1-5 West Coast trip.

]]> 0 starter Jose Berrios gives a thumbs-up as he leaves Wednesday's game against New York in the seventh inning after a stellar performance.Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:10:17 +0000
Wednesday’s local baseball: Mainers pull away for a 13-2 victory Thu, 20 Jul 2017 02:46:01 +0000 SANFORD — Colby Maiola drove in four runs Wednesday night to lead the Sanford Mainers to a 13-2 victory against the Upper Valley Nighthawks in a New England Collegiate Baseball League game at Goodall Park.

Maiola hit a two-run double in the second inning and went on to score to put the Mainers (13-20) ahead 5-0. He added a two-run homer in the sixth.

Shaine Hughes recorded three hits and three RBI for Sanford. Joseph Denison had two hits for Upper Valley (22-12).


SOUTH PORTLAND SWEEPS BRUNO’S RESTAURANT 3: Hunter Owen drove in five runs to lead South Portland (13-3) to an 11-3 win over Bruno’s Restaurant (11-6-1) in the first game of a doubleheader in Portland. South Portland also won the second game, 2-1.

In the opener, Donnie Tocci hit an RBI double and later scored on an error to put Bruno’s up 2-0 in the first inning. Tocci recorded three hits.

South Portland took a 4-2 lead in the third behind a three-run double by Owen. In the seventh, Owen and Gus Lappin hit two-run doubles in a seven-run inning.

In the second game, South Portland scored two early runs and held on.

Dan Mickiewicz hit an RBI single in the second inning and Gordon Whittemore added an RBI single in the third to put South Portland up 2-0.

Tocci scored on a wild pitch for Bruno’s in the seventh. Charlie Graffius took the loss, allowing 12 hits, two runs and no walks with two strikeouts.


PATRIOT INSURANCE 5, ON TARGET 4: Pete Stauber drove in the go-ahead run in the the sixth inning as Patriot Insurance (10-6) rallied past On Target (4-12) at Standish.

Trailing 2-0, Patriot Insurance tied it in the fifth on a two-run double by Drew Lashua.

On Target added two runs in the top of the sixth, and Patriot Insurance tied it in the bottom of the inning when a run scored on a pickoff attempt, followed by an RBI double by Connor Parent. Stauber singled in the go-ahead score.

Evan Roberts earned the win for Patriot Insurance, allowing three hits and two earned runs with three strikeouts in six innings.


SULLIVAN 5, OLD ORCHARD BEACH 3: Phillip Rowland pitched six strong innings to lead the Explorers (14-12) over the Surge (13-13) at Old Orchard Beach.

The Surge took a 2-0 lead in the first behind an RBI double by Jake Walters.

]]> 0 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 22:47:41 +0000
On baseball: Yankees made their move and Red Sox should answer Thu, 20 Jul 2017 02:23:06 +0000 This is going to be fun.

The Yankees are the Damn Yankees again.

For weeks there was speculation that White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier and maybe even reliever David Robertson would be traded to the Red Sox.

They got traded Tuesday night … to the Yankees. New York also picked up reliever Tommy Kahnle to give Boston’s nemesis a super bullpen.

How will Boston respond?

Grabbing Frazier, Robertson and Kahnle may not have the same impact as the Yankees outbidding or “outtrading” Boston in higher-profile deals. Remember Jose Contreras in 2003, Alex Rodriguez in 2004 and Carl Pavano in 2005? Do you also remember that none of those deals worked out, except for A-Rod helping win the 2009 title?

How did New York beat out Boston this time? It’s simple. New York has more prospects and could deal from its surplus – outfielders Blake Rutherford and Tito Polo, and pitcher Ian Clarkin.

The Yankees gave away Rutherford, 20, their first-round draft pick last year (18th overall), who received a $3.3 million signing bonus. Rutherford has potential but is only in low Class A, hitting .281/.777 with two home runs.

New York has a few outfielders for the future – rookie Aaron Judge, recently promoted prospect Clint Frazier and Dustin Fowler (out with a knee injury) are a solid foundation. Plus the Yankees never shy away from splashy free agents (a guy named Harper may be available after 2018).

Clarkin, 22, was a first-round pick in 2013 but has missed the last 1½ seasons with an injury. He’s in high Class A (2.62 ERA). He wasn’t considered a top prospect. Neither was Polo, 22. He was hitting .289 in high Class A and was promoted to Double-A two weeks ago.

Who did the White Sox want from Boston? According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, it would take top pitching prospect Jason Groome and third-base prospect Michael Chavis to get Frazier and Robertson.

That’s crazy talk.

Boston can’t afford to send top prospects for a two-month rental (Frazier) and a reliever under control through 2018 (Robertson).

The Red Sox system is thinner than New York’s. The Yankees were trading for prospects last year (quasi-rebuilding after not reaching the playoffs three of the last four years, and the one time resulting in a wild- card game loss), while Dave Dombrowski of Boston was trading prospects.

Want to complain that the Red Sox no longer have elite prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and Manuel Margot, along with five others whom Dombrowski dealt away in only two trades?

Without those deals, Boston doesn’t have Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel.

The three players Cashman grabbed Tuesday certainly will help New York, but Dombrowski has at least one or two moves to make to tweak his first-place team.

Third base and the bullpen could use a boost.

For third base, the temptation is to call up Rafael Devers, 20, who dominated in Portland and already is raking at Triple-A Pawtucket (.421/1.266, two home runs in five games). Devers should get a call-up in August, but he’s only as part of the solution. He certainly could lend some power, but Dombrowski has said he doesn’t want to put the pressure of a pennant race on the back of a 20-year-old.

Of available third baseman, Eduardo Nunez of the Giants, 30, may make the most sense, and reports say Boston is interested. Nunez, in the final year of his contract, isn’t a power guy (four home runs), but does bat .295. He plays several positions but mainly third (six errors in 43 games).

Nunez hits right-handers and left-handers equally, but could still platoon with Devers, easing the kid in. That way, everything doesn’t rely on Devers.

Another speculated option has been Jed Lowrie of Oakland (and originally, Boston). Lowrie, 33, is hitting .267/.780 with 10 home runs. He hasn’t played third base since 2015 but is capable. A switch hitter, Lowrie is much better left-handed (.812 OPS/nine homers) than batting right (.650/one). A platoon with Devers wouldn’t work as much. Plus there’s the concern of injury. Lowrie has played over 100 games in only two seasons.

For the bullpen, a lot of arms are still available, depending on the price. Phillies right-hander and pending free agent Pat Neshek remains an obvious target. Other names being tossed about: right-hander David Phelps (Marlins), and left-handers Justin Wilson (Tigers) and Brad Hand (Padres). Hand, an All-Star, isn’t a free agent until 2020. He won’t be cheap.

Dombrowski has a good team now. He’s put on the poker face, acting as if a deal doesn’t have to be made. But now that the Pinstripes are back in contention – and obviously mean business – look for Boston to deal.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

]]> 0 Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski is impressed by the Portland Sea Dogs' bullpen.Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:48:11 +0000
Pomeranz, Pedroia pave way for 5-1 Sox win Thu, 20 Jul 2017 02:17:10 +0000 BOSTON — When Drew Pomeranz has been on the mound this season, it’s usually meant good things for the Boston Red Sox.

Pomeranz pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning, Dustin Pedroia drove in three and the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 on Wednesday night.

Pomeranz (10-4) allowed an unearned run over 62/3 innings to win his fourth straight decision and continues to be among Boston’s most dependable arms. He hasn’t lost since June 11, and the Red Sox are 9-3 in his past 12 starts. His ERA over the stretch is 2.62, dropping it from 5.29 to 3.51 for the season.

“I feel really good with all my pitches on both sides of the plate, which is something I really haven’t had before,” Pomeranz said.

Pedroia and Deven Marrero each had two-run singles with two outs in the second inning to provide all the offense the Red Sox needed. Pedroia has six RBI in the series, which concludes Thursday.

Pomeranz said being healthy has been a factor in his run of quality starts. He acknowledged he felt good, but not great in spring training as he struggled with his mechanics. Since then, he’s found a rhythm.

Aaron Sanchez (1-3) gave up five runs, six hits and five walks in four innings. It ended his four-game winning streak against Boston. Pitching in just his third game off the disabled list for a blister issue on his middle finger, the same problem contributed to his early exit Wednesday.

“It’s one of those things,” Sanchez said. “You take a step forward, you think you’re past it and you’re right back to step one.”

A baserunning error early in the second almost derailed Boston’s big inning. Chris Young led off with a double, and Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a single. After Bradley stole second, Christian Vazquez hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Justin Smoak. He stepped on the bag for the out, and then caught Young hung up between third and home.

Young was tagged out after a brief rundown for the double play, but Brock Holt walked to keep the inning alive.

While Pedroia was hot at the plate, his streak of 114 games without a fielding error ended when he tried to backhand a groundball by Darwin Barney in the fifth inning. The streak was a club record for a second baseman. His last error was Aug. 9, 2016 at Detroit.

NOTES: Red Sox Manager John Farrell said he plans to combat a recent run of hot days and long games the same way he handled a similar stretch a year ago. It starts with limiting the pregame workload and sun exposure, which included bypassing outdoor batting practice Wednesday. The Red Sox may even restrict player access to the clubhouse during the hottest part of the day. “We went through that last year. I thought it paid dividends, the 2-4 weeks following that stint,” Farrell said. “And that’s about the take place again.” … SS Xander Bogaerts (right hand) took pregame ground balls and Farrell is hopeful he can be back in the lineup Thursday. He was a late scratch Tuesday and had an MRI on the hand, which has bothered him since he was hit by a pitch July 6.

]]> 0 Sox starter Drew Pomeranz is congratulated in the dugout after being taken out of the game in the seventh inning Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Pomeranz pitched 6 innings and did not allow an earned run to win his 10th game.Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:24:59 +0000
Analysis: Offseason moves put Celtics in good spot Thu, 20 Jul 2017 02:08:32 +0000 Boston needed to make some quality moves, and succeeded with the free-agent acquisition of Gordon Hayward.

After a frenetic few weeks, the NBA offseason has mostly closed. With a few exceptions – most notably Pau Gasol, who will officially return to the San Antonio Spurs sometime in the next few weeks, veteran guards Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and Monta Ellis, and a few restricted free agents – teams have largely completed their summer shopping, and executives are beginning long-awaited summer vacations before league business restarts after Labor Day.

So now is a good time to look back at what has happened and see who the winners and losers were from this NBA offseason, one that’s had plenty of player movement, intrigue and drama.


Boston Celtics: The Celtics entered this offseason needing to strike big in free agency. With several players set to have cost-controlled deals expire next summer, Boston had one final chance to hit it big on the open market. And by landing Gordon Hayward, the Celtics now have acquired an all-star in consecutive summers, since Al Horford also signed with them last July.

Boston still has work to do, with Isaiah Thomas’s free agency looming, the lack of a shooting guard on the roster and a collection of combo forwards still to sift through. But the Celtics have talent, and more of it coming in the form of several future high draft picks, making both the present and the future bright in Beantown.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Three weeks ago, it wasn’t clear that Russell Westbrook would still be part of this team come mid-July. After accepting the 2017 MVP award at the NBA’s inaugural awards show in late June, Westbrook wouldn’t say he would sign an extension this month – and, if he wouldn’t, it would’ve been hard for Oklahoma City to go into next season with the possibility of losing him next summer for nothing.

So while Westbrook still hasn’t signed that extension, trading for Paul George, landing Patrick Patterson and retaining Andre Roberson has reestablished Oklahoma City as a contender in the West, and George gives the Thunder the second superstar they needed to fill the gap left by Kevin Durant’s departure last summer. The Thunder now have 12 months to convince Westbrook and George to stick around before they hit free agency next summer. If they don’t, Oklahoma City can start over with a clean cap sheet and rebuild through the draft.

Chris Paul could launch the Rockets toward better times, having just been traded to Houston by the Los Angeles Clippers. Associated Press/Darren Abate

Houston Rockets: After the Golden State Warriors won the championship, Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey told an ESPN reporter that teams would have to increase their risk profile to compete with Golden State. Morey followed through on those words by landing Chris Paul in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for a package of players, then re-signed Nene and added depth pieces P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute to fill out the roster.

Morey still would love to add Carmelo Anthony, which could make things in Houston volatile, given his prior issues with Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni in New York. But Morey deserves credit for swinging for the fences and avoiding standing pat with a good team when everyone would’ve understood why he might have done so.

Jimmy Butler can point the Timberwolves to continued improvement, having arrived in a trade from the Bulls. Associated Press/Charles Krupa

Minnesota Timberwolves: When Tom Thibodeau was given the dual roles of coach and president of the Timberwolves, many expected he would rush headlong into shortsighted moves that would cripple the franchise. Instead, he has been prudent in his management of the team’s roster, and this summer he turned Minnesota into a potential force in the Western Conference.

Thibodeau landed Jimmy Butler in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, then signed point guard Jeff Teague and power forward Taj Gibson to reasonable, short-term contracts. He added even more offensive punch with Jamal Crawford. Those moves, along with young building blocks Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, should allow Minnesota to do something it’s never done: make the playoffs without Kevin Garnett on its roster.

Golden State Warriors: Golden State could’ve gotten a spot on this list simply for re-signing Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, ensuring the Warriors will be the favorites next season to win a second straight title – and third in four years. But in addition to keeping its stars, Golden State managed to improve at every spot on the roster.

Intriguing rookie Jordan Bell replaced James Michael McAdoo. Omri Casspi replaced Matt Barnes. Nick Young replaced Ian Clark. In all three instances, Golden State got a better and more versatile player than who they were replacing. Not bad for an already-loaded team.


New York Knicks: How could the Knicks not be on this list? Phil Jackson spent the first part of the offseason trashing the team’s two best players, Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, before exiting after the draft. He didn’t leave soon enough, however, as the Knicks drafted a player (Frank Ntilikina) who fits Jackson’s triangle offense over a more-talented player (Dennis Smith Jr.) who doesn’t.

Then, after Jackson left, the Knicks threw a four-year, $71 million offer sheet at Tim Hardaway Jr., who Jackson, in one of the few good moves of his tenure, had traded away three years earlier. The Atlanta Hawks, Hardaway’s former team, didn’t match the offer, leaving the Knicks with the worst contract of the summer for a second straight year and a point guard rotation of Ntilikina and Ron Baker. Now they want to trade Anthony, but might not be able to. As always, chaos reigns at Madison Square Garden.

Utah Jazz: Utah spent the past few years patiently building through the draft. Last season, it won 51 games and advanced to the second round for the first time this decade. It seemed like things had finally turned, and the Jazz would be a good team.

Then Gordon Hayward left in free agency, dealing Utah a crushing blow. Yes, the Jazz have a great front office led by Dennis Lindsey, an excellent coach in Quin Snyder and a terrific defensive center in Rudy Gobert. But this team will struggle to make the playoffs in the brutally tough Western Conference, and if it couldn’t keep Hayward past a second contract, how can it feel confident anyone will stay long term?

Los Angeles Clippers: This offseason was supposed to be a chance at a reset. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin set to become unrestricted free agents, Los Angeles could either keep its stars together, continuing the best stretch in franchise history, or blow things up and start over.

Instead, the Clippers did neither. Once Paul left in a trade before free agency (which admittedly got Los Angeles a nice haul in return), the Clippers gave a gigantic contract to Griffin, a wonderful talent but someone who hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Then they lavished a $20 million annual contract on Danilo Gallinari – another talented player who hasn’t been able to stay healthy and who plays the same position as Griffin. The Clippers have talent, but they also don’t seem to have much of a direction, and they now their cap sheet is tied up.

Restricted free agents: It hasn’t been a good summer to be a restricted free agent. Otto Porter Jr. got a max contract from the Washington Wizards, Hardaway got his outsized offer sheet from the Knicks, and Joe Ingles picked up a nice four-year, $52 million deal from the Jazz.

That’s the end of the restricted free agency success stories.

Some players, such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jonathan Simmons and Bojan Bogdanovic, were renounced and agreed to lesser deals than anticipated after becoming unrestricted free agents. Others, such as Nikola Mirotic, Mason Plumlee and Nerlens Noel, remain stuck in limbo, waiting for agreements while having no leverage to force their current team into giving them one. All of them are feeling the pinch of a shrinking cap environment.

Big men and older players: As every NBA team is looking to play smaller and faster, there is a glut of big men who can’t find jobs – or, if they can find them, aren’t getting the dollars and years expected. The same goes for teams trying to trade players, with centers Greg Monroe, Jonas Valanciunas, Enes Kanter and Nikola Vucevic all on contracts their teams would like to move but can’t – despite all of them being solid contributors.

Older players, meanwhile, also felt the squeeze. Kyle Lowry signed only a three-year deal. Paul Millsap signed for only two, plus a team option. Veteran guards such as Rose, Williams and Ellis remain on the market with seemingly little interest. With money drying up, teams are choosing to go both smaller and younger – and the result is older players getting priced out of the market.

]]> 0're not there yet, but Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics are improving each year. Last summer it was the acquisition of Al Horford and this summer Gordon Hayward, setting the team up to make a run at the finals.Wed, 19 Jul 2017 22:13:39 +0000
Major League notebook: Sandoval returning to Giants Thu, 20 Jul 2017 01:42:22 +0000 SAN FRANCISCO — The prodigal Panda is reportedly returning to the San Francisco Giants.

Hours after the Red Sox placed Pablo Sandoval on unconditional release waivers, the third baseman reached an understanding with his former team on a minor league contract, according to multiple reports.

Sandoval is expected to report to Triple-A Sacramento in an attempt to work his way back to the team where he starred for six seasons and won the 2012 World Series MVP award.

Giants GM Bobby Evans said that the reports weren’t accurate because Sandoval hadn’t cleared release waivers; claiming Sandoval on waivers would mean a team assuming the roughly $49.5 million left on his contract.

But while teams cannot make offers until Sandoval is a free agent, they are allowed to express interest.

Sources close to Sandoval have been quoted as saying that he would “love” to return to the Giants.

CUBS: The team believes Kris Bryant won’t miss a prolonged period of time after he suffered a sprained left little finger that forced him to leave the game against Atlanta.

The Cubs said X-rays on Bryant were negative. His status is day to day and he’ll be monitored.


DIAMONDBACKS: Outfielder J.D. Martinez hurt his left hand while striking out, forcing him out of his debut with Arizona.

Martinez was hit on the side of the left hand while swinging at a two-strike pitch from Tim Adleman of Cincinnati in the fourth inning. Martinez’s hand was shaking as it was examined. Since the ball hit only his hand during the swing, the at-bat ended in a strikeout.

Martinez left for a defensive replacement in the bottom of the inning. X-rays were negative.

]]> 0, 19 Jul 2017 22:24:55 +0000
Quick ruling expected on O.J. Simpson by parole board Thu, 20 Jul 2017 01:13:30 +0000 The next step in the O.J. Simpson saga seems destined to proceed smoothly and without controversy Thursday when the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners meets to consider his fate.

Simpson is eligible for parole after serving the mandatory nine years of a 33-year sentence for armed robbery, and the largely administrative hearing is expected to draw ESPN, Fox, NBC and CNN, and other outlets for live coverage in Carson City.

Although the media crush will be considerably smaller, some faces will be familiar to those who remember his 1995 trial and acquittal for two murders, or saw the recent documentary and miniseries on the trial of the century.

Chris Darden, one of the prosecutors during that trial, will provide analysis for NBC, and Mark Fuhrman, the former police officer whose testimony about racist statements was discredited during the trial, will be on the air for Fox.

During the proceeding, four state commissioners will question Prisoner No. 1027820, who will be about 100 miles away in Lovelock Correctional Center, via video conference. Neither of the victims of the crimes for which Simpson was convicted in 2008 nor prosecutors are expected to oppose his parole. “He’s been a model inmate,” his former lawyer, Yale Galanter, told the New York Daily News. “He’s had no write-ups, no disciplinary issues. By all accounts he’s totally abided by the rules.”

The hearing is largely procedural and the parole board, in an effort to limit the circus, plans to take the unusual step of issuing its ruling quickly Thursday. Ordinarily it can take weeks for a decision.

“The media interest in this one case is a disruption to our operation,” it said in a statement. “A decision is being made at the time of the hearing so that the board’s operation can return to normal as soon as possible after the hearing.”

Simpson, who could be freed by October, turned 70 earlier this month and since his imprisonment, his public sightings have been limited to courtroom appearances. The most recent, in 2013, was jarring, showing a bloated, overweight man in the blue garb of prison, a former athlete and actor who surprised by aging while people weren’t looking.

Thursday, cameras will show a man who reportedly is about 70 pounds lighter and more fit than during that 2013 hearing.

“He’s in the best shape I’ve seen him,” Tom Scotto, a longtime friend, told USA Today. “He lost a ton of weight. He looks like he’s 50. He just turned 70 and he doesn’t look anywhere near 70.”

In prison, Simpson coached football and played a little softball. Many of the guards called him “Nordberg,” the name of the cop he played in the “Naked Gun” movies.

If parole is granted, he’s ready to resume another sport he couldn’t pursue in prison, according to Scotto.

“He says, ‘Tell them we’ll be playing golf again soon,’ ” Scotto said, describing a conversation with Simpson for USA Today. “He just says, ‘We’ll be together again, my life will go back to normal.’ He’s very positive. He’s always been positive.”

If only it were that easy.

The world to which Simpson is expected to return has changed. Although “O.J.: Made in America” and American Crime Story’s “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” brought his trial for the murders of his former wife, Nicole, and Ron Goldman to a new audience, nearly 22 years have passed since his acquittal.

His children with Nicole are nearly 29 and 32; his children from his first marriage are 48 and 47. The Juice, who was found liable in a civil trial for their deaths, was imprisoned after being convicted of charges stemming from a 2007 botched operation in which he tried to reclaim memorabilia in Las Vegas.

He may dream of a carefree life, but acceptance may not come easily for a man whose murder trial was recounted in two of the most widely viewed TV events in the last 18 months.

Although both television treatments sought to put the trial into the context of the times in Los Angeles, there has never been an easy conclusion about his innocence, and 2016 research by The Washington Post found that opinion about whether Simpson had committed murder still breaks down along racial lines, but the divide has narrowed.

Attitudes toward domestic violence perpetrated by athletes also has changed. Domestic violence by athletes is taken more seriously – and at times punished – by leagues such as the NFL. Part of Simpson’s murder trial centered on photos of his bruised ex-wife and her 911 calls to police. But if those attitudes have changed in America, the notion of second chances has not. And Simpson’s would be the ultimate redemption story.

Scotto said his friend won’t be poor, although Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million to the families of his ex-wife and Goldman, and has legal fees of $2 million-$3 million from his 2008 trial. Simpson has a personal pension in which he invested $5 million years ago, a Screen Actors Guild pension from his acting and producing days, and a $1,700 monthly NFL pension, according to Scotto.

“He’ll be OK,” Scotto told USA Today. “He’s not going to be poor. He’ll survive. He’ll be able to get his own place. He just needs to adjust. Ten years is a long time to be away.”

Scotto said Simpson plans to move in with him in Florida before buying a house or moving in with his sister in Sacramento, California.

Either way, golf is on his agenda. The man who became the butt of jokes speculating that he was looking for the killer or killers of Nicole and Goldman on golf courses may find that the 1995 trial remains part of his identity. Scotto recalled that the infamous bloody glove found at the scene – a key piece of evidence that prompted Simpson’s lawyer, Johnny Cochran, to say, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” – remains part of the lore, too.

“I’ll tell you something really funny. You know you wear a glove on the course. And all of his friends, any time he drops the glove, they say, ‘Oops, you did it again.’ “

]]> 0 Simpson could be on a golf course within months if things fall his way. A parole board is expected to make a release decision Thursday. Simpson was jailed in 2007 on charges following a botched attempt to regain memorabilia.Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:22:23 +0000
U.S. Olympian passes field hockey knowledge to local athletes and coaches Thu, 20 Jul 2017 00:29:40 +0000 SCARBOROUGH — Field hockey drills over, about two dozen players gathered at midfield to give their instructor, Katie Bam, some … dance lessons?

Sure enough, as music blared in the background, Biddeford High junior Paige Laverriere showed Bam a couple of moves. When Bam caught on and joined in, everyone applauded.

“See, she’s just a normal person,” said Kerry Mariello, the Scarborough High field hockey coach. “She’s got a great personality and the girls have been captivated by that.”

But to many of the players, the 28-year-old Bam is the face of U.S. field hockey.

“She’s just so incredible,” said Rachel Paradis, a Scarborough senior. “I was really nervous at first to come. I thought it was going to be really intense because she’s such a well-known player. I was afraid that it was going to be intimidating a little bit. But they’re so relaxed. They make it so much fun so you can really focus and get a lot of work done, and you learn so much more.”

A 12-year veteran of Team USA and two-time Olympian, Bam has been conducting a three-day clinic at Scarborough’s turf field that ends Thursday.

Bam and her crew – husband Marvin Bam (a former Olympic field hockey player from South Africa), University of Maryland senior Brooke Adler and goalie coach Samantha Rumler – are not only conducting drills but participating in them to give hands-on experience.

About 25 players paid the $300 fee to learn the tiniest skills – such as passing to the right foot of your teammate to put her in a better position to receive the ball – that could provide an edge.

“I play for a lot of clubs and I thought I knew everything about field hockey,” said Hailey Allen, a Biddeford High junior who plays year-round. “But I guess not.”

And it’s not just the players. After Bam explained one tip to the players, Biddeford Coach Caitlin Albert said, “Why haven’t I ever thought of that?”

Allen and Albert are responsible for bringing Bam to Maine. Last November, Bam posted a message on social media that she was looking for six sites to hold clinics. All you had to do was convince her why your town should be one. Allen saw it and contacted Albert, who emailed Bam.

“Caitlin sent me a very convincing email,” Bam said. “She stated that they’re trying to grow the sport here in Maine and that the kids are actually pretty good. And that they really wanted us here. Their eagerness just poured through the email and I honestly want to go where I’m wanted, where people are excited to have you and eager to learn. I knew this camp was going to be great.”

Maine field hockey has been steadily improving. Ten players from last fall will play the sport at NCAA Division I or II schools. In the last five years, 25 members of the Maine Majestix field hockey club have earned Division I scholarships.

This is the final camp of the summer for Bam, who in January accepted a position as an assistant coach at Maryland, where she was a four-time All-American. Bam grew up in Pennsylvania, long regarded as a hotbed of field hockey – eight members of the current 25-member U.S. national team are from Pennsylvania.

Bam has competed in 222 international contests for Team USA, including the 2012 London Olympics (where the U.S. finished 12th) and the 2016 Rio Olympics (fifth place). Those 2016 Olympic Games remain her most memorable.

“I just feel like our team clicked and personally I had a good performance,” she said. “Just to do so well after doing so poorly in the 2012 Olympics … It was amazing to see the growth.”

Now, she said, she’s contemplating retirement to go into coaching. “I absolutely love coaching,” said Bam, who was an assistant at Harvard in 2016. “I love that moment when the kids see the light bulb, that ‘ah-ha’ moment, and then watching them doing it on the field. And then they look at you and say, ‘Did you see what I just did?’ That’s the best feeling you can imagine.”

She coaches the way she plays and expects the players to understand. “What I’m teaching and thinking in my head is exactly what they should be thinking about doing at this level,” said Bam.

And Bam doesn’t just explain things to her players, she plays against them in drills. “It was an honor for sure,” said Scarborough’s Paradis, who tried to defend Bam. “Their skill level is mind-blowing. It’s crazy to play against her.”

Paradis and others have kept notebooks to retain some of the skills Bam is teaching them.

“It’s all been well worth it to me,” she said.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0 Bam, who has been a key member of the past two Olympic field hockey teams for the United States, demonstrates a drill Wednesday to players from Scarborough, Biddeford, Saco and South Portland on the second day of a a three-day clinic at Scarborough High.Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:04:15 +0000
With British Open about to begin, Rory remains in the rough Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:58:26 +0000 SOUTHPORT, England — Just three years ago, Rory McIlroy was the best player in the world without a trace of argument.

He won the final two majors of the year, with a World Golf Championship title in between. He had reason to believe his reign would last as long as he wanted it to.

Now he’s simply trying to get back into the conversation.

The starkest reminder of the state of his game was not so much missing three cuts in his last four tournaments. It was being told on the eve of the British Open that the bookies listed him at 20-1 to win at Royal Birkdale.

“Good time to back me,” McIlroy said. “I mean, look, if I was a betting company and I saw my form over the past few weeks, yeah, that’s probably a fair enough price. But again, all it takes is one week for those odds to go back.”

He has been through these mini-slumps more than once in the 10 years since he first played the British Open at Carnoustie. McIlroy missed four of five cuts in 2012, including his title defense in the U.S. Open, and ended the summer by winning the PGA Championship to return to No. 1 in the world.

This one has been the most aggravating. It involves injury.

The hairline rib fracture he suffered in January during the South African Open is no longer an issue, but it forced him to sit out nearly two months, and then he played only once in two months between the Masters and the U.S. Open in part because it was acting up.

It all led to what McIlroy describes as a start-and-stop year, one that to this point doesn’t include a trophy.

“But I’m in good spirits,” McIlroy said. “I feel like it’s all coming together. I’m just waiting for that round or that moment or that week where it sort of clicks and I’ll be off and running. I’ve had little periods like this before in my career, and I’ve been able to bounce back from them. I’d say I was in worse positions than this. I feel like my game … the pieces are all there, it’s just about trying to fit them together.”

As for his odds?

That speaks to a broader picture of the 146th edition of the British Open, which starts Thursday at Royal Birkdale. Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, and Jordan Spieth have taken turns as the favorite by the bookies. Right behind them is Jon Rahm, the dynamic 22-year-old from Spain who already has won twice this year. Masters champion Sergio Garcia is right up there.

There is no clear favorite.

There is no clear plot that is any different from the previous few majors, except for the U.S. Open held on a new course in Wisconsin.

Johnson was close to being a dominant figure when he won three straight tournaments against the strongest fields of the year at the time, and then he slipped down the stairs on the eve of the Masters, wrenched his back and didn’t swing a club for a month.

Jason Day ended last year at No. 1 in the world, and then found himself emotionally wrapped up in tending to his mother, who was diagnosed with lung cancer.

McIlroy wouldn’t have seen this coming at the end of last year when he won the FedEx Cup.

“But these things sort of crop up out of nowhere and they challenge us,” he said.

Maybe it’s one shot, one round, one week to get that spark. That’s what Johnson is looking for since his return from back injury.

“It’s taken me a long time to get everything back to feeling where it was,” Johnson said. “I’m trying to get back to that point. It’s definitely a lot harder.”

When he won the British Open down the coast at Royal Liverpool in 2014, McIlroy mentioned an adage he first heard from Tom Weiskopf. When a player is going well, he can’t imagine what it was like to play poorly. And when he’s playing badly, he can’t imagine what it was like to play great.

So where is he now?

“I feel like I can hit the ball in the fairway, and from there I can hit the ball on the green,” McIlroy said. “And if I get my line, I can put the ball in the hole from there. So it’s not bad. It’s not as if I can’t see myself shooting a good score. It’s all there. It’s just a matter of putting it all together.”

He has slipped so far from dominance – McIlroy hasn’t been at No. 1 since September 2015 – that he could win the next two majors and still probably not reach Johnson at the top of the ranking.

His odds would certainly get better, just like when he was the favorite at just about every major. He still remembers those days.

“When you ride on the crest of a wave, it’s easy to get caught up with those expectations and you start believing them,” he said. “When I won those three tournaments in ’14 and I was where I was in the game, of course I thought, ‘OK, I really can keep this going.’ … And some things just come along that you don’t expect.

“I’m in a place where I’m trying to figure out how I get back to that position where I was,” he said. “I’m trying to get back there and I’m doing everything I can. And hopefully the start of that crest of a wave happens this week.”

]]> 0 McIlroy, shown playing out of a bunker on the sixth hole during a Tuesday practice round at Royal Birkdale, has seen his game go seriously off course since 2015 when he was inarguably the world's best golfer. A rib fracture early this year added to his problems.Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:08:31 +0000
Saltwater fishing report Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:28:28 +0000 If you are a recreational saltwater angler, Maine law may require you to register with the Maine Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry. To learn more or to register, visit or call 633-9505.


As Wednesday the National Marine Fisheries Service still has not set the 2017 groundfish regulations so anglers are still fishing under the 2016 regulations. This means anglers can keep 15 haddock a day that are over 17 inches, but may not retain any cod. Regulations are going to change, just not sure when. Pollock and haddock are the mainstay for groundfishermen. Fish the gravel bottom with bait (clams) for haddock, but make sure you don’t overload your hook. For those targeting pollock and other groundfish use jigs with a teaser. The tuna bite has been strong but the fish taken so far have been lean. A few reports of sharks, mostly porbeagles but also a few threshers and blues. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length while great whites and basking sharks are federally protected. If you are not sure of what species you have hooked, then “If you don’t know, let it go.” All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit. For more information contact the NMFS at 978-281-9260 or visit their website. Readings from the Jeffrey’s Ledge weather buoy and the Portland LNB show sea surface temps have warmed to the mid 60s.


Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters more than 3 miles from shore).

Statewide striped bass regulations: An angler may fish all year for striped bass, but may only keep one per day that measures over 28 inches total length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2017 saltwater regulations please call 633-9505 or check the web.

ZONE 1: Stripers are everywhere! Anglers have a shot at schoolies, keepers and the occasional trophy fish. The beaches and rock piles have the most action, but don’t rule out lower portions of rivers. Fishing the first few hours of the outgoing tide has been the most productive. Get out early or late since this recent heat and sun may turn the catching off during the day. Pine Point (the beach and the pier) Hills, Biddeford Pool, Ocean Park, Old Orchard and Higgins continue to give up fish. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances prior to fishing as area beaches may restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Bait, artificials and flies are all working well. Worms, clams and chunk macs are the bait of choice. Any of the white rubber baits, bucktails, Kastmasters and Al’s Goldfish are just a few of the artificial baits that have been catching fish. The defensive crab pattern and sand eel pattern flies are working for fly fishermen. Depending on who you talk to, mackerel catching has been very good or very bad. Use chum (cat food) to stay on the fish once you start hooking up. Pogies are still here in big numbers.

ZONE 2: Stripers can be found in good numbers throughout this zone. The ledges, islands and the outer Cape shoreline are the places to go if you want to catch stripers. Artificials that are producing include surface poppers and the rubber baits. For those using artificials, if you have a hit and lose it, just let the lure sit there a second or two before continuing the retrieve. Often the fish will come back and strike again. For anglers throwing flies, try 2/0 Groceries or Clousers (black on cloudy days or night). Baits that are working include worms and chunk or live mackerel. Macs can be had with chum and a Sabiki rig. Pogies are still here. Portland Harbor sea surface temps are running in the mid 50s.

ZONE 3: For the first time in several years there are reports of stripers in most rivers, beaches and rocky ledges all the way to the Penobscot. Fishermen are catching lots of striped bass throughout the Kennebec watershed including the beaches. Anglers fishing the flats have found them to be most productive when working the falling tide. Hint: Make sure you are not fishing in the shadow of your boat as that will spook the fish. Sandworms and eels continue to be the baits of choice off the beaches and on the flats while mackerel have been producing stripers around rocky structure. All sized mackerel can be found throughout most of this zone. Remember that if you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license.

This saltwater report is compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575. If you have information to report please contact me at 633-9505 or E-Mail:

]]> 0, 19 Jul 2017 19:36:40 +0000
Commentary: Was Babe Parilli a legend? Of course Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:23:59 +0000 One 1977 afternoon at the end of Broncos practice, the quarterbacks coach, Babe Parilli, asked me if I’d ever seen a drop-kicked field goal.

“Babe, I wasn’t born in 1937″ – the last time it happened in an NFL game.”

“I’ll bet you $25 I can drop-kick a 25-yarder in three tries,” he said.

“Nobody can drop-kick. You’re on.”

Babe called over the Broncos’ three quarterbacks and said: “I got me a sucker.” Starter Craig Morton laughed.

Then, Parilli, who was 47, held the football around the laces, dropped it at a tilted angle toward the pointed end and kicked. Straight through the uprights from about 30 yards.

A few years back at a friend’s July Fourth party, Babe called me over. He was standing on a piece of tape. “Give you a chance to get your money back. Knock me off this spot.” Babe was in his 80s but still had a Pennsylvania steel-tough body. I couldn’t move him.

“Babe, if you bet me $25 that the sun will set in the East, I wouldn’t doubt you.”

When the text came Saturday that he had died at a medical center in Parker, Colorado, it was so saddening.

Only the brightest, boldest and biggest personalities in sports earned the name “Babe” – Babe Ruth, Babe Didrikson, Babe McCarthy (the late college and pro basketball coach) and Vito “Babe” Parilli.

“I bet you I played and coached in more football leagues than anybody,” he said to me one night. I didn’t take that bet, either. Babe played quarterback in the NFL, the CFL and the AFL for five teams. He was an assistant or head football coach in the NFL, the World Football League, the USFL and the Arena League.

He played for Bear Bryant at Kentucky (a two-time All-American in 1950-51). He played for Vince Lombardi at Green Bay. (Babe was Bart Starr’s predecessor as starting quarterback.)

Babe’s story was: He played golf with the legendary Lombardi before training camp and beat the coach out of a $1 bet. “Vince threw the money at me and said that was the last dollar I’d ever get from him.” Parilli was cut before the season.

After playing twice for the Packers (he was brought back by Lombardi) and the Browns, and serving as a lieutenant in the Air Force, he went to the Ottawa Rough Riders, then joined the Raiders in the AFL’s inaugural season (1960). He was traded to the New England Patriots the following year and was the primary starter for seven seasons.

He was signed by the Jets in 1968 for the last two seasons of a 16-year pro career and was Joe Namath’s backup in the Super Bowl victory.

“I had a wild, incredible time as a player, for a poor son of a glass factory worker in the Depression.”

But his remarkable ride didn’t end. Parilli joined rookie head coach Red Miller’s staff in Denver in 1977. Under Parilli, Morton experienced his own resurgent comeback year, and the Broncos reached their first Super Bowl.

Babe also coached Terry Bradshaw in Pittsburgh.

Lamentably, Babe will miss Miller’s induction into the Broncos Ring of Fame, and the 40th Super Bowl team reunion. The Broncos had 10 coaches then (five are alive) and 25 now.

In 1978, Parilli worked with a young Broncos intern assistant – Bill Belichick.

Parilli, who was 87, spent the final 40 years in Denver.

“Once I got here I never wanted to leave,” he told me in our last conversation.

Babe was the best. He lived a life. You bet.

]]> 0, 19 Jul 2017 19:49:36 +0000
Intern enjoys win-win situation at Blakeman tennis tournament Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:20:34 +0000 Megan Nathanson, a 2016 graduate of Scarborough High who is coming off a women’s singles victory in the Maine Tennis Association Open earlier this month, wasn’t planning to play in this weekend’s 28th edition of the Betty Blakeman Memorial.

It’s not that Nathanson doesn’t enjoy the state’s biggest tournament; quite the contrary.

“The vibe is really cool,” she said. “It’s a really big tournament for a special cause but also a very competitive tournament.”

Nathanson is the tournament’s first intern, working under the auspices of Cancer Community Center of South Portland. Last year the tournament raised $20,000 for the Center, which is in the process of merging with the Dempsey Center in Lewiston.

Since its inception, the tournament has raised more than $250,000 for non-profits related to cancer treatment, research and care. Eric Blakeman, son of the tournament namesake, said this year’s event already surpassed $21,000.

Nathanson is a sport management major at Nichols College in Massachusetts, where she played second and third singles this spring on a team that won the Commonwealth Coast championship and the school’s first victory in the NCAA tournament. The Bison finished 17-4.

“I wanted to get a feel for tournament planning,” Nathanson said, “to see if it’s something I want to do in the future.”

“She’s playing very well,” said Don Atkinson, longtime director of the Blakeman, who will help Nathanson learn the finer points of running a tournament.

Atkinson gave Nathanson the go-ahead to play in the women’s singles between her duties as intern. Her father, Jeff, is in the men’s 55-plus bracket. She will spend a portion of Thursday putting up signs in Yarmouth, Falmouth and Cumberland, directing players to some of the 18 courts in five locations.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, Atkinson reported a men’s open field of 80 and a women’s singles field of 13. Defending women’s champion Olivia Leavitt of Falmouth is back as the top seed. Eliot Potvin, who won last year’s men’s title, won’t play because of an injury. That makes the 2016 finalist, Dana Parziale, who teaches with Potvin at The Racket & Fitness Center in Portland, as the top seed.

“This year we have a huge influx of out-of-state collegiate players,” said Atkinson. “About half the seeds are going to be from out of state.”

Play is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday with finals for men’s and women’s singles tentatively set for 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Yarmouth High’s newly reconstructed courts. Work that began in October on asphalt and fencing finally wrapped up July 7 with colors of blue and green, and lines for both tennis (white) and pickleball (light blue) on the four high school courts.

“Because of the cold, rainy temperatures in May, we couldn’t even get painting started until the end of June,” said Karyn MacNeill, director of Yarmouth Community Services. “This has been a project scheduled for a few years. We are happy to have them completed and just in time for the Blakeman tourney.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:22:35 +0000
Trenton takes advantage to top Sea Dogs, 9-4 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:11:03 +0000 There are reasons the Trenton Thunder are the class of the Eastern League with a 64-31 record. They have talent and know how to win.

The Portland Sea Dogs outhit Trenton 11-10 on Wednesday at Hadlock Field, but Trenton had the key hits, played the better defense and commanded its pitches better in a 9-4 victory.

The Thunder scored four runs in the third inning, including a Zach Zehner three-run homer off losing pitcher Trey Ball (3-9). All the runs were unearned because of a dropped foul popup by catcher Jordan Procyshen that would have kept the Thunder scoreless in the inning.

“That was the key of the game,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said.

The inning also marked the end of Ball’s outing.

“We had a pitch limit – 36 pitches in that inning – 75 to that point,” Febles said. “It didn’t make sense to send him out and risk injury.”

In the fifth, Trenton took advantage of two walks, scoring three runs with two outs on an RBI single and Dante Bichette Jr.’s two-run triple. Portland walked five batters and three of them scored.

Billy Fleming’s two-run triple in the ninth completed Trenton’s scoring.

Jeremy Barfield homered for the Sea Dogs, his 10th in 49 games. He swatted a down-the-middle fastball from Zach Littrell (5-0) in the fourth.

Nick Lovullo went 3 for 4 with an RBI. Lovullo, son of Diamondbacks Manager (and former Red Sox bench coach) Torey Lovullo, is batting .333 after five Double-A games.

“He’s taking advantage of the opportunity he’s getting and is swinging the bat very well,” Febles said.

Cole Sturgeon singled twice with one RBI for Portland (43-50). Mike Olt added an RBI double.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 6,557. … After the game, the Sea Dogs’ players and staff enjoyed their annual lobster bake in Kennebunkport Beach. … The Sea Dogs return to Hadlock Field at 7 p.m. Thursday to play the Hartford Yard Goats. The popular Zooperstars comedic characters will perform. … The effect of the recent, lengthy Boston Red Sox games finally became apparent at Triple-A Pawtucket. The PawSox sent up pitchers Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez to pitch in Boston on Tuesday and, on Wednesday, they sent up relievers Ben Taylor and Kyle Martin. That left Pawtucket with a thin staff, requiring infielder Mike Miller to pitch the eighth and ninth innings in a 7-3 loss to Toledo. Miller allowed three runs on five hits. … Rafael Devers hit his second Triple-A home run in five days. … During Tuesday night’s game at Hadlock Field, Tito Polo played left field for Trenton even though he was traded later that night in the Yankees’ deal to obtain Todd Frazier and two relievers from the White Sox. Normally players involved in trades are taken out of games to prevent injury, but Trenton Manager Bobby Mitchell said he hadn’t heard from the Yankees. It wasn’t until Polo got back to his hotel that Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman called him with the news.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

]]> 0's Nick Lovullo turns a double play against the Trenton Thunder on Wednesday at Hadlock Field in Portland. (Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:24:46 +0000
Yankees acquire third baseman Todd Frazier, bullpen help from White Sox Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:56:25 +0000 MINNEAPOLIS — The New York Yankees made an early push for playoff run, acquiring infielder Todd Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the Chicago White Sox for reliever Tyler Clippard and three prospects.

The Yankees currently hold the second AL wild-card spot. They entered play Wednesday 3.5 games behind the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.

“It should tell them, ‘Hey, we’re in this,’ and we need to continue to play and play hard and play better than we’ve done,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after a 6-3 victory in Minnesota. “But it should be a pick-me-up in there in a sense, like, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of people who believe in this club.'”

As the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline nears, the last-place White Sox made their second big trade in a week. Last Thursday, they sent ace Jose Quintana to the crosstown Cubs for four minor leaguers.

Along with Clippard, the White Sox got left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin and outfielders Blake Rutherford and Tito Polo. They also announced top prospect Yoan Moncada, a former Portland Sea Dog, would be called up for Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers.

“Over the last few weeks we spent a considerable amount of time surveying the market for each of these players individually and decided the more prudent path to acquiring more talent similar to what we have over the last several months, the best path to acquiring the most potential impact talent, was to bundle these players together,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said.

Frazier was a two-time All-Star with Cincinnati, but he’s in a down year. He could play first base, a position the Yankees have struggled to stabilize all season, or remain at third base and move Chase Headley from one corner to the other.

The 31-year-old Frazier, who grew up in New Jersey as a Yankees fan, was pulled from the starting lineup shortly before the White Sox hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. He spent the early part of the game in the dugout talking with Robertson.

Frazier is hitting .207 with 16 home runs and 44 RBIs. Last year, he set career highs with 40 homers and 98 RBIs. He is eligible for free agency after this season.

“It has been fun in Chicago, but I’m also excited to see what’s in store for me in New York,” Frazier said. “It’s pretty cool. It is kind of surreal right now because it all happened at once. You hear the rumors. It could have been a different team here and there. It’s the Yankees, so I’m pretty excited.”

With the Yankees playing the Twins on Wednesday afternoon, it was uncertain whether the new arrivals would make it in time for the game. What’s certain, though, is that Clippard won’t be wearing pinstripes anymore.

Drafted by the Yankees in 2003 and reacquired in a deadline trade last summer with Arizona, Clippard was 1-5 with a 4.95 ERA in 40 games. The 32-year-old right-hander hit a rough patch in mid-June that lasted into the All-Star break.

This is the fourth time he’s been traded in less than three seasons.

“From a lifestyle standpoint, it’s getting kind of frustrating,” Clippard said. “And from a team standpoint, I love these guys. I love this organization. We’re playing well, and we’re in the thick of things. To leave is gut-wrenching for me. But it is what it is, and there’s nothing as players that we can do about it.”

He’ll be replaced by the righty Robertson, who’s eagerly returning to his original team. The 32-year-old is 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA, successful on 13 of 14 save chances. He broke with the Yankees in 2008 and had 39 saves in 2014, before becoming a free agent and signing a four-year contract with the White Sox.

Though All-Star setup man Dellin Betances has struggled lately, adding Robertson and Kahnle to the mix with right-hander Adam Warren as bridges to ace closer Aroldis Chapman ought to be a big boost down the stretch for a team with a thin rotation.

Kahnle, a 27-year-old righty, was 1-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 37 games, covering 36 innings. He’s struck out 60 and walked only seven.

“You’re talking about a lot of hard throwers. Guys with strikeouts. A guy needs a day off, really, anyone can move into a spot,” Girardi said.

The 20-year-old Rutherford was hitting .281 with 30 RBIs and 25 stolen bases at Class A Charleston to make the South Atlantic League All-Star team. He was a first-round draft pick last year.

Clarkin, a 22-year-old lefty, was 4-4 with a 2.61 ERA as a starter at Class A Tampa. The 22-year-old Polo was hitting a combined .307 with 22 steals at Tampa and Double-A Trenton.

Moncada, a 22-year-old infielder, was acquired from the Red Sox for ace Chris Sale in the offseason and is hitting .282 with 12 homers, 36 RBIs and 17 stolen bases at Triple-A Charlotte. Boston spent $63 million – including a record $31.5 million bonus – to sign Moncada in 2015 after he left Cuba. He was recently named the top prospect in the game by Baseball America.

]]> 0, 19 Jul 2017 22:08:07 +0000
Ramirez homers in 15th, Red Sox outlast Jays 5-4 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:16:26 +0000 BOSTON — Hanley Ramirez finally ended another long night for the Boston Red Sox, and his teammates found just enough energy to celebrate his walk-off shot.

Ramirez hit a drive out of Fenway Park in the 15th inning, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in a rain-delayed game that ended at 1:09 a.m. Wednesday.

“This was a gritty win and a very important win,” Boston manager John Farrell said.

It was also an exhausting one. After the start was pushed back an hour Tuesday night because of thunderstorms, the Blue Jays and Red Sox played for 4 hours and 59 minutes. The Red Sox rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie it in the seventh, and came back again after Toronto regained the lead with one run in the 11th.

The 4-all tie lasted until Ramirez drove the first pitch of the bottom of the 15th high into the Boston night — or morning — and trotted around the bases for a subdued celebration with his weary teammates at home plate.

The Red Sox haven’t gotten a lot of rest lately. They lost in 16 innings to the Yankees on Saturday, then split a day-night doubleheader with New York on Sunday. Boston lost to Toronto 4-3 on Monday night — albeit in just nine innings.

“There’s a lot of toll and it’s not just the number of innings pitched. It’s the hours on the feet by every guy that’s manning his position,” Farrell said. “They’ve done an outstanding job to go through this stretch of four days we’ve just come through.”

A few hundred fans stayed until the end, including a solid contingent of Blue Jays’ supporters. Sometime around the second seventh-inning stretch in the middle of the 14th, the opposing sides joined together in an anti-Yankees chant.

“It’s fun to be part of games like that. Extra innings isn’t the fun part, but the way the game played out where both teams could have scored and both teams had their chances, that made the game fun,” said Mookie Betts, who hit an RBI single with two outs in the 11th to keep the game going.

Hector Velazquez (2-1), Boston’s fifth pitcher, got the win. Mike Bolsinger (0-3) pitched three shutout innings before Ramirez hit his only pitch of the 15th out for his 15th homer of the season.

“It’s better that we got the W. It’s worth it,” Ramirez said. “We came from behind a couple of times. That’s a good win.”

Dustin Pedroia hit a solo homer in the sixth for Boston and a tying double in the seventh. Chris Young also homered for Boston.

Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales and Troy Tulowitzki drove in one run apiece with consecutive hits during Toronto’s three-run fifth inning, which gave the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead. Ryan Goins put Toronto ahead 4-3 with a sacrifice fly in the 11th.

“Tough one to lose, but they battled,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “We had a couple of opportunities. We couldn’t capitalize, especially early in the game.”

Boston rookie Brian Johnson, called up earlier Tuesday from Triple-A Pawtucket, remained unbeaten thanks to the late rally. Johnson allowed three runs, all earned, and eight hits over six innings with three walks and four strikeouts.

J.A. Happ pitched five-plus innings for Toronto, allowing two runs and eight hits before getting pulled in the sixth.


Pedroia followed up his clutch hits with one of the defensive plays of the game in the eighth. After Toronto opened the inning with back-to-back singles, the Red Sox star second baseman scooped up a grounder, ran down Steve Pearce to tag him and made a quick throw to first to convert the double play.

Ramirez, who played first base for just the third time this season, was happy to share some of the credit in the locker room.

“Pedey can do it all. That’s why he is who he is,” Ramirez said. “It’s unbelievable, but the biggest thing is heart. He’s a great, great teammate, a great person, a great guy.”


Gibbons said the Blue Jays’ bullpen was a little beat up after it was all over, but credited Bolsinger for pitching three strong innings when Toronto needed someone to stay out there.

Bolsinger said other than the curveball Ramirez seemed to be expecting in the 15th, he was pleased with his performance.

“I understand my role is to save the bullpen,” Bolsinger said. “I enjoy it.”


Blue Jays: RHP Francisco Liriano (neck stiffness/pain) threw on the field and could start the series finale Thursday afternoon, depending on how he feels. He left in the third inning Saturday because his neck was bothering him.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was a late scratch from the starting lineup and had an MRI on his right hand, which has been bothering him since getting hit by a pitch July 6 against Tampa Bay. Bogaerts came off the bench as a pinch-runner in the 11th.


Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.94) has won his last four starts against the Red Sox.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (9-4, 3.75) has won three of his last four starts, getting a no-decision his last time out Friday against the New York Yankees.

]]> 0, 19 Jul 2017 07:28:20 +0000
Major league roundup: Frazier sits out as White Sox lose Wed, 19 Jul 2017 03:26:51 +0000 CHICAGO — Clayton Kershaw pitched seven scoreless innings Tuesday night for his major league-leading 15th victory and the Los Angeles Dodgers edged the Chicago White Sox 1-0 for their 10th straight victory.

White Sox infielder Todd Frazier was pulled from the starting lineup amid speculation that he would be traded with relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees.

Kershaw (15-2) made his first start since the All-Star break, scattering seven hits and a walk to post his 11th straight win.

The Dodgers, with the best record in baseball at 65-29, have won 30 of 34, including a second 10-game win streak of the season.


PIRATES 4, BREWERS 3: Francisco Cervelli and Josh Harrison homered during a sixth-inning rally and Pittsburgh welcomed outfielder Starling Marte back with a victory at home.

Marte went 1 for 3 in his return from an 80-game suspension for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy. He also walked in the sixth, coming around to score on Harrison’s 11th home run of the season that tied the game. David Freese put the Pirates ahead to stay with an RBI single off reliever Oliver Drake (3-3) later in the inning.

PHILLIES 5, MARLINS 2: Maikel Franco had three hits, including a tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning, to help lift Philadelphia at Miami.

Giancarlo Stanton, the NL home run leader, hit his 29th for the Marlins, who have lost 4 of 5.

DIAMONDBACKS 11, REDS 2: Chris Herrmann capped a six-run fifth inning with a two-run homer and Arizona won at Cincinnati.

Rey Fuentes added a pinch-hit, three-run shot in the seventh, outfielder Jake Lamb had a two-run triple and Arizona ended a five-game skid by tying a season high with nine extra-base hits – one from each spot in the order. The Diamondbacks had four doubles in the fifth, helping overcome Zack Cozart’s 10th homer of the season.

CARDINALS 5, METS 0: Michael Wacha threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout, Matt Carpenter had four hits and St. Louis won at New York.

Wacha (7-3) has won his last four starts. He struck out eight and walked one in his 99th career start.


ORIOLES 12, RANGERS 1: Chris Davis homered in a six-run first inning, added a grand slam in the fourth and finished with a career-high six RBI to help Baltimore breeze at home.

It was the 19th career multihomer game for Davis, making his fifth start since coming off the disabled list with an oblique strain. Baltimore’s cleanup hitter hadn’t gone deep since June 10.

TIGERS 9, ROYALS 3: Nicholas Castellanos homered twice and drove in five runs, Detroit scored five times in the second inning and cruised at Kansas City, Missouri.

ASTROS 6, MARINERS 2: Evan Gattis homered twice to back up a solid start by Brad Peacock and help Houston win at home.

YANKEES 6, TWINS 3: Bartolo Colon faltered in the fifth inning after a decent start by the burly 44-year-old, whose Minnesota debut ended with a two-run double by Gary Sanchez that sent New York on its way to a win at Minneapolis.

]]> 0 Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles watches his two-run homer head to the stands in front of Texas catcher Jonathan Lucroy and umpire Brian Gorman during the Orioles' 12-1 victory Tuesday.Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:05:32 +0000
Major league notebook: Correa out for 6 to 8 weeks Wed, 19 Jul 2017 02:59:55 +0000 HOUSTON — Shortstop Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.

The Astros put Correa on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday and recalled Colin Moran from Triple- A Fresno. General Manager Jeff Luhnow said losing Correa was a “big blow,” but he’s expected back for the stretch run in September.

Correa is batting .320 with 18 doubles and 20 home runs, and his 67 RBI are second in the American League. He was injured Monday night after jamming his thumb on a swing.

Moran, a left-handed hitting corner infielder, was batting .308 with 15 doubles, 18 home runs and 63 RBI in 79 games at Fresno.

BREWERS: Catcher Stephen Vogt is out for at least a month with a sprained left knee following a collision at home plate.

Manager Craig Counsell said Vogt will miss “significant time.”

REDS: Cincinnati placed right-hander Scott Feldman on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation.

The Reds also optioned outfielder Jesse Winker to Triple-A Louisville, and recalled right-hander Sal Romano and Lisalverto Bonilla from Louisville. Roman was Cincinnati’s scheduled starter for Tuesday’s opener of a three-game series against Arizona.

TWINS: Right-hander Phil Hughes will miss the rest of the season because of persistent arm trouble related to a condition that required rib removal surgery a year ago.

The Twins put Hughes, who was 4-3 with a 5.87 ERA in 532/3 innings, on the 60-day disabled list. Manager Paul Molitor said another operation is possible.

DIAMONDACKS-TIGERS: Arizona acquired outfielder J.D. Martinez from Detroit for a package of prospects, hoping to solidify a trouble spot while making a run toward the playoffs.

Detroit received Double-A infielder Dawel Lugo, switch-hitting infield prospect Sergio Alcantara and shortstop Jose King in the deal. Lugo was regarded as the Diamondbacks’ No. 2 overall prospect.

]]> 0 shortstop Carlos Correa, top, celebrates his winning single with teammates on Sunday. Houston defeated Oakland 2-1 in 10 innings.Tue, 18 Jul 2017 23:03:51 +0000