Sports Now
Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond
Tony Stewart returns to NASCAR racing with a tough outing at Atlanta

Tony Stewart returned to NASCAR racing Sunday night for the first time since a car driven by Stewart struck and killed a fellow driver who was on foot during a sprint car race three weeks ago.

But despite a warm reception from the fans and a strong start, Stewart had a tough race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.

The three-time NASCAR champion finished 41st in the 43-car field after his car twice smacked the wall. The second accident was caused by a blown tire, and it forced Stewart out of the race just past the halfway point.

Kasey Kahne won the race in an overtime finish and Danica Patrick, who drives for Stewart's Stewart-Haas Racing team, was sixth in her career-best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish.

The fatal incident occurred Aug. 9 during a race between sprint cars — which are unrelated to NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series — at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park dirt track in upstate New York.

Stewart and 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. were racing side-by-side when Ward's car crashed...

Read more
Galaxy beats Chivas USA, 3-0, in last 'SuperClasico'

For nearly a decade, the "SuperClasico" regular-season series between the Galaxy and Chivas USA had produced one of Major League Soccer's great rivalries. But with Chivas USA set to change its name and colors next year as it completes the transition from its previous owner, the team dubbed its final match against the Galaxy "The Last Clasico."

The sentimental description, however, didn't persuade the Galaxy to go easy on Chivas USA.

The Galaxy extended its winning streak to four games, relying on two goals by Gyasi Zardes and another by Robbie Keane to defeat Chivas USA, 3-0, before a crowd of 18,652 at StubHub Center on Sunday night.

Zardes scored in the 41st and 71st minutes, both off assists from Landon Donovan, who received a surfboard and a skateboard as retirement gifts from Chivas USA before the game. Donovan recorded his fourth two-assist game of the season, giving him four helpers in the last two matches.

"The whole team just played well together," said Galaxy Coach Bruce...

Read more
Dean Lombardi, Stanley Cup visit Snoopy's doghouse

The Stanley Cup continues to make its rounds among Kings players, executives and other staff members, landing on Sunday in Santa Rosa, Calif., for a great photo opportunity.

Santa Rosa is home to the Charles M. Schulz Museum, which features the work of the late hockey-loving “Peanuts” cartoonist, and to Snoopy’s Home Ice, longtime host of the world senior hockey tournament and other youth and adult events.

Schulz often featured hockey in his comic strips, and on Sunday the two worlds again intersected in a humorous way.

Courtesy of Cup guardian Phil Pritchard -- known on Twitter as @keeperofthecup -- comes the photo above of Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi and another of Snoopy enjoying some time with the Cup.

The Hockey Hall of Fame, incidentally, has been providing twice weekly updates on the Cup’s travels. Here’s a link to its Stanley Cup journal.

Read more
U.S. dominates in second half to beat Turkey at Basketball World Cup

Kenneth Faried had 22 points, Anthony Davis scored all of his 19 in the second half, and the U.S. rebounded from a rare deficit at halftime to beat Turkey, 98-77, on Sunday in the Basketball World Cup.

A night after beating Finland by 59 in its biggest rout ever while using NBA players in the former world championship, the Americans couldn't take control against Turkey until early in the fourth quarter.

They trailed 40-35 at halftime and Turkey led by six early in the third before the Americans could finally get the game into the quicker tempo they prefer and pull away to win the rematch of the 2010 gold-medal game in Istanbul.

But it was a much tougher one than expected after the Americans hammered Finland 114-55 while Turkey was being outplayed for most of its opener by New Zealand before pulling out the victory.

Read more
Caroline Wozniacki outlasts Maria Sharapova in humid U.S. Open match

— It is turning out to be the relationship that gives engagements a bad name. First, golf star Rory McIlroy calls off the wedding with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and wins the British Open and the PGA.

Then, Wozniacki starts a run of success just before Wimbledon at the Eastbourne tournament in England, a span that includes 18 victories in 24 matches, one title (Istanbul) and a boost in her ranking back into the top 10, leading into the U.S. Open.

And now this. In front of a packed house in Arthur Ashe Stadium, on a day so humid New York dry cleaners celebrated in Times Square, Wozniacki outlasted and outgrunted Maria Sharapova.

Sharapova was seeded fifth, five spots better than Wozniacki, and was favored to win not only because she has won five Grand Slam tournaments and a career slam, but because she has been playing effective and determined tennis of late.

But Wozniacki, the Danish star who was No. 1 in the world for much of 2010 and '11 before her ranking slipped to No. 18 after...

Read more
49ers' Ray McDonald arrested, accused of domestic violence

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence in San Jose early Sunday, police said, three days after the NFL ramped up its penalties for domestic violence.

San Jose police said they were called shortly before 3 a.m. to the 2500 block of Bentley Ridge Drive. McDonald, 29, was taken into custody without incident and booked into Santa Clara County Jail, they said.

Police said midday that he had posted bail, which was set at $25,000.

Under the NFL’s new policy on domestic violence, first-time offenders will be suspended without pay for six games, “with consideration given to mitigating factors, as well as a longer suspension when circumstances warrant,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday in a letter to team owners.

McDonald was drafted by the 49ers in 2007. In the last three seasons, the team said, he started in all but three regular-season games.

This could be another blow to the 49ers’ defense. Last week, outside...

Read more
Ronda Rousey called out by unbeaten Bethe Correia after victory

A new challenge for Ronda Rousey emerged Saturday when Brazilian Bethe Correia (9-0) scored a second-round technical knockout of Rousey’s friend from Venice, Shayna Baszler, at UFC 177.

Correia, the 10th-ranked women’s bantamweight, backed Baszler to the cage and hammered her with punches, later telling the crowd her performance was a message to Rousey.

“I want to have a shot at Ronda at some point,” Correia said through an interpreter after the fight.

Correia is definitely hitting close to home. She has now beaten two members of Rousey’s group, known as “The Four Horsewomen.”

“As soon as [Correia] started talking, Ronda texted me and said, ‘I want that fight. I want it before somebody else beats her,’ ” White said. “I said, ‘Calm down lady.’ ”

White said while top-ranked September fighter Cat Zingano remains the favorite to fight Rousey by January, he remains optimistic he can still sign Gina Carano by the end of the year.

Another possible Rousey challenger, Holly Holm, still hasn’t...

Read more
UFC's T.J. Dillashaw deftly handles drama, keeps belt

T.J. Dillashaw is seeking to make a final mark in the Ultimate Fighting Championship as something more than a belt-holder.

Accepting his first title defense with one day’s notice and winning by technical knockout is
a good start.

Dillashaw, a former Cal State Fullerton wrestler, successfully defended his UFC bantamweight
championship Saturday night with a fifth-round technical knockout of last-minute replacement fighter Joe Soto.

“I knew Joe Soto was a tough performer. … I had practiced with him eight to 10 weeks ago. Tough wrestler, great grappler. I’ve seen a lot of his fights,” Dillashaw said late Saturday in his post-fight news conference.

“To switch opponents like that was a real stressful situation. … It was a real stressful night. I was up until 1 in the morning doing interviews about Soto. It was a crazy situation.”

“I had to man up and do it … to start my legacy like that put a smile on my face. I’ll take it.”

Boosted by a crowd that generated a $700,000 live gate at Sleep Train...

Read more
Cory Rasmus gives Angels strong start, but fifth spot still a question

Cory Rasmus’ brief but superb start Saturday night, in which he allowed one hit and struck out six in three scoreless innings of a 2-0 win over the Oakland Athletics, gave the Angels some hope that they’ve found a replacement for the injured Garret Richards.

It would take Rasmus several starts to build up the endurance to go five or six innings, and Manager Mike Scioscia wouldn’t commit to starting the 26-year-old right-hander again Saturday in Minnesota, but the Angels might not need Rasmus to chew up that many innings.

Having exhausted their efforts to trade for a veteran starter such as Bartolo Colon, Scott Feldman, Trevor Cahill or A.J. Burnett, the Angels could fill Richards’ spot by committee, an unconventional approach made possible by a deep and talented bullpen and an expanded September roster.

“We have the ability to put together a game with depth as opposed to relying on one guy, and right now, that’s our best option,” General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. “If we can get...

Read more
Will Power gets first IndyCar title as Tony Kanaan wins Fontana race

Turns out the fourth time was the charm for IndyCar driver Will Power.

The Australian driver captured his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship Saturday night, while Tony Kanaan won the series' season-ending race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Power finished ninth in the MAVTV 500, and his teammate and closest pursuer in the title chase, Helio Castroneves, finished 14th. That gave Power a 62-point advantage over Castroneves in the final standings.

“I was crying over the [finish] line,” Power, 33, told a television audience from Victory Lane. “It's for real, man. I can't believe it. My hands are like numb from holding onto the wheel so tight.”

It was sweet redemption for Power, who was poised to win the championship in three consecutive years — 2010, 2011 and 2012 — only to see the title slip away in the season's final race.

For Kanaan, the victory Saturday night was the veteran's first of the season, and it ended a frustrating year in which he had come close to winning several other...

Read more
Emotional Matt Kuchar trails by one at Deutsche Bank Championship

With an orange ribbon on his hat and nine birdies on his card, Matt Kuchar pulled within a shot of the lead Saturday in the Deutsche Bank Championship at Norton, Mass. Not that he needed a reminder, but a message posted on the scoring table spoke to the emotions involved in this tournament.

Players were offered a chance to donate to a trust fund for the 4-year-old daughter of Lance Bennett, his caddie. Bennett's wife, Angela, died of a seizure Wednesday. Kuchar decided to play to raise awareness and get the tour involved in helping the family.

His performance certainly helped.

Ryan Palmer overcame a rocky start for an even-par 71. Jason Day struggled at the end for a 68. They were tied for the lead on the TPC Boston going into the third round of a FedEx Cup playoff event that ends on Labor Day.

Kuchar was a shot behind after a 66 that featured six consecutive birdies around the turn.

"You never know how things will work out in the game of golf," Kuchar said. "But it felt like there's...

Read more
USA beats Finland, 114-55, in Basketball World Cup

As the U.S. lead got bigger and the crowd quieter, Finland's players were forced to have a most uncomfortable conversation.

"We kind of talked a little on the bench a little bit, 'Hey, everybody remember when we scored the last time?'" forward Kimmo Muurinen said.

It was a long time. Almost an entire quarter.

The Americans held the Finns without a basket in the second quarter, opening defense of their title with a 114-55 romp Saturday in the Basketball World Cup.

Silencing the Finns in the second quarter on the scoreboard and in the stands, where their rabid fans filled an entire side of the arena, the Americans allowed just a pair of free throws in the period, outscoring their overmatched opponents, 29-2, to open a 60-18 advantage.

The U.S. players also knew they were basically pitching a shutout for 10 minutes.

"Our coaches were encouraging us to keep up that effort by telling us every timeout, every dead ball, they only had two points or whatever," guard Stephen Curry said. "That's...

Read more