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The Sports Report: Mookie Betts hits three homers in Dodgers’ victory

Mookie Betts hits his third home run of the game.
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Jack Harris on the Dodgers: Mookie Betts didn’t get a chance to swing in his first at-bat Thursday night, getting hit by a pitch in his return to the leadoff spot.

His next three times up, the Dodgers right fielder made sure not to miss.

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Betts tied an MLB record by collecting his sixth career three-home-run game in an 11-2 win over the San Diego Padres, matching a mark set by Sammy Sosa and Johnny Mize in just his seventh MLB season.

Betts went deep in the second, fourth and fifth innings of the Dodgers’ series finale against the Padres, fueling the team’s offensive outburst with power to all fields. He singled during his final plate appearance in the seventh inning.

His first big fly came against Padres starter Chris Paddack, an outside fastball he drove the other way to right-center field. In the fourth, he jumped on a high fastball from Luis Perdomo for a two-run blast that cleared the fence in left-center. And when an overturned double-play extended the Dodgers’ threat in the fifth, Betts clobbered another two-run shot into a collection of cardboard cutout fans in the first few rows of left-field bleachers.

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Dodger Stadium will host a voting site for November’s election, the team announced Thursday, partnering with LeBron James’ More Than a Vote coalition to become the first MLB team to make its stadium available as a polling place.

The team, which made the announcement jointly with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk and California Secretary of State’s office, said the site will be accessible to registered Los Angeles County voters over a five-day period for the presidential general election on Nov 3.

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Dodgers’ Joe Kelly calls Astros players snitches and rats over cheating scandal

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No regrets? Looking back at the derailed trade between the Dodgers and Angels

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LAKERS

Tania Ganguli on the Lakers: LeBron James used it as a tune-up. Talen Horton-Tucker got his first start. Dion Waiters was the Lakers’ leading scorer. And when the Lakers finished their game Thursday afternoon against the Sacramento Kings, a 136-122 loss, the waiting began.

They’ll have five days until their first playoff game which will be at 6 p.m. Pacific time on Tuesday. But they won’t know their first-round opponent until after the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers complete their weekend play-in series for the eighth seed. If Portland beats the Grizzlies once, it will advance. Memphis needs to beat the Trail Blazers two times to advance.

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On Tuesday night, James said: “We are ready for the playoffs. If the playoffs started tomorrow, we’d be ready for it. But as far as the mental side, you can’t really lock in on your opponent until you know your opponent.”

James played in the first half only, scoring 17 points in 14 minutes. He also had four assists and finished the season as the NBA’s leader in that category. Waiters had 19 points. Markieff Morris, who started, scored 14 points, as did Horton-Tucker.

SPARKS

Riquna Williams scored 13 points, Nneka Ogwumike added 12 points and the Sparks beat the short-handed Washington Mystics 81-64 on Thursday night.

Los Angeles went on a 14-0 run in the first quarter for a 19-9 advantage and led the rest of the way. The Mystics turned it over 21 times.

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Chelsea Gray scored 11 points, and Te’a Cooper and Brittney Sykes each had 10 for the Sparks (6-3), who won their third straight game.

CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: When Doc Rivers packs for Clippers road trips, he always brings a hat. At team shoot-arounds, it is rare to find the coach without one typically bearing the logo of one of his favorite golf courses.

Upon arriving in Orlando, Fla., for the NBA restart, Rivers had two new options in his bag. One was blue, the other black, but both have the same design stitched into their front — “VOTE” in capital letters.

If the hat was not on his head Thursday, before the team’s practice, its message was nonetheless on the coach’s mind.

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“Voter suppression has been happening my entire life, and it’s been done by the same people to the same people,” Rivers said. “Now, you add the youth in because it used to just be the Black and brown, and now it’s Black, brown and young. So, on one end we have voter suppression, and then on the other end we all of a sudden have this mail problem, which has never been a problem.

“You know there’s four states that do mail-in-only voting and they’ve done it for years and they’ve had no problems. It’s something that someone, and I’m just going to say it that way, wants us to believe that’s not there .”

The comments came hours after President Trump said he opposes the emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service that has been pushed by Democrats. Trump told Fox Business Network he wants to block the funding because “they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.”

LAFC

Kevin Baxter on LAFC: Veteran forward Adama Diomande has asked out of his contract with LAFC and is returning to his native Norway, a decision he announced on social media Thursday.

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“With the many family priorities in my life, I have decided to terminate my contract with immediate effect in order to best care for my loved ones,” Diomande, limited by a foot injury to one 16-minute appearance this season, wrote on Twitter. “I have put a lot of thought into this decision and have come to the conclusion that it will be the best for all parties.”

Coach Bob Bradley said the announcement did not come as a surprise.

“There’s been some different discussions,” Bradley said. “It’s been a difficult stretch. The combination of COVID and what that means for everybody. And then the fact that now he’s been away from his family.

“Some of these things were discussed. And then when there was a little bit of a setback with his foot…the concerns that he had about his family situation became even more important.”

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TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

Dodgers at Angels, 6:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, FSW, AM 570, KLAA 830

Clippers vs. Oklahoma City, 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket, ESPN, AM 570

THIS DAY IN SPORTS

Dallas businessman Lamar Hunt announced the formation of the American Football League on this date in 1959 at a meeting of perspective team owners in Chicago.

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Hunt, 27, said that six teams would be formed: Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dallas, Denver, New York and Los Angeles.

He said that Barron Hilton, the son of hotel magnate Conrad N. Hilton, would lead the Los Angeles franchise, which would be called the Chargers.

Hunt added that play would begin in 1960 with the probability of adding two more teams from Seattle, Buffalo, San Francisco, Miami or Kansas City.

A look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on Aug. 14, through the years:

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1903 — Before a crowd of 10,000 at Mechanics’ Gym in San Francisco, James J. Jeffries knocked out Jim Corbett in the 10th round and retained his world heavyweight title. In a fight that Jeffries controlled from the outset, Corbett was knocked down twice in the 10th round, the first time from a left hook to the stomach and the second from a right to the jaw. At the count of seven, Corbett’s corner threw in the towel.

1958 — Vic Power of the Cleveland Indians stole home twice in one game, the second coming in the 10th inning that gave the Indians a 10-9 win over the Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Stadium. With the bases loaded and Frank Lary on the mound, Power caught the pitcher off-guard and broke for home. Lary tried to hurry the throw from his windup but Power slid and was easily safe. His first steal came in the eighth inning and both were two of his three steals for the season.

1971 — Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals pitched a no-hitter when he shut out the Pirates 11-0 at Pittsburgh. Gibson, who had lost to the Bucs three times the previous season, struck out 10 batters and walked three, and also contributed a two-run single in the eighth inning. The only threat to his gem came in the seventh inning when Milt May launched a 390-foot fly ball to left center that was run down by Jose Cruz.

1977 — Lanny Wadkins beat Gene Littler on the third-extra hole at the Pebble Beach Golf Links to win the PGA Championship. It was the first time that the major was decided with a sudden-death playoff. After finishing regulation play tied at six-under par 282, both Wadkins and Littler had a par and birdie on the first two holes. But Littler bogeyed the third hole and Wadkins won the only major tournament of his career.

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1977 — The New York Cosmos and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers played before a record crowd of 77,961 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., in a North American Soccer League playoff game won by the home team 8-3. The attendance was the largest to see a soccer match in North America. Steve Hunt got the scoring going for New York when he took a pass from Pelé and beat goalkeeper Gordon Banks 97 seconds into the game. Giorgio Chinaglia scored three goals for the Cosmos and Hunt later added his second of the match.

2003 — A widespread power outage forced the evacuation of workers and players from Shea Stadium before a scheduled game between the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. The Mets were taking batting practice when the lights went out in their clubhouse, and reporters were asked to leave the ballpark about an hour later. It was the only major league baseball game affected by the blackout that stretched from the Northeast to Ohio and Michigan

2005 — At the IAAF world track and field championships in Helsinki, the United States’ 1,600-meter relay team, anchored by Jeremy Wariner, raced to victory. The American quartet of Andrew Rock, Derrick Brew, Darold Williamson and Wariner won in two minutes, 56.91 seconds over second-place Bahamas and third-place Jamaica.

2007 — Bobby Cox, the manager of the Atlanta Braves, set a dubious baseball record during his team’s 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants when he was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing a called third strike on third baseman Chipper Jones. Cox yelled at plate umpire Ted Barrett from the dugout and Barrett tossed him before Cox could make it onto the field. It was the 132nd time that he was thrown out and it broke the mark originally set by John McGraw of the New York Giants.

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2011 — Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship after he staged a surprising comeback with two birdies that forced a three-hole playoff with Jason Dufner at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga. Bradley, who trailed by five shots with three holes to go, tied the faltering Dufner and won a three-hole aggregate playoff by one stroke, playing the 16th, 17th and 18th holes in birdie-par-par to Dufner’s par-bogey-birdie. Bradley became the first golfer in eight years and just the third in history to win a major championship in his first appearance.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press

And finally

Mookie Betts hits three homers for the Dodgers. Watch it here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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