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The Sports Report: Dodgers hold off Rangers, 5-3

Mookie Betts gives a low five to Dino Ebel after homering in the third inning.
Mookie Betts gives a low five to Dino Ebel after homering in the third inning.
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. I’d like to thank Austin and Iliana for filling in for me the last couple of weeks while I was on vacation. Yep, I’d like to thank them, but I’m not that type of guy, so I won’t. Let’s get right to the news.

Dylan Hernández on the Dodgers: The last time Walker Buehler lost a game, pandemics were something that happened in science-fiction movies.

Buehler extended his unbeaten streak to 29 starts Sunday, the right-hander overcoming early control problems to pitch six scoreless innings in a 5-3 victory over the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium.

While Clayton Kershaw is the most revered pitcher on the Dodgers and Trevor Bauer the most talked-about, the 26-year-old Buehler has quietly taken on the role as the most consistent.

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In a season characterized by its volatility, Buehler is a perfect 6-0 with a 2.38 earned-run average. At a time when the team’s bullpen is shaky, he has pitched six or more innings in each of his 13 starts.

Buehler has become nearly as dependable as Kershaw was once, adopting his mindset and producing similar results.

“I expect to go deep into games and to have some success,” said Buehler while mentioning Kershaw. “I don’t think I would think or believe quite the same if he wasn’t here. That’s just kind of a nod to what kind of person and player he’s been for a long time here.”

And the more time Buehler spends with Kershaw, the more he is starting to sound like him, taking pride in pitching into the later innings and recalling his rare setbacks with precision.

Asked whether he remembered his most recent defeat, Buehler replied, “It was in September against the Rockies in ’19.”

He was right.

Since then, the Dodgers are 22-7 in games in which he started, including 5-2 in the postseason.

His latest triumph narrowed the Dodgers’ deficit to the first-place San Francisco Giants to a solitary game.

Questions, however, have surfaced about the pitching staff.

The spin rate on Bauer’s pitches has dropped significantly since Major League Baseball informed teams it would start enforcing rules that prohibit doctoring baseballs. Bauer was charged with six runs, four of them earned, in 6 1/3 innings in a loss to the Rangers on Saturday night.

Kershaw won his last start but was charged with five runs in six innings in each of his two starts before that. His ERA of 3.39 is his highest since he was a 20-year-old rookie.

Julio Urías is 9-2 with a 3.56 ERA but is already approaching his career high in innings pitched. He has pitched 78 1/3 innings this year; he’s never pitched more than 79 2/3 in a regular season.

Tony Gonsolin, who was sidelined for two months because of shoulder inflammation, made his season debut last week but recorded only five outs and walked five batters.

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ANGELS

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Patrick Sandoval throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Patrick Sandoval
(Associated Press)

Jack Harris on the Angels: Patrick Sandoval, the starting pitcher, was credited with his first victory of the season on Sunday afternoon.

Patrick Sandoval, courier of the pregame lineup card, picked up his sixth-straight win.

After delivering the Angels’ lineup card to the umpires before each of the team’s five-straight wins entering Sunday, the left-hander once again made the pregame trek to home plate in the series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This time was a little different, with Sandoval’s name actually written on the sheet as the team’s starting pitcher. But the result was the same, a 10-3 blowout that extended the Angels’ season-long winning streak to six and pushed their overall record (33-32) over .500 for the first time since May 1.

“There’s no way he was not taking it out,” manager Joe Maddon said with a laugh.

Added first baseman Jared Walsh: “We’re going to ride the wave as long as we possibly can.”

Asked if he takes credit for the Angels’ season-long winning streak, Sandoval grinned.

“No comment,” he said.

But after Sunday’s performance, in which he gave up just two runs in six-plus innings while also recording his first career base hit, he can claim to be the key factor in at least one of the wins.

“It really comes down to the starting pitching,” Maddon said. “Sandy was really good.”

Starting in his fifth-straight outing while filling in for the injured José Quintana, Sandoval yielded just four hits (all singles, including two that didn’t leave the infield) and two walks while striking out four batters and dominating with mostly a fastball-changeup mix.

Since moving into the rotation on May 17, the 24-year-old Mission Viejo native has a 2.77 ERA.

CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on the Clippers, who are preparing for Game 4 tonight against Utah: Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, reportedly a candidate for head-coaching vacancies in Portland and Boston, is “definitely ready” to become a first-time head coach, coach Tyronn Lue said Sunday.

Billups, who earned most valuable player honors of the 2004 NBA Finals as Detroit’s clutch point guard, is currently in his first season as an assistant coach and has been lauded for his work helping Clippers All-Star Paul George become a better distributor en route to a career-high 5.2 assists per game.

“He’s come a long way in the last summer to now and he’s put the work in and now he’s going to have a chance to go to a team from [a] fresh start having his own blueprint on the team,” Lue said. “As far as being a coach, just his poise, I think he relates to the players. Him being able to communicate and being able to teach PG at the point guard position how to make plays, what he’s looking for in different situations, and he’s been working with PG all year.”

SURFING

Surfer Bryan Perez prepares to enter the water in the Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Kevin Baxter on surfing: In a country starved for heroes, El Salvador found its latest at the end of a rutted dirt path where the land stops and the Pacific Ocean begins.

And it happened largely by accident.

Bryan Perez was among the gaggle of shoeless, shirtless kids who took pocket change to look after the cars of surfers at that rocky beach when a tourist broke a board and, unwilling to carry it home, gave it to the skinny boy as a gift.

Perez, who was 9 then, cried the first time his father pushed him into a wave, but he eventually learned to ride them on that broken board and, a little more than a decade later, he has emerged as one of the sport’s brightest young stars. Yet, it’s his rise from deprivation and his escape from the gangs that killed his sister and his best friend that have made him, at 21, a symbol of a new El Salvador.

“He shows with his life that it is possible to get out of poverty, stand out and be a successful person with a promising future,” said Salvador Castellanos, a popular TV newscaster who runs a faith-based program that offers surfing as an alternative to gang life. “That makes him a model for local youth who see that another reality is possible for them.”

It’s also made Perez arguably the most popular athlete in El Salvador, one whose quest for a berth in next month’s Tokyo Olympics was featured on national television each night and chronicled in the country’s tabloids newspapers every morning.

“We’ve seen him grow up, progress,” said Jimmy Rotherham, the first surfing champion from El Salvador and still a legendary presence there. “From all the kids in the country, he’s the one that you knew, definitely, was two steps ahead of the whole pack. So it’s very inspiring to see a kid like that coming up from really humble beginnings and put El Salvador on the map.”

HORSE RACING

John Cherwa on horse racing: Santa Anita had its third racing or training fatality in a little more than two weeks when Pushing Sixty was injured in the first race Sunday while exiting the far turn while running in a starter allowance turf race. The injury, a fractured left front ankle, was considered too severe for recovery, and the horse was euthanized.

It was the 11th racing or training death since the meeting started Dec. 26. Santa Anita has three more racing days before the meeting ends.

Meet at Dudley’s was euthanized after a training accident Wednesday, and Agamemnon died as the results of injuries suffered racing May 31. During the 2019 winter-spring meeting, 30 horses died. During that year, the 11th dead occurred Jan. 25.

The combination of added safety protocols and less racing have been factors in the reduction of fatalities since Santa Anita became a national story because of the severe increase in deaths.

SOCCER

Denmark's players react as teammate Christian Eriksen lays on the ground after a heart attack.
(Associated Press)

Denmark’s team doctor said Sunday that Christian Eriksen’s heart stopped and that “he was gone” before being resuscitated with a defibrillator at the European Championship.

Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 group game against Finland on Saturday and was given lengthy medical treatment before regaining consciousness.

“He was gone. And we did cardiac resuscitation. And it was cardiac arrest,“ said team doctor Morten Boesen, who led the work in giving Eriksen treatment on the field. “How close were we? I don’t know. We got him back after one defib. That’s quite fast.”

Eriksen was in stable condition at a Copenhagen hospital and had spoken to teammates via video link Sunday, team officials said.

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NBA PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

SECOND ROUND
All times Pacific

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Utah vs. No. 4 Clippers
Utah 112, Clippers 109
Utah 117, Clippers 111
Clippers 132, Utah 106
Tonight: at Clippers, 7 p.m., TNT
Wednesday: at Utah, 7 p.m., TNT
*Friday: at Clippers, TBD, ESPN
*Sunday: at Utah, TBD, TBD

No. 2 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets
Phoenix 122, Denver 105
Phoenix 123, Denver 98
Phoenix 116, Denver 102
Phoenix 125, Denver 118

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Philadelphia vs. No. 5 Atlanta
Atlanta 128, Philadelphia 124
Philadelphia 118, Atlanta 102
Philadelphia 127, Atlanta 111
Today: at Atlanta, 4:30 p.m., TNT
Wednesday: at Philadelphia, 4:30 p.m., TNT
*Friday: at Atlanta, TBD, ESPN
*Sunday: at Philadelphia, TBD, TBD

No. 2 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks
Brooklyn 115, Milwaukee 107
Brooklyn 125, Milwaukee 86
Milwaukee 86, Brooklyn 83
Milwaukee 107, Brooklyn 96
Tuesday: at Brooklyn, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Thursday: at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
*Saturday: at Brooklyn, TBD, TNT

NHL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

STANLEY CUP SEMIFINALS
All times Pacific

No. 1 Vegas vs. No. 4 Montreal

Monday: at Vegas, 6 p.m., NBCSN
Wednesday: at Vegas, 6 p.m., NBCSN
Friday: at Montreal, 5 p.m., USA
Sunday: at Montreal, 5 p.m.: NBCSN
*Tuesday, June 22: at Vegas, 6 p.m., NBCSN
*Thursday, June 24: at Montreal, 5 p.m., USA
*Saturday, June 26: at Vegas, 5 p.m., NBCSN

No. 2 Tampa Bay vs. No. 3 New York Islanders

New York 2, Tampa Bay 1
Tuesday: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., NBCSN
Thursday: at New York, 5 p.m., USA
Saturday: at New York, 5 p.m., USA
*Monday, June 21: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., NBCSN
*Wednesday, June 23: at New York, 5 p.m., NBCSN
*Friday, June 25: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., NBCSN

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1922 — Gene Sarazen edges Bobby Jones and John Black to win the U.S. Open tournament.

1934 — Max Baer stops Primo Carnera in 11th round in New York to win the world heavyweight title.

1952 — Julius Boros shoots a 281 at Northwood Club in Dallas to win the U.S. Open over Ed Oliver by four strokes.

1958 — Tommy Bolt beats Gary Player by four strokes to win the U.S. Open.

1958 — Britain beats the United States 4-3 at Wimbledon to win the Wrightman Cup, the first win for Britain since 1930.

1981 — Donna Caponi Young wins the LPGA championship by one stroke over Jerilyn Britz and Pat Meyers.

1987 — The Lakers win their 10th NBA championship with a 106-93 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 at the Forum.

1990 — Vinnie Johnson scores 15 points in the fourth quarter, including a 15-footer with seven-tenths of a second left, to give the Detroit Pistons a 92-90 win and the NBA title over Portland in five games.

1991 — Leroy Burrell sets a world record in the U.S. Championships in New York with a 9.90-second clocking in the men’s 100-meter dash. Carl Lewis, who held the record at 9.92 since the 1988 Olympics, finishes second.

1994 — The New York Rangers hold off the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in Game 7 for their first Stanley Cup in 54 years. MVP Brian Leetch, Adam Graves and Mark Messier score goals and Mike Richter makes 28 saves for New York.

1995 — The Houston Rockets complete the unlikeliest of NBA championship repeats, sweeping the Orlando Magic with a 113-101 victory. MVP Hakeem Olajuwon finishes with 35 points and 15 rebounds.

1998 — Michael Jordan scores 45 points, stealing the ball from Karl Malone and hitting a jumper with 5.2 seconds left to give Chicago an 87-86 win and a 4-2 series victory over Utah for a sixth NBA title.

2005 — Asafa Powell breaks the world record in the 100 meters with a 9.77 clocking at Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece. Powell shaves one hundredth of a second off Tim Montgomery’s record of 9.78 set in Paris in 2002 — a mark that would later be wiped out because of doping charges.

2005 — Michelle Wie becomes the first female player to qualify for an adult male U.S. Golf Assn. championship, tying for first place in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur Public Links sectional qualifying tournament at Belle Vernon, Pa.

2007 — The San Antonio Spurs, who bounced over from the ABA in 1976, move in among the NBA’s greatest franchises with an 83-82 victory for a sweep of Cleveland. With their fourth championship since 1999, the Spurs join the Lakers, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls as the only teams in NBA history to win four titles.

2009 — The Lakers win their 15th championship, beating the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game 5 of the NBA finals. Kobe Bryant, the MVP, scores 30 points in winning his fourth title, the first without Shaquille O’Neal. It’s the 10th championship for coach Phil Jackson, moving him past Boston’s Red Auerbach for the most all-time.

2015 — Inbee Park shoots a final round 68 to finish at 19-under par to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship for the third consecutive year and retake the No. 1 ranking in women’s golf. Park of South Korea finishes the season’s second major five strokes ahead of 22-year-old compatriot Sei Young Kim.

And finally

The Lakers defeat the Boston Celtics to win the 1986-87 NBA title. 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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