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The Sports Report: McKinstry’s grand slam helps Dodgers beat Cubs, 7-1

Los Angeles Dodgers' Zach McKinstry, left, is congratulated by manager Dave Roberts after hitting a grand slam.
Zach McKinstry is congratulated by Dave Roberts after hitting a grand slam during the second inning.
(Associated Press)

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

Mike DiGiovanna on the Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw hopped off the mound and took several steps toward the third-base dugout, the Dodgers left-hander so sure he had struck out Chicago Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo to end the first inning on Sunday that he didn’t bother looking for umpire Ryan Blakney’s call.

Kershaw, his eight teammates on the field and a crowd of 46,315 in Dodger Stadium were stunned when the belt-high slider on the inside corner was called a ball, but it only delayed the inevitable.

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Los Angeles Dodgers' Zach McKinstry gestures as he heads to third after hitting a grand slam.
Zach McKinstry gestures as he heads to third after hitting a grand slam.
(Associated Press)

Two pitches later, Kershaw whiffed Rizzo with an 86-mph slider, setting the tone for a late-afternoon display of dominance in which Kershaw gave up one run and four hits, struck out a season-high 13 and walked one in eight innings of a 7-1 victory over the Cubs.

Kershaw induced 26 swings and misses during his 101-pitch, 70-strike gem, a season-high and the fifth-most in his 14-year career, 22 of them with a sharp-breaking slider that averaged 86.4 mph. He used the slider to end 10 of his strikeouts. He used his looping, 74-mph curve on his other three whiffs.

Zach McKinstry’s first career grand slam and Cody Bellinger’s two-run homer highlighted a six-run second inning that gave Kershaw more than enough support, as the Dodgers extended their win streak to three entering a two-game series against the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants.

“I was getting some swing and misses on the slider, I was able to use it to both sides of the plate, and I told Dave [Roberts, Dodgers manager] that any time you get to pitch a 4:15 p.m. game in Dodger Stadium with the shadows, it’s a good game,” Kershaw said. “It’s not easy to see there, so I’ll take it for sure.”

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ANGELS

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani (17) beats the tag from Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Lowe.
Shohei Ohtani steals second base in the fourth inning.
(Associated Press)

Jack Harris on the Angels: Last time Shohei Ohtani visited Tropicana Field in June 2019, he hit for the cycle.

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On Sunday, he orchestrated another dazzling performance that was perhaps equally impressive.

Ohtani didn’t complete the cycle in the Angels’ 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, coming up only a single shy of replicating the feat. But what he did accomplish was almost more meaningful, a three extra-base-hit, three-RBI masterpiece that provided the slumping Angels with a much-needed jolt as they snapped a five-game losing streak.

“He sees things,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “And then he goes and he does them.”

In the fourth inning, Ohtani opened the scoring after drawing a walk, stealing second and scoring on an infield single by Phil Gosselin.

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In the sixth, he gave the Angels a 2-1 lead after driving an RBI double off the wall in right.

In the seventh, a half-inning after the Rays retook the lead on Ji-Man Choi’s three-run homer, Ohtani leveled the score again by lacing an RBI triple into the right field corner, scoring Juan Lagares.

And in the ninth, with the Angels clinging to a one-run lead after Gosselin’s go-ahead home run in the top of the eighth, Ohtani provided important breathing room by blasting his 25th home of the season high the other way over the left-center field wall.

OLYMPICS

From left, Simone Biles, Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey.
(Associated Press)
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Helene Elliott on gymnastics: They draped themselves in red, white and blue streamers and danced happily, freely, the worst of the pressure behind them.

The six women newly nominated to Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics and the four alternates joined their male counterparts as well as the newly minted rhythmic and trampoline and tumbling Olympic nominees to mug for the cameras, flex their muscles and twirl madly, relief replacing fatigue after two days of tense competition at the U.S. Olympic trials. “Hey Mom,” MyKayla Skinner said in the middle of the chaos, “I made it.”

Skinner’s individual spot was hardly sure, not when she returned to elite gymnastics after enjoying a college career at Utah and certainly not when she had COVID-19 and pneumonia last December and returned to competition as the oldest hopeful, at 24. Hers is one of many remarkable comeback stories that bond the women who will be favored to bring home a team gold medal among their medal haul from the COVID-delayed Summer Games.

The one sure thing about the trials played out as expected, though with a few uncharacteristic wobbles and a fall off the balance beam: Simone Biles, the 2016 Olympic all-around gold medalist, will go to Tokyo as the U.S. Olympic trials all-around champion.

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“It wasn’t my best performance today. I got in my head and doubted myself and you could see that today,” she said. “I feel like there’s a lot of expectations that everybody puts on me and I put on myself and it’s hard to keep that out.

“I think, ‘I haven’t fallen all week,’ and of course I do that. You get a little bit tired, so the doubts start creeping in.”

Biles said she wasn’t aware that she’d get an automatic nomination because of her first-place finish, with 118.098 points. Sunisa Lee of St. Paul, Minn., whose second-day total of 58.166 was higher than Biles’ 57.333, also got an automatic berth for compiling a runner-up total of 115.832.

A selection committee chose third-place finisher and incoming UCLA freshman Jordan Chiles, 20, who trains alongside Biles in Spring, Texas, for the third spot and decided on Grace McCallum, 18, for the fourth team spot. Skinner, who dropped from fourth after the first day to fifth, got the individual spot, perhaps helped by uneven bars specialist Riley McCusker’s fall in that event.

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Jade Carey of Phoenix, 21, also will go to Tokyo because she earned an individual spot based on her performances in floor exercise and vault in the International Gymnastics Federation’s Apparatus World Cup series. However, she has had a lingering leg injury and could be replaced. The alternates are Emma Malabuyo, also an incoming UCLA freshman and the ninth-place trials finisher, Kayla DiCello, Kara Eaker and Leanne Wong.

The entire U.S. gymnastics team:

Nicole Ahsinger

Simone Biles

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Jade Carey

Jordan Chiles

Evita Griskenas

Suni Lee

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Grace McCallum

MyKayla Skinner

Laura Zeng

Brody Malone

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Sam Mikulak

Yul Moldauer

Aliaksei Shostak

Shane Wiskus

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Alec Yoder

————

Serena Williams
Serena Williams
(Associated Press)

Iliana Limón Romero on tennis: Serena Williams will not compete in the Tokyo Olympics, the tennis star confirmed during her pre-Wimbledon video news conference Sunday morning.

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She declined to say why she wasn’t participating, but Williams previously expressed concern about Olympic restrictions blocking athletes from bringing children and childcare assistance along to Tokyo due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in Japan.

When asked whether she planned to compete in Tokyo, Williams responded, “I’m actually not on the Olympic list. ... Not that I’m aware of. If so, then I shouldn’t be on it.”

Williams, 39, has won four Olympic gold medals in singles and doubles play. She did not, however, medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

“There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision,” Williams said ahead of her opening Wimbledon match set for Tuesday. “I don’t really want to — I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.”

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SPARKS

Diana Taurasi scored 25 points and became the first player in WNBA history to score 9,000 points as the Phoenix Mercury beat the Sparks 88-79.

Taurasi, the league’s all-time leading scorer, had been out with a fractured sternum. The 39-year old guard was fouled as she made a driving layup and converted the three-point play to reach the 9,000-point plateau. No other player in WNBA history has scored as many as 7,500 points and only Tina Thompson (7,488) and Tamika Catchings (7,380) have reached the 7,000-point mark.

Erica Wheeler made back-to-back baskets to cap a 7-0 run by the Sparks and tie it at 47-all early in the third quarter but Phoenix (7-7) scored 13 of the next 15 points to take the lead for good. Taurasi made two three-pointers in the final minute of the period to push the Mercury’s lead to 14 points going into the fourth.

UCLA SPORTS

Ben Bolch writes about UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond: As he approaches the one-year anniversary of his official start on July 1, Jarmond can rest easy about his early popularity rating on campus. He’s solved a career’s worth of dilemmas while endearing himself to athletes and coaches with his boundless energy and problem-solving sorcery.

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NBA PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

All times Pacific

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 2 Phoenix vs. No. 4 Clippers
Phoenix 120, Clippers 114
Phoenix 104, Clippers 103
Clippers 106, Phoenix 92
Phoenix 84, Clippers 80
Tonight: at Phoenix, 6 p.m., ESPN
*Wednesday: at Clippers, 6 p.m., ESPN
*Friday: at Phoenix, 6 p.m.

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

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No. 3 Milwaukee vs. No. 5 Atlanta
Atlanta 116, Milwaukee 113
Milwaukee 125, Atlanta 91
Milwaukee 113, Atlanta 102
Tuesday: at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Thursday: at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., TNT
*Saturday: at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., TNT
*Monday, July 5: at Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m., TNT

*-if necessary

NHL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE/RESULTS

STANLEY CUP FINALS
All times Pacific

No. 2 Tampa Bay vs. No. 4 Montreal

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Today: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., NBCSN
Wednesday: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., NBCSN
Friday: at Montreal, 5 p.m., NBC
Monday, July 5: at Montreal, 5 p.m., NBC
*Wed., July 7: at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., NBC
*Friday, July 9: at Montreal, 5 p.m., NBC
*Sunday, July 11: at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m., NBC

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1935 — Alf Perry ties a British Open scoring record with a 283 total at Muirfield in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland. Perry’s finishes five-under for four-stroke win over Alf Padgham.

1939 — Joe Louis stops Tony Galento in the fourth round at Yankee Stadium to retain the world heavyweight title.

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1953 — Betsy Rawls wins the U.S. Women’s Open with a six-stroke playoff victory over Jacqueline Pung.

1966 — Ernie Terrell scores a unanimous 15-round decision over Doug Jones in Houston to win the WBA title, which had been stripped from Muhammad Ali.

1971 — Muhammad Ali wins a four-year legal battle to overturn his 1967 conviction for draft evasion in an 8-0 vote by the U.S. Supreme Court.

1992 — Connie Price-Smith, who earlier won the discus, wins the shotput at 62 feet, 6 inches, to become the first woman to win both events at the U.S. Olympic trials since Earlene Brown in 1960.

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1994 — Oleg Salenko scores a World Cup record five goals as Russia beats Cameroon 6-1.

1997 — Evander Holyfield, bleeding badly from his right ear after being bitten by Mike Tyson, retains the WBA heavyweight championship in Las Vegas when Tyson is disqualified after the third round.

2007 — Frank Thomas hit his 500th home run to become the 21st major leaguer to reach the career mark.

2007 — Craig Biggio becomes the 27th player in major league history to get 3,000 hits in Houston’s 8-5 11-inning victory over Colorado.

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2009 — Mariano Rivera earns his 500th save, becoming the second reliever to reach the milestone, and the New York Yankees beat the Mets 4-2 for a Subway Series sweep.

2009 — Nineteen-year-old Joey Logano becomes the youngest winner in the history of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, winning the rain-shortened race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

2012 — Kentucky becomes the first school to go 1-2 in the NBA Draft. New Orleans Hornets select Kentucky forward Anthony Davis with the No. 1 pick. Then Charlotte follows by taking fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Wildcats join UNLV with six players drafted in the entire draft. UNLV had six players drafted in 1977 — but none in the first round.

2014 — Sebastian K, driven by trainer Ake Svanstedt, trots the fastest mile in harness racing history, finishing in 1:49 in the $100,000 Sun Invitational for older trotters at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old stallion who raced four times in the U.S. since arriving from Sweden during the winter, breaks the record of 1:49.3 set by Enough Talk in 2008.

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And finally

Mike Tyson apologizes to Evander Holyfield. 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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