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The Sports Report: Astros quiet the Dodgers

Yordan Alvarez is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run homer.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

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

Bill Shaikin on the Dodgers: Wrestlemania features a rowdy crowd, designated villains, and scripted action. Astromania debuted at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, with a rowdy crowd, designated villains, and unscripted action. The evening was real, and it was spectacular.

Two years of fan frustration erupted in explosions of seriously sustained boos, inflatable trash cans, and chants of “Cheaters!” The Houston Astros, playing before Dodger Stadium fans for the first time since Major League Baseball condemned them as cheaters in the year they beat the Dodgers in the World Series, were treated as if they were outcasts in a public square.

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Great theater, and great teams too. Perhaps they will meet again here, in this year’s World Series.

Can you imagine? It’s easy if you try: The team with the best run differential in the National League is the Dodgers. The team with the best run differential in the American League is the Astros.

A rematch of the 2017 World Series, this time with ethics.

On Tuesday, the Dodgers and Astros treated the largest crowd in MLB this season -- announced at 52,692 – to seven innings of a taut thriller. The Astros scored two runs in the eighth inning, on a home run by onetime Dodgers prospect Yordan Alvarez, completing the scoring in a 3-0 victory.

Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers are 6-3 against the bottom two teams in the NL West and 1-6 against the teams with the best records in the majors, the Astros and San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers trail the Giants by 3-1/2 games in the NL West; they lead the third-place San Diego Padres by 2-1/2 games.

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ANGELS

Ethan Sears on the Angels: The TV cameras didn’t betray Jo Adell’s emotions.

He stood on second base, hands on his hips, chewing gum and looking ahead, focused. Minutes earlier, he had gotten his first hit of the season, taking a curveball over the outside corner and serving it over the head of Texas Rangers left fielder Eli White to drive in two runs with two outs in the third inning.

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That might have proved a forgettable moment in the Angels’ eventual 11-3 blowout win over the Rangers on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas. But with the Angels improving to 53-54, on the outer fringes of the playoff conversation, what matters more than the outcome is the performance of players such as Adell, who made his 2021 major league debut Tuesday.

“Felt good,” Adell said. “... Try to get pitches I could handle and good things happen.”

Adell, 22, became the third prospect the Angels have promoted since the trade deadline, after pitchers Reid Detmers and Chris Rodriguez, and now embarks on an extended chance to correct a 2020 season gone wrong.

LAKERS

Broderick Turner on the Lakers: Along with another veteran player, the Lakers added some youth Tuesday to their team on the second day of the NBA’s free-agency period.

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With agreements from the seasoned Carmelo Anthony and the 20-somethings Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn, the Lakers have a loaded roster of 13 players for coach Frank Vogel and his staff.

Anthony, 37, essentially broke his own news on social media Tuesday, posting a two-second video displaying ME70, with the seven turning into the Lakers’ logo. His agent, Aaron Mintz, confirmed that Anthony will join the Lakers.

Anthony and Laker star LeBron James have been friends for a long time, and both hoped to play together at some point.

They get their chance after Anthony agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum.

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Anthony, 37, is an 18-year veteran who averaged 13.4 points and made 40.9% of his three-pointers last season in Portland. The 6-7 Anthony was solid off the bench for the Trail Blazers.

Horton-Tucker, 20, agreed to a three-year deal for $32 million, with a player option for the third season, according to his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.

CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: One day after NBA free agency opened and four days before DeMar DeRozan turns 32, the 6-foot-6 L.A. native agreed to a reported three-year contract worth $85 million with the Chicago Bulls as part of a sign-and-trade agreement with his former team, San Antonio.

The agreement Tuesday ended the pursuit of DeRozan by the Clippers and Lakers, who each held varying levels of interest in the former USC wing after his eighth consecutive season averaging 20 points or more.

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DeRozan joined the Spurs in 2018 after Toronto traded him and other assets to get Kawhi Leonard, who subsequently won a championship with the Raptors. Three years later, the Clippers had interest in DeRozan for Leonard-related reasons too.

For the Clippers, DeRozan would have been slotted next to Paul George as a veteran presence to fill the scoring void left by the knee injury to Leonard that will keep the unrestricted free-agent wing out “a great deal of time” if he re-signs, team president Lawrence Frank said last week.

To sign DeRozan outright as an unrestricted free agent, the Clippers would have been able to offer only their taxpayer mid-level exception worth $5.9 million.

RAMS

Ryan Kartje on the Rams: The X-rays on Matthew Stafford’s surgically repaired right thumb were negative, an existential quarterback crisis mercifully averted, but Rams coach Sean McVay still wanted to play it safe with his newly acquired signal caller.

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Stafford had slammed his thumb hard enough into a helmet on Monday to sustain a contusion, and it stood to reason he should get at least a day off for the soreness to abate.

That was the team’s plan, at least. But when the Rams opened practice on Tuesday, Stafford emerged in full pads and red quarterback jersey, with no intention of sitting out a single snap. The Rams, trusting their new veteran, obliged, allowing him to practice without limitation.

“He felt good about it,” McVay said. “I think he’s earned the right to give us feedback, to know how his body feels. If he felt like that was the best approach, we’d do that.”

CHARGERS

The Chargers are in the midst of training camp. Click here for our live blog of updates throughout training camp.

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

A law firm hired to investigate gender equity concerns at NCAA championship events released a blistering report Tuesday that recommended holding the men’s and women’s Final Fours at the same site and offering financial incentives to schools to improve their women’s basketball programs.

The review by Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP had been highly anticipated. The firm was hired in March after the NCAA failed to provide similar amenities to the teams in the men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments, a situation that blew up on social media amid player complaints and prompted apologies from NCAA executives including President Mark Emmert.

“With respect to women’s basketball, the NCAA has not lived up to its stated commitment to ‘diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators,’” the 113-page report concludes.

The report noted disparities were not confined to just this year’s tournaments and that the bedrock financial deal for the NCAA and its member schools is partly to blame: Kaplan said NCAA’s structure and systems “are designed to maximize the value of and support to the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship as the primary source of funding for the NCAA and its membership.”

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GALAXY

Kevin Baxter on the Galaxy: Landon Donovan and David Beckham will be forever linked in Galaxy history after bringing the team two MLS Cups during their six seasons together.

Beginning this fall, the teammates will be forever linked outside the team’s stadium as well, with the Galaxy announcing plans Tuesday to place a statue of Donovan next to the bronze likeness of Beckham in Legends Plaza, outside the main entrance on the southwest side of Dignity Health Sports Park.

Donovan’s statue, which will be sculpted by Julie Rotblatt-Amrany and Omri Amrany, the husband-and-wife team who did the Beckham statue as well as the one of Michael Jordan the sits outside the United Center in Chicago, will be unveiled on Oct. 3 in a pregame ceremony ahead of the Galaxy’s game with LAFC. At halftime Donovan will be placed in the club’s Ring of Honor joining Beckham; former players Cobi Jones and Mauricio Cienfuegos; and the late Doug Hamilton, a three-time MLS executive of the year.

OLYMPICS

Where’s the Olympics coverage? You will be receiving a special Olympics edition of the Sports Report, which should hit your inbox around 7 a.m. PT each day, and will run daily during the Games. You can also check out all of our Olympics coverage by clicking here.

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1945 — Byron Nelson wins his 11th consecutive PGA Tour event, beating Herman Barron by four strokes. Nelson finishes the year with a record for most tournament wins (18) in a season.

1982 — Joel Youngblood becomes the only player in major league history to play and get hits for two teams in two cities on the same day. In the afternoon, his hit drives in the winning run for the New York Mets in a 7-4 victory at Chicago. After the game, he’s traded to the Montreal Expos and plays that night in Philadelphia. He enters the game in right field in the fourth inning and later gets a single.

1984 — Carl Lewis wins the 100-meter dash in 9.99 seconds at the Los Angeles Summer Games. US teammate Sam Graddy wins the silver in 10.19 and Canada’s Ben Johnson gets the bronze with a time of 10.22.

1985 — Tom Seaver, 40, becomes the 17th 300-game winner in major league history with a six-hitter — all singles — as the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Yankees 4-1.

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1985 — Rod Carew of the Angels gets his 3,000th hit in a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins, his first major league team.

1996 — Laura Davies shoots a 6-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Nancy Lopez and Karrie Webb in the du Maurier Classic.

1996 — The Atlanta Olympic Games end with U.S. boxer David Reid’s stunning gold-medal knockout, and the women Dream Team’s romp over Brazil. Reid captures America’s only boxing gold, knocking down Cuban Alfredo Duvergel, while the U.S. women roll to a 111-87 victory behind Lisa Leslie’s 29 points. A record 11,000 athletes from 197 countries make it the biggest Olympics.

2011 — Cappie Pondexter scores 15 points to lead New York past Chicago 59-49, and the Liberty hold the Sky to a WNBA-record one point in the fourth quarter.

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2012 — Michael Phelps wins another gold medal as the United States wins the medley relay at the London Olympics. Phelps leaves the sport with a record 18 golds and 22 medals overall. At these games, he wins four golds and two silvers.

2012 — Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 to join Steffi Graf as the only women to complete the Golden Slam — winning the Olympics and the four majors. In a men’s semifinal match, Roger Federer outlasts Juan Martin del Potro in a 19-17 final set and clinches his first Olympic singles medal. Canadian equestrian Ian Millar rides into Olympic history by competing in his 10th games — the most of any athlete.

2013 — Missy Franklin claims her record sixth gold medal on the final day of the world championships in Barcelona, becoming the most successful female swimmer ever at a world meet. Franklin eclipses the record shared by Tracy Caulkins — who won five times in 1978 — and Libby Trickett, who did it in 2007.

2013 — Stacy Lewis wins the Women’s British Open after a marathon final day. Lewis finishes with a pair of birdies on the Old Course at St. Andrews and closes with an even-par 72. It’s her second major on the LPGA Tour, and it ends a record streak of 10 straight majors won by Asian players. Forced to play 36 holes, Lewis is the only player at par or better from the last 21 groups that tee off.

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2018 — British swimmer Adam Peaty improves his own world record in the 100-meter breaststroke to 57.1 seconds at the European Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

And finally

Rod Carew gets his 3,000th hit. 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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