The Sports Report: Dodgers’ winning streak comes to an end
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The two home runs landed within seconds Sunday afternoon. They were separated by hundreds of miles, one at Dodger Stadium, the other, at RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, but connected as everything the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants do for the remainder of the regular season will be. Wherever they happen, against whichever teams they face.
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At Dodger Stadium, New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis clobbered a two-run home run off Dodgers right-hander Phil Bickford with two outs in the seventh inning to give the Mets a three-run lead. In Oakland, Donovan Solano clubbed a pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth inning to put the Giants ahead 2-1 against the Athletics, their adversaries from across the bay.
The two swings produced another one in the standings once the scores held up for the rival clubs with the two best records in the major leagues. The Dodgers’ 7-2 loss snapped their nine-game winning streak and dropped them 2 ½ games behind the Giants in the National League West with 37 games remaining.
“We still have to take care of business and win ballgames,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Our fate is still in our own hands.”
The Dodgers (78-47) found themselves in a recently unfamiliar situation from the jump Sunday: trailing. The Mets (61-63) scored three runs in the first inning against David Price to take their first lead of the four-game series. It was the first deficit the Dodgers faced since rallying to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
“Leading off the game with a walk is never good,” said Price, who rebounded to toss three scoreless innings to finish his outing. “Starting the game in that fashion, that’s how runs get scored.”
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Jack Harris on the Angels: For Gibson Turner, Dodger fandom is a way of life.
The Torrance Little Leaguer was named after Kirk Gibson. He jokingly calls Justin Turner “Uncle Justin,” though they don’t have any real relation. His family’s house is lined with Dodger blue bobbleheads and memorabilia. His childhood has been filled with trips to Chavez Ravine.
As a shortstop and pitcher, Turner even used to try mimicking Clayton Kershaw’s motion -- a big leg kick and over the head wind-up -- on the mound.
But this year, as he helped lead his own team to the Little League Baseball World Series, Turner has found a big-league role model from another team, too.
Even the biggest Dodger fan has found reason to admire Shohei Ohtani.
Like the rest of the baseball world, Turner has been struck by Ohtani’s all-around domination this campaign.
But to a 12-year-old Little Leaguer who plays both ways himself, the historic season has also meant something a little deeper, fueling aspirations for his own future in the sport.
“How he hits and pitches, it’s like he’s in Little League,” Turner said. “That’s definitely what I want to do. I want to make it to the big-leagues and pitch and hit.”
And on Sunday, Turner and every other player in the Little League World Series got a front row seat at Ohtani’s latest display, watching him and the Angels in a 3-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians at the Little League Classic.
While the Angels lost the game, which is staged annually at the historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa., to coincide with the Little League World Series, Ohtani showcased his all-around skills again.
LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES
Jack Harris on the Little League World Series: Grant Hays flexed his right biceps after his first home run Sunday morning. His second was a flex unto itself, requiring no celebration.
With a three-run blast in the third inning and a monstrous two-run shot in the sixth that he described as the longest of his young career, Hays led Torrance Little League to a 9-0 thumping of Hamilton, Ohio, at the Little League Baseball World Series. The victory moved the California team within two wins of the tournament final.
“It’s starting to all come together,” Torrance coach Javier Chavez said. “We’re realizing exactly what’s ahead of us.”
Kevin Baxter on Angel City: Angel City, Southern California’s NWSL expansion team, has yet to sign a player, play a game or commit to a playing style.
But it does have a coach.
And for Freya Coombe, that absence of definition is what made the Angel City coaching job so attractive in the first place.
“The blank canvas presents such an exciting opportunity to get your stamp on the culture, on the players, and be able to really start with no excuses,” said Coombe, who will be formally introduced as the team’s first manager Monday. “It certainly presents a new, authentic, exciting opportunity to start afresh with that new culture.”
Thuc Nhi Nguyen on UCLA: Jordan Chiles failed. At least, she told everyone as much.
The 20-year-old UCLA-bound freshman faltered on bars and beam during Olympic team qualification, a shocking break in form after Chiles had hit every routine for the past year to earn her spot on the Olympic team. Behind the scenes, Chiles told her teammates she failed them. From the hotel afterward, she called her parents and told them the same thing.
No one believed her, but she also started telling herself that she failed.
“It was uncharacteristic for me to be doing that,” Chiles said recently. “If it was the old Jordan, yes, but as of right now, that was ridiculous.”
While “Old Jordan” made an unwelcome cameo during the qualifying rounds, “New Jordan” walked away from the Games as a silver medalist. When Simone Biles withdrew from the team final because of mental health concerns, Chiles helped Team USA claim a medal after a surprise all-around performance. That’s the gymnast UCLA will welcome to its campus this winter, a confident, focused and empowered athlete ready to tackle a new challenge.
Chiles may have already achieved a life-long goal of competing and medaling in the Olympics, but she’s not done dreaming yet.
Erica Wheeler scored 17 points and Brittney Sykes made two defensive stops in the closing seconds to help the Sparks beat the New York Liberty 86-83 on Sunday.
Nneka Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver scored 16 points apiece for Los Angeles (10-13). Ogwumike added five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Ogwumike, the 2016 WNBA MVP, missed 14 games due to a knee injury before returning after the Olympics break to lead the Sparks to four consecutive wins.
Betnijah Laney threw a behind-the-back pass intended for Sabrina Ionescu but Sykes jumped into the lane and took it to the other end before being fouled by Ionescu an a layup attempt. Sykes made both free throws to make it 85-81 with 16.2 seconds left. Michaela Onyenwere made two foul shots on the other end and then Kristi Toliver hit 1 of 2 from the free-throw line to give L.A. an 86-83 lead with 5.0 seconds remaining, but Sykes blocked a potential tying 30-foot heave by Ionescu at the buzzer to seal it.
Trey Lance threw two touchdown passes and continued to make his case to be San Francisco’s Week 1 starter as the 49ers rallied for a 15-10 victory over the Chargers on Sunday night.
Lance, who finished eight of 14 for 102 yards, also won the duel of former North Dakota State quarterbacks. Easton Stick, who mentored Lance in 2018 when the Bison won their seventh FCS title in eight years, got the start for the Chargers and was 10 of 14 for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Stick was sacked for a safety early in the second quarter by San Francisco’s Jordan Willis, giving the Niners a 2-0 lead. Willis — who is ineligible for the first six games due to a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy — got leverage on Chargers offensive tackle Trey Pipkins, forcing him into the end zone before tackling Stick.
The Chargers’ first game in front of fans at their Inglewood home drew 68.327.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1898 — Malcolm Whitman wins the men’s singles title in the U.S. Lawn Tennis Assn. championship.
1926 — Molla Bjurstedt Mallory beats Elizabeth Ryan to capture her seventh singles title in the U.S. Lawn Tennis Assn. championships.
1933 — The first televised boxing match is an exhibition fight between Archie Sexton and Laurie Raiteri, staged at the Broadcasting House in London.
1946 — The College All-Stars beat the Los Angeles Rams 16-0 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
1947 — The College All-Stars beat the Chicago Bears 16-0, before a record crowd of 105,840 at Chicago’s Soldier Field. It’s the second and last time that the college team won in consecutive years.
1969 — Audrey McElmory becomes the first American to win the world road cycling championship which is held in Brno, Czechoslovakia. McElmury overcomes rain and a fall during the fourth lap of the 62-kilometer race to beat Britain’s Bernadette Swinnerton by one minute and 10 seconds.
1975 — Classical Way completes the trotting sweep by winning the Challenge Cup in 3:07.1 at Roosevelt Raceway.
1987 — Callit wins the International Trot in 2:33.4 at Roosevelt Raceway.
1995 — Denis Pankratov of Russia breaks a 9-year-old world record in the men’s 100-meter butterfly at the European swimming championships in Vienna, Austria with a time of 52.32 seconds.
2004 — The U.S. softball team wins its third straight gold medal with a nearly unblemished romp through the Olympics, capped by a 5-1 victory over Australia. Lisa Fernandez pitches a four-hitter and Crystl Bustos homers twice in the Americans’ best all-around game of the tournament.
2008 — At the Beijing Games, Angel Matos of Cuba and his coach are banned for life after the taekwondo athlete kicks the referee in the face following his bronze-medal match disqualification against Kazakhstan’s Arman Chilmanov. Matos is declared the loser for taking too much injury time after hurting his leg. Matos angrily questions the call, pushes a judge, then pushes and kicks referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden.
2012 — Lance Armstrong chooses not to pursue arbitration in the drug case brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. That’s his last option in his bitter fight with USADA and his decision sets the stage for the titles to be stripped and his name to be all but wiped from the record books of the sport he once ruled.
2014 — Nick Davila passes for 237 yards and eight touchdowns and the Arizona Rattlers win their third consecutive ArenaBowl title with a 72-32 victory over the Cleveland Gladiators.
2015 — Ohio State becomes the first unanimous preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll. The defending national champion Buckeyes, receive all 61 first-place votes from the media panel in the rankings.
2015 — Usain Bolt wins the 100-meter race at the World Championships in Beijing, edging Justin Gaitlin by 0.01 seconds.
Angel Matos kicks a referee in the face at the Olympics. Watch them here.
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