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The Sports Report: AJ Pollock lifts Dodgers to dramatic 16th inning win over Padres

The Dodgers' AJ Pollock rounds the bases after hitting a two-run homer in the 16th inning against the Padres
The Dodgers’ AJ Pollock trots around the bases after hitting a two-run homer in the 16th inning against the San Diego Padres.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Iliana Limón Romero, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who is on vacation (probably celebrating the Dodgers’ wild extra-innings win). Let’s get right to the news.

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: SAN DIEGO — The game that wouldn’t end, the kind Major League Baseball tried to make obsolete, finally ended at 12:59 am Thursday, five hours and 49 minutes after the first pitch was thrown at Petco Park.

It ended in a 5-3 win for the Dodgers over the San Diego Padres because AJ Pollock crushed a two-run home run in the 16th inning off left-hander Daniel Camarana, the last pitcher the Padres had available.

It ended after an entertaining pitchers’ duel between the starters, a game-tying home run in the eighth inning, a series of baserunning blunders, a balk, a go-ahead pinch-hit single in the 15th inning, a game-tying home run in the bottom of the 15th inning that bounced off the top of the wall, 13 combined intentional walks, 19 combined pitchers and 489 pitches.

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The Dodgers (80-47) intentionally walked the bases loaded twice and escaped both times. The Padres, left without position players on the bench by the 10th inning, deployed two pitchers that were used as pinch-hitters. The Dodgers used 23 players; the Padres 24.

Shane Greene, the Dodgers’ 10th pitcher, recorded the 48th and final out to ignite an early morning celebration. Pollock was dumped with a liquid in celebration. It was a satisfying result for the team in gray.

The Dodgers have won three straight extra-inning games after losing 11 of them in a row. They’ve won 15 of 17 overall. They remained 2½ games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants with 35 games remaining. The Padres (68-60) are 15 games behind the Giants in third place, one game behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild card spot.

“I’ve talked about team wins, but I think this certainly epitomizes team win,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

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Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw stands in the dugout wearing a new Los Dodgers uniform
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw stands in the dugout wearing a new Los Dodgers uniform on Aug. 21.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

Bill Shaikin on Clayton Kershaw: Max Scherzer and Yu Darvish are the scheduled starters Thursday night at Petco Park. Walker Buehler and Blake Snell started Wednesday night.

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Clayton Kershaw stood in front of the Dodgers dugout Wednesday afternoon, enduring one of his least favorite parts of the job. This was a big series, with the big dogs on the mound, and Kershaw had to talk about an injury.

He has not pitched in eight weeks. His return appears to be another few weeks away, and even that timetable is etched in hope. He threw a bullpen session Tuesday, but he swatted away a question about whether the session was encouraging.

“Encouraging, not encouraging? It’s all discouraging right now, because I’m not pitching,” Kershaw said.

He was not rude. He pushed too hard to come back too soon. His recovery got longer, as did the Dodgers’ stay in second place in the National League West.

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Angels star Shohei Ohtani (17) reacts to striking out against the Orioles
Angels star Shohei Ohtani (17) reacts to striking out against the Orioles Wednesday in Baltimore.
(Terrance Williams / Associated Press)

ANGELS

Jack Harris on the Angels: BALTIMORE — The Angels dealt with battles on multiple fronts Wednesday.

Manager Joe Maddon confirmed that the team was dealing with COVID-19-related issues on its roster. Coupled with several conventional injuries and an overworked bullpen, the Angels’ shorthanded pitching staff ran into struggles.

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And by the end of the night, it all contributed to a 10-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, a game in which the Angels blew an early four-run lead to let the Orioles end a 19-game losing streak.

It was like Murphy’s law in action. Just about everything that could go wrong for the team, did.

MLS teammates swarm Ricardo Pepe after he scored the clinching penalty kick to beat Liga MX
MLS teammates swarm Ricardo Pepe after he scored the clinching penalty kick to beat Liga MX in the MLS All-Star game at Banc of California Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SOCCER

Kevin Baxter on soccer: After Tuesday’s All-Star Skills Challenge, executives from nearly every club in Major League Soccer and Mexico’s Liga MX made the short walk from Banc of California Stadium to the California Science Center in Exposition Park to both celebrate and plan.

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The skills challenge was the appetizer to Wednesday’s MLS-Liga MX All-Star game, won by MLS on penalty kicks after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The game was the largest, most complex collaboration yet between the leagues, but Tuesday’s Founder’s Dinner, held in the hangar-size hall that houses the space shuttle Endeavor, was historic in its own right since it marked the biggest summit of team owners and executives from the two sides, who are taking the first tentative steps toward a partnership that could become one of the most expansive in club soccer history.

“Really the most important thing is that there’s this group of progressive owners that are now talking. They found the chemistry there,” said Martin Hollaender, chief financial officer for Orlegi Sports, which owns Liga MX franchises in Torreón and Guadalajara.

“It’s a very good start,” he said. “But there’s so many details.”

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel raises his arms
Former New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (26) raises his arms while stepping on the practice field.
(Steven Senne / Associated Press)
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RAMS

Gary Klein on the Rams: Less than three years ago, in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, the Rams watched in despair when Sony Michel rushed for a decisive fourth-quarter touchdown that sent them to defeat.

Now they are aiming for Michel to help carry them back to the Super Bowl.

On Wednesday, the Rams traded for the fourth-year running back, sending a sixth-round draft choice in 2022 and a fourth-rounder in 2023 to the New England Patriots for a player expected to fill the void left after Cam Akers suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on the eve of training camp.

It was another major move by an organization that made a blockbuster trade for quarterback Matthew Stafford and is going all in to make sure owner Stan Kroenke has an opportunity to show off his team in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in February.

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Sioux Falls, S.D.'s Boston Bryant slides on the way to scoring in front of Torrance, Calif., catcher Andrew Nuruki
Sioux Falls, S.D.'s Boston Bryant slides on the way to scoring as Torrance, Calif., catcher Andrew Nuruki waits for the throw during the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Wednesday. South Dakota won 1-0.
(Tom E. Puskar / Associated Press)

LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES

Jack Harris on the LLWS: The Torrance Little League coaching staff did all it could this week to prepare.

Torrance was set to face star Sioux Falls, S.D., pitcher Gavin Weir — a left-handed ace who entered the game with 100 strikeouts and only one hit surrendered in his previous seven starts in the Little League Baseball World Series — on Wednesday.

The staff knew Weir not only threw from an awkward arm reminiscent of the Boston Red Sox’s Chris Sale, but also he could eclipse 70 mph with his fastball, which from the distance of a Little League mound is the equivalent of mid-90 mph velocities in the majors.

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The hope was Torrance would do just enough to keep themselves in the game, work his pitch count and capitalize on mistakes.

But instead, Weir shut down Torrance, throwing a 14-strikeout no-hitter in a 1-0 masterpiece that will force Torrance to play an elimination game Thursday against Hamilton, Ohio.

The Lakers' LeBron James high fives Jared Dudley.
The Lakers’ LeBron James greets teammate Jared Dudley (10) during 2020 Western Conference playoffs.
(Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

NBA

Bill Plaschke on the Lakers: He barely played, but his passion could be seen in every play.

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He was the last guy on the bench, but the strongest voice in the locker room.

On a veteran team of disparate personalities, he was the glue. Amid a laborious season filled with lulls, he was their muse.

He kept their two superstars aligned, he kept their role players from feeling neglected, and he eventually even helped them win a championship.

So, to a Lakers team he guided for two seasons from the shadows, what do you think a guy like Jared Dudley is worth?

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Apparently not much.

After being rebuffed in his best efforts to return for a third season — he would have played for a non-guaranteed contract — Dudley suddenly announced this week that he is retiring to accept a job as one of the top assistants for Jason Kidd’s Dallas Mavericks.

And so a summer filled with headline acquisitions ends with a huge loss.

Dudley played a total of 81 minutes last season, but his impact was timeless. He scored a total of 74 points in two seasons, but his intangibles were countless.

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“I thought I was coming back to the Lakers,” said Dudley, 36, in a phone interview. “This is crazy.”

Serena Williams returns a shot to Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, during the 2019 U.S. Open
Serena Williams returns a shot to Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, during the 2019 U.S. Open.
(Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Associated Press)

TENNIS

Helene Elliott on Serena Williams: In the end, it won’t really matter if Serena Williams wins another Grand Slam singles title and matches Margaret Court’s recognized record of 24.

Williams, who spent part of her childhood playing on public tennis courts in Compton alongside her sister Venus, has won so many championships so decisively — and on so many surfaces — that her superiority is beyond dispute. She’s chasing a number, not immortality. She earned immortality long ago, when her power game allowed her to dominate the court and redefine what women’s tennis could be.

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The same drive that propelled her to the pinnacle of the sport has kept her going when her body balks under stress and strain, as it has done with sadly increasing frequency.

A hamstring injury she suffered at Wimbledon led her to withdraw from the U.S. Open, which will begin Monday in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Her thigh was heavily taped during the French Open, where she lost in the round of 16, and she had to retire during the first set of her first-round match at Wimbledon after slipping and injuring her hamstring. It has become a familiar and frustrating refrain for Williams, who will turn 40 on Sept. 26.

“It’s been a tough year because out of the four Grand Slams, she’s been able to play only the Australian Open,” her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said in a phone interview. “First of all, she’s sad because it’s a Grand Slam, and second, it’s the home Grand Slam. So, two main reasons for being sad.”

Southern California wide receiver Bru McCoy (4) runs the ball during the Pac-12 championship game
Southern California wide receiver Bru McCoy (4) runs the ball during the Pac-12 championship game against Oregon on Dec 18, 2020, in Los Angeles.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)
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USC

Ryan Kartje on USC: USC receiver Bru McCoy won’t face criminal charges after the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to file a case following his arrest last month on suspicion of felony intimate partner violence.

The district attorney’s office cited insufficient evidence when asked about its decision but offered no further details.

“We appreciate the careful consideration by both the district attorney’s office and LAPD,” Michael Goldstein, McCoy’s attorney, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “We always trusted the process and the right decision was made.”

McCoy, 21, was arrested July 24 at 5:30 p.m. on suspicion of violating California Penal Code Section 273.5(a), which pertains to a person who “willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition” upon a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant or dating partner.

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He was released the same night on $50,000 bail and was scheduled to appear in court Nov. 24.

In the wake of his arrest, McCoy was temporarily removed from team activities just as USC opened its preseason training camp in August. The university’s Title IX office is reviewing the incident independent of law enforcement.

Though McCoy won’t face criminal charges, his future on the USC football team remains murky. USC said in a statement McCoy’s status with the team is “unchanged.”

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1933 — Helen Hull Jacobs captures the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association singles title when Helen Wills Moody defaults in the third set because of back and hip pain.

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1939 — The first major league baseball game is televised. NBC broadcasts a doubleheader at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field between the Cincinnati Reds and the Dodgers.

1950 — Australia wins its third straight Davis Cup by beating the U.S. 4-1.

1961 — The International Hockey Hall of Fame opens in Toronto.

1972 — The New York Cosmos win the NASL championship by defeating the St. Louis Stars 2-1.

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1989 — Chris Drury pitches a five-hitter and Trumbull, Conn., becomes the first American team since 1983 to capture the Little League World Series, defeating Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 5-2.

1993 — Sean Burroughs, the son of former major leaguer Jeff Burroughs, pitches his second no-hitter of the Little League World Series and hits two home runs, sending defending champion Long Beach, Calif., past Bedford, N.H., 11-0 in the final of the U.S. bracket.

1995 — Greg Norman sinks a 66-foot chip on the first playoff hole, to capture the World Series of Golf and become the leading money winner in PGA Tour history. Norman wins $360,000 in his third tour victory this year to raise lifetime earnings to $9.49 million and overtake Tom Kite.

1997 — Carl Lewis finishes his track-and-field career anchoring star-studded team to victory in the 400-meter relay to cap the ISTAF Grand Prix meet in Berlin. The team of Olympic 100-meter champion Donovan Bailey, former world record-holder Leroy Burrell and Namibian sprint champion Frankie Fredericks, win in 38.24 seconds.

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1999 — Michael Johnson shatters another world record at the world championships — this time, breaking the 400-meter mark with a time of 43.18. He cuts 0.11 seconds off the record of 43.29 set by Butch Reynolds in 1988 and ties Carl Lewis for the most gold medals at the championships with eight.

2011 — The Tulsa Shock snap the longest losing streak in WNBA history with a 77-75 win over the Los Angeles Sparks. The Shock (2-25) had 20 straight losses before Sheryl Swoopes hit a jumper with 2.9 seconds left.

2011 — Kyle Busch records his record-breaking 50th NASCAR Busch Series victory, edging teammate Joey Logano in the Food City 250 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch breaks a tie with Mark Martin for the record in NASCAR’s second-tier series.

2012 — Lydia Ko wins the Canadian Women’s Open to become the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history and only the fifth amateur champion. The 15-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander closes with a 5-under 67 for a three-stroke victory over Inbee Park.

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2016 — Dan Raudabaugh throws six touchdown passes and the Philadelphia Soul win their second ArenaBowl title, beating the Arizona Rattlers 56-42.

2017 — Kyle Snyder scores a late takedown of Olympic gold medalist Abdusalim Sadulaev in the deciding match, and the U.S. wins the world freestyle wrestling title for the first time in 22 years.

2017 — Floyd Mayweather Jr. stops UFC champion Conor McGregor on his feet in the 10th round in Las Vegas. The much-hyped 154-pound fight is more competitive than many expected when an unbeaten, five-division world champion boxer takes on a mixed martial artist making his pro boxing debut.

And finally

Watch AJ Pollock’s game-winning home run.

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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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