The Sports Report: Dodgers close in on NL West lead
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The Milwaukee Brewers completed their win over the San Francisco Giants on Monday during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers were three outs from ending the day a game closer to the first-place Giants in the standings than they started it.
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It was on Blake Treinen to protect a two-run lead and seal a win over the Atlanta Braves, to make sure the Dodgers didn’t blow an opportunity to slice the deficit for the third time in four days.
Closer Kenley Jansen was unavailable after pitching the previous two days. Manager Dave Roberts had double-switched Treinen into the game in the eighth inning, taking Mookie Betts out as part of the move. The Dodgers were rolling with him.
Two one-out singles heightened the tension, but Treinen retired the next two batters to finish the win and move the Dodgers within 1 ½ games of the Giants in the National League West.
The Dodgers (82-49) erupted for five runs on four home runs off left-hander Drew Smyly in the first three innings, a surge that held up over the final six innings. Julio Urías gave up two runs across six innings – the first time he’s logged at least six innings since July 21.
The Dodgers took the field Monday with the second-best record in the major leagues, 11 games ahead of the Braves (70-60) in the National League standings. But those standings don’t matter in Major League Baseball’s playoff structure. Division standings are supreme, and geography renders the Dodgers’ better success moot.
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Jack Harris on the Angels: Shohei Ohtani’s right wrist felt good enough to bat Monday night, as the Angels two-way star hit his 42nd home run of the season in the Angels’ 8-7 win against the New York Yankees.
But, soreness around that wrist will prevent Ohtani from making a scheduled pitching start on Tuesday, Angels manager Joe Maddon announced.
Ohtani was hit by a pitch near his wrist on Saturday night, and while the lingering pain hasn’t prevented him from continuing to serve as the Angels’ designated hitter, he is considered day-to-day on the mound.
Jaime Barria will instead pitch on Tuesday for the Angels, while Packy Naughton is now scheduled to start on Wednesday.
“Pitching is going to be problematic,” Maddon said of Ohtani. “So we’ll just have him hit until he’s ready to pitch again.”
Ohtani’s swing looked alright on Monday night, when he crushed a 431-foot blast off former teammate Andrew Heaney, who was pitching against the Angels for the first time since being traded last month.
Helene Elliott on tennis: Naomi Osaka is still finding her way forward as she sheds the doubts that had crept into her soul and jeopardized her mental well-being. Opening defense of her U.S. Open title with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic on Monday was one small step on that continuing journey.
Osaka is not whole or wholly healed yet. What took years to bring her down can’t be erased in days or weeks. But she’s now looking toward the light, not the darkness that had been bringing her down.
“This tournament, I just want to be happy knowing I did my best,” she said Monday. “I told myself that if I performed well, the outcome, win or lose, would be OK.”
In the past, when others saw her earn a convincing victory on the tennis court, the 23-year-old native of Japan saw opportunities to have played better. When others saw a powerful and confident athlete, she saw someone who failed to meet a near-impossible standard.
David Wharton on the Paralympics: The dog is part of her warmup routine, a ritual that Kym Crosby performs before stretching and jogging around the track. She sits on the ground and Tron, her big yellow lab, lays his paws across her legs.
They stay like that for a while, the sprinter and the goofy, energetic animal who knows when to be still.
“It keeps me calm,” she says. “In my right mind.”
Their bond is tight because Crosby — a world-class Paralympic athlete — is legally blind and Tron is her guide dog. She sees well enough to run on her own, barely making out the white lane lines, but relies on him in airports and hotels. They navigate stadiums together and he waits near the track, often close enough to watch, while she races.
All of which makes things tougher for Crosby as she competes at the Tokyo Paralympics, which began Tuesday and run through Sept. 5, because coronavirus restrictions and Japanese regulations forced her to leave Tron at home.
“I’m upset,” she says by telephone. “But if there are things I can’t control, I try not to be too frustrated about it.”
Thuc Nhi Nguyen on UCLA: Azzi Fudd and Lauren Betts dedicated their gold medals at the FIBA U19 women’s basketball World Cup to a man they barely knew.
That was for your dad, the No. 1 recruits in the 2021 and 2022 classes, respectively, told UCLA and Team USA coach Cori Close after the Americans beat Australia in the championship game. Their coach immediately broke down in tears.
The UCLA coach led Team USA’s under-19 squad to a dominant run in Hungary this summer while grieving the loss of her father, Don. The former high school teacher and coach died Aug. 2 in his Chatsworth home.
The team was in Spain for an exhibition match when Close joined an emotional FaceTime call with her mother and sisters to say their final farewells. Close called the team after practice and Fudd immediately noticed a change in the coach’s demeanor. She knew whatever Close was going to share was bad. Several players, including the incoming Connecticut freshman, teared up at the news.
“From there on, we played for her and for her dad’s sake,” Fudd said.
Ryan Kartje on the Trojans: When faced with a potential make-or-break season that could determine the path of your football program for years to come, it doesn’t hurt to be handed the softest schedule of your tenure.
Those are the fortunate circumstances embattled coach Clay Helton faces on the cusp of his seventh season at USC. His Trojans have seven home games and a nicely placed bye, just before their trip to Notre Dame. His fate might be decided sometime around that October flight to South Bend, Ind., with games against Utah two weeks before and Arizona State two weeks after.
Will a favorable schedule be enough to win a Pac-12 title and save Helton’s job? Here’s a closer look at how each of those matchups might play out:
Kevin Baxter on soccer: Gregg Berhalter’s mission is as simple as it will be difficult: take one of the youngest, least-experienced rosters in men’s U.S. Soccer history into the most condensed final round of regional World Cup qualifying ever and come away with one of three invitations to next year’s tournament in Qatar.
Anything short of that, Berhalter said, is unacceptable.
“It would be a failure if we didn’t qualify for the World Cup,” he said. “So this is our next challenge.”
Berhalter’s team, which opened a brief two-day training camp in Nashville on Monday, will start the eight-team, 14-game qualifying tournament Thursday in El Salvador. The U.S. will then return to Nashville to play Canada on Sunday before meeting Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Sept. 8.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1881 — The first U.S. men’s single tennis championships begin at the Newport Casino, in Newport, Rhode Island.
1895 — The first pro football game is played at Latrobe, Pa., between Latrobe and Jeannette, Pa. Latrobe pays $10 to quarterback John Brallier for expenses.
1934 — The Chicago Bears and the College All-Stars played to a 0-0 tie before 79,432 in the first game of this series.
1950 — Brooklyn’s Gil Hodges ties a major league record by hitting Boston Brave pitching for four homers in the Dodgers’ 19-3 rout. Hodges also added a single for 17 total bases.
1955 — Nashua, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, goes wire-to-wire to defeat Swaps, ridden by Bill Shoemaker in a match race at Washington Park. Nashua’s victory avenges his second-place finish, behind Swaps, in the 1955 Kentucky Derby.
1977 — John McEnroe plays his first U.S. Open match and receives his first Open code of conduct penalty in a 6-1, 6-3 first-round win over fellow 18-year-old Eliot Teltscher.
1979 — Sixteen-year-old Tracy Austin defeats 14-year-old Andrea Jaeger, 6-2, 6-2, in the second round of the U.S. Open Earlier in the day, John Lloyd defeats Paul McNamee, 5-7, 6-7, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6, in the longest match by games at the Open since the introduction of the tie-break. The two play 63 of a maximum 65 games in three hours and 56 minutes.
1984 — Pinklon Thomas wins a 12-round decision over Tim Witherspoon in Las Vegas to win the WBC heavyweight title.
1985 — Angel Cordero Jr., 42, becomes the third rider in history behind Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr. to have his mounts earn $100 million, while riding at Belmont Park.
1991 — Houston quarterback David Klingler sets an NCAA record with six touchdown passes in the second quarter as the Cougars pound Louisiana Tech 73-3.
1996 — Oklahoma State becomes the first Division I-A team to win a regular-season overtime game, avoiding an embarrassing loss to Division I-AA Southwest Missouri State, when David Thompson’s 13-yard touchdown run gives the Cowboys a 23-20 win.
1997 — Eddie George rushes for 216 yards, the second best opening-day NFL performance, in helping Tennessee past Oakland 24-21 in overtime.
1999 — The U.S. Open loses two-time defending champion Patrick Rafter because of injury. Rafter, bothered by a right shoulder injury, retires after Cedric Pioline breaks his serve in the opening game of the fifth set. It’s the first time a defending champion — man or woman — loses in the first round in the history of this Grand Slam tournament going back to 1881.
2001 — Pitcher Danny Almonte who dominated the Little League World Series with his 70 mph fastballs is ruled ineligible after government records experts determine he actually is 14, and that birth certificates showing he was two years younger are false. The finding nullifies all the victories by his Bronx, N.Y., team, the Rolando Paulino Little League All-Stars.
2007 — Jeremy Wariner leads an American sweep of the medals in the 400 meters at the track and field world championships. Wariner wins in a personal best 43.45 seconds, with LaShawn Merritt taking silver and Angelo Taylor getting bronze. It’s the first medal sweep for any country in the men’s 400 at the world championships.
2007 — Exactly 28 years to the day, No. 3 Novak Djokovic and Radek Stepanek tie the U.S. Open record for most games played (63 of a maximum 65) in a match. Djokovic outlasts Stepanek 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2), in the four-hour, 44-minute match.
2018 — Aaron Donald of the Rams becomes the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. The All-Pro defensive tackle agrees to a six-year, $135 million deal, which surpasses Von Miller’s contract in Denver as the new benchmark for defenders.
Vin Scully tells stories about Jackie Robinson. Watch and listen here.
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