The Sports Report: Shohei Ohtani pitches Angels past Red Sox
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
Shohei Ohtani left his mark on Fenway Park with the finest two-way performance since Babe Ruth himself.
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Pitching at the historic ballpark for the first time, Ohtani struck out 11 in seven shutout innings and added two hits — one of them a 109-mph line drive that banged off the Green Monster so hard that it knocked his No. 17 out of the pitcher’s slot on the manual scoreboard.
“I hope you don’t start taking that for granted. Like it’s old hat,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Ohtani’s skills. “It’s just so unusual. It’s otherworldly, on this level of this game.”
The display came during the Angels’ 8-0 win over Boston Thursday that included a five-run eighth inning in the ballpark where Ruth debuted in 1914 and played six seasons before the Red Sox sold him to the Yankees.
In the fourth, Ohtani hit a 389-foot single that was about a foot shy of being a home run. In the eighth, he singled off the left-field wall to drive in one run, then scored as the Angels turned a 2-0 game into a blowout.
Ohtani (3-2) also induced 29 swings and misses from Boston batters — a career high, and the most for any pitcher this year. He threw 81 of his 99 pitches for strikes, also a career high.
“It’s one of my favorite ballparks,” said Ohtani, who has batted .302 with two homers in 10 games at Fenway. “I was looking forward to pitching here.”
With help from an old friend, Taylor Ward has become one of Angels’ top hitters
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From Kevin Baxter: There was some good news and bad news in the shellacking the Kings endured in Game 2 of their first-round NHL playoff series in Edmonton.
The bad news is the 6-0 loss was the team’s most one-sided defeat in a playoff game since April 1990, when the Oilers routed the Kings 7-0 in Edmonton. But here’s the good news: With the teams splitting the first two games in Canada, the series is now a best-of-five playoff. And with three of the next four games in Los Angeles, beginning with Game 3 on Friday, the Kings now have the home-ice advantage.
“We came here to win a game and we did,” captain Anze Kopitar said before leaving Edmonton on Thursday. “Now it’s time to go home and take care of business.”
Added defenseman Matt Roy: “Getting one is huge. We’re excited to get back to our fans and play in front of them.”
Playing at home, however, hasn’t always been the benefit it should be for the Kings. The team has lost its last five playoff games at home, last winning there in the final game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. That was also the last time the Kings won a postseason series.
Schedule and results
All times Pacific
No. 2 Edmonton vs. No. 3 Kings
Kings 4, Edmonton 3
Edmonton 6, Kings 0
Tonight at Kings, 7 p.m., TBS
Sunday at Kings, 7 p.m., TBS
Tuesday at Edmonton, TBD
*Thursday at Kings, TBD
*Saturday, May 14 at Edmonton, TBD
No. 1 Colorado vs. WC#2 Nashville
Colorado 7, Nashville 2
Colorado 2, Nashville 1 (OT)
Saturday at Nashville, 1:30 p.m., TNT
Monday at Nashville, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
*Wednesday at Colorado, TBD
*Friday, May 13, at Nashville, TBD
*Sunday, May 15, at Colorado, TBD
No. 2 Minnesota vs. No. 3 St. Louis
St. Louis 4, Minnesota 0
Minnesota 6, St. Louis 2
Tonight at St. Louis, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Sunday at St. Louis, 1:30 p.m., TBS
Tuesday at Minnesota, TBD
*Thursday at St. Louis, TBD
*Saturday, May 14, at Minnesota, TBD
No. 1 Calgary vs. WC#1 Dallas
Calgary 1, Dallas 0
Dallas 2, Calgary 0
Saturday at Dallas, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Monday at Dallas, 6:30 p.m., TBS
Wednesday at Calgary, TBD
*Friday, May 13 at Dallas, TBD
*Sunday, May 15 at Calgary, TBD
No. 1 Florida vs. WC#2 Washington
Washington 4, Florida 2
Florida 5, Washington 1
Saturday at Washington, 10 a.m., ESPN
Monday at Washington, 4 p.m., TBS
Wednesday at Florida, TBD
*Friday at Washington, TBD
*Sunday, May 15 at Florida, TBD
No. 2 Toronto vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay
Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 0
Tampa Bay 5, Toronto 3
Today at Tampa Bay, 4:30 p.m., TBS
Sunday at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m., TBS
Tuesday at Toronto, TBD
*Thursday at Tampa Bay, TBD
*Saturday, May 14 at Toronto, TBD
No. 1 Carolina at WC#1 Boston
Carolina 5, Boston 1
Carolina 5, Boston 2
Today at Boston, 4 p.m., TNT
Sunday at Boston, 9:30 a.m., ESPN
*Tuesday at Carolina, TBD
*Thursday at Boston, TBD
*Saturday, May 14 at Carolina, TBD
No. 2 New York Rangers vs. No. 3 Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh 4, New York 3 (3 OT)
New York 5, Pittsburgh 2
Saturday at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m., TNT
Monday at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m., ESPN
Wednesday at New York, TBD
*Friday, May 13 at Pittsburgh, TBD
*Sunday, May 15 at New York, TBD
From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: Just the mention of Alex Nikolov’s name made UCLA coach John Speraw raise his eyebrows and shake his head. Sitting in his office during UCLA’s week off before the NCAA tournament, Speraw called Long Beach State’s 6-foot-8 freshman phenom “the best kid in the country.”
Nikolov proved it Thursday, carrying top-seeded Long Beach State to a five-set win over No. 3 UCLA in the NCAA semifinal at Pauley Pavilion. The 18-year-old who was named AVCA national player of the year Wednesday had 20 kills, six digs, two blocks and three assists as the Beach (21-5) came back from a two-set hole to win 18-25, 18-25, 25-15, 25-10, 16-14.
Simon Torwie sealed the victory with an ace, one of his four on the night, to send Long Beach to the championship game at 5 p.m. on Saturday against Hawaii or Ball State. Beach has now won nine of the past 11 matches against UCLA (22-5) and is one win away from its third NCAA title in five years.
Nikolov is the first freshman to win the nation’s top individual honor. Freshmen, even the top prospects, often struggle with the physicality of college volleyball. Serves at the junior level come in at roughly 50 mph, Long Beach coach Alan Knipe said last week. In college, players rocket the ball at 70 mph.
Nikolov’s serve is already one of his best weapons: With 58 aces on the year, including one Thursday, he’s already set a freshman record at Long Beach State. He is only two away from tying the school’s single-season ace record.
From Dylan Hernández: Secure the right venue on the right date and the opponent becomes almost irrelevant.
Oscar De La Hoya knew this.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. knew this.
And now, Canelo Álvarez knows this.
After a pandemic-imposed two-year absence, boxing has returned to Las Vegas on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
The peculiar desert metropolis is welcoming back one of its more established sports traditions on Saturday when Álvarez headlines a show at T-Mobile Arena.
“I’m happy to be here representing my country on an important date,” Álvarez told reporters in Spanish earlier this week.
Who is Álvarez fighting?
Who is Dmitry Bivol?
Complete coverage: Canelo Álvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol title fight
From Emma Carmichael: Sometimes Liz Cambage wonders what she’s doing here.
Not Los Angeles. That part she knows. It’s because of a pinky promise the 6-foot-8 Australian center made in August 2018, in the midst of a career year for the Dallas Wings in which she would win the scoring title. The Wings’ season had started out strong, but after an eight-game skid, head coach Fred Williams — who’d helped persuade Cambage to return to the WNBA after a long stint abroad — was fired in dramatic fashion, outside of the team locker room after a game.
Cambage was devastated. In just three seasons, she’d already developed a complicated relationship with the WNBA. When she was drafted second overall by the Shock in 2011, she had never even heard of Tulsa. After the Shock went 3-31 that season, Cambage decamped for China for a year, where she earned 10 times her rookie salary; she returned to Tulsa in 2013, then took a four-year hiatus from the league at the end of that season. By the time Williams convinced her to sign with Dallas — which had relocated from Tulsa in 2015 — Cambage had proved she didn’t need the WNBA to have a successful basketball career. And now, her coach and trusted advocate was gone. It was yet another crushing disappointment.
When Williams returned to Dallas to pack up his house, he and Cambage had dinner to say their farewells, and they ended up talking about Los Angeles. Williams had grown up in Compton, and started out his coaching career as an assistant at USC in the ‘80s, where he initially made $500 a season and coached Trojans great Cheryl Miller. Cambage, for her part, knew she eventually wanted to play for the Sparks.
“L.A. is his home, and L.A. is where I always wanted to be,” Cambage recalls. “We made a pinky promise then and there we were going to end up [here] together.”
From John Cherwa: Few would blame Amr Zedan if he gave up on horse racing. One day he’s the winning owner of the Kentucky Derby. A week later he’s facing the disqualification of his horse. Seven months later his horse dies. And, amid all this, his trainer is banned for two years from Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.
But yet, he is back at Churchill Downs with a different trainer and a horse named Taiba, who is drawing some buzz if for no other reason than having raced only two times. It’s also a horse his new trainer and racing manager didn’t want to run in the Santa Anita Derby.
“I walk in with no ill feelings toward Churchill about anything,” Zedan said from his home in Jordan before his scheduled arrival in Louisville on Thursday night. “Horses are a major part of my nature and my modus operandi is to fly at a higher altitude. Let the chips fall where they may. Focus and keep walking.”
From Ben Bolch: For the first time under coach Mick Cronin, UCLA intends to unleash a full-court fury.
The Bruins will probably feature eight perimeter players next season upon the return of Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. plus the arrival of Amari Bailey and Dylan Andrews. Those speedy newcomers, combined with the savvy veterans, will allow the team to shuffle lineups and ruffle opponents from one baseline to the other.
In what might qualify as a modern version of Arkansas’ “40 Minutes of Hell,” one working title for the Bruins might be “94 Feet of Repel.”
“We’re going to be able to press, finally, which is something that I’ve wanted to do, we tried to do, but we just couldn’t do it at a consistent level,” Cronin told The Times during a wide-ranging telephone interview. “So we’re just going to be a much faster team.”
That speed will also be reflected in the frontcourt upon the departures of Myles Johnson and Cody Riley, valuable if relatively plodding big men. Johnson is starting his engineering career and Riley is expected to move on after five college seasons that included a trip to the 2021 Final Four, opening the door for some supersonic youth.
From Jeff Miller: The Chargers’ defensive rebuild continued Thursday with the signing of linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
A veteran of eight NFL seasons, Van Noy has played inside and outside during a career highlighted by a pair of Super Bowl championships with New England. The Chargers’ news release on the signing referred to him as an outside linebacker.
Coming out of the draft over the weekend, the Chargers were still short on edge rushers.
Van Noy, who turned 31 in March, had five sacks and 27 pressures in 16 games (eight starts) last season for the Patriots, according to Pro Football Focus. He had career highs in sacks (6.5) and pressures (58) in 2019.
The Chargers have starters Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack on the edge, with Chris Rumph II as one backup. They signed Jamal Davis II out of the CFL to compete at the position. Emeke Egbule also remains on the roster.
From Andrew Greif: The Clippers locked down one of their offseason priorities by agreeing to a two-year extension with forward Robert Covington worth $24 million, a person with knowledge of the agreement not authorized to speak publicly confirmed Thursday.
Covington could have become an unrestricted free agent this season, entering a market with limited salary cap space around the NBA, but by taking advantage of rules that made him eligible for an extension, Covington will earn slightly more than what he could have earned from the nontaxpayer midlevel exception.
Covington was acquired Feb. 4 in a deal with Portland that also netted the Clippers guard Norman Powell. While Powell, seen as a franchise cornerstone playing alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, battled a foot injury to stay on the court initially, Covington made an impression with the team by doing things both expected and not. A career 36% three-point shooter, the 31-year-old, 6-foot-7 wing shot 37.8% on threes with the Clippers. He made a franchise-record 11 three-pointers in a game against Milwaukee in April. A former NBA all-defense selection, his 2.8% steal percentage outpaced his career average and his help defense and fast hands — ones teammate Nicolas Batum said could lead to theft as deftly as those of Leonard — thwarted numerous drives past teammates.
Schedule and results
All times Pacific
No. 1 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 4 Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix 121, Dallas 114
Phoenix 129, Dallas 109
Tonight at Dallas, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Sunday at Dallas, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
*Tuesday at Phoenix, TBD, TBT
*Thursday, TBD, ESPN
*Sunday, May 15, TBD
No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 3 Golden State Warriors
Golden State 117, Memphis 116
Memphis 106, Golden State 101
Saturday at Golden State, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Monday at Golden State, 7 p.m., TNT
Wednesday at Memphis, TBD, TNT
*Friday, May 13 at Golden State, TBD, ESPN
*Monday, May 16 at Memphis, TBD, TNT
No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 4 Philadelphia 76ers
Miami 106, Philadelphia 92
Miami 119, Philadelphia 103
Today at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., ESPN
Sunday at Philadelphia, 5 p.m., TNT
*Tuesday at Miami, TBD, TNT
*Thursday at Philadelphia, TBD, ESPN
*Sunday, May 15 at Miami, TBD
No. 2 Boston Celtics vs. No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee 101, Boston 89
Boston 109, Milwaukee 86
Saturday at Milwaukee, 12:30 p.m., ABC
Monday at Milwaukee, 4:30 p.m., TNT
Wednesday at Boston, TBD, TNT
*Friday, May 13 at Milwaukee, TBD, ESPN
*Sunday, May 15 at Boston, TBD
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1895 — African American jockey James “Soup” Perkins guides Halma to a wire-to-wire victory in the Kentucky Derby. The 15-year-old joins fellow African American jockey Alonzo Clayton as the youngest jockey to ride a Derby winner.
1917 — Bob Groom of the Browns duplicates teammate Ernie Koob’s feat of the previous day by pitching a 3-0 no-hit victory against the Chicago White Sox in the second game of a doubleheader in St. Louis.
1944 — Pensive, ridden by Conn McCreary, wins the Kentucky Derby going away by four and a half lengths ahead of Broadcloth. Pensive, who clocks 2:04.2, is third entering the stretch and wears down Broadcloth and Stir Up.
1973 — The New England Whalers beat the Winnipeg Jets 9-6 to win the first World Hockey Association championship.
1976 — Philadelphia’s Reggie Leach ties an NHL playoff record, scoring five goals in the Flyers’ 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins. Maurice Richard and Darryl Sittler also accomplished the feat.
1978 — Affirmed, ridden by Steve Cauthen, holds off Alydar’s late charge for a 1½-length victory in the Kentucky Derby. This is Affirmed’s easiest race against Alydar en route to the Triple Crown. aA1988 — Rick Stiner is 6-for-8 with 11 RBIs and three home runs and Matt Hyde is 6-for-9 with two homers and seven RBIs as Grand Canyon College sets a college scoring record with a 45-15 victory over Denver.
1991 — Sergei Bubka of the Soviet Union breaks his world outdoor pole vault record and Seppo Raty of Finland smashes the world javelin record during the Toto International Super Track and Field Meet in Japan. Bubka clears 19 feet, 11 inches, breaking his outdoor record of 19-10½. Raty hurls the javelin 301 feet, 9 inches, breaking the world record of 298-6 set.
1998 — Rookie Kerry Wood ties the major league record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, pitching a one-hitter to lead the Chicago Cubs over the Houston Astros 2-0.
2000 — Fusaichi Pegasus, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, is the first favorite to win Kentucky Derby since 1979. Fusaichi Pegasus pays $6.60, becoming the first favorite to win the race since Spectacular Bid.
2001 — Scott Dixon, a 20-year-old rookie, becomes the youngest winner in major open-wheel racing when he holds off Kenny Brack by 0.366 seconds to capture the CART Lehigh Valley Grand Prix.
2006 — Barbaro storms into the lead at the top of the stretch and wins the Kentucky Derby victory convincingly. Barbaro, ridden by Edgar Prado, wins his sixth consecutive race 6½ lengths ahead of Bluegrass Cat and is the sixth undefeated winner of the Derby.
2006 — Phoenix is the eighth team in NBA history to win a series after trailing 3-1 with a 121-90 victory over Lakers in Game 7 of its Western Conference opening-round series.
2010 — Johan Franzen scores a natural hat trick in a 3:26 span of the first period, scores a fourth goal in the third, and sets a Red Wings playoff record with six points as Detroit stays alive with a 7-1 rout of the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.
2011 — James Hylton, at age 76, becomes the oldest driver to make the field in NASCAR’s top three series by qualifying for the Nationwide event at Darlington Raceway. Hylton surpasses his own mark for racing longevity set three years ago when the then-73-year-old started the Nationwide event at Daytona.
2012 — Dustin Brown scores two goals and the eighth-seeded Kings finish an improbable four-game sweep of the St. Louis Blues with a 3-1 victory, advancing to the conference finals. The Kings become the first No. 8 seed in NHL history to eliminate their conference’s top two seeds in the same postseason. After steamrolling past top-seeded Vancouver and second-seeded St. Louis with eight wins in nine games.
2018 — Marc-Andre Fleury makes 28 saves in his fourth shutout of the playoffs and the expansion Vegas Golden Knights are headed to the Western Conference Final in their inaugural season after beating the San Jose Sharks 3-0 in Game 6 of their second-round series. Vegas becomes the third team in NHL history to win multiple series in its first season.
Compiled by the Associated Press
Affirmed wins the Kentucky Derby. Watch and listen here.
Until next time...
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