The Sports Report: Angels end 14-game losing streak

Shohei Ohtani circles the bases after his two-run home run Thursday.
Shohei Ohtani circles the bases after his two-run home run Thursday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

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

From Mike DiGiovanna: The way the Angels were playing during their franchise-record 14-game losing streak, with breakdowns in every facet of the game and the pressure mounting with every defeat, it seemed like it would take something extraordinary, something unexpected, for them to end their 2 ½-week freefall.

They got both in Thursday night’s 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox before a crowd of 28,595 in Angel Stadium, the first provided by their two-way phenom and reigning American League most valuable player, the second by a 5-foot-9, 170-pound shortstop who is barely hitting his weight.

Shohei Ohtani gave up one run and four hits and struck out six—one with a 101-mph fastball, his hardest pitch of the season—in seven innings and hit a two-run home run in the fifth to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.

Shortstop Andrew Velazquez, mired in a one-for-34 slump that dropped his average to .175, then lined a three-run homer into the right-field seats in the sixth to give the Angels a 5-1 lead.


The Red Sox cut the lead to 5-2 on Alex Verdugo’s RBI single off Angels reliever Ryan Tepera in the eighth, but closer Raisel Iglesias struck out two of three batters in the ninth to seal the Angels’ first victory since a 5-3 win over Texas on May 24.

The Angels have still lost 18 of 22 games, falling from a first-place tie with Houston in the American League West on May 15 to nine games back, but at least the albatross of a 14-game skid is no longer hanging around their necks.

“We know we’re better than this—that’s the thing,” catcher Max Stassi said. “Going through this is gonna make it sweeter in the end. I do think we’re gonna overcome this, and I do think in the end we’ll become a winning ballclub.

“But it’s like life. You go through tough times. One week you’re on top of the world, the next week, nothing can go right. We just have to keep moving forward, keep working hard.”

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From Jack Harris: Max Muncy believed he was in a much better place Thursday.

During the sixth inning, Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa dared him to prove it.

In a stunning, unexpected and inexplicable piece of decision-making, La Russa decided to not only intentionally walk Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner with Muncy on deck, but do it in a 1-and-2 count after a wild pitch opened up first base.


In a cathartic, emotional and perhaps season-altering sequence that followed, Muncy not only made La Russa pay by crushing a three-run home run, giving him five RBIs in the Dodgers’ 11-9 win. The fiery infielder might also have rediscovered part of his old self in the process.

“I’m glad they did it,” teammate Freddie Freeman said with a smirk. “Because I think it got us Max Muncy back.”


From Gary Klein: As he signed the contract extension that made him one of the highest-paid receivers in the NFL, Cooper Kupp said he thought about all the people throughout his life who have contributed to his success along the way.

Kupp reflected Thursday on the three-year deal that includes $75 million in guarantees. The extension, signed Wednesday, keeps him under contract through 2026 on a deal that could be worth as much as $110 million.

Kupp cited Rams coaches and teammates who helped the Rams win Super Bowl LVI to cap an historic individual season.

“It’s not lost on me, and I’m incredibly thankful for it,” Kupp said during a videoconference with reporters. “There’s so much that goes into this, and I prepare in a way to try to put myself in the best position possible.

“But none of it is possible without the guys that I have around me, and that’s the bottom line, point blank, period.”


Hernández: Hated in St. Louis, Rams’ Kevin Demoff is L.A. hero aiming to build empire in Valley


From Ryan Kartje: After helping rebuild its athletics operation and playing a major role in the hiring of Lincoln Riley, one of USC’s top administrators is on his way to the NFL to take on another rebuild.

Brandon Sosna, who joined USC in late 2019 as its chief of staff for athletics, is joining the front office of the Detroit Lions.

Sosna had earlier turned down an opportunity from the Lions, interviewing with the team last August, just weeks before USC fired Clay Helton and launched a nationwide search for a new football coach. Sosna, whose responsibilities included overseeing the football program, played a significant part in that process and USC eventually reeled in Riley, one of the top coaches in college football.

USC made a concerted effort to keep Sosna this time, too, according to a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak on the matter publicly. But the pull of the NFL and the potential of one day becoming an NFL general manager proved too much for USC.


From John Cherwa: The final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown has but one question to answer: Will Rich Strike be forever lumped with A-ha, Dexys Midnight Runners and Norman Greenbaum or will he forever be saddled with another question, “What if only he had run in the Preakness?”

There is nothing typical about the 1½-mile Belmont Stakes in a normal year, as it quite possibly will be the only time a horse runs that distance on the dirt. But the path that Rich Strike took to getting to Elmont, N.Y., is more atypical.

It started when he was the last horse to get in the Kentucky Derby, minutes before the deadline to be eligible after Ethereal Road scratched from the race. Then, breaking from the far outside, he got the trip of a lifetime to win at 80-1 after a blistering pace that compromised at least half the field.

After winning the Kentucky Derby, he bucked tradition and skipped the Preakness Stakes two weeks later in order to run in the Belmont Stakes in five weeks. No Triple Crown.


From Bill Plaschke: Our first conversation was about sports.

Andrew was 7, I was 22, and we had just been matched in the Big Brothers Big Sisters youth mentoring organization.

He was a sickly little kid suffering from cystic fibrosis, I was a bumbling young sportswriter, and we were introduced at a south Florida Christmas party where he hugged and hid behind his mother’s leg.

We had no chance. Then I asked about his interests.

“I like sports,” he said.

“What do you know?” I said. “So do I!”

More than four decades later, our final conversation was also about sports.

Read the rest here.


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All times Pacific
Conference finals

All games on TNT
Colorado (C1) vs. Edmonton (P2)
Colorado 8, Edmonton 6
Colorado 4, Edmonton 0
Colorado 4, Edmonton 2
Colorado 6, Edmonton 5 (OT)

All games on ESPN
New York Rangers (M2) vs. Tampa Bay (A3)
New York 6, Tampa Bay 2
New York 3, Tampa Bay 2
Tampa Bay 3, New York 2
Tampa Bay 4, New York 1
Tampa Bay 3, New York 1
Saturday at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m.
*Tuesday at New York, 5 p.m.

*-if necessary


Schedule and results
All times Pacific
All games on ABC

Boston vs. Golden State

Boston 120, Golden State 108
Golden State 107, Boston 88
Boston 116, Golden State 100
Tonight at Boston, 6 p.m.
Monday at Golden State, 6 p.m.
*Thursday at Boston, 6 p.m.
*Sunday, June 19 at Golden State, 5 p.m.

*-if necessary


1890 — The Preakness Stakes is run outside Baltimore, at Morris Park in New York. The race is then suspended for three years, and resumes at the Brooklyn Jockey Club’s Gravesend Course from 1894-1908.

1932 — Gene Sarazen leads wire-to-wire to win the British Open by five strokes ahead of Macdonald Smith at Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England. Sarazen finishes with a tournament record of 283.

1933 — Johnny Goodman wins the U.S. Open golf title, making him the last amateur to win this event.

1934 — Italy beats Czechoslovakia 2-1 in extra time to win the second FIFA World Cup at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome. Italy trailing 1-0, ties the game at the 80th minute. Angelo Schiavio scores the winning goal in extra time.

1944 — A rare triple dead heat occurs in the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct with Bossuet, Brownie and Wait a Bit crossing the finish line together.

1950 — Sixteen months after near-fatal car accident, Ben Hogan wins the U.S. Open. Hogan beats Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio in an 18-hole playoff at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.

1973 — Mary Mills shoots a 63 in the final round of the LPGA Championship to beat Betty Burfeindt by one stroke.

1977 — Al Geiberger sets a PGA Tour 18-hole record when he shoots a 59 in the Danny Thomas Classic.

1978 — Affirmed, ridden by Steve Cauthen, wins the Belmont Stakes to capture the Triple Crown in one of the greatest battles in racing history. Affirmed edges Alydar for the third time.

1989 — Wayne Gretzky of the Kings is named the NHL’s MVP, winning the Hart Trophy for a record ninth time.

1995 — Trainer D. Wayne Lukas wins a record five straight Triple Crown races as Thunder Gulch takes the Belmont Stakes. Lukas is the first trainer to win the Triple Crown races with two different horses. Lukas’ Timber Country won the Preakness.

1996 — Colorado’s Patrick Roy makes 63 saves before Uwe Krupp scores 4:31 into the third overtime to give the Avalanche a 1-0 victory against the Florida Panthers at Miami Arena and complete a four-game sweep of the Stanley Cup Final.

2006 — In Atlantic City, N.J., Bernard Hopkins wins a unanimous decision over light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, capping an 18-year career with an upset for the ages.

2010 — USC is placed on four years probation, receives a two-year bowl ban and a sharp loss of football scholarships. The NCAA cites USC for a lack of institutional control. The NCAA found that Reggie Bush, identified as a “former football student-athlete,” was ineligible beginning at least by December 2004. The NCAA also orders USC to vacate every victory in which Bush participated while ineligible. USC loses 30 scholarships over a three-year period, 10 annually from 2011-13.

2012 — Shanshan Feng wins the LPGA Championship to become the first Chinese player to win an LPGA Tour title and a major event.

2018 — Rafael Nadal won a record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros by beating Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Nadal became the second player in tennis history to win 11 singles titles at any Grand Slam tournament after Margaret Court, who claimed 11 Australian Open titles.

2018 — Kristen Gillman led a U.S. singles sweep in the biggest blowout in Curtis Cup history. Gillman, a 20-year-old University of Alabama star, beat 16-year-old Annabell Fuller 5 and 4 to cap a perfect weekend at Quaker Ridge in Scarsdale, N.Y. The Americans won 17-3, breaking the record for margin of victory of 11 set in a 14 1/2-3 1/2 victory at Denver Country Club in 1982.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Affirmed holds off Alydar to win the Belmont Stakes. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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