The Sports Report: Another strong outing by Shohei Ohtani leads Angels to victory

Shohei Ohtani reacts after striking out Josh Harrison to end the top of the fourth.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

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

From Sarah Valenzuela: Shohei Ohtani’s presence on the mound usually means something incredible will happen for the Angels. With 11 strikeouts Wednesday in a 4-1 win over the Chicago White Sox, he delivered another dominant start for the team in need of all the dominance it can get.

He also extended his scoreless streak to 21 ⅔ innings and has racked up 24 strikeouts in his last two outings.

The White Sox got Ohtani’s pitch count up early, making him work through 79 pitches before he was able to get strikeout No. 9 in the fifth inning. Still, he blanked the White Sox through 5 and 2/3 innings, giving up just five hits and one walk over 108 pitches, 74 of which were thrown for strikes.

In the first, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and first baseman Jose Abreu worked singles off Ohtani. But Ohtani struck out the other three batters.


He got through the second and third innings inducing easy outs and adding three more strikeouts.

The fourth was when Ohtani started running into trouble.

Leadoff batter Luis Robert hit a grounder down the third base line. Tyler Wade made the grab, but couldn’t out-throw Robert’s hustle to first base. Jose Abreu got another single off Ohtani before he was able to induce the first out of the inning. The second out, a strikeout of AJ Pollock, helped calm the pitcher, but then he walked Leury Garcia to load the bases. Ohtani made sure his next batter, Josh Harrison, would be his last of the fourth, and he delivered his eighth strikeout of the night.

He cruised through the fifth inning before that pitch count started to eat at him. He labored trying to get just two outs in the sixth, stepping off the mound, talking to catcher Max Stassi to get a few more moments of rest between batters. When he finally got strikeout No. 11, he looked as if he knew it was all he had left.

He walked off the mound and into the dugout to a standing ovation from the crowd of 27,612.

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From Jack Harris: Freddie Freeman wanted the story to just go away.

On Wednesday, however, the saga around his offseason free agency, departure from the Braves and apparent split from his agents continued to dominate baseball’s news cycle.

Though the Dodgers first baseman had a home run, two hits and a walk in the team’s 8-4 win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, a new report earlier in the afternoon about Freeman’s free agency process last offseason led to another chapter in a story that has followed him for almost a week.


Hours before first pitch, Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb claimed Casey Close, the agent at Excel Sports Management who led free agency negotiations for Freeman that ultimately ended with him signing with the Dodgers, had “never told” Freeman about a supposed final contract offer the Braves made to keep the former MVP in Atlanta.

Gottlieb claimed Freeman found out during his return to Atlanta this weekend and that it prompted Freeman to terminate Excel as his representatives this week -- something Freeman has not publicly confirmed, only describing his representation status as “fluid” amid reports he has filed paperwork to terminate his relationship with Excel.

Freeman declined to address Gottlieb’s report when approached by reporters after batting practice Wednesday.

A couple hours later, Close released a vehement denial of the story through his agency.

The only thing that was clear by the end of Wednesday night: The off-the-field drama is having little effect on Freeman’s productivity at the plate.


From Dan Woike and Broderick Turner: The Lakers enter free agency Thursday with just the taxpayer midlevel exception and minimum contracts to fill their roster around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, who will exercise his player option and stay under contract for another season, guaranteeing a $47-million salary.

The Lakers, who flirted with Kyrie Irving before he opted in to his deal with the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, have explored Westbrook trades without success. Internally, there’s some optimism that Westbrook will rebound under a new coach and in a new system. And if not, there’s a belief that he will become easier to move as the season goes on because of the way contracts are prorated.

In the meantime, the Lakers are left to fill out their roster with limited financial options for a talent pool that most evaluators around the NBA believe is weak.


Lakers pick up team options on Wenyen Gabriel and Stanley Johnson


From Andrew Greif: The start of NBA free agency kicks off the league’s frenzied transaction season, but key pieces of the Clippers’ offseason plan will be complete when the clock strikes 3 p.m. PDT Thursday.

The Clippers and starting center Ivica Zubac on Tuesday agreed to a three-year, fully guaranteed contract worth $33 million. It locks in the 25-year-old 7-footer who in more than three seasons with the team has developed into one of the league’s best young rim protectors and most durable players at any position, whose improved passing has also allowed the Clippers’ offense to expand.

His deal came one day after point guard John Wall was said to be intent on formally committing to the Clippers on Thursday, after he clears waivers and can agree upon terms once free agency opens. His availability is possible after Wall’s buyout with the Houston Rockets became official Tuesday.

“We’ll see what happens as free agency opens up and everything else, but I think the sky’s the limit for our team,” team owner Steve Ballmer said. “The sky is the limit and it will be kind of our effort and our energy, because of course you have to have a little bit of good luck to win the Larry O’Brien [NBA championship] Trophy, which is what we’d really like.”


Clippers extend qualifying offer to Amir Coffey; Jay Scrubb, Xavier Moon not offered

Clippers to play preseason game in Seattle vs. Trail Blazers


From Helene Elliott: Using the depth of their prospect pool to fill immediate needs as they advance in their rebuilding process, the Kings on Wednesday acquired left wing Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild for the rights to defenseman Brock Faber and their first-round pick in this year’s NHL draft.

The Kings, who made the playoffs this season after missing out for three straight seasons and lost to the Edmonton Oilers in seven games, had been scheduled to pick 19th. The NHL draft will take place next Thursday and Friday in Montreal.

Fiala, 25, figures to play to the left of Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe on the Kings’ top line, a role that has been difficult to fill. Alex Iafallo spent much of last season in that spot, but his long scoring droughts led to him being dropped in the lineup.


Christian Arango, Danny Musovski and Kwadwo Opoku each scored for Los Angeles FC in a 3-1 victory over Dallas on Wednesday night.

Arango’s goal put LAFC (11-3-3) ahead 2-1 in the 57th minute. Musovski opened the scoring in the 23rd and Opoku capped it in the 86th.

Jesus Ferreira scored for Dallas (7-5-5) in the 38th.

Maxime Crepeau saved two shots for LAFC. Maarten Paes saved eight shots for Dallas.

LAFC next plays on Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps on the road, and Dallas will host Inter Miami on Monday.


Emanuel Reynoso scored two goals in Minnesota United’s 3-2 win over the Galaxy on Wednesday night.

Reynoso scored in the 43rd minute to put United (6-8-3) up 3-0. He also scored in the ninth minute and Franco Fragapane made it 2-0 in the 36th.

Dejan Joveljic and Marky Delgado racked up one goal each for the Galaxy (7-6-3).

Dayne St. Clair saved five shots for United. Jonathan Bond saved three shots for the Galaxy.

United plays at home on Sunday against Real Salt Lake, while the Galaxy will host CF Montreal on Monday.


From Iliana Limón Romero: In many ways, Sydney Leroux is coming home.

Leroux, who was acquired by Angel City FC on Wednesday, grew up in Canada and has played for the Orlando Pride since 2018. Her Pride teammates were there to support her during a miscarriage, the birth of her daughter, her push to return to top form during a pandemic, the end of her marriage and her new life as a single mother of two. She shared the entire journey with 3.1 million followers across her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

But she has maintained deep ties to the Los Angeles area.

The UCLA alum cemented her status as a fast and physical goal scorer in college. Leroux fought for a featured spot on the ultracompetitive U.S. women’s national team, helping the squad win a gold medal at the London Olympics and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Her decision to play for the U.S. rather than Canada made her the target of attacks and racial slurs in 2013, which she called out on social media. Around the same time, she met Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and quickly forged a deep bond with his family.


From Henry Chu: As another, younger American man fell by the wayside, 37-year-old John Isner remained standing in the British twilight, all 6 feet 10 inches of him, his hopes still alive at tennis’ most prestigious tournament.

The crowd was cheering his every mistake, as well as every winning shot by his opponent, hometown hero Andy Murray. But at last, on the strength of a monster serve that earned him 36 aces and helped give him three match points, Isner became the second American man Wednesday to advance to the third round at Wimbledon.

As one of the oldest players on tour, Isner understood the significance of a win against a two-time champion whom he acknowledged, in an interview afterwards on Centre Court, as the more successful, more all-around player.

“The age I’m at now, I need to relish these moments. This was one of the biggest wins of my career, just given the atmosphere, [which] was fantastic,” said Isner, who triumphed 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-4. “To play as well as I did against one of our greatest players ever, Andy Murray, was a huge accomplishment for me.”

Four went a step further Wednesday: Isner; Steve Johnson of Orange, who at 32 also beat a British player; Tommy Paul, 25; and Frances Tiafoe, 24. Opelka and Christian Harrison lost. The highest-seeded American man, Taylor Fritz, who is seeded 11th, plays his second-round match Thursday — against another Brit.


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1916 — Amateur Chick Evans Jr. wins the U.S. Open with a record 286 total.

1929 — Bobby Jones beats Al Espinosa by 23 strokes in a 36-hole playoff to win the U.S. Open.

1962 — Murle Lindstrom wins the U.S. Women’s Open by two strokes over Jo Anne Prentice and Ruth Jessen.

1965 — The NFL grants Atlanta a franchise. Rankin Smith Sr., an Executive Vice President of Life Insurance Company of Georgia, pays $8.5 million for the franchise. It’s the highest price paid in league history at the time.

1978 — Willie McCovey becomes the 12th player in major league history to hit 500 home runs.

1991 — Wimbledon breaks 114 years of tradition by playing on the middle Sunday of the tournament, a move forced by a huge backlog of matches caused by rain earlier in the week.

1991 — Meg Mallon sinks a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole to break a tie with Pat Bradley and Ayako Okamoto and win the LPGA Championship.

1994 — Diego Maradona is kicked out of the World Cup by FIFA for failing a drug test following Argentina’s June 25 victory over Nigeria in Foxboro, Mass.

1994 — Tonya Harding is stripped of her national title and banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Assn. because of her role in an attack on Nancy Kerrigan.

1995 — Eddie Murray of the Cleveland Indians becomes the second switch-hitter and the 20th player in baseball history to reach 3,000 hits when he singles in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins. Murray joins Pete Rose, the career hits leader with 4,256.

2002 — Ronaldo scores both goals to lead Brazil to a 2-0 victory over Germany for the team’s record fifth World Cup title.

2012 — Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan becomes the first player in a Grand Slam tournament to win every point of a set on her way to beating French Open runner-up Sara Errani 6-0, 6-4 in the third round of Wimbledon.

2013 — Inbee Park wins the U.S. Women’s Open for her third straight major this year. Babe Zaharias is the last player to win three straight majors on the calendar, but that was in 1950 when that’s all there were.

2015 — The United States defeat Germany 2-0 in semifinals at Women’s World Cup. Carli Lloyd converts a penalty kick for Team USA and a 1-0 lead. Substitute Kelley O’Hara scores in the 84th minute off a Lloyd cross to seal the U.S. team’s 2-0 victory.

2016 — Coastal Carolina capitalizes on two errors on the same play for four unearned runs in the sixth inning, and the Chanticleers win their first national championship in any sport with a 4-3 victory over Arizona in Game 3 of the College World Series finals. The Chanticleers are the first program since Minnesota in 1956 to win the title in its first CWS appearance.

2020 — FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi scores his 700th career goal in a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid.

2021 — Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner ties the major league record by hitting for the cycle for the third time in a 15-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Willie McCovey hits his 500th home run. Watch and listen here. Eddie Murray gets his 3,000th hit. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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