The Sports Report: Ryan Pepiot flirts with perfection

Los Angeles Dodgers' Ryan Pepiot delivers a pitch during the first inning.
Ryan Pepiot pitches in the first inning Thursday.
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

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

From Jack Harris: Ryan Pepiot wasn’t supposed to be flirting with history Thursday night.

When the week began, he wasn’t even supposed to be pitching for the Dodgers on this trip in the first place.

But just as the team’s season was turned on its head Monday, when news broke that staff ace Julio Urías had been arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence, so too were its plans for Pepiot.


Not only did the rookie right-hander rejoin the club on short notice to start in Urías’ place. But, in an auspicious October audition in the Dodgers’ 10-0 win, he delivered seven dominant innings in a shutout outing — one that, for a while, seemed to be destined for much more.

When Pepiot took the mound at the start of the seventh at loanDepot Park in Miami, he had retired all 18 Marlins batters who had come to the plate.

With his pitch count under 70, he had an unlikely perfect game squarely in his sights.

“Everyone was sliding by me [in the dugout],” Pepiot said with a laugh postgame. “No one would sit anywhere near me.”

For a brief moment, the finish line creeped into sight.

National League batting leader Luis Arraez was robbed of a hit by second baseman Amed Rosario to lead off the inning, when the 6-foot-2 infielder leapt to snare a line drive headed for the right-field grass.

Blossoming slugger Jake Burger was retired next, hitting a deep drive to center that died in the mitt of Kiké Hernández.

But, on his 80th throw of the night, Pepiot unleashed a changeup that veteran switch-hitter Josh Bell got just enough of. With a flailing swing, the Marlins designated hitter sent a two-hopper whizzing past Pepiot — who stabbed for a ball that was just out of his reach — and up the middle for a single.


Mookie Betts left the ballpark on crutches after fouling a ball off his left foot in the first inning. Betts stayed in until the eighth, reaching base three times on a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch. According to a person with knowledge of the situation unauthorized to speak publicly, postgame X-rays were also negative. Betts will be re-evaluated Friday when the Dodgers open a three-game series in Washington against the Nationals.

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Dodgers box score

All MLB box scores



Dodgers, 85-54
Arizona, 73-68, 13 GB
San Francisco, 70-70, 15.5 GB
San Diego, 66-75, 20 GB
Colorado, 51-88, 34 GB

top three teams qualify

Philadelphia, 77-62
Chicago, 76-65
Arizona, 73-68

Miami, 72-68, 0.5 GB
Cincinnati, 73-69, 0.5 GB
San Francisco, 70-70, 2.5 GB
San Diego, 66-75, 7 GB

For full standings, go here


From Sarah Valenzuela: Angels right fielder Luis Rengifo was removed from the Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Guardians after sustaining what the team described as a left biceps strain before his first at-bat.

Rengifo had been warming up in the on-deck circle when he sustained the injury.

After one of his swings, he took a few steps forward and then hunched over. He walked toward the dugout steps and hunched over again before athletic trainer Mike Frostad and manager Phil Nevin rushed to him. Eduardo Escobar, who had been near the steps anticipating his own at-bat, also walked over to Rengifo.

The Angels defeated the Guardians 3-2 on Thursday, the first of a four-game series, and improved to 65-76 on the season.

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Angels box score


All MLB box scores


Houston, 80-61
Seattle, 79-61, 0.5 GB
Texas, 76-63, 3 GB
Angels, 65-76, 15 GB
Oakland, 43-97, 36.5 GB

top three teams qualify

Tampa Bay, 85-56
Seattle, 79-61
Toronto, 77-63

Texas, 76-63, 0.5 GB
Boston, 72-68, 5 GB
New York, 70-70, 7 GB
Cleveland, 67-74, 10.5 GB
Angels, 65-76, 12.5 GB

For full standings, go here


From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: Scouting eighth grade football is no science, but Bill McGregor knew it didn’t take a genius to tell MarShawn Lloyd was a no-brainer. The running back checked off the basics of speed and size. Even in middle school, he possessed exceptional ball skills, vision and work ethic.

The coach who turned Maryland’s DeMatha Catholic High into a national power knew Lloyd was outstanding already. What excited McGregor the most was not knowing exactly how good Lloyd could be in the future.

“It was just the tip of his iceberg,” McGregor said.

Lloyd is still only beginning to show his talents. The South Carolina transfer is making his case as No. 6 USC’s lead running back after 76 rushing yards and one touchdown and 59 receiving yards against Nevada last week. He led the Trojans (2-0) in rushing attempts in each of his first two games after USC plucked the Delaware native from the transfer portal. With College Football Playoff hopes, the Trojans needed a replacement for leading rusher Travis Dye.


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From Ben Bolch: Two days later, Melodie Sturdivant was just starting to get her voice back. Screaming from a seat high above the Rose Bowl field, she had provided a joyous soundtrack to her son’s UCLA debut, vocal chords straining with every breathtaking catch.

“I think I lost my voice,” she recalled Monday evening after returning to her suburban Dallas home, “on the play where he scored the touchdown.”

J.Michael Sturdivant’s breakaway 62-yard score early in the fourth quarter of the Bruins’ season opener against Coastal Carolina provided some breathing room while leaving everyone in his family breathless.

In a nod to the meaning of the moment, the wide receiver who rarely removes his mouthpiece unleashed what he described as “a lot of bleeps” while prancing around the back of the end zone.

“There was nobody around me,” J.Michael said, “but I’m glad I wasn’t mic’d up for any of that.”


While the battle to find a starting quarterback drags into a second week, Dante Moore and Ethan Garbers both expected to play against San Diego State this weekend, it seems clear that UCLA has found its top playmaker at receiver.

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From Andrew Greif: For the second straight season, Clippers television games will be on a combination of both over-the-air and regional cable.

Fifteen games, including all four preseason exhibitions, will be broadcast on KTLA (Channel 5), as part of a partnership that will extend through the 2024-25 season, said Janene Drafs, KTLA vice president and general manager, in a statement. The regional sports network Bally Sports SoCal will carry 63 other games.

In addition to broadcasts being carried in the Los Angeles market, KTLA game broadcasts will also be shown on stations also owned by Nexstar Media in markets that include San Diego, Bakersfield, Fresno, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara, according to a statement by the team.

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Breanna Stewart scored 25 points and Sabrina Ionescu broke the single-season three-point record to help New York beat the Sparks 96-89 on Thursday night, giving the Liberty eight straight wins.

New York (32-7) moved a half-game behind Las Vegas for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The Liberty close out the season on Sunday at home against Washington. The Aces have a home-and-home series with Phoenix on Friday and Sunday.

The loss put the Sparks (16-23) a half-game behind Chicago for the final playoff spot. The Sky own the tiebreaker between the teams so Los Angeles would have to win at Seattle on Sunday and have Chicago lose its final two games.

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Coco Gauff never wavered. Not when a big lead in the first set evaporated. Not when match point after match point went by the wayside. And not, most distracting of all, when her U.S. Open semifinal against Karolina Muchova was interrupted for 50 minutes Thursday night by environmental activists — one of whom glued his bare feet to the concrete floor in the stands.

It’s been rather obvious for quite some time that Gauff is no ordinary teenager. Now she is one win away from becoming a Grand Slam champion.


Gauff, a 19-year-old from Florida, reached her first final at Flushing Meadows by defeating Muchova 6-4, 7-5 on what was anything but an ordinary evening.

The toughest part for Gauff might have been closing out the victory: She needed six match points to get it done, raucously supported by a loud, partisan crowd that chair umpire Alison Hughes repeatedly implored to quiet down.

After failing to convert one match point while serving for the win at 5-3, then another four in what turned out to be the last game, Gauff got the last chance she would need when she smacked a forehand winner to cap a 40-stroke exchange that was the longest of the contest. Muchova then missed a backhand to end it.

Gauff pumped her fists, waved to the fans and put a finger to her ear, as if to say she wanted to hear even more support.

The No. 6-seeded Gauff will face No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus or No. 17 Madison Keys of the U.S. on Saturday.

U.S. Open results



Jared Goff threw for 253 yards and a touchdown, new Lions running back David Montgomery ran for the go-ahead score with 5:05 remaining in the game, and Detroit held on for a sloppy 21-20 victory over the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL’s season opener Thursday night.

Amon-Ra St. Brown had six catches for 71 yards and a score, and Lions rookie Brian Branch returned Patrick Mahomes’ first pick in an opener 50 yards for another touchdown, helping Detroit snap the Chiefs’ eight-game Week 1 winning streak.

The Lions were trying to run out the clock when Goff had a fourth-down pass near midfield batted down with 2:30 left, giving the Chiefs a chance. But they made a mess of it: Kadarius Toney dropped a potential 20-yard gain, a deep completion was called back for holding, Skyy Moore dropped a pass and a false start left Mahomes heaving a fourth-and-25 throw downfield.

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Lions-Chiefs box score

Magic Johnson said Commanders’ name would come up again. It did and old one ruled out


Joe Burrow becomes NFL’s highest-paid player ever on $275-million Bengals deal


1946 — Jack Kramer wins his first U.S. men’s singles titles with a 9-7, 6-3, 6-0 win over Tom Brown.

1957 — Althea Gibson becomes the first Black person to win the U.S. Open, beating Louise Brough, 6-3, 6-2.

1968 — Virginia Wade wins the U.S. Open by upsetting Billie Jean King, 6-4, 6-2 and Arthur Ashe beats Tom Okker, 14-12, 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 for the men’s title.

1969 — Australia Rod Laver wins the U.S. Open and the grand slam of tennis for the second time in his career with a four-set victory over Tony Roche. Laver wins 7-9, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.

1974 — Billie Jean King wins her fourth U.S. Open with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 triumph over Evonne Goolagong.


1985 — Pete Rose ties Ty Cobb with 4,191 hits.

1985 — Ivan Lendl wins his first U.S. Open title defeating John McEnroe 7-6, 6-3, 6-4.

1990 — Gabriela Sabatini prevents Steffi Graf from winning her third consecutive Grand Slam title with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) victory in the U.S. Open.

1991 — Stefan Edberg wins his first U.S. Open men’s singles title with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 win over Jim Courier.

1998 — Mark McGwire breaks Roger Maris’ 37-year-old home run record, lining historic No. 62 just over the wall in left field with two outs in the fourth inning. McGwire’s shot off the Chicago Cubs’ Steve Trachsel sets off a wild celebration in Busch Stadium.

2001 — Venus Williams wins her second consecutive U.S. Open title by beating her sister, Serena, 6-2, 6-4 in the first prime-time women’s Grand Slam final.

2002 — Pete Sampras beats Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to win his 14th Grand Slam title and the U.S. Open for the fifth time. At 31, Sampras is the Open’s oldest champion since 1970.

2013 — Riquna Williams sets a WNBA record with 51 points to help the Tulsa Shock rout the San Antonio Silver Stars 98-65.


2013 — Top-seeded Serena Williams wins her fifth U.S. Open championship and 17th Grand Slam title overall by beating No. 2 Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-1 in a windy final.

2018 — Naomi Osaka becomes the first Japanese female to win a Grand Slam singles title as she defeats Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 at the US Open.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally...

Mark McGwire hits his 62nd home run. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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