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The Sports Report: Dodgers walk off with another win

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Russell Martin (on ground) gets mobbed by teammates after his walkoff single.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and let’s get right to the news.

Dodgers

The Dodgers, who excel at getting walkoff hits from rookies, changed the script a bit on Wednesday. They let an old man do it.

With two out in the bottom of the ninth and trailing 1-0, Russell Martin, their 36-year-old backup catcher, hit a grounder up the middle that scored Corey Seager and Will Smith with the tying and winning runs in a 2-1 victory.

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It is the 10th walkoff win of the season for the Dodgers. The franchise record is 15 in 1974.

As Jorge Castillo writes in his story, “Martin joined Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Will Smith, Matt Beaty, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy in delivering a walk-off victory for the Dodgers (77-40) this season. Those other seven players haven’t reached their 29th birthdays. Martin, an 11-time walkoff artist, considered Wednesday a triumph for his shrinking demographic.

“Let the old guys get hot, too,” Martin said with a grin.

“It just seems like every day,” manager Dave Roberts said, “there’s somebody different that you’re pouring Gatorade on.”

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In the other good news of the day, Dustin May, auditioning for a postseason role, gave up one run and five hits and a walk across 5 2/3 innings. He struck out seven. Before the game, Roberts said he wanted to see May throw more first-pitch strikes and attack different quadrants more consistently than in his debut Friday.

“I definitely felt a little more comfortable,” May said. “It was definitely more in my hand, I felt like, today. I was controlling the zone, controlling the pace, and thought I threw the ball pretty well.”

Lakers

LeBron James apparently wants to avoid the slow start that teams with a lot of new players usually get off it.

According to our own Brad Turner, James, in an effort to get his teammates to jell quickly for an NBA championship run, has organized workouts for the Lakers next month in Las Vegas that every player plans on attending, according to several people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The sessions will be at Impact Basketball and are scheduled for Sept. 22-26. Each training session will last about 2 1/2 hours. The players will stay at the Wynn, and each is paying his own way.

With eight new players on the Lakers’ roster, James wanted to get together early because of a condensed training camp that includes a trip to China. James hopes they get to know one another’s games in a closed environment in preparation for training camp and a rigorous 82-game schedule . After the practices, they will have team dinners.

The Lakers will return to Los Angeles on Sept. 26 to prepare for the team’s media day, which is set for Sept. 27 at the practice facility in El Segundo.

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The Lakers then begin training camp Sept. 28 and play their first exhibition game on Oct. 5 against Golden State in the Warriors’ new arena, the Chase Center, in San Francisco.

The Lakers return home after that game before they depart for two games in China against the Brooklyn Nets — Oct. 10 in Shanghai and Oct. 12 in Shenzhen.

After the Lakers return to Los Angeles, they will play the Warriors twice at Staples Center, on Oct. 14 and 16, before the teams meet one last time in the preseason on Oct. 18 at the Chase Center.

The Lakers are tentatively scheduled to play the Clippers in the NBA regular-season opener for both teams on Oct. 22.

Sparks

Pat Summitt, who died in 2016, was the legendary coach of the Tennessee women’s basketball team for 38 seasons. She holds the NCAA record for wins in women’s college basketball history with 1,098 and is the second-winningest all-time -- men or women. She is ranked third overall in NCAA history with eight national championships.

When the Sparks will honor her before and during their game tonight against with the inaugural Pat Summitt Leadership Night.

“It means a lot to me. This is something that’s been in my mind for the last three years in honoring Coach Summitt’s legacy [and] continuing it on,” said Sparks star Candace Parker, who played at Tennessee from 2004-08. “It’s one thing to honor it, it’s another thing to carry on her legacy and what she lived for and what she lived every day doing. So, to see it coming to light tomorrow is very special to me.”

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Sparks coach Derek Fisher: “I think my early appreciation and value for the women’s game came from watching Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols before Candace. She had an ability to sustain excellence and to me that’s what she and her legacy will always represent. Pat always wanted to be the best and wouldn’t let her program rest even after they won. Always pushing people to be better, that’s what we’re trying to do here. She will internally be giving back to the game. All these players wouldn’t be here without what she’s done.

“I feel like I’m meeting her through Candace every day. A lot of who Candace is and how Candace sees the game, how driven she is to push her teammates I think a lot of that came from Pat’s tutelage. I’m probably still pretty close to [Pat] by working with Candace.”

Parker will wear custom purple and orange Adidas shoes named HERoics and dedicated to her former coach. Summitt’s 100% graduation rate of players, 1,098 wins and eight national championships will also be featured on the shoe.

“I sat down at the table with my daughter in the beginning of July. We took some crayons and figured out what we wanted the shoes to be,” Parker said about the design . “Fierce courage is something that I wear on my wrist every day. It represents her, it represents Tennessee. ‘Left foot, right foot, breathe, repeat’ is something she lived by every day. ”

Parker hopes that the Pat Summitt Leadership Night will educate the next generation about Summitt’s legacy. She will talk to fans after the game about Summitt’s legacy and impact.

“We’re going to have a great time. I think a lot of people will come and I hope they learn a lot,” she said. “Kids now know Magic Johnson; they know of him. They know he played basketball. Kids who are born now, I want them to know Coach Summitt. I want them to know she was a legendary coach and I don’t want her memory to kind of fade away. So, this is kind of something where there are young kids who don’t know who Coach Summitt is but when they leave, I hope they know.”

Sports poll

Which team has the best 1-2-3 rotation in baseball? Is it Houston, with Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Gerrit Cole; Washington with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin; the Dodgers with Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler or some other team? Vote by clicking here.

Your favorite sports moment

What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Click here to tell me what it is and why, and I’ll start running them in future newsletters. And yes, if your favorite moment is about the Angels or Ducks or a team just outside of L.A., I’ll count that too. And the moment doesn’t have to have happened in L.A., just needs to involve an area team.

Today’s moment comes from Sam Weissman of Los Angeles:“No question in my mind that my favorite moment in sports was the first time I saw the Dodgers play.

“It was Sunday, May 4, 1958, the Dodgers’ first year in L.A. They were playing a doubleheader at the Coliseum against the Phillies. I was eleven at the time and my fifth grade teacher took us boys to the game. He bought us the best tickets he could afford, seats in right field. Those seats were some 250 ft. from home plate at the very least. Players looked like ants scrambling around looking for food. The Dodgers won both games, 8-7 and 15-2. But it didn’t matter. We had the greatest time ever. And to this day I bleed Dodger Blue. Now if we could only watch the games on DirecTV I’d be a happy 72-year-old fan.”

Odds and ends

A brief encounter with a very tall DJ: Shaquille ‘Diesel’ O’Neal…. Boss Tagaloa is at the center of Bruins’ success on offense…. College football 2019: Houston, Central Florida look like best bets to crash a major bowl game…. Philip Rivers won’t play as Chargers test depth in preseason opener at Arizona…. Sports clinic at Kings’ practice facility will be open to the public…. Dolphins’ Kenny Stills calls out team owner over Trump fundraiser…. An explanation has emerged for Antonio Brown’s nasty feet: frostbite.

Other newsletters

We also have other newsletters you can subscribe to for free. They are emailed to you and we don’t sell your name to other companies, so no spam from us. They are:

Our Dodgers newsletter, written by me. Subscribe here.

Lakers newsletter, written by Tania Ganguli. Subscribe here.

Horse racing newsletter, written by John Cherwa. Subscribe here.

Soccer newsletter, written by Kevin Baxter. Subscribe here.

Today’s local major sports schedule

Angels at Boston, 4 p.m., FSW, 830 AM

Phoenix at Sparks, 8 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet

Born on this date

1930: Basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian

1936: Baseball player Frank Howard

1947: NHL player Ken Dryden

1947: Baseball player Jose Cruz

1961: NFL player Bruce Matthews

1964: Sprinter Butch Reynolds

1981: Tennis player Roger Federer

1988: NBA player Danilo Gallinari

Died on this date

1934: Baseball manager Wilbert Robinson, 71

1988: Football player Alan Ameche, 55

2005: Baseball manager Gene Mauch, 79

2008: Golfer Orville Moody, 74

And finally

Butch Reynolds breaks the world record in the 800 meters. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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