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The Sports Report: Recapping a busy day in the world of sports

Dodgers Baseball
Julio Urias
(Associated Press)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell. Saturday was a busy day for sports fans, so let’s put aside the wise guy comments and get right to what happened.

Dodgers

The Dodgers lost twice on Saturday. First they lost pitcher Julio Urias to a 20-game suspension, then they lost to the Atlanta Braves, 4-3.

Before the game, Urias accepted a 20-game suspension stemming from his May arrest on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery.

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The suspension includes the five games Urias missed while on administrative leave, effectively making it a 15-game, unpaid ban.

“Since May, I have been fully cooperating with both law enforcement and MLB,” Urias said in a statement released by the players assn. “Although the authorities determined no charges of any kind were warranted, I accept full responsibility for what I believe was my inappropriate conduct during the incident.

“Even in this instance where there was no injury or history of violence, I understand and agree that Major League players should be held to a higher standard. I hold myself to a higher standard as well.”

And when you really look at it, Urias pitched three innings on Friday, so he wasn’t going to pitch for 3-4 days anyway. That effectively means it is an 11-game suspension. All of this really means it’s only a little worse than the Dodgers putting him on the 10-day IL.

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UFC

Daniel Cormier lost the heavyweight title to Stipe Miocic at UFC 241. Here’s the round-by-round recap by Todd Martin. You can read a recap of each fight, including the Nate Diaz-Anthony Pettis fight, by clicking here.

Daniel Cormier was the UFC light heavyweight champion when he moved up to fight for the UFC heavyweight title and he knocked out Miocic to add that title as well. Now he defends against the former champion looking to further bolster his impressive resume. Before losing to Cormier, Miocic was the only UFC heavyweight champion to successfully defend the title three times and he is looking to regain his perch.

Round 1. Cormier lands a hard leg kick at the start. Cormier adds two more leg kicks. Cormier fakes a takedown and throws a punch that doesn’t land. Cormier lands a three punch combination and then a two punch combination while Miocic still hasn’t let his hands go. Cormier cracks Miocic with a left hook. Cormier lifts up Miocic and slams him down. Cormier lands some punches from the top and Miocic isn’t able to do much from the guard on the bottom. Miocic looks to stand up in the final 30 seconds. Cormier lands punch after punch in the process. 10-8 Cormier.

Round 2. Miocic throws a few jabs to start and a knee. Miocic lands a nice uppercut. Cormier lands an elbow. They trade heavy punches from close range. Miocic connects with a hard right cross. Cormier answers with a big right hand of his own. They’re both connecting with big shots and it feels like either man could go down from the right punch. Working to Cormier’s advantage is that they’re fighting in close range where Miocic’s reach advantage doesn’t come into play. Miocic stuns Cormier with a late left hand. Close round. 10-9 Cormier.

Round 3. Miocic knocks Cormier back with a straight right hand early. Miocic looks for a takedown but doesn’t come close. Cormier lands a series of straight punches to the right eye. Miocic is clearly having trouble seeing with that eye and so Cormier targets it even more. Miocic gets a takedown with a minute and a half left but Cormier gets back up. Cormier cracks Miocic with three hard punches in the final minute. Another close round. 10-9 Cormier.

Round 4. Miocic lands a jab and Cormier retaliates with a leaping hook that connects more solidly. After two action packed rounds in the second and third, the pace has slowed on both ends. Miocic is repeatedly attacking the body with punches. He’s landing one left hand to the body after another. Miocic follows a left to the body with a right to the head. He stuns Cormier with a right hand and knocks him out with punches up against the cage.

Winner: Stipe Miocic, KO, round 4.

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Daniel Cormier appeared to be getting the better of that fight most of the way but Miocic adjusted in the fourth round. He punished Cormier to the body and then finished him to the head. It’s another great win for one of the best heavyweights of all time. Cormier has nothing to be ashamed of; he largely fought a winning fight and he was in there with an excellent opponent who has some natural physical advantages.

Rams

For a team that gave its star running back a massive contract extension before last season, and in March matched an offer sheet to re-sign his backup, the Rams made another relatively significant investment in April when they selected running back Darrell Henderson in the third round of the NFL draft.

Henderson started Saturday and was used as a runner and receiver in the Rams’ 14-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason game in Honolulu.

Henderson started fast, catching a third-down pass on the right side and turning it into a 26-yard gain during the first series. He played three series in the first quarter, and was in for a few situational plays in the second before returning for a two-minute drive at the end of the half.

He finished the half with 12 touches, rushing for 16 yards in six carries and catching six passes for 38 yards.

Coach Sean McVay is not playing starters or key rotational players during the preseason to ensure that they are physically sound for the Sept. 8 opener against the Carolina Panthers.

Chargers

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Derwin James, the Chargers’ All-Pro safety, will undergo surgery next week to repair a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

James has been told he’ll need a recovery time of three to four months.

Based on that projection, he’ll be out at least until mid-November. The Chargers play Kansas City in Mexico City on Nov. 18 during Week 11.

Angels

Mike Trout singled to left field in the seventh inning, driving in two runs in a key four-run rally that lifted the Angels to a 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Angels left-hander Jose Suarez pitched and made a step forward in his battle to stop tipping his pitches. Suarez gave up 14 earned runs and 21 hits, including five homers, in 121/3 innings of his previous three starts, losses to Detroit, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Coaches noticed after a June 20 start in Toronto that Suarez was changing his glove position depending on which pitch he was preparing to throw. A thorough review of his last three starts convinced them Suarez was tipping his pitches.

“He’s gone through a couple of delivery iterations because he was giving away pitches,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “It wasn’t so much the stuff itself as it was that hitters do better when they know what’s coming. We have confirmation that he was tipping. Hopefully that’s cleaned up.”

Galaxy

The Galaxy played a tough game against Seattle and were down a man most of the match, but kept their composure to come away with a 2-2 draw. They could have come away with the win, but a strange own goal in the 82nd minute cost them.

“I feel very proud about the players, the team, because they fought,” Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said. “They deserved more than one point.”

With Seattle growing desperate in the closing minutes, the Sounders launched a long ball over the top that forced Galaxy keeper David Bingham to come more than 30 yards off his line. Bingham got to the ball first and tried to punch it out of danger, but it struck defender Jorgen Skjelvik in the head and caromed into the net.

LAFC

Carlos Vela scored his MLS-leading 24th goal of the season, Tyler Miller had four saves and Los Angeles FC beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 to clinch a playoff berth.

LAFC played a man down after defender Walker Zimmerman was given a red card for unsporting behavior in the 48th minute. Vela, whose 15 assists are tied with Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers for the league lead, broke the MLS record for combined goals and assists. Sebastian Giovinco had 22 goals and 16 assists for Toronto FC in 2015.

USC football

The decision on who will start for the Trojans at quarterback this season appears imminent. USC coach Clay Helton and his new offensive coordinator, Graham Harrell, will evaluate the scrimmage tape of all four quarterbacks on Monday.

It has seemed all but certain through a dozen practices that JT Daniels will reprise his role as USC’s starter. The sophomore led the first drive Saturday, followed by freshman Kedon Slovis, then redshirt junior Matt Fink, and finally, sophomore Jack Sears.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never had four quarterbacks that could start on a lot of football teams across the country,” Helton said. “All have played at a high level. [The competition] has really progressed everybody. I’m so glad we’ve done this.”

Horse racing

Higher Power won the $1-million Pacific Classic at Del Mar and the top three horses — Higher Power, Draft Pick and Mongolian Groom — were all locally based.

“It developed pretty much the way we thought,” trainer John Sadler said. “We thought there would be some speed on the inside and the plan was to stalk. It came out the way we thought it would.”

Quip, based in Kentucky, went to the early lead but then gave way entering the far turn. That’s when jockey Flavien Prat started to move Higher Power and he had a 3½-length lead when he entered the stretch. The winning margin was 5¼ lengths.

Higher Power paid $21.20, $9.40 and $7.40. From fourth place, the remainder of the field was Tenfold, Campaign, War Story, the favorite Seeking the Soul, Pavel, Quip and For The Top.

“We were in good shape all the way around,” Prat said. “At the three-eighths pole, I asked, and he took up the bit and went from there. He was traveling well all the way around. I thought he would run a good race [Saturday]. He had been training so well, I thought he would have a good one in him.”

High School football

Times high school sports columnist Eric Sondheimer is counting down to the season by picking the top players at each position. Today, he moves on to tight end. Take it away, Eric.

Running back Anthony Spearman II, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame

Spearman projects as a running back to watch this season even though most don’t know what he’s capable of accomplishing on a football field. Last season as a sophomore, he was a featured running back with Christian Grubb, one of the fastest players in the state who ended up signing with UCLA.

In Spearman’s second game of the season, he rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns in nine carries against Moorpark. He had five touchdowns in his first six games. Then he sustained a high ankle sprain against Lake Balboa Birmingham. He pretty much disappeared and was never the same.

“I just feel there’s a chip on my shoulder because I didn’t get a lot of credit for what happened last year because I was out most of the year,” he said. “I feel I’ve improved.”

Faster, stronger and more confident, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Spearman is poised for an impact season. Most importantly, he’s healthy.

At 16, Spearman has already faced the toughest adversity any teenager can encounter — the loss of a parent.

Spearman’s mother, Kathy, died last April at age 41. She had a heart attack after battling diabetes.

“It’s still tough, honestly,” he said. “She was my biggest cheerleader. She’d be at every game. She’d be at practice sometimes. She’d be the mom cheering, no matter what. She was the one voice I could always hear.”

Top running backs

Player, School | Ht. | Wt. | Yr. | Comment

Eddie Allain, Norte Vista | 5-10 | 170 | So. | Rushed for 1,550 yards, 23 TDs as a freshman

Kevin Armstead, St. Francis | 5-7 | 185 | Sr. | Rushed for 1,097 yards last season

Amir Bankhead, Paraclete | 5-9 | 180 | Jr. | Back from injury after gaining 1,311 yards in 2017

Davon Booth, El Monte | 5-8 | 165 | Sr. | Rushed for 2,429 yards, 31 TDs

PJ Garcia, Garfield | 5-6 | 170 | Sr. | Had nine games rushing for more than 100 yards

Nathaniel Jones, St. John Bosco | 5-11 | 190 | Sr. | UCLA commit is back from injury

Jyden King, Calabasas | 6-1 | 205 | Sr. | A Washington State commit with size

Damien Moore, Bishop Amat | 5-10 | 190 | Sr. | Cal commit back from injury after great sophomore year

Anthony Spearman III, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame | 5-10 | 195 | Jr. | He’s healthy and ready to roll

Chris Street, JSerra | 5-11 | 205 | Sr. | Cal commit rushed for 1,342 yards, 17 touchdowns

Jakai Torres, St. Bernard | 5-11 | 190 | Sr. | Rushed for 1,770 yards, 24 touchdowns

Odds and ends

Column: L.A. teams heading to Hawaii to train and play games is the new norm.... NFL preseason: QB Jarrett Stidham impresses for Patriots; Deshaun Watson throws TD pass for Texans.... Bruins raving about UCLA coach Chip Kelly’s nutrition, sleep and recovery program.... College football 2019: Can a team that plays nine conference games win a national title for the first time?.... Column: Espanyol, the other Barcelona club, is secure in its future.... The 1969 World Series champion Mets remain Amazin’ 50 years later.... Bronny James and Zaire Wade debut for Sierra Canyon in China....

Today’s local major sports schedule

All times Pacific

Dodgers at Atlanta, 10 a.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Chicago White Sox at Angels, 1 p.m., FSW, 830 AM

Born on this date

1893: Baseball player Burleigh Grimes (d. 1985)

1928: Baseball team owner Marge Schott (d. 2004)

1934: Baseball player Roberto Clemente (d. 1972)

1935: Decathlete Rafer Johnson

1940: Softball player Joan Joyce

1941: NFL player Matt Snell

1951: NFL player Greg Pruitt

1962: Hurdler Sandra Farmer-Patrick

And finally

Major League Baseball honors the legacy of Roberto Clemente. 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 me by clicking here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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