Braves get 1st win; top Nats 7-6 to open doubleheader
UNDATED (AP) — Atlanta pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval drove a two-run homer to the deepest part of the ballpark off a Washington reliever who took over after Stephen Strasburg’s six scoreless innings to lift the Braves to a 2-0 victory over the Nationals and a doubleheader sweep.
In the opener, Ronald Acuña Jr. led the way with a double and a pair of singles to help Atlanta snap a season-starting four-game losing streak by edging Washington 7-6.
Sandoval, the 2012 World Series MVP for San Francisco, signed a minor league contract in January with the Braves, setting him for a one-year, $1 million deal if he made the 40-man roster.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Tyler Naquin hit another leadoff home run and the high-scoring Cincinnati Reds kept rolling, backing Luis Castillo to rout the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-4 for their fifth straight win. The Reds have started a season 5-1 for the first time since 2016. Their 56 runs are the most in Reds franchise history through the first six games of a season. Naquin hit a leadoff homer for the second straight day. Nick Castellanos, Tyler Stephenson and Aristides Aquino also homered for the Reds.
— Christian Vázquez homered, Xander Bogaerts (ZAN’-dur BOH’-gahrtz) had three hits and J.D. Martinez went for extra bases for the seventh game in a row to help the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-2. Nathan Eovaldi (ee-VAHL’-dee) scattered three hits over seven innings, striking out seven. They’ve beaten the defending AL champion Rays in three straight by a combined score of 26-9.
— José Ramírez’s second two-run homer of the game snapped a tie in the eighth inning and sent the Cleveland Indians to a 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals after Cy Young winner Shane Bieber struck out 12. Bieber allowed just three hits in 6 1/3 innings. Salvador Perez homered for the Royals.
— Jorge Polanco hit a two-run double in the sixth inning and the Minnesota Twins held off Akil Baddoo and the Detroit Tigers 3-2. Baddoo hit an RBI triple and threw a runner out from left field. Wilson Ramos homered for Detroit.
— Kyle Gibson struck out eight over six scoreless innings as the Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 in the rubber game of a three-game series. Nick Solak homered for Texas off left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (hyoon-jihn YOO). Marcus Semien hit his third homer of the season for Toronto.
— Lorenzo Cain hit his second homer of the game, a three-run shot in the 10th inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2. Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff had a no-hit bid going until Ian Happ led off the seventh with a clean single.
Blue Jays GM Atkins gets 5-year contract extension
UNDATED (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays and general manager Ross Atkins have agreed on a five-year contract extension. The extension goes through the 2026 season.
The Blue Jays hired Atkins in December 2015 after 15 seasons in the front office with the Cleveland Indians. That was two months after former Indians executive Mark Shapiro (shuh-PY’-roh) became president and CEO of the Blue Jays. Toronto made the expanded playoffs last season.
In other MLB news:
— Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was held out of New York’s lineup Wednesday night with soreness in his left side. Judge had a homer, three hits and four RBIs in a 7-2 win over Baltimore on Tuesday night but wasn’t back in the lineup against the O’s a day later. New York has a day off Thursday, giving the right fielder a chance to rest on consecutive days.
— George Springer is dealing with another issue while waiting to make his debut with the Toronto Blue Jays. Springer was on track to play Thursday before feeling tightness in his right quad when running the bases.
Los Angeles sheriff will reveal cause of Tiger Woods crash
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tiger Woods was going more than 80 mph — nearly twice the posted speed limit — on a downhill stretch of road when he lost control of an SUV outside Los Angeles.
The Feb. 23 wreck left the golf superstar seriously injured.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department blamed the crash solely on excessive speed and Woods’ loss of control behind the wheel.
Authorities say Woods was driving 84 to 87 mph in an area that had a speed limit of 45 mph.
NHL’s Canucks say 21 players tested positive
UNDATED (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive in a COVID-19 outbreak involving a variant of the virus. The team said Wednesday that 21 players, including three from the taxi squad, and four members of the coaching staff have tested positive, and one other player is considered a close contact.
All players and staff are in quarantine, and 19 of the 22 players on Vancouver’s active roster were listed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list Wednesday.
The Canucks say the team has confirmed that a variant is involved in the outbreak, and full genome sequencing is being conducted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to determine which specific variant.
In other pandemic-related developments:
— The LPGA Tour says the final event of its three-tournament Asia swing has been canceled due to current health concerns and travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Blue Bay LPGA on Hainan Island in China was scheduled for May 13-16, following tournaments in Singapore and Thailand.
— The European Tour says the French Open golf tournament has been postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions the government announced last week. The tour says it will work with the French golf federation to try to reschedule it.
— The Milwaukee Brewers say tailgating will be permitted again starting with Monday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
Bengals show another veteran the door, release RB Bernard
UNDATED (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals parted with another veteran Wednesday when they released running back Giovani Bernard.
Bernard, a free agent, played his entire eight-year NFL career in Cincinnati and established himself as a reliable blocking back and receiver. The 29-year-old Bernard became a starter for the last 10 games of 2020 after Joe Mixon suffered a foot injury. A 2013 second-round draft pick by the Bengals, he played in 115 games with 30 starts, rushing for 3,697 yards and 22 touchdowns. His 342 receptions are the most by a running back in Bengals history, and his 2,867 receiving yards are the second most.
The Bengals had already traded defensive end Carlos Dunlap in midseason last year and released defensive tackle Geno Atkins last month. Receiver A.J. Green, who had spent his entire 10-year career with the team, signed with Arizona as a free agent.
In other NFL news:
— Nike has suspended its endorsement contract with Deshaun Watson amid allegations of sexual assault and harassment against the Houston Texans quarterback. Watson has been accused of sexual assault or harassment in lawsuits filed by 22 women. Watson’s attorney has called the allegations “meritless” and says they were made following a failed attempt to blackmail his client.
— The Buffalo Bills agreed to sign guard Forrest Lamp to a one-year contract in continuing a series of offseason moves to add experienced offensive line depth. Lamp spent the past four seasons with the Chargers and was one of two Los Angeles linemen to play every offensive snap last season.
— The Tennessee Titans have hired veteran defensive coordinator and former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz as a senior defensive assistant. Schwartz has been a defensive coordinator for 14 NFL seasons, the last five with the Philadelphia Eagles. He spent 10 years with the Titans.
— Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith of Alabama is scheduled to appear in person in Cleveland at the NFL draft later this month. Quarterback Mac Jones, defensive lineman Christian Barmore and cornerback Patrick Surtain II will be there as well from the national champion Crimson Tide. Also attending will be LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, Miami edge rusher Gregory Rousseau, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, and Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley.
Jenner out for season
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner had surgery for a broken finger and is expected to miss the rest of the season. The 27-year-old veteran was hit in the hand with a hard shot from teammate Patrik Laine in the third period of Tuesday night’s win over Tampa Bay. He’ll be sidelined about six weeks, the team said. He has eight goals and nine assists, while playing in all 41 games for the Blue Jackets this season.
Arizona parts ways with Sean Miller amid NCAA investigation
UNDATED (AP) — Arizona has parted ways with men’s basketball coach Sean Miller as the program awaits its fate in an NCAA infractions investigation.
Associate head coach Jack Murphy will serve as interim head coach.
Miller and the Wildcats have been in the NCAA’s crosshairs since being ensnared in a 2017 FBI investigation into shady recruiting practices. The NCAA issued a Notice of Allegations last year and the case is currently going through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process. Arizona issued a self-imposed postseason ban this year and finished 17-9.
In other college basketball news:
— Tennessee freshman guard Keon Johnson says he’s declaring for the NBA draft and will sign with an agent.
— Michigan State has added high-scoring guard Tyson Walker, a transfer from Northeastern. Walker averaged 18.6 points last season as a sophomore and led the Huskies to an 8-2 record in the Colonial Athletic Association.
— Syracuse forward Marek Dolezaj is not returning to the Orange for a final season and will seek to play professionally. 6-foot-10 native of Slovakia made the announcement Wednesday on social media. Dolezaj had one year of college eligibility remaining due to the coronavirus pandemic.
— Graduate transfer center Nysier Brooks has signed to play with Mississippi. Brooks averaged 7.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season for Miami while shooting 51.7% from the field. He started 25 games last season as a senior and was the Hurricanes’ leading rebounder and shot blocker.
SHOOTING-FOOTBALL PLAYER CHARGED
Former Florida State star charged in double shooting
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say former Florida State star football player Travis Rudolph has been arrested in South Florida for a shooting that left one man dead and another wounded.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says the 25-year-old Rudolph was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
Officials say deputies responded shortly after midnight to a double shooting in the Lake Park area. Authorities say one man was transported to a local hospital for treatment, while the other was found dead a short distance to the south in West Palm Beach. Investigators identified Rudolph as a suspect in the shooting and arrested him a short time later.