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:
— Mitch Moreland hit an RBI single with one out in the 10th inning and the Oakland Athletics rallied to beat the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 for their first win of the season. The A’s were in danger of falling to 0-7 for the first time in franchise history before tying it in the ninth off Kenley Jansen when Matt Chapman scored on Elvis Andrus’ sacrifice fly. Oakland then won it in the 10th when Moreland’s line-drive single to center off Jimmy Nelson scored Mark Canha from third. Trevor Bauer struck out 10 but got a no-decision for the Dodgers.
— Kyle Seager slapped an opposite-field, bases clearing double for the big blow in Seattle’s seven-run sixth inning, and the Mariners avoided a sweep with an 8-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. Seager had three hits and his two-out liner down the left field line cleared the bases as the Mariners posted their highest scoring inning of the young season. Taylor Trammell, J.P. Crawford and Jose Marmolejos all had RBI singles in the inning and Mitch Haniger added a sacrifice fly. Chicago starter Dallas Keuchel pitched into the sixth before being replaced. Seattle starter Justin Dunn walked eight batters and failed to finish the fifth.
— 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.
— Alec Bohm and J.T. Realmuto each hit a three-run homer, Rhys (rees) Hoskins had a solo shot and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets 8-2. Phillies ace Aaron Nola allowed one run and six hits, striking out five in four innings. Connor Brogdon got five outs to earn his third win in six games. Three relievers pitched the final 3 1/3 innings.
— 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.
– Alex Dickerson scored on Donovan Solano’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning and the San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres 3-2 to take two of three. Dickerson started the 10th on second base and advanced when Mike Yastrzemski (yah-STREM’-skee) beat out a nubber down the first base line for an infield single. Reliever Tim Hill let the ball roll, thinking it would go foul. Solano followed with a flyball to right to bring in Dickerson.
—Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer and Dylan Carlson added a grand slam, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over Miami 7-0 for a three-game sweep that dropped the Marlins to 1-5 for the first time since 2015.
— Kyle Seager slapped an opposite-field, bases clearing double for the big blow in Seattle’s seven-run sixth inning, and the Mariners avoided a sweep with an 8-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. Seager had three hits and his two-out liner down the left field line cleared the bases as the Mariners posted their highest scoring inning of the young season.
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.
— The Milwaukee Brewers say tailgating will be permitted again starting with Monday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
Durant returns to Nets’ lineup after 23-game absence
NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant is back in the starting lineup for the Brooklyn Nets after missing 23 games with a strained left hamstring. The Nets’ game against New Orleans tonight is Durant’s first since Feb. 13 at Golden State.
He and the Nets originally thought his injury was minor, but subsequent testing showed it to be more serious. Coach Steve Nash said the Nets would be careful with Durant in his return and didn’t plan on sending him out to play 35 minutes.
Durant returned just as James Harden went out of the lineup with his own hamstring injury.
Draisaitl scores 3, McDavid 1, Oilers beat Senators again
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Connor McDavid set up three goals by Leon Draisaitl (DRY’-sy-tul) and scored a spectacular game-winner with 6:06 to play as the Edmonton Oilers remained perfect this season against the Ottawa Senators with a 4-2 win on Wednesday.
Draisaitl and McDavid, the NHL’s top two scorers, were reuinted on the same line for the game and each finished with four points.
Edmonton has won eight straight against Ottawa. Mikko Koskinen (KAHS’-kihn-ihn) made 28 saves. Josh Norris and Connor Brown scored for Ottawa. Marcus Hogberg made 31 saves in his first start since Feb. 18.
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.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
— 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.
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.
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.
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.
Top-ranked Barty cruises in 1st clay event since 2019
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty easily won her first clay-court match in two years, cruising past Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-1 on Wednesday in the WTA’s Volvo Car Open.
Barty, fresh off a championship run at the Miami Open the past two weeks, had little trouble moving from hard courts to clay. She won 10 of the last 11 games in her first match on the slower surface since winning the 2019 French Open.
Second-seeded American Sofia Kenin fell to Lauren Davis of the United States in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
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 of 45 mph — 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.