Friday, July 31, 2020

MLB Game Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers (3) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (5) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers (3) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (5) - Date: 7/31/2020 Walker's double in 8th lifts Diamondbacks over Dodgers 5-3PHOENIX Christian Walker hit a three-run double in the eighth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks broke out of their offensive funk to rally past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 Friday night.''I know what this team has been going through and how hard they've been playing, so come through and be there for my teammates meant a lot to me,'' Walker said.The Diamondbacks labored through the first seven innings, managing one run on five hits.Trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Arizona loaded the bases against Blake Treinen (0-1) and Walker lined a double just past the outreached glove of center fielder Mookie Betts. David Peralta followed with a run-scoring single to make it 5-3.Hector Rondon (1-0) got one out in the eighth for his first win with Arizona. Archie Bradley walked a batter and gave up a double to Betts in the ninth before getting Cody Bellinger to pop out for his second save in three chances.The Diamondbacks entered the game 29th in the big leagues hitting .196 and had scored 20 runs the first seven games.''I think everybody can feel the emotion of this win,'' Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ''I know the stadium is empty, but I think you all can understand the excitement we had when that ball landed and we took the lead.'' Betts hit his first homer with the Dodgers, had three hits, drove in two runs and made a sensational, long throw for an out at third. Corey Seager homered for the third straight game.The Dodgers' bullpen had been one of the best in baseball early in the season, holding opponents to four earned runs in 35 1/3 innings. Walker's hit came after the Dodgers walked Eduardo Escobar to load the bases.''For me, on the road, guy on second and third, open base, I just like the matchup against Walker,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ''It just didn't work out.'' Betts signed one of the richest contracts in baseball history, agreeing to a $365 million, 12-year deal on the eve of opening day.The 27-year-old got off to a slow start in his first season in Los Angeles, entering Friday's game hitting .206 with a pair of doubles.Betts had an immediate impact Friday night, throwing from deep in the right field corner to third base on the fly to get Ketel Marte, who was trying to stretch a double in the first inning.''It was pretty impressive,'' Roberts said. ''That's over 300 feet in the air on a dime.'' Betts hit his first homer with the Dodgers in the fourth inning, a towering solo shot just inside the foul pole in left. He added a run-scoring single to put the Dodgers up 2-0 in the fifth.Betts finished 3 for 5 after opening the season hitting .206.''I was kind of sear ching, trying to find the right mechanics for my swing,'' Betts said. ''It's kind of hard with everything going on to get enough work in, but I was able to put in some good work today and have a good game.'' Kole Calhoun hit a run-scoring double in the fifth inning to pull the Diamondbacks within 2-1, but Gonzalez worked out of a jam to limit the damage.Seager hit a long solo homer in the eighth inning off Kevin Ginkel to put Los Angeles up 3-2.SOLID GALLENDiamondbacks starter Zac Gallen had a no-decision in his opening start after holding San Diego to a run on two hits in four innings of a 4-3 win. He walked four in the opening inning of that game, but was much more aggressive against the Dodgers, striking out the first four hitters he faced.Gallen gave up Betts' homer and ran into more trouble in the fourth, but struck out Joc Pederson to strand two runners. He allowed two runs on five hits.TRAINER'S ROOMDodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw is e xpected to make his season debut Sunday against Arizona. He was slated to be the Dodgers' opening day starter, but was scratched due to back stiffness. His return pushes Walker Buehler's next scheduled start to Monday.Diamondbacks: SS Nick Ahmed was out of the lineup for a rest day after opening the season 2 for 24. He grounded out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning.UP NEXTDodgers: LHP Julio Urias will start Saturday's game against Arizona after giving up a run and five hits in five innings of a no-decision against San Francisco last Sunday.Diamondbacks: RHP Luke Weaver will look to bounce back against the Dodgers after giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings against San Diego in his 2020 debut.---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Recap: Oakland Athletics (3) vs. Seattle Mariners (5) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: Oakland Athletics (3) vs. Seattle Mariners (5) - Date: 7/31/2020 Taijuan Walker overpowering as Mariners beat Athletics 5-3SEATTLE After seeing most of the last two seasons wiped out by Tommy John surgery, Taijuan Walker was more than ready to experience the feeling of a victory again.He did so after one of the more impressive outings in his entire career.''It was just fun going out there, going deep into the game. It's been a long while,'' Walker said. ''But I felt good. Honestly, I didn't feel tired. I didn't feel like I was breathing hard. Honestly, I feel like I could have gone more.'' Walker threw one-hit ball over seven innings, Kyle Lewis had his sixth straight multi-hit game, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 5-3 on Friday night.Walker (1-1) was dominant making his first start in Seattle since the end of the 2016 season before being traded to A rizona. Walker struck out eight and walked two. Best Sports Handicapping Services. The lone hit was Ramon Laureano's double leading off the fourth inning, but he was stranded at third after Walker made a good defensive play to snag Mark Canha's comebacker for the final out of the inning.Walker's best inning came when he struck out the side in the fifth after he was given a 2-0 lead. It was Walker's first win since Sept. 6, 2017, against the Dodgers while pitching for Arizona, before elbow trouble and surgery limited him to four combined starts over the past two seasons.It was the third time in Walker's career he pitched at least six innings and allowed one hit. Sports Bettor Leads. The previous two came during the 2015 season.''We were probably not swinging at our best at this point, but he pitched a pretty good game and mixed hi s pitches pretty well,'' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ''His first game, didn't look sharp; this game he looked like sharp right away and we certainly couldn't solve him.'' Reliever Bryan Shaw stumbled in the eighth giving up a two-run triple to Marcus Semien and Laureano's sacrifice fly. Best Bets of the Day. That was all Oakland would get as Taylor Williams pitched the ninth for his second save.While Walker was overpowering on the mound, Lewis continued to rack up hits at the plate. Lewis singled and scored from first base on Kyle Seager's two-run double in the fourth inning. In the fifth, Lewis lined an RBI single to center to score J. P. Crawford.Lewis has 15 hits in the first eight games.''Consistency is an understatement on what Kyle Lewis has been able to do. ... With (Seager) it's a great combination in the middle of our lineup,'' Seattle manage r Scott Servais said.Oakland starter Sean Manaea lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up six hits and five runs, but only three were earned. Manaea (0-2) set down the first nine batters in order, but ran into trouble in the fourth and was lifted an inning later after Crawford's second single.SHOW OF UNITYPlayers from both teams all stood along the foul lines during the national anthem. Once the anthem ended a message of social justice and equality from The Players Alliance played in the stadium, Oakland's Marcus Semien, Seattle coach Joe Thurston and eight of the Mariners Black players - Lewis, Crawford, Carl Edwards Jr., Dee Gordon, Shed Long Jr., Justin Dunn, Justus Sheffield and Mallex Smith - all took a knee as the video was played.''As a group we wanted to show unity for The Players Alliance and sticking together,'' Lewis said.ON THE ROADBecause of his past history in Seattle, a normal trip to play the Mariners means A's manager Bob Melvin likes to get out and see the city or catch up with old friends.That wasn't the case as the A's embarked on their first road trip of the season with the focus on being smart, safe and healthy. Oakland had not left the Bay Area since Summer Camp began.''I think guys are just more, `Hey look, we just need to stay in, stay in our rooms, go to the ballpark,''' Melvin said. ''We had an off day yesterday, I know I didn't go anywhere.'' UP NEXTAthletics: RHP Mike Fiers (0-0, 9.00) gave up seven hits and four runs over four innings in his first start against the Angels. Fiers is 3-2 with a 5.93 ERA in 12 career starts vs. Seattle.Mariners: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 12.27) makes his second start. Kikuchi allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first outing against Houston. Kikuchi was strong early, but gave up four runs and was knocked out in the fourth inning by the Astros.---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports< /p>

MLB Game Recap: Texas Rangers (2) vs. San Francisco Giants (9) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: Texas Rangers (2) vs. San Francisco Giants (9) - Date: 7/31/2020 Flores homers to get Giants going in 9-2 win over RangersSAN FRANCISCO Wilmer Flores hit a three-run homer off Mike Minor, Darin Ruf drove in three runs and the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers 9-2 on Friday night.Chadwick Tromp had his first major league hit and RBI for the Giants.Shin-Soo Choo hit an opposite-field home run for Texas on the game's first pitch.Flores, the veteran utility infielder who signed with San Francisco in the offseason, made his first start of the season at first base in place of Brandon Belt, who has a lingering Achilles injury.After a strikeout and a deep flyout in his first two at-bats, Flores hit a 2-2 pitch from Minor into the left field stands to put the Giants ahead 4-2 in the fifth. It was the first home run allowed by a Rangers starter this season and came following consecutive one-out singles by Tro mp and Mauricio Dubon.''I was surprised,'' Flores said. ''I didn't think I got it but with the ball carrying today, it was a good day just to put the barrel on the ball and good launch angle.'' Flores also walked and scored as part of San Francisco's three-run seventh.''Wilmer came into this season all of us knowing that he was such a threat against left-handed pitching, so we kind of envisioned this moment way back in the offseason,'' Giants manager Gabe Kapler said.''The whole dugout (has) a ton of confidence in his ability to produce in the big moments. Profitable Handicappers. That goes back to our experience watching him as a New York Met when he was kind of the king of clutch,'' he said.Texas scored an unearned run off Giants starter Logan Webb in the third but didn't get another hit until the ninth.Conner Menez (1-0), the second of s ix Giants pitchers, retired four batters to win.Minor (0-2) allowed six runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.Webb gave up four hits and walked four while allowing a pair of runs, one unearned.The Giants have yet to have a starter make it through five innings after eight games. It's the longest streak to start a season in Major League Baseball history, according to .They made up for it with one of their best games offensively so far. Eight players had at least one hit and San Francisco put a runner on base in every inning but one.''We don't have that big bat that's going to hit homers all the time, so we have to keep the line moving, having good at-bats,'' Flores said. ''The rest will take care of itself.'' NOTEWORTHYChoo has 24 career leadoff home runs with the Rangers, second in franchise history to Ian Kinsler's 29. Choo was also hit by a pitch for the 151st time in his career, most among active players. . San Francisco's Hunter Pence struck out twice and grounded out twice. Pence is 0 for 21 this season. ''Hunter is swinging the bat better,'' Kapler said. ''He's making hard contact. We have no concerns in case that question comes up.'' ROSTER MOVESThe Giants placed right-hander Sam Coonrod on the 10-day injured list with a right lat strain and recalled left-hander Sam Selman from the alternate training site.The Rangers also made a series of moves, adding first baseman Greg Bird and right-hander Jimmy Herget from the alternate training site. Right-hander Ariel Jurado was designated for assignment.TRAINER'S ROOMGiants: Belt was rested following Thursday's 10-inning loss to the Padres. . Shortstop Brandon Crawford was also held out of the starting lineup.UP NEXTJordan Lyles (0-0, 0.00) makes his first start of the year for Texas on Saturday, four days after the right-hander pitched two scoreless innings of relief. Hockey Handicappers. The Giants didn't announce Saturday's starter.---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Houston Rockets (153) vs. Dallas Mavericks (149) - 7/31/2020

NBA Game Recap: Houston Rockets (153) vs. Dallas Mavericks (149) - Date: 7/31/2020 Aug 01, 2020LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. James Harden scored 49 points and the Houston Rockets outlasted the Dallas Mavericks 153-149 in overtime Friday night in their first game in the NBA bubble.Harden made 1 of 2 free throws before Trey Burke made a 3-pointer to get the Mavericks within 3 with about 15 seconds left in OT. Harden made 1 of 2 free throws after that, Burke missed a 3, and Harden got the rebound to secure the victory.''Our confidence defensively was building, especially in that fourth quarter,'' Harden said. ''We kept pushing the tempo, kept fighting.'' In regulation, Dallas led by 3 before Harden made the first of two free throws, and Robert Covington tipped in a miss on the second to tie it with 3.3 seconds remaining.Harden raved about Covington's tip-in.''Unbelievable play,'' he said . ''I didn't mean to miss it, I intended to make it. It was just a perfect miss.'' Luka Doncic missed a shot at the buzzer to send it to overtime.Kristaps Porzingis had 39 points and 16 rebounds for Dallas, and Doncic had a triple-double with 28 points 13 rebounds and 10 assists.Porzingis put the Mavericks up four early in overtime. Houston scored the next eight points, with the last five from Harden, to take a 147-143 lead.Porzingis had a three-point play, but Covington added a 3-pointer after missing his first eight to extend Houston's lead to four.''This is a tough loss,'' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ''This is about as tough as it gets, and it just comes down to basic execution.'' Doncic hopes this game can be a lesson to the Mavericks.''We're a young team. We've got a lot to learn,'' he said. ''We'll get better for sure. I know we're going to get together when it matters most, so I'm not worried about that.'' Harden, who had 23 points in the first quarter, passed Calvin Murphy to become the second-leading scorer in franchise history behind Hakeem Olajuwon.Harden made two free throws with a minute left in the fourth to cut the lead to four, but but Maxi Kleber made a 3-pointer on the other end to extend the lead to 138-131.Harden cut the lead again seconds later with a 3-pointer with 40 seconds to go.Covington got the Rockets within two points with two free throws. Leading Handicappers. The Rockets were forced to foul, and Seth Curry made 1 of 2 free throws to leave Dallas up 139-136 with 5.2 seconds to go.Russell Westbrook added 31 points for the Rockets after arriving to Florida late after testing positive for the coronavirus.''It's tough,'' he said. ''To be at home for 18, 19 days no working out ... (I) was a little slow tonight but I'l l definitely be better moving forward.'' The teams combined for the most first-half points in the NBA this season, with Dallas leading 85-75 to tie its franchise record.The Rockets went on a 7-0 run, with four points from Westbrook, to trim the deficit late in the third quarter. But Dallas wrapped up the third with a 6-2 run to lead 119-108 entering the fourth quarter.TIP-INSRockets: G Eric Gordon sat out with a sprained left ankle and is expected to be out for about 10 days. ... McLemore fouled out with about 10 minutes left.Mavericks: Burke scored 31 points off the bench and made eight of 10 3-pointers. ... Dorian Finney-Smith fouled out late in the fourth quarter.UP NEXTRockets: Play the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday.Mavericks: Play the Phoenix Suns Sunday.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Recap: Tampa Bay Rays (3) vs. Baltimore Orioles (6) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: Tampa Bay Rays (3) vs. Baltimore Orioles (6) - Date: 7/31/2020 Santander hits unique HR, has 3 RBIs as Orioles top Rays 6-3BALTIMORE Anthony Santander hit an odd home run off Blake Snell and had three RBIs to help the Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 Friday night.The Orioles trailed 2-0 in the fourth inning before Renato Nunez doubled and Santander followed with a drive to center. Kevin Kiermaier backed up to the wall, leaped and stuck his glove high above the 7-foot barrier.The center fielder timed his jump perfectly, but the ball glanced off his mitt and dropped over the wall. Kiermaier dropped to his knees on the warning track, then got up and shrugged as Santander rounded the bases.''I know he'd like to have that play back,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ''He'll make up for that many times this season.'' Orioles manager Brandon Hyde called Kiermaier ' 'a really good center fielder, one of the best in the league.'' Which made this unusual home run one to savor.''I haven't seen the replay,'' Hyde said, ''but I'll take it.'' Pedro Severino followed with a far more traditional homer - a shot to deep center - to chase Snell, who won AL Cy Young Award two years ago and now is trying to come back from an injury-plagued 2019 season.''I thought Blake threw the ball really, really well,'' Cash said. ''I'm very encouraged by his performance.'' Brandon Lowe homered for the Rays, who have lost three straight following a 4-1 start. Lowe's drive tied the game in the fifth, but Santander delivered an RBI single in the bottom half off Pete Fairbanks (1-1) to put Baltimore back in front.The Orioles added a run in the seventh and Hanser Alberto hit a solo shot in the eighth.Paul Fry (1-0) got the win and Cole Sulser worked the ninth for his second sa ve.Orioles starter Alex Cobb allowed two runs and four hits - all of them doubles - in four innings. Sports Tipsters. The former Rays star appears back on course after missing most of last season following hip surgery, although he required 87 pitches to get 12 outs.Since signing as a free agent with Baltimore in 2018, Cobb is 0-3 in five starts against Tampa Bay and winless in 14 starts at Camden Yards.The start of the game was delayed 58 minutes by rain, a stoppage that occurred one night after the Orioles waited out a rainstorm for more than 90 minutes in a loss to New York.OPT OUTOrioles right-hander Kohl Stewart informed the team Friday that he will opt out of the 2020 season. In a statement distributed by the Orioles, the 25-year-old said: ''My elevated risk of serious complications of COVID-19 due to type 1 diabetes continues to be of great concern.'' Drafted fourth overall in the 2013 amateur d raft by Minnesota, Stewart pitched for the Twins in 2018 and 2019 before signing as a free agent with Baltimore in December.TRAINER'S ROOMRays: OF Austin Meadows (COVID-19 injury list) hit against a batting machine, did some live BP and ran sprints Friday at the team's alternate training site in Port Charlotte. Meadows, who hit 33 HRs last season, hopes to make his season debut next week.Orioles: First baseman Chris Davis returned to the team after missing two days with what he called ''a little sinus infection.'' He was in COVID-19 protocol but never tested positive. Handicappers Free Picks. The slugger entered in the fourth inning as a pinch hitter and stayed in the game. ... SS Jose Iglesias was given a second straight day off to rest his sore left quad.UP NEXTRays: RHP Tyler Glasnow, strives for his first win of the season Saturday night. He had nine strikeouts in four innings at Atlant a on Monday.Orioles: Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 6.35 ERA) makes his second start with Baltimore after beating Boston last weekend. He's 0-2 lifetime against the Rays.---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Recap: Pittsburgh Pirates (3) vs. Chicago Cubs (6) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: Pittsburgh Pirates (3) vs. Chicago Cubs (6) - Date: 7/31/2020 Darvish shines as Chicago Cubs beat Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3CHICAGO Yu Darvish and Craig Kimbrel looked like they did at the end of last year.Talk about a mixed bag for the Chicago Cubs.Darvish pitched six shutout innings, Jason Heyward hit a key two-run single and the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 on Friday night.Darvish allowed two hits, struck out seven and walked one, bouncing back nicely after he struggled in his first start last weekend against Milwaukee. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. The Cubs are counting on the Japanese right-hander to help anchor their rotation after he finished strong in 2019.Asked how he felt compared to the last half of last season, Darvish responded: ''I feel like it's really close or almost the same.'' While Darvish (1-1) appeared to be moving in the right direction, Kimbrel worked a shaky ninth in a non-save situation. Josh Bell and Colin Moran homered for Pittsburgh before Kimbrel retired three in a row to end the game.Kimbrel also had a tough time in his first season with the Cubs, and then walked four in his first appearance this year.''Still trying to find that breaking ball it looks like a little bit,'' manager David Ross said. ''He's still working on some stuff, definitely. Not where he wants to be yet.'' Pittsburgh's lineup continued to struggle after it lost 3-0 to Milwaukee on Wednesday night. It began the day with a major league-low .171 team batting average.The Pirates got five of their seven hits in the last two innings.''The best swings we took of the night were in the ninth, which was encouraging, especially the middle of our order taking good swings,'' first-year manager Derek Shelton said. ''Bell and Moran hittin g the homers. I thought we hit five balls really hard in the ninth, with the last three at people. Basketball Handicappers. That's an encouraging sign moving forward.'' Chicago also got a solo home run from Jason Kipnis in its fourth win in five games. He connected in the fourth, sending a drive to the empty bleachers in right.It was the first homer of the season for the veteran second baseman, a suburban Chicago native who agreed to a minor league deal with the Cubs in February.''I'll remember that always,'' Kipnis said. ''Got the ball, too. Game Fixing. That's coming with me.'' The Cubs added two more in the fifth, taking advantage of a combined four walks in the inning for Trevor Williams (0-2) and reliever Nik Turley.With two out and the bases loaded, Heyward lined a 0-2 pitch from Turley into right to drive in Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber for a 4-0 lead.Williams was charged with three runs, two earned, and four hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three.''Overall, I thought I felt great,'' Williams said. ''The only thing I thought I could have done a better job at is executing 0-2, 1-2. I thought I was quick to get two strikes on a hitter and I didn't do a great job putting them away right away.'' BACK IN ILLINOISShelton, who turned 50 on Thursday, was born in Carbondale, Illinois, and went to high school in Gurnee, right outside of Chicago. He played college ball at Southern Illinois.STAYING CAUTIOUSThe Cubs haven't had any positive coronavirus tests among their players since they started summer training camp. But Rizzo wants his team to stay vigilant.''It's just one of those things where you've got to be prudent, you've got to have faith,'' he said. ''You can't really live in fear of it. But guys are going to get it. We can't sit here and say, oh, look at us, we're doing so great because tomorrow we could have someone walking around here asymptomatic and spread it to 10 guys.'' TRAINER'S ROOMCubs: Quality control coach Mike Napoli is back with the team after he tested positive for the coronavirus before the start of the team's summer training camp. ''Nap's got an energy about him that will be nice for the group,'' Ross said.UP NEXTPirates right-hander Mitch Keller (1-0, 1.80 ERA) and Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood (1-0, 1.50 ERA) match up on Saturday. Steven Brault will start the series finale for the Pirates against fellow left-hander Jon Lester. Keller is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two career starts against Chicago, both coming last season. Chatwood is 0-2 with a 3.54 ERA in 10 appearances versus Pittsburgh.---Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap---More MLB: https://apnews.com/ML B and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Recap: San Diego Padres (8) vs. Colorado Rockies (7) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: San Diego Padres (8) vs. Colorado Rockies (7) - Date: 7/31/2020 Pham, Tatis homer in 9th, Padres rally, beat Rockies 8-7DENVER Tommy Pham carried a little grudge with him to the plate.He took it out on the offending party.Pham hit a three-run homer in the ninth after Fernando Tatis Jr. tied it with two outs, and the San Diego Padres rallied for an 8-7 win over Colorado on Friday night to spoil the Rockies' home opener.On a 3-2 count, Pham sent a fastball from closer Wade Davis (0-1) over the left-center wall to give the Padres an 8-5 lead. Sports Tipsters. This after Davis intentionally walked Manny Machado to face Pham.''Whenever a team walks someone in front of you, it's a sign of disrespect to you as a hitter,'' Pham said. ''As a professional you just want to be respected. After tonight, maybe I got a little bit more res pect.'' A little Coors Field comeback - for the other side. It began with Tatis, who went deep to tie the game after Davis got two quick outs in the inning.''We never felt out of it, even down to the last out,'' Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. ''Just the chance to do something special, magical, whatever you want to call it.'' It's the second straight night that Pham has come through for the Padres. Pham hit a go-ahead single in the 10th inning as the Padres beat San Francisco under baseball's new extra-innings format.Craig Stammen (1-0) threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win, while Kirby Yates made things interesting in the ninth. Yates surrendered a run-scoring single to Charlie Blackmon and then walked Ryan McMahon with the bases loaded to make it 8-7. He was taken out for Drew Pomeranz, who got pinch-hitter Chris Owings to fly out to earn his second save.San Diego is off to a 6-2 start for the first time since 2009 .The line for Davis read like this: Two outs, four runs, two hits, two walks and two homers. His ERA jumped to 16.88.''He missed with the fastball and it came back to bite him,'' Rockies manager Bud Black explained.Asked if Davis was on a short leash given the shortened season, Black responded: ''We're going to continue to watch all of our players. We're going to critique them and evaluate them, on the pitching side, on their stuff and how they're throwing the ball.'' The Padres overcame Blackmon hitting his first homer of the season, a two-run shot in the first, along with Trevor Story's solo homer in the seventh that gave Colorado a one-run lead. Pinch-hitter Matt Kemp also added a two-run double.Stammen's outing gave a struggling bullpen a bit of a boost. It's been a tough stretch for the Padres relievers, who surrendered a four-run lead Wednesday and a five-run lead Thursday. Best Bets of the Day. They nearly gave up another.There were several fielding gems in this game, highlighted by Story's throw from the seat of his pants near second base with the Padres threatening in the seventh. Sports Handicappers Rankings. The ball deflected off reliever Daniel Bard, and Story fell down as he tried to grab it. He threw to first to just get Jake Cronenworth.David Dahl also had a diving catch in center and Pham an outstretched grab in left during a game delayed for 37 minutes by a predicted rain shower that never materialized.Colorado's home opener featured a virtual first pitch and national anthem, along with a tribute on the video screen to the players from their families and loved ones. There also was a flyover and fireworks.The only thing missing? Energy from the stands, of course.''We love our fans and love having them out there,'' Nolan Arenado s aid. ''It's disappointing not to see them.'' ROCKIES ROWThe Blake Street Bombers were watching from behind home plate -- cutout pictures of them anyway. There were photos of Vinny Castilla, Andres Galarraga, Larry Walker, Ellis Burks and Dante Bichette. Along with them were images of Todd Helton and outfielder Ian Demsond, who opted out this season in part because of the coronavirus pandemic.STARTERSBoth starters went 5 2/3 innings. Rockies righty Jon Gray gave up three runs, two earned, while Padres right-hander Garrett Richards surrendered four runs.COMEDY OF ERRORSStory had an error in the sixth that led to a run and Gray threw a wild pitch that brought in another.TRAINER'S ROOMPadres: 1B Eric Hosmer traveled with the team to Denver but missed his third straight game with a stomach illness the team said is not related to COVID-19.UP NEXTThe Rockies will send lefty Kyle Freeland (1-0, 3.00) to the mound Saturday. He's 18-14 with a 4.34 ERA in hi s career at Coors Field. San Diego will counter with left Joey Lucchesi (0-0, 4.91), who allowed a career-high eight earned runs the last time he pitched in Denver on Sept. 13.---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Recap: Cleveland Indians (1) vs. Minnesota Twins (4) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: Cleveland Indians (1) vs. Minnesota Twins (4) - Date: 7/31/2020 Kepler homer, Dobnak pitching lead Twins over Indians 4-1MINNEOLIS Max Kepler hit his second leadoff home run of the season, Alex Avila added his first homer for Minnesota, and the Twins beat the Cleveland Indians 4-1 on Friday night.Randy Dobnak (1-1) pitched five scoreless innings for Minnesota following a day of COVID-19 testing and uncertainty due to two positive tests by the St. Louis Cardinals.St. Louis had two players test positive on Friday after playing two games in Minnesota earlier in the week. Best Free Sports Picks. The teams went through rapid testing and the visiting clubhouse underwent another round of cleaning before the determination was made at 3:30 p.m. Central to keep Friday's game as scheduled.''Our guys took a difficult situation,'' Twins manager R occo Baldelli said. ''They were able to focus. Best Sports Handicapping Services. They were able to lock in and it makes what happened today out on the field even more impressive. Sports Bettors Email Leads. To watch a group able to go out there and play baseball when there are definitely some other things on their mind, the group doesn't surprise me anymore.'' Mike Clevinger (0-1) allowed four runs in four innings for Cleveland, which ended its streak of seven straight starts by pitchers throwing at least six innings with two runs or fewer.''I just kept it in my head that we were going to play,'' Clevinger said of preparing for his start. ''I never let that creep up. We're playing until they officially kill it. It's kind of the same mindset you keep in a rain delay.'' Clevinger gave up six hits an d walked five. He threw just 47 of his 88 pitches for strikes.''A lot of deep counts. I think he's still trying to feel his body,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said of Clevinger, who had knee surgery in February. ''By that, probably his legs. Just weren't really where he was trying to locate. I give him credit, he battled.'' Kepler, who led off the season with a home run against the Chicago White Sox, started a three-run first inning with his third homer of the year. Eddie Rosario added a pair of hits, including a two-run double in the first. The Twins have scored 12 runs in the first inning in their seven games this season.Dobnak made his second straight strong start in place of the injured Jake Odorizzi. He surrendered three hits and two walks and has given up just one run in nine innings this season. Taylor Rogers finished off his second save of the season.A LONG DAYBoth teams heard of the positive tests for St. Louis in the morn ing and started protocols for testing. Derek Falvey, Minnesota's chief baseball officer who had previously been in the Cleveland organization, also reached out to the Indians with the cleaning logs for the visiting clubhouse.''What we did was we gathered all the cleaning, the actual schedule of our cleaning,'' Falvey said before the game. ''Exactly what we did for each day for the Cardinals series, up and through, really, last night and what had been done at each juncture, and gave them that log, and getting down to the detail of what was sprayed, what kind of products were used, how it was wiped down, all of those things, just to make sure they felt they had complete information. I would like the same if we were on the road and we were dealing with the same problem.'' TRAINER'S ROOMIndians: Francona said OF Delino DeShields was scheduled to participate in the intrasquad game at the team's alternate site and then try to ''s imulate another one or two after that'' as he makes his way back after testing positive for COVID-19.Twins: 3B Josh Donaldson left the game in the second inning with right calf tightness. Baldelli said he wouldn't consider the injury to be a major issue but Donaldson is considered day to day.UP NEXTRHP Carlos Carrasco (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will start for Cleveland on Saturday and be opposed by RHP Kenta Maeda (1-0, 3.60), who will make his home debut for Minnesota. Carrasco struck out 10 batters in six innings in a win against Kansas City in his season debut. Maeda allowed two runs and four hits in five innings against the White Sox in his first outing.---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Recap: Chicago White Sox (3) vs. Kansas City Royals (2) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: Chicago White Sox (3) vs. Kansas City Royals (2) - Date: 7/31/2020 Engel, Keuchel lead White Sox to 3-2 victory over RoyalsKANSAS CITY, Mo. Adam Engel hit a three-run homer in the second inning Friday night, and that was all the offense the Chicago White Sox needed in a 3-2 win over Kansas City that spoiled the Royals' home opener.Dallas Keuchel picked up the win for the White Sox. Alex Colome converted his first save opportunity.Kuechel (2-0) worked out of trouble seemingly the entire game. He retired the Royals in order in only one inning, and allowed just two runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out three.Kris Bubic (0-1) settled down after struggling early in his big league debut for Kansas City. He allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits. He walked one and hit James McCann twice.Bubic worked his way out of trouble in the first inning, getting a 5-4-3 double play. He wasn 9;t as fortunate in the second. Eloy Jimenez reached on an error by second baseman Nicky Lopez. After Luis Robert reached on a fielder's choice, Bubic hit James McCann on the head with a pitch and Engel followed, blasted his first home run of the season into the White Sox bullpen.The Royals answered with one in the third, but left the bases loaded. Lopez got Kansas City's first hit with one out, and he advanced to second on Adalberto Mondesi's two-out infield single. Salvador Perez drove in Lopez with a single to left. Jorge Soler walked, loading the bases, but Maikel Franco popped out to first, ending the inning.Keukel entered the sixth with a two-run lead, but that was cut in half when Ryan McBroom hit his first career home run, a 426-foot blast to left-center.Royals left fielder Alex Gordon picked up his first outfield assist of the season in the seventh when he threw out Nick Madrigal trying to score from second on a single by Garcia. It was Gordon's 99th outfield assist since 2010, the most in the majors in that time frame.TRAINER'S ROOMWhite Sox SS Tim Anderson left the game in the seventh inning with soreness in his right hip. He was replaced by Leury Garcia.Royals LHP Foster Griffin was transferred to the 60-day Injured List. He was originally placed on the 10-day IL on July 28 with a left forearm strain following his big league debut.ROSTER MOVESThe White Sox purchased the contract of 2B Nick Madrigal from the Schaumburg training facility and designated RHP Kelvin Herrera for assignment. Madrigal, the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft, made his Major League debut, hitting ninth. Herrera made two appearances for the White Sox this season, allowing four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.The Royals selected the contract of LHP Kris Bubic, who made his Major League debut. Bubic was the Royals' fourth first-round selection (40th overall) in the 2018 draft. He's the second Royals 2018 first-round pick to make his d ebut, following RHP Brady Singer (18th overall).UP NEXTThe White Sox will send LHP Gio Gonzalez to the mound for his second outing with the club. Chicago's 2004 first-round pick (38th overall), Gonzalez was signed as a free agent in the off-season after spending the last eight years in the National League with the Nationals and Brewers.The Royals will send RHP Ronald Bolanos to the mound for his second start. He took the loss in his debut July 26, despite allowing only two unearned runs in Cleveland.---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Sacramento Kings (120) vs. San Antonio Spurs (129) - 7/31/2020

NBA Game Recap: Sacramento Kings (120) vs. San Antonio Spurs (129) - Date: 7/31/2020 Jul 31, 2020LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. DeMar DeRozan scored 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to help the San Antonio Spurs pull away and beat the Sacramento Kings 129-120 on Friday night.DeRozan shot 10 of 13 and had 10 assists for the Spurs, who shot 53.3 percent from the field.Derrick White matched a career high with 26 points in San Antonio's first game of the restart. Baseball Picks. The Spurs needed to find offense because LaMarcus Aldridge, the team's No. 2 scorer, had shoulder surgery in April and will not play in the restart.Before the game, coach Gregg Popovich and assistant Becky Hammon stood for the national anthem while the remainder of the coaches and players for both teams knelt.De'Aaron Fox scored a career-high 39 points and Bogdan Bogdanovic a dded 24 for the Kings, who are trying to break a 13-year playoff drought.The teams flipped positions in the standings, with the Spurs moving a half-game ahead of the Kings. Both are in the cluster chasing the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.The Kings led 65-64 at halftime behind 20 points from Fox. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. The Kings shot 57 percent before the break. White scored 15 points in the first half.San Antonio led 114-112 before DeRozan scored 10 points in the final 2:23 to help put the game out of reach.TIP-INSKings: Announced Friday that Harrison Barnes and his wife Brittany are donating more than $200,000 to nonprofits that were created by the families of victims of police brutality and gun violence. ... Were assessed a technical foul for delay of game in the third quarter.Spurs: White took five charges. ... Rudy Gay scored 19 points and Lonnie Walker added 16. ... < a href="https://www.cappertek.com/directory.asp">Sports Handicapping Software. The Spurs got assists on 32 of their 48 baskets.UP NEXTKings: Play the Orlando Magic on Sunday.Spurs: Play the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Recap: New York Mets (10) vs. Atlanta Braves (11) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: New York Mets (10) vs. Atlanta Braves (11) - Date: 7/31/2020 Braves rally on d'Arnaud's 3-run double, beat Mets 11-10ATLANTA Former Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud drove in five runs, including three with a bases-loaded double that capped a five-run eighth, and the Atlanta Braves rallied from a six-run deficit for a wild 11-10 win over New York on Friday night.D'Arnaud had three hits. Sports Handicapping Services. The biggest was the double off Seth Lugo that gave Atlanta the lead and completed the comeback from deficits of 8-2 and 10-5.Playing the role of hero against his former team made the big night more special for d'Arnaud.''It was fun knowing we were going to play them in the first few series,'' d'Arnaud said. ''Then to come out and come back like that and come out with the big hit was fun.'' Dan sby Swanson's RBI single started the scoring in Atlanta's decisive inning before Ender Inciarte scored on a wild pitch from Dellin Betances to cut New York's lead to 10-8.Lugo (1-1) replaced Betances and walked Marcell Ozuna to load the bases. Johan Camargo popped out to shallow right field before d'Arnaud cleared the bases with his double to the gap in right-center.D'Arnaud came off the COVID-19 injured list on Wednesday after he and Atlanta's other top catcher, Tyler Flowers, were held out at the start of the season. Both were kept away from the team until each had several negative tests for the coronavirus.''Monday to Monday, I only left the house to go get a big Q-tip shoved up my nose,'' d'Arnaud said.Chris Martin ended the game when Wilson Ramos hit a fly ball to deep right field with runners on first and second. Martin earned his first save. Grant Dayton (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth.Yoenis Cespedes had a two-run double i n New York's six-run fifth inning, J. D. Davis hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs. Robinson Cano had three hits, including a homer.Mets pitchers issued seven walks, including four by relievers.''We've got to get ahead of guys better, including myself,'' Lugo said. ''We put ourselves in a hole pitching behind in counts. ... Free Sports Picks Daily. Tonight I walked the go-ahead run and that's just unacceptable.'' Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings.149 AND COUNTINGRick Porcello couldn't take advantage of an excellent chance for his 150th career win. Given the 8-2 lead, Porcello walked Swanson on four pitches to open the fifth. Davis then dropped Freddie Freeman's shallow fly ball in left field for an error, and manager Luis Rojas brought in right-hander Paul Seawald from the bullpen.BULLPEN BLUESRojas wouldn't say before t he game if Edwin Diaz would have the next save opportunity after struggling in two recent games. Diaz walked two batters, hit a batter and gave up a run while recording only one out in Thursday night's 4-2 loss to Boston.Now there are other new reasons to worry about the bullpen.''I think things will turn around,'' Lugo said. ''We're not letting it affect the morale out there. I think we'll bounce back.'' SLOW STARTRonald Acuna Jr. was hitting only .138 with 15 strikeouts in 29 at-bats before he doubled to center field in the second inning. Acuna surprised Brandon Nimmo by continuing to run and beating the throw to second base with a head-first slide.It was the only hit of the game for Acuna, who had three more strikeouts. He has not driven in a run this season.TRAINER'S ROOMMets: RHP Marcus Stroman (torn calf muscle) threw four innings against hitters at the team's alternate site in Brooklyn.Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was res ted but available after reporting his right wrist had ''a little stiffness'' on Thursday night, according to Snitker. Albies entered the game as a pinch-hitter but needed assistance from a trainer after having more problems with the wrist in the ninth.UP NEXTAtlanta RHP Touki Toussaint will make his first start since April 20, 2019, when he gave up seven earned runs at Cleveland in 1 1/3 innings, on Saturday night. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. Toussaint will at least temporarily move into the rotation spot left vacant when Mike Foltynewicz was designated for assignment this week. RHP Michael Wacha (1-0, 1.80) will make his second start for the Mets.---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Recap: Cincinnati Reds (2) vs. Detroit Tigers (7) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: Cincinnati Reds (2) vs. Detroit Tigers (7) - Date: 7/31/2020 Turnbull, most Ls last year, gets 1st W, Tigers top RedsDETROIT Spencer Turnbull and the Detroit bullpen combined on a three-hitter, Austin Romine and Travis Demeritte each drove in two runs and the Tigers beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 Friday night.Turnbull led the majors in losses last season as a rookie, going 3-17 and dropping his last 13 decisions. Sports Handicapping Service Leads. The 27-year-old righty pitched five effective innings at Cincinnati last weekend in getting a no-decision in his first start, then fared well in his second time against the Reds.Turnbull (1-0) allowed two runs and three hits in six innings. He struck out six, walked one and didn't allow a hit until former Tigers teammate Nick Castellanos doubled leading off the fifth.''Feels good,'' Turnbull sa id. ''I think it's been a minute since I got a W too, so it's extra sweet.'' His last win had come in May 2019.''I thought his fastball command was excellent tonight,'' said Romine, who caught Turnbull. ''It was tough for them to get the ground under them.'' Detroit relievers Gregory Soto, Buck Farmer and Bryan Garcia retired nine consecutive batters in the final three innings.Luis Castillo (0-1) gave up five runs on eight hits in six-plus innings.The Tigers scored twice in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead on Romine's RBI double and Jacoby Jones' run-scoring single. Free Picks and Parlays. They added two in the seventh to chase Castillo on Romine's RBI single and Nate Jones' wild pitch.Demeritte hit a two-run double in the eighth. He had entered the game in the seventh as a pinch runner.The Red took a 2-1 advantage in the fifth as Nick Senzel's double and Tucker Barnhart's single brought in the runs.Niko Goodrum's sacrifice fly gave Detroit a 1-0 lead in the third.TRAINER'S ROOMReds: Placed LHP Wade Miley on the injured list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a strained left groin.Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin was placed on the injured list with a strained right quadriceps. He sustained the injury while legging out an infield single in the ninth inning of Thursday night's 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Detroit recalled Demeritte, an outfielder, from its satellite campus in Toledo to take Maybin's place. Demeritte had a groin injury during much of summer camp.UP NEXTTrevor Bauer (0-0, 1.42) goes for the Reds against Michael Fulmer (0-0, 13.50), in the second game of the series on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. Fulmer is making his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery. Fulmer's first start was also against Cincinnati.---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Recap: Boston Red Sox (1) vs. New York Yankees (5) - 7/31/2020

MLB Game Recap: Boston Red Sox (1) vs. New York Yankees (5) - Date: 7/31/2020 Judge HR, Montgomery sharp, Yanks top Red Sox in home openerNEW YORK His chambers left empty, Aaron Judge still rules right field at Yankee Stadium.Judge homered for the third straight night, Jordan Montgomery cut up one of the league's hottest lineups in his 2020 debut and the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 5-1 on Friday in their first home game of this coronavirus-shortened season.''Red Sox-Yankees in the Bronx, we knew this place would have been packed,'' Judge said. ''So it was a little bit different.'' Judge took aim at Yankee Stadium's short right field porch in the third, a half-inning after starting a double play from right. Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner hit their first home runs of the season, and New York improved to 5-1.Michael Chavis homered for Boston and Phillips Valdez impressed over 2 2/ 3 scoreless innings, but the club couldn't overcome another poor start by Ryan Weber (0-2).The Bronx hosted its first game amid growing concern that baseball's plan to play through the pandemic may not work. Eight teams, including New York, have had their schedules interrupted over the first nine days of the season due to positive tests on the Marlins, Phillies and Cardinals.Despite that growing anxiety - and the lack of fans - the Yankees tried to make pregame festive. Players lined up along the baselines for introductions, radio announcer Suzyn Waldman performed the national anthem with gusto from her booth, and both dugouts banged on kitchenware during a 7 p.m. cheer to recognize front-line workers battling the coronavirus.There was also a moment of silence for late Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner, who died in April. New York is wearing uniform patches with his initials this season.After that, one of the more bizarre experiences yet in the sport's biggest r ivalry.''Kind of bittersweet,'' Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka said. ''I would think pretty much every single one of us would say one of the best experiences playing for the Yankees is packed house versus the Red Sox.'' Judge narrowly cleared the fence with a line drive estimated at 376 feet. Statcast projected the ball would have only been a home run in the Bronx and at Angel Stadium.''A breaking ball up and in and somehow he stays inside it and it goes out the other way,'' Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said. ''He's that strong. You just can't make mistakes to him.'' Judge also started the double play from right field, where he has his own cheering section for gavel-wielding fans that will be left unfilled this season. Judge caught J. D. Martinez's line drive in the third and picked off Kevin Pillar, who ventured too far from first base.Montgomery (1-0) pitched 5 2/3 innings against a lineup that en tered the day leading the majors in batting average (.276) and the AL in OPS (.783). Free Soccer Picks. The left-hander limited the Red Sox to a run, five hits and a walk with four strikeouts.The 27-year-old Montgomery made just two appearances, one start, last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. He returned this year with more speed and movement, particularly on his cut fastball. Handicapper Return on Investment. This was his first victory since April 21, 2018.''Glad to get that one off my shoulders,'' he said.Weber struggled for the second straight outing, allowing three runs in 3 1/3 innings after allowing six runs in 3 2/3 innings against Baltimore in his season debut.Urshela connected off Weber for a solo drive in the fourth, and Gardner reached the second deck in right with a two-run shot in the eighth off C olten Brewer.CHMAN'S BACKAll-Star closer Aroldis Chapman has been cleared to return to Yankee Stadium following a bout with the coronavirus. Boone said he wasn't sure when the hard-throwing left-hander would be ready for game action.PROMISE FULFILLEDWaldman's anthem performance was years in the making. During spring training in 2011, Waldman approached then-Pirates minor leaguer Gerrit Cole and predicted that one day, he'd sign with the Yankees. Cole retorted that if he did, Waldman would have to sign ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' at his first home opener.Cole - who signed a $324 million, nine-year deal with New York last December - tipped his cap to Waldman before she began singing Friday.CALL ME BIG HOPPARetired left-hander CC Sabathia threw the ceremonial first pitch and bounced it to home plate. Sabathia said it was the farthest he's thrown a ball since dislocating his shoulder on his final big league pitch last October.''Just r einforces my decision to retire,'' he said.TRAINER'S ROOMYankees: RHP Tommy Kahnle is likely to have Tommy John surgery after an MRI revealed an issue with his right ulnar collateral ligament. ... RHP Masahiro Tanaka says he will wear a protective insert in his hat when he returns to the mound Saturday. Sports Handicapper Reviews. Tanaka has been out since being hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton's line drive during New York's first official preseason workout.UP NEXTTanaka opposes RHP Zack Godley (0-0, 0.00), who pitched four scoreless innings in relief Monday and now gets a chance to help Boston's struggling rotation.---Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake-Seiner---More MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Boston Celtics (112) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (119) - 7/31/2020

NBA Game Recap: Boston Celtics (112) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (119) - Date: 7/31/2020 Jul 31, 2020LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Giannis Antetokounmpo converted a tiebreaking three-point play with 1:28 left on an overturned call that kept him in the game and helped the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics 119-112 on Friday night.Antetokounmpo had 36 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in the Bucks' first game in the restart. Milwaukee improved the NBA's best record to 54-12 and moved within a victory of clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the second straight year.Boston overcame a poor start to tie it at 107. Antetokounmpo was then called for a charging foul, appearing to negate his basket and giving him a sixth foul. Inside Info. The call was changed to a blocking foul on Boston's Marcus Smart after review, and Antetokounmpo made the free throw to make it 110-107.Khris Middleton then knocked down a 3-pointer for a six-point advantage.Middleton added 18 points for the Bucks, who played without Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton while they work on their conditioning after testing positive for the coronavirus. Marvin Williams sat out with a strained left groin.Smart scored 23 points for the Celtics and Jaylen Brown had 22, but star forward Jayson Tatum had a nightmarish restart. He had five points on 2-for-18 shooting - though he actually only made one basket.Kemba Walker scored 16 points but played just 19 minutes as the Celtics look to keep the All-Star guard healthy after he's been battling a sore knee.Milwaukee had lost its final three games before the season was suspended in March but came back looking like the team that otherwise overpowered opponents all season. Sports Handicapping Service Units Gained. The Bucks broke to a 17-2 lead and should have b een pitching a shutout. Sport Handicapping. The lone Boston basket came when Antetokounmpo and Wesley Matthews tipped in Walker's missed 3-pointer. Tatum was given credit for the basket as the closest Celtics player.TIP-INSCeltics: Gordon Hayward scored 17 points and Daniel Theis had 13 points and 12 rebounds. ... Boston fell to 3-8, counting playoffs, against the Bucks the last two seasons. Milwaukee eliminated the Celtics in five games in last year's East semifinals.Bucks: Brook Lopez had six blocked shots. ... Coach Mike Budenholzer said he believed Williams' injury wasn't serious and hoped the forward could be available soon. He thinks Williams was hurt during the second scrimmage and felt sore the next morning.AWARD WINNERSThe game featured all the the monthly award winners in the Eastern Conference this season. Antetokounmpo won for October/November, December and January before Tatum earned the first of his career in February.UP NEXTCeltics: Play Portland on Sunday.Bucks: Play Houston on Sunday.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Memphis Grizzlies (135) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (140) - 7/31/2020

NBA Game Recap: Memphis Grizzlies (135) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (140) - Date: 7/31/2020 Jul 31, 2020LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. CJ McCollum scored 33 points, teaming with Damian Lillard for 11 of Portland's 16 in overtime, and the Trail Blazers pulled out a desperately needed victory to resume their season by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 140-135 on Friday.Lillard finished with 29 points and nine assists as the Trail Blazers boosted their hopes for a seventh consecutive playoff appearance. Carmelo Anthony added 21 points as Portland moved within 2 1/2 games of the Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.McCollum started fast, scoring 19 points in the first half, and finished strong with two crucial 3-pointers in overtime. Sports Handicapping Service Leads. The first one to open the extra period gave Portland the lead for good, and he added six assists.Ja ren Jackson Jr. had 33 points and rookie Ja Morant added 22 points and 11 assists for Memphis.It certainly wasn't pretty. Portland was called for 36 fouls, sending Memphis to the free throw line 50 times. Sports Predictions. The Grizzlies drew 26 fouls and the teams combined for five technical fouls.But it was a wild start to their resumption of the NBA season.Memphis rallied from a 13-point, third-quarter deficit to take an 11-point lead, then gave it away almost as quickly. When the Grizzlies recovered to take a 112-103 lead with 6:01 left in regulation, it appeared the Grizzlies might pad their lead in the standings.Instead, Anthony's 3 with 37.5 seconds left tied the score at 124 and Morant fell on a last-second fast break, sending the game to overtime.After McCollum broke the tie with the opening 3, Gary Trent Jr. and McCollum followed with two more 3s to make it 135-124 and the Grizzlies couldn't get closer than three the rest of the game.TIP-INSGrizzlies: Have tied the single-season franchise record with five games of 130 or more points. Winning Sports Picks Who You Should Follow. The mark was previously set in 2006-07. ... Morant made only one basket in the first half. ... Brandon Clarke added 21 points and Dillon Brooks had 15. ... Memphis is 0-28 when shooting worse than its opponent this season.Trail Blazers: Evened the season series with the Grizzlies. ... Hassan Whiteside's streak of 14 consecutive double-doubles ended. The league's No. 2 rebounder scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds. ... McCollum made three 3s to give him 1,000 in his career, joining Lillard as the only players in franchise history to hit that mark. ... Anthony had his 768th career 20-point game. He needs three to tie Wilt Chamberlain for No. 8 all-time.THEY'RE BACKThe suspended season gave Portland a chance to get healthy and plug two injured starters back into the lineup - Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins.It made a huge difference.Nurkic made his season debut and his first regular-season appearance since suffering a gruesome left leg injury March 25, 2019. Despite shooting just 5 of 11 from the field, he had 18 points, nine rebounds and matched his career high with six blocks.Collins had been out since late October with an injured left shoulder. He had seven points and nine rebounds.UP NEXTGrizzlies: Continue their playoff quest with another crucial game Sunday against San Antonio.Trail Blazers: Hope to avoid a season sweep Sunday against Boston.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Phoenix Suns (125) vs. Washington Wizards (112) - 7/31/2020

NBA Game Recap: Phoenix Suns (125) vs. Washington Wizards (112) - Date: 7/31/2020 Jul 31, 2020LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Devin Booker scored 27 points, Deandre Ayton added 24 points and 12 rebounds and the Phoenix Suns beat the Washington Wizards 125-112 on Friday in their first game of the restart.Booker made all nine of his free throws and the Suns hit 30 of 32 from the line. Soccer Predictions. They shot 52% from the field, with Ayton hitting two of three 3-pointers and going 11 of 14 overall.Rui Hachimura scored 21 points and Jerome Robinson added 20 for the Wizards on coach Scott Brooks' 55th birthday.The Wizards entered the bubble without their top two scorers, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. Beal, the league's No. 2 scorer at 30.5 a game, is out with a shoulder injury. Bertans doesn't want to risk injuring his surgically repaired knees with free agency upcoming. Also, John Wall has missed the entire season with a torn Achilles tendon.Still, Washington began the restart just 1 1/2 games out of earning a play-in situation.Phoenix entered the bubble with long-shot odds to make the Western Conference playoffs -- six games behind eighth-place Memphis.Phoenix went on a 16-0 run in the second quarter and led 67-52 at the break. Sports Handicappers Rankings. The Suns made all 21 of their free throws in the first half.Washington scored the first seven points of the second half, but Phoenix held on and led 89-81 at the end of the third quarter.Washington made a final push. Shabazz Napier hit a 3-pointer and was fouled with 4:26 remaining. His free throw cut Phoenix's lead to 111-104. Hockey Handicappers. The Suns answered, with back-to-back 3-pointers by Booker and Ricky Rubio pushing the advantage to 15.TIP-INSSuns: F Kelly Oubre was out with a right knee injury. ... Ayton had 10 rebounds in the first half. ... Booker had a +25 plus/minus rating. ... Rubio had 15 points, nine assists and three steals.Wizards: Garrison Mathews was out for personal reasons. ... Robinson scored 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting in 13 minutes in the first half. ... Ish Smith hit a deep 3-pointer to beat the first-quarter buzzer.UP NEXTSuns: Play the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.Wizards: Play the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Orlando Magic (128) vs. Brooklyn Nets (118) - 7/31/2020

NBA Game Recap: Orlando Magic (128) vs. Brooklyn Nets (118) - Date: 7/31/2020 Jul 31, 2020LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Evan Fournier scored 24 points, Nikola Vucevic had 22 and the Orlando Magic picked up where they left off before the NBA season was suspended, routing the Brooklyn Nets 128-118 on Friday in their first game of the restart.Playing as the designated road team not far from their arena, the Magic looked right at home at Disney - whose name they wear as their jersey patch. Winning Sports Picks Who You Should Follow. They extended their winning streak to four and moved back ahead of the Nets into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.The Magic outscored the Nets 75-43 in the middle two quarters, allowing them to overcome some shaky defense at the start and finish.''We've proven that we can play well at both ends of the floor. It's been a struggle for us to put both together and in the second and third quarter tonight that's what we did,'' Magic coach Steve Clifford said.Players and coaches from both teams knelt during the national anthem except for Orlando's Jonathan Isaac, who also was the only player not wearing a Black Lives Matter warmup shirt. Isaac, who was playing his first game since a left knee injury on Jan. 1, stood with his arms behind his back while wearing his regular jersey.Clifford said Isaac discussed his decision with the Magic and was supported by his teammates.Brooklyn also won its last three before the stoppage, but the decimated team that returned is a shell of the one that beat the Lakers in Los Angeles in its final game.The Nets are missing Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince after they tested positive for the coronavirus. Sport Handicapping. They are already playing without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irvi ng, who had season-ending surgery.So Brooklyn started two players who hadn't started an NBA game this season - one who never had. Sports Picks. The Nets looked good at the beginning, shooting nearly 70% in the first quarter, but the Magic blew by them in winning for the third time in three meetings this season.''We wanted to come in and dictate the pace. If you look at the first couple of the minutes of the game that's how we really wanted to play and after that they just started to dictate it,'' said Brooklyn center Jarrett Allen, who was 5 for 5 for 10 points in the first quarter but had just four more.Orlando led by as much as 30 before the Nets had a late flurry that forced the Magic to put starters back in for the closing minutes.''I thought it was a good response from us,'' Vucevic said. ''We didn't panic, we took our time and we did a good job also on the o ffensive end playing smart and making sure to take what the defense gives us.'' Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 24 points for the Nets and Caris LeVert had 17. Brooklyn lost for the first time in three games since Jacque Vaughn replaced Kenny Atkinson as coach on March 7.TIP-INSMagic: Isaac finished with 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting. ... Orlando's 36 points were a season high for a first quarter.Nets: Chris Chiozza made his first career start at point guard. Veteran Lance Thomas, cut in the preseason, made his first start of the season. ... Veteran Jamal Crawford, signed as a substitute player after not playing in the NBA this season, did not play. ... Vaughn played for the Magic and coached them from 2012-15.CONTAINING CARISLeVert averaged 27.4 points in five games in March, with a 50-point game and a triple-double. But the Magic keyed in on him and limited the guard to 7-for-17 shooting, including 0 for 4 from 3-point range.UP NEXTMagic: Play Sacramento on Sund ay.Nets: Play Washington on Sunday.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

MLB Game Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs - 7/31/2020 - 8:15 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs - Date: 7/31/2020 Cubs, Pirates open three-game set in ChicagoA pair of veteran starting pitchers will try to bounce back from shaky season debuts when the Chicago Cubs host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night to open a three-game series.Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish (0-1, 6.75 ERA) lasted only four innings in his first start against the Milwaukee Brewers last weekend. He gave up three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and no walks.The results were even worse the first time around for Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams (0-1, 7.36 ERA), who managed only 3 2/3 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. He allowed three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out three.Both the Cubs and Pirates have already played 10 percent of the season, but Chicago has won four of six and the Pirates have lost four of six. Both teams should be rested after a day off T hursday, although the Cubs spent much of the day waiting in Cincinnati before their scheduled game against the Reds was called off because of rain."The main thing with this environment is that you don't want guys sitting around the visiting clubhouse all day," Chicago manager David Ross said. "With all that we're dealing with right now, this makes a lot of sense. Free Soccer Picks. The sooner we can make a decision if we think we can play the game or not, the better." Darvish initially was set to start Thursday but will face the Pirates on an extra day's rest instead. He is 7-12 with a 4.20 ERA in 40 career starts with the Cubs, but he shined in the second half of last season with a 2.76 ERA.Against the Pirates in his career, Darvish is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts. He has 31 strikeouts in 30 innings.Ross said he remains high on Darvish despite the veteran's up -and-down first start. He cited Darvish's split-finger fastball as a key factor going forward."I thought he did a nice job of pitching the last time out, just some long innings without being able to put guys away," Ross said. "Looking for that 'splitty' to show up. I feel like that's the dominant pitch for him. When he's got that going, it lines up with all those other pitches." For the Pirates, Williams is looking to recapture his sharpness from 2018, when he went 14-10 with a 3.11 ERA. Last season proved to be more difficult for the Arizona State product as he finished 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA.Williams is 3-6 with a 6.30 ERA in 11 career appearances (nine starts) against the Cubs.The Pirates' day off Thursday might have helped outfielder Gregory Polanco more than anybody else on the team. Polanco has started one game at designated hitter and one game in right field since coming back from a bout with COVID-19. He said he feels stronger every day but is still working to get into the rhythm of the game.Polanco remains in search of his first hit on the season. He is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts but has stayed upbeat."I love having him around," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. "He's happy. He's in a good mood. He smiles. He's great in the clubhouse. Having him back makes me smile because every day when he walks in, he smiles." --Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels - 7/31/2020 - 9:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels - Date: 7/31/2020 Angels' Goodwin ready for shot vs. Astros with Trout outBrian Goodwin has big shoes to fill.With teammate Mike Trout, a three-time American League MVP, on the paternity list, Goodwin will likely be patrolling center field when the Angels open a three-game series against the three-time defending American League West champion Houston Astros on Friday night in Anaheim, Calif.Goodwin, coming off a career year in which he hit .262 with 17 home runs and 47 RBIs, had a home run and three RBIs Wednesday and added two hits Thursday in losses to Seattle to raise his season average to .412."I've been sticking with my training regimen. I got to see a lot of stuff work last year, didn't forget what I did to get into that position," Goodwin told MLB.com. "Took it into the offseason, and the second offseason. I had more time to nitpick and get to the finer details of what I could do better and what would have the best production to come from it." Goodwin has also been active off the field. He told reporters he participated in protests last month in Washington, D. C., after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis in May."It's an important issue and is something that needs to be addressed," Goodwin said. "And when you have the stage to address it, I feel like that you need to use it. And as of right now, I have the stage, I'm in a position and I'll have the support from the Angels, so it will be a detriment to people who know me and my fans, and people back home, for me to not take advantage of it." As for those shoes?Wednesday, Goodwin wore custom cleats, one blue and one yellow, to pay tribute to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and rapper Nipsey Hussle, both of whom died in the past 16 months."It just felt right to give them some honor and pay homage to them and what they meant to L. A., and me playing in L. A. right now, I thought it was just the right thing to do," said Goodwin, who went back to his regular red cleats Thursday.Right-hander Matt Andriese (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to make his first start for the Angels after pitching 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief Sunday at Oakland. It will be Andriese's first start since Sept. 18, 2018 while with Arizona. He's 1-1 with a 6.14 in four career appearances against the Astros, including two starts.Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 3.00) is set to start for the Astros, who will be making their first road trip of the season. McCullers is 3-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 career starts against the Angels.McCullers said the team recently held a meeting to discuss the importance of following health protocols to avoid contracting COVID-19 on the road.It came after an outbreak among Miami Marlins players and staff forced several teams to postpone games."It' ;s on us," McCullers said. "I'm not sure what the story is with Miami and how the virus was contracted and how it kind of spread. I see guys here being very good and diligent about the guidelines and making sure they do the right things. We're confident we can continue to have good testing and stay on the right track." --Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins - 7/31/2020 - 8:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins - Date: 7/31/2020 Clevinger next up for strong-pitching Indians vs. Sports Handicapper Scams. TwinsRight-hander Mike Clevinger will try to extend Cleveland's franchise-record, starting-pitching streak on Friday night when the Indians face the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.Cleveland's rotation has compiled a 5-0 record with a 1.53 ERA in the first seven games of the season. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Indians starters have gone six or more innings in each of those contests while allowing two or fewer runs, a franchise record.Clevinger (0-0, 2.57 ERA) gave up first-inning solo home runs to the Kansas City Royals' Jorge Soler and Salvador Perez in his first start on Saturday, a game the Indians lost 3-2 in 10 innings. He allowed four hits and two runs over seven innings while st riking out six.Clevinger is 4-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 14 appearances (11 starts) against the Twins and has pitched well at Target Field, compiling a 2-1 record and 3.60 ERA in six games (five starts).Minnesota will counter with right-hander Randy Dobnak (0-1, 2.25 ERA), who will make his second start in place of injured Jake Odorizzi (upper back soreness). Dobnak, who had an 0-1 record and 2.45 ERA in three games, two starts, against Cleveland last season, took the loss in a 10-3 setback to the White Sox in Chicago on Saturday but pitched well, allowing just one run on three hits over four innings. He walked two and struck out three.Cleveland won the first game of the four-game series on Thursday night, 2-0, behind another record-setting performance by Shane Bieber.Bieber, who set an Opening Day franchise record with 14 strikeouts while tossing six shutout innings in a 2-0 victory over Kansas City on July 24, followed that up by holding the Twins to just three singles over eigh t innings while striking out 13. Basketball Picks. The 27 strikeouts in his first two starts of the season tied the modern day (since 1901) major league record set by Karl Spooner of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954."All of them," catcher Sandy Leon said, according to Cleveland.com, when asked what was Bieber's best pitch. "He was throwing all four pitches for strikes whenever he wanted. Sports Handicapping Monitor. That was fun." Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "He was definitely on top of his game. I think anyone paying attention can see that. He was very sharp. He's one of the best young pitchers in the game." Bieber said he felt Thursday night's victory was crucial against the defending American League Central champion Twins."We know how important th is series is," Bieber said. "Coming out there and doing what we did tonight set the tone for the series. I feel like the clubhouse is definitely hopping, as much it can with all the protocols. We're enjoying it." Cleveland got all the runs it would need in the third inning when Francisco Lindor blasted a 409-foot, two-run homer into the right field bleachers off Minnesota ace Jose Berrios. It was the second home run in the past three games for Lindor."I got a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it," Lindor said. "I'm happy it went out. Berrios has struck me out a lot of times." Berrios said, "They got me on one pitch. Lindor hit a homer. But other than that, I tried to control the damage." --Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks - 7/31/2020 - 9:40 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks - Date: 7/31/2020 Dodgers-Diamondbacks PreviewA taxed pitching staff and injuries to a pair of starters has the Los Angeles Dodgers poised to start right-hander Tony Gonsolin on Friday night in the second game of a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.Gonsolin, 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA last season, is in line to be added to the Dodgers' active roster prior to the Friday contest. He faced the Diamondbacks in his major league debut last June, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits in four innings and taking the loss in an 8-2 Arizona victory.The Dodgers are without three members of their rotation, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and David Price. Kershaw is moving closer to a return from a back injury that forced him to miss the season-opening start. Wood is on the 10-day injured list due to shoulder inflammation, and Price announced in early July t hat he was opting out of playing this season.As a result, Los Angeles had to alter its rotation, and after using eight relievers in a 13-inning win at Houston on Wednesday and four in a 6-3 win over Arizona on Thursday, had to bolster its bullpen with roster moves.Even so, manager Dave Roberts said pitching has been the strength of the team in the Dodgers' 5-2 start. Sports Handicapper Reviews. The team ERA is 2.15, third best in the majors entering Friday."We've really pitched well. Free Predictions. That's the thing that I'm probably most pleased with," Roberts said. "Starting pitching. Money Cappers. The 'pen has really stood out. But we prepare every night to win a game, and preparation never wavers." Former Diamondbacks outfielder AJ Pollock is off to a hot start for the Dodgers, batting .471 (8-for-17) on the season. Meanwhile, former MVPs Mookie Betts (.206) and Cody Bellinger (.161) have yet to get rolling on offense.The Diamondbacks have dropped three of their past four games and are hitting .196 as a team, the third-lowest team batting average in the majors."It's going to happen in baseball," Arizona outfielder David Peralta said. "We have to make adjustments, and we have to execute and do our job." Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after the Thursday loss that he feeling frustrated with his team's start to the season."After a week's worth of games, I know that we're a quality ballclub," Lovullo said. "I watched that team through summer camp get the reps, get the swings, make the pitches and look like they were ready for a healthy start. And obviously it hasn't gone that way. So there's not a darn thing we can do about it right now. We know where we' re sitting and we know what we've got to do (Friday), and I think we'll turn the page at some point here very soon." Arizona right-hander Zac Gallen (0-0, 2.25 ERA) is set for his second start of the season. Gallen allowed one run on two hits and five walks in four innings with six strikeouts in his 2020 debut Sunday at San Diego.Gallen is 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA in five career starts at Chase Field. All five of those starts came last season after he was traded from the Miami Marlins to the Diamondbacks on July 31.--Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners - 7/31/2020 - 9:40 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners - Date: 7/31/2020 M's test early mettle vs. AL West heavy A'sThe Oakland Athletics will hit the road for the first time, while the Seattle Mariners make their home debut, when the teams meet Friday night in the opener of a four-game series between the American League West rivals.While the A's (3-3) join Houston as the only teams in the division without losing records, the rebuilding Mariners (3-4) are coming off taking two of three from the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.The Mariners won the final two games against the Angels, 10-7 and 8-5. Rookie outfielder Kyle Lewis extended his hitting streak to seven games in the win Thursday. Lewis is hitting .458 for the season."This was an awesome series and you've seen the confidence (of the players) just shoot through the roof," Mariners manager Scott Servais said after Thursday's victoryServais praised his players for their response to the pandemic-delayed season."There was certainly a lot of anxiety heading into this trip based on protocols and being in Houston and L. A.," Servais said. "But everything has been very tightly run, and we did (COVID-19) testing again today with no issues there."This is a season of change, the new norm. We had no idea what to expect on the road and the guys handled themselves well. Soccer Tipsters. They're looking forward to getting home, pumped up about it." Right-hander Taijuan Walker (0-1, 13.50 ERA), who returned to the Mariners as a free agent in the offseason, is scheduled to start the home opener. He's 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA in seven career appearances against the A's, including five starts.Left-hander Sean Manaea (0-1, 7.71 ERA) will try to help the A's, who had Thursday off, snap a two-game losing streak. Manaea is 6-4 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 career starts against Seattle.With MLB suspending games of multiple teams following an outbreak among Miami Marlins players and staff, the A's plan to confine themselves to the team hotel and T-Mobile Park during the three-game road trip."Everybody knows that the next step is what happens with travel and the world on the road," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters.A's third baseman Matt Chapman admitted to some concern about what happens once the team leaves the Bay Area, where they've spent the past month."We're taking this super serious," Chapman said earlier this week. "We're wearing our masks. We're being smart off the field. But we haven't done a road trip yet."It's not something to take lightly, and I think if we just pretend like everybody we're around has it. I know that's a kind of weird thing to say, but if you pretend that everyone has it and you keep your distance, and take your precautions, at least you'll know you did everything you could." Melvin said he wants to get starts in the series for second baseman Franklin Barreto and first baseman/outfielder Seth Brown, who both have just one at-bat so far."I do have a game in mind (for Brown)," Melvin said. "He and Barreto are in a tough spot. It's only (six) games in the course of 60. Hopefully, I can get them in one of the games in Seattle." --Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants - 7/31/2020 - 9:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants - Date: 7/31/2020 Giants, Rangers square off; both eye return to .500Left-hander Mike Minor will be searching for his first win of the season when the Texas Rangers visit the San Francisco Giants in the opener of a three-game interleague series Friday night.Both teams are attempting to get back to .500. Sports Betting Profit. The Rangers improved to 2-3 with a 7-4 win over Arizona to close out a season-opening homestand on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Giants fell to 3-4 after losing two of three at home to the San Diego Padres, including a 12-7, 10-inning decision Thursday night.Minor (0-1, 1.80 ERA), a 14-game winner last season, pitched well enough to deserve a better fate in his season debut, but was the victim of an unearned run in a 3-2 loss to Colorado on Saturday. He limited the Rockies to two runs (one earned) and three hits in five innings.The 32-year-old has never lost in San Francisco, where he's compiled a 2-0 lifetime mark in three appearances, including two starts. He's fashioned a fine 1.88 ERA in those games.Overall, Minor is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA against the Giants in seven head-to-heads, six of which have been starts.One problem the Rangers hope they don't encounter in the series is what to do late in the game against a Giants team that rallied from big deficits in each of their last two games against the Padres. San Francisco beat San Diego 7-6 with eighth- and ninth-inning rallies on Wednesday before dropping the extra-inning game Thursday.The Rangers lost closer Jose Leclerc to a strained teres major muscle during the season-opening homestand."You can't just replace guys like that who have that kind of ability," said Texas general manager Jon Daniels.Pitching has been the least of the Rangers' problems early on. Sports Handicappers. They've hit a cumulative .181, with just four home runs in five games.The worst of the slumps belong to Shin-Soo Choo and Danny Santana, who have gone a combined 2-for-30 (.067) with one extra-base hit -- a double by Santana.The Rangers are unlikely to find out which starting pitcher they'll be facing until they arrive at the ballpark. Such has been the tactic, more often than not, by new Giants manager Gabe Kapler.The likely candidates are left-hander Drew Smyly (0-0, 2.08) and righty Logan Webb (0-0, 2.25).The Giants got a decent performance under similar circumstances from right-hander Kevin Gausman on Thursday. He limited the Padres to three runs in 4 1/3 innings, striking out eight.However, the oft-used Giants bullpen allowed the Padres to build a 6-1 lead in the middle innings before, for the second night in a row, San Francisco came roaring back.With Mike Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano again playing leading roles, the Giants drew even 6-6 in the eighth inning -- just as they did on Wednesday -- only this time to fall in extra innings.The Giants' offense figures to be even more potent in the Texas series, with Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria both having returned from injuries to make season debuts in Thursday's loss. Sports Handicapper Picks. They combined to go just 1-for-6, but Longoria drove in a run and Belt walked three times."Our excitement about Brandon getting back in the lineup is two-fold," Kapler explained to the media before the game. "One, it's nice to have somebody in the middle of our lineup in the four-hole who can walk and do damage. No. 2, it's nice to have somebody at first base who can play great defense." --Field Level Media

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MLB Game Preview: San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies - 7/31/2020 - 8:10 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies - Date: 7/31/2020 Surprising Padres visit hot Rockies in Coors openerThe Colorado Rockies struggled in their season opener at Texas last week, but after that 1-0 shutout they have been unbeatable. Inside Info. The Rockies took the last two games against the Rangers and then swept the A's at Oakland in a quick two-game series.Now Colorado (4-1) returns to Denver for its home opener against the San Diego Padres on Friday night.Rockies starter Jon Gray has plenty of experience against the division rivals while San Diego starter Garrett Richards will face Colorado for the first time.The Rockies had an off day Thursday while the Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 12-7 in 10 innings to improve to 5-2. San Diego has also won its first two series of the season.Richards is making his second start of the season. He had a no-decision in his first outing Sunday when the Padres 4-3 lost to Arizona, though he was stellar: five scoreless innings, one hit, three walks, six strikeouts.Richards spent his first eight seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. San Diego signed him to a two-year deal before the 2019 season, a risk for the Padres after Richards' 2018 season was cut short due to Tommy John surgery. He didn't pitch until late in 2019, making three starts."It's just fun. I'm having fun playing baseball again," Richards told Fox Sports San Diego. "It's not rehab anymore. It feels good to be back out there and pitching pain-free. After having Tommy John and being able to start over with my mechanics ... it's really become very comfortable to pitch for me." Comfortable isn't the how most pitchers would describe working at Coors Field, but Gray is one of the few who thrives in the thin air of Colorado. He was 6-2 with a 3.46 ERA in 13 home games (12 starts) last season."I'm ready for that real competition there, and I feel like I always have an edge (at Coors Field), so I'm excited," he said this week. "(At home I pitch) knowing that I'm going to out-do the other guy and knowing that our lineup is going to hit the ball. It's a good combination, and it makes you feel confident." Gray has faced the Padres 20 times (19 starts) in his career and has fared well against them. He is 10-4 with a 2.97 ERA with an average of 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Gray had one of his most memorable games against them in 2016 when he fanned a career-high 16 batters in a four-hit shutout.Gray got a no-decision in Colorado's first win of the season on Saturday, when he gave up one run in 4 2/3 innings against the Rangers. Manager Bud Black said Gray tired in the fifth inning of that 3-2 victory but thinks he can throw 90-plus pitches on Friday night."We saw in spring training the continued grow th of Jon, and more than anything, from a couple years ago, now there's a poise and a confidence there that's showing pretty consistently," Black said. "He's to the point now where he's getting confidence in all his pitches, and not just the fastball/slider combination." --Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks - 7/31/2020 - 9:05 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks - Date: 7/31/2020 Jul 30, 2020Before the NBA abruptly suspended the regular season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Houston Rockets were in the throes of a grand experiment, intriguingly embracing a small-ball lineup while eyeballing another potentially extended postseason run.Four-plus months later, the Rockets (40-24) will pick up where they left off, facing the Dallas Mavericks (40-27) on Friday in a seeding game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.The Rockets enter the restart in sixth place in the Western Conference standings. With the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs set to be contested in Central Florida, the concept of home-court advantage has been devalued, rendering seeding an exercise in securing favorable first-round matchups. For teams that fancy themselves as title contenders, that work is beginning."These three preseaso n games and our practices, we've used those as opportunities to work on our offense and defense and make sure we're in shape to give ourselves the best chance," said Rockets guard James Harden, who leads the NBA in scoring at 34.4 points per game. "It's going to be a journey, and everybody is going to compete for a certain goal." The Rockets will be hamstrung from the onset after losing reserve guard Eric Gordon to a left ankle sprain that will sideline him for a minimum of two weeks. Houston has ample depth to offset the loss, with Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni identifying Ben McLemore, Jeff Green and Austin Rivers as leading candidates to fill the void. Still, Gordon is a key cog who will be missed.That injury development has done little to stall Houston's momentum or enthusiasm. It was difficult to grasp precisely who the Rockets were once they went small, but now they will have an opportunity to cement their identity and set a tone of exp ectations with the playoffs looming."I think guys are looking forward to it, although I think they enjoyed the scrimmages also," D'Antoni said. "But they're looking forward to getting it on and seeing what happens as it obviously relates to the playoffs. Free Sports Picks. That's what we're here for, and we'll use those eight games to try to round off in better shape and get some concepts down." The Mavericks are in a different space, having largely overachieved prior to the league shutting down. Dallas split a pair of earlier meetings with the Rockets and has proven a challenging matchup courtesy of an offense that ranks first in efficiency at 115.8 points per 100 possessions (just ahead of the second-ranked Rockets) with MVP candidate Luka Doncic at the controls.With the postseason all but assured, the seventh-place Mavericks are angling for a first-round matchup that provi des the greatest opportunity to advance and gives their young core valuable playoff experience. Dallas isn't yet a title threat, but what the Mavericks accomplish during these seeding games and later in the playoffs could set the tone for their franchise resurgence."We're a talented team," Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis told mavs.com, "... and now it's time for the real deal -- for the regular-season games and then the playoffs. So our excitement level is going to go a few levels up now. I think we're ready to go." --Field Level Media

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