Rask-less Bruins top Hurricanes 3-1, take 2-1 lead in series
UNDATED (AP) — Jaroslav Halak (YAR’-oh-slav hah-LAHK’) stopped 29 shots as the Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.
Charlie Coyle scored once and set up another goal.
Halak stepped in after goaltender Tuukka (TOO’-kah) Rask opted out of the NHL playoffs. The absence of the Vezina (VEH’-zih-nuh) Trophy finalist was announced Saturday morning and it didn’t rattle the defending Eastern Conference champions later in the day.
Rask helped Boston reach Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last year. He left the league’s bubble in Toronto to be with his wife and three young children. Game 4 is Monday night.
In other ice action:
— Darcy Kuemper stopped 49 shots and the Arizona Coyotes held on to beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 to close within 2-1 in their Stanley Cup playoff series. Arizona took the early lead on Derek Stepan’s first-period goal, then spent most of the day counterpunching against Colorado’s relentless pressure. Kuemper took made a series of difficult saves in the third period and Taylor Hall scored on an empty net to give Arizona life heading in Game 4 on Monday.
Blazers make playoffs, oust Grizzlies with 126-122 victory
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — It was a fourth consecutive down-to-the-wire finish for a fourth consecutive win for the Portland Trail Blazers. They needed all that just to get into the playoffs.
Damian Lillard scored 31 points, CJ McCollum had 14 of his 29 in the fourth quarter — including a pair of big jumpers over Ja Morant late — and the Blazers clinched the NBA’s final playoff spot by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 126-122 on Saturday.
Portland’s reward: A matchup with the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, starting Tuesday.
Jusuf Nurkic had 22 points and 21 rebounds for the winners, who got 21 points from Carmelo Anthony.
Morant scored 35 for Memphis, which got a 22-point, 16-rebound day from Jonas Valanciunas and 20 points apiece from Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke.
Cards beat White Sox 5-1 in return from coronavirus outbreak
UNDATED (AP) — Dexter Fowler helped St. Louis get off to a fast start in its return from a coronavirus outbreak, hitting a two-run single in a four-run first inning, and the Cardinals beat the White Sox 5-1 on Saturday in the opener of a doubleheader in Chicago.
Playing its first game since July 29, St. Louis looked much sharper than Chicago while improving to 3-3 on the season. Every other team in the majors had played at least 13 games coming into the day.
Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright pitched five innings of one-run ball in his second start of the year. Giovanny Gallegos then struck out the side in the sixth before John Gant finished the seven-inning game, a new rule for doubleheaders in the pandemic-shortened season.
The White Sox finished with just three hits — two for Danny Mendick — and never recovered after Lucas Giolito got off to a shaky start.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer and the Minnesota Twins held on to beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Tyler Duffey earned the win with a perfect inning in relief of Jake Odorizzi. Taylor Rogers picked up his fifth save in six chances for Minnesota, which was swept in Kansas City last week. Gabe Speier (0-1) surrendered one run while getting two outs for the Royals. Ian Kennedy started and pitched two innings as the opener for his first start since Sept. 28, 2018.
Reds player tests positive, 2 games with Pirates postponed
UNDATED (AP) — Most of the Miami Marlins players sidelined by a coronavirus outbreak have received approval to return to the field. Those cleared will begin rehabilitation workouts and could be activated as early as next week.
The Marlins placed 17 players on the injured list following the outbreak, which forced the postponement of seven games. None has played since the season-opening series. The group includes ace Sandy Alcantara, shortstop Miguel Rojas and eight relievers who were on the opening day roster. Despite their absence, the surprising Marlins lead the NL East.
Those who have been cleared will rehab at the Marlins’ spring training site in Jupiter, Florida.
In other MLB news:
— The last two games of a series between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have been called off because a Reds player tested positive for COVID-19. Major League Baseball is awaiting further testing. The Reds are the third team to have a game postponed because someone on their roster tested positive, joining the Marlins and Cardinals. It’s the second time a Reds player has tested positive during the season. Matt Davidson went in the injured list after a positive test, but subsequent tests were negative and he returned to the team.
— – World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg was put on the 10-day injured list by the Nationals. A recurring nerve issue in his throwing hand delayed his start to the season and limited his second appearance to 16 pitches. The 32-year-old Strasburg signed a $245 million, seven-year contract with Washington this offseason. He hadn’t been on the IL since 2018. He is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in two starts in 2020.
— The Chicago White Sox placed reliever Ian Hamilton on the 10-day injured list Saturday because of a sore right shoulder and transferred utilityman Leury García to the 45-day injured list with a sprained thumb. Manager Rick Renteria said García had an MRI that showed a severed ligament, requiring surgery.
Pelicans fire coach
UNDATED (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans have fired coach Alvin Gentry after the club missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.
The Pelicans went 30-42 this season. They finished with just two victories in their final eight games despite the presence of top overall draft choice Zion Williamson and first-time All-Star Brandon Ingram in the lineup until the club was eliminated from playoff contention with two games to play.
Gentry was hired by former Pelicans general manager Dell Demps after the club fired Monte Williams following the 2014-15 season. New Orleans’ lone playoff appearance with Gentry at the helm came in the 2017-18 season. New Orleans started this season 6-22 and labored through a franchise record 13-game losing streak.
In other NBA news:
— Portland’s Damian Lillard has been unanimously selected as the top player of the NBA’s seeding games at Walt Disney World after averaging a league-best 37.6 points in the eight games. Phoenix’s Monty Williams led the Suns to a perfect 8-0 record in the bubble and was chosen as the top coach of the seeding-game schedule. Joining Lillard on the first team for games played at Disney between July 30 and Friday’s end of the seeding-game season was Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Indiana’s T.J. Warren, Dallas’ Luka Doncic and Houston’s James Harden. Booker was second in the MVP vote, followed by Warren.
Kim shoots 62 for 2-shot lead after three rounds at Wyndham
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Si Woo Kim had a hole in one on the way to a 62 for a two-shot lead over Doc Redman and Rob Oppenheim through three rounds of the Wyndham Championship on Saturday.
Kim, who’s at 18-under after 54 holes, made history three years ago when at 21 he became the youngest winner of The Players Championship. Now, he’s seeking his first victory since — and playing strongly wherever he tees it up.
Kim has broken 70 in nine of his last 10 rounds, including all four at TPC Harding Park to finish tied for 13th at the PGA Championship. He has continued that stellar play at Sedgefield Country Club, where he won his first PGA Tour event in 2016.
Redman had a 63, while Oppenheim set a career low on tour with a 62 in second at 16-under.
Billy Horschel shot a 65 and was three strokes back at 15-under. Mark Hubbard (64) and Jim Herman were another stroke back at 14-under. Herman shot a 61, a career best and tied for lowest round of the tournament.
Packers sign DT Kenny Clark to four-year contract extension
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark has signed a four-year contract extension.
The Packers announced the signing Saturday without disclosing the length or terms of the deal. Clark’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, confirmed a ESPN report that the 2016 first-round draft pick from UCLA agreed to terms on a deal worth $70 million, with a $25 million signing bonus.
Clark has emerged as the Packers’ top defensive lineman. He recorded six sacks for the second straight season last year and was named to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement. He has 16½ sacks over his four-year career, with all of them coming in the last three seasons.
The 24-year-old Clark was eligible to become a free agent next year. Now that the Packers have reached a long-term deal with him, they can start making decisions on all the other notable players with contracts set to expire in 2021. That list includes Pro Bowl defensive tackle David Bakhtiari, running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, cornerback Kevin King, center Corey Linsley and guard Lane Taylor.
In other news:
— Atlanta police say former four-time Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl linebacker Chip Banks is in serious condition following a shooting. Atlanta police spokeswoman Marla Rooker says officers found three men with apparent gunshot wounds when responding to a shooting in Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon. One of the victims, Charles Pharms Jr., was declared dead at the scene, according to Rooker. The other two victims were alert and transported to a local hospital. Rooker says the 60-year-old Banks was in serious condition. There was no update on the other victim, identified by Rooker as Bennie C. Harris. Rooker says the police investigation is ongoing.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE SPORTS
Parents join players urging Big Ten to play, 9 Sooners positive for virus
UNDATED (AP) — A group of Ohio State football players’ parents joined parents of players at Iowa in calling for the Big Ten to overturn its decision not to play this fall. Meanwhile, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said nine Sooners tested positive for COVID-19 after he gave his players a week break from team activities.
The Football Parents at Ohio State posted a letter to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, calling for the reinstatement of the 10-game schedule the conference unveiled six days before it postponed football until spring.
The letter also asked for the release of all medical data and information the Big Ten used to make its decision and a meeting with Warren for senior players and their parents..
In other news related to the pandemic:
— The NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas has pushed its fall sports competitions to the spring due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The league’s board of directors announced the decision Saturday. The conference is made up of 11 schools spread throughout Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The move affects men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. Schedules for those sports will be reduced so those athletes don’t lose a year of eligibility, under NCAA guidelines.
Bencic out of US Open; 3 of 4 ’19 semifinalists won’t play
NEW YORK (AP) — Belinda Bencic (BEN’-chich) is the latest top tennis player to pull out of the U.S. Open. Her withdrawal means three of the four female semifinalists in 2019 will not be at the Grand Slam tournament this year.
Play begins in New York at the end of August. Bencic says on social media she will return to the tour next month on clay at the Italian Open.
Bencic currently is ranked No. 8. Five of the WTA’s top eight players have announced they won’t play at Flushing Meadows amid the coronavirus pandemic. That includes No. 1 Ash Barty and reigning champion Bianca Andreescu (an-dree-EHS’-koo).
Austin Dillon out after positive COVID-19 test
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR driver Austin Dillon has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway’s road course.
Richard Childress Racing says Dillon tested positive Saturday morning and is now self-quarantining away from the team. Kaz Grala will drive the No. 3 Chevrolet at Daytona.
Dillon is the third Cup Series drive to test positive for the coronavirus, joining seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and part-timer Brendan Gaughan. Johnson missed just one race.
The 30-year-old Dillon has already qualified for NASCAR’s playoffs by winning at Texas last month.
Hamilton secures 92nd pole
MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has secured a record-extending 92nd pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix. He nudged Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas into second place by just .059 seconds. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified in third.
Hamilton is looking to claim an 88th F1 victory that would move him within three of Michael Schumacher’s record.
Marco Andretti leads Honda onslaught in Indy 500 qualifying
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Marco Andretti led a top speed sweep for Andretti Autosport in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 as the Honda-powered team claimed the first four spots on the leaderboard and eight of the top nine.
Andretti posted a four-lap average of 231.351 mph.
The top nine drivers advance to a Sunday shootout that determines the first three starting rows for the Aug. 23 Indianapolis 500. Honda drivers claimed eight of those positions after all 33 cars had made a qualifying attempt.