2 more HRs, 3 unearned runs help Blue Jays drop Nats to 1-4
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered, and Tanner Roark gave up one run in five innings against his former team to help the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Washington Nationals 5-1. It was the third loss in a row for the reigning World Series champions. They have scored a total of just four runs during that skid and dropped to 1-4 for the season. Washington’s miscues Tuesday included two outfielders colliding on Guerrero’s homer, two errors by Starlin Castro that led to three unearned runs, and just one hit after the third inning. Austin Voth took the loss.
In other action:
— Josh Donaldson homered and drove in two runs in his Target Field debut with Minnesota, Jorge Polanco hit a two-run shot and the Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in their home opener. Homer Bailey pitched five innings for the victory in his first start for the Twins. Polanco’s drive capped a five-run second for the Twins, who began their 60th season in Minnesota.
—Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer, Oscar Mercado had a two-run single and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 to complete a doubleheader sweep Tuesday night. Cleveland won the opener 4-3 behind a career-high nine strikeouts by Aaron Civale and home runs from Francisco Lindor and Bradley Zimmer.
—Adam Frazier hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for an 8-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. A day after blowing a four-run lead in the ninth in what became an 11-inning loss, Pittsburgh delivered a bit of payback thanks to a shaky performance by the Milwaukee bullpen. Cole Tucker went 2 for 4 for the Pirates.
—J.D. Davis banged a two-run homer off the Pesky Pole, and left-hander David Peterson pitched 5 2/3 innings to win his major league debut and lead the New York Mets to an 8-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox. The Mets swept the two-game series and sent the Red Sox to their fourth consecutive loss. The teams now move to New York for another two games at Citi Field.
—Javier Báez homered twice, doubled and scored on a deft dive to the plate, Alec Mills went six solid innings, and the Chicago Cubs extended their strong opening surge, beating the Cincinnati Reds 8-5. Chicago has won four of its first five games, scoring first in each one.
—Jonathan Schoop and Christin Stewart each hit a two-run homer in the third inning to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Whit Merrifield hit a three-run shot in the top of the third for Kansas City, but the Tigers answered quickly and held on from there.
—Yoshi Tsutsugo had a two-run single during a five-run third inning and the Tampa Bay Rays won their fourth consecutive game, 5-2 over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night. Yonny Chirinos became the second consecutive Rays starter to go four strong innings after missing part of summer camp following a positive covid-19 test, allowing one run and four hits.
MLB suspends Marlins’ season through weekend amid outbreak
MIAMI (AP) — Major League Baseball has come up with a patchwork schedule for the remainder of the week due to a virus outbreak that has sickened half of the Miami Marlins team. MLB suspended the Marlins’ season through Sunday. The Philadelphia Phillies will remain idled by the pandemic until Friday.
The league said that among more than 6,400 tests conducted since Friday, there were no new positives involving on-field personnel from any team other than the Marlins. But that’s not reassuring to players. Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun says he’s found it difficult to focus on baseball at all during the last couple of days. Braun said MLB players are constantly assessing whether they should keep playing. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said the season could be in jeopardy.
In other MLB news:
— Benches cleared Tuesday night in the first game between the Astros and Dodgers since it was revealed that Houston stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series championship that came at Los Angeles’ expense. The fracas occurred after Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly threw high-and-tight pitches to Astros stars Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa in the sixth inning. The Dodgers led 5-2 after a five-run fifth when Kelly, who was with Boston in 2017 and also faced Houston that postseason, threw behind Bregman for ball four.
— Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria has returned to the team after being isolated for 24 hours with COVID-19 symptoms. He passed MLB’s virus protocol and arrived at Progressive Field about an hour before the White Sox played their first road game this season and a doubleheader against the Indians. Renteria woke up Monday with a “slight cough and nasal congestion” and went to a Cleveland hospital for tests as a precautionary measure.
— The New York Mets have agreed to a minor league contract with catcher Bruce Maxwell, the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in 2017. That’s according to a person familiar with the deal.
— The Kansas City Royals signed former All-Star Matt Harvey to a minor league contract. The Royals announced the move before Tuesday night’s game at Detroit. The 31-year-old Harvey has struggled to recapture the form that made him a key member of the New York Mets when they faced Kansas City in the 2015 World Series.
— Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is joining the ownership group of the Kansas City Royals. The Royals announced the addition of Mahomes, the star quarterback who led the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl title last season, on Tuesday. Mahomes was once a baseball prospect and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2014.
Patriots’ Hightower opts out
BOSTON (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower has decided to opt out of the 2020 season.
The source says Hightower’s decision was made out of concern for the health of his fiancée and child, who was born earlier this month.
Two other people told the AP that starting right tackle Marcus Cannon and fullback Danny Vitale have also chosen to sit out the season, citing health concerns.
In other NFL developments:
— New Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Michael Pierce has opted out of the 2020 season because of concern about the coronavirus. Pierce has asthma. He flew to Minnesota to meet with the team on Tuesday before making his final decision. Pierce signed a three-year contract that included $18 million in guaranteed money. He will receive a $350,000 stipend for the season because he’s considered a non-voluntary absence.
— Denver Broncos defensive tackle Kyle Peko has decided not to play this season because of concerns over the coronavirus. Peko is a fifth-year pro who was in his second stint with the Broncos. A year ago, Peko left the Buffalo Bills’ training camp to be with his wife as she battled cancer. The couple later said she was cancer free.
— The Tennessee Titans have placed their top draft pick on the COVID-19/reserve list. Coach Mike Vrabel announced that move Tuesday at the end of a 40-minute video conference call with reporters. The Titans drafted offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson with the No. 29 pick overall out of Georgia, and Wilson remains the one member of their six-man draft class that has yet to agree to a contract.
— Two people with direct knowledge of the decision have confirmed to The Associated Press that Buffalo Bills starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is voluntarily opting out from playing this season. The 30-year-old Lotulelei has seven years of NFL experience and was entering his third season with the Bills. He has two years remaining on his contract, which will now run through 2022.
—The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed running back Wendell Smallwood to a one-year deal, giving the backfield a bit of experienced depth heading into training camp. Smallwood joins a group that includes James Conner, Benny Snell Jr., Jaylen Samuels and rookie Anthony McFarland.
—The San Francisco 49ers have placed starting receiver Deebo Samuel on the non-football injury list after foot surgery and they say he might miss the start of the season. Samuel suffered a fracture in his left foot last month during informal workouts with teammates in Tennessee and the timeline for his return remains unknown.
— Defensive end Joey Bosa has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Chargers that two people familiar with the deal say is worth $135 million over five years. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract has not been finalized. ESPN was the first to report on the deal. The Chargers confirmed Bosa has agreed to the extension but did not disclose financial terms.
Zion Williamson practicing, could play in Pelicans’ opener
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (AP) — Zion Williamson returned to New Orleans Pelicans practice for the first time in nearly two weeks on Tuesday night and coach Alvin Gentry said the NBA’s top overall draft pick might play when the club resumes its season against Utah on Thursday night.
Gentry said Williamson will play if he’s ready. Gentry said Williamson, who left the team on July 16 to attend to a family medical matter, was held out of five-on-five drills and limited largely to three- and five-man sets with no defenders. The Pelicans have another practice scheduled on Wednesday. After Williamson missed New Orleans’ first 44 games while recovering from right knee surgery, the former Duke star averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in his first 19 NBA contests before the coronavirus pandemic suspended the season in March.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-EARLY START
Teams allowed to begin season early
UNDATED (AP) — The NCAA is allowing all major college football teams to begin their seasons as early as Aug. 29. The association confirmed that the football oversight committee had requested a blanket waiver to permit any school to push up the start of its season to the so-called Week Zero.
The official start of the season had been Labor Day weekend, with a few games scheduled for Aug. 29. That was before the coronavirus pandemic put the season in peril and schedules were remade to deal with potential disruptions of COVID-19.
Some schools and conferences are working on delaying the start of their football seasons while others are trying to get a head start. Kansas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 have both recently moved up their opening games against FCS opponents to Aug. 29.
Louisville receives extension to respond to NCAA allegations
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has requested and received a 45-day extension to respond to an NCAA Notice of Allegations that accused the men’s basketball program of committing a Level I violation for an improper recruiting offer and several Level II violations. The notice included an accusation former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
The school received its notice on May 4 and had faced a deadline early next week to respond within 90 days. That deadline has moved to mid-September. University spokesman John Karman said Tuesday night the school has not determined whether to proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process.
The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe into college basketball. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II, which led to the ousters of Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich in October 2017.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.