Betts hits tying HR in 9th, Dodgers beat Diamondbacks in 10

LOS ANGELES — Mookie Betts hit a tying homer in the ninth inning, Will Smith lined an RBI single in the 10th and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied past the reeling Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 Wednesday night.

The Dodgers won their ninth in a row at home despite getting only four hits. Reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger missed his second straight game due to a lat injury.

After Arizona scored a run in the top of the 10th, Max Muncy began the bottom half as the automatic runner at second base and didn’t need much time to score. He advanced to third on Chris Taylor’s sacrifice bunt and continued home when Junior Guerra (1-1) threw wide of the bag, which also allowed Taylor to move to second.

One out later, Smith lined a single to left for the third walk-off hit of his career.

The Dodgers had been held to one hit by three Diamondbacks pitchers for 8 1/3 innings until Betts homered to center off Kevin Ginkel. Corey Seager followed with a double off the left field wall but was stranded.

Castro gets big hit after trade, Padres rout Angels 11-4

ANAHEIM — Jason Castro hit a tiebreaking two-run double against the team that traded him three days ago, and the San Diego Padres rallied for eight runs in the eighth inning of an 11-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Castro’s two-out drive to the gap off Ty Buttrey (1-2) made for a memorable debut with the Padres, who acquired the veteran catcher from Los Angeles on Sunday as part of their all-in trade bonanza.

Fernando Tatís Jr. then drew a bases-loaded walk, Manny Machado delivered a two-run single and Eric Hosmer hit a 443-foot, three-run homer as the Padres piled on against the Angels’ hapless bullpen to open this interleague series up the I-5 freeway.

Jurickson Profar hit a two-run homer and drove in three early runs for San Diego, which has won three straight by a combined 30-6.

Mike Trout hit a two-run homer for the Angels, but the Padres won the first on-field meeting between the three-time AL MVP and the 21-year-old Tatís, who might be baseball’s next star of Trout’s magnitude.

Galaxy wins 3rd straight with victory over Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. — Cristian Pavon scored his fifth goal of the season and the LA Galaxy defeated the Portland Timbers 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Efrain Alvarez and Joe Corona also scored for the Galaxy, who have won three straight.

Portland’s Diego Valeri scored in stoppage time, becoming only the third player in MLS history to reach 80 career goals and 80 assists.

The Galaxy were knocked out of this summer’s MLS is Back tournament in the group stage, but beat both LAFC and San Jose after the league returned to play in local markets.

After winning the MLS is Back tournament title, the Timbers lost to rival Seattle then played to a 4-4 draw to Real Salt Lake last weekend.

Because of the condensed schedule, the Timbers had their regular starters on the bench. That paved the way for goalkeeper Jeff Attinella to make his first start since shoulder surgery last year.

Rossi’s 2 goals lead LAFC to 5-1 win over Earthquakes

LOS ANGELES — Diego Rossi continued his torrid start to the season with two goals, Bradley Wright-Phillips added another, and Los Angeles FC beat the San Jose Earthquakes 5-1 on Wednesday night.

Rossi, who went into the game leading MLS with seven goals this season, side-netted a right-footer in the 21st minute to open the scoring and he tapped a deflection into the net from point-blank range to make it 4-0 in the 69th.

LAFC (3-2-3), which was coming off back-to-back losses, improved to 5-0 all-time against the Earthquakes by a combined score of 20-4.

Nets hire Hall of Famer Nash to run floor as coach

Steve Nash was one of the NBA’s most entertaining point guards, the engineer of a high-scoring team that helped usher in a new era of basketball.

Now the Brooklyn Nets want to see what he can do as a coach.

The Nets hired Nash on Thursday, putting the Hall of Famer in charge of the team that hopes to have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving together next season.

“Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn,” Nash said in a statement.

Nash, two-time MVP as the playmaker of the Phoenix Suns teams under Mike D’Antoni that piled up points and 3-pointers long before they became the norm in the NBA, had been a player development consultant with Golden State, where he worked with Durant.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was the general manager in Phoenix for part of Nash’s time and took elements of the Suns’ system in winning three NBA titles. He thanked and congratulated Nash with a message on Twitter.

Lutsenko claims 1st Tour victory on Stage 6

MONT AIGOUAL, France — Kazakh rider Alexey Lutsenko won his first stage in his fifth Tour de France with a solo effort up Mont Aigoual on Thursday.

The Tour’s top contenders were still racing far behind the 27-year-old Lutsenko on the mountain when he crossed the line at the top with towering views of southern France.

Lutsenko was among a group of eight breakaway riders that surged ahead of the main pack on the 191-kilometer (119-mile) Stage 6. The stage sped southwest from the start town of Le Teil in southern France.

Lutsenko, riding for the Astana team, shook off his breakaway companions on the day’s punishing final climb, up to the Lusette pass, scaled for the first time by the 117-year-old Tour.

He started the stage in 37th place overall, nearly six minutes behind race leader Adam Yates. Since Lutsenko was not a threat for the yellow jersey, Yates, his team and other top riders were content to let the breakaway riders race off ahead.

Grizzlies’ Morant wins NBA’s rookie of the year

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The first three baskets of Memphis’ season set the tone for Ja Morant’s rookie year. All were layups, all by him, the level of difficulty increasing each time.

He made them look easy that night. He made plenty look easy all season.

Morant was announced Thursday as the runaway winner of the rookie of the year award for 2019-20, the first Grizzlies player to win the award since Pau Gasol in 2001-02. Morant averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists this season, picking up three Western Conference rookie of the month awards along the way.

“It’s a blessing, definitely an honor,” Morant said in the televised announcement of the award on TNT. “I put a lot of work in day in and day out. This journey has been rough but in the end it’s all paying off.”

Miami’s Kendrick Nunn was second and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson was third. Nunn, who was undrafted, averaged 15.3 points in 67 regular-season games — all starts — for the Heat. Williamson averaged 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds, but the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft missed much of his rookie season while dealing with injury. 

Vitale exceeds cancer fundraising goal before annual gala

Dick Vitale didn’t know if he would reach this year’s goal of raising $5 million for pediatric cancer research due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

It turns out he has met his goal and then some.

Vitale’s annual fundraising gala has already reached the $7 million mark going into Friday’s event, which will be virtual this year. The gala is usually held in May in Sarasota, Florida, but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

It will be a combination of live and taped segments with Vitale hosting from his home in Florida and ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi at network headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

This is the 15th year for the Dick Vitale Gala, which is held in association with the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Vitale has raised nearly $30 million for pediatric cancer research.

Fournette planning to sign with Brady-led Buccaneers

TAMPA, Fla. — Leonard Fournette intends to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are stockpiling playmakers to help Tom Brady be successful with his new team.

The former Jacksonville Jaguars running back tweeted an image of himself carrying a football and wearing a Bucs jersey and helmet — long with a pen-signing emoji and the message #GoBucs — on Wednesday night.

The Bucs, who typically don’t confirm player acquisitions until the team has a signed contract, had no comment.

Fournette, the former LSU star drafted fourth overall in 2017, was released Monday by the Jaguars and became a free agent after clearing waivers. He helped Jacksonville reach the AFC championship game as a rookie and topped 1,000 rushing two of three seasons there.

Johnson gets 2-shot lead and another crack at FedEx Cup 

ATLANTA — Dustin Johnson is the No. 1 seed and starts with a two-shot lead at the Tour Championship, not nearly enough to tempt him into looking too far ahead at a FedEx Cup title that already has slipped away from him once before.

“It’s not like I’ve got a two-shot lead going into the final round,” Johnson said, who speaks from experience of once losing a six-shot lead in the final round of a World Golf Championship.

“I’m still going to have to play some really good golf for four days if I want to be a FedEx Cup champion.”

And then there are players like Billy Horschel and Mackenzie Hughes, who will be 10 shots behind Johnson before they even hit their opening drives at East Lake. They have to play their absolute best golf and get some help.

“I know I’m going to have to do something special,” Horschel said.

The strangest season in golf — no tournaments for three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, only one major championship in the last 14 months — ends on Labor Day with the second year of a format that gives players a head start depending on how they played up to this point.

Agent: Seahawks bring back suspended WR Josh Gordon

RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks are bringing back wide receiver Josh Gordon on a one-year deal even as the talented pass catcher awaits reinstatement from the NFL after his latest suspension.

Gordon’s signing was confirmed on Twitter by his agent David Canter on Thursday, just two days before the Seahawks must cut their roster to 53 players. Seattle is holding its final practice of training camp later Thursday. Gordon is the second veteran signed by the team in the past week, joining Paul Richardson.

Gordon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL last December for violating the league’s drug policy. Gordon tested positive for performance enhancers and “substances of abuse,” the league said in a statement at the time.

Browns acquire safety Harrison from Jaguars for draft pick

BEREA, Ohio — The Browns have acquired safety Ronnie Harrison in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who will receive a fifth-round pick in 2021 from Cleveland.

The loss of rookie safety Grant Delpit for the season with a torn Achilles tendon sent the Browns shopping for a safety. On Thursday, general manager Andrew Berry pulled off the swap for Harrison, who is in his third season from Alabama.

Delpit, a second-round pick from LSU, suffered his season-ending injury while doing individual drills in early in practice last month. He had been expected to start alongside Karl Joseph, who was signed by the Browns as a free agent this winter.

The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Harrison made 22 starts for Jacksonville, which selected him in the third round of the 2018 draft. He’s played in 28 games and made 103 tackles along with three interceptions.

Harrison started 14 games last season and finished second on the team in tackles (70). He was a member of two national title teams with the Crimson Tide.

49ers activate James, place Austin on IR

SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers got one receiver back healthy and lost another for the long term.

The 49ers placed Tavon Austin on injured reserve Thursday with a knee injury. Austin was signed during training camp and was in competition to make the team’s injury depleted receiver group when the roster is cut to 53 on Saturday.

The Niners did get some good news at the position when Richie James Jr. was activated from the non-football injury list. James broke his wrist during offseason workouts and practiced for the first time Thursday. 

Phillies retire Dick Allen’s No. 15 in moving ceremony

PHILADELPHIA — Dick Allen’s No. 15 was retired by the Philadelphia Phillies in a ceremony Thursday, a long overdue honor for one of the franchise’s greatest players who fought against racism during a tumultuous period with the team in the 1960s.

The 78-year-old Allen thanked Phillies managing partner John Middleton, who broke from the team’s longstanding “unwritten” policy of only retiring the number of players who are in the Hall of Fame. 

“I thank the city of Philadelphia. Even though it was rough, I’ve made some friends along the way,” Allen said. 

Mike Schmidt, a Hall of Fame third baseman who helped lure Allen out of retirement to return to Philadelphia for a second stint with the team in 1975, called him “an amazing mentor” who was wrongly labeled a “bad teammate” and “troublemaker.”

“Dick was a sensitive Black man who refused to be treated as a second-class citizen,” Schmidt said in a speech.

Missouri athletes lead campus march for social justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri athletes who organized and led a march and rally for social justice through the Columbia campus urged the hundreds of people who participated to stay engaged in work to end racial disparities.

Wednesday’s “March With Mizzou” was organized largely by the Mizzou Black Student Athlete Association, a group that formed during the summer amid nationwide demonstrations for social equality.

The group’s president, Cason Suggs, a junior on the school’s track and field team, told the crowd in Memorial Stadium after the march that discussions he’s had about creating change often focus on “Band-Aid” moments. But he said people should think of fighting racism as physical therapy.

WVa high school forfeits road football game, citing virus

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A West Virginia high school football team has forfeited its road game against an opponent in a county where the rate of coronavirus cases is rising.

Wirt County High refused to play at Trinity High in Morgantown on Thursday night, the opening night of the season, news outlets reported.

Trinity officials said in a statement that they were “very disappointed” in Wirt County High’s decision.

Color-coded charts released by the state every Saturday night determine whether sports contests can be held the following week. Monongalia County was in the yellow category last Saturday, meaning that events could be held. The county has since turned to orange. If it stays orange as of Saturday night, practices can be held next week, but contests are prohibited.

Monongalia County has seen an increase of 133 confirmed virus cases in the past three days, according to the county’s health website. State health officials say the county had a seven-day daily positive rate of 11.2% as of Wednesday, up from 2.3% on Aug. 31.

WBOY also reported that Lincoln High School in Harrison County canceled its game against Fairmont Senior after a positive virus test in the Lincoln program.

McIlroy’s approach: Absolutely nothing beats fatherhood

ATLANTA — Rory McIlroy was the last of 30 players to arrive Wednesday at the Tour Championship, and even with a shot at becoming the first three-time FedEx Cup champion, he had a tough time leaving behind the newest love of his life.

Poppy Kennedy McIlroy was born Monday.

McIlroy’s wife, Erica, gave birth to their first child Monday in Florida. He said mother and daughter are doing well, and he has a new appreciation for fatherhood.

He announced the birth on social media before flying up to Atlanta.

New Hampshire girl, 16, swims across English Channel

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, N.H. — A 16-year-old from New Hampshire successfully swam across the English Channel, completing a 33-mile (53-kilometer) swim she called an “adventure.”

Vera Rivard, of Springfield, left Dover in the United Kingdom in the morning and arrived on a beach near Calais, France, just before midnight on Tuesday, the Valley News reported.

The swim took her more than 14 hours, the newspaper reported, and she is the second American to cross the channel this year.

LPGA to allow caddies in carts to cope with extreme heat

RANCHO MIRAGE — Players can ride in carts during practice rounds and caddies can use them during the tournament to cope with the extreme heat expected for the ANA Inspiration next week in the California desert.

The LPGA announced the decision on its website Thursday.

Traditionally the first major of the season, the ANA Inspiration was moved from the first weekend in April to Sept. 10-13 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the tour to shut down for five months.

Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA Tour’s chief operations officer, said in a memo to players and caddies that temperatures are expected to range from 105 to 115 degrees. Considering this year has been all about health and safety, “we will be allowing caddies to take carts for the week.”

“We have consulted with our medical team and feel this is the best decision to keep our caddies safe and healthy during this extreme heat,” she said.

AP source: Cam Newton to be Patriots starting quarterback

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Cam Newton is officially the new starting quarterback of the New England Patriots. 

A person familiar with the situation said Thursday that Newton was announced as the starter during a team meeting. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not publicly announced the decision. 

The Boston Globe first reported the decision. 

The move was expected after the 2015 league MVP outperformed second-year Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer during training camp. Newton, who signed with the Patriots in July after being released by Carolina, succeeds Tom Brady following his departure to Tampa Bay in free agency.

A’s righty Daniel Mengden tests positive for coronavirus

OAKLAND — Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden has tested positive for the coronavirus and is quarantined at home in Houston, where he received the result that forced Oakland and Major League Baseball to postpone four games this week.

A’s general manager David Forst said Thursday that Mengden is asymptomatic and was placed on the 10-day injured list. The A’s added new left-hander Mike Minor to the 40-man roster after acquiring him Monday in a trade with the Rangers.

“He continues to be asymptomatic and feels good,” Forst said while discussing Mengden on a conference call.

Titans agree to terms with kicker Gostkowski, waive Joseph

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — The Tennessee Titans made a switch at kicker Thursday, agreeing to terms with four-time Pro Bowler Stephen Gostkowski and waiving Greg Joseph.

Gostkowski won three Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the New England Patriots. He has made 87.4% or 374 of 428 of his kicks in his career. His field goal percentage ranks fifth-best in NFL history.

Joseph was the Titans’ fifth kicker last season in the NFL’s worst field goal unit at 44.4% (8 of 18). He made the only field goal he tried in the playoffs and made all his extra points. But Joseph had been missing kicks in training camp, prompting the Titans not to wait until opening week to address the position like a year ago.

End of an era for F1 Williams team after more than 40 years

After more than 40 years running one of Formula One’s most storied teams, the Williams family is stepping aside so that its new owners have a clear shot at reviving the team’s fortunes.

Claire Williams, whose father co-founded the Williams F1 team, is stepping down as deputy team principal after this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

The move follows the recent change in ownership to American-based investment firm Dorilton Capital, and means that the famed F1 family will cut its ties after 43 years and nearly 750 races.

Brown U. rebuts ‘conspiracy’ in fight over women’s sports

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University rebutted what the school calls “spurious conspiracy claims” as it responded to an allegation that it is failing to comply with a 1998 agreement ensuring gender equity in sports.

The Ivy League school this year announced it was cutting several varsity women’s and men’s sports, and reducing them to club status. Several men’s teams were later restored.

In response, attorneys for Public Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island filed a motion in federal court in June alleging that the Providence, Rhode Island, institution violated terms of the 1998 agreement to provide gender equity in varsity sports in order to comply with federal Title IX law.

The agreement stemmed from a lawsuit filed after Brown dropped women’s gymnastics and volleyball as varsity sports.

William & Mary to cut seven sports in pandemic budget crunch

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — William and Mary says it will cut seven of its 23 intercollegiate sports at the end of the 2021 academic year because of budget constraints related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic has made these budget constraints acute and has brought us to a point of reckoning,” the university said in a letter distributed Thursday and signed by university president Katherine Rowe, provost Peggy Agouris and athletic director Samantha K. Huge.

The sports being cut are men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s indoor and outdoor track & field and women’s volleyball.

NFL, players’ union to close facilities on Election Day

NEW YORK — All NFL and NFL Players Association facilities will close on Election Day, and the league and union will televise a one-hour program next week for players to highlight work being done to advance social justice.

The league and the players’ union said Thursday they want to “ensure that every member of the NFL family has an opportunity to exercise the precious right to vote” on Nov. 3. Both the league and union have launched get-out-the-vote initiatives as well.

Next Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC, the NFL and NFLPA said their “players and allies” will discuss their work in a variety of social justice programs.

Resort: 49ers to stay at Greenbrier between East Coast games

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The San Francisco 49ers will stay at a West Virginia resort later this month rather than return to California between back-to-back games on the East Coast.

The 49ers are scheduled to play road games Sept. 20 against the New York Jets and Sept. 27 against the New York Giants at the New Jersey Meadowlands.

The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., said in a news release that the 49ers will stay at the resort the week of Sept. 21.

Jump racing suspended at British course after 8 horse deaths

SOUTHWELL, England — Jump racing was suspended at a British racecourse on Thursday following the death of eight horses at the venue since July 1.

The British Horseracing Authority was already working with the owners of Southwell racecourse to look into the circumstances behind six equine fatalities there from July 1 to Aug. 24.

The death of two more horses at the track in central England on Thursday led to racing being suspended at Southwell.

“This is to allow a comprehensive investigation to take place,” the BHA and Arena Racing Company said in a joint statement. “This involves the racecourse and the BHA’s veterinary team, racecourse department and course inspectors looking into the specific circumstances to understand if there are any common factors.”

In its own statement, the ARC said there would be a full review into all possible factors, “including (but not limited to) fence and hurdle design, track layout and configuration and going as well as GPS speed and timing data.”

There were 173 equine deaths from 91,937 runners in 2019, according to BHA figures, representing a fatality rate of 0.19% of runners. The rate of horses falling last year reached an all-time low of 2.37%.

Former sprinter gets top coaching role at British Athletics

LONDON — Christian Malcolm, a former sprinter who won medals at the world and European championships, was hired Thursday as head coach of Britain’s Olympic track program.

Malcolm will take up his new role at British Athletics after spending 20 months as the head of performance and coaching at Athletics Australia.

The 41-year-old Malcolm, who took part in four Olympics, becomes the first Black head coach on British Athletics’ Olympic program. Paula Dunn, another former sprinter, is currently head coach of the Paralympic program and was hired in 2012.

Italy’s Mancini: Playing without fans will ‘feel a bit sad’

Playing club soccer without fans is tough enough. Playing national team games in empty stadiums just adds another layer of sadness.

Starting with the national anthems.

“It won’t be too nice without the fans,” Italy midfielder Alessandro Florenzi said Thursday, a day before a Nations League game against Bosnia-Herzegovina inside an empty stadium Florence. “Singing the anthem is something that really motivates us together with the crowd.”

Rebuilding after an embarrassing failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy extended its record winning streak to 11 matches when it last played 10 months ago.

The enthusiasm surrounding Roberto Mancini’s squad was increasing victory by victory -- especially with Italy due to host the opening game of the 2020 European Championship.

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