Update on the latest sportsAP
Bucks eliminate the Bulls in a rout
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) led the defending NBA champion Bucks with 33 points as Milwaukee routed the Chicago Bulls 116-100 to finish off the first-round series in five games.
The third-seeded Bucks advance to face second-seeded Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 on Sunday in Boston.
After splitting the first two games, the Bucks won the last three by an average margin of 23.3 points. They won those three games without Khris Middleton. The All-Star sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the fourth quarter of Game 2.
Chicago didn’t handle the loss of key players quite as well. The Bulls played without the starting backcourt they used for the first four games because two-time All-Star Zach LaVine was in health and safety protocols and Alex Caruso was in concussion protocol.
Arenado buzzed, frustrated Mets brawl with Cardinals in loss
UNDATED (AP) — The New York Mets’ hit-by-pitch frustrations boiled over when reliever Yoan López threw a pitch near Nolan Arenado’s head, sparking a benches-clearing brawl that led to Arenado’s ejection in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 10-5 victory.
Arenado reached four times and drove in three runs before the incident in the eighth inning.
Mets hitter J.D. Davis left in the top of the eighth after being hit in the left foot by a pitch from Génesis Cabrera, the major league-leading 19th hit-by-pitch for the Mets this season.
Lopez zipped a 94 mph fastball near Arenado’s head, and Arenado began yelling for Lopez to “do it again,” sparking the melee.
The New York Mets are upset after several of their hitters have been hit by pitches over the first few weeks of the season. Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt says bad baseballs are to blame. The actual problem is probably multifaceted, ranging from cold weather to bad luck.
The Mets have been hit 20 times this season in 19 games, which leads the league by a wide margin.
MLB-wide hit-by-pitch rates were actually down slightly heading into Wednesday’s games.
Elsewhere around the majors:
— Giancarlo Stanton hit his 350th career homer and lifted a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, sending the New York Yankees over the Baltimore Orioles 5-2. Joey Gallo also homered for the second straight night. Stanton is the seventh fastest player to 350 homers, getting there in 1,341 games.
— The Boston Red Sox celebrated the return of manager Alex Cora by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-1. Cora missed the past six games because of COVID-19, and Boston lost five of them. Xander Bogaerts went 4 for 4 with four singles and a walk for the Red Sox, while Michael Wacha earned his second straight win.
— The Tampa Bay Rays beat Seattle 3-2, ending the Mariners’ four-game winning streak. Drew Rasmussen struck out nine in six shutout innings for the Rays, while Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run home run.
— Joe Ryan threw seven innings of one-hit ball and Max Kepler stayed hot with a pair of home runs as the streaking Minnesota Twins defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-0. Ryan Jeffers homered, doubled and drove in three runs for the Twins, who won their sixth game in a row. Ryan was dominant from the start, walking just one batter and striking out nine.
— The Philadelphia Phillies won their third straight over the Colorado Rockies, 7-3. Bryrce Harper had a triple among his three hits, while Odubel Herrera homered and drove in two runs, and Didi Gregorius added a double, single and two RBIs for Philadelphia.
— Aaron Ashby combined with four relievers on a one-hitter, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1. Neither team got a hit until the sixth inning, but Tyrone Taylor singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning for the Brewers.
— The Miami Marlins moved above .500 for the first time this season, beating the slumping Washington Nationals 2-1. Pablo López lowered his majors-best ERA to 0.39 by throwing six shutout innings. He’s now 3-0, having allowed just one run in four starts. The Marlins have won four games in a row, while the Nationals have lost seven straight.
— Jurickson Profar hit a three-run homer, MacKenzie Gore struck out 10 over five innings and the San Diego Padres beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-5. San Diego will go for its second sweep of the season Thursday of the hard-luck Reds. Cincinnati has lost 12 of 13 amid a rash of injuries and slumps, and their 3-15 record is the worst in the majors.
— Arizona scored two runs after Max Muncy’s throwing error in the eighth inning to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1. Zac Gallen pitched six scoreless innings for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
— Andrew Vaughn hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning, and the Chicago White Sox stopped an eight-game slide with a 7-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals. The winning rally for the White Sox started when Danny Mendick and Tim Anderson hit consecutive two-out singles off Collin Snider. Scott Barlow then came in, and Vaughn drove his first pitch into the home bullpen in left.
Petry helps Canadiens beat Rangers 4-3 to end 9-game skid
UNDATED (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens snapped a nine-game losing streak, beating the playoff-bound New York Rangers 4-3.
Jeff Petry scored his second goal of the game with 31 seconds remaining to put Montreal ahead for the fourth time and forge a victory. Sam Montembeault made 24 saves for the Canadiens.
The Rangers rested seven regulars including top goal-scorer Chris Kreider and points leader Artemi Panarin a night after losing at home to first-place Carolina, assuring New York would finish second in the Metropolitan Division.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
— Eric Comrie made 35 saves for his first NHL shutout in the Winnipeg Jets’ 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor had an empty-net goal and two assists to push his season points total to 92, the most since the franchise moved from Atlanta to to Winnipeg in 2011.
AP source: Jags, LT Robinson agree to 3-year, $54M extension
UNDATED (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars essentially have ruled out taking a left tackle with the top pick in the NFL draft by agreeing to terms with veteran Cam Robinson on a three-year extension. That’s according to a person familiar with the negotiations, who tells The Associated Press that Robinson’s new deal totals just shy of $54 million, roughly $18 million a year.
Robinson signed his franchise tender two weeks ago, guaranteeing him $16.7 million next season. But he ended up getting more from the extension. The move also means Jacksonville will likely chose between a pair of pass rushers at No. 1. It’s expected to be either Georgia’s Travon Walker or Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson.
In other NFL news:
— The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have picked up the fifth-year contract option on Pro Bowl linebacker Devin White, who has 15 sacks, four forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries over three NFL seasons. White was a key contributor during Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl championship run two years ago and a first-time Pro Bowl selection last season.
— The Tennessee Titans have picked up the fifth-year option on defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons. It’s worth $10.7 million. Simmons is coming off his best season yet after posting a career-high 8 1/2 sacks and led the Titans with 58 quarterback pressures.
— The Washington Commanders have picked up edge rusher Montez Sweat’s fifth-year option as expected. Sweat has 21 sacks in 42 NFL games with Washington.
— Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has thrown his support behind struggling head coach Matt Rhule (rool), saying it takes patience and time to build a winning foundation in the NFL. Rhule is 10-23 in his two seasons with the Panthers. Only the Lions, Texans, Jets and Jaguars have won fewer games than Carolina since Rhule’s arrival in 2020. He’s entering the third year of a seven-year, $62 million contract.
Ex-NBA Players Association VP and Jazz assistant arrested
NEW YORK (AP) — A former vice president of the National Basketball Players Association and current assistant coach for the Utah Jazz has been arrested in a fraud case. Keyon Dooling was among three individuals added to a case first brought in New York in October, when 18 former NBA players were charged.
Dooling, like the others, is charged with illegally pocketing thousands of dollars by defrauding the league’s health and welfare benefit plan. Authorities say Dooling pocketed $350,000 himself.
Dooling was a union officer for eight years and eventually became its first vice president. Now an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz, he spent parts of 13 seasons in the NBA. The Jazz placed Dooling on paid administrative leave after learning of the indictment.
Akron extends coach John Groce’s contract thru 2030 season
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Following a trip to the NCAA Tournament, Akron has extended coach John Groce’s contract through the 2029-30 season. Groce led the Zips to Mid-American Conference tournament title last season and the league’s automatic NCAA bid. Groce’s previous deal was to expire after the 2026 season.
HORSE RACING-BAFFERT BAN
Hearing officer recommends 2-year NYRA ban for Bob Baffert
UNDATED (AP) — A retired New York State Supreme Court Justice has recommended a two-year suspension for trainer Bob Baffert for repeated medication violations after a New York Racing Association hearing.
Hearing officer O. Peter Sherwood revealed his recommendation in a 50-page report released Wednesday. Baffert’s camp and NYRA have two weeks to offer rebuttals before a three-person panel makes a final decision on the Triple Crown-winning trainer’s status. A suspension in New York until July 2024 would be the result if the panel takes up Sherwood’s full recommendation.
Churchill Downs has banned Baffert from entering horses in the Kentucky Derby this year and next.