Update on the latest sports

NHL-PLAYOFFS

Hurricanes to 3-2 win over Rangers in NHL’s return

UNDATED (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes have won the NHL’s opening playoff game. Sebastian Aho scored a goal and set up another in the 3-2 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday in Toronto.

Jaccob Slavin scored 61 seconds in on Carolina’s first shot on goal in helping the Hurricanes gain the edge in the best-of-five preliminary round series. Martin Necas sealed the win, in a game where the Hurricanes never trailed, by one-timing a shot in off the skate of Rangers defenseman Marc Staal with 9:09 remaining.

The Metropolitan Division rivals kicked off the expanded 24-team playoff format, which will feature as many as six games a day being played in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta.

Petr Mrazek (muh-RAZ’-ik) stopped 24 shots, and the sixth-seeded Hurricanes defeated the 11th-seeded Rangers for just the seventh time in 38 meetings going back to the 2010-11 season. The Hurricanes had also lost five straight to New York, including being swept in their four-game regular-season series.

The NHL’s first-ever August game was played without fans as the league attempts to complete a coronavirus pandemic-altered season and in a bid to award the Stanley Cup in late September or early October.

In other NHL news:

— Rookie winger Dominik Kubalik scored two goals and added three assists, leading the Chicago Blackhawks to a 6-4 win over the host Edmonton Oilers in the opener of their best-of-five qualifying round series on Saturday. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews added two goals and one assist. Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists for Edmonton. Game 2 is Monday night.

— Minnesota’s Matt Dumba became the first NHL player to kneel during the U.S. anthem when he did so before Oilers-Blackhawks in Edmonton. Dumba made a speech about racial injustice and Black Lives Matter before the anthems on behalf of the league and the Hockey Diversity Alliance. He and a handful of other Black hockey players formed the organization in June. Colorado’s Nazem Kadri said this week he’d like to see the league do more to call out racism to increase diversity in hockey. Commissioner Gary Bettman told The Associated Press he agreed with Kadri on the end goal of making the game more diverse.

NBA-SCHEDULE

Heat top Nuggets 125-105

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each scored 22 points to help the Miami Heat beat the Denver Nuggets 125-105 on Saturday in the first restart game for both teams.

Kelly Olynyk (oh-LIH’-nihk) scored all 20 of his points in the fourth quarter for the Heat, who shot 56% from the field.

Nikola Jokic (NEE’-koh-lah YOH’-kich) and Jerami Grant each scored 19 points for Denver. The Nuggets played without injured guards Jamal Murray, Will Barton and Gary Harris. Murray ranks second on the team with 18.8 points per game.

Heat center Meyers Leonard stood during the national anthem, saying it was out of respect for the U.S. military, while all the coaches and players around him kneeled. His brother, Bailey Leonard, served two tours in Afghanistan with the Marines. Leonard wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt over a jersey that said “Equality.”

Elsewhere in the NBA:

— Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 19 points, Chris Paul added 18 and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled past the Utah Jazz 110-94. Steven Adams had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Danilo Gallinari added 15 points for the Thunder. Oklahoma City shot 53 percent from the field. Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 13 points. Utah shot 39 percent from the field. The teams were to meet on March 11 in Oklahoma City, but everything changed when Utah center Rudy Gobert’s COVID-19 test came up positive right before the tip. That night, the NBA announced it would shut down indefinitely.

MLB-NEWS

AP source: Cardinals-Brewers postponed again after 4 more St. Louis positives

UNDATED (AP) — Saturday’s Cardinals-Brewers game in Milwaukee has been postponed after one more player and three staff members for the Cardinals have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a person familiar with the situation.

It’s baseball’s 17th postponement in 10 days.

Friday’s series opener was postponed after two Cardinals players tested positive. The team had hoped to resume play Saturday and make up Friday’s game as part of a doubleheader Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies said they had no new positive results from Friday’s round of COVID-19 testing. Players are being allowed access to Citizens Bank Park for staggered workouts beginning in the afternoon.

The Miami Marlins also received no new positive results, according to a person familiar with the situation. But second baseman Isan Diaz has decided to opt out of the season, becoming the first Miami player to do so. Diaz consistently tested negative while the season was on hold. He played in two of the Marlins’ three games before their season was halted.

At least 21 members of the Marlins’ traveling party have been infected by an outbreak at the start of a season-opening trip. The team hasn’t played since Sunday in Philadelphia but hopes to resume games next week.

In other MLB news:

— Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says he’s confident his sport can get through the regular season and postseason without being stopped by the coronavirus, though not every team might play all 60 games and winning percentage could be used to determine playoff teams. During an interview Saturday with The Associated Press, Manfred said Major League Baseball knows which player introduced COVID-19 into the clubhouse of the Marlins Marlins. Miami and Philadelphia both postponed games for an entire week. Just 1 1/2 weeks into a pandemic-delayed regular season shortened from 162 games per team to 60, the coronavirus has forced 17 postponements in 10 days.

— Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain has become the latest player to opt out of the 2020 season. The two-time All-Star announced his decision on the same day Miami Marlins second baseman Isan Díaz said he had opted out. Cain was 6 for 18 with two RBIs in his first five games this season. He batted .260 with 11 homers, 48 RBIs and 18 steals last year, when he earned his first Gold Glove. He has a $5,925,926 prorated salary this season as a part of an $80 million, five-year contract through 2022.

— The Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds are set to play Major League Baseball’s first seven-inning doubleheader Sunday, after Saturday’s game in Detroit was rained out. The new seven-inning doubleheader rule was announced Friday by Major League Baseball and the players’ association in an effort to promote player health and safety.

— With the Nationals on a four-day break, new reliever Will Harris will get a chance to heal without missing too much action. Harris was put on the 10-day injured list Friday with a strained right groin. The move was retroactive to Wednesday, when he gave up two unearned runs in the eighth inning of Washington’s 5-1 loss to Toronto. If Harris is ready to go when he’s eligible to be activated next Saturday, he will have missed only three games. The World Series champs won’t play again until hosting the New York Mets on Tuesday. Their weekend series at Miami was postponed, and they have days off Monday and Thursday.

— The Marlins have acquired left-handed reliever Richard Bleier from the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named. Miami has been seeking to shore up its roster after more than a dozen players tested positive for COVID-19. The team has had its season suspended since Sunday. Bleier went 3-0 with a 5.37 ERA and four saves in 53 games last season. This year, he’s pitched three scoreless innings in two appearances.

— The Chicago White Sox placed shortstop Tim Anderson on the injured list with a strained right groin and recalled catcher Yermin Mercedes from their taxi squad before Saturday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals. Anderson had two of the White Sox’s four hits before leaving in the seventh inning Friday night with a sore hip. Leury Garcia started at shortstop and was batting seventh Saturday night. Anderson was hitting .333 through the first seven games after leading the majors with a .335 average last season.

NFL-NEWS

Brees says he’ll stand for anthem, but respects those who kneel

UNDATED (AP) — Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he will continue to stand for “The Star Spangled Banner” but that he respects and supports those who protest racism and social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.

In a conference call with media Saturday, Brees said he has reconciled with teammates he upset in June by voicing his opposition to kneeling during the anthem. He apologized soon afterward and said he came to realize that the anthem protests were “never about the flag.”

The 41-year-old Brees, who is the NFL’s all-time leader in yards passing, completions and touchdowns, is entering his 20th NFL season and 15th with the New Orleans Saints.

In other NFL news:

— One of the NFL’s standout quarterbacks is now on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been put on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The 32-year-old Stafford is easily one of the most high-profile players to land there. Stafford is entering his 12th season with the Lions, the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2009.

— Browns tight end David Njoku has run a reverse. After demanding a trade last month, Njoku has changed his mind. The 2017 first-round draft pick tweeted, “I’m all in Cleveland. Time to work.‘’ Apparently unhappy that the Browns signed free agent Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper and drafted Florida Atlantic tight end Harrison Bryant, Njoku had his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, ask the Browns to deal him to another team. But he’s reported to camp and Rosenhaus said his client has given his full commitment to the team after some productive meetings with general manager Andrew Berry.

— Two people familiar with the decision tell The Associated Press that New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley has chosen to opt out of the NFL season because of family health concerns. The 28-year-old Mosley was entering his second season with New York after signing as a free agent in 2019 following five years in Baltimore. He played in just two games last year for the Jets while dealing with a groin/core muscle injury.

— Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end/special teams standout Lerentee McCray has opted out of the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic. McCray is entering his seventh NFL season, the last three with Jacksonville. McCray is the second Jaguars player in as many days to opt out, following veteran defensive tackle Al Woods.

— Less than a week after left tackle Nate Solder opted out of the season, the New York Giants have extended the contract of third-year tackle Nick Gates. The Giants announced Saturday that Gates had signed a two-year extension worth at least $6 million. The Giants also confirmed they had signed placekicker Chandler Catanzaro. He reached an agreement with the team earlier this week after Aldrick Rosas was released in the wake of a hit-and-run accident in the offseason.

— Safety Roderic Teamer and wide receiver Andre Patton were among six players released by the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday. Teamer made the roster as undrafted free agent and made six starts. Patton spent two seasons on Los Angeles’ practice squad before appearing in 13 games last year. The Chargers also released tight ends Jared Rice and Andrew Vollert, defensive tackle P.J. Johnson and offensive tackle Koda Martin to get to the 80-player limit.

GOLF-FEDEX-INVITATIONAL

Todd shoots 1-under 69 for 54-hole lead at WGC in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Brendon Todd shot a 1-under 69 on Saturday at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational for a one-stroke lead through 54 holes at this World Golf Championship event.

Todd started the third round with a two-stroke lead. He had five birdies and four bogeys to put him at 13-under 198 on a nearly perfect day at TPC Southwind with the temperature in the 70s.

He is looking for his fourth career victory and third since last fall.

Byeong Hun An of South Korea was second with Rickie Fowler was two strokes off the lead.

In other golf news:

— Brett Quigley had an 8-under 64 to take a one-shot lead in the Ally Challenge. It’s the first PGA Tour Champions event in five months. He led by one shot over Tommy Armour III, Carlos Franco and Jim Furyk, the newcomer to the 50-and-older circuit. Furyk won at Warwick Hills when it hosted the Buick Open.

— Branden Grace has tested positive for the coronavirus at the Barracuda Championship. That means the South African is out of the tournament where he was in contention going into the weekend. Grace was two points behind — the equivalent of one birdie — the leader in the modified Stableford scoring system. It also knocks Grace out of the PGA Championship. Under PGA Tour guidelines, Grace has to self-isolate for 10 days. The PGA Championship starts Thursday. Grace has played every major the last five years. He holds the major championship scoring record with a 62 at Royal Birkdale in the 2017 British Open.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NEWS

Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi to return for junior season

UNDATED (AP) — Gonzaga guard Joel Ayayi is withdrawing his name from the NBA draft and will return for his junior decision. The 6-foot-5 French guard averaged 10.6 points, 6,6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals as a sophomore last season. He was named the West Coast Conference tournament most outstanding player while helping the Zags qualify for their 22nd straight NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga finished 31-2 and was in position to earn a No. 1 seed before the NCAA Tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In other college basketball news:

— Big Ten Freshman of the Year Kofi Cockburn is returning to Illinois for his sophomore season. The 7-foot, 290-pound Cockburn posted “IM BACK ‼️” with a graphic on Twitter on Saturday. The announcement means the Illini will have their top two players return from a team that was in line to make the NCAA Tournament last season, after all-conference guard Ayo Dosunmu said Friday he plans to return for his junior year rather than turn pro. Cockburn, who’s from Jamaica and played at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, averaged 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds — a record for an Illinois freshman. The Illini went 21-10 overall and 13-7 in conference play. They were in line for their first NCAA appearance before the season got shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

— Arkansas sharpshooter Isaiah Joe will return for his junior season after withdrawing his name from the NBA draft. A 6-foot-5 guard from Fort Smith, Arkansas, Joe led the SEC in 3-pointers made with 94 and was fourth nationally with 3.62 per game in 2019-20. Joe averaged 16.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game last season. He tied the SEC freshman record with 113 3-pointers in 2018-19, also tying for fourth in NCAA history among freshmen.

RACING-SARATOGA

Improbable wins Whitney for Baffert at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Improbable won the $750,000 Whitney at Saratoga, making Bob Baffert the first trainer to notch back-to-back victories in the Grade 1 race since 1994-95.

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Improbable ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.65.

He earned an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7 at Keeneland.

In other track news:

— Thousand Words upset 1-5 favorite Honor A. P. by three-quarters of a length to win the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar, giving trainer Bob Baffert another candidate for next month’s Kentucky Derby. Ridden by Abel Cedillo, Thousand Words ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.85. The colt earned 50 qualifying points for the Derby, which was postponed until Labor Day weekend because of the coronavirus pandemic.

F1-BRITISH GP

Hamilton takes pole position for British GP

SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Lewis Hamilton set a new track record at the British Grand Prix and clinched a record-extending 91st pole position on Saturday.

He clocked a time of 1 minute 24.303 seconds at the Silverstone, England, circuit where he has won a record six times. He was .313 seconds ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and about 1 second faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Hamilton needs five more wins to equal Michael Schumacher’s Formula One record of 91 GP wins. The defending champion is also odds-on to equal the F1 great’s record of seven world titles.

Categories: National Sports