WAMC Sports Report 5/31/23: Kiner-Falefa leads Yankees against the Mariners after 4-hit outing
Aaron Judge homered for the third time in two games, Anthony Volpe and Greg Allen also went deep, and the New York Yankees won their fourth straight with a 10-2 win over the Seattle Mariners. Judge hit a towering fly ball on the first pitch of the seventh inning from reliever Darren McCaughan that carried just enough to clear the fence in left-center field, even if it would not have been a homer at Yankee Stadium. It was his 18th of the season after Judge hit a pair of homers in the series opener on Monday night. Volpe’s eighth homer of the season gave New York a 6-0 lead and snapped a 2-for-22 stretch at the plate.
Kodai Senga allowed one hit through seven dominant innings and Francisco Lindor homered to help the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 in the first meeting this season between the NL East rivals. Eduardo Escobar added an RBI single and Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo robbed Nick Castellanos of a potential home run with a leaping catch at the fence. Senga struck out nine and permitted one baserunner — a soft single by Kody Clemens that fell in front of left fielder Tommy Pham in the third. The rookie right-hander from Japan got six strikeouts with his disappearing “ghost forkball” and set a career high for innings in his 10th major league start.
Jose Barrero hit a grand slam to lift the Cincinnati Reds to a fourth straight win with a 9-8 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Will Benson had three hits to back Ben Lively (3-2), who pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings. He struck out six for the Reds, who blew it open with a five-run seventh inning. Boston scored all eight of its runs in the final three innings, getting five in the ninth but couldn’t quite catch the Reds, who clinched the win when reliever Alexis Diaz struck out Triston Casas for the final out and his 13th save. Brayan Bello (2-2) took the loss.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass apologized for expressing support on social media for anti-LGBTQ+ boycotts of Target and Bud Light. Bass shared a post on his Instagram stories Monday urging others to spurn the American companies over support for they showed for the LGBTQ+ community. Both companies are dealing with fallout from those campaigns, which have included hostile and homophobic criticism and calls from LGBTQ+ activists not to cave to anti-LGBTQ+ groups. The right-handed reliever made a brief statement on the field but did not take questions before the Blue Jays hosted Milwaukee.
Major League Baseball will take over broadcasts of San Diego Padres games beginning Wednesday after Diamond Sports missed a rights fees payment and let the grace period expire. Diamond Sports owns 19 networks under the Bally Sports banner. The Padres become the first team that MLB will take over production of its broadcasts. MLB set up a local media department during the offseason in case that scenario happened after Diamond Sports filed for bankruptcy in March. Games will be distributed via cable and satellite channels in the Padres' home television market. There will also be a direct-to-consumer streaming offering via MLB.TV.
Seth Brown scored on a fielding error by Atlanta third baseman Austin Riley in the ninth inning, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Braves 2-1 on Tuesday night, recording consecutive victories for the second time this season. Braves reliever Raisel Iglesias (1-2) walked three of the first four Oakland batters in the ninth. Jonah Bride hit a sharp grounder that Riley bobbled. Bride easily beat Riley’s throw to first as Brown scored, giving the A’s their fifth walkoff win of the season and first back-to-back victories since May 5-6 in Kansas City. Oakland moved to 12-45 with the win in front of 5,116, the 21st time in 30 home games that the attendance has been under 10,000. Kevin Pillar hit his sixth homer of the season for the NL East-leading Braves.
The Baltimore Orioles have signed outfielder Aaron Hicks, less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin. Mullins went on the 10-day injured list Tuesday. The Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract. The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary.
Breanna Stewart had 25 points and 11 rebounds in her return to the Pacific Northwest and the New York Liberty beat the Seattle Storm 86-78 on last night. It was Stewart’s first game in Seattle since going to the Liberty as a free agent during the offseason. The former MVP helped Seattle win two titles with Sue Bird, who sat courtside for the return. Stewart took over in the third quarter with 10 points and six rebounds to help New York extend a narrow halftime lead to 68-56 entering the fourth. She finished 8 of 14 from the field and 8 of 9 at the stripe. Seattle got within single digits early in the fourth before Sabrina Ionescu sank a deep 3-pointer to make it 72-61. Stewart’s fast-break layup, off a nice pass from Courtney Vandersloot, gave New York an 86-74 lead.
Tiffany Hayes scored 22 points, Brionna Jones had 19 points and 11 rebounds and the Connecticut Sun held off the Indiana Fever 81-78. Rookie Aliyah Boston made her first career 3-pointer to pull Indiana within 79-76 with 48.1 seconds left. After a timeout, DeWanna Bonner missed a contested layup and Indiana raced the other way, but Jones blocked a shot at the rim. Indiana retained possession and Boston made a putback to make it 79-78. Hayes was fouled with 9.4 seconds left and made two free throws for a three-point lead. Indiana found Lexie Hull open in the corner for a potential tying shot but her 3-pointer came up short. Alyssa Thomas added 13 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists and Natisha Hiedeman scored 11 for Connecticut.
Bob Myers is departing as president of basketball operations and general manager of the Golden State Warriors after building a championship team that captured four titles in an eight-year span. One of the most successful GMs over the past decade in any sport, Myers’ contract was set to expire in late June. There has been speculation for months about his future, given the sides had yet to reach agreement on an extension or a new deal. A team spokesman confirmed the departure Tuesday. Myers became GM in 2012 and constructed the roster that won the 2015 championship for the Warriors' first title in 40 years. They reached five straight NBA Finals from 2015-19.
The Southeastern Conference began four days of meetings on the Florida Gulf Coast for a second straight year, debating what to do with its football schedule. Texas and Oklahoma join the conference next year to make it a 16-team league that is abandoning divisions. The options are sticking with an eight-game slate, but shifting to one annual rivalry game instead of the current two, or going to nine games with three annual rivals. Georgia coach Kirby Smart called the great schedule debate the “most overrated conversation in the world.” And there is still no guarantee a decision will be made this week.
Standing a few feet from a golf green, Deshaun Watson made a pitch for DeAndre Hopkins to join him in Cleveland. The Browns quarterback said that he has spoken to Hopkins, his close friend and former Houston teammate, and encouraged the three-time All-Pro wide receiver to consider a reunion. Hopkins is a free agent after the Arizona Cardinals released him last week. Watson said he has been in contact with Hopkins, his teammate for three seasons. The Browns appear to be a longshot to land the 30-year-old Hopkins because of a lack of salary cap space. But Cleveland wasn’t expected to get Watson either until they lured him with a fully guaranteed $230 million contract.
Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev has lost in the first round of the French Open in five sets to an opponent who is ranked just 172nd and was playing only his second match in the main draw of any Grand Slam tournament. Thiago Seybolt Wild is a 23-year-old from Brazil who needed to go through qualifying rounds at Roland Garros just to earn a spot in the men’s bracket. He looked very much like he belonged on Court Philippe Chatrier on Tuesday. He hit big forehands and kept his nerve down the stretch to win 7-6 (5), 6-7 (8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
French Sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera says Novak Djokovic’s political message about Kosovo was “not appropriate. and warned the former top-ranked Serb player he should not do it again. Speaking on TV station France 2, Oudea-Castera said French Open director Amelie Mauresmo spoke with Djokovic and his entourage to insist on the principle of “neutrality” on the field of play. Djokovic has drawn criticism from Kosovo’s tennis federation after offering his thoughts on clashes in northern Kosovo between ethnic Serbs and police and NATO peacekeepers. After a first-round victory, Djokovic wrote in Serbian on the lens of a courtside TV camera that “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence.”
LIV Golf executives are fond of saying that “We're not going anywhere.” That much is true. The Saudi-funded league is not about to disappear. But is it going anywhere? The rival league in just one year has managed to blend in with the golf landscape. AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson says it still feels as though it's on an island because it doesn't look like the other tours. The problem going forward is having the same 48 players every tournament all year long. It's been one year since LIV announced its first roster of players. And they aren't the only ones getting rich. The PGA Tour also has benefited.
Olympic sports bodies are meeting amid ongoing uncertainty about if and how Russian athletes could return to their competitions ahead of the 2024 Paris Games. The annual meeting of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations is being held in the Olympic home city of Lausanne, Switzerland. The meeting comes more than two months after International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach advised how individual athletes from Russia and its military ally Belarus could be reintegrated as neutral athletes. Bach is to give a speech to leaders from the 32 Paris Olympics sports who ultimately control their own events.
The numbers suggest that horse racing is the safest it has been for the animals since at least 2009. Yet every death draws fresh criticism that the sport is far too cruel to continue. It also sends every stable into mourning all over again, often out of sight. That grief has been felt in particular with a recent spate of horse deaths at the home of the Kentucky Derby. Twelve horses have died at Churchill Downs over the past month, including two more last week.
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