WAMC Sports Report 8/23/23: Yankees extend losing streak to nine for first time since 1982
The New York Yankees extended a losing streak to nine for the first time in 41 years when Tommy Kahnle allowed a go-ahead homer to CJ Abrams with two outs in the eighth inning in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals last night. Winless since beating the Marlins on Aug. 11 in Miami, the Yankees are on their first nine-game skid since Sept. 13-21, 1982 — the final month of a 79-win season when they employed three managers. Abrams snapped a 1-1 tie by hitting a first-pitch changeup from Kahnle off the right field foul pole. It was the speedy shortstop’s 13th homer and sixth to give Washington the lead this year.
Eddie Rosario hit a two-run homer in the second inning, Marcell Ozuna had a solo shot in the fifth and the major league-leading Atlanta Braves held on to beat the New York Mets 3-2 on Tuesday night. The Braves took a 2-0 lead on Rosario’s 20th homer, a 415-foot shot to right-center. Rosario has gone deep four times on a nine-game homestand that ends Wednesday. Ozuna made it 3-0 with his 27th homer and third in the last two games. The Braves (81-44) have held first place in the NL East since April 3 and remained 12 1/2 games up in the division.
Kyle Tucker hit a two-run homer and Justin Verlander threw six scoreless innings to help the Houston Astros beat the Boston Red Sox 7-3. Boston manager Alex Cora and right fielder Alex Verdugo were both ejected for arguing balls and strikes as the Red Sox lost a second straight game at Houston. Verdugo was ejected in the top of the fourth by plate umpire Pat Hoberg, who also tossed Cora after the manager objected to a call in the seventh. Verlander allowed five hits and struck out a season-high nine in his fourth start since returning to the Astros in a trade with the Mets.
Wander Franco has been placed on administrative leave indefinitely by Major League Baseball while authorities in the Dominican Republic investigate the Tampa Bay Rays' All-Star shortstop for an alleged relationship with a minor. The 22-year-old will be paid and receive service time while on administrative leave under an agreement with the players’ association that did not set a timetable for a decision on whether he will be disciplined. Franco was placed on the restricted list for a week on Aug. 14 while MLB launched an investigation following social media posts suggesting he was in a relationship with a minor.
The Chicago White Sox have fired executive vice president Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn, cutting ties with their leadership on the baseball side amid another disappointing season. Williams was in his 11th season in his position after serving as the club’s general manager for 12 seasons. He was one of baseball's most prominent Black executives. Hahn had been the GM since October 2012. The White Sox are finishing a miserable season. They have dropped eight of 10 to fall to 49-77 on the season. Chicago made the playoffs in 2020 and 2021, and then went 81-81 last year.
Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona has had serious talks with the organization about his future, hinting that this could be his final season. The winningest manager in club history, the 64-year-old Francona, who has dealt with major health issues in recent years, did not announce his retirement and said any of those decisions will be addressed later. Francona is in his 11th season with Cleveland. He led the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles before joining the Guardians in 2013. The Guardians have made the playoffs six times and had only one losing season with Francona. This has been an especially challenging season for the defending AL Central champions because of injuries.
Three-time AL MVP Mike Trout has returned to the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup after missing 38 games with a broken bone in his left hand. Trout was in the lineup when the Angels hosted the Cincinnati Reds. Trout hasn’t played since July 3, when he broke the hamate bone by fouling off a pitch in the eighth inning. The 32-year-old superstar had surgery to repair the break, and he returned to the lineup seven weeks after the injury. Trout is returning even while his healing hand still becomes unusually painful after hitting in the batting cage. With the Angels’ playoff hopes hanging by a thread, Trout decided he couldn’t wait any longer.
The NBA has fined Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden $100,000 for public comments he made about his status with the team. Harden said last week he would not perform the services called for under his player contract unless he were traded. The league talked to Harden as part of its investigation and confirmed that his comments referenced Harden’s belief that the 76ers would not grant his request for a trade. Harden called 76ers president Daryl Morey a liar at a promotional event in China.
Alyssa Thomas had 22 points and 10 rebounds, DeWanna Bonner added 17 points and the Connecticut Sun held off the Washington Mystics 68-64. Connecticut led 63-57 with 6:21 remaining after Tyasha Harris made a 3-pointer. But the Sun didn’t score again until Bonner sank a wide open 3-pointer with 1:37 left for a 66-63 lead. Thomas turned it over on the offensive end and fouled Shakira Austin with 34.7 seconds left. Austin made the first free throw and missed the second, but she secured the loose ball in the paint. The Mystics had three more shot attempts during the possession but couldn’t get a shot to drop. DiJonai Carrington finally secured a defensive rebound for Connecticut and Bonner sealed it with two free throws with 3.5 seconds left.
A’ja Wilson matched the WNBA record for points in a game with 53 as the Las Vegas Aces beat the short-handed Atlanta Dream 112-100. Wilson equaled the record set on July 17, 2018 by Dallas’ Liz Cambage. Riquna Williams was the only other WNBA player to top 50, scoring 51 for Tulsa on Sept. 8, 2013. Wilson had 51 points when was fouled with 51.3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and made both free throws. She finished 16 of 23 from the field and 20 of 21 at the free-throw line. Wilson, the 2020 league MVP, is averaging 22.3 points this season, third in the league
BASKETBALL WORLD CUP
Basketball’s World Cup starts on Friday, spread out over three nations. The Philippines, Japan and Indonesia all will be hosts. It’ll be centered in Manila. That's where the medal rounds will be held in early September. That's also where the favored U.S. team will play all its games in the event. Fans have been waiting for years for this chance at seeing some of the game’s biggest names competing in their city. The home nation has declared Friday a national holiday of sorts, closing schools and some businesses to mark the occasion of the tournament opening.
Luka Doncic is going to tell Slovenia’s story from the Basketball World Cup in movie form. The Dallas Mavericks’ star, who will lead Slovenia in this World Cup, revealed that he’s been working on plans for a behind-the-scenes accounting of the team’s journey throughout FIBA’s biggest tournament. For the next three weeks, the eyes of the basketball world will be on the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. The World Cup is spread out across three countries for the first two rounds before all the biggest games get played in Manila to decide which nation will go home with gold medals and the Naismith Trophy on Sept. 10.
There is no doubt that Coco Gauff has to be considered one of the leading title contenders at the U.S. Open. The year's last Grand Slam tournament starts next week in New York. Gauff is a 19-year-old American who is playing as well as anyone in women's tennis right now. She has won 11 of her past 12 matches and the two biggest titles of her career. That run follows a disappointing first-round loss at Wimbledon. After that setback, Gauff stayed in her London hotel room for two days and thought about how that defeat made her feel. And then she got back to work.
Saints coach Dennis Allen says he expects tight end Jimmy Graham to return this week to practice following what team officials have described as a “medical episode” that led police in the Los Angeles area to arrest the veteran player and take him to a hospital. Saints team physician Dr. John Amoss has said Graham likely had a seizure and was disoriented when he was picked up by authorities in Orange County on Friday night. The Saints were in California last week for joint practices with the Los Angeles Chargers in advance of New Orleans’ 22-17 victory in both teams’ second preseason game on Sunday night. Graham did not play in the game.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has named Kristie Bowers its next director of athletics. Bowers, the first woman in the position, will be formally introduced today in Troy. Bowers replaces Lee McElroy, who retired this summer after eight years in the role. Bowers, who has been an associate athletics director at Boston University since 2019, holds a PhD in community and public affairs from SUNY Binghamton. She starred as a goalie for the Bearcats’ women’s soccer team as an undergraduate and holds school records for minutes played and career saves. She went on to coach at Binghamton and Western Carolina University.
If you plan to cheer on the Great Danes in person, leave your cash at home. The University at Albany says it is shifting to a cashless payment model for all events starting this fall. UAlbany says it will mean shorter lines and increased convenience. UAlbany says it will accept all major credit cards and Apple Pay and Google Pay. The SUNY school adds it is opening the gates 60 minutes before kickoff for home football games. The season opener is Saturday.
SARATOGA RACE COURSE
The draw for this weekend’s $1,250,000 Travers Stakes, the Grade I 1 ¼ mile race for three-year-old horses, was announced Thursday. Forte, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., is the morning line favorite at 7/5 odds. Winners of the three legs of the Triple Crown will also run- Mage, trained by Gustavo Delgado Sr. and ridden by Luiz Saez, who won the Kentucky Derby, is in the 4 slot with 4-to 1 odds. Preakness winner National Treasure, ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Bob Baffert, will take the 5 slot with 8/1 odds. Arcangelo, the Belmont Stakes winner, trained by Jena Antonucci and ridden by Javier Castellano, is in second position with 5/2 odds.
Other horses in the race will include Tapit Trice, ridden by Jose Ortiz and trained by Racing Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, will take third position and is at 12/1 odds. The seven-horse field is rounded out by Disarm, ridden by Joel Rosario and trained by Steve Asmussen at 8/1 odds, and Scotland, ridden by Junior Alvarado and trained by Bill Mott, at 12/1 odds.
LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES
Mexico (Tijuana) def. Latin America (Maracaibo, Venezuela), 3-1
Southeast (Nolensville, TN) def. Mountain (Henderson, NV), 2-1
Japan (Tokyo) def. Panama (Santiago de Veraguas), 5-4
West (El Segundo, CA) def. Metro (Smithfield, RI), 9-3
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