#SportsReport: Red Sox Down Blue Jays In Buffalo Finale; Texas, Oklahoma Reach Out To SEC | WAMC

#SportsReport: Red Sox Down Blue Jays In Buffalo Finale; Texas, Oklahoma Reach Out To SEC

Jul 22, 2021

For the city of Buffalo, it was fun while it lasted. After not hosting a Major League Baseball game since its days as a Federal League outpost in 1915, Buffalo made the most of its opportunity, hosting the Toronto Blue Jays over two seasons because of coronavirus concerns. It all ended Wednesday night, as J.D. Martinez and Hunter Renfroe connected back-to-back to help the Boston Red Sox beat Toronto 7-4 in the final MLB game to be played in the city for the foreseeable future.

In the middle of the third inning, Toronto players and coaches came out of the dugout to salute the fans at Sahlen Field. The Blue Jays will return to Toronto on July 30 after the Canadian government granted them an exemption to the U.S.-Canada travel ban. 

Elsewhere in baseball: 

Marcus Stroman was terrific in the Mets' 7-0 win over the Reds, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out seven over eight innings. Stroman gave the bullpen a break after New York starters had worked just five innings over the last three games. Dominic Smith highlighted the offense with a grand slam for the Mets, who scored their other runs on homers by Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar.

The Yankees coughed up a 5-2 lead before beating the Phillies, 6-5 on Ryan LaMarre's game-ending single in the 10th inning. LaMarre's clutch hit gave the Yankees their fourth straight win and ninth in 12 games heading into a four-game series with Boston. The Phils tied it with a three-run eighth with help from an error, four walks and a wild pitch that knotted the score.

The Marlins picked up a 3-1 win over the Nationals as pinch-hitter Jorge Alfaro doubled home the tiebreaking run in the 10th inning. Miguel Flores padded Miami's lead with a sacrifice fly before the Marlins ended a four-game losing streak. Andrew Stevenson had an RBI-double for Washington, which had its three-game winning streak halted.

The Milwaukee Brewers enjoy a large lead in the National League Central right now, but they were never able to beat the worst team in the AL Central this season. The Brewers put together a sloppy performance in a 6-3 loss to the Royals, allowing Kansas City to sweep the four-game season series. Milwaukee made a pair of errors that caused the Royals' first five runs to be unearned. Nicky Lopez had the key hit, a tiebreaking, two-run double in a three-run sixth. Brad Keller won for the first time since June 4, allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings. Milwaukee still leads its division by 6 ½ games over the Reds.

Yadier Molina singled home the game-winning run off Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the 10th to give the Cardinals a 3-2 win over the Cubs. Chicago tied it 2-2 in the ninth when pinch-hitter Eric Sogard doubled to right off reliever Giovanny Gallegos. Harrison Bader has five multi-hit performances in his last seven games after going 3-for-4 with an RBI double that put St. Louis ahead in the seventh.

The Giants have restored their two-game lead in the NL West by scoring three times in the ninth inning of a 4-2 comeback over the second-place Dodgers in Los Angeles. The Dodgers owned a 2-1 lead and were on the verge of pulling into a first-place tie until Wilmer Flores slammed a two-run homer off Kenley Jansen. The Giants received four perfect innings from their bullpen after starter Logan Webb was reached for three hits, including Chris Taylor's homer leading off the bottom of the first.

Fernando Tatis Jr. slammed his NL-leading 29th home run, a two-run blast that gave the Padres a 3-0 lead in a 3-2 win over the Braves in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The All-Star shortstop has eight hits, seven runs scored and six RBIs in his last five games. Chris Paddack reversed his recent struggles by limiting Atlanta to three hits over five scoreless innings. Game 2 of the Padres-Braves twinbill was suspended by rain in the middle of the fifth inning with San Diego leading, 5-4. The rest of the game could be played in San Diego when the Braves visit the Padres for a three-game series Sept. 24-26. 

Pavin Smith and Daulton Varsho hit consecutive home runs leading off the seventh inning of the Diamondbacks' 6-4 downing of the Pirates. Madison Bumgarner allowed three runs over five innings for Arizona in his second start since coming off the injured list. The DBacks completed a three-game sweep and ran their winning streak to four games, tying a season high.

Dom Nunez laced a three-run double while the Rockies scored five in the first inning of a 6-3 win against the Mariners. Austin Gomber pitched effectively for six innings in his return from the injured list, surrendering homers by Kyle Seager, Mitch Haniger and Luis Torrens. Gomber didn't allow any other hits in winning his fourth straight decision.

The Rays pulled out a 5-4 win over the Orioles on Austin Meadows' two-out, two-strike, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth. Randy Arozarena homered twice and had a key single in the ninth as Tampa Bay won for the 10th time in 13 games. The Birds' loss came after they announced that pitcher Keegan Akin and outfielder Anthony Santander were placed on the COVID-19 injured list.

Max Kepler homered in his second straight game and Jorge Polanco also went deep for the Twins in a 7-2 downing of the White Sox. Polanco made it 6-1 with his sixth-inning blast. The Twins beat the AL Central leaders for just the fourth time in 16 games.

The Tigers earned their sixth straight win as Matt Manning pitched six strong innings to lead a 4-2 victory over the Rangers. Robbie Grossman, Zack Short and Akil Baddoo hit home runs as the Tigers matched their longest winning streak since an eight-game run in 2016. Texas has lost eight in a row and has been outscored 47-5 in six games since the All-Star break.

The Indians were 5-4 winners over the Astros as rookie Ernie Clement had a season-high three RBIs and Cesar Hernandez smacked a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning. Rookie starter Eli Morgan permitted three hits and three runs in five-plus innings. Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker both homered for the second straight game, but Houston lost to Cleveland for the first time in seven meetings this year.

In MLB news, the Mets have traded outfielder Billy McKinney to the Dodgers for minor league outfielder Carlos Rincon and cash. The Mets acquired McKinney from Milwaukee on May 25. In 39 games with New York, the 26-year-old batted .220 with five home runs and 14 RBIs. He was designated for assignment on July 16. The NL East-leading Mets also claimed right-hander Roel Ramírez off waivers from the Cardinals.

NHL

Carey Price remains property of the Montreal Canadiens after the Seattle Kraken passed on the netminder in the NHL expansion draft. Instead, the Kraken selected Panthers netminder Chris Driedger and gave him a three-year, $10.5 million package. Seattle took on some big contracts, selecting Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and Islanders forward Jordan Eberle. Other notable players chosen by the Kraken include Lightning center Yanni Gourde and Maple Leafs forward Jared McCann. Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon was the first player taken by Seattle.

NFL

The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a five-year contract extension with Fred Warner that makes him the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in the NFL. A person familiar with the deal said the extension that runs through 2026 is worth about $95 million with $40.5 million in guarantees. The package tops the $18 million a year average for Seattle's Bobby Wagner, which had been the top at the position. ESPN first reported the deal.

In other NFL news, Steelers linebacker Vince Williams has announced his retirement just months after taking a pay cut to return for a ninth season. The 31-year-old Williams appeared in 121 games for the Steelers after making the team as a sixth-round pick out of Florida State in 2013. He carved out early in his career as a special teams ace and then became one of the more physical inside linebackers in the NFL.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

The Southeastern Conference could be adding two marquee football programs in the future. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Big 12 powers Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC about potentially joining the league. The report cites a source the paper did not identify, only to say it was a high-ranking official with knowledge of the situation. The paper said an announcement could come in the next couple of weeks. Adding two members would give the powerhouse SEC 16 teams, the largest in major college football. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey declined to comment on the report.

Also, legendary college football coach Bobby Bowden says he has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition. He did not disclose his condition in his statement Wednesday. The 91-year-old Bowden says he is at peace and is prepared for what is to come. The College Football Hall of Famer was hospitalized last October after he tested positive for COVID-19. The test came a few days after he returned home from a lengthy hospital stay for an infection in his leg. Bowden had 357 wins during his coaching career, most of them at Florida State. The Seminoles won 12 Atlantic Coast Conference championships and two national titles in his tenure.

OLYMPICS

USA Basketball expects to have its full 12-man roster available for Sunday's matchup against France. It's the first game for both teams in the Tokyo Olympics. Zach LaVine has been cleared to exit the health and safety protocols that stemmed from a coronavirus testing-related issue. He will fly to Japan and rejoin the team Thursday. Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Devin Booker are expected to arrive in Tokyo on Saturday after competing in the NBA Finals. Middleton and Holiday just helped the Bucks beat Booker's Suns.

In other Olympics news:

The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee has fired the director of the opening ceremony because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998. His dismissal comes the day before Friday's opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Games. Earlier this week, a composer whose music is expected to be used at the opening ceremony was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates.

Four-time women's basketball gold medalist Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez have been chosen as USA flag bearers for Friday's opening ceremony. They are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation into the ceremony.

Two athletes were among four residents of the Olympic Village who were added to the tally Thursday of people accredited for the Tokyo Games who have tested positive for COVID-19 this month. That brings the number to 91, including European swimming champion Ilya Borodin and a US volleyball player believed to be Taylor Crabb.

Tokyo's COVID-19 infections have surged to a six-month high with the Olympic host city logging 1,832 new cases just two days before the Games open. Tokyo is currently under its fourth state of emergency, which will last two weeks after the Olympics end.

Brisbane will host the 2032 Olympics, the inevitable winner of a one-city race steered by the IOC to avoid rival bids. The Games will go back to Australia 32 years after the popular 2000 Sydney Olympics.

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