#SportsReport: AL Wins Eighth Straight All-Star Game; Guerrero Jr. Named MVP
The American League has earned its eighth consecutive All-Star Game victory. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Mike Zunino hit solo homers and Xander Bogaerts had two of the AL's nine hits in a 5-2 victory over the National League. Marcus Semien put the junior circuit ahead to stay with an RBI single in the second, one inning before Guerrero went deep. Guerrero also poked an RBI grounder and Bogaerts added a run-scoring single. Guerrero is the first Toronto Blue Jay to be named the MVP of the All-Star Game. J.T. Realmuto put the NL on the board with a solo shot in the fifth. Jared Walsh made a sliding catch in left field on Kris Bryant's tricky liner with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning, keeping the AL ahead. Angels star Shohei Ohtani made history as the first All-Star to be selected as both a pitcher and a hitter. He was the AL starting pitcher and worked a perfect first inning to get the win but finished 0-for-2 at the plate. Corbin Burnes took the loss, yielding two runs and four hits over two frames. The AL owns a 46-43-2 lead in the all-time series.
Before the game, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred hinted there may be changes coming to the sport. Manfred says banning or limiting defensive shifts would be an effort to restore Major League Baseball to how it was played before offense was suffocated by analytics. He also said seven-inning doubleheaders and starting extra innings with runners on second base likely will be dropped after this season. Extending the DH to the NL could be possible. Manfred said MLB was considering having umpires explain video review decisions to fans at ballparks over the public-address system, similar to the procedure in the NFL.
In other MLB news:
Manfred says the fate of the Athletics in Oakland will be determined in the next few months. A's owners have proposed a new ballpark in the Howard Terminal area of Oakland. Manfred said if the stadium project is not approved, the team would move forward with either a move to Las Vegas or a wider relocation search.
The commissioner was unhappy with flippant comments made by Dodgers president Stan Kasten that followed the start of the sport's investigation of domestic violence allegations against Trevor Bauer. The Los Angeles pitcher was placed on administrative leave by MLB on July 2, three days after an allegation of assault was made by a woman against Bauer.
The United States Olympic Men's Basketball Team has avoided its first three-game losing streak in the era of NBA-eligible players. Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal each scored 17 points and the Americans took control from the outset, beating Argentina 108-80 in Las Vegas. Zach LaVine scored 15 for the U.S., which lost its first two games in Las Vegas to Nigeria and Australia. It was 15-4 USA before the game was even 3 1/2 minutes old. The lead was as much as 17 later in the opening quarter.
In NBA news, it turns out Kawhi Leonard's knee injury was a lot more serious than the Los Angeles Clippers originally announced. The All-Star forward has undergone surgery to repair a partial tear of his right ACL. Leonard first got hurt in Game 4 of the team's second-round series against the Utah Jazz. He was held out of the last eight postseason games, including the Clippers' 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Suns in the West finals. The Clippers continued to announce that Leonard had a knee sprain as the team completed its playoff run. They never offered further details and he was ruled out on a game-by-game basis the rest of the playoffs. The Clippers said there is no timetable for his return.
Roger Federer says he won't participate in the Tokyo Olympics after having a setback with his knee. Federer had said before Wimbledon that he would make a decision about going to the Summer Games after the Grand Slam tournament ended. The 39-year-old from Switzerland lost in the quarterfinals at the All England Club last week to Hubert Hurkacz. Also in Olympic tennis, Britain's Johanna Konta won't compete in the Games after testing positive for COVID-19. She was dropped from Wimbledon just over two weeks ago when a member of her team contracted the virus.
In other news tied to the Summer Games:
The White House says First Lady Jill Biden will attend the opening ceremony, even as Tokyo has entered a new state of emergency over a rise in coronavirus cases. President Joe Biden isn't going. That's a shift from the last time she attended, in 2010, when she and her husband led the U.S. delegation to the Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.
Three-time world champion Peter Sagan has withdrawn from the Olympic road race, a day after minor surgery to treat an infection in his knee. During a crash in the third stage of the Tour de France, Sagan got a deep gash on his knee that later became infected. Also withdrawing from the Olympic road race is Jack Haig, who is recovering from a broken collarbone he suffered during the same stage of the Tour.
Olympic champion gymnast Oleg Verniaiev says he has been banned from the Games following a failed drug test. The Ukrainian gymnast says in an Instagram post that he tested positive for the banned substance meldonium and was banned after a ruling by the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation. Verniaiev denies wrongdoing and says he will appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He won gold on the parallel bars at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 and was the silver medalist in the all-around.
Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has announced his retirement after 15 NHL seasons. The Finland native says he's been on an incredible journey, with the Predators taking him to more places than he could imagine. Rinne says this decision wasn't easy but the right one at the right time. The 2018 Vezina Trophy winner earned a 5-0 win over the Hurricanes in his last start on May 10. It was his 60th career shutout and tied him with Tom Barrasso for 19th on the NHL wins list with 369.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois has confirmed that star forward Nikita Kucherov played in the Stanley Cup Final with a non-displaced rib fracture. Kucherov was hurt on a cross-check during Game 6 of the conference final against the Islanders. Defenseman Victor Hedman played the entire postseason with a torn meniscus, which occurred March 30.
Dominique Ducharme has been promoted to head coach of the Montreal Canadiens after leading the club to its first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 28 years. The Habs have announced that Ducharme has agreed to a three-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season. The 48-year-old was promoted to the role of interim head coach on Feb. 24 after the struggling Canadiens fired former head coach Claude Julien.
The Wild are buying out the contracts of veteran stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter with four years remaining on each. They signed identical $98 million, 13-year deals in 2012. The buyouts will combine to cost the Wild almost $15 million against the salary cap.
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