#SportsReport: Swimming Gold For Alaska, Early Exit For Osaka
Japan's tennis superstar is out of the Tokyo Olympics. Naomi Osaka lost to former French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-4 in the third round of the Tokyo tournament. The second-ranked Osaka, who was born in Japan and grew up in the United States, struggled with her usually reliable groundstrokes. The 42nd-ranked Vondrousova produced a series of drop-shot winners and other crafty shots that drew Osaka out of her comfort zone. Osaka won her opening two matches in straight sets following a two-month mental-health break. But conditions were different Tuesday with the roof closed because it was raining outside.
In other Olympic events:
US swimmer Lydia Jacoby had already made Olympic history by becoming the first Alaskan ever to make the US swim team. She's now a gold medalist, winning the women's 100 meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games. The 17-year-old high schooler knocked off teammate and defending Olympic champion Lilly King, who finished third. Jacoby rallied to win in 1 minute, 4.95 seconds. South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker claimed the silver in 1:05.22. Aussie swimmer Kaylee McKeown set an Olympic record in the women's 100-meter backstroke, swimming 57:47 for gold. Former world record-holder Regan Smith of the United States settled for the bronze at 58.05.
For the first time since 1992, the American men lost a backstroke race at the Olympic pool. Russia swept the top two spots in the 100-meter back, with Evgeny Rylov claiming the gold medal in 51.98 seconds and teammate Kliment Kolesnikov taking the silver in 52.00. Defending Olympic champion Ryan Murphy settled for the bronze in 52.19.
American Katie Zaferes came away with bronze in the women's triathlon. Flora Duffy won the event, earning Bermuda's first Olympic gold medal and its first medal of any kind since 1976.
The U.S. women's volleyball team has handed defending gold medalist China its second straight-set loss. The Americans won a tight first set 29-27 on their fourth set point before taking the final two sets 25-22 and 25-21. They improve to 2-0 so far in Tokyo after sweeping France in the opener. The American "A-Team" of April Ross and Alix Klineman have guaranteed themselves at least one more beach volleyball match by beating Spain 21-13, 21-16 for their second straight win. With one more game in the preliminaries left, they can do no worse than a three-way tie for first. The deadlock would be broken during a "lucky loser" matchup after the round-robin.
The Mets were able to split a twinbill with the Braves, keeping Atlanta five games behind first-place New York in the National League East. Jeff McNeil supplied a game-winning hit for the second straight day, lacing an RBI double in the fifth inning of the Mets' 1-0 win over the Braves in Game 2. Brandon Nimmo led off with an infield single and scored one out later on a hit by McNeil, who was making his first start since Wednesday. Six relievers combined on a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts in the seven-inning second game.
The Braves took the opener of a doubleheader in New York as Kyle Muller combined with two relievers on a five-hitter in a 2-0 shutout of the division-leading Mets. Muller limited the Mets to four hits and two walks over five innings for his second major league win. He also helped Atlanta score the first run with a single off losing pitcher Marcus Stroman in the third inning for his first major league hit. Joc Pederson followed with an RBI double.
In other major league action:
The Red Sox rallied in the eighth for the second straight day as Alex Verdugo hit a two-run homer in the inning to push the AL East leaders to a 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays. Boston star Rafael Devers also homered before the deciding hit, one day after Verdugo broke up a no-hitter to spark a five-run eighth against the Yankees.
The Phillies pulled out a 6-5 win over the Nationals on Andrew McCutchen's three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. Rhys Hoskins also had a three-run homer for the second-place Phillies, who are 3 1/2 games behind the Mets in the NL East.
Pinch-hitter Javier Báez slapped a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth to send the Cubs past the Reds, 6-5. Joey Votto homered for the third time in three games and drove in three runs for Cincinnati, which lost for the seventh time in 10 games.
Jorge Soler homered twice for the second straight game and the Royals extended their winning streak to six games with a 4-3 win over the AL Central-leading White Sox. Mike Minor gave the Royals their fifth quality start in the last six games, limiting Chicago to two runs on three hits over six innings.
The Mariners came away with an 11-8 comeback win over the AL West-leading Astros on Dylan Moore's grand slam in the eighth inning. The Astros scored six runs in the first and led 7-0 in the fourth before Seattle started to rally.
Max Kepler's RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning was the difference in the Twins' 6-5 decision over the Tigers. Robbie Grossman's pinch-hit, two-run homer tied the game for the Tigers with one out in the ninth after All-Star Twins closer Taylor Rogers left with a sprained left middle finger.
Shohei Ohtani delivered an RBI single and allowed a run and five hits over seven innings of the Angels' 6-2 downing or the Rockies. Jack Mayfield added a two-run homer for the Angels, his fourth of the season and third in his last five games.
In MLB news, the Yankees have acquired reliever Clay Holmes from the Pirates for infielders Hoy Park and Diego Castillo. Holmes is 3-2 in 44 relief appearances with 44 strikeouts and 35 walks in 42 innings.
Yankees All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge and catcher Kyle Higashioka took another step in returning from the COVID-19 injured list by taking batting practice at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. First baseman Luke Voit also took part in the workout at the Yankees' spring training complex as he recovers from left knee inflammation. New York opens a key series Tuesday night in nearby St. Petersburg against Tampa Bay. Judge and Higashioka are expected back during the three-game set.
The Padres have announced their acquisition of All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier from the Pirates for three prospects. He leads the majors with 125 hits and is batting .324. Pittsburgh is receiving infielder Tucupita Marcano, outfielder Jack Suwinski and right-hander Michell Miliano in the trade.
The Athletics added a reliable arm to their bullpen by getting Andrew Chafin from the Chicago Cubs for two minor leaguers. Chafin was 0-2 with a 2.06 ERA in 43 relief appearances covering 39 1/3 innings for the Cubs this season.
The Big 12 Conference will be losing Texas and Oklahoma. The question now is when. The Longhorns and Sooners have taken the first formal step toward moving to the Southeastern Conference by notifying the Big 12 they would not be renewing an agreement that binds the league's members through 2025. The schools sent out a joint statement that made no mention of the SEC and said "the universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements." Those grant of rights agreements involve media rights and run concurrently with the conference's TV contract with ESPN and Fox. Texas and Oklahoma have been in discussions with the SEC about joining the league, though neither school nor the powerhouse conference has acknowledged that publicly. The next step likely is a buyout between the two schools and the Big 12, a penalty cushioned by the revenue disparity between the Big 12 and SEC. Big 12 TV revenue was $34.5 million per school last year. The SEC announced an average payout to each of its members of $44.6 million in January.
It's anyone's guess as to whether three-time NFL Aaron Rodgers shows up at Green Bay Packers training camp this week. Even the team's top executive isn't sure. Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy remains hopeful the quarterback will play for them this season, but says he doesn't know whether Rodgers will arrive for the start of camp. Murphy's comments followed an NFL Network report that Rodgers has indicated to people close to him he does plan to play for the Packers this season. ESPN later reported that Rodgers and the Packers were close to an agreement that would include voiding the 2023 season from his contract. The Packers' camp opens on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
Colts coach Frank Reich will miss the start of training camp after testing positive for COVID-19. General manager Chris Ballard says Reich's test came back late last week and that he has had no symptoms. While Reich is fully vaccinated, Ballard says it is unlikely Reich will return to practice until early next week.
The Bengals have given defensive end Sam Hubbard a four-year contract extension. Hubbard has played in played 44 career games and has 16 1/2 sacks, third most among all players from his draft class.
Washington has signed star defensive tackle Jonathan Allen to a four-year, $72 million contract extension with a $30 million signing bonus. The former first-round selection was fourth on the team last season with 63 tackles and also had two sacks.
The Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to trade center Jonas Valanciunas to the New Orleans Pelicans for center Steven Adams, guard Eric Bledsoe and a swap of multiple draft choices. That's according to a person familiar with the situation said. The trade was first reported by ESPN. It sends New Orleans' 10th and 40th overall draft choices to Memphis for the Grizzlies' 17th and 51st overall picks this year. Memphis also will receive a protected 2022 first-round choice from New Orleans.
The Florida Panthers have signed restricted free agent forward Sam Bennett to a four-year, $17.7 million contract. Bennett put up 15 points in 10 regular-season games and was a point-a-game player in the playoffs after joining the Panthers from Calgary at the trade deadline. The Panthers now need a new deal for Sam Reinhart after acquiring him from Buffalo.
In other moves around the NHL:
The Panthers sent defenseman Anton Stralman, defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok and Florida's second-round pick in 2024 to the Coyotes for Arizona's seventh-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
New Jersey acquired defenseman Christian Jaros from San Jose for forward Nick Merkley, St. Louis re-signed Aussie Nathan Walker for two years and Jake Virtanen cleared unconditional waivers to move him closer to a buyout by Vancouver.
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