#SportsReport: Ross, Klineman Win Gold In Beach Volleyball; Messi Leaves Barcelona
Friday's U.S. medal grab at the Tokyo Olympics began with beach volleyball. Americans April Ross and Alix Klineman beat an Australian duo, 21-15, 21-16 for the championship. It's Ross' third medal in as many Olympics, to go with the silver she won in London and a bronze from Brazil. Klineman is a first-time Olympian.
Also at the Tokyo Games:
The United States women’s volleyball team made it to the gold medal match for the fourth time ever after avenging a semifinal loss five years ago to Serbia with a 25-19, 25-15, 25-23 victory Friday. The Americans easily dispatched of the team that denied them a chance at their elusive first gold medal in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. They advanced to the gold medal match against the winner of the Brazil-South Korea semifinal. Serbia will play the loser for the bronze.
Brittney Griner had 15 points and 12 rebounds to help the U.S. beat Serbia 79-59 to advance to the gold medal game in the women's basketball tournament. The Americans are now one win away from a seventh consecutive gold medal which would match the U.S. men’s team that won seven Olympic titles in a row from 1936-68. It would also give Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi five gold medals, the most ever by a basketball player in the Olympics. The Americans will face either Japan or France on Sunday.
The number of Games-related COVID-19 infections has risen to 387 as Tokyo records more than 5,000 cases in one day for the first time during the pandemic. No athletes or residents of the Olympic Village are among the new cases.
The International Olympic Committee says it has removed two Belarus team coaches from the Olympics, four days after they were involved in trying to send sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya back to Belarus. The IOC linked them to taking Tsimanouskaya in a car to the airport to put her on a plane to Belarus. Tsimanouskaya had criticized team coaches on social media and is now in Poland on a humanitarian visa.
Joey Gallo hit his first homer as a Yankee, a go-ahead three-run blast in the seventh inning of their 5-3 victory over the Mariners. Gallo entered 2-for-24 in six games with New York before going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. His 26th homer helped the Yankees win for the sixth time in seven games and move a season-high 10 games over .500 at 59-49.
Elsewhere in baseball:
In Miami, the Marlins scored three times in the bottom of the eighth to break a 1-1 tie and beat the Mets, 4-2. Jorge Alfaro ended the deadlock with an RBI single off Jeurys Familia before Lewis Brinson followed with a two-run double. Miami took three of four from the NL East leaders, who have dropped six of eight overall heading into a big weekend series against the Phillies.
The Red Sox lost for the sixth time in seven games as Victor Reyes tripled twice and collected three RBIs in the Tigers' 8-1 rout of Boston. Tarik Skubal was sharp over five shutout innings, allowing five hits and striking out four. Jonathan Schoop contributed two hits and two RBIs for Detroit, which dropped the Bosox 1 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Rays.
Bo Bichette and Ross Stripling led the Blue Jays to a 3-0 win over the Indians. Bichette hit a two-run homer in the fourth and added an RBI single in the sixth. Stripling gave up three hits and struck out six over six innings to win his second consecutive appearance since a four-start winless streak.
The Phillies are within a half-game of the National League East lead after putting together a four-run ninth to complete a four-game sweep of Washington, 7-6. The Nationals led 5-3 until J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins hit two-run doubles in the ninth to send the Phils to their fifth win in a row. Bryce Harper homered in the second against his former team, but the Phillies wasted an early 2-0 lead and trailed 5-2 following Juan Soto's three-run blast in the fifth.
Austin Riley unloaded a two-run homer while the Braves erupted for six runs in the eighth inning to beat St. Louis, 8-4. Ehire Adrianza drove in the go-ahead run with the first of four straight bases-loaded walks, helping Atlanta get within 1 1/2 games of the NL East lead. Wade LeBlanc was denied his first victory in over a year after leaving the game with a 3-2 lead after six innings.
The Giants erased a 4-0 deficit in the ninth inning before Kris Bryant doubled in the winning run in the 10th to give them a 5-4 triumph over the Diamondbacks. The Giants collected five hits in the ninth after managing just three over eight frames against Arizona starter Merrill Kelly. LaMonte Wade Jr's two-run single tied it for San Francisco, which leads the NL West by four games over the Dodgers.
Eugenio Suárez and Joey Votto each hit three-run homers during a six-run second that powered the Reds past the Pirates, 7-4. Jonathan India also went deep and pitcher Sonny Gray helped himself with two hits as second-place Cincinnati moved within seven games of the NL Central-leading Brewers. Gray gave up six hits and four runs with two walks and seven strikeouts in five innings.
Trevor Story hit two home runs, including a go-ahead, two-run drive in the fifth inning of the Rockies' 6-5 downing of the Cubs. Sam Hilliard and Connor Joe also homered and Brendan Rodgers extended his hitting streak to 12 games with two singles for Colorado.
Daniel Lynch and four relievers combined on a six-hitter as the Royals nipped the White Sox, 3-2. Lynch limited the AL Central leaders to a run and four hits over five-plus innings. Kansas City went ahead for good when Emmanuel Rivera's line drive was misplayed into a two-run double five batters into the top of the first.
The Twins beat the Astros, 5-3 behind Griffin Jax, who allowed three hits and one run in a career-high 5 1/3 innings for his first career victory as a starter. Andrelton Simmons drove in two runs to help Minnesota build a 5-1 lead. Yordan Alvarez belted a two-run homer in the ninth for the Astros, whose lead in the AL West is 4 1/2 games over the Athletics.
The Angels were 5-0 winners over the Rangers as Dylan Bundy pitched three-hit ball over 6 1/3 innings in his second appearance since returning to the rotation. Bundy had a 6.78 ERA when he was sent to the bullpen in late June. Adam Eaton homered, and José Iglesias added a two-run single as Los Angeles took the four-game series from last-place Texas after losing the opener.
In MLB news:
Cole Hamels is reviving his major league career. The four-time All-Star has signed a prorated one-year, $3.05 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers through the end of the season, adding more depth to a pitching staff that has been racked with injuries. The left-hander will earn about $1 million from the deal, signed with less than two months less in the season. There are $200,000 bonuses for each start and every relief appearance of 3 1/3 innings or more, up to a total of 15 each. He agreed to accept an optional assignment to the minors, and the team agreed to recall him no later than Sept. 2. Hamels has thrown just 52 major league pitches and made just one appearance since the end of 2019, allowing three runs over 3 1/3 innings for the Braves in a 5-1 loss in Baltimore last September.
Trevor Bauer's leave has been extended through August 13. Bauer was placed on seven days' paid leave July 2 under the joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy adopted by MLB and the players' union in 2015. MLB and the union have agreed to four extensions.
Catcher Gary Sánchez became the latest Yankee to test positive for the coronavirus. Manager Aaron Boone said the positive result for Sánchez came from a rapid test and the Yankees were awaiting the results of a PCR test. Starting pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Gerrit Cole were sidelined by COVID-19 earlier in the week.
Former major league All-Star and flame thrower J.R. Richard has died at 71. Richard spent 10 years with the Astros before his career was cut short by a stroke in 1980. He twice led the National League in strikeouts, was the league's ERA champ in 1979 and was 107-71 with a 3.15 earned run average.
The Indians have agreed to a 15-year lease extension at Progressive Field, pending legislative approval. The deal will keep them at their downtown ballpark through 2036 and theoretically end speculation the franchise would relocate. The Indians are partnering with the city, county and state to spend $435 million in renovations on the ballpark, which opened in 1994.
The New York Knicks have locked Julius Randle into an extension after he was named the NBA's most improved player. A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that the All-Star forward has agreed to a four-year, $117 million, four-year extension that takes effect following next season. The added years bring his contract's total value to five years and $140 million. Randle earned the new deal by leading the Knicks to the playoffs in his best season. He set a career high by scoring 24.1 points per game and matched his high by averaging 10.2 rebounds in his seventh season. Randle also set career highs with 6.0 assists per game and his 41% shooting on 3-pointers.
In other NBA news:
The Nets have signed former LSU guard Cam Thomas, who was the 27th player taken in last month's draft. Thomas spent one year with the Tigers, starting 29 games and averaging 23 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 34 minutes.
The Raptors have announced that front office executive Masai Ujiri is remaining with the team. The team did not elaborate, but ESPN reported his new title is vice chairman and president of the club after serving as president of basketball operations.
The Hawks have signed first-round draft pick Jalen Johnson, the former Duke standout was the No. 20 overall pick in the draft last week. Johnson played only 13 games as a freshman at Duke last season, averaging averaged 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds.
The Steelers followed a stumbling first half with a strong final 30 minutes to beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-3, the first NFL preseason game in two years. Matthew Sexton's 36-yard punt return early in the third quarter jump-started the Steelers, and the Cowboys never challenged after it.
In other NFL news:
As it gets ready for the season, the Washington Football Team says it will no longer allow fans to wear "Native American inspired" dress inside its home stadium, including headdresses and face paint. The team has undergone several changes since dropping its controversial “Redskins” nickname last year, and says the changes are to provide "the best possible fan experience for all guests at FedExField."
Three of the four Dolphins players who had been on the COVID-19 reserve list have been removed from it. Coming off the list are tight ends Cethan Carter and Adam Shaheen and receiver Preston Williams. Tight end Mike Gesicki remains on the list.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has been activated from the COVID-19 reserve list. He completed the NFL's required five-day quarantine for unvaccinated players deemed a high-risk close contact with an infected person. The Vikings also activated Nate Stanley to bring their quarterback cadre close to full strength after a tenuous stretch of training camp practices. Rookie Kellen Mond tested positive and remains on the reserve list away from the team.
Barcelona has announced that Lionel Messi will not stay with the club. The clubs says the Spanish league's financial regulations made it impossible to sign the Argentina star to a new contract. Messi is leaving after 17 successful seasons in which he propelled the Catalan club to glory, helping it win numerous domestic and international titles since debuting as a teenager. Meanwhile, Manchester City has broken the British transfer fee record to sign midfielder Jack Grealish from Aston Villa. The defending Premier League champs paid a fee of 100 million pounds, or $139 million.
Roger Federer has pulled out of the upcoming hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati because of lingering issues with his surgically repaired knee. The withdrawals announced Thursday shed doubt on his status for the U.S. Open, which begins on August 30. Federer turns 40 on Sunday and hasn't competed since losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals to Hubert Hurkacz on July 8.
Also in tennis, Rafael Nadal was ousted in his second match at the Citi Open in Washington, falling in three sets to 50th-ranked Lloyd Harris of South Africa. Nadal skipped Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics as he tries to recover from a left foot injury.
Harris English matched his lowest score in taking the first-round lead in the PGA's FedEx St. Jude Invitational. English fired an 8-under 62 to build a two-shot advantage over Jim Herman, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter and Matthew Wolff. Bryson DeChambeau, Scottie Scheffler and Marc Leishman are another shot back at 65. DeChambeau returned to competition after missing the Tokyo Olympics because of a positive test for COVID-19.
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