Wednesday’s Sports Minute

Wednesday’s Sports Minute

OAKLAND A's:Oakland Athletics' Brandon Moss, left, and Yoenis Cespedes celebrate after scoring on Josh Donaldson's double during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros Tuesday, July 29, in Houston. The Athletics beat the Astros 7-4. Photo: Associated Press/David J. Phillip

A look at the sports news making headlines today, Wednesday, July 30.

A’s rally as Angels fall

The Oakland Athletics were able to pad their lead in the American League West by rallying for a victory in Houston while the Los Angeles Angels were losing in extra innings.

The A’s erupted for six runs in the ninth inning to beat the Astros 7-4. Alberto Callaspo sparked the rally with a two-run single before Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss added RBI singles to put the Athletics ahead. Josh Donaldson capped the rally with a two-run double as the A’s moved 2 ½ games ahead of the second-place Angels.

The Angels were 7-6 losers in Baltimore on Manny Machado’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the 12th. Nick Markakis hit a three-run homer and Adam Jones added a solo blast before the Orioles improved to 12-3 in extra innings.

The Birds blew a 6-4 lead before maintaining their 2 ½-game lead over Toronto in the AL East.

The Blue Jays kept pace with the O’s as Marcus Stroman held Boston to a run and six hits while fanning eight over seven innings of Toronto’s 4-2 triumph at Fenway Park. Anthony Gose snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-run double in the fourth after Colby Rasmus homered.

Detroit’s lead in the AL Central remains five games over Kansas City. Jose Abreu was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBIs as the Chicago White Sox blasted the Tigers 11-4 in Detroit. Alexei Ramirez added a three-run double and Adam Dunn smacked a solo homer to help the Chisox deal the Tigers their fourth consecutive loss.

The Royals were held to no runs and two hits by Kyle Gibson over seven innings of Minnesota’s 2-1 triumph at Kansas City. Brian Dozier’s RBI single in the fifth put the Twins ahead 2-0.

The Tampa Bay Rays continued their torrid stretch while dealing the Milwaukee Brewers their third straight loss.

Alex Cobb struck out 12 while limiting the Brewers to a run and three hits in eight innings of the Rays’ 11th victory in 12 games, 5-1 at St. Petersburg. Ben Zobrist tied the game with a solo homer in the sixth before his RBI double triggered the Rays’ four-run eighth. Logan Forsythe added an RBI double and scored on Brandon Guyer’s two-run single.

The surging Rays are one game under .500 for the first time since April 23.

The Pirates are within one game of the NL Central-leading Brewers after Francisco Liriano struck out 11 and allowed just four hits over seven innings of Pittsburgh’s 3-1 triumph at San Francisco. Josh Harrison hit a solo homer and Travis Snider added a two-run blast to help Liriano win his second consecutive start since opening the season 1-7.

The Cardinals’ 3-1 loss at San Diego keeps St. Louis 1 1/2 games behind Milwaukee. Jedd Gyorko singled home the tiebreaking run, Yangervis Solarte added a solo homer and Tyler Ross struck out seven in six innings to lead the Padres.

The Dodgers doubled up Atlanta 8-4 to stretch their lead in the NL West to three games over the Giants while keeping the Braves a half-game behind the NL East-leading Nationals. Matt Kemp led the Dodgers’ 15-hit attack with a pair of two-run homers, and Yasiel Puig went 4-for-5 with two runs scored.

Miami’s Henderson Alvarez surrendered just three hits in seven innings of a 3-0 shutout of Washington. Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI double and a run-scoring single in the Marlins’ sixth consecutive win.

Elsewhere in the majors:

  • Brett Gardner hit a leadoff homer and was 4-for-5 with three runs scored as the New York Yankees won a 12-11 slugfest against the Rangers in Texas. Mark Teixeira added a two-run homer and scored three times to help the Yankees overcome J.P. Arencibia’s grand slam and solo homer.
  • Seattle was a 5-2 winner at Cleveland behind the pitching of Hisashi Iwakuma, who surrendered two runs and six hits in seven innings. Dustin Ackley led the Mariners’ offense with three hits, including a two-run double.
  • Mike Leake was sharp in Cincinnati’s 3-0 blanking of Arizona, allowing five hits and striking out eight over 7 2/3 innings. Leake, Todd Frazier and Brayan Pena furnished RBI singles as the Reds won for only the second time in 11 games to move back to .500.
  • Cole Hamels struck out eight while scattering six hits in eight innings of Philadelphia’s 6-0 shutout of the New York Mets. The Phillies’ runs came on homers as Jimmy Rollins and Grady Sizemore hit solo shots before Chase Utley launched a grand slam.
  • The Chicago Cubs won a marathon against Colorado, beating the Rockies 4-3 on Starlin Castro’s sacrifice fly with two out in the bottom of the 16th. Cubs third baseman Emilio Bonifacio came within a triple of the cycle, going 4-for-7 with a pair of solo homers.
  • Reds’ Bruce on bereavement

    Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce went on the bereavement list before the second game of a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team did not provide details to honor Bruce’s privacy. Bruce is eligible to rejoin the team Friday in Miami.

    Gordon hires Suh to handle suspension appeal

    Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has obtained legal counsel familiar to the NFL as he tries to avoid an indefinite suspension for marijuana use.

    A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that Gordon has hired attorney Maurice Suh to represent him at his appeal hearing with the league this week.

    Suh helped Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman win an appeal for a suspension in 2012 and will be with Gordon in New York on Friday, according to the person familiar with the decision.

    ESPN first reported Suh’s hiring.

    According to the person who spoke to the AP, Gordon will contend failed test results were caused by secondhand marijuana smoke. Gordon’s attorney also is expected to point out that Gordon only tested positive once despite being tested over 70 times, and even then two samples taken did not match.

    Cardinals LB charted with DUI

    Police say Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham fell asleep inside a car on a suburban Atlanta highway and was arrested last month on DUI charges.

    Brookhaven police say the 36-year-old Abraham was driving a car that had stopped in the road’s center lane the afternoon of June 29. Police say Abraham smelled of alcohol and failed voluntary sobriety tests — including reciting a portion of the alphabet.

    Abraham told investigators he was coming from a local strip club and the person who was supposed to pick him up hadn’t arrived.

    Abraham is the NFL’s active leader in sacks and is ninth on the league’s all-time sacks list.

    In Tuesday’s other NFL training camp news:

  • Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo sat out a competitive practice for the first time at training camp, although coach Jason Garrett said it wasn’t because of any setbacks from surgery for a herniated disk in late December. Romo said after the practice that camp was going as planned.
  • New Orleans Saints safety Jairus Byrd practiced with the team for the first time since his signing in March. Byrd has been taken off of the Saints’ physically unable to perform list following offseason back surgery. He was named to the Pro Bowl while with Buffalo last season and was one of New Orleans’ most significant moves in free agency.
  • AP: Settlement reached in concussion lawsuit

    The NCAA has agreed to settle a class-action head injury lawsuit.

    The Associated Press has learned that the organization will create a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football and other contact sports.

    A filing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago says college sports’ governing body also has agreed to implement a single return-to-play policy spelling out how all teams must treat players who received head blows. The NCAA has been accused of giving too much discretion to individual schools about when athletes can go back into games.

    This deal stops short of setting aside money to pay players who suffered brain trauma. Instead, athletes can sue individually for damages, and the NCAA-funded tests to gauge the extent of neurological injuries could establish grounds for doing that.

    Hamlin crew chief suspended 6 races

    NASCAR has suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    The punishment means Darian Grubb and Wesley Sherrill are not eligible to return until the opening race for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, Sept. 14 at Chicago. Grubb was also fined $125,000, while Hamlin and team owner Joe Gibbs were both docked 75 points in the driver and owner standings.

    Scott takes over Lakers

    Byron Scott has been reintroduced to the Los Angeles media after being named the 25th head coach of the Lakers.

    Scott boldly predicted a quick return to NBA title contention for the Lakers, who are coming off their worst season since moving to Los Angeles.

    Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes attended the news conference for their former teammate, who helped the 1980s Lakers win three championships.

    The 2008 NBA Coach of the Year has a record of 416-521 as a head coach for New Jersey, New Orleans and Cleveland, reaching two NBA Finals with the Nets.

    Clippers sale could be in weeks

    The NBA is looking forward to the completion of the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers now that a judge has cleared the way.

    The $2 billion dollar sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer could be wrapped up within two weeks after Monday’s ruling that Shelley Sterling has the right to sell the team over the objections of estranged husband Donald Sterling.

    While Donald Sterling can still fight the decision through the appeals process, the judge also ruled that the sale could not be delayed by the appeal.

    New look at NBA players union

    The National Basketball Players Association has elected Michele Roberts as executive director, making her the first woman to lead a North American pro sports union.

    Roberts received 32 of 36 votes in a process that was completed in the early morning hours of Tuesday. The Washington trial lawyer defeated tech industry CEO Dean Garfield and Dallas Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery in the final vote.

    The vote capped a long and arduous process to replace Billy Hunter, who was ousted in February of 2013.

    ESPN benches Stephen A. Smith

    ESPN says it has suspended sportscaster Stephen A. Smith for a week because of comments about domestic abuse, suggesting women should make sure they don’t provoke attacks.

    Smith has apologized for the comments that were made last Friday during an on-air discussion about NFL running back Ray Rice’s suspension for assaulting his fiancee.

    ESPN chief executive John Skipper said in a memo to the sports network’s staff members that Smith’s comments don’t reflect the company’s viewpoint or values.

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