NFL PRE-SEASON FOOTBALL
Carolina 27 Houston 17
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Colorado 3 Cleveland 2 (12)
Texas 5 NY Mets 1
Detroit 10 Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 4 Milwaukee 0
St. Louis 8 Kansas City 5
Seattle 6 Oakland 3
LA Angels 5 Baltimore 1
NY Yankees 11 Toronto 5
Boston 8 Tampa Bay 2
Chicago White Sox 7 Houston 1
San Francisco 3 Chicago Cubs 1
Washington 10 Miami 1
Cincinnati 8 San Diego 3
Philadelphia 3 Atlanta 2
LA Dodgers 3 Arizona 2
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Buffalo 3 Indianapolis 1
HS GIRLS GOLF
Centerville 224 Rushville 233
********Stuart Turner and Eugenio Suarez hit two-run homers, and Jose Peraza went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park.
With a victory on Thursday, Cincinnati (47-67) would earn its first series victory over San Diego since 2012. The Reds have won two of the first three in the four-game set.
Reds rookie Asher Wojciechowski (3-1) allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings with no walks and six strikeouts. He also singled in the fourth inning for his first career hit.
San Diego (50-63) homered twice off Wojciechowski but couldn’t complete the comeback from a 6-0 deficit.
Manuel Margot led off the sixth with his 10th home run of the season, and Wil Myers snapped an 0-for-11 skid later in the inning with his 22nd home run, a two-run shot to make the score 6-3.
Yangervis Solarte went 2-for-4 with a double for the Padres in the loss.
San Diego starter Travis Wood (2-4) couldn’t overcome a shaky start against his former team. He wound up allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits, including a pair of homers, in five innings.
********It was bad enough for the Chicago Cubs that they left AT&T Park having lost twice in a three-game series in the wake of the San Francisco Giants posting a 3-1 win Wednesday afternoon.
To leave town fearing they’ve lost cleanup hitter Willson Contreras to a hamstring injury could put a far more serious crimp in Chicago’s postseason hopes than the two losses.
Contreras came up limping running to first base while making the final out of the eighth inning.
“He’s a DL candidate,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We’ll have to wait and see. That’s no fun. Apparently he pulled a hamstring. Maybe we’ll get lucky and it’s just a bad cramp.”
The Cubs flew after the game to Arizona for a series that starts Friday. On Thursday, Contreras, who has 21 homers and 70 RBIs and who was the National League Player of the Week last week, will have an MRI to determine the scope of the injury.
“He’s been carrying us,” starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks said. “It’s definitely a blow, not good. It gets quiet in the dugout. You feel bad for him, a guy who works so hard.”
The Giants were on the other end of the injury equation. Madison Bumgarner, who spent three months on the disabled list with a left shoulder sprain, was back and as filthy as ever. He was dinged for a third-inning homer by Albert Almora Jr. but allowed just three other hits and one walk in seven innings.
********Nothing washes away the sour taste of a crushing loss like the thrill of a rousing victory, and the Colorado Rockies experienced the latter on Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field.
Charlie Blackmon’s home run in the 12th inning lifted the Rockies to a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians. The win came less than 24 hours after Cleveland hit Colorado with a four-run, ninth-inning haymaker, capped by a walk-off home run, in a 4-1 Rockies defeat Tuesday night.
“Today was tough,” said Blackmon, after his game-winning homer Wednesday. “Last night was a heartbreaking loss, but I’m proud of the guys for the way we bounced back today to get the win.”
Blackmon hit a 1-0 pitch from Zach McAllister (1-2) over the right-field wall for his 27th home run.
“That was a great swing by Charlie,” said Colorado manager Bud Black.
“I thought he was going to throw me a fastball, and I just tried to whack it,” Blackmon said.
Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez (5-0) pitched two scoreless innings to get the win. With closer Greg Holland, Pat Neshek and Mike Dunn not available, Tyler Chatwood, normally a starter, pitched the bottom of the 12th inning to pick up his second career save.
********The Boston Red Sox have baseball’s longest win streak at eight games thanks to an 8-2 victory Wednesday night over the slumping Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Boston (65-49) used a five-run fifth inning to break open a close game, with three runs scoring on wild pitches and passed balls.
The Rays (58-57) have lost four of their last five, scoring a total of four runs in that span as they try to stay in the American League wild-card chase.
Boston’s win streak is its longest since September 2016, when the Red Sox won 11 straight.
“We continue to pitch consistently, and that will be the key for us,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Our starters are now stringing together (quality outings), and the run the bullpen has been on, really for all year and more so currently, we set the tone, and we’re going to have to continue to do that.”
Red Sox starter Rick Porcello (6-14) took a 6-0 lead into the sixth inning before giving up home runs to Adeiny Hechavarria, his second of the season, and Brad Miller, his fifth.
********Several hours after placing All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley on the 10-day disabled list, the Cleveland Indians acquired some outfield help by obtaining Jay Bruce from the New York Mets.
The Mets traded Bruce to Cleveland in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Ryder Ryan, the Indians confirmed Wednesday night. Bruce is due to join his new team for a weekend series in Tampa Bay.
Bruce, 30, had a team-high 29 home runs for the Mets this season while hitting .256 with 75 RBIs. The Mets obtained him from the Cincinnati Reds at the non-waiver trade deadline last year, giving up Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell in the deal.
Bruce is scheduled to earn $13 million this season, and Cleveland.com reported the Indians apparently will pay the amount remaining on his 2017 salary.
He is a three-time All-Star who is eligible for free agency at the end of this season.
The Indians placed Brantley on the disabled list on Wednesday morning due to a right ankle sprain. Brantley was on the DL with the same injury in June.
********CHARLOTTE – The Panthers earned a 27-17 victory over the Houston Texans in the preseason opener at Bank of America Stadium.
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin opened the scoring with a jaw-dropping 23-yard touchdown catch over cornerback Jonathan Joseph.
Texans running back Alfred Blue answered with a 16-yard rushing touchdown late in the first quarter, but Carolina regained the lead late in the second quarter when quarterback Joe Webb launched a deep ball to speedy wide receiver Damiere Byrd for a 50-yard score.
Each team tacked on a field goal to make it 17-10 at the half. Then Webb and Byrd combined again to extend the lead. Webb found Byrd cutting across the end zone for an 8-yard score in the third quarter.
Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson reached the end zone on a 15-yard scramble late in the third quarter, cutting Carolina’s lead to 24-17.
Rookie kicker Harrison Butker nailed a 51-yard field goal to make it 27-17 late in the fourth quarter.
*******The NFL will hire as many as 24 full-time game officials for the upcoming 2017 season, the league and the NFL Referees Association announced Wednesday.
Full-time officials will be hired at each of the seven officiating positions. The NFL currently employs a roster of 124 officials, including 17 crews of seven people apiece and five swing officials that serve as substitutes.
Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, officials have worked as contractors to the league.
“We believe this is a great development for NFL officiating overall and ultimately the quality of our game,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said. “We share a common goal, which is to make our game as great as it can possibly be, and look forward to working together on this new effort.”
NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green also sees this move as a step in the right direction.
“NFL officials are always looking to improve, and we believe that additional time, particularly in the offseason, will be positive,” Green said. “We’re looking forward to working together with the league on this effort.”
********A minor leg injury did not keep Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis away from the team for long.
After missing Tuesday’s practice for what reportedly was a cyst on his knee, Lewis returned to the facility later that evening.
“I was able to return to work last night after receiving great medical care,” said Lewis in a statement Wednesday. “I especially want to thank all of the doctors, nurses and technicians who treated me. I am glad to be back with the team as we prepare to play the Buccaneers on Friday.”
The announced Tuesday that Lewis would briefly be away from the team to deal with an unspecified “minor health issue.”
The 58-year-old Lewis is in his 15th season as coach of the Bengals, guiding the club to a 118-103-3 record.
Cincinnati has reached the playoffs seven times under Lewis and had a streak of five consecutive postseason appearances snapped in 2016, when the Bengals finished 6-9-1.
*******The Atlanta Falcons made Devonta Freeman the highest-paid running back in the NFL, signing him to a five-year contract extension on Wednesday.
Although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Michael Silver of the NFL Network reported that Freeman’s pact is worth $41.25 million.
The extension, which runs through 2022, has an annual value of $8.25 million, topping the $8 million yearly salary of Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy. Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell will surpass both when he signs his franchise tag tender.
The 25-year-old Freeman was a big part of Atlanta’s run to the Super Bowl last season, starting all 16 regular-season games and leading the team with 1,079 rushing yards to go with 462 receiving yards on 54 receptions. Freeman had 13 total touchdowns.
“We are very pleased that we were able to get this extension done,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement. “Devonta embodies everything we are looking for in a Falcon, and we are proud that he’ll be able to spend his career here in Atlanta.”
A fourth-round draft pick out of Florida State in 2014, Freeman has amassed 2,383 rushing yards in his three seasons, earning a pair of Pro Bowl berths by going over 1,000 yards in 2015 and 2016.
*******The NFL cleared Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant to participate in preseason practices and preseason games, the Steelers announced Wednesday.
Bryant, who sat out the 2016 season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, received limited conditional reinstatement from the NFL in April. That allowed him to participate in the team’s offseason program and training camp conditioning, but he was not fully reinstated for the start of preseason camp. That reinstatement depended on Bryant making appropriate clinical arrangements in Pittsburgh for ongoing drug treatment.
Last week, Bryant suited up and planned to practice, but general manager Kevin Colbert stopped him before he took the field.
However, Wednesday’s announcement allows the 25-year-old Bryant to practice with the team and play in preseason games. Whether he will be cleared to play in the regular season remains to be seen.
“Martavis Bryant has been informed by the NFL that he is now permitted to participate in all preseason activities, including practices and games,” Colbert said in a statement. “He will continue to be evaluated as to his readiness to participate in regular-season activities under the terms of his conditional reinstatement.”
In 2015, Bryant caught 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games, including five starts.
********William Byron summed up his future at Hendrick Motorsports in two words: “I’m ready.”
That was the answer Byron gave team owner Rick Hendrick on Sunday night, when Hendrick first broached the possibility of the 19-year-old moving up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018.
“He didn’t know why we were meeting,” Hendrick said on Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. “I said, ‘William, how’d you like to drive in Cup next year?’ And he said, ‘I’m ready.’ There was no hesitation.
“We’re just really excited. It was a special moment. … Just to see his face and the excitement there, those are real special moments when you can break the news.”
On Wednesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports made that news official. Byron will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy Series next season, with primary sponsorship from existing partners Axalta and Liberty University filling most of the race dates. Byron replaces Kasey Kahne, who will leave the car with one year remaining on his contract.
“We haven’t gotten the job done,” Hendrick said of the results from the No. 5 car. “I take full responsibility for that. For whatever reason, we weren’t getting it.”
Though Byron has never driven a Monster Energy Series car in competition, he has shown enormous talent at every level of racing, winning seven times in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie season last year and winning three times in 20 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts this season. Byron currently is second to JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler in the Xfinity standings.
******** Tiger Woods will plead guilty to reckless driving and enter a diversion program in October, a Florida prosecutor said Wednesday.
The 41-year-old golfer’s attorney, Douglas Duncan, also entered a not guilty plea for Woods on a charge of driving under the influence at the hearing at Palm Beach County courthouse. That charge would be dropped if Woods meets the terms of the diversion program for first-time DUI offenders.
“He is not being treated any different than anyone else,” prosecutor Adrienne Ellis said.
Woods was arrested around 2 a.m. on May 29 when officers found him unconscious in his Mercedes-Benz about 15 miles from his home in Jupiter, Fla. The car was awkwardly parked on the side of the road and the driver’s side of the vehicle was damaged.
Woods was unable to tell officers where he was and he stumbled and had balance issues while taking the field sobriety test. Woods told officers he was taking the painkiller Vicodin and the anxiety medicine Xanax to deal with pain from April back surgery.
Woods didn’t attend Wednesday’s hearing. Duncan declined comment as he left the premises.
The diversion program plan would call for Woods to spend one year on probation, pay a $250 fine plus court costs, attend a DUI course, perform 50 hours of community service and attend a workshop where victims of impaired drivers detail how their lives were damaged or affected.