NFL PRE-SEASON FOOTBALL
Pittsburgh 20 NY Giants 12
Cincinnati 23 Tampa Bay 12
San Francisco 27 Kansas City 17
CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Montréal 21 Toronto 9
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Pittsburgh 4 Toronto 2
NY Yankees 5 Boston 4
Minnesota 9 Detroit 4
Cleveland 5 Tampa Bay 0
Texas 6 Houston 4
Chicago White Sox 6 Kansas City 3
Oakland 5 Baltimore 4
LA Angels 6 Seattle 5
San Francisco at Washington postponed
NY Mets 7 Philadelphia 6
Miami 6 Colorado 3
Cincinnati 11 Milwaukee 10
St. Louis 8 Atlanta 5
Chicago Cubs 8 Arizona 3
San Diego 4 LA Dodgers 3
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Indianapolis 2 Syracuse 1
South Bend 5 Dayton 2
Fort Wayne 8 Bowling Green 7
New York 83 Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 70 Minnesota 64
Reds pound 15 hits, hold off Brewers rally in win
With an eight-run lead through four innings, the last thing Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price expected to need was a nerve-wracking save from Raisel Iglesias.
But baseball works in funny ways sometimes so after the Reds saw their lead dwindle to a run, Tucker Barnhart provided some breathing room with a late home run and Iglesias bent but didn’t break over the final two innings as Cincinnati escaped with an 11-10 victory over the Milwauee Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park.
“You have some of those each year, when you get a big lead but the other team comes back and steals a game from you.” Price said. “That one reeked of Milwaukee coming back and stealing one from us.”
After Zack Cozart’s solo homer in the first, the Reds put six on the board in the third inning and added three more in the fourth against Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson, who was charged with 10 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits and three walks in just 3 2/3 innings.
The Brewers offense had been silent most of the game, save for a two-run home run from Manny Pina in the second, despite a laborious effort from Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey.
Cubs continue to roll on road, defeat Diamondbacks
Kyle Schwarber was good-naturedly congratulated by winning pitcher John Lackey after the Chicago Cubs’ latest victory, and it wasn’t for his pivotal home run. Rather, it was for making it through the game.
A good night for Schwarber, indeed, in a ballpark where he has very unpleasant memories.
Schwarber homered in his first game in Chase Field since being badly injured there last season, Alex Avila followed with another homer and Kris Bryant reached base five straight times to lead the Cubs past the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-3 on Friday night.
With the Cubs up 3-2 in the sixth inning, Schwarber hit a deep drive to center field — not that far from where his 2016 regular season ended with two torn knee ligaments — for his 19th homer. Avila, filling in for injured Willson Contreras, then chased Arizona starter Taijuan Walker (6-6) with another homer to center, his second since being traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Cubs on July 31.
Schwarber sustained multiple injuries, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament, during a dreadful collision with Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler as both chased a fly ball in left-center field on April 7, 2016. He was expected to miss the rest of the season but surprisingly returned in October to get seven hits in the World Series.
Mixon shines in debut as Bengals down Buccaneers
Cincinnati Bengals rookie running back Joe Mixon had an impressive NFL debut, rushing for 31 yards on six carries and eluding three would-be tacklers for an 11-yard reception in a 23-12 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a preseason opener Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Bengals running back Jeremy Hill, who is coming off two sub-par seasons, rushed for 26 yards on seven carries behind a revamped offensive line that has three new starters. Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston was impressive in two series, finishing 9-of-13 passing for 99 yards.
Winston helped engineer a 14-play, 92-yard opening drive after a penalty on the kick return set the Buccaneers back to their own 6-yard line. But, two straight incompletions on corner routes to Mike Evans resulted in Robert Aguayo’s 20-yard field goal, putting Tampa Bay ahead 3-0.
The drive consumed more than six minutes and featured a 19-yard completion from Winston to tight end Cameron Brate. There also were a couple missed tackles by the Bengals defense, one by linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
Evans had four catches for 58 yards.
The Bengals drove 65 yards on their first possession, which ended when Vincent Hargreaves intercepted an Andy Dalton pass at the 5-yard line.
That was the final play for Dalton, who finished 4 of 5 for 38 yards and a pick.
Cowboys RB Elliott suspended six games
Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended six games by the NFL on Friday for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after multiple domestic violence incidents.
The six-game ban is the penalty for first-time offenders of the league’s new domestic violent policy.
The suspension is scheduled to begin Sept. 2 and Elliott is eligible to return to the Cowboys’ roster on Oct. 23, one day after the team’s Week 7 road game against the San Francisco 49ers.
As a result of the suspension, the guarantees in the four-year, $24.956 million deal Elliott signed with Dallas in 2016 will be voided, per ESPN. Elliott will forfeit $559,192 in 2017 salary, according to salary cap website Spotrac.
In addition, Elliott will give up $240,000 per missed game in signing-bonus money if the suspension is upheld.
Elliott plans to appeal the suspension, his representatives said in a statement. Elliott has three business days to file notice of appeal, and a hearing must be scheduled within 10 days of receipt of the notice, according to Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement, which governs appeal of commissioner discipline.
Elliott and his representatives disputed the NFL’s conclusions and issued the following statement:
“We just learned of the NFL’s decision to suspend Mr. Elliott for six games for allegedly engaging in ‘physical force’ against the accuser. Mr. Elliott and his team of representatives are extremely disappointed with the NFL’s decision.
“Our offices have been engaged in this matter since last July and have worked hand in hand with the Columbus Prosecutor’s office as well as the NFL with their respective investigations. Accordingly, we are fully aware of the full body of evidence that exists in connection with this matter.
Dolphins QB Tannehill reportedly to have season-ending surgery
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will undergo reconstructive surgery on a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and miss the entire season, multiple outlets reported Friday.
Tannehill could have elected to rest his left knee for six to eight weeks and attempt a comeback, but elected for surgery instead. Reconstructive surgery to an ACL generally sidelines an athlete for nine to 12 months.
The 29-year-old initially injured his knee against the Arizona Cardinals in December, partially tearing the ACL. It was reinjured on Aug. 3, when he fell to the ground while scrambling toward the sideline in practice.
Tannehill completed 67.1 percent of his passes last year, throwing for 2,995 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a career-best 93.5 passer rating in 13 games. He was the eighth overall pick of the 2012 draft.
Miami and fellow quarterback Jay Cutler agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal on Sunday. The 34-year-old Cutler initially had retired from the NFL and was hired by Fox Sports as a game analyst. Also on the roster is Matt Moore, who went 2-2 for last season in place of Tannehill.
Dolphins rookie LB McMillan out for season with ACL tear
Miami Dolphins rookie middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan will miss the entire 2017 season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee during the team’s preseason opener on Thursday.
The Dolphins announced the news after Friday’s MRI exam displayed the tear.
McMillan was injured when he collided with teammate Deon Lacey when they were covering a punt just three minutes into the contest against the Atlanta Falcons.
McMillan left the field and later returned, sporting crutches and a brace to protect the knee.
The second round draft pick out of Ohio State was expected to be the team’s starting middle linebacker this season.
“It was tough to see a young player go down not knowing what happened,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said at his Friday press conference. “That’s the NFL. Next man up. That’s how it goes.”
This is the second straight week in which the Dolphins suffered a serious blow. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a likely season-ending knee injury eight days ago.
McMillan, selected 54th overall, led Ohio State in tackles each of the last two college seasons.
Bills trade WR Watkins to Rams, acquire WR Matthews
Sammy Watkins is Hollywood bound.
The athletic wide receiver was traded by the Buffalo Bills to the Los Angeles Rams on Friday along with a Bills’ 2018 sixth-round draft pick for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick.
Buffalo also traded cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick.
Watkins, 24, was drafted by the Bills with the fourth-overall draft pick in 2014 after Buffalo traded its first- and fourth-round picks in the following draft to the Cleveland Browns to move up the No. 4.
The former Clemson standout has 153 catches for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns in three NFL seasons despite undergoing multiple foot surgeries. Last season, Watkins played in just eight games and totaled 430 yards and two scores on 28 catches.
Watkins had a team-high 39 receiving yards on four catches in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
“Sammy has proven he can be a productive player and an explosive receiver in this league, we look forward to having him in a Rams uniform,” Rams general manager Les Snead said in a news release. “We want to thank E.J. for all he has contributed to our organization since we drafted him in 2014.
“E.J. has been a dedicated professional during his time with us and we wish him and his family the best in their future endeavors.”
Matthews, 25, totaled 225 catches for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons with the Eagles. He was drafted by Philadelphia 42nd overall in the second round of the 2014 draft.
Watkins and Matthews will both become unrestricted free agents in March.
Ravens QB Flacco expected to start regular-season opener
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will not play in the preseason but is expected to start the regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10, the team announced Friday.
Flacco was re-examined and his progress from a back issue “is good,” according to a statement from the team.
The 32-year-old has been sidelined since July 26, when the full team reported to camp.
Veteran backup Ryan Mallett is the starter until Flacco returns. Dustin Vaughan and Josh Woodrum are the other quarterbacks on the roster.
Flacco threw for 4,317 yards with 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season. For his career, he has thrown for 32,639 yards with 182 touchdowns and 117 interceptions. He also has a 61.5 percent completion percentage and an 84.5 passer rating for his career.
The Ravens also announced Friday that starting left guard Alex Lewis (shoulder) and receiver-returner Tim White (thumb) will miss the regular season.
Bears deny Trubisky debut will impact depth chart
Rookie Mitch Trubisky’s electric NFL debut against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night at Soldier Field did not impact the Chicago Bears’ view of the quarterback competition with free agent catch Mike Glennon.
“Our depth chart is not going to change after one game,” Bears head coach John Fox said. “That’s a really good defense our first unit went against, probably one of the top three defenses in the league. You have to look at a lot of different things. I can understand how you guys might think (we could make a change), but we’re not going to change a whole lot after one game.”
The storyline is not unusual in the preseason — backups playing against the second unit outperform starters who are tested against the opponents’ starters — and Glennon compiled a 0.0 passer rating and threw a pick-six on the third play of the game. He was 2 of 8 for 20 yards.
Trubisky, installed at the 2-minute warning in the second quarter, drove the Bears for a touchdown with completions on four consecutive passing attempts, including a 2-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz. He went 5 for 5 and led the team to a touchdown on his second possession.
“I thought it was fun,” Trubisky said.
The second overall pick in the 2017 draft, Trubisky was informed on the night he was selected by the Bears that Glennon would be the starter this season. He’s not taking that message sitting down.
Jaguars release OT Albert
The Jacksonville Jaguars released Branden Albert on Friday, just four days after the two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle informed the team that he had changed his mind about retiring.
Albert was released by the Jaguars from the reserved/retired list. He will go through the waiver process and will become a free agent if no team claims him.
The 32-year-old Albert abruptly retired on July 31, releasing a statement through the club in which he said he aimed to return to Miami to pursue his business interests.
The Jaguars traded their seventh-round pick of the 2018 draft to the Dolphins in March for Albert, who had two seasons remaining on the five-year contract he signed with Miami in 2014. He was due a base salary of $8.9 million in 2017 and $9.6 million in 2018, though none of that money was guaranteed.
Albert, who was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2015, has started 118 games in nine seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and Dolphins. He has missed 20 games in the last five seasons, including four last year.
Panthers still waiting on Newton
Despite a small sample size, the Carolina Panthers found enough to digest following their first preseason game to get back to work with a more defined plan.
The Panthers were an incomplete operation if for no other reason it’s unclear when quarterback Cam Newton will be back in full action as he has rested his surgically repaired throwing shoulder. But a 27-17 victory against the Houston Texans left a lot of good tastes.
Defense had been a staple of Carolina’s good teams in recent years and that’s an area that the Panthers are looking to return to form. So even though the first-team unit played for only one series, there was a sense that there could be some dominance.
“I liked what the first unit did right off the bat,” head coach Ron Rivera said.
There was particularly a dose of confidence because of Steve Wilks moving into his new role as defensive coordinator. Even in the sometimes-chaotic preseason, there was evidence that the defense could be coming into good order.
The offense could be in a slightly different situation, especially until Newton’s status is clarified. While there haven’t been indications that he won’t be ready when the season starts in September, until he’s out there in a game situation there’s bound to be that doubt.
So that could mean the handling of quarterback Derek Anderson’s repetitions both in practice and in preseason games might be worth tracking.
Kisner, Matsuyama share lead at PGA Championship
Kevin Kisner likes to have a good time when he plays in a major championship and there’s really only one way to accomplish that.
Play the way he did the first two rounds of the PGA Championship.
“They are not a whole lot of fun unless everything is working out for you,” Kisner said of majors. “We’ve seen a lot of low scores in majors. There’s been a lot of birdies. You’ve got to realize that guys are making birdies, and the whole mind-set of pars are good is kind of out the window.”
Kisner matched his first-round score with another 4-under-par 67 on Friday at Quail Hollow Club. He shares the tournament lead at 8-under 134 with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who shot a 64 on Friday.
They hold a two-shot edge on the rest of the field, though several players will have to complete rounds Saturday morning because play was suspended by darkness.
Matsuyama, who played during the rain-interrupted afternoon round, used a late-day surge to pull even.
Australian Jason Day is in third place at 6-under.
Italian Francesco Molinari and South African Louis Oosthuizen finished at 5-under through two rounds.
Jeter-led group reportedly purchases Marlins
Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria reached an agreement to sell the team to a group headed by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter for $1.2 billion, multiple outlets reported on Friday.
The club has not confirmed the reports, although ESPN — citing an undisclosed source — said the deal is likely to be announced “in the coming days.”
Financier Bruce Sherman will hold the controlling interest and plans for Jeter to be the team’s chief executive officer, the Miami Herald reported. Jeter reportedly is investing approximately $25 million of his own money.
The $1.2 billion price tag of the sale is the second-highest in a history for a Major League Baseball team, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers’ $2 billion sale in 2012.
Earlier this year, Jeter was partnering with Jeb Bush in his bid to buy the Marlins, but the former Florida governor dropped out in late May, according to multiple media reports.
Loria purchased the team in 2002 for $158 million, and a year later, the then-Florida Marlins won their second World Series. The Marlins haven’t been back in the playoffs since, and they haven’t finished above .500 since 2009.
Mariners LHP Paxton placed on DL
Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton was placed on the disabled list Friday due to a strained left pectoral muscle.
Paxton is expected to be sidelined at least three weeks.
Paxton left Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels in the seventh inning after suffering the injury.
The severity of the injury was confirmed through an MRI exam on Friday. It also put a damper over a club that is competing for an American League wild-card spot.
“Obviously it’s disheartening news,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s been a crazy season with all the injuries. To put ourselves in the position we’re in right now, a lot of it has had to do with James Paxton, no doubt. He’s been really, really good.”
Paxton, who is 12-3 with a 2.78 ERA, won seven consecutive starts before receiving a no-decision on Thursday night. He was AL Pitcher of the Month for July after going 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA.
Seattle recalled right-hander Andrew Moore from Triple-A Tacoma to fill the roster opening.
Moore is 1-3 with a 5.65 ERA in six starts with the Mariners this season. He is 3-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 outings for Tacoma.
Cubs C Contreras to miss at least four weeks
Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras is expected to be sidelined a minimum of four weeks with a hamstring injury, the team announced Friday.
Contreras sustained the injury during Wednesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs are calling the injury a “moderate” strain for Contreras, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list and will be re-evaluated in approximately two weeks.
The 25-year-old Contreras pulled up lame just a few feet from first base after hitting a grounder in the eighth inning of the Cubs’ 3-1 loss. He remained on the ground for a few minutes before being helped off the field.
Contreras is hitting .274 with 21 homers and 70 RBIs in 102 games this season. He was batting .311 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs since the All-Star break.
Alex Avila is expected to take over the bulk of the catching duties in Contreras’ absence.
Chicago called up catcher Victor Caratini from Triple-A Iowa on Friday. The 23-year-old batted .192 with one homer and two RBIs in 11 games with the Cubs earlier this season.
Irving reportedly highly interested in joining Clippers
LeBron James might be considering whether to bring his talents to Los Angeles next season, and there’s a chance Kyrie Irving could be going with him.
In a manner of speaking.
Irving, who asked the Cleveland Cavaliers for a trade in July after he grew sour of playing alongside James, has his sights set on the Los Angeles Clippers as a team he would like to play for if traded.
“(Irving) loves L.A. and he’s been working out there a lot this summer,” veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey of Patreon.com said.
James, who owns a home in Los Angeles, is rumored to be considering teaming up with Los Angeles-area native Paul George on the Lakers next summer.
The Clippers may be looking to rebuild after trading All-Star guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets earlier this offseason, but they did retain the services of All-Star forward Blake Griffin.
Building around the 25-year-old Irving would be a great start, but Vecsey does not believe the Clippers have the assets to pull off a trade.
“Do they have the assets they get him? I don’t see how,” Vecsey said. “But they also have (consultant) Jerry West and he’s been able to figure out before … the Lakers didn’t have the assets to get Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) and he wheeled and dealed and figured out and they got him … he was able to get Kobe (Bryant) for (Vlade) Divac in the draft.”
Irving’s reported list of preferred destinations also includes the New York Knicks, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Houston bound? Knicks, Rockets revive Anthony trade talks
Carmelo Anthony could still join the Houston Rockets after all.
After initial talks between the New York Knicks and Rockets about an Anthony trade stalled, the teams have re-engaged in discussions to send the 10-time All-Star to the Magnolia City, according to an ESPN report.
Anthony will only waive his no-trade clause to be dealt to the Rockets, refusing to include more teams on his list of potential destinations, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Houston is reportedly trying to find a third team to make the deal possible, and finding a way to include forward Ryan Anderson, who has three years left on his $60 million deal, is viewed as an obstacle.
The Rockets intend to pair Anthony with fellow All-Stars James Harden and Chris Paul, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Clippers and opted into the final year of his contract for cap purposes.
New York appears to be ready to build around star forward Kristaps Porzingis and recently re-acquired guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who the team signed to a four-year deal reportedly worth $71 million in July.