NBC (8:00 PM)



Angels tie MLB record with 7 solo HRs but lose to Athletics

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) In a season that has turned into a titanic struggle for the Los Angeles Angels, they suffered another pain-staking defeat Thursday.

The Halos tied a major league record with seven solo home runs, including two by Shohei Ohtani, but still lost to the Oakland Athletics 8-7 in a crazy matinee affair at Angel Stadium.

The Angels are the first team in the majors to hit seven solo homers and score no other runs in a game. They’re also the sixth team to hit seven homers and lose, according to STATS.

“I guess they always say solo home runs don’t beat you, but you feel like if you hit seven, you might. It didn’t work out for us,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said.

Los Angeles was 24-13 and tied with Houston for the AL West lead after beating Oakland on May 15. Since then, the Angels have gone 20-48 and are a season-low 17 games under .500 at 44-61.

The tailspin has included a 14-game losing streak, the firing of Joe Maddon on June 7, blowing a four-run, eighth-inning lead at Philadelphia on June 5 and a wild, bench-clearing brawl against the Seattle Mariners on June 26.

Ramon Laureano homered and drove in four runs, and Seth Brown had a two-run shot during a six-run third inning for AL-worst Oakland. Sean Murphy also drove in two runs for the Athletics, who took the final two games of the series and have won six of their last nine.

“Today was a little bit of a different baseball game than I have probably been a part of. It is a very interesting boxscore,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “I’m happy that our eight held up, and we were able to get a win.

“The goal is to win the game and score more runs. Solo home runs at the end of the day are nice, but they don’t necessarily always help you win games.”

Paul Blackburn (7-6) picked up his first win since June 16 despite surrendering four home runs on six hits.

“It was one of those days where any ball hitting the air seemed like it went out,” said Blackburn, who went five innings and struck out three. “I’ve never seen anything like that, but I’ll take a series win any day.”

Ohtani left Wednesday night’s game due to a left forearm cramp, but he bounced back with three hits and two RBIs. It was his 11th multihomer game in the majors and fifth this season.

Mickey Moniak – acquired from Philadelphia on Tuesday as part of the Noah Syndergaard trade – homered to right with one out in the ninth to get the Angels within a run. Max Stassi drew a walk but Taylor Ward struck out and A.J. Puk got Ohtani to fly out to short on the first pitch for his third save.

Kurt Suzuki, Taylor Ward, Jo Adell and Jared Walsh also went deep for the Angels, who went 2-5 on their homestand. The seven homers also tied an overall franchise record.

“It’s obviously a positive thing. I would have liked to get the win, but you know, offensively we’ve been needing to pick it up a little bit. So it was a positive sign,” said Ward, referring to the Angels batting .199 as a team in July.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the last team to hit seven solo home runs on June 24, 2018, against the New York Mets.

Los Angeles led 2-0 after two innings on shots by Ohtani and Suzuki before Oakland broke it open in the third against Halos starter Janson Junk (1-1).

The Athletics sent 11 to the plate in the inning and scored six runs. Laureano tied it at 2 on a one-out double with the bases loaded before Murphy’s double into the left-center gap gave them the lead. Brown then chased Junk by driving a first-pitch curveball into the elevated seats in right-center to make it 6-2.

Junk threw five scoreless innings in his last start July 27 at Kansas City. The right-hander didn’t have the same success this time, with six runs allowed on five hits and two strikeouts.

“I think everybody started to focus on what they wanted to do in their zone. He was throwing a lot of breaking balls and this team threw a lot of breaking balls this series,” Brown said. “It was everyone kind of locking into they pitch they wanted.”

Laureano extended Oakland’s lead to 8-3 in the fourth when he connected on an elevated sinker by Touki Toussaint for a two-run homer to center.

Walsh went deep in the sixth and Ohtani in the seventh to make it 8-6.


Solo shots by Ward and Adell in the third and fourth innings made it only the second time in franchise history the Angels have homered in each of the first four innings. The last time it happened was Aug. 19, 2017, in Baltimore when Mike Trout went deep in the first and third and Luis Valbuena did it in the second and fourth.

It is the third time it has occurred in the majors this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers did it May 24 at Washington and the Minnesota Twins on April 10 against Seattle.


Angels: Trout (left ribcage inflammation) began rotational exercises Wednesday. There is no update on when he will resume swinging a bat. … P Griffin Canning (low back stress reaction) has not started throwing and has been ruled out from pitching this season.


Athletics: Have a rare Friday off before hosting San Francisco in a two-game weekend series. RHP Adam Oller (1-4, 7.68 ERA) pitches Saturday’s Bay Bridge Series opener.

Angels: Hit the road for seven games. LHP Patrick Sandoval (3-7, 3.61 ERA) gets the call Friday night in Seattle.

Verlander wins MLB-leading 15th game, Astros blank Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) Justin Verlander pitched six scoreless innings for his MLB-leading 15th victory, Chas McCormick and Martin Maldonado each homered and had three RBIs, and the AL West-leading Houston Astros beat the Cleveland Guardians 6-0 Thursday night.

Verlander (15-3), making his comeback from Tommy John surgery, extended his winning streak to seven starts and moved into a tie with Herb Pennock for 55th place all-time with 241 victories. He gave up two hits, both singles, and struck out five.

“It’s fun to be behind the plate for him,” Maldonado said. “Watching his preparation between games and his execution on the mound, that’s what future Hall of Famers do. I think he was born that way.”

In addition to leading the majors in wins, Verlander is first with a 1.73 ERA. The right-hander is 11-16 in his career at Progressive Field, where his 5.17 ERA is the highest of any ballpark that he has pitched in more than twice.

“Is it still over 5.00? Well, then I’ve still got some demons to exorcize here,” Verlander quipped. “These guys tormented me for a while. I’m not going to say that was something I focused on, but it was definitely on my mind.”

Verlander also triggered his $25 million player option for 2023 by reaching 130 innings. The 39-year-old will earn the same amount this season under the new contract that he signed last winter.

“I wanted a player option and I thought that was more than a fair ask because they’re going out on a limb paying an old guy,” Verlander said. “Because if I didn’t throw 130, then I didn’t earn what I made this year anyway.

“Crossing that threshold puts me in a good spot, but that isn’t something I’m thinking about now at all.”

Will Smith, Ryne Stanek and Phil Maton completed the three-hitter, helping Houston move within 1 1/2 games of the idle Yankees for the best record in the AL.

McCormick gave the Astros a 2-0 lead with run-scoring singles in the third and fifth off Cleveland starter Zach Plesac (2-10). Maldonado added a two-run double in the fifth against Nick Sandlin to make it 4-0.

McCormick and Maldonado struck again in the seventh with solo homers, the 11th of the season for both, off Kirk McCarty. McCormick equaled his career high with three hits on an evening when Houston left eight runners on base over the first three innings.

“I didn’t see them square up a ton of balls, but there was a ton of traffic right from the get-go,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “And Verlander was as advertised.”

Cleveland entered the day one game behind AL Central leader Minnesota and one game out of the final wild-card spot. Steven Kwan, Josh Naylor and Austin Hedges accounted for its hits in the loss.

Kwan matched Boston’s J.D. Martinez for the longest hitting streak in the AL this year at 18 games. It also is the longest run by a rookie since Pittsburgh’s Ke’Bryan Hayes had a 19-gamer in 2020-2021.

Plesac remained winless since June 5 in Baltimore, allowing four runs, seven hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander is 0-6 in his last 10 starts and has dropped all five of his decisions in night games.

“I’m being tested right now, it’s just a weird time,” Plesac said. “I’m never going to back down from it and will get out of this funk of unluckiness or whatever it is. It seems like I can’t catch a break.”


The Astros picked up three significant veterans in 1B Trey Mancini, C Christian Vazquez and LHP Will Smith before the MLB trade deadline earlier this week, allowing manager Dusty Baker to take a deep breath.

“It feels fun, actually, to be done with that,” Baker said. “We’re in the dog days of the season, but this year, it seems like the dog showed up a little early.”

Vazquez ranks third in the AL with 74 starts behind the plate, the first 73 with Boston.

“Going to a new team is a difficult adjustment for catchers, which is where Vazquez is now,” Baker said. “You have to learn the philosophy of the pitching coach, how to talk to pitchers, and when to call timeout to calm a guy down. It’s not easy.”


Astros: OF Aledmys Diaz (left ring finger) was hurt in the eighth inning when he collided with center fielder Jake Meyers on a fly ball to left-center by Cleveland’s Austin Hedges. Diaz was undergoing medical tests following the game.

Guardians: RHP Aaron Civale (right wrist sprain), who has been on the 15-day injured list since July 14, will make a rehab start Friday for Triple-A Columbus against Rochester. Francona said the goal for Civale is to pitch four innings.


Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (9-4, 2.80 ERA) has earned the win in all three of his career appearances against Cleveland, posting a 2.81 ERA over two starts and one relief outing.

Guardians: RHP Hunter Gaddis will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus for his major league debut. Gaddis is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA since his promotion from Double-A Akron.

Nootbaar’s game-ending single lifts Cardinals over Cubs 4-3

ST. LOUIS (AP) Lars Nootbaar hit a tying sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth, sending the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in the opener of a split doubleheader.

St. Louis trailed 3-0 before rallying in the seventh against Marcus Stroman. Nolan Gorman and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back homers before Nolan Arenado doubled and scored on Nootbaar’s flyball to center.

“When it all clicks, we’re able to string together some quality at-bats,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “Those guys there definitely made an adjustment on Stroman and made some really hard contact. Classic third time through the lineup.”

Arenado and Paul DeJong walked with one out in the ninth against rookie Erich Uelmen (0-1). Nootbaar then drove in Arenado with a liner to right on a 2-2 pitch.

“He’s taking some really professional at-bats,” Marmol said about Nootbaar. “He’s making a lot of hard contact. He’s confident in what he’s doing right now.”

Nootbaar said he thought Arenado would be able to score the winning run. Arenado’s slide beat the tag by catcher Willson Contreras.

“He’s not the fleetest afoot. I’d never seen him move that fast before,” Nootbaar said with a laugh. “But he’s a smart baserunner. I had a pretty good idea he would score there. I made him run a little harder than he needed to. I owe him.”

Ryan Helsley (6-1) got three outs for the win, helping the Cardinals pull within a half-game of Milwaukee for the NL Central lead.

Contreras homered for Chicago, which dropped its fourth straight game. Stroman was charged with three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.

“I thought he had command of both sides of the plate. He was sharp,” manager David Ross said. “It was a really nice performance today I thought.”

The doubleheader was scheduled after Wednesday night’s game was postponed by rain. St. Louis improved to 5-2 in its four doubleheaders this season, and Chicago dropped to 1-8 in its five doubleheaders.

Contreras, who was the subject of trade rumors ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, hit a solo drive in the first for his 15th homer.

“I just wanted that to be over and clear my mind to play baseball,” Contreras said of the deadline. “I need to keep my focus on baseball and I don’t have to worry about something else any more. It feel more relaxed. It took a lot of weight off my shoulders.”

The Cubs added two more in the sixth against Miles Mikolas. Contreras doubled and scored on Seiya Suzuki’s single, and Patrick Wisdom added a sacrifice fly.

Mikolas allowed seven hits, struck out six and waked one in 6 1/3 innings.

Rafael Ortega had three hits for Chicago, and Nico Hoerner went 2 for 4.


The Cardinals have homered in 12 straight games for the majors’ second-longest active streak behind the Yankees (19). St. Louis has hit multiple home runs in six straight games for the longest active streak in MLB.


Major League Baseball announced that the Cardinals and Cubs will play a two-game series in London in June.


Cubs: LHP Matt Dermody was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to serve as the 27th man for the split doubleheader. Dermody, 32, is 6-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 20 games (13 starts) for Iowa this season. … INF David Bote was optioned to Iowa to create a roster spot for LHP Sean Newcomb, who was slated to start the second game.

Cardinals: Added RHP James Naile as the 27th player for the doubleheader. Naile relieved Mikolas in the seventh and got two outs.


Cubs: INF Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder strain) went 1 for 3 with a home run and walk in a rehab game for Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. … LHP Wade Miley (left shoulder strain) threw 49 pitches in 2 1/3 innings Wednesday for Iowa. He gave up three runs and five hits.

Cardinals: RHP Drew VerHagen (right hip impingement) will have hip surgery soon. … LHP Steven Matz (torn left MCL) will not need season-ending surgery and instead will rehab. There is no timetable on when he will be back.


Cubs: It’s the first big league start for Newcomb (0-0, 11.57 ERA) since Aug. 10, 2020, for Atlanta at Philadelphia. On Friday, LHP Justin Steele (4-7, 3.86 ERA) will make his 20th start of the season in the opener of a three-game series against Miami.

Cardinals: LHP Jose Quintana (3-5, 3.50 ERA) starts the second game of the doubleheader. Quintana was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh on Monday. On Friday, RHP Dakota Hudson (6-6, 4.10 ERA) will square off against New York Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes (9-3, 2.53 ERA) in the opener of a three-game set.

Quintana wins in St. Louis debut, Cardinals sweep DH vs Cubs

ST. LOUIS (AP) Newly acquired Jose Quintana won in his debut with St. Louis, Tyler O’Neill and Nolan Arenado homered and the Cardinals beat Chicago 7-2, completing a doubleheader sweep of the Cubs on Thursday night.

The Cardinals won the opener 4-3 as Lars Nootbaar hit a tying sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth.

“It’s tough to win two games,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “The guys came in, and they were determined to take both of those games one at a time, and they executed.”

Quintana, traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to St. Louis on Monday, surrendered one run, one hit and two walks and struck out seven batters in six innings in a no-decision debut with the Cardinals, who have won four straight and are tied for first place in the NL Central with Milwaukee.

“You look into the eyes of the Quintanas of the world before that game starts and it will give you goosebumps how bad he wants it,” Marmol said. “You look at anybody on the club right now. There’s a really good feeling going around. The guys are determined. It would be a fun little run.”

Jordan Hicks (3-5) allowed a run on a hit and two walks, and Genesis Cabrera and Chris Stratton each tossed a scoreless inning in relief in the combined two-hitter.

Sean Newcomb allowed two runs on five hits in three innings serving as an opener in his first major league start since Aug. 10, 2020, at Philadelphia as a member of the Braves.

O’Neill hit a three-run home run, his sixth of the season, off Kervin Castro (0-1) in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a 2-all tie.

“Rounding the bases, I blacked out a little bit,” O’Neill said. “It was a really good feeling for me. I was able to let a little emotion out in the dugout, and the boys were fired up for me.”

Nelson Velazquez tied the game when he drove in Patrick Wisdom on an infield single that ricocheted off Hicks’ glove in the top of the seventh.

Arenado hit his 21st home run of the season into the third deck in left field to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.

Wisdom hit his 20th home run of the season in the first inning against his former team.

“It’s pretty rad,” Wisdom said about reaching the 20 home run mark. “I guess I didn’t really feel the weight of that, but it’s definitely really special.”

In the opener, St. Louis trailed 3-0 before rallying in the seventh against Marcus Stroman. Nolan Gorman and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back homers before Arenado doubled and scored on Nootbaar’s flyball to center.

“When it all clicks, we’re able to string together some quality at-bats,” Marmol said. “Those guys there definitely made an adjustment on Stroman and made some really hard contact. Classic third time through the lineup.”

Arenado and Paul DeJong walked with one out in the ninth against rookie Erich Uelmen (0-1). Nootbaar then drove in Arenado with a liner to right on a 2-2 pitch.

“He’s taking some really professional at-bats,” Marmol said of Nootbaar. “He’s making a lot of hard contact. He’s confident in what he’s doing right now.”

Ryan Helsley (6-1) got three outs for the win.

Contreras hit his 15th home run of the season in the first inning for Chicago, and Stroman was charged with three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.

“I thought he had command of both sides of the plate. He was sharp,” manager David Ross said. “It was a really nice performance today I thought.”

The doubleheader was scheduled after Wednesday night’s game was postponed by rain. St. Louis improved to 6-2 in its four doubleheaders this season, and Chicago (41-63) dropped to 1-9 in its five doubleheaders.

The Cubs added two more in the sixth against Miles Mikolas. Contreras doubled and scored on Seiya Suzuki’s single, and Wisdom added a sacrifice fly.

Mikolas allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked one in 6 1/3 innings.


Albert Pujols made his 12,884th career plate appearance when he grounded into a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning of game two. He moved past Cal Ripken, Jr. to have the sixth-most plate appearances in MLB history.


Ross challenged both out calls on Nico Hoerner’s game ending double play in the nightcap. Crew chief Marty Foster announced that Wisdom’s out at second base stood, while Hoerner’s out at first base was confirmed.


The Cardinals have homered in 13 straight games for the majors’ second-longest active streak behind the Yankees (19). St. Louis has hit multiple home runs in seven straight games for the longest active streak in MLB.


Major League Baseball announced that the Cardinals and Cubs will play a two-game series in London in June.


Cubs: LHP Matt Dermody was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to serve as the 27th man for the split doubleheader. Dermody, 32, is 6-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 20 games (13 starts) for Iowa this season. … INF David Bote was optioned to Iowa to create a roster spot for Newcomb, who was

Cardinals: Added RHP James Naile as the 27th player for the doubleheader. Naile relieved Mikolas in the seventh and got two outs. Prior to game two LHP Jordan Montgomery was added to the active roster, and LHP Zack Thompson was recalled from Memphis. Montgomery was acquired from the New York Yankees Tuesday in exchange for OF Harrison Bader.


Cubs: INF Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder strain) went 1 for 3 with a home run and walk in a rehab game for Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. … LHP Wade Miley (left shoulder strain) threw 49 pitches in 2 1/3 innings Wednesday for Iowa. He gave up three runs and five hits.

Cardinals: RHP Drew VerHagen (right hip impingement) will have hip surgery soon. … LHP Steven Matz (torn left MCL) will not need season-ending surgery and instead will rehab. There is no timetable on when he will be back.


Cubs: On Friday, LHP Justin Steele (4-7, 3.86 ERA) will make his 20th start of the season in the opener of a three-game series against Miami. Miami has not announced a starting pitcher.

Cardinals: On Friday, RHP Dakota Hudson (6-6, 4.10 ERA) will square off against Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes (9-3, 2.53 ERA) in the opener of a three-game set.

Lowe, Arozarena power Tampa Bay to 6-2 win over Tigers

DETROIT (AP) Brandon Lowe had a two-run home run among his three hits and drove in three runs as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Detroit Tigers 7-2 Thursday night.

“It’s nice to swing the bat and not hurt,” said Lowe, who returned in mid-July from a back injury. “I didn’t realize how debilitating it had been until the pain wasn’t there any more.”

Randy Arozarena had four hits for Tampa Bay, which won back-to-back games for the first time since the All-Star break.

“Randy and Brandon are two guys that, when they get going, they can do a lot of damage in a hurry, and that’s what we saw tonight,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I was going to give (Arozarena) the day off tomorrow, but I think he just hit himself back into the lineup.”

Rays starter Jeffrey Springs (4-3) picked up the win, allowing two unearned runs in six innings. He struck out six without walking a batter.

Drew Hutchison (1-5) allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks in six innings as Detroit lost for the fifth time in six games.

The Rays took a 2-0 lead in the second on Lowe’s blast before Tampa Bay gave Detroit plenty of help to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.

After Daz Cameron singled, third baseman Yandy Diaz misplayed back-to-back grounders, loading the bases. Riley Greene made it 2-1 with a sacrifice fly and Javy Baez tied the game with a single.

“We have a really good defense, and Yandy has made a lot of plays to bail me, so that was really uncharacteristic,” Springs said. “I just kept making pitches, and I would have been happy if they hit 99 of the next 100 balls at Yandy. I hated giving up the lead, but the way we were swinging, I thought we were still in good shape.”

Baez’s 16th error of the season extended the third inning, and Lowe took advantage with a two-out RBI single before Diaz scored on a wild pitch.

“It is always going to be easier for any team to win when they play clean baseball,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We haven’t done enough of that this year, and it has come back to hurt us at times.”

Tampa Bay nearly made it 5-2 in the sixth, but Tigers left fielder Victor Reyes reached over the wall to grab Christian Bethancourt long out.

Reliever Alex Lange retired the first hitter in the seventh, but a pair of walks and a wild pitch gave the Rays runners on second and third with one out. Arozarena’s base hit gave the Rays a three-run lead.

“He gets a lot of swings and misses with his breaking stuff – he thrives on that,” Hinch said of Lange. “When he gets behind guys, like he did in that inning, they aren’t going to be chasing as much.”

Arozarena’s double in the ninth scored Ji-Man Choi with Tampa Bay’s seventh run.

“Randy had some good at-bats early, but the two at the end were huge because it gave us a little breathing room,” Cash said.


The Rays claimed RHP Jimmy Yacabonis off waivers from the Miami Marlins, and will make a corresponding roster move when he arrives in Detroit. He was 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in nine relief appearances with the Marlins this season.


Baez made a second error in the 9th inning, giving a major-league-high 17 for the season. Bobby Witt Jr. of the Kansas City Royals entered Thursday with 15.


The teams continue their four-game series on Friday, with Corey Kluber (7-6, 4.03) facing Bryan Garcia (0-0, 4.91).

Rangers win 3-2 over WSox in debuts of 2 former 1st-rounders

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Meibrys Viloria had a tiebreaking pinch-hit single in the seventh inning and Texas beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Thursday night, when the Rangers became the first team since 1986 to have two of its first-round picks make their big league debuts as starters in the same game.

Left-hander Cole Ragans, who twice had Tommy John surgery after being their first-round pick in 2016, allowed one unearned run over five innings in his debut. Bubba Thompson, the team’s first pick in 2017, was 1 for 3 with a bunt single in his first big league game.

“To finally have this day to where … all the hard work that I’ve put in over the years has finally paid off, and I can officially say I’m a big leaguer, it’s unbelievable,” Ragans said.

Brock Burke (5-2) struck out four in two scoreless innings after taking over for Ragans, who struck out three, walked four and allowed three singles in a 93-pitch debut. Jonathan Hernandez pitched the ninth for his second save in two chances.

Leody Taveras had an RBI single for the Rangers, who ended a seven-game home losing streak. That hit in the second inning came after Nathaniel Lowe extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the first of his two doubles.

White Sox starter Johnny Cueto (4-5), unbeaten in his last six starts, gave up three runs and 11 hits. He struck out four without a walk while pitching the entire game.

Texas had two on with one out in the seventh when Viloria singled up the middle to make it 2-1 when hitting for struggling third baseman Ezequiel Duran, in a 3-for-30 slide after striking out in both of his at-bats. Thompson’s bunt loaded the bases before Marcus Semien’s sacrifice fly.

Yoan Moncada had an RBI triple for the White Sox in the eighth before Thompson, who was in left field, made a running catch of a liner in the gap to end that inning.

The debuts by Ragans and Thompson came after the Rangers formally introduced 2022 first-round pick Kumar Rocker at the ballpark earlier in the day.

Ragans started after Texas put Jon Gray on the injured list with a left oblique strain. The 24-year-old lefty was 8-5 with a 3.04 ERA in 18 starts combined at Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco.

Chicago did load the bases in the first on a walk and two singles that sandwiched Ragans’ first big league strikeout. But right after a mound visit, Ragans induced an inning-ending infield popout on his 26th pitch.

“One of our guys said he was the most prepared pitcher they’ve ever sent us to pitch in the big leagues,” manager Chris Woodward said. “Just really, really prepared and just special kid, both of those guys.”

Ragans settled down, but before the game saw the water shaking when he picked up a bottle and held it in his hand.

Thompson hit .303 with 13 homers, 48 RBIs and 49 stolen bases in 80 games at Round Rock. He showed his speed on the bunt single, and Woodward isn’t convinced that Thompson shouldn’t have already had a hit from a play in the fifth, when third baseman Moncada was given an error when trying to field a tough chopper on the run.

“It felt good. Relief because it’s hard to get to first base, you know, in this game at the highest level,” Thompson said. “It always feels good every hit. … I’m glad it came.”

The last time two former first-round picks drafted by the same club made their MLB debuts in the same game was April 8, 1986, when first baseman Will Clark and second baseman Robby Thompson debuted together for the San Francisco Giants at Houston.

Chicago got its run in the third, when Luis Robert had a leadoff walk before going to third after right fielder Adolis Garcia’s error on a dropped flyball that initially was ruled a catch before the White Sox challenged. Replay showed that Garcia never had control, and that the drop wasn’t caused by him trying to transfer the ball from the glove to his hand. Robert scored on Andrew Vaughn’s fielder’s choice comebacker.


White Sox: Robert was the DH in his first game since July 15, before the center fielder went on the injured list because of blurred vision caused by a virus. He had been activated from the injured list Tuesday but is being eased back into action.

Rangers: OF Kole Calhoun (right heel irritation) was placed on the 10-day injured list, and RHP Dennis Santana (left ankle sprain) was put on the 15-day IL. That cleared spots on the active roster, but Steven Duggar and Steele Walker, both outfielders at Triple-A Round Rock, were designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.


White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease (11-4, 2.01 ERA) makes his first start in August after being the American League’s pitcher of the month in June and July. He has won his last four starts, not given up more than one run in his last nine. Rangers right-hander Glenn Otto (4-7) is 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in seven starts since his return from the COVID-19 related IL.

Kershaw leaves with low back pain, Dodgers sweep Giants 5-3

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Clayton Kershaw left his start with low back pain and the Los Angeles Dodgers went on to beat the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Thursday to complete a four-game sweep.

Kershaw felt discomfort while he was warming up before the bottom of the fifth inning. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner winced and pointed to his dugout, and then walked off the field gingerly with a trainer.

“Just felt something kind of lock up there in the fifth and couldn’t really throw after that,” Kershaw said. “Something in my back again.”

Kershaw said he saw a doctor, and would know more about his condition on Friday.

He made 66 pitches through four innings against the Giants, allowing one earned run and three hits with four strikeouts.

“Obviously, anytime a pitcher’s got to come out of a game, there’s some concern level,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Given it’s his back which has been problematic at times — we just won’t know more until we get some tests.”

Kershaw has dealt with back issues throughout much of his career. He spent time on the injured list earlier this season due to inflammation in a pelvic joint.

Mookie Betts and Trea Turner homered for Los Angeles, which completed its first four-game sweep in San Francisco since 1977. The majors-leading Dodgers have won eight straight games against the Giants, matching the longest streak in Los Angeles history.

“We’re playing really good baseball,” Roberts said. “We got timely hitting, (made) plays defensively that we need to (make). We’re doing things to win baseball games, so it’s really, really good to see.”

J.D. Davis hit his first home run as a Giants, who fell to a majors-worst 3-12 since the All-Star break.

“We’re all frustrated,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “We don’t want to play like this.”

Gavin Lux singled home Max Muncy in the second inning to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Davis answered with a two-run homer to right in the bottom half.

Betts put Los Angeles back in front with a three-run homer in the fourth, his 25th of the year. Turner added his 18th home run in the seventh.

Brandon Belt doubled off Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel and scored on a wild pitch in the ninth.

Chris Martin (2-0) was credited with the win after pitching a scoreless sixth inning. Kimbrel earned his 20th save in 23 opportunities.

Jakob Junis (4-3) allowed three runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking two.


Kapler and reliever Jarlin Garcia were both ejected after the top of the sixth inning. Garcia struck out James Outman to end the inning and had words with Betts, who was on deck, mimicking the Dodgers’ celebration gesture of pounding their helmets following hits.

First base umpire Phil Cuzzi walked to the Giants dugout to talk to Kapler, who became furious and was ejected for the first time as San Francisco manager.

“The conversation was basically, `That wasn’t okay. That behavior wasn’t okay,'” Kapler said. “And obviously, I took exception to sort of being scolded in front of our dugout about how to approach and address our players.”

The umpires issued warnings to both benches and pitchers.

“He did that (gesture) against me the other day when he hit a home run, and I just thought, you know what, let me do the same thing,” Garcia said through a translator. “It wasn’t trying to be disrespectful with anyone. I mean, not even Mookie Betts. He’s one of my favorite players. I respect all of them, especially him. But it’s just getting caught up in the moment, trying to compete.”

Betts was completely caught off-guard.

“I didn’t do anything,” he said. “It all was pretty surprising to me.

“I just said, `What’s your problem?’ I don’t know. I was just standing on deck.”


Turner was named the Dodgers’ winner of the Heart and Hustle Award as voted by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. Wilmer Flores was announced as the Giants’ recipient.

The award honors a player from each team who “demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.” The overall winner will be announced in November.


Dodgers: INF/OF Chris Taylor (left foot fracture) is nearing a return from the injured list. “He’s close,” Roberts said. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see him this next series.” Taylor went 3 for 4 with two home runs in a rehab game for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday. … RHP Dustin May (Tommy John surgery) started the same game, allowing one run in four innings with six strikeouts. He will make two more rehab starts. … RHP Blake Treinen (right shoulder discomfort) pitched a simulated game on Wednesday and recovered well. He will pitch another simulated game or begin a rehab assignment next. “It’s going to be one or the other and it will probably be in two or three days,” Roberts said.

Giants: C Joey Bart (groin tightness) got the day off, but isn’t expected to miss any additional time. “He’s feeling better,” Kapler said. … SS Brandon Crawford (left knee inflammation) and OF Joc Pederson (concussion) are expected to come off the IL on Saturday. … INF Thairo Estrada (concussion) is on track to return Sunday. … 3B Evan Longoria (right hamstring strain) will not require a rehab assignment and could come off the IL as soon as this weekend, though next week is more likely. “I wouldn’t say Oakland is out of the question and I’d say San Diego is a good chance,” Kapler said.


Dodgers: RHP Tony Gonsolin (12-1, 2.41 ERA) opens a three-game home series against the Padres on Friday. Gonsolin is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA in five career appearances, including four starts, against San Diego.

Giants: Following a rare Friday off, LHP Carlos Rodon (9-6, 3.00) opens a two-game series in Oakland on Saturday. Rodon limited the Athletics to one run and three hits in six innings in an 8-2 win on April 26.

Miguel Cabrera says he’s uncertain about playing in 2023

DETROIT (AP) Miguel Cabrera says he may end his likely Hall of Fame career at the end of this season.

The 39-year-old Detroit Tigers star mused on the subject Thursday amid a slump through the dog days of summer. Cabrera joined the 3,000-hit/500-homer club earlier in the season, and was hitting .308 as recently as July 8.

Plagued by lower-body problems that have been a constant issue in recent seasons, he was hitting .132 with three extra-base hits in his last 20 games entering Thursday’s action.

“You’ve got to understand your body, I understand mine and my place on this team,” he said before the Tigers hosted the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. “I’ve got to talk to my agent, the GM, I’ve got to talk to everybody to see the plan for next year.

“Right now, we don’t know. We’re focused on today.”

Cabrera is owed $32 million in 2023 in the final season of a $292 million, 10-year contract.

The Tigers came into the season as fringe contenders after a strong finish in 2021, but, after Thursday’s 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay, have staggered to a 42-65 record with the worst offense in baseball.

“I’m going to go out there and do my best every day – that’s the bottom line,” he said. “But there’s an opportunity for young guys here to get more at-bats and see what we’ve got for next year.”

London Calling: Cubs-Cardinals set for London in June 2023

NEW YORK (AP) Major League Baseball plans to return to London next year for the first time since 2019.

The league announced Thursday that the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will play a two-game series on June 24-25, 2023, at London Stadium. The NL Central rivals were supposed to play in London in 2020, but the games were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Cardinals are excited and honored to be a part of the London Series next year,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a release. “The Cardinals-Cubs rivalry is one of the best in sports, and it will be exciting to bring it to Europe for a new audience to experience.”

MLB last played in London in 2019, when the New York Yankees swept a two-game set against the Boston Red Sox in June at London Stadium. Those were also MLB’s first regular-season games played in Europe.

Chicago and St. Louis have played international games before. The Cubs opened the 2000 season in Tokyo against the New York Mets, and played a three-game series against the Montreal Expos in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2003. The Cardinals played a two-game set against Cincinnati in Mexico in 2019.

“The MLB London Series between the Cubs and Cardinals has been in the works for years now and we’re thrilled to finally be able to bring one of baseball’s biggest rivalries to fans abroad in 2023,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a release.

The 2023 London Series is part of an international slate that was approved in the March labor agreement between MLB and the players’ association. It also calls for London games in 2024 and 2026, the first France games in 2025, annual Mexico City games from 2023-26, an Asian opener in 2024 and a Tokyo opener in 2025.

Nicole Hazen, wife of Arizona Diamondbacks GM, dies at 45

PHOENIX (AP) Nicole Hazen, the wife of Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen, has died from complications due to glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. She was 45.

She was diagnosed with cancer more than two years ago. The family has four sons, Charlie, John, Teddy and Sam. The team sent a statement confirming that Hazen died on Thursday.

“Nicole lived her life and loved her family with fierceness and devotion,” the Hazen family said in a statement. “She spent every day in the service of others as a mother, wife and educator advocating for goodness. From our family, we remain forever grateful for the love, support and random acts of kindness bestowed upon us for the last two years and four months. We would not have been able to walk down this road, with her, without the help and generosity of our community.”

Mike Hazen announced he was taking a partial leave of absence last year to help take care of his wife and family.

Former attorney general to hear appeal of Watson suspension

CLEVELAND (AP) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has chosen former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal of the six-game suspension for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Watson was suspended this week by independent disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, who concluded he violated the league’s personal conduct policy after being accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women in Texas.

The league, which had been pushing for an indefinite suspension for Watson, wanted further discipline and appealed Robinson’s ruling on Wednesday.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, the appeal gave the power back to Goodell to enact punishment but he instead chose Harvey, currently a partner at a law firm in New York, to hear the appeal.

In noting his qualifications, the league said Harvey “has deep expertise in criminal law, including domestic violence and sexual assault, and has advised the NFL and other professional leagues on the development and implementation of workplace policies, including the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.”

Harvey has also served as Goodell’s designee in other arbitrations, and he’s a member of the league’s Diversity Advisory Committee, created to improve racial and gender diversity across the NFL.

Goodell chose a designee because he wanted an expert in the field who can focus solely on this matter, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. Goodell is busy with Hall of Fame weekend and the upcoming league meeting on Tuesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because it’s an internal matter.

There is no timeline for when Harvey will hear the appeal. According to the league’s personal conduct policy, it must be processed on an expedited basis.

Due in part to a public outcry that the suspension was too light, the league appealed Robinson’s decision and wants Watson disciplined further.

“The NFL’s appeal addresses whether, based on the findings made by Judge Robinson, the discipline should be modified to include a professional evaluation and treatment as determined by medical experts, an appropriate fine, and a longer suspension,” the league said in a statement.

“Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Mr. Harvey’s written decision “will constitute the full, final and complete disposition of the dispute and will be binding upon the player(s), Club(s), and parties” to the CBA.”

In her 16-page ruling, Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players Association, called Watson’s behavior “egregious” and “predatory.” The women alleged he sexually assaulted or sexually harassed them during massage therapy sessions when the quarterback played for the Houston Texans.

The former federal judge concluded that Watson violated the league’s policy by engaging in unwanted sexual contact with another person, endangering the safety and well-being of another person and undermining the league’s integrity.

However, in imposing the six-game suspension, Robinson pointed out flaws in the league’s guidelines for player misconduct, which limited her authority to penalize him.

Robinson did stipulate in her punishment that Watson must use only club-approved massage therapists for the duration of his career.

Report: Steelers, Diontae Johnson strike 2-year, $36.71M extension

The Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Diontae Johnson have agreed on a two-year, $36.71-million extension, a source told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

The deal, which runs through the 2024 season, reportedly includes $27 million guaranteed and will pay Johnson $19 million in the first year. He can earn up to $39.5 million with incentives as part of the contract, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 26-year-old’s new $18.35-million average annual salary ranks 17th among wide receivers, per Spotrac.

Johnson, a third-round pick in 2019, was entering the last year of his rookie contract. He reported to training camp but decided to hold in, only participating in select drills as the two sides discussed a contract extension.

The Toledo product, who’s coming off a career year, has led Pittsburgh in targets each season since entering the NFL. He also finished 2021 with a team-high 107 receptions, 1,161 yards, and eight touchdown catches in 16 games.

The Pro Bowler has caught 254 passes for 2,764 yards and 20 touchdowns across three campaigns with the Steelers.

Cliff Branch’s speed led to Hall of Fame after long wait

Cliff Branch was the epitome of what Al Davis coveted in a receiver during his decades running the Raiders.

Branch arrived in Oakland with the game-breaking speed needed to fuel the Raiders’ vertical offense and as soon as he learned to harness that speed and develop reliable hands, there was no stopping Branch.

Branch became one of the best deep threats of his era with some of his biggest performances coming on the game’s biggest stages to earn a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

“He was a game-changer,” said Hall of Fame coach Tom Flores, who was a receivers coach for the Raiders when Branch arrived and was his head coach for seven seasons.

“He had one-of-a-kind speed and several gears with his speed. I had to coach him on how to slow down. That sounds ridiculous, but he was trying to run the routes I was teaching in mock speed and couldn’t do it. He was tripping and clumsy, so I taught him to glide. He could glide faster than most people could run. Then when you have the need, turn it on.”

Branch arrived in Oakland as a fourth-round pick in 1972 after catching just 36 passes his final two years in college at Colorado. But Branch also was a star sprinter who set the NCAA championship meet record in the 100 meters shortly before joining the Raiders.


​Today, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, the NFL family kicks off the third season of its NFL Votes initiative. NFL Votes is a league-wide, nonpartisan initiative that supports and encourages civic engagement among NFL players and Legends, club and league personnel, and fans. The initiative was founded in August 2020 as a joint effort between the NFL and the NFL Players Association and focuses on three key components of the electoral process: voter education, voter registration, and voter activation.

All 32 NFL clubs and players throughout the league support this initiative and will engage in various efforts to highlight the importance of voting and to encourage fans to become informed and effective voters. With the upcoming midterm elections, NFL Votes will emphasize that our democracy is not a spectator sport and that everyone who is eligible should make his or her voice heard in the elections taking place in all 50 states. In the elections, voters will elect all 435 U.S. House members, about one-third of the U.S. Senate, governors in 36 states, and numerous local and state officials – all of whom help to shape the priorities and direction of the country.

“Since its inception in 2020, NFL Votes has used its platform to help promote and encourage active participation in our country’s democratic process and one of our most fundamental rights, voting,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We are proud of this league-wide, non-partisan initiative that will continue through the upcoming midterm elections and beyond to educate, register and activate voters nationwide alongside our non-partisan partners in the civic engagement space.”

As part of the initiative, all 30 NFL stadiums are available to be utilized for election-related activities, if needed by local election officials. In 2020, such activities included early voting, drop-off, or Election Day polling sites. In addition, starting Week 2 of the NFL season during the runup to National Voter Registration Day on September 20, NFL Votes will launch a marketing campaign to further drive awareness and promote registration across the NFL and beyond, which will include television spots, social extensions, and “NFL Votes” field stencils and more. The campaign will continue through National Voter Education Week starting October 4 and culminate on November 8 – Election Day.

This season, the NFL also announced Vet the Vote as a new, non-partisan partner. Vet the Vote is a coalition of nearly 30 veteran and military service organizations and civic groups, which aims to address a national shortage of poll workers by recruiting and training military veterans and their families to help our elections run effectively. Vet the Vote joins I am a voter., Rock the Vote, and RISE, have been partners of the league and clubs since 2020, helping with the overall education, registration, and activation phases of NFL Votes across the country.

During today’s game in Canton, fans will be able to register to vote at an NFL Votes booth inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. In addition, military veterans and military family members will be able to sign up to volunteer and train as non-partisan poll workers. Representatives from Rock the Vote and Vet the Vote will staff the booth. In addition, during pregame warmups, fans will be encouraged to vote through in-stadium signage, live announcements, and a text-to-vote code provided on the stadium video board.  

NFL Votes has made the below progress since its inception in 2020:

Every NFL player, in addition to every club and league employee, has received comprehensive voter education and access to voter information and support. In addition, every NFL Legend has access to education and support.

Approximately 90 percent of active players are registered to vote, and, in 2020, several clubs reported achieving 100 percent player registration.

Half of the clubs used stadiums or facilities for election-related activities, including early voting, ballot drop-off, or Election Day polling sites. More than 66,000 voters cast ballots at NFL sites.

All 32 clubs united to promote the initiative, which reached more than 160 million people.

More information on NFL Votes’ non-partisan partner organizations:

I am a voter.: I am a voter.® is a nonpartisan movement that aims to create a cultural shift around voting and civic engagement by unifying around a central truth: our democracy works best when we all participate.

RISE: RISE is a national nonprofit that uses sport as a vehicle for social justice. Through our RISE to Vote program, we engage athletes, coaches and staff at all levels, educating them on how to vote and why it matters. We equip them with the tools and knowledge to get involved, make a difference and inspire their fans to be civically active.

Rock the Vote: Rock the Vote is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to building the political power of young people. For 30 years, Rock the Vote has revolutionized the way we use pop culture, music, art, and technology to engage young people in politics and build our collective power.

Vet the Vote: Vet the Vote is a pro-democracy, nonprofit and non-partisan national campaign to recruit 100,000 veterans and military family members to become the next generation of poll workers. As many as 130,000 poll workers have left their positions over the last five years, and poll worker shortage has led to longer wait times for voters, and even some polling sites shutting down.

Auburn QB TJ Finley charged with attempting to elude police

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn quarterback T.J. Finley was arrested Thursday after turning himself in on a misdemeanor warrant for attempting to elude a police officer.

Auburn assistant police chief Clarence Stewart said in a statement that Finley also received traffic citations and was booked at the Lee County Jail on $3,000 bond. The 20-year-old quarterback was later released.

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said Finley will practice with the team when preseason camp opens Friday.

“We’re aware of what’s going on,” Harsin said.

Police twice attempted to stop a male who was operating a motorcycle without a helmet in the same area on July 26, 2022, Stewart said. The man, who police identified as Finley, fled police “and committed several other traffic offenses in the process,” Stewart said.

“Officers terminated the pursuit on both occasions as a matter of safety,” he said.

Finley started the Tigers’ final three games after a season-ending injury to Bo Nix. Auburn ended on a five-game losing streak.

The LSU transfer is competing in a crowded competition for the starting job after Nix transferred to Oregon. Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada and Oregon transfer Robby Ashford are also competing in preseason camp. Freshman Holden Geriner enrolled early and went through spring ball.

Georgia begins national title defense with sweet fade

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) The Georgia Bulldogs aren’t resting on their laurels – or their locks – as they begin defense of college football’s national championship.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett and several of his teammates chopped off a significant chunk of hair before the start of preseason practice Thursday.

Some clandestine shots of Bennett’s sweet fade generated plenty of buzz on social media – and seemingly signaled a team that is hungry for another title.

“That goes back to that lock in, lock out,” coach Kirby Smart said. “Lock into camp, lock out all the noise and all the social media things and get really focused on being the best version of yourself. And there were several guys that, I guess, decided to do that through their hair.”

Georgia is coming off its first national championship since 1980, culminating with a decisive takedown of the dynasty everyone has been chasing for more than a decade, Southeastern Conference rival Alabama.

But if anyone expects the Bulldogs to back off the throttle, think again. Smart landed another haul of top recruits and keeps preaching that his players will be the hunters, not the hunted, in their pursuit of a repeat title.

“We don’t have a reason to be complacent,” said Smart, who was recently rewarded with a 10-year contract extension worth more than $110 million. “I’ve been on national championship teams that won it all that I was concerned about complacency because there were a lot of players back. We don’t really have that problem.”

Indeed, the Bulldogs have some huge holes to fill after a record 15 players were selected in the NFL draft, the most from one school since it became a seven-round event nearly three decades ago.

Five of those players went in the first round – all of them from Georgia’s fearsome defense. End Travon Walker was the top overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and teammates Jordan Davis, Quay Walker, Devonta Wyatt and Lewis Cine also had their names called in the first 32 selections.

The way Smart sees it, he’s got plenty of guys who are eager to make their mark after watching others hold down a starring role.

That is especially true along a defensive line that was anchored in the middle by the mammoth Davis, flanked by Wyatt and Travon Walker.

Jalen Carter returns to lead a new-look line that will have the seemingly impossible task of replacing three first-rounders.

Bring it on, said nose tackle Zion Logue, one of those who will be expected to carry a much bigger load. Even with all the losses, there is still plenty of talent on the defensive side.

“The way we recruit, man, and the way we work, guys actually want to come here and be great,” Logue said. “When you have guys that want to come here and actually do the right things, do the right steps to get back to where we want to get to, I think we can be successful.”

The Bulldogs open the season Sept. 3 at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a most intriguing match-up against Oregon, now coached by former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning.

Smart passed on the chance to look ahead.

‘”‘The last thing I’m worried about is Dan Lanning,” Smart said. “We’ve got a million battles to face before that. I’m not even thinking about Oregon. Our concern is our roster.”

The Georgia offense also has some big holes to fill, but experience is certainly not a concern at quarterback. To the surprise of many, Bennett passed on the chance to close out his college career with a national championship. He’s back for his sixth college season, eager to add to an already improbable journey from walk-on to title-winning QB.

“The leadership that he brings to the table, being here for a bunch of years, and the experience,” offensive tackle Warren McClendon said. “He’s taken a lot of reps. He’s seen a lot of stuff. He helps us get in the right stuff and where we need to be.”

The Bulldogs are counting on Bennett to play like a veteran.

Even with that fresh new ‘do.

LSU’s Kelly frank about uncertainty as camp kicks off

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Invigorated as LSU coach Brian Kelly appears to be by his first year at the helm of a traditional Southeastern Conference power, he didn’t downplay the relative uncertainty surrounding the Tigers as fall camp opened.

A coaching staff that has just one returning assistant – offensive line coach Brad Davis – has a slew of decisions to make about a roster comprised of numerous new players.

LSU opens its season against Florida State in New Orleans on Sept. 4. But as camp opened on Thursday evening, Kelly said he could not yet even pencil in who likely starters would be at quarterback, cornerback or along most of the offensive line.

“A lot of good and bad things happen in those units, and there’s questions that have to be answered,” Kelly said. “Now, I stand here in front of you feeling pretty good about the players we’ve put together in very short order that can go out and play at a very high level in the SEC. But the fact of the matter remains, we’ve got to figure out who those guys are.”

At the end of last season, the Tigers were so thin at quarterback that they had to start receiver Jontre Kirklin, a former high school QB, in the their Texas Bowl loss to Kansas State.

Now they have four QBs to choose from, including two – 23-year-old graduate Mayles Brennan and redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier – who’ve already played under center for LSU. They’re competing with transfer Jayden Daniels, who was a three-year starter at Arizona State, and Walker Howard, a coveted freshman recruit.

None of last year’s starting cornerbacks have returned – not much of the secondary overall for that matter. But Kelly has tried to shore up the position with Oklahoma State senior transfer Jarrick Bernard-Converse and Ohio State graduate transfer Sevyn Banks, among others.

After losing three offensive linemen in the NFL draft, that unit needs to be remade. Among those returning from last season, Cameron Wire is the most experienced with four starts, but was plagued by injuries last season.

“We’re going to go through camp and have to make some tough decisions and, quite frankly, rely on evaluations in camp to do that,” Kelly said. “That’s a little bit different in my years. Generally, we’ve had guys kind of – you know, everyone says the depth chart, it’s always open – but you always have a guy penciled in somewhere. There’s not a lot of penciling in yet. So, yes, there’s some work to be done.”

This uncertainty, on the heels of last season’s 6-7 record in the final season under 2019 national champion coach Ed Orgeron, is a reason expectations for LSU are lower than usual.

The Tigers were picked to finish fifth in the seven-team SEC West Division in the league’s preseason media poll.

But if Kelly chooses the right starting QB, and the line blocks for him, the passing game could be elite. Kelly said Kayshon Boutte, who is wearing the No 7 jersey traditionally given to the most talented Louisiana native on the roster, is looking good as he returns from ankle surgery.

“He’s an explosive player,” Kelly said. “I’m excited for him, really, because you can see his potential is one of: Can he be the best receiver in the country? I think he can be.”

Jack Bech, one of LSU’s top receivers from the tight end spot last season, is back as a receiver this year. He is recovering from an injury, but Kelly was optimistic he’d be back at practice within days from shin splints.

The Tigers also expect to have a strong pass rush, thanks to Ali Gaye’s return for his senior season, and the return of sophomore Maason Smith.

The running game should be bolstered by the return of John Emery Jr., who was ineligible last season. But the group won’t be as deep as expected; Kelly said Tre Bradford was no longer on the team or enrolled at LSU.

Still, Kelly sounded encouraged by a running back corps which saw the addition since spring of Penn State transfer Noah Cain.

“I really like the depth of the group when you add Cain to the mix as well,” Kelly said. “All of them have a chance to contribute. … I’m OK with that. I think that’s great. All of them are very competitive and all bring a little bit something different to the table.”

College football previews: American Athletic Conference

Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
East Carolina
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule

Big Ten 2022 Team Previews

Big Ten East

Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Michigan State
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Ohio State
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Penn State
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis

Big Ten West

Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis

Big 12 2022 Team Previews

Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Iowa State
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Kansas State
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Oklahoma State
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
Texas Tech
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis
West Virginia
Preview | Top 10 Players | Schedule Analysis

WNBA’s Griner convicted at drug trial, sentenced to 9 years

KHIMKI, Russia (AP) U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was convicted Thursday in Russia of drug possession and smuggling and was sentenced to nine years in prison in a politically charged case that could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.

The 31-year-old Griner, a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and a eight-time all-star with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, listened with a blank expression as an interpreter translated the verdict by Judge Anna Sotnikova, but her lawyers said later she was “very upset.” Griner also was fined 1 million rubles (about $16,700).

U.S. President Joe Biden denounced as “unacceptable” the verdict and sentence, which came amid soaring tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine.

“I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates,” Biden said, adding that he would continue to work to bring home Griner and Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia on an espionage conviction.

Outside court, the U.S. Embassy’s charge d’affaires Elizabeth Rood called the outcome “a miscarriage of justice.”

Griner, recognized as one of the greatest players in WNBA history, has been detained since Feb. 17 after police said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage upon landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. She was returning to Russia, where she has competed since 2014.

As she was led out of court, Griner said: “I love my family.”

The nine-year sentence was close to the maximum of 10 years that Griner had faced under the charges. Most Russians possessing small quantities of drugs get at most five years in prison, lawyers said.

Iman Shumpert arrested at Texas airport for pot possession

DALLAS (AP) — Former NBA player Iman Shumpert was arrested at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Saturday for allegedly trying to bring six ounces of cannabis through security.

The police report from the DFW Airport Department of Public Safety shows police were called to a TSA checkpoint at about 3:40 p.m. on July 30 and told there was a “sizeable amount of marijuana” found.

The police report says Shumpert told officers that the bag contained marijuana and “asked if there was any way he could make his flight” to Los Angeles, where he was supposed to pick up his daughter. He has two daughters with entertainer Teyana Taylor.

Shumpert was told no, arrested for felony possession of marijuana and taken to the airport jail. The Tarrant County Criminal Courts system didn’t have information about a court case.

The report says Shumpert also had a magazine with 14 rounds in his backpack but no gun was found. A contact for Shumpert, his agent or a lawyer was not immediately available.

Shumpert won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. He also played for the New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets. He was waived by the Nets in 2021.

Huh takes big leap off bubble with career-best 61 at Wyndham

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) John Huh wasn’t expecting the lowest round of his PGA Tour career Thursday in the Wyndham Championship, and he had no complaints about the score or the timing.

Huh made seven of his eight birdie attempts from 10 feet or closer and holed a 40-foot eagle putt on the par-5 15th hole at Sedgefield for a 9-under 61, giving him a two-shot lead over Sungjae Im in the final tournament of the regular season.

“It’s kind of strange because like earlier I mentioned, I wasn’t really feeling great with my game and (to) shoot my career low, it’s kind of weird,” Huh said. “Sort of mixed feelings, but I’ll take this any day.”

Huh needed a round like this. He is No. 120 in the FedEx Cup – with some wiggle room because of the defectors to Saudi-funded LIV Golf – and only the top 125 advance to the lucrative postseason next week and are assured a full PGA Tour card for next season.

“I know what’s on the line, I know how important this tournament would be,” Huh said. “At the same time you’ve just got to go and play and I think I did that really well today.”

Im had two eagles in his round of 63. At a true No. 15 in the FedEx Cup, he already is set for the postseason and a good week might be able to sew up his spot in the finale at East Lake.

Peter Malnati and Brandon Wu were at 64.

Far more relevant was the group at 65, which includes Austin Smotherman. He is list at No. 135 in the FedEx Cup, but he would count as No. 125 – the cutoff – because 10 players ahead of him have been suspended for signing on with LIV Golf.

The suspended players would be line in to receive FedEx Cup bonus money without playing. The PGA Tour said last week a player’s FedEx Cup ranking would not be affected by those have gone over to LIV Golf.

Smotherman missed only two greens and kept bogeys off his card. Three others at 65 – Ben Kohles (181), Cameron Percy (170) and Brian Stuard (148) were outside the top 125.

Also at 65 was Aaron Wise, who is at No. 34 in the standings and is looking to improve his ranking going into the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs. Wise had a five-hole stretch on the back nine that he played in 5-under par, including a 30-foot eagle putt on the 15th, until missing the fairway and failing to save par from beyond the green at the 18th.

Will Zalatoris, at No. 14 in the world the highest-ranked player in the field, was hopeful of moving into the top 10 in the FedEx Cup and collecting bonus money from the regular season. A two-time runner-up in majors this year, he opened with a 71 and next had to worry about making the cut.

Rickie Fowler also had a 71 playing in the afternoon. Fowler is No. 123 in the FedEx Cup – accounting for the suspended players ahead of him – and likely will need to make the cut to avoid missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

Huh now has three rounds at 62 or lower on the PGA Tour – he had a 62 at Sedgefield in 2013 and a 62 in Las Vegas in 2016 – and made this one look easy.

Starting on the fourth hole, he ran off five straight birdies, the longest one at 10 feet. After his long eagle putt, he holed a 4-foot putt for birdie on the 17th.

“I hit it close enough, gave myself a chance,” Huh said. “The longest putt I made was for eagle, but other than that, I put it pretty much inside 10 feet and made all that.”

In borrowed clothes, Korda makes strong start at Muirfield

MUIRFIELD, Scotland (AP) Playing in borrowed clothes doesn’t seem to bother Jessica Korda at the Women’s British Open.

Still waiting for her suitcase to arrive in Muirfield, Korda recovered from an early bogey to shoot a 5-under 66 in the first round Thursday, putting her one shot behind leader Hinako Shibuno of Japan.

Korda made four birdies and an eagle on the 17th despite missing her normal clothes after her luggage got stuck at an airport in Switzerland.

“If anyone knows anyone at the Zurich airport that would like to put my suitcase on the one flight a day that they have coming into Edinburgh, I’d deeply appreciate it,” Korda said. “I know where it is, I have an air tag on it. I can’t get anyone to actually go get it. … Monday I wore Megan Khang’s pants. Tuesday, I wore my sister’s pants and Wednesday I wore Alison Lee’s pants. Today I’m wearing FootJoy pants.”

Shibuno, the 2019 champion, made birdies on the first three holes and went on to card eight in total in her 65. Scotland’s Louise Duncan and Mexico’s Gabby Lopez were tied for third, two shots back.

“It has been a long time since I’ve played this well, especially putting. Honestly it was a little frightening,” Shibuno said through an interpreter. “I haven’t changed much. My caddie told me that my body balance was off when I was missing putts. Once I focused on this, I could play much better.”

Nelly Korda, Jessica’s sister, was tied for 13th after shooting a 70.

Catriona Matthew, also a former Women’s British Open champion and two-time winning captain in the Solheim Cup, was selected to hit the opening tee shot Thursday after growing up close to Muirfield, which is hosting the event for the first time. It was only six years ago that Muirfield didn’t allow women to even set foot in the clubhouse.

Matthew struggled to a 5-over 76, making double bogeys on the first and 10th and failing to make a single birdie.

“Being the first women’s pro event to be played here, it’s great, and me being local it was a huge honor to hit the first tee shot,” Matthew said. “Apart from the two doubles I actually played quite well. It’s a little frustrating.”


Double Dingers and Season-High Strikeouts Lead Indians in Victory

INDIANAPOLIS  A two-run blast off the bat of Rodolfo Castro bounced the Indianapolis Indians back from a 2-0 deficit and a go-ahead, solo homer by Brendt Citta gave them the lead for good as they defeated the Louisville Bats on Thursday night at Victory Field, 5-3.

The Indians (49-51) pitching staff matched the offense’s effort, striking out a season-high 15 batters in the win. It was their most strikeouts since recording 15 on June 1, 2021 vs. Columbus. All four of the team’s 14-plus strikeout games this season have come at Victory Field.

With Indianapolis’ first run of the game already in on an RBI single by Hoy Park, Castro smacked his 12th home run of the season to the right-field berm to take a lead over the Bats (42-60) in a three-run fifth inning. The lead didn’t last long, however, as a sacrifice fly tied the game in the top of the sixth.

On the first pitch of his sixth-inning at-bat, Citta clocked a ball off Pedro Payano (L, 1-3) far out onto the concourse beyond left field to give Indianapolis a lead it would not relinquish. The designated hitter now has a hit in each of his three Triple-A games since returning to the Indians’ lineup. Mike Jarvis then singled up the middle to plate an insurance run for Indy.

Osvaldo Bido was setting down opposing batters quickly, recording eight of his nine outs via punchout. John O’Reilly (W, 4-2) entered in relief and fanned a pair in 3.0 innings, and Hunter Stratton followed with four strikeouts in 2.0 hitless frames. Eric Hanhold (S, 4) struck out one.

The Indians and Bats will face off again tomorrow at 7:05 PM ET, with Indy looking for its first series win since July 4-10 vs. Iowa. RHP Roansy Contreras (0-1, 2.84) will take the mound for Indianapolis against RHP Brandon Williamson (1-2, 3.27).


According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Pacers signed Deividas Sirvydis to a one-year deal on Thursday. Sirvydis was a second-round pick by Dallas in 2019 then was traded to Detroit shortly after being drafted and played just 23 games with the Pistons in the last two seasons (1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg in 7 minutes per game).

Roberts commits to Vanderbilt

Bloomington North boys’ basketball standout JaQualon Roberts has committed to Vanderbilt.

Roberts announced his verbal commitment on his Twitter account: First, I’d like to thank God and my Mom. Without them, I wouldn’t be here or have the ability to play the game of basketball that I love. Thanks to my Sister and family for being there and supporting me! Thank you to all of my coaches and my teammates, over the years. A special thank you to Coach Derrick Cross, my head basketball trainer, and his family who became our family. Thanks to the Teamwork Bloomington coaches and all of my Big Brothers! Lastly, I want to thank all of the coaches and schools that were recruiting me and those that took the time to get to know me and my family! With that being said, I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at Vanderbilt University! Thank you, Coach Stackhouse, Coach Andy Fox, Coach Mazarei, Coach Curry, and the rest of the entire basketball staff, Dr. Lee, Vice Chancellor Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director, and the rest of the administrators!

Roberts received more than a dozen Division I offers including Indiana, Butler, Evansville and Ball State.

Butler MBB to Host New Orleans in 2022-23 Regular Season Opener

Butler will open the 2022-23 regular season and the second edition of the Thad Matta Era Monday, Nov. 7, hosting New Orleans at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The game time and television assignment will be announced at a later date.

The match-up with New Orleans joins previously-announced non-conference schedule highlights that include the 2022 Battle 4 Atlantis, a home game against Kansas State as part of the BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle, and road games at Penn State (as part of the Gavitt Tip-Off Games) and California.

Additional non-conference games will be announced in the coming weeks.

This will be the third meeting between Butler and New Orleans as men’s basketball opponents. The Bulldogs have won both previous match-ups (Jan. 5, 2013 and Nov. 9, 2019). The Privateers are coached by Indiana native Mark Slessinger.

Matta has returned to his alma mater to lead the Bulldogs for a second time. In his 17 years as a college head coach, which includes stints at Butler, Ohio State and Xavier, Matta possesses an incredible record of 439-154 (.740). Matta’s teams won 20 or more games in 16 of those 17 seasons, advancing to the NCAA Tournament 13 times.

The Bulldogs return leading scorer Chuck Harris and significant contributors Jayden Taylor and Simas Lukosius from last season’s roster. Matta has supplemented that young, talented group of Bulldogs this offseason with the addition of standout transfers Manny Bates (North Carolina State), Eric Hunter Jr. (Purdue), Jalen Thomas (Georgia State), and Ali Ali (Akron).

Season tickets are on sale now to cheer on the Butler men’s basketball team at Hinkle Fieldhouse during the 2022-2023 campaign. The Bulldogs’ home schedule features 18 contests, including all 10 BIG EAST opponents.

Sycamores set to compete in 2022 Gulf Coast Showcase

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State men’s basketball is heading to the Sunshine State as the Gulf Coast Showcase tournament field was released on Thursday afternoon. The three-day event is scheduled to run from November 21-23 in Hertz Arena in Estero, Fla.

The Sycamores will be one of eight men’s teams competing over the Thanksgiving week. ISU joins Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun) and 2018 tournament champion Toledo (Mid-American) in a field that also includes Kansas City (Summit), East Carolina (American Athletic), Drexel (Colonial), UT Arlington (Sun Belt), and Northern Kentucky (Horizon).

Indiana State are scheduled to take on East Carolina in the Sycamores’ tournament opener on Monday with tipoff set for 1:30 p.m. ET. The full tournament schedule is listed below:

Monday, November 21

11 a.m. ET – Toledo vs. Kansas City

1:30 p.m. ET – East Carolina vs. Indiana State

5 p.m. ET – Drexel vs. UT Arlington

7:30 p.m. ET – NKU vs. FGCU

Game times for Tuesday and Wednesday will be the same with semifinal games on Nov. 22 at 5/7:30. Wednesday’s championship game will tip at 7:30 p.m.

The Sycamores trek to the Gulf Coast Showcase marks ISU’s second Thanksgiving week tournament under the helm of head coach Josh Schertz. Indiana State competed in the Myrtle Beach Invitational in the 2021-22 season topping Old Dominion (77-36) in the opening game, before falling to Oklahoma (87-63) and New Mexico State (80-66)

Indiana State men’s basketball will announce the full 2022-23 schedule in the coming weeks.

Men’s Soccer Tabbed #4 in Preseason Poll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After a trip to the NCAA Division II national semifinal a season ago, the University of Indianapolis men’s soccer team has collected a No. 4 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches (USC) DII top 25 preseason poll.

Defending national champion Cal State LA holds the top position in the poll followed by defending runner-up Charleston (WV) in second. Nova Southeastern sits in third with UIndy in fourth. Cal Poly Pomona rounds out the top five.

The Hounds pulled together the best season in program history last year by rolling out an 18-1-3 overall record while claiming both the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) regular season and tournament championships. The team went on to win the Super Region 3 title and appeared in the national semifinal held in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Newly promoted head coach Gabe Hall and the Hounds will begin the 2022 campaign on August 25th with a game against Lake Erie in Columbus, Ohio. The Storm will enter the contest ranked No. 15.



American League
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
NY Yankees7036.66041 – 1529 – 2132 – 1622 – 711 – 85 – 5L 2
Toronto5946.56210.534 – 2125 – 2520 – 1917 – 1115 – 117 – 3W 1
Tampa Bay5649.53313.533 – 2123 – 2825 – 219 – 1312 – 94 – 6W 2
Baltimore5451.51415.529 – 2025 – 3120 – 2411 – 1315 – 87 – 3W 3
Boston5354.49517.526 – 2727 – 2712 – 2914 – 1021 – 84 – 6L 2
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Minnesota5550.52429 – 2426 – 2613 – 1127 – 2010 – 94 – 6L 1
Cleveland5451.514127 – 2127 – 3010 – 1325 – 219 – 96 – 4L 1
Chi White Sox5352.505225 – 2928 – 2314 – 1522 – 229 – 116 – 4L 1
Kansas City4264.39613.523 – 3019 – 349 – 1619 – 2210 – 183 – 7W 1
Detroit4265.3931425 – 2817 – 378 – 1820 – 284 – 113 – 7L 2
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Houston6938.64534 – 1735 – 219 – 1017 – 435 – 205 – 5W 2
Seattle5749.53811.527 – 2330 – 2614 – 167 – 628 – 226 – 4W 2
Texas4758.4482122 – 2925 – 295 – 1412 – 821 – 294 – 6W 1
LA Angels4461.4192424 – 3220 – 296 – 1811 – 620 – 244 – 6L 2
Oakland4166.3832817 – 3324 – 3310 – 1611 – 1818 – 276 – 4W 2
National League
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
NY Mets6738.63832 – 1735 – 2134 – 1312 – 514 – 129 – 1W 2
Atlanta6343.5944.537 – 2226 – 2124 – 1817 – 1016 – 115 – 5L 2
Philadelphia5748.5431027 – 2530 – 2322 – 2112 – 816 – 118 – 2W 2
Miami4857.4571923 – 2825 – 2924 – 2210 – 139 – 143 – 7W 1
Washington3671.3363217 – 4019 – 319 – 3910 – 1012 – 144 – 6L 2
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Milwaukee5748.54326 – 2031 – 2811 – 1328 – 227 – 95 – 5L 4
St. Louis5748.54332 – 2025 – 2812 – 1528 – 1610 – 77 – 3W 4
Pittsburgh4362.4101424 – 2919 – 337 – 1521 – 2913 – 113 – 7W 3
Cincinnati4262.40414.524 – 3218 – 309 – 1214 – 228 – 216 – 4L 1
Chi Cubs4163.39415.520 – 3221 – 317 – 622 – 248 – 214 – 6L 5
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
LA Dodgers7233.68635 – 1537 – 1812 – 1117 – 632 – 128 – 2W 5
San Diego6147.56512.531 – 2330 – 2414 – 1019 – 1024 – 217 – 3L 1
San Francisco5155.48121.529 – 2722 – 2814 – 1314 – 1116 – 253 – 7L 4
Arizona4658.44225.527 – 2719 – 3114 – 1410 – 1115 – 274 – 6L 1
Colorado4761.43526.530 – 2717 – 348 – 199 – 823 – 253 – 7W 1

X – Clinched Division,  Y – Clinched Playoff Spot


1901       In the second inning of the nightcap against the Americans in Baltimore, Jimmy Hart punches umpire John Haskell in the face. The Orioles’ rookie first baseman who hits .311 playing in a total of only 58 games in his major league career, serves a ten-day suspension, but quits after going 4-for-4 upon his return because the team refused to pay his $25 fine.

1921       Pittsburgh’s radio station KDKA provides listeners with the first-ever broadcast of a major league game. Harold Arlin, detailing the action in the Pirates’ 8-5 victory over the Phillies at Forbes Field, becomes baseball’s first play-by-play announcer.

1932       Tommy Bridges loses his bid for a perfect game when Senator pinch-hitter Dave Harris, the 27th batter he faces, bloops a single in the Tigers’ 13-0 rout over Washington. The 24-year-old right-handed Tennessean from Gordonsville will toss two more one-hitters for Detroit next season.

1935       On a stormy Monday afternoon at Fenway Park, the Yankees and Red Sox engage in stalling and hurry-up tactics trying to take advantage of the inclement weather. American League president John Heydler will fine both managers, Joe Cronin (Boston) and Joe McCarthy (New York), $100 for their antics during the Bronx Bombers’ eventual 10-2 victory.

1937       The Newport Canners vs. Johnson City Soldiers’ Appalachian League contest in Tennessee ends in the sixth inning when the teams run out of baseballs. Some angry fans show their displeasure by destroying the set of bleachers that had been their seats before the game’s abrupt ending.

1940       In a rain-shortened 4-0 victory over the Tigers, Silent John Whitehead of the St. Louis Browns pitches a six-inning no-hitter. The victory will be the quiet Texan’s only victory this season.

1942       In front of fewer than three thousand patrons at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, the White Sox beat the Tigers, 1-0. The game’s only run scores when Don Kolloway steals home with two outs in the fifth inning.

1953       Don Larsen, in his 5-0 complete-game loss to Boston at Fenway Park, goes 3-for-3 to establish the mark for consecutive hits by a pitcher with seven. The Browns’ rookie right-hander will hit .284 in 81 at-bats this season.

1954       Stan Musial, in a 13-4 rout of the Dodgers in Brooklyn, paces the Cardinals attack, hitting two homers and driving in seven runs. The defeat is Preacher Roe’s first loss to St. Louis at Ebbets Field in four years.

1955       White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox’s consecutive game streak ends at 274. Starting tomorrow, the future Hall of Fame infielder will play in 798 straight contests.

1960       In a deal engineered by Tigers president Bill Devitt and Indians GM Frank Lane, their struggling teams become the first to swap skippers. The Tribe’s new manager, Jimmy Dykes, will compile a 103-115 record for Cleveland while Joe Gordon posts a 26-31 mark in his two-months stay in Detroit.

1969       With a titanic blast that clears the right-field pavilion, Willie Stargell becomes the first player to hit a home run completely out of Dodger Stadium. The 506-foot round-tripper helps the Pirates defeat LA, 11-3.

1972       Ed Brinkman commits an error, ending his major league record of 72 games and 331 total chances at shortstop without making a misplay. The 30-year-old Tiger infielder wins his only Gold Glove this season.

1973       Phil Niekro goes the distance, holding the Padres hitless in a 9-0 rout at home. The knuckleballer’s no-hitter is the first thrown by a Braves hurler since the team shifted to Atlanta in 1966.

1975       In the Phillies’ 13-5 victory, Cubs starter Bill Bonham gives up a major league record of seven hits to the first seven batters he faces in the Veterans Stadium contest. The former UCLA hurler, who doesn’t record an out, is replaced by Ken Crosby, who promptly gives up a single to Johnny Oates.

1979       At Chavez Ravine, Don Sutton fans six batters in LA’s 8-1 victory over San Francisco, surpassing Don Drysdale, to become the Dodgers’ all-time strikeout leader with 2,487. After establishing the mark and receiving a two-minute standing ovation that he acknowledges by tipping his cap, the umpire charges the right-hander with an automatic ball due to running his fingers across his lips while thanking the crowd.

1979       The Hall of Fame enshrines outfielders Willie Mays (Giants, Mets) and Hack Wilson (Giants, Cubs, Dodgers, and Phillies). Baseball administrator Warren Giles, who served as the president of the National League from 1951 to 1969, is also inducted during the Cooperstown ceremony.

1983       Billy Martin is suspended for two games for calling umpire Dale Ford “a stone liar” after the Yankees’ July 31st extra-inning 12-6 victory against the White Sox in Chicago. The suspension marks the second time this season the American League has disciplined the Bronx Bomber manager for his continued abuse of umpires.

1984       Cliff Johnson hits his 19th career pinch-hit home run, breaking a major league record shared with Jerry Lynch, who established the mark in 1966 playing with the Pirates. The eight-inning round-tripper off Tippy Martinez proves to be the difference in Toronto’s 4-3 victory over the Orioles at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium.

1985       Baseball names Keith Hernandez the player of the month, making him the first Met honored since Dave Kingman received the nod ten years ago. The New York first baseman, obtained in a trade with the Cardinals two seasons ago, collected 40 hits in his 102 at-bats last month, compiling a .392 batting average while driving in 29 runs for the team winning 21 of 28 decisions.

1985       In the Mets’ 7-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Darryl Strawberry belts three home runs, propelling the team into first place with a half-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League East. Eleven years and one day later, the ‘Straw’ will enjoy his second three-homer game, going deep for the Yankees three times against the White Sox in a 9-2 win in the Bronx.


At Candlestick Park, Giants’ southpaw Steve Carlton gets his 4000th strikeout, fanning Reds’ center fielder Eric Davis. The historic whiff occurs in the third inning with two runners on base and no outs in the eventual Reds’ 11-6 victory.

1992       The A’s take over first place in the AL West when Dennis Eckersley extends his major league record to 39 straight saves, far surpassing the mark of 25 established by Blue Jay closer Tom Henke last season. Oakland outfielder Jose Canseco walks in his first two plate appearances in the team’s 4-3 victory in Texas, tying a major league record with seven consecutive base-on-balls in the span of two games.

1993       In the Padres’ 11-10 victory over the Giants, Tony Gwynn goes 6-for-7 in the 12-inning contest at Qualcomm Stadium. The San Diego right fielder’s performance at the plate marks the fourth time this season he has collected five or more hits, tying the major league record shared by Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Stan Musial.

1994       Jeff Bagwell establishes a new Astros single-season home run record when he hits number 38, a fifth-inning two-out, two-run homer, off reliever Pat Gomez in the team’s 12-4 victory over the Giants at the Astrodome. The Houston first baseman, who also breaks the record of 110 RBIs set by Bob Watson in 1977 with the round-tripper, surpasses the mark established 27 years ago by Jimmy Wynn.

1999       Mark McGwire hits his 500th career home run off Padres’ hurler Andy Ashby, becoming the 16th major leaguer and the fastest to reach this milestone. The St. Louis slugger is the first to accomplish the feat a year after reaching the 400 home run plateau.

2000       Sammy Sosa becomes the first Cubs player to reach 100 RBIs six consecutive times. Hack Wilson did it for five straight seasons from 1926-30.

2001       Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield, both elected to by the BBWAA in his first year of eligibility, are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. World Series hero Bill Mazeroski and the late Negro Leagues pitcher Hilton Smith, players selected by the Veterans Committee, join the former Twin teammates.

2001       At Jacobs Field, the Indians, who trailed in the game 14-2 after six innings, tally twelve runs to tie the score and beat the Mariners, 15-14, thanks to Jolbert Cabrera’s 11th inning broken-bat single scoring Kenny Lofton to complete the unbelievable comeback. The Tribe joins the 1911 Tigers and 1925 A’s to become the third team in major league history to have won after being down by a dozen runs.

2002       In a make-up game against the Angels, the Tigers host ‘Silent Night.’ The fans hear no electronic, video, and commercial enhancements during Detroit’s 6-3 loss to Anaheim at Comerica Park.

2005       Albert Pujols becomes the first player to connect for 30 home runs in his first five big-league seasons. The Cardinals first baseman has hit 190 homers during this span from the start of his career in 2001, equaling Eddie Mathews’ total (1952-56) and 25 fewer than Ralph Kiner (1946-1950).

2006       With four bases on balls, three of which are intentional, the Rangers finally prevent Vladimir Guerrero from getting a hit. The Angel All-Star outfielder, who started playing in the American League after leaving Montreal as a free agent in 2003, had safely hit in all of his previous 44 games against Texas.

2006       Trevor Hoffman throws a scoreless ninth inning in San Diego’s 6-3 victory over the Nationals at Petco Park to become the first major league reliever to record 30 saves for eleven seasons. The Padres closer’s milestone establishes a major league record, surpassing the mark set by Lee Smith, the sport’s previous all-time saves leader.

2007       With his 246th career victory, an 8-5 win over Kansas City, Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina becomes the winningest pitcher in baseball history without a 20-win season. ‘Moose’ will reach the elusive milestone with a 20-9 record next season, his last in the majors.

2007       At Wrigley Field, Tom Glavine, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, becomes the 23rd player in major league history to win his 300th victory. The crafty southpaw, the fifth lefty to reach the milestone, limits the Cubs to six hits and a walk in 6.1 innings as the Mets bang-out 16 hits and beat Chicago in a nationally televised ESPN Sunday night game, 8-3.

2010       The bankrupt Rangers are sold at an auction for $385 million to a group led by Hall of Famer and club president Nolan Ryan. The new ownership group outbid the recently formed partnership of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Houston investor Jim Crane, who tried to buy the team in 2008.

2010       In the top of the ninth, the Twins recover from blowing a 6-0 lead when Jason Kubel’s two-out pop-up lands behind the pitcher’s mound untouched by the Rays’ middle infielders for the go-ahead single in the team’s eventual 8-6 victory. The odd play, a result of the ball ricocheting off a catwalk and changing direction 190 feet above Tropicana Field, will prompt a change of the ground rules for postseason games played in Tampa Bay.

2011       The Twins celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1991 controversial play when Kent Hrbek and Ron Gant becoming entangled at first base in Game 2 of the World Series with a bobblehead doll depicting one of the worst of all-time decisions by an umpire. Drew Coble called Gant out when it appeared first baseman Kent Hrbek had lifted him off the bag.

2011       A big fan of the Mississippi Braves, Darla Harlow is honored to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Trustmark Park in Pearl. After tossing the ball to home plate, the military wife is totally surprised when the catcher takes off his mask, revealing the ‘player’ is her husband, Michael, an Army major who has been away from home, serving in Afghanistan for the past nine months.

2012       Darwin Barney becomes the Cubs’ all-time leader for second basemen when he plays in his 91st consecutive game in a single season without committing an error. The 26-year-old Chicago infielder, en route to setting the National League mark with a 127 straight errorless-game streak, surpasses Ryne Sandberg’s team record that the Hall of Famer established in 1989.

2013       Major League Baseball releases the names of 13 players suspended for their involvement with performance-enhancing substances supplied by the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic. Thirty-eight-year-old Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez receives the harshest punishment, sidelined without pay for 211 regular-season games, much more than the 50-game suspensions given to most players implicated in the announcement.

2013       Minnie Forbes, the 81-year-old former owner of the Negro League Detroit Stars from 1956 to 1958, and about a dozen former baseball players meet with President Barack Obama at the White House. The country’s first black president honors the group for their contributions to athletics and civil rights.

2017       The Indians unveil a bronze statue honoring Lou Boudreau, who managed the team to their last World Series title in 1948 while also being the Tribe’s starting shortstop. The team places the sculpture of the seven-time All-Star outside the main entrance of Progressive Field near two fellow Hall of Famers and former teammates, Bob Feller and Larry Doby.


The Chicago Cubs finally made it back to the World Series after a seven year absence thanks to the timely pitching of Henry Borowy. Acquired on waivers in late July after he had compiled a 10-5 record for the New York Yankees, the “newbie” proceeded to win eleven of thirteen decisions and helped Chicago fight off the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League pennant race. Their opponents, the American Leagues’ Detroit Tigers were a familiar post-season rival. The Tigers were shooting for their second World Series crown; their only previous Series title had come in 1935, against the Cubs. The Cubs were eyeing their third Series championship; their two titles came in 1907 and 1908 at the Tigers’ expense.

Borowy had more than earned the start for Game 1 and he proved himself again and again as he held the Tigers to six singles and was a 9-0 victor as the Cubs bombed twenty-five-game winner Hal Newhouser. Bill Nicholson singled, tripled and drove in three runs for Chicago, which got two runs batted in apiece from Phil Cavarretta and Mickey Livingston. Virgil Trucks, a sixteen-game winner for Detroit in 1943 (and only recently discharged from the United States Navy), pitched a seven-hitter in Game 2 and won, 4-1, as midseason service returnee Hank Greenberg unloaded a three-run homer in the fifth. Four days earlier, on the final day of the American league schedule and in a game that marked Trucks’ only appearance of the regular season, Greenberg smashed a pennant-clinching, grand slam in the ninth inning against the defending American League champion St. Louis Browns.

In Game 3, Chicago’s Claude Passeau tossed a one-hitter in which Rudy York singled to left field with two out in the second and led the National Leaguers to a 3-0 triumph. Following his teammate’s cue, Ray Prim sat down the first ten Detroit batters he faced in Game 4, but after yielding a walk, two singles and a double in what became a four-run fourth for the Tigers, Prim was pulled in favor of Paul Derringer. While Derringer and fellow relievers Hy Vandenberg and Paul Erickson pitched shutout ball the rest of the way, it was to no avail. Detroit’s 4-1 triumph, fashioned on Dizzy Trout’s five-hit pitching set the tone for the rest of the contest. Now manager Charley Grimm went to Borowy, not once, not twice, but three times. Grimm, in his second year with the Cubs, was obviously impressed with Borowy’s combined regular-season record of 21-7, his second-half heroics (which netted him the National League’s ERA title with a 2.14) and his 56-30 mark with the Yankees.

Grimm’s newest “go-to-guy” held Game 5 to a 1-1 tie after five innings in which he matched Newhouser, who had just led the American League in victories (twenty-nine in 1944), strikeouts for the second successive season and topped the American League with a 1.81 ERA. Unfrotunately, it would be his turn to fall short as the Tigers’ pitcher would be the one to go the distance. Borowy was pulled after allowing four straight hits at the outset of the sixth as Detroit scored four runs in the inning and swept to an 8-4 victory. Greenberg continued to perform at the plate and slugged three more doubles for the Tigers.

Trucks and Passeau went at it for Game 6 and both dominated the other’s line-up for over four innings. Trucks blinked first and was routed in the Cubs’ four-run fifth which featured Stan Hack’s bases-loaded single. Passeau followed his opponent to the dugout in the seventh after Detroit managed to score twice. After the Cubs answered with two runs in their half of the inning, it was 7-3, Chicago. But Detroit struck for four runs in the eighth, the game-tying run coming on a Greenberg homer. Suddenly Manager Steve O’Neill’s Tigers were in a position to close out the Cubs in six games. Dizzy Trout came on in relief for Detroit in the last of the eighth, and when the 7-7 game moved into the ninth, Grimm decided to make another pitching change. Having followed Passeau with Hank Wyse (the Cubs’ top winner of ’45 with twenty-two victories) and Prim, Grimm now wanted Borowy back. Once again, the “newbie” delivered, holding Detroit at bay with four scoreless innings. Then, in the bottom of the twelfth, with two out and Billy Schuster at first base as a pinch-runner (for Frank Secory, who had come through with a pinch single), Hack hit a drive to left field that took a weird bounce and bounded over Greenberg. The hit, ruled a double, scored Schuster and gave Borowy and the Cubs a crucial 8-7 victory.

As the Tigers prepared to close the door on the Cubs and the 1945 season, Chicago’s newest hero was selected to keep his team alive in Game 6. The Chicago press had questioned the decision and printed that Grimm was making a serious mistake by using Borowy who was going on one day of rest after pitching the final four innings of Game 6. He had also pitched into the sixth inning in Game 5 and many wondered if his arm would hold up. The decision would prove costly as the fatigued pitcher yielded singles to the Detroit’s first three batters, Skeeter Webb, Eddie Mayo and Doc Cramer. Grimm, realizing that Borowy had done all he could for the ’45 Cubs, told his weary pitcher to call it a day. Paul Derringer came in as relief for Chicago, but by the end of the inning Detroit had scored five runs. The well-rested Newhouser went the distance for the 9-3 victory, allowing ten hits and striking out ten Cubs. Once again Chicago had come up short (their seventh Series loss) and even worse, it was (once again), to the Tigers.


The scorecards at this game must of read like a directory at the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Willie Mays and Stan Musial hit two home runs for the National League. Mickey Mantle (during his infamous Triple Crown season) and Ted Williams hit two home runs for the American League.

Another stand out player was third baseman Ken Boyer who had three hits and three dazzling plays in the field. Once again, the National League won (for the sixth time in seven games) and closed the gap in the series to 13-10. Yankee Manager Casey Stengel continued to suffer at the hands of the senior circuit. He was 1-5 in All-Star games and finding it impossible to match his opponents momentum.


August 5, 1959- In an exhibition game between the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals defeated the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts 55-26 at Tornoto’s CNE Stadium.

August 5, 1961- The Chicago Bears played an exhibition preseason tilt with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL at Molson Stadium in Montreal, Quebec. The Bears won 34-16.

August 5, 1966- The Chicago College All Star game is played at Soldier Field in Chi-town as the Green Bay Packers in front of 72,000 fans blanked the All Stars 38-0. The MVP award, always given to the college player team, happened to be Gary lane the quarterback from the University of Missouri.

August 5, 1967- The very first exhibition game after the AFL/NFL merger took place as the Denver Broncos (AFL) stunned the Detroit Lions (NFL) 13-7 at the University of Denver.

August 5, 1978- Mexico City’s, Olympic Stadium is the venue for and NFL preseason exhibition as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 14-7.

August 5, 1996 – In an NFL exhibition game in Monterrey Mexico the Kansas City Chiefs routed the Dallas Cowboys by the score of 32-6.

August 5, 2006- The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio offiicially inducts Reggie White, Warren Moon, Troy Aikman, Harry Carson, Rayfield Wright and John Madden at the Hall’s annual ceremony.


August 5, 1940 – Roman Gabriel was a quarterback from North Carolina State that in 1989 was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He landed in the NFL with the LA Rams where he played for 11 years before moving onto Philadelphia to play for the Eagles for another 5 seasons after that. He was the first Filipino- American in the NFL to play the position of quarterback.

August 5, 1946 – Gary Beban was a QB from UCLA who won the covetted Heisman Trophy in 1967 edging out OJ Simpson by the narrowest margin as well as the Mawell Award for being the best all around college football player that season. He also received awards for academic accomplishments of being a great student as well! Mr. Beban entered the College Football Hall of Fame in the induction class of 1989. He played professionally in the NFL for the LA Rams, Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos.

August 5, 1952 – Freddie Scott from Amherst College in Amherst, Mass. was a wide receiver that earned a place in the College Football Hall of Fame in the induction class of 2001. He also had a 10 year career in the NFL where he saw action with the Baltimore Colts and the Detroit Lions. Mr. Scott scored 18 of his 20 NFL career touchdowns with the Lions. Interestingly enough his son Freddie Scott II, also played in the NFL for the Lions & Colts from 1996-1998.

August 5, 1987 – Lake Butler, Florida – The shifty running back from Clemson C.J. Spiller was born. C.J.Spiller was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame by National Football Foundation voters in 2021.

Super Bowl XL (Steelers vs. Seahawks): An Ultimate Recount of the Game

The Pittsburgh Steelers were left for dead after Week 13. They had lost three games in a row, including one to the first-place Cincinnati Bengals. At 7-5, they were in a bad position.

Yet, it wasn’t so bad. The Steelers didn’t need any help to make the playoffs. Four wins in a row would get them in the playoffs no matter what happened. So, that’s what they went out and did. Running back Jerome Bettis ran all over the Chicago Bears for a 21-9 victory, then the Steelers crushed Minnesota, Cleveland, and Detroit on their way to an 11-5 record and the #6 seed in the AFC.

No #6 seed had ever reached the Super Bowl; in fact, no #6 seed had even reached the conference championship round. But these Steelers went into the playoffs on fire.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to three road victories to reach the Super Bowl. In the first one, over AFC North champion Cincinnati, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was injured on the first play of the game. The Steelers went on to win, 31-17, against Jon Kitna.

Next, the Steelers went on to Indianapolis, where they took on the top-seeded Colts. Peyton Manning and company were heavy favorites, but Pittsburgh came out on fire and took a big lead. Manning brought the Colts back within three points. The Steelers got down to the Colts 1, and Ben handed to Bettis for what seemed to be surely a touchdown. But Bettis somehow fumbled, and Nick Harper picked it up.

Only Ben stood in his way of a touchdown return, and Ben made the tackle to save the day. The Colts later missed a tying field goal, and the Steelers won, 21-18. The Steelers then dominated in Denver on their way to a 34-17 win over Jake Plummer.

Ben was in his second season as a starting quarterback, and he had solid numbers – 2,385 yards, 17 touchdowns, only nine interceptions, and a passer rating just south of 100. Receiver Hines Ward led the team with 69 catches for 975 yards and 11 touchdowns. Tight end Heath Miller was second on the team in receptions, and receiver Antwaan Randle El – a former college quarterback – was third.

Running back Willie Parker was the dynamic threat in the Steelers’ backfield; he rushed for just over 1,200 yards and four touchdowns, while Bettis ran for nine touchdowns but only 368 in a reduced role. Of course, Super Bowl XL was in Detroit, Bettis’s hometown. What better time to go to the Super Bowl?

Meanwhile, over in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks had no problem making the playoffs. They started the season 2-2 before going on an 11-game winning streak. They lost a meaningless season finale to the Green Bay Packers to finish 13-3 with the #1 seed in the NFC. Their playoff games weren’t very memorable; the Seahawks beat Washington 20-10 and Carolina 34-14 to advance to their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Along the way, the Seahawks became the only team to play in an AFC Championship Game (in 1983) and an NFC Championship Game.

League MVP Shaun Alexander took the league by storm, rushing for 1,880 yards and a league-record 27 touchdowns. That didn’t mean the Seahawks were all running; quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw for just shy of 3,500 yards, throwing 24 touchdowns as opposed to just nine interceptions and a passer rating similar to Ben’s. Seattle didn’t have one main receiver; rather they were receiver-by-committee.

Whether it was Bobby Engram and his team-leading 67 catches for just short of 800 yards, Joe Jurevicius, with a team-leading ten touchdown receptions, Darrell Jackson, D.J. Hackett, and trash-talking tight end Jerramy Stevens, the Seahawks had weapons all around.

Stevens did too much talking in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XL, making him a prime target for Steelers fans. As for Bettis, he hoped to retire after winning a Super Bowl in Detroit. The Steelers were technically the “home” team for this game, but they chose to wear their white jerseys because they had won three games to get here in them. The Seahawks wore their super-ugly monochrome uniforms.

Super Bowl XL: First Quarter

The Seahawks got the ball to start the game. Hasselbeck threw a couple of passes to Darrell Jackson to begin the drive, picking up a first down. Alexander ran for an eight-yard gain, then Jackson hauled in another pass for another first down. The Seahawk drive ended when linebacker Clark Haggans sacked Hasselbeck, on a play the ‘Hawks were called for holding. Punter Tom Rouen kicked it away for a touchback.

The Steelers committed two false start penalties and had to punt. Seattle took back possession at their 36. Hasselbeck scrambled for a nice gain to the 44, and Jackson hauled in his fourth pass to move the ball to the Pittsburgh 45 with a first down. But a holding penalty brought the ‘Hawks back, and they ended up punting again. Rouen repeated his first kick by putting this one in the end zone as well.

Pittsburgh went three-and-out again, and Seattle got the ball back at their own 49. Alexander ran for four, then Jackson caught his fifth pass of the first quarter. That tied the Super Bowl record for most catches in a first quarter with Bills receiver Andre Reed.

Hasselbeck threw to Jurevicius for another first down. He then went play action to the end zone, and Jackson seemingly had his sixth catch of the quarter and this one for a touchdown. But hold the phone! Jackson pushed off a defender while making the catch. That wiped out the reception and pushed the Seahawks back. They ended up settling for a 47-yard field goal by kicker Josh Brown to go up 3-0.

Super Bowl XL: Second Quarter

The Steelers continued struggling on their next drive. Ben threw three incompletions, and the Steelers punted again to start the second quarter. Alexander started the drive with a five-yard run, and Hasselbeck found Jurevicius for a first down at the 44. Alexander carried the ball across midfield, but on third down, Stevens had a pass knocked out of his hands by defensive back Chris Hope. It was close to being a fumble, but it couldn’t be reviewed. The Seahawks had to kick, and Rouen once again punted for a touchback.

Finally, the Steelers got a first down, on a pass from Ben to Randle El. Next, Ward took an end around for 17 yards. But Ben got greedy and went long, and his pass found the arms of defensive back Michael Boulware, who got the interception. Fortunately for the Steelers, their defense forced a three-and-out, and Randle El returned the punt to the 42.

On third down, Ben escaped pressure and got off a shovel pass to Ward for 12 yards to the Seattle 43. Next, Ben found receiver Cedrick Wilson for a first down at the 22. Bettis took a screen pass for five more yards, but the Steelers were called for offensive pass interference on the play.

Defensive end Grant Wistrom sacked Ben, and the Steelers were now looking at third-and-long. Ben scrambled out to his left but stayed behind the line of scrimmage. He then threw the ball all the way across the field, something you should never do. He was rewarded when Ward came down with the catch at the 3 for a first down. Bettis pounded it down to the 1 on two carries as the half reached the two-minute warning.

It was third-and-goal, and Ben kept the ball and tried scoring off the left side. He came down right at the goal line, and the official’s first signal was that he was short. Then they changed it; touchdown! The play went to video review. After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field stood. From my personal look at the play, I think that it probably should have been ruled short, but also that there’s no way you could overturn it on replay.

Who knows what may have happened had Ben been ruled a yard short? Maybe Bettis pounds it in on the next play. Maybe Parker or Ben runs it in. Maybe the Steelers pass for a touchdown. Maybe, kicker, Jeff Reed kicks an 18-yard field goal. Or… maybe they don’t score at all. You never know. As it stood, the Steelers took a 7-3 lead.

The Seahawks got the ball back with a little under two minutes to go. Hasselbeck threw to Jurevicius for a first down to the 46, then he threw a short pass to Alexander at midfield. Timeout, Seattle. Then Hasselbeck threw to Engram for another first down at the 40. Hasselbeck’s next pass for Jackson was caught but out of bounds.

The Steelers called a timeout to set up their defense. For some insane reason that we’ll never know, Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren called for a simple run up the middle by Alexander. He ran it to the 36 for four yards, but the clock ran. And ran. And ran. And ran. And soon there were only 13 seconds left. The Seahawks had completely botched the clock.

After an incompletion on another Jackson catch out of bounds, the ‘Hawks settled for a 54-yard field goal attempt by Brown. He missed it wide to the right, and the Steelers went to the half with a 7-3 lead while the Rolling Stones warmed up.

Super Bowl XL: Third Quarter

Pittsburgh started the second half with the ball. Defensive back Ricardo Colclough returned the kickoff to the 25. Ben started off with a pass to Ward that was a bit behind him, and it fell incomplete. But that’s when Willie Parker ripped off the longest run in Super Bowl history. He broke right through the line and went 75 yards for a touchdown. The Steelers now led, 14-3.

Hasselbeck threw a pass to running back Maurice Morris to get to the 35, then fullback Mack Strong took the ball to the 44. Alexander then broke a run off the left side for 21 yards. That’s about as far as the Seahawks would go, though. They settled for a 50-yard field goal attempt by Brown. This one he missed wide to the left, and the Seahawks remained down by 11.

The Steelers now drove downfield, with all the momentum and the chance of stepping on the Seahawks’ throat. Ward caught a pass barely off the ground for a first down. After a Bettis run and an incompletion, Ben found Ward again, who broke a tackle to get to the 23. Bettis pounded through a big hole for a first down at the 10. He carried the ball twice more, getting to the 6.

The Steelers were just about to put this Super Bowl in the history books when Ben threw an interception to defensive back, Kelly Herndon. He returned it 76 yards, all the way to the Pittsburgh 20. That marked the longest interception return in Super Bowl history. Three plays later, Hasselbeck found Stevens open in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown, and the Seahawks cut their deficit to four points.

The Steelers went back to struggling on offense, going three-and-out on their next two drives. Seattle also went three-and-out on one drive. They got the ball back after the second Steeler punt at their own 2. Alexander ran for five yards, and Hasselbeck scrambled for a first down at the 16. Hasselbeck then went to tight end Ryan Hannam for a couple of passes, and he got a first down. Next, Engram caught one for a first down at the 48, and the third quarter ended one play later.

Super Bowl XL: Fourth Quarter

Alexander ran it to the 46, then Hasselbeck found Engram for a first down at the 30. Alexander ran for seven yards, then for another first down. Hasselbeck went down the seam for Stevens, and he caught it at the 1, but the Seahawks were called for holding on the play. ABC announcer John Madden disagreed with the call, but I could see what the official was looking at.

It probably was holding, if a ticky-tack call. The Seahawks unraveled from that point forward. First, they gave up a sack by Steelers defensive tackle Casey Hampton. Then, Hasselbeck threw an interception to defensive back Ike Taylor. To top it off, Hasselbeck got called for a low block foul while making the tackle on the return. That was definitely the wrong call by the officials, but it didn’t erase the fact that the Steelers now had the ball.

Parker ran it to the 46, then Randle El caught a pass for six yards. Ben scrambled out of the shotgun for a first down to the Seattle 43. Then came the trickery. Parker took a reverse, which he flipped back to Randle El, who then unleashed a bomb downfield. Touchdown, Hines Ward, 43 yards out! The Steelers now led 21-10.

Hasselbeck fumbled on a scramble, and defensive back Troy Polamalu fell on it for Pittsburgh. However, Holmgren challenged, and he was right – Hasselbeck was down before the fumble. That gave Seattle a first down at the 34. Alexander ran for four more yards, then Jurevicius caught a pass at midfield for a first down.

The Seahawks’ plans were all messed up when defensive back Deshea Townsend came in on a blitz and sacked Hasselbeck on third down. Now facing fourth-and-13 with six-and-a-half minutes left near midfield trailing by 11, there was only one option: go for it. Punting would essentially concede the game to Pittsburgh. So, what did Holmgren do? He punted. And now the Steelers running game could go to work.
This drive turned into the Jerome Bettis Show.

He carried the ball seven times on the drive, with Randle El getting a first down on a screen and Ben getting another on a bootleg. Holmgren was forced to use all his timeouts. The Steelers ran down the clock all the way to the two-minute warning, at which point the Seahawks got the ball back after a Chris Gardocki punt into the end zone for a touchback.

Hasselbeck threw to Stevens in bounds, keeping the clock running. He hit Jurevicius for a first down to the 39, but by the time he threw an incompletion, there was only a minute left. He threw two more incompletions before connecting on fourth-and-ten to Engram for a first down. He then spiked the ball with 34 seconds left in field goal range.

At this point, Holmgren needed to kick the field goal in order to give his team enough time to try an onside kick and hope to get that necessary touchdown and two-point conversion. Instead, he had Hasselbeck keep throwing, and one of his passes was caught in bounds by Stevens. On the final play for Seattle, Stevens dropped a fourth-down pass, and that ended the game. The Steelers had matched San Francisco and Dallas with their fifth Super Bowl win, 21-10!

Super Bowl XL: Aftermath and Awards

Receiver Antwaan Randle El threw that 43-yard touchdown to Ward, and it was the most important play of the game. Who was the last non-quarterback to throw a touchdown in a Super Bowl? It came against the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV, when running back Lawrence McCutcheon threw a touchdown pass to Ron Smith. That is the answer to today’s pop quiz question, as well as my pick for the biggest play of this game.

Let’s circle back around and talk about the MVP. Hines Ward was named MVP for catching five passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, as well as running it once for 18 yards. If I were to give a second-place MVP, I’d hand it to Parker. He ran ten times for 93 yards and a touchdown, and he broke off the longest run in Super Bowl history, a mark that still stands.

As for Least Valuable Player, I wouldn’t give it to Ben, even though Ben had an awful day: nine completions on 21 attempts for just 123 yards and two interceptions for a ghastly passer rating of 22.6, the worst by a winning quarterback in Super Bowl history. No, instead, I’ll give it to kicker Josh Brown of the Seahawks for missing two field goals. Think about it: if he makes both field goals, Seattle is going for the win at the very end. That could have been a very exciting finish to the game, but he missed both kicks, and his team never recovered.

The Most Valuable Player on the losing team was Hasselbeck. He completed 26 of 49 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown, with an interception, while rushing for 35 yards on three attempts. Despite his pick, he kept his team in the game, even with receivers dropping balls and kickers failing on kicks. Jackson, by the way, who had five catches in the first quarter, never recorded another reception the rest of the game, though he did catch two passes out of bounds.

The best player you don’t remember? How about linebacker Larry Foote of the Steelers? He picked up five tackles, including one for a loss. Of these players, you’ll remember most of them, but Foote had a solid game and he wasn’t a big name, so maybe (and hopefully) you don’t remember him until now, that is.

The biggest play you don’t remember? Has to be Jackson’s first catch out of bounds near the end of the first half. He came close to getting his feet in, but he stepped on the out-of-bounds line in the end zone. If he runs that pattern better, he gets both feet in, and it’s a touchdown for Seattle. Instead, the Seahawks ended up missing a field goal.

And what about those officials? It’s easy to say in the heat of the moment that the officials screwed up. But watching this game, I found that every call they made was justified in one way or another. Maybe they didn’t make the best calls, but their officiating wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I’d give their officiating a C. A passing grade, but not a good one either. They don’t deserve an F, though. And they didn’t cost Seattle this game – the Seahawks themselves cost themselves the game.


25 – 8 – 35 – 33 – 14 – 4 – 44 – 32 – 5 – 1 – 92 – 70 – 53 – 47

August 5, 1927 – Phillies outfielder Cy Williams hits for cycle in just 4 at bats in 9-7 win v Pirates

August 5, 1940 – St Louis Brown’s pitcher John Whitehead, Number 25 pitched a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers, 4-0 in a rain shortened 6 inning game.

August 5, 1948 – Cleveland Indians set club record for most double plays in a game (6) in a 3-0 win v Washington

August 5, 1969 – Pirates outfielder Willie Stargell, Number 8 smashes first and longest home run ever hit out of Dodger Stadium; the incomparable shot off Alan Foster, measures 506 feet

August 5, 1972 – Detroit Tigers shortstop Ed Brinkman, Number 8 commits an error, ending record streak of 72 games & 331 total chances without a misplay

August 5, 1973 – Atlanta Braves pitcher Phil Niekro, Number 35 no-hits San Diego Padres, 9-0; first no-hitter for franchise in Atlanta

August 5, 1975 – Philadelphia Phillies create MLB record when first 8 batters get hits off Bill Bonham, Number 33, beat Cubs 13-5

August 5, 1979 – Philadelphia Phillies 3rd baseman Pete Rose, Number 14 registered a NL record 2,427th career single in a 5-2 home loss vs Pirates

August 5, 1979 – Willie Mays ( Number 24), Warren Giles , and Hack Wilson (Number 4) inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY

August 5, 1984 – Toronto designated hitter Cliff Johnson, Number 44 hit an MLB record 19th career pinch-hit HR in Blue Jays 4-3 win over Baltimore Orioles

August 5, 1986 – Giants left-handed pitcher Steve Carlton, Number 32 becomes 2nd to reach 4,000 strikeout milestone when he gets center-fielder Eric Davis in 11-5 loss v Reds

August 5, 1999 – St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire, Number 25 becomes only the 16th MLB player to reach the 500 home run milestone as the Cardinals lose 10-2 v San Diego at Busch Stadium

August 5, 2005 – St. Louis Cardinals 1st baseman Albert Pujols, Number 5 becomes the first player to connect for 30 home runs in each of his first 5 MLB seasons

August 5, 2006 – Warren Moon (Number 1) became the first black quarterback to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Also inducted in that same HOF Class of 2006 were Troy Aikman (Number 8), John Madden, Rayfield Wright ( Number 70), Harry Carson (Number 53) and (Number 92) Reggie White

August 5, 2007 – Atlanta left-hander Tom Glavine, Number 47 becomes only the 23rd pitcher in MLB history to reach the 300 win milestone as the Braves beat Cubs, 8-3


LPGA: British Open6:00amUSA
DP World: Wales Open9:30amGOLF
PGA: Wyndham Championship2:00pmGOLF
Miami at Chi. Cubs2:20pmMLBN
Bally Sports
Pittsburgh at Baltimore7:05pmATTSN-PIT
Washington at Philadelphia7:05pmNBCS-PHI
Atlanta at NY Mets7:10pmBally Sports
Houston at Cleveland7:10pmBally Sports
Tampa Bay at Detroit7:10pmBally Sports
Chi. White Sox at Texas8:05pmNBCS-CHI
Bally Sports
Boston at Kansas City8:10pmNESN
Bally Sports
Cincinnati at Milwaukee8:10pmBally Sports
Toronto at Minnesota8:10pmSportsnet
Bally Sports
NY Yankees at St. Louis8:15pmYES
Bally Sports
Colorado at Arizona9:40pmMLBN
Bally Sports
LA Angels at Seattle10:10pmBally Sports
Root Sports
San Diego at LA Dodgers10:10pmMLBN
Bally Sports
Bundesliga: Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern München2:30pmESPN+
Ligue 1: Olympique Lyonnais vs Ajaccio3:00pmbeIN Sports
Premier League: Crystal Palace vs Arsenal3:00pmUSA
Liga MX: Puebla vs Pumas UNAM8:00pmTUDN
NWSL: Racing Louisville FC vs Washington Spirit8:00pmParamount+
NWSL: Portland Thorns vs North Carolina Courage10:30pmParamount+
MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo10:30pmESPN+
Los Angeles vs Atlanta7:30pmCBSSN
Washington vs Chicago8:00pmNBATV


DP World: Wales Open5:30amGOLF
LPGA: British Open8:00amUSA
LPGA: British Open12:00pmNBC
PGA: Wyndham Championship1:00pmGOLF
PGA: Wyndham Championship3:00pmCBS
US Classic4:00pmNBC
Atlanta at NY Mets1:10pmBally Sports
Miami at Chi. Cubs2:20pmFS1
Bally Sports
Pittsburgh at Baltimore5:05pmATTSN-PIT
Washington at Philadelphia6:05pmNBCS-PHI
Houston at Cleveland6:10pmBally Sports
Tampa Bay at Detroit6:10pmBally Sports
Chi. White Sox at Texas7:05pmNBCS-CHI
Bally Sports
San Francisco at Oakland7:07pmNBCS-BAY
Atlanta at NY Mets7:10pmBally Sports
Boston at Kansas City7:10pmNESN
Bally Sports
Toronto at Minnesota7:10pmSportsnet
Bally Sports
Cincinnati at Milwaukee7:15pmFOX
Bally Sports
NY Yankees at St. Louis7:15pmFOX
Bally Sports
Colorado at Arizona8:10pmATTSN-RM
Bally Sports
San Diego at LA Dodgers9:10pmMLBN
Bally Sports
LA Angels at Seattle10:10pmBally Sports
Root Sports
Light heavyweights: Thiago Santos vs. Jamahal Hill10:00pmESPN
Xfinity: New Holland 2503:30pmUSA
Hall of Fame Ceremony12:00pmESPN
Premier League: Fulham vs Liverpool7:30amPeacock
Bundesliga: Borussia M’gladbach vs Hoffenheim9:30amESPN+
Bundesliga: Bochum vs Mainz 059:30amESPN+
Bundesliga: Augsburg vs Freiburg9:30amESPN+
Bundesliga: Wolfsburg vs Werder Bremen9:30amESPN+
Bundesliga: Union Berlin vs Hertha BSC9:30amESPN+
Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton10:00amPeacock
Premier League: AFC Bournemouth vs Aston Villa10:00amPeacock
Premier League: Leeds United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers10:00amPeacock
Premier League: Newcastle United vs Nottingham Forest10:00amPeacock
Ligue 1: Strasbourg vs Monaco11:00ambeIN Sports
Argentina Primera División: Arsenal vs Atlético Tucumán12:00pmParamount+
Premier League: Everton vs Chelsea12:30pmUSA
Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen12:30pmABC
Argentina Primera División: Barracas Central vs Racing Club2:00pmParamount+
Ligue 1: Clermont vs PSG3:00pmbeIN Sports
MLS: Atlanta United vs Seattle Sounders FC3:00pmABC
Brasileirão: Juventude vs América Mineiro3:30pmParamount+
Brasileirão: Botafogo vs Ceará3:30pmParamount+
Argentina Primera División: Unión Santa Fe vs Vélez Sarsfield5:00pmParamount+
Argentina Primera División: Talleres Córdoba vs Argentinos Juniors5:00pmParamount+
Brasileirão: Avaí vs Corinthians6:00pmParamount+
Brasileirão: Atlético Goianiense vs RB Bragantino6:00pmParamount+
MLS: Charlotte vs Chicago Fire7:00pmESPN+
MLS: DC United vs New York RB7:30pmESPN+
MLS: CF Montréal vs Inter Miami7:30pmESPN+
MLS: Columbus Crew vs New York City7:30pmESPN+
MLS: Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union7:30pmESPN+
MLS: Orlando City SC vs New England7:30pmESPN+
Brasileirão: São Paulo vs Flamengo7:30pmParamount+
Argentina Primera División: Boca Juniors vs Platense8:00pmParamount+
Liga MX: América vs Juárez8:00pmUnivision
MLS: Nashville SC vs Toronto FC8:00pmESPN+
Liga MX: Monterrey vs León8:05pmFS1
MLS: Sporting KC vs LA Galaxy8:30pmESPN+
MLS: Colorado Rapids vs Minnesota United9:00pmESPN+
MLS: Austin vs SJ Earthquakes9:00pmESPN+
Liga MX: Santos Laguna vs Cruz Azul10:05pmFS1
MLS: Portland Timbers vs Dallas10:30pmESPN+
Indiana at Dallas8:00pmNBATV
New York at Phoenix10:00pmNBATV