Update on the latest sports

HOCKEY-STANLEY CUP

Avalanche a win away from dethroning 2-time champ Lightning

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche are one win away from their third Stanley Cup title since relocating to Denver in 1995-96.

Game 5 tonight against Tampa Bay will be in front of their home fans. It won’t be easy to secure.

The two-time defending champion Lightning have bounced back before in these playoffs. They faced a 2-0 series deficit in the East final against the New York Rangers and were down 3-2 to Toronto in the first round.

Tampa Bay must win three games in a row to claim its third consecutive Stanley Cup championship.

MLB-SCHEDULE

FREDDIE’S READY

UNDATED (AP) — Freddie Freeman is sure to get a huge ovation this evening when he returns to Truist Park for the first time since helping lead the Atlanta Braves to the World Series championship.

Now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the star first baseman and the NL West leaders open a weekend series at his former home.

Freeman was the longtime beloved face of the Braves franchise. After a dozen years in Atlanta, he became a free agent and signed a $162 million, six-year deal with the Dodgers. At 32, he’s hitting .303 with eight home runs and 45 RBIs. He homered and drove in three runs Thursday in a 10-5 win at Cincinnati.

In other baseball action today:

— The last time Joc Pederson of the Giants and Tommy Pham of the Reds were on the field together, it didn’t go so good. That was three weeks ago in Cincinnati when Pham slapped Pederson in the face before a game because of a dispute over fantasy football. Pham was suspended for three games by Major League Baseball. The outfielders will see each other again when the Reds visit San Francisco for a weekend series. Pederson says he’s had no contact with Pham since the incident.

— Mike Trout absolutely hammered the Mariners last weekend and now gets to face them again when the Los Angeles Angels host Seattle tonight. Trout is fresh from hitting five home runs in a five-game series at Seattle. He’s hit 52 homers in his career off the Mariners, matching Rafael Palmeiro for the most by anyone against them. The three-time AL MVP didn’t play Wednesday and the Angels were off Thursday, so he should be well rested.

— Back from a day off will be the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani. The two-way star put on a pair of dazzling performances for his team this week. On Tuesday night, Ohtani hit a pair of three-run homers and drove in a career-high eight runs, the most by a Japanese-born player in the major leagues. On Wednesday night, he struck out a career-best 13 while pitching eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball against Kansas City.

— Astros ace Justin Verlander (8-3, 2.30 ERA) pitches at Yankee Stadium this evening for the first time since Game 5 of the 2019 AL Championship Series, a 4-1 Houston loss. Verlander is 3-4 with a 4.02 ERA in 10 career starts at the park. He’ll face New York righty Luis Severino (4-1, 3.27) on the second night of a four-game set between the AL East-leading Yanks and AL West-leading Astros.

— A pair of surging teams that Terry Francona has managed meet up at Progressive Field when the Boston Red Sox play Cleveland tonight. Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox have won eight of 10 to move a season-high eight games over .500. The Guardians lead the AL Central, boosted by their 17-5 stretch. Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta (7-5, 3.31 ERA) starts the opener of the three-game series against righty Cal Quantrill (4-4, 3.77).

EUROPEAN TOUR-SAUDI LEAGUE

European tour bans LIV golfers from Scottish Open

MUNICH (AP) — The European tour says players who competed in the Saudi-backed breakaway LIV series will not be allowed to play in the Scottish Open and two other upcoming tournaments.

The tour says any players who took part in the inaugural LIV event in England this month have been suspended from the Scottish Open, Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship. All three events are co-sanctioned by the European tour and the PGA. They were also fined $120,000.

The European tour says there could be “further sanctions” if the players continue to compete in LIV without authorization.

TENNIS-WIMBLEDON DRAW

Serena Williams to begin Wimbledon against 113th-ranked foe

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams will begin her Wimbledon comeback by facing Harmony Tan, a 24-year-old from France who is ranked 113th. Tan owns a 2-6 career record in Grand Slam matches.

Williams’ placement in the women’s bracket has been the most anticipated aspect of the draw at the All England Club. She’s making her first appearance in singles since getting injured in the first round at Wimbledon last year.

Williams has won seven of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon. Tan is making her debut at the grass-court tournament.