Update on the latest sports
Clippers try to even series in Game 4
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers will try to pull even in the Western Conference finals when they host the Phoenix Suns Saturday night in Game 4.
The Clippers cut their series deficit to 2-1 Thursday with a 106-92 win that ended the Suns’ franchise-record playoff winning streak at nine games.
Los Angeles will again be without Kawhi (kuh-WY’) Leonard, who hasn’t played since Game 4 of the second round against Utah because of a right knee sprain. Phoenix is hoping backup guard Cameron Payne can play after he went down with an ankle injury in Game 3.
Schwarber on a roll
UNDATED (AP) — Kyle Schwarber will try to add to his prodigious home run numbers as the Washington Nationals continue their series at Miami.
Schwarber has hit 13 home runs in the last 14 games. He has the second-most homers in a 14-game span since at least 1901, behind only 14 by San Francisco’s Barry Bonds in 2001. Schwarber hit his 22nd home run of the year in Friday night’s loss. His 12 home runs in his last 12 games are the most from a leadoff hitter ever in that span.
In other highlights of Saturday’s schedule:
— Shohei Ohtani (SHOH’-hay oh-TAH’-nee) has homered seven times in nine games, reaching new heights for the Los Angeles Angels. The two-way star from Japan extended his career high in the majors with his 24th home run Friday night at Tampa Bay, where they meet again Saturday. He’s one behind Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the big-league lead. Moved to the leadoff spot, Ohtani opened the game by hitting a drive estimated at 453 feet off the D-ring catwalk in right field at Tropicana Field. It was only the 39th ball to reach that spot since the park opened in 1998.
— Mets ace Jacob deGrom can set the team record for scoreless innings when he starts against the Phillies at Citi Field. DeGrom has a 30-inning shutout streak, nearing the club mark of 32 2/3 innings by R.A. Dickey in 2012. DeGrom owns an amazing 0.50 ERA through 12 starts, going 7-2. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner hasn’t allowed a run in his last five starts, giving up just seven hits over a 27-inning span and putting to rest, for now, worries over recent health concerns.
— Jose Altuve (al-TOO’-vay), Carlos Correa (kor-AY-ah) and the Houston Astros can tie and break the team record for consecutive wins with a doubleheader sweep in Detroit. The Astros have won 11 in row, outscoring opponents 91-24 during their streak. Houston won 12 straight in 1999, 2004 and 2018. Friday night’s game at Comerica Park was postponed because rain was in the forecast. The teams are scheduled for a day-night doubleheader.
— Arizona makes another attempt to win on the road, where it’s been two months since its last victory. The Diamondbacks extended their dubious MLB record by losing for the 24th straight time away from Chase Field, beaten 11-5 at San Diego as Fernando Tatis Jr. hit three home runs for the Padres. The last time Arizona won on the road was April 25, when Madison Bumgarner pitched seven no-hit innings to win at Atlanta. Merrill Kelly starts for the Diamondbacks against Dinelson Lamet (dih-NEHL’-suhn lah-MEHT’) at Petco Park.
NCAA declares NC State out of CWS because of COVID-19 issues
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Vanderbilt will advance to the College World Series finals after North Carolina State was forced to drop out because of COVID-19 protocols.
NC State had only 13 players available during its 3-1 loss to the Commodores Friday. The teams were scheduled to meet again Saturday in a winner-take-all Bracket 1 final, but the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee declared that game a no-contest. The NCAA said the decision was based on the recommendation of the Championship Medical Team and Douglas County, Nebraska, health officials.
NC State was missing four starting position players and had only 13 of its 27 players available for Friday’s game.
Vanderbilt will meet Mississippi State or Texas in the best-of-three finals starting Monday.
The Commodores return to the finals for a second straight time. They won the 2019 CWS. There was no tournament last year because of the pandemic.
In other pandemic-related news:
— Authorities in Finland have detected a spike in coronavirus cases that has been traced to soccer fans returning from neighboring Russia following European Championship matches in St. Petersburg. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare is urging “all passengers who have traveled from St. Petersburg to Finland by any bus company to apply for a coronavirus test.” Finland played two of its Euro 2020 group games in St. Petersburg, The team faced Russia on June 16 and Belgium on Monday. At least 2,000 Finns are estimated to have traveled to the city for those matches. St. Petersburg hosted six games in the group stage of the tournament.