Update on the latest sports


Punch, counterpunch: Canadiens, Lightning final gets rugged

MONTREAL (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning figured out in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final what the Montreal Canadiens are made of. After a lopsided Game 1 loss, the Canadiens brought their best but still couldn’t even things up.

Tampa Bay has to be better in Games 3 and 4 at Montreal to avoid the final tightening up. The Lightning are also getting banged up quickly after losing Alex Killorn to injury and watching several players absorb some painful hits.

The Canadiens proved they can hang with the Lightning but are still two losses away from their season ending.

— The Tampa Bay Lightning are hard to beat when they score first this postseason. The Lightning upped their record to 14-2 when scoring the opening goal, and have yet to trail in taking a 2-0 lead over the Montreal Canadiens in their Stanley Cup Final series. The Canadiens would certainly like to turn the tables with the series shifting to Montreal starting with Game 3 on Friday. Montreal is 11-2 when scoring first and 1-6 when falling behind 1-0.

— Montreal is disappointed that Quebec health officials denied their request to play in front of more than 3,500 fans at Bell Centre for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 2 in Tampa was played in front of a crowd of over 17,000. The Canadiens had sought approval for roughly 10,000 fans to attend the first Cup final game in the city in 28 years. Crowds outside the arena have grown into the thousands as fans pack the street. It’s not clear if there’s any chance for more fans for Game 4 on Monday.

— After two weeks in isolation following his positive COVID-19 test, Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme is back running the Canadiens. Assistant Luke Richardson filled in for Ducharme, who still participated in team meetings. But it’s not the same as being there in person. Ducharme says: “it’s just the little moments like being able to take 30 seconds or a minute with a player.”

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper ruled out injured forward Alex Killorn for Game 3, with Mathieu Joseph serving as the replacement, just like on Wednesday. Joseph played only 6:25 in Game 2. Killorn’s absence also means a promotion for Tyler Johnson to the second line to skate with Anthony Cirelli and Steven Stamkos.


Yanks limp into Subway Series

UNDATED (AP) — The Yankees are in an unusual position entering their weekend Subway Series against the crosstown Mets — struggling underdog.

The Bronx Bombers are coming off a stunning 11-8 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, when All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman allowed a tying grand slam to Jared Walsh during a seven-run ninth inning. New York had powered ahead with a seven-run first inning against Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani (SHOH’-hay oh-TAH’-nee). The Yankees are 41-39, fourth in the AL East, nine games behind first-place Boston.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner vowed Thursday to keep manager Aaron Boone, general manager Brian Cashman and the core of his team, but he did place the “majority of the responsibility” for the supbar play on the players.

Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 4.06 ERA) is set to pitch for the Yankees against Mets righty Taijuan Walker (6-3, 2.38). Gerrit Cole is slated to throw Saturday, while Jacob deGrom will miss the Subway Series after pitching Thursday night in Atlanta.

In National League action, Los Angeles is in Washington for a four-game set against the Nationals. Max Muncy’s grand slam was the difference in the Dodgers’ rain-shortened 6-2 win last night. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says Trevor Bauer is still expected to pitch Sunday while police and Major League Baseball investigate an assault allegation made against the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner.

Milwaukee goes for its 10th straight victory when the NL Central leaders play at last-place Pittsburgh again tonight. The Brewers have won nine in a row for the first time since April 2014, outscoring opponents 66-23 during the streak. Adrian Houser (4-5, 4.16 ERA) pitches against Pirates right-hander JT Brubaker (4-7, 3.82).

Atlanta is hoping for good news on star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. after he was a late scratch from last night’s starting lineup against Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets with mid-back tightness. Freddie Freeman singled home the winning run in the ninth inning for a 4-3 victory. The Braves host the Marlins tonight.

The rest of the NL schedule has the Padres in Philadelphia, the Cubs at Cincinnati, the Colorado Rockies hosting the Cardinals and the Giants and Diamondbacks continuing their series in Arizona.

Over in the American League, José Abreu and the Chicago White Sox have scored at least seven runs in four straight games and will try to keep the streak going when they open a nine-game road trip with Lance Lynn (7-3, 2.06 ERA) on the mound in Detroit. Lynn should be fresh after pitching only three innings against Seattle on Saturday before that game was suspended due to rain. Third baseman Yoan Moncada is expected to miss the series with a bruised right hand.

Elsewhere, The Tampa Bay Rays visit the Toronto Blue Jays, Houston is at Cleveland, and Minnesota at Kansas City. On the West Coast, Baltimore visits the L-A Angels, Oakland hosts Boston and Texas is at Seattle.


Nimmo rejoins Mets after 2-month absence for hand injury

UNDATED (AP) — Outfielder Brandon Nimmo has been activated from the injured list by the New York Mets before their Subway Series opener at Yankee Stadium. He missed two months because of a detached hand ligament. Marcus Stroman was activated from the bereavement list. Right-hander Jeurys Familia and catcher Tomas Nido were activated from the 10-day injured list. Left-hander David Peterson was placed on the 10-day injured list with right side soreness. Right-hander Thomas Szapucki, catcher Patrick Mazeika, infielder Travis Blankenhorn were optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. New York also obtained left-hander Anthony Banda from San Francisco for minor league infielder Will Toffey.

—The Chicago White Sox have demoted slumping slugger Yermín Mercedes and recalled Jake Burger from Triple-A Charlotte. Burger was once a top prospect for the White Sox. But the 25-year-old’s route to the majors included two Achilles tendon injuries and a stint with a local Missouri league. The AL Central-leading White Sox also reinstated outfielder Adam Eaton from the 10-day injured list and optioned right-hander Zack Burdi to their top farm club.


Overdue Sabalenka on verge of breakthrough at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Novak Djokovic has improved to 17-0 in Grand Slam matches this year by beating American qualifier Denis Kudla in straight sets in the third round at Wimbledon. The top-ranked Djokovic has also won 17 consecutive matches at Wimbledon, where he is the two-time defending champion. His opponent Monday will be No. 17-seeded Cristian Garín of Chile, who beat Pedro Martínez. Against Kudla, Djokovic double-faulted on his first two service points in the tiebreaker but then took advantage of several shaky Kudla forehands to close out the win. Djokovic had 28 unforced errors after committing only six in the second round.

No. 25 Karen Khachanov won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 against American Frances Tiafoe, who upset No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the first round.

No. 5 Andrey Rublev hit 13 aces and beat No. 26 Fabio Fognini 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. No. 1 Novak Djokovic was scheduled to face American qualifier Denis Kudla.

In women’s play, No. 2-seeded Aryna Sabalenka is into the second week at Wimbledon and on the verge of a career breakthrough. The hard-hitting Belarusian beat qualifier María Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0, 6-3 today to reach the fourth round, and she might be overdue for a deep run in a Grand Slam. Sabalenka is the only woman among the top 20 seeds who has yet to reach a major quarterfinal.

Among those still in contention is No. 7-seeded Iga Świątek, the 2020 French Open champion, who breezed into the fourth round by beating Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1, 6-0. Świątek had one career victory on grass entering the tournament.

No. 18 Elena Rybakina eliminated American Shelby Rogers 6-1, 6-4 and faces Sabalenka next. No. 8 Karolina Pliskova swept Tereza Martincová 6-3, 6-3.

No. 25 Karen Khachanov won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 against American Frances Tiafoe, who upset No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the first round.

No. 5 Andrey Rublev hit 13 aces and beat No. 26 Fabio Fognini 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. No. 1 Novak Djokovic was scheduled to face American qualifier Denis Kudla.