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Tuesday Sports in Brief

Tuesday Sports in Brief

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By The Associated Press

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

BASEBALL

CLEVELAND (AP) — Justin Verlander, Shane Bieber and the American League pitchers plugged power back into the mound.

A day after an awesome Home Run Derby got baseball buzzing even more about monster shots, only a couple balls flew out of Progressive Field at the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

Instead, Verlander blazed 97 mph heat from the start, Bieber struck out the side and the AL staff combined to fan 16, topping a loaded NL lineup 4-3 for its seventh straight win.

With fans hoping to see a replay of Monday’s jaw-dropping aerial show when 312 homers cleared the walls, the diamond became a pitchers’ paradise — at least until the late innings.

Derby champ Pete Alonso of the Mets grounded a two-out, two-run single past Gleyber Torres in the eighth to close the NL’s gap. After a double steal put runners at second and third against Cleveland reliever Brad Hand, White Sox catcher James McCann made a tumbling catch on Mike Moustakas’ twisting foul pop to end the inning.

Aroldis Chapman threw a perfect ninth to give the AL its 19th win 22 games, with a tie stuck in there.

CLEVELAND (AP) — Faced with a record onslaught of home runs that has convinced many pitchers that baseballs are juiced, Commissioner Rob Manfred says the sport has been unable to find any changes in the manufacturing process.

A May 2018 report to Major League Baseball by professors specializing in physics, mechanical engineering, statistics and mathematics concluded there was less drag on the ball, causing more home runs. MLB still has not figured out why, and Manfred denied accusations by AL All-Star starter Justin Verlander and other pitchers that baseballs deliberately had been altered.

Batters have hit 3,691 homers in 1,345 games, on pace for 6,668 over the full season. That would be 19% above last year’s 5,558 and 9% over the record 6,105 hit in 2017 that topped the Steroids Era high mark of 5,693 in 2000.

CLEVELAND (AP) — Extending protective netting down foul lines is a ballpark-to-ballpark decision because of differing configurations, according to baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Following a series of foul balls that injured fans, Major League Baseball mandated ahead of the 2018 season that netting extend to the far end of each dugout.

Still, several fans have been hurt by foul balls this season.

Manfred said changes during the midst of a season are hard to put in place.

BASKETBALL

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The NBA knows that its rules on teams talking to free agents are not being followed, and says it will spend the next few months figuring out a better system.

Commissioner Adam Silver, speaking after the league’s board of governors meeting Tuesday, says the league is aware “that there have been prior discussions” between teams and free agents.

So the next step will be finding ways to improve the process, either by changing some rules or perhaps eliminating some that are outdated.

In other matters:

— The NBA is giving coaches the right to challenge one call per game next season. They may challenge a personal foul charged to their team, a called out-of-bounds violation, a goaltending violation or a basket-interference violation.

— Instant replay can now be triggered by game officials working in the review center in Secaucus, New Jersey, without the involvement of the on-court refereeing crew.

TENNIS

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams completed another two-win day at Wimbledon.

The mixed doubles team of Williams and Andy Murray beat Fabrice Martin and Raquel Atawo 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round.

Earlier, Williams reached the semifinals in singles at the All England Club for the 12th time.

Williams also won two matches on Saturday, first in singles and then in mixed doubles.

SOCCER

WASHINGTON (AP) — Megan Rapinoe (rah-PEE-noh) has accepted an invitation for the U.S. women’s soccer team to celebrate its World Cup victory with a visit to Congress.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday he looks forward to scheduling a time when “these inspiring women can come to the nation’s capital.”

Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in Congress invited the team to visit. Rapinoe said Tuesday on CNN that she had accepted invitations from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi and Schumer to go to Washington.

GOLF

John Daly has withdrawn from the British Open three days after being told he can’t ride in a cart.

The R&A announced Tuesday that Daly, who won the Open at St. Andrews in 1995, has withdrawn because of a medical condition. He was replaced at Royal Portrush by Kevin Streelman.

Daly cited the Americans with Disabilities Act in requesting — and receiving — a cart for the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. Daly says he has osteoarthritis in his right knee and that makes it difficult to walk.

The R&A said it denied his request because it considers walking to be an integral part of the championship.

HOCKEY

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Henri Jokiharju to the Buffalo Sabres for underachieving forward Alex Nylander.

Chicago is hoping a chance of scenery will help Nylander, who was selected by Buffalo with the eighth overall pick in the 2016 draft. The 21-year-old Nylander had three goals and three assists in just 19 games with the Sabres over three seasons.

Alex’s father, Michael, played for the Blackhawks from 1999-2002.

Jokiharju, the No. 29 selection in the 2017 draft, made his NHL debut in October and finished with no goals and 12 assists in 38 games in his first season with the Blackhawks.

COLLEGES

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard University has fired a fencing coach over the sale of his home for nearly double its assessed value to a wealthy businessman whose teenage son was later admitted to the school and joined the team.

Athletic Director Bob Scalise said in an emailed statement Tuesday that head fencing coach Peter Brand has been fired for violating Harvard’s conflict-of-interest policy.

The Boston Globe reported in April that Brand received nearly $1 million in 2016 for his suburban Boston three-bedroom house, which was assessed at the time at about $550,000.

The buyer, Jie Zhao, never lived in the home and sold it at a steep loss 17 months later. Both men deny wrongdoing.

AWARDS

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. (AP) — Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., son of former major league pitcher Bobby Witt, and softball pitcher Kelley Lynch have been honored as national prep athletes of the year.

They received their trophies on Tuesday night.

Witt Jr., of Colleyville, Texas, was the No. 2 overall pick by the Kansas City Royals. He batted .482 with 15 doubles, nine triples and 15 home runs, compiling 55 RBIs — 28 of which came with two outs. He led Colleyville Heritage High to a 39-3 record and the Texas Class 5A state title.

Lynch, of Sharpsburg, Georgia, is the first softball player to win national athlete of the year honors in the program sponsored by Gatorade.

She led East Coweta High to a 32-2 record and the program’s second straight Class 7A state title last season. She was 17-0 with a 0.27 ERA along with a .436 batting average.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Retired NFL player Chris Long and the National Hockey League have been honored at the Sports Humanitarian Awards.

The awards presented by ESPN on Tuesday night in downtown Los Angeles recognize those who use the power of sports to make a positive impact on society.

Long was honored with the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award for his commitment to giving back through strategic, multifaceted efforts which attack larger systematic issues.

The NHL received the League Humanitarian Leadership Award for its efforts to create the most inclusive experience for the entire hockey community.

OBITUARY

Former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson has died. He was 48.

Tom Laidlaw, his former agent, told USA Today Johnson died Monday at his home in Michigan. No other details were provided.

Johnson also played for Detroit, Pittsburgh and Chicago during his 12 years in the NHL, finishing with 145 goals and 224 assists in 785 games.

Johnson was with Nashville for the franchise’s first season in the league. He spent the last seven years of his career with the Predators.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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