Here is the latest Mid-America sports news from The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nate Lowe hit a towering, three-run homer and the Texas Rangers figured how to hold onto a big lead, beating the Kansas City Royals 7-3 for their first win of the season. Texas blew a five-run edge on opening day and a four-run lead Saturday. Boosted by Lowe, the Rangers avoided a sweep. Lowe connected in the third for a 3-0 lead. He has nine RBIs in the first three games of the season, a Texas record. Isiah Kiner-Falefa also drove in three runs for the Rangers.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Nick Castellanos came out swinging with his bat a day after being ejected for inciting a bench-clearing melee, hitting a three-run homer and triple to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 12-1 rout over the St. Louis Cardinals. Tyler Naquin also a three-run shot for the Reds, who won two in a row to take the opening series in matchup of NL Central teams that earned wild-card spots last season. Castellanos kept up his big series with a triple in the fourth inning and a tiebreaking homer in the fifth off Carlos Martinez. Reds starter Jeff Hoffman pitched five strong innings.
AMES, Iowa (AP) — The president of the Iowa State University student crew club says winds that had been forecast to remain low picked up suddenly, causing a boat to capsize before the crew could return to shore, drowning two members on March 28. Crew Club President Alexis Aurandt told WHO-TV on Saturday that after crew members rowed onto the lake, the winds picked up out of nowhere, and the crew's boat was surrounded by 1-foot waves. She says after the crew turned to get back to shore, a wave went under the boat and knocked it over. Crew members were not wearing life vests but all crew members had passed swim tests. The university and a national rowing association are investigating the accident.
DENVER (AP) — Cale Makar scored with 40 seconds left to lift the Colorado Avalanche past the St. Louis Blues 2-1. Nathan MacKinnon also had a goal and Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 shots for Colorado. The Avalanche have won four in a row and are 12-0-2 over their last 14 games. Ryan O'Reilly scored for St. Louis and Ville Husso had 32 saves. The Blues have dropped five straight (0-4-1). The game appeared headed to overtime when Makar's shot from the right point went through traffic and by Husso.
Update on the latest sports
76ers, Nets fall
UNDATED (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers remain deadlocked as they battle for the top of the NBA's Eastern Conference.
The Nets had won five straight and 20 of 23 before Nikola Vucevic (nih-KOH'-lah VOO'-cheh-vihch) had 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Bulls to a 115-107 victory against Brooklyn. Zach LaVine added 25 points and Chicago ended a six-game losing streak while putting Brooklyn a half-game behind the Sixers.
Kyrie Irving had 24 points and 15 assists to lead the short-handed Nets, who played without James Harden and Kevin Durant.
The 76ers played without Joel Embiid again and absorbed a 116-100 loss to the Grizzlies. Grayson Allen delivered 11 of his 15 points during a 14-4 run over the first two minutes of the third quarter. Allen hit three 3-pointers during the spurt that pushed Memphis' lead to 66-46 with 10 minutes left in the period.
Dillon Brooks provided 17 and Jonas Valanciunas (VAL'-an-CHOO'-nihs) had 16 with 12 rebounds for Memphis.
Tobias Harris scored 21 points for the 76ers, who have played 11 of their last 12 games without Embiid.
Embiid was given the night off after returning from a 10-game absence due to a knee injury.
Checking out Sunday's other NBA action:
— Marcus Morris dropped in 22 points and Kawhi (kah-WY') Leonard just missed a triple-double as the Clippers dumped the Lakers, 104-86. Leonard had 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Clippers, who led the entire game and improved to 33-18. The Clippers built a double-digit lead midway through the second that the Lakers never reduced to single digits the rest of the way.
— Aaron Gordon scored 24 points against his former team, rallying the Denver Nuggets past the Orlando Magic 119-109. Gordon scored Denver's first dozen points, then helped the Nuggets erase an 18-point halftime deficit for their 14th win in 17 games and their 10th straight over the Magic. Jamal Murray added 22 points and Michael Porter Jr. 20 for Denver.
— The Celtics clobbered the Hornets, 116-86 as Jayson Tatum contributed 22 points and eight rebounds. Evan Fournier had four 3-pointers and 17 points, while Robert Williams finished with 16 points and eight rebounds to help Boston post its second straight victory. The Celts drained 21 3-pointers and led by 28 heading into the final period.
— The Hawks earned a 117-111 win over the Warriors behind Clint Capela's 24 points and 18 rebounds. Danilo Gallinari scored 25 points in Atlanta's third straight win. Stephen Curry finished with 37 points in his return from a tailbone injury, but Golden State lost for the seventh time in eight games.
— Lonzo Ball drained a career-high eight 3-pointers and finished with 27 points as the Pelicans beat the Rockets, 122-115 to stop a two-game skid. One of Ball's treys came in a 10-2 spurt that put Memphis ahead, 107-104 with about four minutes remaining. Eric Bledsoe had 19 for the Grizzlies.
Holiday inks extension
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue (droo) Holiday has agreed to a four-year contract extension that will be worth at least $134 million and possibly much more with incentives.
The 30-year-old Holiday is averaging 17 points, 5.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals this year in his first season with the Bucks. Milwaukee acquired him from New Orleans as part of a four-team trade.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL-NCAA TITLE GAME
Cardinals nip Wildcats to end title drought
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Stanford Cardinal are national champions in women's basketball for the third time and first in 29 years.
Haley Jones scored 17 points as the Cardinal held off PAC-12 rival Arizona, 54-53.
Stanford built a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter before Arizona cut it to 51-50 on star guard Aari McDonald's 3-pointer. After a timeout, Jones answered with a three-point play with 2:24 left to close the Cardinal scoring.
Lexie Hull chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds for Stanford.
McDonald had a team-high 22 points for the Wildcats.
Urias sharp as Dodgers down Rockies
UNDATED (AP) — One of the Los Angeles Dodgers' pitching heroes in the 2020 postseason is off to a good start this year.
Julio Urías (yoo-ree'-uhs) gave up a run and three hits while pitching into the eighth inning of the Dodgers' 4-2 win at Colorado. Urias was 4-0 while allowing just three earned runs and striking out 29 in 23 innings.
The Dodgers put together a three-run first without a hit and went ahead 4-0 on will Smith's solo shot in the eighth.
Austin Gomber issued four walks and had a throwing error in the first inning.
Also around the majors:
— Rookie Taylor Widener won his first big league start and David Peralta hit a two-run triple as the Diamondbacks downed the Padres, 3-1 to avoid a four-game sweep. Widener held the Padres to three hits over six innings while striking out five and walking three.
— Zach Davies pitched into the sixth inning in his Cubs debut, leading them to a 4-3 victory over the short-handed Pirates. Ian Happ homered and Kris Bryant reached three times as Chicago earned its second straight win after losing on opening day.
— The Astros completed a four-game sweep in Oakland as Jason Castro, Kyle Tucker and Chas McCormick went deep in a 9-2 thumping of the Athletics. Yuli Gurriel (YOO'-lee gur-ee-EHL') had three hits and two RBIs to help Dusty Baker tie Bill McKechnie for 14th among managers with 1,896 wins.
— The Angels blew a 4-3 lead in the ninth before beating the White Sox, 7-4 on Jared Walsh's three-run, walk-off homer. Shohei Ohtani (shoh-hay oh-TAH'-nee) homered and struck out seven over 4 2/3 innings before leaving the game after a collision at home plate with AL MVP José Abreu (ah-BRAY'-oo).
— Nate Lowe clubbed a towering, three-run homer and the Rangers avoided a sweep by beating the Royals, 7-3. Isiah Kiner-Falefa furnished a two-run single in the fourth and a homer in the ninth.
— Miguel Sanó (sah-NOH') and Mitch Garver homered to back Michael Pineda (pih-NAY'-dah) as the Twins roughed up the Brewers, 8-2. Max Kepler and Sanó each drove in three runs and Pineda limited Milwaukee to an unearned run in five innings.
— Vladimir Guerrero (guh-REHR'-oh) Jr. and Randal Grichuk (GRIH'-chuhk) homered off Domingo Germán (hehr-MAHN') as the Blue Jays took the rubber match of their three-game set with the Yankees in the Bronx, 3-1. German was on the mound for the first time since serving from a suspension for a domestic abuse violation.
— Trey Mancini and Austin Hays laced two-run doubles during a seven-run third that carried the Orioles to an 11-3 pounding of the Red Sox and their first three-game sweep at Fenway Park since August 2017. Cedric Mullins went 5 for 5 with three doubles and walk for the Orioles, collecting four hits in the initial four innings as Boston fell to 0-3 at home for the second time in club history.
— Jordan Luplow hit a two-run homer to cap a four-run seventh inning that allowed the Indians to avoid a three-game sweep, 9-3 over the Tigers. Yu Chang put the Indians up 4-3 with a two-run single off Daniel Norris in the seventh.
— The Reds clobbered the Cardinals, 12-1 as Nick Castellanos (kas-tee-AH'-nohs) crushed a three-run homer and added a triple. Tyler Naquin (NAY'-kwihn) also smacked a three-run shot for the Reds, who won two in a row to take the opening series in a matchup of NL Central teams that earned wild-card spots last season.
— Alec Bohm hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning as the Phillies nipped the Braves, 2-1 to complete a three-game sweep of the three-time defending NL East champions. Zach Eflin went seven strong innings, allowing only four hits and one walk while striking out eight.
Pirates place Hayes on IL
CHICAGO (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes on the 10-day injured list with a strained left wrist.
Hayes got hurt on a swing during Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He also used his left hand diving back to first on a pickoff attempt.
The 24-year-old son of former big league infielder Charlie Hayes is among the favorites to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He hit a two-run drive off Kyle Hendricks during the Pirates' 5-3 opening day victory over the Cubs on Thursday.
In other baseball news:
— The Dodgers have put right-hander Tony Gonsolin on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, a move retroactive to Thursday. Righty Dennis Santana was recalled from the alternate training site at Glendale, Arizona.
— Brewers assistant athletic trainer Dave Yeager spent the night in a hospital after he appeared to collapse on the field Saturday during a game with the Twins. It happened in the bottom of the ninth inning when he was treating home plate umpire CB Bucknor, who was hit in the throat area by a foul ball. Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Yeager had been feeling "extremely dehydrated" after the game.
Wings finally win in Tampa
UNDATED (AP) — The Detroit Red Wings were able to celebrate a victory in Tampa for the first time in almost six years.
The Wings had dropped 17 straight in Tampa before five different Detroit players scored in a 5-1 win over the Lightning. Mark Staal, Valterri Filppula (val-TEHR'-ee fihl-POO'-luh), Michael Rasmussen, Darren Helm and Dylan Larkin provided the goals for the Red Wings, who beat the Bolts for just the second time in their last 23 meetings.
The Wings took control by scoring three times in a 2:53 span of the second period.
Thomas Greiss (grys) finished with 27 points for Detroit and Christopher Gibson stopped just 12 shots in a matchup of former Islanders teammates.
The loss also drops the Lightning out of a first-place tie in the Central Division, falling two points behind Florida.
Chris Driedger (DREE'-gur) posted his third career shutout and the Panthers picked up their sixth straight win by downing the Blue Jackets, 3-0. Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist to back Driedger's 32-save performance.
Frank Vatrano and Gustav Forsling also scored, and MacKenzie Weegar had two assists for Florida.
The Hurricanes are within one point of the Panthers following a 1-0 shutout of Dallas. Petr Mrazek (mah-RA'-zehk) made 28 saves in his first game since suffering a thumb injury on Jan. 30.
Jordan Martinook's second-period goal was enough scoring for Carolina.
Stars coach Rick Bowness didn't return to the bench for the third period because of what the team announced was a COVID protocol. The team says Bowness is fully vaccinated, adding that it believes it was a false positive test.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Alex Ovechkin notched his 725th career goal as the Capitals completed an eight-game season sweep of the Devils, 5-4. It was Ovechkin's 265th power-play goal, tying him with Brett Hull for second on the all-time list. He also had two assists in helping the Caps sweep an eight-game season series for the first time in team history.
— Jakob Chrychrun (CHIHK'-run) capped his first career hat trick by scoring 1:47 into overtime, pushing the Coyotes past the Ducks, 3-2. Adin Hill made 18 saves in Arizona's fifth win in six games. Anaheim netminder John Gibson made 28 saves, including stopping Clayton Keller's penalty shot 1:41 into overtime.
— The Maple Leafs notched a 4-2 win over the Flames as Auston Matthews and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist. Morgan Rielly and Alex Galchenyuk (gal-CHEHN'-yuhk) also scored to help the North Division leaders move to 6-3-1. Joakim Nordstrom and Andrew Mangiapane (man-jah-PAN'-ee) scored for the Flames, who are 2-8-0 in their last 10 and 5-8-0 since Darryl Sutter took over as head coach.
Spieth ends lengthy win drought
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jordan Spieth (SPEETH) has ended a slump that lasted 82 starts and nearly four years, closing with a 6-under 66 to win the Valero Texas Open.
It's his first victory since the 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale. Now he heads to Augusta National as one of the favorites at the Masters.
Spieth sealed it with a 5-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, and he won by two shots over Charley Hoffman.
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Patty Tavatanakit survived Lydia Ko's final-round charge to win the ANA Inspiration for her first LPGA Tour victory.
Five strokes ahead entering the day and six in front after a chip-in eagle on the par-5 second, Tavatanakit shot a 4-under 68 in 100-degree heat to beat Ko by two strokes in the first major championship of the year.
Ko matched Lorena Ochoa's tournament record with a 62, shooting 7-under 29 on the front nine for the best nine-hole score in the event's 50-year history.
COLLEGE SPORTS SURVEY-NIL
AP survey: ADs concerned NIL will skew competitive balance
UNDATED (AP) — An Associated Press survey of Division I athletic directors found that nearly 73% believe allowing athletes to be compensated for use of their name, image or likeness will decrease the number of schools that have a chance to be competitive in college sports. Nearly 28% said many fewer schools would be competitive.
Most of those surveyed were from smaller schools and not in the Power Five conferences. One participant says NIL rights are a game changer for college athletics. Others say the concerns are overblown.
The NCAA is trying to change its rules regarding NIL and compensation for athletes, but the process has bogged down under scrutiny from the Justice Department.
The clock is ticking on the NCAA. Dozens of states are forcing the issue with bills that will grant college athletes NIL rights as early as July. Efforts to put a federal law in place and avoid that situation seem on the slow track in Congress.