Here is the latest Mid-America sports news from The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Bryan Reynolds hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates ended a nine-game skid, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4. Reynolds hit his 11th homer of the season after Tucupita Marcano singled with two outs off reliever Andre Pallante. Wil Crowe threw two scoreless innings in relief for the win, and David Bednar picked up his 11th save by pitching the final 2 2/3 innings. Jack Flaherty made his first appearance of the season for the Cardinals, who lost for the second time in their past nine home games. The 26-year-old right-hander worked the first three innings, allowing four runs, three earned.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Whit Merrifield broke a 2-2 tie with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly and the Kansas City Royals edged the San Francisco Giants 3-2 to avoid a three-game sweep. Andrew Benintendi led off the inning with a pinch-hit double off Giants reliever John Brebbia. Nicky Lopez moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt and Merrifield brought him home. Brandon Belt homered for the Giants, whose five-game winning streak ended. Royals reliever Jose Cuas retired three batters to earn his first career victory. Scott Barlow recorded the last five outs for his seventh save in eight opportunities. Kansas City snapped a four-game losing streak.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The popular narrative was that the Kansas City Chiefs signed Justin Reid in free agency to replace Tyrann Mathieu. But in reality, Mathieu's replacement might have already been on the team in the form of Juan Thornhill, who has been an in-and-out of the lineup starter his first three seasons in the league. With the departure of Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen in free agency, Thornhill is the only safety on the roster with much experience in coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defense. And that could make him the linchpin for the secondary by the time the season rolls around.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State has hired Murray State athletic director Kevin Saal as its athletic director. Wichita State President Rick Muma announced Wednesday that Saal, a 44-year-old Kansas native, will take over the job in mid-July. Saal replaces Darron Boatright, who was fired in May in part over the university's lack of preparation to compete in the new market of name, image and likeness payments to athletes. Before going to Murray State, Saal spent 12 years at Kentucky, where he held various roles before becoming executive associate director of athletics. He was event coordinator and had administrative responsibilities for golf and rowing at Kansas State from 2000 to 2005, and director of operations at Missouri-Kansas City from 2005 to 2007.
NEW YORK (AP) — FIFA plans to announce the 2026 World Cup sites, trimming the U.S. list from 17 to 10-12. Three sites are planned in Mexico and two are likely in Canada. In the first 48-nation World Cup, soccer's governing body planned 60 games in the U.S., including all from the quarterfinals on, and 10 each in Mexico and Canada. Just two of the contending stadiums hosted games in 1994, Pasadena's Rose Bowl joined by Orlando's Camping World Stadium. Dozens of training complexes have been built for MLS teams, creating a far better infrastructure
UNDATED (AP) — Several women's athletes at the University of Iowa sued the school in late 2020 after the athletic department said it was was cutting men's and women's swimming and diving, men's tennis and men's gymnastics. Sage Ohlensehlen was a senior and headed up the lawsuit, while Alexa Puccini was a freshman. The lawsuit was one of several that came during the pandemic, when schools needed to save money and cut women's teams. Female athletes in turn fought back by threatening legal action or filing suit. The Iowa swimmers eventually settled with the school and the teams were reinstated.
IRVING, Texas (AP) — The American Athletic Conference's six new members will enter the league next summer. Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA will officially join the American on July 1, 2023. Each of those Conference USA schools had their applications for membership into the American approved last October. The American will compete as a 14-team league in football, and in men's and women's basketball, after the transition next summer. That will come at the same time current members Cincinnati, Houston and UCF depart to become members of the Big 12 Conference, which is also adding BYU.
Update on the latest sports
NHL-STANLEY CUP FINAL-AVALANCHE/LIGHTNING
Avs take down Bolts in OT
DENVER (AP) — Andre Burakovsky scored 1:23 into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche opened the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 victory over the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night.
Burakovsky ended it after the Avalanche failed to score on a power play that began late in regulation when three-time champ Patrick Maroon put the puck over the glass. Burakovsky is one of only two Avalanche players who have won the Cup.
The game likely wouldn't have even reached OT if not for big penalty kills by the Avalanche, who were 3 for 3 against Tampa Bay's potent power play. The final kill featured a crucial save by goaltender Darcy Kuemper and a series of clears by Norris Trophy finalist defenseman Cale Makar.
Anderson marvelous as Dodgers dump Angels
UNDATED (AP) — Tyler Anderson of the Los Angeles Dodgers lost his no-hit bid in the ninth inning, giving up a one-out triple to Shohei Ohtani in a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Anderson threw a career-high 123 pitches, 78 for strikes. He struck out eight and walked two. The left-hander was pulled after Ohtani sent a line drive into right field that eluded a diving Mookie Betts. Anderson walked off to a standing ovation from the crowd of 50,812 and tipped his cap. He struck out three-time MVP Mike Trout to open the ninth before Ohtani got his lone hit in four at-bats. The Angels lost their 11th in a row on the road.
In other MLB action:
— Austin Riley homered twice and the Atlanta Braves won their 14th straight game, beating the Washington Nationals 8-2. Rookie Spencer Strider allowed one hit over 5 2/3 innings for Atlanta. Orlando Arcia started at second base in place of the injured Ozzie Albies and had a homer, three singles and a walk. The Braves went deep 13 times and outscored the Nationals 27-11 in sweeping the three-game series. The Braves matched their 14-game run from July 26 -Aug. 9, 2013, and are one win away from tying the franchise's post-1900 record, a 15-game winning streak from April 16 to May 2, 2000.
— Corbin Burnes bounced back from his two shortest outings of the season to pitch six innings of two-run ball, Willy Adames got two of his three hits in a seven-run fifth and the Milwaukee Brewers routed the New York Mets 10-2 for their second win in 11 games. Milwaukee's big night gave manager Craig Counsell his 564th win with the Brewers, breaking the franchise record. New York's nine-game home winning streak ended. The Mets had gone 30 innings at Citi Field without allowing a run. Adames doubled in the first and scored on a two-run single by Luis Urías. Adames also hit a two-run single to give the Brewers a 9-1 lead.
— Manny Machado lined a single for his 1,500th hit and hit a two-run homer in a four-RBI night to help the San Diego Padres beat the reeling Chicago Cubs 19-5. Machado was one of five Padres with three hits as San Diego routed the Cubs for the second straight hot night at Wrigley Field. Jorge Alfaro added a two-run homer and three RBIs as San Diego improved to 40-24 in winning its third straight and seventh in nine. Jake Cronenworth and Jurickson Profar each doubled twice and had three hits for the Padres, who entered the game percentage points behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West. Luke Voit hit a solo homer off Frank Schwindel, mopping up in the ninth, for his third hit. The Cubs have lost nine straight.
— Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 25th home run, No. 9 batter Kyle Higashioka followed an intentional walk with a three-run drive and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 for their 13th straight win at home. Nestor Cortes outpitched Shane McClanahan in a matchup of stellar starters with sub-2.00 ERAs, and Clay Holmes matched Mariano Rivera's team record of 28 consecutive scoreless appearances. The major league-leading Yankees have won six in a row and 13 of 14 overall. The game was interrupted by nearly 17 minutes in the top of the eighth inning in a dispute over a pitching change.
— Vladimir Guerrero (guh-REHR'-oh) Jr. hit his 16th homer, then singled home the winning run in the 10th inning that lifted the Toronto Blue Jays over the Baltimore Orioles 7-6. Orioles rookie Adley Rutschman hit his first career home run and got his first two RBIs. Ryan Mountcastle homered twice, but Baltimore lost for the eighth time in nine meetings against Toronto. Leading off the 10th against Félix Bautista, Guerrero lined a single to left that scored automatic runner Bo Bichette from second base. Guerrero went 3 for 4 and scored three times as Toronto won for the 15th time in 20 games. Matt Chapman and Teoscar (tay-AHS'-kur) Hernández each hit two-run homers for the Blue Jays.
— Rafael Devers homered in his fourth straight game and Alex Verdugo hit his first home run in almost two months, helping rookie Josh Winckowski earn his first major league career win as the Boston Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 10-1. Boston has won 11 of its last 13 games, outscoring opponents 65-27 in that span. The A's have lost 13 of their last 14 and are in a 6-23 rut. Winckowski was called up from the minors to make his second major league start and pitched five scoreless innings. The 23-year-old righty allowed four hits, struck out three and walked one.
— Yoán Moncada had five hits and five RBIs, including a run-scoring single against Kody Clemens, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 13-0 for a three-game series sweep. Moncada, Danny Mendick and Seby Zavala homered for Chicago, which had dropped four of five before arriving in Detroit. José Abreu had four hits and drove in two runs, and Andrew Vaughn had three hits. Tigers manager A.J. Hinch gave up on his pitching staff after six innings, using Harold Castro for the seventh, Clemens for the eighth, and Tucker Barnhart for the ninth. It was the pitching debut for the 26-year-old Clemens, whose father, Roger, won seven Cy Young Awards.
— Garrett Stubbs hit a three-run homer with two out in the ninth inning, sending the Philadelphia Phillies to a dramatic 3-1 victory over the Miami Marlins. Alec Bohm sparked the winning rally with a one-out single against Tanner Scott. Pinch-hitter J.T. Realmuto walked before Yairo Muñoz struck out swinging for the second out. That brought Stubbs to the plate, and he drove a 2-2 fastball deep to right for his third homer. Kyle Gibson pitched eight-plus innings for Philadelphia before Connor Brogdon got three outs for the win.
— Astros starter Luis Garcia and reliever Phil Maton each threw an immaculate inning — nine pitches, three strikeouts — and Martín Maldonado keyed a six-run first inning that sent Houston over the Texas Rangers 9-2. Garcia had a span of five consecutive strikeouts that began with an immaculate second inning — when he threw only nine pitches to strike out Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran and Brad Miller. Those were the first three batters Maton faced after replacing Garcia to start the seventh. Maton also recorded a nine-pitch, three-strikeout inning. Astros and Rangers officials said it was the first time in MLB history to have two nine-pitch, three-strikeout innings in the same game — either both by one team, or each team recording one.
— Ryan Jeffers hit an RBI single off the center-field wall to break a scoreless tie in the seventh inning and the Minnesota Twins went on to beat the Seattle Mariners 5-0. Twins starter Sonny Gray, making his first appearance since going on the injured list with a strained pectoral muscle on June 2, threw five shutout innings. He allowed just three hits on 65 pitches, with three strikeouts. Five Twins relievers then completed the combined five-hitter. Minnesota clinched its its first series victory over the Mariners since 2019.
— José Ramírez got four more hits, Steven Kwan made a remarkable diving catch in the seventh inning to preserve the lead, and the Cleveland Guardians beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 for their 12th win in 15 games. Josh Naylor delivered the go-ahead double in the fifth and Amed Rosario added four hits, including his first home run, as Cleveland moved four games above .500 for the first time this season. Bryan Shaw pitched a scoreless eighth and Emmanuel Close worked the ninth for his 13th save.
— Zac Gallen pitched seven effective innings despite an early bout of wildness, and the Arizona Diamondbacks used a four-run eighth inning to top the Cincinnati Reds 7-4. Geraldo Perdomo hit a two-run homer for the Diamondbacks, who avoided a sweep after the Reds took the first two games of the series. Arizona went ahead to stay on David Peralta's one-out RBI single against Art Warren. Pavin Smith drove in Ketel Marte with a fielder's choice, and Perdomo's RBI single lifted the Diamondbacks to a 6-3 lead. Smith scored on a balk by Reiver Sanmartin.
— Whit Merrifield broke a 2-2 tie with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly and the Kansas City Royals edged the San Francisco Giants 3-2 to avoid a three-game sweep. Andrew Benintendi led off the inning with a pinch-hit double off Giants reliever John Brebbia. Nicky Lopez moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt and Merrifield brought him home. Brandon Belt homered for the Giants, whose five-game winning streak ended. Royals reliever Jose Cuas retired three batters to earn his first career victory. Scott Barlow recorded the last five outs for his seventh save in eight opportunities. Kansas City snapped a four-game losing streak.
— Bryan Reynolds hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates ended a nine-game skid, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4. Reynolds hit his 11th homer of the season after Tucupita Marcano singled with two outs off reliever Andre Pallante. Wil Crowe threw two scoreless innings in relief for the win, and David Bednar picked up his 11th save by pitching the final 2 2/3 innings. Jack Flaherty made his first appearance of the season for the Cardinals, who lost for the second time in their past nine home games. The 26-year-old right-hander worked the first three innings, allowing four runs, three earned.
Ump change in Astros, Rangers finale
UNDATED (AP) — A three-man umpiring crew worked the series finale between the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers after umpire David Rackley was ruled out due to health and safety protocols. Major League Baseball says the remaining crew members followed appropriate steps consistent with protocols before working today's game.
Rackley had been scheduled to work behind home plate for the series finale. Ryan Blakeney had been set to work first base but was behind the plate instead. Marvin Hudson and Junior Valentine, the other two umpires on the crew, worked the bases.
In other MLB news:
— Toronto left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu will miss the rest of the season because of ligament damage in his elbow. The team made the announcement Tuesday. Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins says the best-case scenario would see Ryu returning in the second half of 2023.
— Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler had bone spurs removed from his right elbow in a procedure unrelated to the flexor strain that has sidelined him. Buehler said Tuesday he had the arthroscopic surgery done a day earlier. He did it now because it doesn't affect the rest and rehab timeline for the strain. The right-hander is expected to be out 10 to 12 weeks, which means it could be September before he returns.
— Colorado Rockies setup man Tyler Kinley will likely miss the rest of the season with a flexor tear in his right elbow. Manager Bud Black says an MRI revealed the tear and a sprain in Kinley's pitching elbow. Black did not rule out the need for Tommy John surgery. The 31-year-old Kinley was off to the best start of his career, sporting a 0.75 ERA over 25 appearances. He allowed just two earned runs and 21 hits in 24 innings, while striking out 27 and walking six.
— Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Drew Rasmussen has been placed on the 15-day injured list because of a strained left hamstring. Rasmussen last pitched Friday at Minnesota. The 26-year-old right-hander is 5-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 12 starts. He threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and still felt an issue. Right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. was recalled from the taxi squad,
— The Washington Nationals have placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day injured list with a stress reaction of the ribs. Strasburg has made one start this season, his first since he had surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last summer. He felt discomfort following a bullpen session and had an MRI on Monday. There is no timeline for his return. He says the immediate plan for Strasburg is rest.
Mavs get Wood from Rockets
UNDATED (AP) — A source with direct knowledge of the agreement said the Houston Rockets are trading center Christian Wood, their leading scorer and rebounder this season, to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for four players and a draft pick.
Boban Marjanovic, Trey Burke, Sterling Brown and Marquese Chriss are going to the Rockets, who will also receive the No. 26 pick this year, according to the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade is not finalized. They say it will not be finalized until the June 23 draft.
Steelers sign star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to 5-year deal
UNDATED (AP) — Minkah Fitzpatrick is staying in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have signed their star safety to a new five-year contract. NFL Network reported the deal is worth $73.6 million, which would make Fitzpatrick the highest-paid safety in the league.
The 25-year-old Fitzpatrick has been spectacular at times since arriving in Pittsburgh in a trade with Miami in September 2019 and was selected to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team in each of his first two seasons with the Steelers. Fitzpatrick called the signing "just the beginning" of what he hopes is a long and successful stay in the city.
Also in the NFL:
— New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport will enter his fifth NFL season with just four fingers on his left hand. Davenport says an infection that occurred during the course of multiple surgeries led him to have much of his left pinky amputated. The 2018 first-round draft choice still hopes to be fully recovered from both the amputation and right shoulder surgery by the time the 2022 season starts. Davenport is in the final year of his current contract. Last season he had a career-best nine sacks despite injuries that limited him to 11 games. He also had three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
— Indianapolis Colts starting safety Khari Willis has decided to retire so he can pursue a career in the ministry. Willis made the announcement in a Twitter post. While the move came as a surprise to many, team officials seemed to have an inkling Willis was considering retirement when they excused him from this month's three-day mandatory minicamp. Coach Frank Reich said then that Willis did not attend because of personal reasons. Willis finishes his career with 219 tackles, four interceptions and 3 1/2 sacks in three seasons.
— A lawyer representing Dan Snyder told Congress the Washington Commanders owner will not testify at a hearing next week as part of an investigation into the team's workplace conduct. Attorney Karen Patton Seymour sent a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform explaining the reasons why Snyder was declining the invitation to appear at the June 22 hearing. Among the reasons given were a lack of assurance about the scope of questioning and a scheduling conflict. A spokeswoman for the committee says it intends to move forward with the hearing as scheduled. An NFL spokesman says Commissioner Roger Goodell plans to testify virtually.
AAC CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT
AAC's 6 new schools join July 2023, when 3 leave for Big 12
IRVING, Texas (AP) — The American Athletic Conference's six new members will enter the league next summer. Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA will officially join the American on July 1, 2023.
Each of those Conference USA schools had their applications for membership into the American approved last October.
The American will compete as a 14-team league in football, and in men's and women's basketball, after the transition next summer. That will come at the same time current members Cincinnati, Houston and UCF depart to become members of the Big 12 Conference, which is also adding BYU.
Hurkacz beats Humbert in Halle, Medvedev wins opener
HALLE, Germany (AP) — Defending champion Ugo Humbert and the second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas have both been eliminated from the Halle Open in the second round. Humbert lost to Hubert Hurkacz 7-6, 6-3, and Nick Kyrgios fought back to beat Tsitsipas 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 at the grass-court tournament.
Top-ranked Daniil Medvedev advanced by beating David Goffin 6-3, 6-2. The Russian will next play Ilya Ivashka of Belarus in the second round.
Medvedev reclaimed the top spot in the ATP rankings on Monday and is bidding for his first title of the year.
Pliskova edges Andreescu to reach Berlin Open quarterfinals
BERLIN (AP) — Karolina Pliskova has edged Bianca Andreescu 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 at the Berlin Open to reach her second quarterfinal of the year. The fourth-seeded Pliskova hit 17 aces against Kaia Kanepi in the first round and added 12 more against Andreescu. But the Czech player had to fight back from a break down in the third set.
Seventh-seeded Coco Gauff is off to a winning start after a 6-2, 7-6 first-round victory over fellow American Ann Li. Daria Kasatkina rallied to beat Russian compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 for her quarterfinal place.
Second-seeded Maria Sakkari defeated Daria Saville 6-1, 7-5.
LEBRON JAMES-TRADING CARD AUCTION
LeBron trading card could fetch record price at auction
RUNNEMEDE, N.J. (AP) — LeBron James might be on the cusp of setting another record. And someone will have to pay a lot of money to make it happen. A one-of-a-kind James trading card called the "Triple Logoman" is up for auction this month. Some believe it may end up as the most expensive card ever sold.
The current record is $6.6 million that was spent for a Honus Wagner trading card last year. The James card is part of Panini's 2020-21 "Flawless" collection.
It features the NBA logo patch from three of his jerseys, one each from his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Winter Olympics may not include Nordic combined for 1st time
UNDATED (AP) — The International Olympic Committee is expected to make a decision next week about whether to allow women to compete in Nordic combined at the 2026 Games. The sport has been part of the Winter Olympics since 1924. It is also the only Olympic sport without women.
There is the possibility that the sport is dropped entirely, according to athletes and advocates.
Five-time Olympian Billy Demong says the IOC's solution for gender equity may be to take men out of the program for 2026.
CLICK HERE to download the Hutch Post mobile app. CLICK HERE to sign up for the daily Hutch Post email news update.