Thursday’s Sports Minute

Thursday’s Sports Minute

VICTORY: Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas is dunked by Salvador Perez, left, and Christian Colon (24) after pitching a complete game shutout in a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Wednesday, Aug. 13, in Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City won 3-0. Photo: Associated Press/Charlie Riedel

Aside from the closing of Candlestick Park, the opening of the NBA season, and the last-ditch effort by Donald Sterling to block the sale of the Clippers, here is a look at the other big sports stories making headlines today, Thursday, Aug. 14.

Tigers, Braves, Giants get much-needed wins

The Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants were in dire need of victories on Wednesday. All three teams succeeded.

The Tigers had dropped four in a row before Victor Martinez provided three hits and three RBIs in an 8-4 triumph at Pittsburgh. Nick Castellanos added an RBI triple and a solo homer to help Detroit overcome an early 4-1 deficit. Alex Avila sparked the comeback with a solo homer in a three-run fifth that helped the Tigers stay a half-game behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central.

The Braves won for just the third time in 14 games as Andrelton Simmons collected two RBIs before Justin Upton singled home the go-ahead run in a 3-2 triumph against the Dodgers in Atlanta. Winning pitcher Ervin Santana struck out nine while surrendering two runs and eight hits in six innings.

The Braves’ victory keeps them five games behind the NL East-leading Washington Nationals and cuts the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West to five games over the Giants.

San Francisco ended a five-game skid by erupting for seven runs in the seventh to beat the Chicago White Sox 7-1. Angel Pagan supplied the tiebreaking, two-run single, and the Giants capped the rally with two runs on Adam Dunn’s error in right.

Elsewhere in the majors:

  • Milwaukee’s lead in the NL Central remains 1 ½ games over Pittsburgh after Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back solo homers in the third inning of the Cubs’ 4-2 win over the Brewers in Chicago. Rizzo had two RBIs and Tsuyoshi Wada worked 6 2/3 innings to help the Cubs beat the Brewers for the second straight night.
  • Jason Vargas tossed a three-hitter and the Royals stayed atop the AL Central by blanking Oakland 3-0. Omar Infante hit a two-run homer in the third inning to back Vargas, who retired his final 23 batters.
  • Adam Jones launched a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to push the Orioles past the New York Yankees 5-3 in Baltimore. Jonathan Schoop tied it with a solo homer in the eighth before Jones smacked his 23rd of the season to send the AL East leaders a season-high 19 games over .500.
  • The Orioles top their division by a major league-leading 7 1/2 games over Toronto after Hisashi Iwakuma worked 6 2/3 shutout innings to lead Seattle’s 2-0 win over the Blue Jays. Kendrys Morales provided the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning to help the Mariners pick up their fourth straight win and stay tied with Detroit for the final AL wild-card berth.
  • The Angels are within 2 ½ games of first-place Oakland in the AL West after Howie Kendrick hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth inning of the Halos’ 4-3 win over Philadelphia in Anaheim. Jered Weaver gave up eight hits but just two runs in six innings for his 13th win.
  • Jordan Zimmermann gave up an unearned run and five hits over 6 1/3 innings to pitch Washington past the New York Mets 3-2. Asrubal Cabrera hit a solo homer in the eighth to put the Nationals ahead 3-1 in the eighth inning of their 10th straight win at Citi Field.
  • Justin Masterson scattered three hits in seven shutout innings as St. Louis topped the Marlins 5-2 in Miami to avoid a three-game sweep. Matt Adams put the Cardinals ahead to stay with a two-run single in the third inning.
  • Mike Napoli smacked a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the fifth inning before the Boston Red Sox completed a 5-4 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. The Reds took a 3-2 lead on solo homers by Skip Schumaker and Mike Leake in the fourth inning before Leake served up Napoli’s 15th home run of the season.
  • Owners start to meet

    The Major League Baseball owners are meeting in Baltimore and they could a new commissioner. MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred, Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner and MLB Executive Vice President of Business Tim Brosnan were picked by the seven-man succession committee as candidates to replace the retiring Bud Selig.

    Selig has ruled baseball since September 1992, first as chairman of baseball’s executive council and since July 1998 as commissioner. He announced last fall that he plans to retire next January.

    Tulo done for year…Darvish, Machado on DL

    The Colorado Rockies say All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will have season-ending surgery on his left hip Friday.

    Tulowitzki was hitting a major league-high .340 when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 22, three days after he was hurt running out a grounder at Pittsburgh.

    In other major league news:

  • Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish will miss at least a couple of starts because of right elbow inflammation. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, four days after he allowed six runs and nine hits over four innings.
  • Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee ligament. The injury occurred while he took an awkward swing Monday night in Baltimore’s game against the New York Yankees.
  • One of baseball’s top prospects was injured on Wednesday. Byron Buxton was taken off the field in an ambulance after an outfield collision in his first game for Double-A New Britain, Minnesota’s No. 2 minor league club.
  • Romo set to go

    Tony Romo is set to play in his first game for the Dallas Cowboys since undergoing back surgery for a herniated disk last December. Romo will start for the Cowboys in Saturday’s exhibition game against the Baltimore Ravens. Romo missed Dallas’ exhibition opener against San Diego as the Cowboys are easing him back into things after his second back surgery in the past two years.

    Former No. 1 heads to court

    Former NBA No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden faces an October trial on charges that he punched his ex-girlfriend in the face during a fight. The free-agent center appeared before a judge who set an Oct. 22 trial date. Oden faces a felony charge of battery resulting in serious bodily injury and two misdemeanor battery counts.

    The judge allowed Oden to remain free on bond and he’s allowed to leave Indiana, but must remain on GPS monitoring.

    The Portland Trail Blazers made Oden the top pick in the 2007 draft.

    Father of dead driver questions Stewart

    The father of the driver run over and killed by Tony Stewart told The Syracuse Post-Standard that “there’s no reason for” the crash that led to his son’s death. Kevin Ward Jr. was sent into the wall when his car was bumped by Stewart’s in a dirt-track race on Saturday night. Ward got out of the car and walked onto the track, where he was hit by Stewart.

    Kevin Ward Sr. told the paper that, “apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn’t see him.” He added, “the one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?”

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