<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports - [LA FEATURE] SoCal Sports 4 You]]>Copyright 2019http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sportsen-usSun, 18 Aug 2019 23:12:51 -0700Sun, 18 Aug 2019 23:12:51 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Chargers All-Pro Safety Derwin James to Have Surgery on Right Foot]]>Sun, 18 Aug 2019 20:02:48 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Derwin-James-Chargers-Aug-2019.jpg

Los Angeles Chargers All-Pro safety Derwin James will have surgery on his right foot this week and could miss three months

Coach Anthony Lynn said Sunday after Los Angeles' 19-17 exhibition loss to New Orleans on Sunday that James has opted for surgery after receiving more evaluations the past couple days. He suffered a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot during Thursday's practice against the Saints.

James would likely be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, meaning he could not be activated until after Week 8. If he is out the full three months, he would likely not be back until the final five games of the season.

This will be the second straight year the Chargers will go into the season without one of their top players on defense. Defensive end Joey Bosa missed the first nine games last season due to turf toe.

James quickly made an impact as a rookie last season. The 17th-overall pick led the team in tackles with 105 along with four interceptions, 3.5 sacks and 13 passes defensed. He had two sacks and an interception in the first three games, becoming the first rookie in a non-strike year since Dallas' Bill Bates in 1983 to accomplish that.

Adrian Phillips will take over at free safety while James is sidelined. Rayshawn Jenkins is also a possibility to move over from strong safety, but with second-round pick Nasir Adderley still trying to work his way back from a hamstring injury. Phillips and Jenkins both saw time at free safety during Sunday's game.

The Chargers are considered to be one of the AFC's favorites but have had a smooth training camp. Running back Melvin Gordon is holding out, left tackle Russell Okung is out due to blood clots, and wide receiver Keenan Allen is dealing with an ankle injury.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ohtani Homers in Angels' 9-2 Rout of White Sox]]>Sun, 18 Aug 2019 16:52:55 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-White-Sox-Ohtani-Aug-2019.jpg

Shohei Ohtani, Kole Calhoun, Matt Thaiss and Anthony Bemboom all homered to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 9-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Ohtani hit his first home run since July 27 and just his second since the All-Star break. He has a nine-game hitting streak, the longest of his young career.

Calhoun added his career-high 27th homer, a solo shot in the fourth inning. He hit 26 home runs in 2015 but hadn't hit more than 19 in a season since. He also had his 100th hit of the season and 50 of those have gone for extra bases.

It was the first home run of Bemboom's career, coming in his 17th career at-bat.

The Angels have won four of the last five games, taking three of four in the weekend series.

Eloy Jiménez homered and tripled for the White Sox.

Rookie Griffin Canning (5-6) pitched seven innings for just the second time, having previously done so May 18 in a victory over Kansas City.

Thaiss hit a three-run homer in the second inning off White Sox starter Dylan Cease (5-6). He was 3 for 4 with four RBIs and one run scored.

Canning hit James McCann with two outs in the fourth and then gave up his first hit and only run when Jiménez tripled to score McCann. It appeared Brian Goodwin, playing center field, lost the ball in the sunlight.

Jiménez hit his 22nd home run off reliever Adalberto Mejia in the ninth.

Cease allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out six, walked one and hit one.

Canning has 96 strikeouts through his first 18 major league games, second in Angels history behind Jered Weaver, who had 100 strikeouts in his first 18 games.

RARE DAY OFF FOR TROUT

Mike Trout was given the day off Sunday and the previous day he was the designated hitter. Brad Ausmus said with upcoming heat in Texas and four games in three days (including a doubleheader with a makeup game Tuesday) he wanted his star to recharge. Albert Pujols also had Sunday off.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons (left ankle bone bruise/sprain) is doing baseball activities but is not expected to return to the lineup on the Texas roadtrip ... RHP Justin Anderson (IL with right upper trapezius strain) said he hit a little wall in his recovery because of stiffness but said he is traveling with the team to Texas.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Ivan Nova (8-9, 4.51 ERA) is 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA over his last five starts (since July 22), the best ERA in the majors during that stretch. He'll start Monday at Minnesota.

Angels: LHP Dillon Peters (3-1, 3.38 ERA) earned the win against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, pitching six innings and allowing just two earned runs. He'll start Monday at Texas.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Edge Rams 14-10 in Preseason Game in Hawaii]]>Sun, 18 Aug 2019 14:08:22 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-Cowboys-preseason-Aug-2019.jpg

Dak Prescott appears ready for the regular season, with or without Ezekiel Elliott.

The Dallas quarterback completed all five of his pass attempts in his only series of work as the Cowboys came away with a 14-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night.

Prescott dropped back to pass seven times, completed passes to five different receivers, had one short completion negated by an ineligible lineman downfield penalty and was sacked once.

Prescott's only drive covered 97 yards in 12 plays, took more than six minutes and culminated with Tony Pollard's 14-yard touchdown run.

It marked the first Dallas touchdown in a preseason game since Aug. 18, 2018. Dallas was held to three field goals in last week's 17-9 loss at San Francisco to open the preseason.

With starting quarterback Jared Goff among the large number of Rams' starters that did not make the trip to Hawaii, Blake Bortles got the start and finished 7 of 11 for 62 yards. His 7-yard scoring pass to JoJo Natson capped Los Angeles' second drive — which was extended by a fumbled punt return by Dallas return man Reggie Davis and recovered by rookie Jake Gervase.

Los Angeles (0-2) took its only lead on Greg Zuerlein's 29-yard field goal in the second quarter. Zuerlein attempted a 56-yard field goal just before halftime, but missed wide left.

Dallas (1-1) pulled back ahead late in the third quarter, when third-string quarterback Cooper Rush found Devin Smith for an 8-yard touchdown.

Pollard, who started in place of Elliott, finished with five rushes for 42 yards. Elliott, a two-time league rushing champion, missed his second preseason game while he continues his holdout. Alfred Morris, who signed with the team during training camp, saw his first action of the preseason and carried three times for 6 yards, all before halftime.

The teams met in the NFC Divisional round of last year's playoffs. The Rams won 30-22 en route to an appearance in the Super Bowl.

WITTEN'S RETURN

Veteran tight end Jason Witten made his preseason debut Saturday after coming out of retirement — and the broadcast booth — last year. Witten was targeted just once — on a third-down pass from Prescott — on the penultimate play of the first Dallas possession. Witten's 10-yard reception moved the chains and set up Pollard's 14-yard TD run for the game's first points.

"It felt really good. I was very anxious to get out there and play," said Witten, a 16-year veteran and 11-time Pro Bowler. "It is just the next step in the comeback. I worked really hard to get back in shape.

"I hold myself to a high standard, so I can say it was not perfect. I got a little antsy early but had a big third-down conversion on an option route."

Witten retired following the 2017-18 season and served as color commentator on "Monday Night Football" last year.

INJURIES

Cowboys second-year linebacker Chris Covington went down with an undisclosed injury while covering the opening kickoff. He was attended to by Dallas' training staff for a few minutes, but was able to walk off on his own.

NEXT UP

Cowboys: Return home to face the Houston Texans on Saturday on Aug. 24.

Rams: Host Denver in their next-to-last preseason game on Aug. 24.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ryu, Dodgers Fall to Braves' Long Ball, Bullpen, 4-3]]>Sat, 17 Aug 2019 22:17:32 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Braves-Ryu-Aug-2019.jpg

Braves reliever Luke Jackson summed up his team's mindset against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"They're kind of like our David and Goliath, you know?" Jackson said. "Whenever we've gone out there it's been rough. They're a good team, we're a good team, 1-2, just duking it out. It's nice to pull out wins like this."

Josh Donaldson and Adam Duvall hit consecutive homers off Hyun-Jin Ryu in the sixth inning, the faulty Atlanta bullpen redeemed itself for a change, and the Braves finally beat Los Angeles 4-3 on Saturday night.

Donaldson stirred the largest crowd in SunTrust Park's three-year history when his 29th homer landed in the Atlanta bullpen in right-center. Duvall added on by going deep into the left-center seats to make it 4-2.

Atlanta won the matchup of NL division leaders one night after the Dodgers' powerful offense homered four times, sending the Braves to a 27th loss in the last 37 regular-season games between the teams. With their first win in five meetings this season, the Braves are trying to stand up to the club that eliminated them from the playoffs last year.

"It gives us an opportunity to win a series tomorrow," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "That's the big thing."

Ryu (12-3) lost for the first time in seven starts as his ERA, still best in the major leagues, rose 19 points to 1.64.

"I think there were some changeups that kind of cut a little bit on him and didn't stay true and got to the barrel," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "But it was still good enough for us to win, and unfortunately we came up a little bit short."

Sean Newcomb (6-3) turned in a promising performance after allowing consecutive homers the night before that left him with a 13.49 ERA in his last eight outings. He bailed out Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz in the fifth, getting Edwin Ríos to fly out with runners at the corners.

Newcomb faced the minimum in 1 1/3 innings. Jackson, who lost the closer's job last month, allowed Max Muncy's 31st homer before stranding a runner he walked in the seventh.

Shane Greene, another former closer, struck out the side in the eighth. Mark Melancon earned his third save of the season, second with Atlanta, when Cody Bellinger popped up with a runner at first to end it.

Atlanta's bullpen has been battered over the last two weeks with Greene, Melancon and Chris Martin — all acquired at the trade deadline to steady the relief corps — beginning the game with a combined 10.47 ERA in seven appearances apiece.

"We've got three new guys here," Greene said. "As that happens, you'll see that we're going to come together as the team within the team and make sure that when we've got the lead and they go to us, we'll get the job done."

The Braves led 2-0 in the third on Ozzie Albies' two-run double. Ryu, who had a streak of 15 scoreless innings snapped, struck out Donaldson to strand Albies at third.

Matt Beaty provided Los Angeles' early offense, hitting his seventh homer to make it 2-1 in the fourth and lining a run-scoring single to make it 2-all in the fifth and chase Foltynewicz.

Foltynewicz labored through 4 2/3 innings on 107 pitches. He gave up seven hits and two runs.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Roberts said INF Jedd Gyorko will be activated Sunday and start at first base. Gyorko has dealt with back, hamstring and hand injuries this year and was on the 60-day injured list when Los Angeles acquired him from St. Louis at the July 31 trade deadline.

Braves: CF Ender Inciarte will miss four to six weeks after straining his right hamstring while running the bases Friday. Duvall, optioned to Triple-A the day before, replaced Inciarte on the roster.

GOING DEEP AGAIN

With two more homers, the Dodgers have connected 24 times over the last six games. Los Angeles leads the NL in home runs and set a major league record Friday with 22 in a five-game span.

SLICK GLOVES

Braves 1B Freddie Freeman snared Muncy's liner in the first to double up Joc Pederson, who had reached on second baseman Albies' fielding error. ... Atlanta CF Ronald Acuña Jr. charged in to make a diving catch and rob Corey Seager of a bases-loaded hit in the third. ... Bellinger made a difficult running grab to save a run on Acuña's lineout to center in the seventh.

BIG GATHERING

The Braves announced a sellout of 43,619.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Tony Gonsolin (1-1, 3.21 ERA) arrived Saturday from Triple-A Oklahoma City and will make his third career start in the series finale.

Braves: LHP Max Fried (14-4, 3.89 ERA) will try to win his sixth straight start. He has a 1.95 ERA over his last five. In two career starts against Los Angeles, Fried is 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vela Scores 24th Goal of Season, LAFC Clinches Playoff Berth]]>Sat, 17 Aug 2019 22:11:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Carlos-Vela-LAFC-Aug-2019.jpg

Carlos Vela scored his MLS-leading 24th goal of the season, Tyler Miller had four saves and Los Angeles FC beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday night to clinch a playoff berth.

LAFC played a man down after defender Walker Zimmerman, who was shown a yellow card for time wasting in the 17th minute, was given a red for unsporting behavior in the 48th., Real Salt Lake's Aaron Herrera, who blocked two would-be goals in the first half, was shown a straight red for denial of a goal scoring opportunity on Vela, who then converted from the spot to make it 1-0 in the 64th minute.

Vela, whose 15 assists are tied with Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers for the league lead, broke the MLS record for combined goals and assists. Sebastian Giovinco's had 22 goals and 16 assists for Toronto FC in 2015.

Miller has eight shutouts this season for LAFC (18-3-4), who have won four consecutive games and seven of their last eight dating to June 28.

Adama Diomande side-netted a rising right-footer to cap the scoring in the 82nd minute.

Salt Lake (12-10-4) had its six-game unbeaten streak, including three straight wins, snapped and allowed multiple goals for the first time since a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on June 1.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Zlatan Ibrahimovic Scores Twice, 10-Man Galaxy Draws Sounders 2-2]]>Sat, 17 Aug 2019 22:07:16 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Zlatan-Ibrahimovic-Galaxy-Aug-2019.jpg

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in each half and the LA Galaxy tied the Seattle Sounders 2-2 on Saturday night despite playing nearly the entire match down a man.

The Galaxy's Daniel Steres was sent off in the sixth minute for the denial of obvious goal opportunity.

Ibrahimovic tied it at 1 for the Galaxy (13-11-2) with a header in the 45th minute. In the 65th minute, he was taken down by Kim Kee-hee while going for a header in the area and converted the penalty, making it 2-1 with his 20th goal of the season.

LA defender Jørgen Skjelvik scored an own goal in the 82nd minute when he inadvertently deflected goalkeeper David Bingham's attempted clearance into the Galaxy net.

Raúl Ruidíaz opened the scoring in the 42nd minute for the Sounders (11-8-7). Harry Shipp hustled to round up a loose ball and fed it to an open Ruidíaz, who slotted it home.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Urías to Serve 20-Game Domestic Violence Penalty]]>Sat, 17 Aug 2019 14:24:26 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Julio-Urias-avoid-prosecution-June-2-2019.jpg

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías has accepted a 20-game suspension by Major League Baseball for a domestic violence incident and is expected to return in September.

MLB gave him credit for serving five games while he was on administrative leave in May, leaving 15 remaining to serve without pay.

The commissioner's office said Saturday that Urías has agreed not to appeal the discipline and will participate in an evaluation and treatment program.

The Dodgers said in a statement that they support MLB's decision while also being encouraged that Urías took responsibility for his actions. The team said it believes he will learn from the incident.

Club president and CEO Stan Kasten told reporters before Saturday's game in Atlanta that Urías is allowed to work out at the team's spring training facility in Arizona and can pitch in a minor league game as early as Aug. 27.

Urías can return to the majors on Sept. 2 and is eligible for the postseason. The two-time defending NL champion Dodgers lead the NL West by 19½ games.

Manager Dave Roberts added that Urías addressed the team earlier this year, so Roberts decided not to bring up the issue again in front of the team this weekend.

"It's disappointing, but obviously we're adhering to what the commissioner's office and the players association implemented," Roberts said. "We're just trying to stay the course."

The 23-year-old reliever from Mexico was arrested in May and accused of shoving a woman. The charges were ultimately dropped, but MLB pursued its own punishment under the league's domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.

Urías is 4-3 with a 2.64 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 26 games, including six starts and his fourth save in a three-inning appearance Friday.

Right-hander Casey Sadler was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take Urías' spot on the roster.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Justin Berl/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[True Blue Dodgers Fans in Photos]]>Fri, 29 Mar 2019 13:52:01 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/164*120/sandra-zubia-dodgers-fans.jpgDodgers fans show off their true blue pride.

Photo Credit: Sandra Zubia]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros are Breaking Away From the Pack]]>Sat, 17 Aug 2019 09:41:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/DOdgers+and+Yankees+Collide.png

An unstoppable force is about to collide with an immovable object. 

On the brink of one of the biggest series of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are on a collision course with epic implications. 

With identical records of 82-42, both teams are tied for the best record in baseball and the Houston Astros are not far behind at 78-44.

Since the All-Star Break, these three teams have only distanced themselves from the rest of the league as each has been on fire over that time.

Since July 31, the Yankees are an MLB-best 14-3. The Dodgers are not behind with a record of 11-3. Finally, the Astros have won nine out of their last 13 games since the break. Even the red-hot New York Mets can't match those records, going 10-5 over that same span.

Now that the cream has risen to the proverbial top, it's more than likely that one if not two of these three teams will be playing in the World Series at the end of the October. 

That means home field advantage in the Fall Classic is on the line, so let's take a look at recent history, and which team has the best chances of finishing with the best record and earning the right to host Game 1 of the World Series in their own stadium.

Since the turn of the century (2000), the team with home field advantage in the World Series has lifted the Commissioner's Trophy 13 times, and the team that starts the series on the road has won just six times.

That proves that there is a clear edge to the team with home field advantage, especially in the current 2-3-2 format. Recent history suggests that having home field advantage is not imperative as the team that starts at their own stadium has lost three of the last five World Series overall.

In fact, in the game that arguably having home field advantage is the most critical—the winner-take-all Game 7—the away team has won each of the last three decisive games to win the World Series.

However, looking at home field advantage from a larger scope, since 2000, the home team has a record of 65-41 in World Series games overall. That's a .613 winning percentage, proving there is a clear advantage to playing in the Fall Classic in front of your own fans.

For many years, home field advantage was not decided by which team had the best record at the end of the season (as all the other professional sports do), but rather, by which league won the All-Star Game.

That pointless plan to have the Midsummer Classic decide who hosted the first game of the Fall Classic, was finally scrapped in 2017 after 14 years When the Dodgers finished 104-58 wins and hosted the Houston Astros in Game 1 at Dodger Stadium. 

So which of the three teams between the Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros has the best shot at home field advantage this season?

Well first and foremost, the upcoming series at Dodger Stadium between the Yankees and Dodgers could be a deciding factor. The teams are set to square off for a three-game series over the weekend, with the winner of the series likely having the best record moving forward.

Next, strength of schedule for the remaining six weeks of the season could play a big role.

According to PowerRankingsGuru.com, the Yankees have the easiest schedule remaining out of the three teams vying for the top spot. The Astros are right behind them, and the Dodgers have the 16th most difficult schedule remaining in all of MLB.

This likely because according to the same website, the Yankees are playing in the easiest division. Yes, the Yankees will have hold off the surging Tampa Bay Rays and reigning Champion Boston Red Sox, but outside of those three teams, the American League East has the meek Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, two of the worst teams in baseball.

The Yankees will not see the Orioles again this season, but they still have six games remaining with the Blue Jays and three with the equally terrible Detroit Tigers.

Both the Astros and Dodgers play in divisions where most of the teams are either slightly above or below average, but likely they will be the only teams from their division to make the postseason. 

Houston has four games with the Tigers, three with the Blue Jays, three with the Kansas City Royals, and six games with the last place Seattle Mariners still left on their schedule.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers will face off with mostly N.L. West opponents during the final 36 games remaining on their season, but they do have three games with the Blue Jays, and three with the Orioles of the A.L. East.

All three of these teams are surging heading into September. The Astros have been unstoppable since acquiring Zack Greinke, Aaron Sanchez and a handful of relievers at the deadline, and both the Yankees and Dodgers have won eight of their last ten games.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are on the heels of a historic power surge that has surpassed even the mighty Yankees who not only broke the MLB record for most homers in a season last year, but broke the record for most consecutive games with a home run this year when they rattled off 31 straight games with a homer in June and July.

Thanks to finishing off a series win over the mediocre Miami Marlins this week, the Dodgers have hit 22 homers in their last five games, surpassing the previous record of 21.

The Dodgers have hit four or more home runs in five consecutive games, extending their MLB record.

National League MVP frontrunner Cody Bellinger is leading the charger with 41 homers, and has hit four of the 22 total team homers over this recent five-game span.

"I guess the numbers don’t lie -- we do hit the ball out of the ballpark," said manager Dave Roberts. "I still stand by the fact our bat quality is as good as there is in the big leagues."

The longball will certainly come into play down the stretch, but the team that is able to win the games their supposed to win, keep their foot on the gas, and avoid in slumps, will likely be the team that wins the Supporters Shield (to use a Soccer term) and earn the right to host Game 1 of the World Series, provided they advance that far.



Photo Credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bellinger Hits 41st Homer, Dodgers Beat Braves 8-3]]>Fri, 16 Aug 2019 20:24:27 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19228853636515.jpg

Cody Bellinger hit his 41st home run, Max Muncy and Justin Turner connected against reliever Sean Newcomb in the seventh inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 8-3 Friday night in a matchup of NL division leaders.

It was nothing new for the powerful Dodgers, who set a major league record with 22 homers in a five-game span when Will Smith launched a two-run shot off Jerry Blevins in the eighth.

Los Angeles continued to dominate the Braves, too. The Dodgers improved to 18-6 against Atlanta since 2016, using Muncy's three-run homer and Turner's solo shot to lead 6-3 after Newcomb relieved starter Mike Soroka.

Los Angeles led 1-0 in the second when Bellinger crushed a homer to right-center, his fourth in five games to take the NL lead. He began the night tied with Angels star Mike Trout for most in the majors.

The NL East-leading Braves pounced on Kenta Maeda in the bottom half, going ahead 3-1 on Matt Joyce's two-run double and Ronald Acuña Jr.'s hard RBI single to left-center.

Maeda avoided further trouble when Freddie Freeman lined out with the bases loaded. The right-hander struck out seven straight before Josh Donaldson singled with two outs in the fifth.

The two-time defending NL champion Dodgers, who eliminated the Braves from the postseason last year and swept them at home in May, got a run back in the third off Soroka on Joc Pederson's RBI single.

Soroka has gone six straight starts without a win, but was in line for his 11th when Newcomb replaced him with two outs in the seventh. Soroka allowed three runs and seven hits. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth when Edwin Ríos grounded into a double play.

Muncy's go-ahead homer sailed into the seats in right-center as the sellout crowd moaned. Turner followed with a drive to the same part of the ballpark, the 14th time the Dodgers have gone back-to-back this season.

The NL West leaders are 13-3 since July 30.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Manager Dave Roberts said INF Chris Tayler (broken left forearm) and utilityman Kiké Hernández (left hand sprain) could return by the middle of next week's homestand against Toronto and the New York Yankees. Both are on rehab assignments.

Braves: CF Ender Inciarte left after hurting his right hamstring while rounding third base to score a run. Rafael Ortega took his place. ... SS Dansby Swanson has missed 22 games with a bruised right foot and has no timetable yet for a rehab assignment.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-2) pitched seven scoreless innings last Sunday against Arizona and leads the majors with a 1.45 ERA. In four career starts against Atlanta, he is 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA.

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (4-5, 6.24 ERA) will face the Dodgers for the fourth time. He is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA against Los Angeles.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: John Bazemore/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Close Friends Brees and Rivers Get to Share Practice Field]]>Thu, 15 Aug 2019 19:26:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/rivAP_19227801630423.jpg

Philip Rivers and Drew Brees have not been teammates since 2005 but the bond between the two still remains strong.

The quarterbacks are sharing a field as the Los Angeles Chargers host the New Orleans Saints for practices for the third straight year. The two teams will work out again Friday before their second preseason game Sunday.

"It's always fun to see Drew. We were telling stories out there from 15 years ago. It's amazing how time flies," Rivers said. "Not only is he a friend and a guy you shared a QB room with, he's the all-time leading passer. It is pretty special."

Brees was drafted in the second round by the Chargers in 2001 before Rivers was taken in the first round three years later. Brees helped mentor Rivers before signing with New Orleans in 2006.

Since then, Rivers has gone on to start every game for the Chargers and Brees led the Saints to a championship in 2009. The two have remained close friends.

Besides getting their usual work in team and 7-on-7 drills, the two QB groups also go up against each other in a series of quarterback challenges. The Chargers got to pick Thursday's event, which was called County Fair as both teams had to hit stationary and moving targets. The Saints will come up with Friday's challenge.

The Saints won last year's challenge while the Chargers were victorious in 2017, meaning this year is a grudge match.

Since both teams get in situational work over the two days, Brees and Rivers will not play Sunday. Brees said the practices are more valuable than the game because of the amount of work he is able to get in.

"You don't always encounter every situation in a preseason game, but out here you're able to script play-action periods and pressure periods, third down, red zone, two-minute. Everything that would happen throughout the course of a normal game in the regular season," he said.

Coaches love the workouts more than players because it is scripted. Saints coach Sean Payton said the format of practices with the Chargers all three years has remained consistent.

"The players are different but generally what we've tried to accomplish on day one and two have been similar," he said.

The final hour of Thursday's practice dealt with two-minute and red zone situations along with some special teams work.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn noted that joint workouts have been going on for a while but the attention they are receiving has grown.

"I like getting the starters a lot of reps in these scrimmages because it's a controlled environment. I think you do see a lot more teams doing this," he said. "We did this back when I was playing, back in the early 1990s, so it's been around for a while. I like the way our players are handling the situation."

Both teams rested their top receiver. Los Angeles' Keenan Allen was sore, according to Lynn.

New Orleans' Michael Thomas got a veteran's day off. That allowed Saints wideout Simmie Cobbs Jr. and the Chargers' Travis Benjamin to haul in some passes on deep routes during 11-on-11 drills.

"There's not a great deal of preparation that goes into these practices," Rivers said. "There are different fronts and movements that you have to react against. It is a great tape to teach off of because it is not so much finding a way to beat the Saints in practice. There's no real consequence today which is the best part."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers' Cousins Tears ACL in Left Knee, Awaiting Surgery]]>Thu, 15 Aug 2019 18:33:34 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/bcAP_18027146090321.jpg

DeMarcus Cousins is facing rehab from another major injury, and the Los Angeles Lakers have endured their first big problem of a season with championship expectations.

Cousins was diagnosed Thursday with a torn ACL in his left knee, an injury that could sideline the six-time All-Star big man for much — if not all — of this coming season. Cousins' agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management, said a timeline for surgery is being discussed.

Cousins, who spent last season with Golden State, got hurt earlier this week in a workout in Las Vegas. The ACL tear comes about 18 months after he ruptured his left Achilles tendon, and roughly four months after he tore his left quadriceps muscle during this past season's playoffs.

Those previous injuries cost him a lot of games and a lot of money.

This injury is only going to add to those totals.

"He was going to be a big part of what we're going to do," Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said after USA Basketball practice at the Lakers' facility on Thursday, shortly after the severity of Cousins' injury was confirmed.

Plenty of players from around the NBA turned to social media to send Cousins messages of support, including Pau Gasol, who wrote "You will come back stronger brother." Golden State coach Steve Kerr — a U.S. assistant — said he was devastated for Cousins. Kerr also pointed out that the two games Golden State won against Toronto in last season's NBA Finals, Games 2 and 5, were not coincidentally games where Cousins played particularly well for the Warriors.

"Injuries are part of the game but when you are talking about a player who has now dealt with the two most feared injuries for NBA players — the Achilles and ACL — each basically knocking you out for an entire season, to deal with that over a 2 ½-, three-year span, it's unheard of," Kerr said. "So I don't know. What a blow for him, for the Lakers. He's going to have to process it all and start all over again."

The Achilles tear preceded Cousins' 2018 trip to free agency, where he could have commanded a multi-year deal exceeding $100 million. He wound up having to sign a one-year, $5.3 million contract with Golden State.

And this summer, again after dealing with injury, Cousins had to settle for much less than the going rate for someone averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game for his career. He signed with the Lakers on another one-year deal, this time for $3.5 million.

"I've told y'all before I don't take any of this for granted," Cousins said in June, during the NBA Finals when he and the Warriors lost in six games to Toronto. "I've seen how quick this game can be taken away from you. So every chance I get to go out there and play, I'm going to leave it on the floor."

This could have been a massive year for Cousins, who was going to get a chance to play with LeBron James and reunite with his former New Orleans teammate Anthony Davis with the Lakers — a team with major aspirations after an offseason roster overhaul.

A big year could have set Cousins up for a significant contract next summer. It is now unclear if he'll play at all before he returns to the open market.

"It's been a couple years of hell for DeMarcus," Kerr said.

The Lakers, even without Cousins, still figure to have more than enough talent to end a stretch of six consecutive seasons without a playoff berth, by far the longest such run in franchise history.

James returns after an injury-marred season where he averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists. Davis — a six-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA performer — was acquired in a blockbuster trade with New Orleans, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo were re-signed and Danny Green chose to sign with the Lakers for two years and $30 million after helping Toronto win the NBA title.

But without Cousins, there is a bit of a void on the Lakers' roster as far as center. Among current Lakers, only Davis and McGee have spent any significant time in their careers at that position.

"It's no joke when you get injured," Kuzma said. "This is our livelihood and is something that we love to do. It's super-unfortunate for a guy like DeMarcus. You can tell how much he loves basketball through all these injuries — he's fought back and tried to get back as early as possible. That's kind of how the ball goes sometimes."

Cousins has averaged 21.2 points and 10.9 rebounds over parts of nine NBA seasons with Sacramento, New Orleans and Golden State. Cousins is one of only 11 players in NBA history to average that many points and rebounds per game in a career, a list that includes two other active players — Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns and Philadelphia's Joel Embiid.

"Just feel terrible for him," Kerr said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[King's Court: LeBron Dedicates Court at His Hometown School]]>Thu, 15 Aug 2019 12:46:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19226863393826.jpg

LeBron James went back to school and back in time on Wednesday.

Joined by four high school teammates, the NBA superstar dedicated a multicolored outdoor basketball court at the I Promise School, which he founded last year for underprivileged children in his hometown.

James took a break from his starring role in "Space Jam 2," currently in production, to spend time with the kids and support his family foundation.

Before taking the court for a quick pickup game against the youngsters, James took the microphone and addressed the kids, encouraging them to chase their dreams the way he and his friends have.

"This is a basketball court and we see basketball hoops, but it teaches you so much more than just basketball," he said. "To be able to create a brotherhood or sisterhood and create things that will last forever. A lot of people say things you do in high school you'll forget. Well, we created a friendship 25 years ago and we're still firm and strong. This is our way of giving it back to you guys — paying it forward."

And then, James was again dribbling and passing with Dru Joyce III, Willie McGee, Romeo Travis and Sian Cotton, the "Fab Five" from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, a group that won a state title and became nationally known as James rose from an Ohio teen prodigy to professional icon.

His former coach, Dru Joyce, was also on hand.

James, who is spending more than $1 million on various upgrades for the school, dunked to break in one of the new hoops but missed a couple of long 3-pointers.

The 34-year-old will soon begin his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He missed the playoffs last season, failing to make the Finals for the first time in nine years.

The four-time MVP did not speak to the media following his on-court appearance.

James and the Akron Public Schools teamed up on the school, which is providing a nurturing academic environment for at-risk kids.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pujols Sets Career Hit Mark for Foreign-Born Players in Win]]>Wed, 14 Aug 2019 20:54:13 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Pirates-Angels-AP_19227080585026.jpg

Albert Pujols had two hits and three RBIs Wednesday and set the major league record for career hits by a foreign-born player, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols had an RBI single in the 4th inning. His 3,167th hit moved him past fellow Dominican Republic native Adrian Beltre (3,166) and into sole possession of 15th place for career hits.

Luis Rengifo also drove in two runs for the Angels, who snapped a three-game home losing streak. Dillon Peters (3-1) allowed two runs in six innings while striking out six after an erratic start.

Melky Cabrera and Elias Diaz each had an RBI for the Pirates, who failed to complete a three-game sweep of the Angels. Pittsburgh has not won three in a row since July 1-3, against the Chicago Cubs.

Chris Archer (3-9) allowed four runs, three earned, in five innings, and his streak of starts without a win reached 12 games. It is the longest such span in Archer's eight-year career.

The Angels scored four runs in the fourth inning to erase a two-run deficit. Los Angeles moved in front on Rengifo's double to left field. The Pirates' Bryan Reynolds overran the ball when it dropped in, and it bounced all the way to warning track. Rengifo kept running, rounding third and sliding headfirst into home to give the Angels a two-run lead.

The 39-year-old Pujols drove in Los Angeles' first run with his record-setting single. David Fletcher followed with an RBI double that tied the game at 2-all.

Pittsburgh pulled within 4-3 in the seventh inning. Diaz scored from third when Erik Gonzalez hit into a double play.

Pujols put the Angels ahead 6-3 with a two-run single in the eighth inning. Rengifo drove in Pujols to make it 7-3.

Diaz had an RBI single in the ninth inning for the final margin of victory.

The Pirates jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Peters loaded the bases with no outs with a walk and hitting two batters. Josh Bell hit into a double play that scored Kevin Newman, and Cabrera had an RBI single to right that made it 2-0.

STILL WAITING

The Pirates' last series sweep came June 21-23 against San Diego, and they have not won every game in a road series since May 17-19 at the Padres. They have swept two road series this season, the other coming when they took two games at Detroit on April 15-16.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: C Jacob Stallings was scratched from the starting lineup because of a migraine. ... RHP Jameson Taillon will miss the 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time.

Angels: RHP Noé Ramirez (viral infection) was recalled from the injured list Wednesday and served the first game of a three-game suspension for hitting Astros OF Jake Marsinick with a pitch on July 16.

UP NEXT

Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (8-11, 4.71 ERA) will start in the opener of a three-game series against the Cubs at home on Friday. Musgrove is 0-1 in two starts against the Cubs this season, but has not allowed an earned run in 9 1/3 innings.

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (1-3, 4.89) gets the nod in the first game of a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Heaney is 1-2 with a 5.13 ERA in five home starts this season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Strikes Out 10, Shuts Down Marlins in 9-1 Win]]>Wed, 14 Aug 2019 20:12:02 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/ckAP_19227033384679.jpg

Clayton Kershaw struck out the first seven batters he faced and matched a season high with 10 strikeouts in seven shutout innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Miami Marlins 9-1 on Wednesday night.

Kershaw (12-2) allowed two hits and retired the first 14 Miami batters before Harold Ramirez's two-out single to right in the fifth. The three-time Cy Young Award winner left after 90 pitches.

Rookie Edwin Rios hit his first two major league homers. Justin Turner went 3 for 5 with a home run and Corey Seager homered and had three RBIs for the Dodgers, who have outscored Miami 34-2 in the last three games.

The Marlins didn't put a ball in play until Lewis Brinson grounded out with one out in the third inning.

Rios' second blast off Marlins starter Elieser Hernandez (2-5), a two-run shot that landed on the upper deck seats in right field, gave the Dodgers a 6-0 lead.

Max Muncy's two-run double in the eighth increased Los Angeles' advantage to 9-0.

The Dodgers wasted little time following up their six-homer performance Tuesday with home runs from Turner and Seager in the first.

Turner put Los Angeles ahead 1-0 with his shot over the wall in center. Seager hit a two-run blast that Cody Bellinger, who had reached on a bunt single as he took advantage of a Miami shift that left the third base area vacant.

Rios hit his first career homer in the fourth, a solo blast that gave the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.

Hernandez was lifted after six innings. The right-hander allowed six runs, eight hits, struck out seven and walked one.

Miami's Curtis Granderson hit a pinch-hit homer off Yimi Garcia in the ninth.

TRAINER'S ROOM:

Dodgers: IF-OF Kike Hernandez (hand) is expected to play in some rehab games over the weekend, manager Dave Roberts said.

UP NEXT:

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (10-2, 3.08) had a strong start last time he faced Miami. Buehler shut out the Marlins through seven innings, allowed five hits and struck out 11 on July 21.

Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith (7-6, 3.71) will start the series finale Thursday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[A Time-Out for the NFL in 'NOLA No-Call' Lawsuit]]>Wed, 14 Aug 2019 19:43:26 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NFC-Championship-no-call-case-July-2019.jpg

Louisiana's Supreme Court has ruled that the NFL can hold off, for now, on providing documents and answering questions in a New Orleans Saints fan's lawsuit over referees' failure to call crucial penalties in a January playoff game won by the Los Angeles Rams.

Attorney Anthony LeMon says the state's highest court issued the stay order Wednesday while it considers the league's appeal of a lower court judge's ruling allowing his suit against the league to continue. That judge had said Commissioner Roger Goodell and game officials must answer questions under oath in New Orleans in September.

However, LeMon says the stay will likely mean the depositions of Goodell and the officials will be put off until October or later — if the suit is allowed to proceed.

The NFL did provide some limited answers to the extensive questions in LeMon's lawsuit, which alleges fraud and seeks damages over officials' failure to flag a blatant penalty by a Los Angeles Rams player who made a helmet-to-helmet hit on a Saints receiver with a pass on the way.

The Rams won and advanced to the Super Bowl.

In answers filed late Tuesday and made public Wednesday — before the stay order by the high court — the league acknowledges that video shows that pass interference and unnecessary roughness penalties should have been called.

But, it also says: "To the NFL Defendants' knowledge, no member of the 'NFC Championship game officiating crew' observed NFL player rule violations during the Play in real-time at full speed.

The officials designated to cover the area of the field in which the contact occurred reported that during the Play they observed the ball, the receiver, and the defender arrive at the area simultaneously with the defender leading with his arms for a block at the receiver's chest."

The league objected to answering questions, based on game video, about whether side judge Gary Cavaletto was reaching for his penalty flag after the play occurred and whether down judge Patrick Turner gestured to dissuade him from doing so.

Among the reason league attorneys give for objecting are that the questions are "oppressive, harassing and not relevant" to the lawsuit, and that it demands answers regarding "subjective beliefs."

The league also declined to say whether any disciplinary action was taken against the officials.

The lawsuit seeks $75,000 in damages. LeMon has said he intends for any money won to go to former Saints star Steve Gleason's charity to aid people with neuromuscular diseases. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thanks for Playing: G Leaguers Back in USA Basketball Camp]]>Tue, 13 Aug 2019 18:52:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/wearAP_18080051017393-%281%29.jpg

There were more than 50 players from the G League who helped USA Basketball get into the FIBA World Cup by winning enough games during the tournament's qualifying rounds.

A few of them are getting a thank-you this week.

USA Basketball invited some of those qualifying players to the final week of World Cup training camp in El Segundo, California that started Tuesday. The group will scrimmage in practice against NBA players who getting ready to compete in China at the World Cup — and while there's no chance for the G League guys to make that team, it's another opportunity to wear USA across their chest for a few days.

"I didn't even wait for them to finish asking the question before I said 'Absolutely,'" former UCLA forward Travis Wear said. "I'm not going to turn down that opportunity to play with the best of the best."

Plenty of NBA players turned down the chance to be on the World Cup team. Wear — who was with the South Bay Lakers last season, spent summer league with Golden State this year and is looking for a job this season — jumped at the chance to just practice with that group.

"Honestly, to be able to wear 'USA' in any way, shape or form and represent the country is an incredible experience," Wear said. "I was so happy that I could take part in that and it's definitely something that I am forever grateful for."

Wear is one of eight former qualifying-team players brought back for practice — the others: Chris Chiozza, Scotty Hopson, John Jenkins, Ben Moore, Chinanu Onuaku, Chasson Randle and Travis Trice. Combined, those eight players made 22 appearances for the U.S. in 12 qualifying games, with Trice making six and Wear and Randle four apiece.

The only player who appeared in qualifying games for the U.S. and has a chance to make the World Cup roster is Derrick White, who was promoted to the national team last week and is one of 15 candidates still in camp for the 12 final roster spots.

"We are very grateful for what every player did for us in qualifying," USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said.

FIBA changed the qualifying rules for this year's tournament, which meant the U.S. and other nations basically couldn't use NBA players because of scheduling conflicts. So the U.S. put together different rosters, primarily of G League players, for each of the six two-game qualifying windows. Jeff Van Gundy was the qualifying coach for the U.S., getting a new group of players for every round.

Van Gundy will coach the G League invites this week as well, and Wear said he's eager to be reunited with him for at least a few more days.

USA Basketball national team coach Gregg Popovich said praised the job Van Gundy has done. Popovich also raved about the job the G League players did just to give the U.S. a chance at a third consecutive World Cup gold medal. That's why some of them are back this week for the last days of camp for the Americans.

"You look at this team now, getting ready to embark to China and play, they're qualified because of the work that we did and the games that we won," Wear said. "That's very satisfying."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Preliminary 2020 Schedule Announced]]>Mon, 12 Aug 2019 21:42:59 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-11574490761.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers will begin the 2020 season by playing host to the San Francisco Giants March 26 at Dodger Stadium, according to the preliminary schedule announced Monday by Major League Baseball.

The Dodgers will play interleague games at Dodger Stadium in 2020 against the Los Angeles Angels Aug. 25-26; Minnesota Twins April 28-29; Cleveland Indians May 22-24; and Detroit Tigers June 19-21.

The Dodgers will play home games on Jackie Robinson Day (April 15), Mother's Day (May 10), Father's Day (June 21) and Independence Day (July 4).

The 2020 season will include the first All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium since 1980, the unveiling of the latest round of renovations highlighted by the new Centerfield Plaza and the dedication of a Sandy Koufax statue.



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Ceremonial First Pitches at Dodger Stadium]]>Tue, 13 Aug 2019 07:28:11 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/170*120/GettyImages-1167450443.jpgFrom the adorable Kershaw siblings to a determined looking Danny Trejo and the family of Jackie Robinson, we have a collection of some of the best ceremonial first pitches at Dodger Stadium.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers to Face Clippers to Open Season and on Christmas Day]]>Mon, 12 Aug 2019 15:17:18 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/lakers-clippers-opening-day-schedule.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers will face the Los Angeles Clippers on the opening night of the 2019-20 NBA season and again on Christmas Day, the league announced Monday.

The teams also will meet at Staples Center Jan. 28 and March 8. The Oct. 22 and March 8 games will be Clipper home games. The Dec. 25 and Jan. 28 games will be Laker home games.

This will be the 21st consecutive year the Lakers will play on Christmas. The last time the Lakers didn't play on Christmas was in 1998 when the owners lockout of the players delayed the start of the season until February.

The Lakers have played on Christmas 45 times, second-most in NBA history, behind the New York Knicks, who have played on Christmas 53 times.

The Clippers have played on Christmas 14 times, most recently in 2016.

Recently signed Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will face his former teammates with the defending champion Toronto Raptors for the first time Nov. 11 at Staples Center. The Clippers recently acquired perennial all-star forward Paul George will face his former teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first time Nov. 18 at Staples Center.

Recently acquired Lakers forward-center Anthony Davis will face his former teammates with the New Orleans Pelicans for the first time Nov. 27 at New Orleans.

The Lakers will play their home opener Oct. 25 versus Utah. Their home schedule also includes games against Toronto Nov. 10, the Golden State Warriors Nov. 13 and April 9 and Boston Celtics Feb. 23.

Clipper single-game tickets will go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Tuesday at clippers.com/tickets. They are also available by calling 888-9-AXS-TIX.

Information on Lakers single-game ticket availability will be announced in the coming weeks, a team official said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Maeda Allows Only 3 Hits in 7 Innings; Dodgers Beat Arizona]]>Sat, 10 Aug 2019 22:45:18 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Maeda-August-10-2019.jpg

Kenta Maeda allowed only three hits over seven innings, Max Muncy homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers bounced back with a 4-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

The Dodgers were defeated by the Diamondbacks 3-2 in 11 innings Friday night, in a game that included a bench-clearing postgame confrontation between the NL West rivals. Cooler heads prevailed 24 hours later, with no incidents or retaliatory pitches.

Maeda (8-8) struck out six as he picked up his first victory since May 31. He also helped his cause at the plate with a pair of sacrifice bunts, including one in the fourth inning in which Corey Seager beat pitcher Alex Young's throw to home plate, extending Los Angeles' lead to 4-0.

The Japanese right-hander — who had gone 0-6 in his previous 11 starts — retired the side in order his first time through the lineup before Jarrod Dyson led off the fourth with a single. Ketel Marte was the only Arizona player to reach scoring position when he singled to left, stole second with two outs and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The shortstop failed to score as Maeda struck out David Peralta to end the frame.

It is the fifth time in Maeda's career that he has pitched seven or more scoreless innings in a start.

Dodgers' left fielder Joc Pederson, who entered the game in the fourth inning, had a nice play in the sixth when he ran into the wall to rob Alex Avila of a hit. Pederson was temporarily dazed after his right shoulder slammed into the wall, but he remained in the game.

Caleb Ferguson, Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen pitched the final two innings as the Dodgers recorded their major-league leading 13th shutout of the season and second of the homestand.

Muncy's solo shot to center off Young in the second inning broke a three-game home run drought. It was only the second homer in the last 16 games for Muncy, who had gone deep four times in the first eight games after the All-Star break.

Russell Martin had two hits and drove in a run for the Dodgers, who have won seven of nine on their current homestand.

Young (4-2) surrendered four runs on five hits over 3 1/3 innings. The rookie left-hander had allowed only four earned runs in 18 2/3 innings on the road coming into the game.

BLUE HEAVEN?

Kristopher Negrón's hot start with the Dodgers continued with an RBI single in the third. Negron is 10 of 29 with seven RBIs since being acquired from Seattle on July 28.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling is likely to return as a reliever once he is able to recover from a sore neck. Manager Dave Roberts said Stripling — who originally ended up on the injured list due to right biceps tendinitis — will likely not resume baseball activities for another week.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks: RHP Mike Leake (9-8, 4.24 ERA), who was acquired from Seattle last month, makes his 12th career start against LA. He is 5-6 with a 4.02 ERA.

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.53 ERA) will be activated off the injured list. He missed one start due to neck soreness.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nathan Peterman Runs and Throws, Raiders Beat Rams 14-3]]>Sat, 10 Aug 2019 21:12:10 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-Raiders-preseason-August-10-2019.jpg

Nathan Peterman scrambled 50 yards to set up his only touchdown throw and the Oakland Raiders beat the Los Angeles Rams 14-3 in the preseason opener for both teams Saturday night.

Peterman entered in the third quarter and completed 9 of 12 passes for 66 yards. He also led both teams with 56 yards rushing.

A starter for Buffalo in Week 1 a year ago, Peterman is competing with Mike Glennon for the backup job to Derek Carr. Glennon, attempting to latch on with his fourth team in four years, started and went 17 of 25 for 200 yards, but threw two interceptions.

Peterman's 3-yard touchdown pass to Keelan Doss on an inside slant came two plays after Peterman was forced out of the pocket on a third-and-4 play from the Oakland 42 and weaved his way through the defense to the 8. The throw to Doss was confirmed after a review.

Both teams held out of a majority of their starters after holding two joint practices at the Raiders' training camp facilities in Napa.

Blake Bortles started for the Rams and played one series in place of Jared Goff. Bortles completed 3 of 8 throws for 50 yards and had a 59.4 rating.

Glennon looked good early and threw three straight completions that gained 56 yards on Oakland's opening drive. DeAndre Washington scored on a 7-yard run.

Greg Zuerlein made a 36-yard field goal in the first half accounted for the Rams.

RAMS ROOKIES

Second-round pick Taylor Rapp was mostly quiet but did make a nice play to break up a third-down pass intended for Raiders rookie Hunter Renfrow in the second quarter. Running back Darrell Henderson Jr. had a mostly disappointing night. The third-rounder was dropped for a pair of big losses early and managed 13 yards on six carries.

MISSING PASS RUSH

The Raiders spent much of the offseason attempting to improve a pass rush that was last in the NFL in sacks a year ago. They clearly still have a long ways to go, although defensive end Arden Key had a good night with a sack and two hurries.

IT'S BEEN A WHILE

Los Angeles cornerback Kevin Peterson missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL he suffered in the Rams first preseason game last year. Peterson showed some rust early when he leveled punt returner De'Mornay Pierson-El and was flagged 15 yards for fair catch interference. Peterson made up for his gaffe later with an interception near midfield and a 19-yard return.

WILSON KEEPS IMPRESSING

While Antonio Brown remains missing, Oakland wide receiver J.J. Nelson has been turning heads since the start of camp with several impressive catches on deep throws. Nelson continued that trend with a leaping, turning 38-yard catch from Glennon followed by a short 5-yard reception that helped set up the Raiders' first score.

ABOUT THAT ONE PLAY

Rams rookie left tackle David Edwards had his hands full going against Raiders' first-rounder Clelin Ferrell in the first half. Edwards held his own for the first part, limited Ferrell to one tackle. But the fifth-round draft pick was called for a false start when the Rams attempted a kneel-down play before halftime.

INJURIES

Raiders second-round pick Isaiah Johnson went down early in the first quarter after getting hit in the head by teammate Marquel Lee's knee. The rookie cornerback appeared woozy and had to be helped off the field before going to the locker room. Oakland got another scare in the second quarter when backup right guard Denver Kirkland limped off the field. The Raiders are already without starting right guard Gabe Jackson (knee) for two months so they held their breath until Kirkland returned.

UP NEXT

Rams: Host the Dallas Cowboys in Los Angeles on Aug. 17.

Raiders: At the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Trout Hits 1st Homer at Fenway, Angels Rout Red Sox 12-4]]>Sat, 10 Aug 2019 17:20:33 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mike-Trout-Angels-Red-Sox-Aug-10-2019.jpg

Mike Trout hit the first home run of his career at Fenway Park and the Los Angeles Angels snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 12-4 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

Justin Upton added a three-run homer in the first inning.

With his 428-foot drive over the Green Monster in the sixth inning, Trout has now homered in every American League ballpark. He had played 21 games in Boston without connecting.

Trout was replaced in the seventh, having been hit in his shoulder by a pitcher earlier in the game.

The Angels added seven runs in a sloppy seventh inning by Boston in which it issued two walks, hit two batters and gave up four singles. The Red Sox also had an error and a passed ball.

The loss denied Boston its first three-game win streak since it won three straight games against the Yankees last month and was a setback to the Red Sox's recent resurgence.

Taylor Cole (2-3) pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win.

Rick Porcello (10-9) took the loss, giving up both home runs. He lasted five innings, allowing five earned runs off five hits, walking one and striking out four.

Porcello retired 14 batters in a row after Upton's homer, but for the first time in several starts didn't get run support.

Porcello entered the night having won five of his previous six starts despite allowing 26 earned runs in 34 1/3 innings. But he had also benefited from a major-league-leading 7.3 runs per start by Boston's offense.

The runs weren't there for him on Saturday.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base after outscoring the Angels 19-4 in the first two games of the series.

Angels manager Brad Ausmus pulled starter Andrew Heaney with two outs in the fourth after the Red Sox got runners at first and third. The threat ended after reliever Taylor Cole got Mookie Betts to fly out to right field.

Heaney left after allowing one earned run on three hits. He walked one and struck out four.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: Shohei Ohtani threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Saturday and said his velocity is improving. "Before I get into the breaking balls, I need to hit my velocity, but I think we're getting close," Ohtani said through a translator. He reached as high as 82 mph and joked that put him at "probably about 82 percent" of his goal. Ausmus is pleased at the progress. "He was good. No complaints, so that was good," he said.

Red Sox: 1B/OF Steve Pearce (low back strain) hit in the cage and ran lightly in the outfield on Saturday. He said he can do everything but run sprint after being set back by a partially torn ACL. "In this game you have to be able to run and you need to be able to burst and that's what I'm having trouble doing right now," he said. Pearce said the ACL injury won't require surgery and is being treated with exercise as he tries to build the muscles around it.

UP NEXT

Angels: Left-hander Patrick Sandoval (0-0, 3.60 ERA) is making his second appearance for the Angels this season after getting a no-decision in his major league debut at Cincinnati.

Red Sox: Right-hander Andrew Cashner (10-7, 4.68 ERA) is a win shy of matching his career high of 11, set with the Rangers in 2017. He's pitched six or more innings in each of his last three career starts against the Angels.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Playing for Popovich a Big Perk for Kuzma, USA Basketball Hopefuls]]>Sat, 10 Aug 2019 16:49:20 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Popovich-Kuzma-USA-Basketball-August-2019.jpg

Make no mistake, the 17 players left in consideration for the 12 spots on the team that USA Basketball will take to the FIBA World Cup in China desperately want to play for the red, white and blue.

They also want to play for Pop.

Most of the players who went through Week 1 of training camp in Las Vegas had never previously played for new USA coach Gregg Popovich. Getting a chance to spend time with one of the best in the NBA was a significant factor in deciding if they wanted to make the time commitment to play for this team.

"Pop's doing a great job of letting us know he wants us to be ourselves," Boston guard Kemba Walker said. "It's been everything I expected. He's such a great coach, a great guy. He's the best."

The first phase of getting ready for China was completed Friday night, when USA Basketball held its intrasquad scrimmage in Las Vegas to wrap up Week 1. The national team candidates had no trouble beating the select group of young NBA players brought in to challenge them over the course of the week, winning 97-78 in a game where the lead stretched to 30 at one point.

Scrimmages in practice over the course of the week were much closer. Popovich's messages are already starting to sink into the national team.

"As a team, we're getting better," Walker said. "We don't have any selfish guys. Guys are going to make the right plays. We're getting better each and every day."

In practices, Popovich has been letting his assistants — Golden State's Steve Kerr, Atlanta's Lloyd Pierce and Villanova's Jay Wright — handle much of the coaching in scrimmages and drills. Popovich roams about, sometimes addressing the entire team at once and sometimes pulling players aside for 1-on-1 chats where he slings an arm around them and offers words of wisdom.

"Playing for Gregg Popovich, I'll do that any day of the week," Boston's Jaylen Brown said.

Added Milwaukee center Brook Lopez: "To be playing for coach Pop, that's always been a dream."

There are still many questions about what the final roster will look like, the rotations within that roster and who will start and come off the bench.

There is no question about leadership. Pop's in charge.

"He's my favorite coach of all time," the Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma said. "Growing up, I was a hoops junkie, watching a lot of the Spurs teams and he's won at every level he's been at. So, to be here and learn, to be around him, it's really great."

The 17 remaining players will reconvene for Week 2 of camp on Tuesday night in El Segundo, California. The Americans will practice for three consecutive days at the Lakers' training facility, then head to Anaheim for an exhibition against Spain on Friday. The two-week FIBA World Cup in China starts Aug. 31.

Popovich expects Week 2 to be crisper, now that a foundation has been laid.

"People were figuring out the terms, what things mean," Popovich said. "It's like a new language for some people. It is basketball, but often times you use different words for different actions on the court. As they get used to that, the defense gets better. ... Now it's just a matter of getting wiser, becoming more habitual, everybody reacting correctly more often. That's what we're looking for."

Players expect the same.

"Like coach Pop said, this is just the beginning of a long journey," Utah guard Donovan Mitchell said. "I think we're a lot closer after this past week than we have been. Continuing to build that relationship on and off the floor will help us communicate, help us do what we need to do to win."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[5 Storylines From Rams Training Camp]]>Sat, 10 Aug 2019 09:05:09 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/197*120/AD+Rams+TC.png

The Los Angeles Rams concluded their training camp at the University of California Irvine campus on Sunday, and the reigning NFC champions made progress over the weeklong camp as they seek to avenge their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots back in February.

There were many differences between the previous Rams camps and this one: Firstly, the team stayed in the luxury of a nearby Newport Beach hotel instead of college dorm rooms.

Secondly, two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald was at training camp for the first time since 2016 after holding out the past two seasons.

Finally, despite the majority of familiar faces on the Rams roster, there were plenty of fan favorites that left in the offseason, and a number of new additions that folks were able to see for the very first time.

Now that training camp has concluded, the Rams prepare to practice against the Oakland Raiders in Napa Valley before beginning their four-game preseason schedule. That gives us plenty of time to look back at some of the storylines during training camp, giving fans something to keep their eyes on as we march towards the first game of the season on Sept. 8.

1. Dante Fowler Jr. Ready for Return

One face that was not at training camp in 2018 was Rams' defensive end/linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. The 25-year-old was acquired at the trade deadline from the Jacksonville Jaguars and after struggling in his first few weeks with his new team, made a tremendous impact in the playoffs.

Fowler Jr. was a free agent at the end of last season, but opted to return to the Rams on a one-year, $14 million deal. After the acquisition of free agent linebacker Clay Matthews in the offseason, many though that Fowler Jr. was in danger of losing his starting spot. However, Fowler played well during training camp and appears to be the starting outside linebacker moving forward.

Running back Todd Gurley also noticed Fowler Jr.'s play during camp saying, "He's getting to the ball as fast as Aaron Donald." That's high praise for the former Florida Gator.

2. Two Tight Ends

Tight ends that can block and receive are like a rare unicorn in the NFL and the Los Angeles Rams might have two of them. The reigning NFC Champions saw firsthand just how much of a game-changer a dynamic tight end is when the now-retired Rob Gronkowski burned them in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

After mini camps, tight end Gerald Everett was the talk of the town. Now that training camp has wrapped up, head coach Sean McVay has had nothing but high praise for both Everett and Tyler Higbee. Both players impressed during camp, with neither pulling away from the other with the starting job.

Higbee is considered the incumbent starting tight end, but Everett appears ready to make strides in his third NFL season. Both players can block, and catch the ball well. Everett might be a little bit more athletic, and can run the ball if need be. That could mean he serves as more of a swiss army knife for the Rams this season.

3. Hold The Line

The Rams lost two starters on the offensive line in the offseason when veteran left guard Rodger Saffold went to the Tennessee Titans in free agency and the team did not exercise their option on center John Sullivan.

That means that two new players need to step up and fill those holes. Insert second-year players Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen.

Noteboom was drafted in the third round out of TCU in 2018, and Allen was taken a short time later in the fourth round out of Michigan State. Now, after just one-year to watch and learn, both players will be thrust into the spotlight in 2019.

So far, both players have impressed through training camp. Needless to say, trying to contain two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and Dante Fowler Jr. is no easy task, but there's still a vast difference from practice and real game action.

4. Save the Day

Another name a lot of fans might not have heard of is Sebastian Joseph-Day. Three rounds after Noteboom was taken by the Rams, the team drafted Joseph-Day out of Rutgers. Ordinarily, a sixth-round draft pick rarely sees the field so soon, but count Joseph-Day in the same rarified air as Tom Brady.

After Ndamukong Suh left Los Angeles via free agency in the offseason, the Rams were looking for a new defensive tackle to line up opposite Donald. Before training, camp, most expected that role to be filled by Greg Gaines, but after an impressive week at UC Irvine, Joseph-Day might put a damper in those plans.

Joseph-Day dazzled during training camp and earned the praise of both defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and head coach Sean McVay. Joseph-Day still has a ways to go before stealing the starting job from Gaines, but he's definitely put himself in the conversation after a successful camp.

5. Wide Receivers Everywhere

The Los Angeles Rams offense certainly missed WR Cooper Kupp in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. Kupp's absence was evident by quarterback Jared Goff's 50-percent completion percentage and 3-for-13 on third down conversions.

However, the silver lining in Kupp's season-ending ACL injury is the ascension of WR Josh Reynolds and return specialist JoJo Natson. Reynolds stepped up terrifically in Kupp's absence and was "outstanding" in training camp. The 5-foot-six-inch Natson took over as the return man on the Rams after All-Pro Pharaoh Cooper went down with an injury. Natson won the job even after Cooper's return, and appears poised to have a breakout season in 2019. Throw in Mike Thomas and the Rams have a lot of talented players at the wide receiver position.

Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, and Kupp are the starters, but beyond them is a talented corps that all could start on other teams.  Kupp looks great after ACL surgery, and even his head coach took notice saying that Kupp "looks more explosive" than before the surgery. Needless to say, McVay and Les Snead will have some difficult decisions to make come September.

The Rams will square off with the Oakland Raiders in both team's first preseason action on Saturday, Aug. 10 at 5:00PM PST.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw Added Another Trophy to His Case]]>Fri, 09 Aug 2019 21:40:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/1166941581.jpg

For just the second time in its seven-year history, Clayton Kershaw won his own Ping Pong 4 Purpose celebrity event at Dodger Stadium.

The annual event is put on by Clayton and his wife Ellen, and raises money for their charity, Kershaw's Challenge. The couple first founded the non-profit organization in 2011 after a trip to Africa.

Nine years later, and the organization has now raised over $7.5 million dollars to support at-risk children and families in Los Angeles, Dallas, Zambia, and the Dominican Republic.

Kershaw is one of the most decorated pitchers in baseball history. He's an eight-time All-Star, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, an MVP, and a Gold Glove Winner.

Now, Kershaw can add two-time champion of his signature celebrity ping pong tournament to his resume.

Kershaw won the inaugural event in 2013 with his partner, actor Matthew Perry, of FRIENDS fame. Six years later, including two losses in the finals, Kershaw finally was crowned champion again, this time with teammate and NL MVP frontrunner Cody Bellinger.

It might seem unfair for the generous philanthropist to win the very tournament that he helped organize, but Kershaw is a competitor, and he takes his ping pong very seriously.

Many fans might be surprised to discover that Kershaw is the best ping pong player on the Dodgers roster. The 31-year-old grew up playing the sport in his parent's garage in Dallas, Texas.

Kershaw had a ping pong table put inside the Dodgers clubhouse at the spring training facility in Camelback Ranch, Arizona. He and his teammates play throughout spring training, including mini tournaments designed to weed out the weak. Kershaw usually wins these tournaments as well. 

That is why Kershaw chose a celebrity ping pong tournament as his annual charity fundraiser during the season in Los Angeles. Thursday's event place on the field at Dodger Stadium and attendees were present to plenty of ping pong action, Moscow Mule inspired cocktails, photo booths, sunglasses, toys, and great food from HiHo Burgers.

The night began with walks down the blue carpet as Kershaw, GRAMMY Award winning artist Brad Paisley, actor Bryon Cranston, Haley Joel Osment and Bachelor host Chris Harrison all did interviews with the media ahead of the tournament. 

Cranston, of Breaking Bad fame, was the host for the evening and opened the event by explaining Kershaw's Challenge and the true purpose of the event: to raise money to benefit organizations that help vulnerable and at-risk children in neighborhoods in the U.S. and world.

 

Paisley was presented with Kershaw's Challenge Impact Award in honor of the country artist and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley's work in the community and their philanthropic advocacy.

Next, the ping pong matches were set with teams presented on a giant bracket featuring each matchup and pathway to the Finals.

Kershaw and Bellinger, breezed through to the Finals where they went up against Sean Maguire and his partner. At the end of a lopsided final match, Bellinger and Kershaw prevailed.

No, it's not the Commissioner's Trophy or a World Series MVP (those awards are hopefully on the way), but it was still a lot of fun and raised a lot of money for a good cause.

To find out more information, visit: www.kershawschallenge.com



Photo Credit: Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Martinez Hits 2 HRs, Red Sox Rout Angels 16-4]]>Fri, 09 Aug 2019 20:56:50 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19222022758226.jpg

J.D. Martinez homered twice and just missed hitting a third out of Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox routed the slumping Los Angeles Angels 16-4 on Friday night.

Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers and Mitch Moreland also homered for Boston, which is desperately trying to climb back into contention for a wild-card berth after an eight-game losing streak. The

Red Sox tagged the Angels for 14 hits and won for the third time in four games.

Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer in the first for the Angels, who have lost eight straight.

After Pujols' 18th homer of the season gave Los Angeles a 3-0 lead, the Angels didn't get another hit until the seventh.

Marcus Walden (7-1) got the win with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief after replacing Brian Johnson in the third inning.

Jaime Barria (4-6) lost his third straight start. He pitched five innings, allowing five runs on six hits and struck out three.

Martinez followed his RBI double in the first with a two-run homer off Barria into Boston's bullpen in the fourth to tie it at 3-all. Betts broke the tie in the fifth with a two-run shot off Barria and the Red Sox continued to pull away with a five-run sixth.

Martinez started the rally with a double to right over the head of Kole Calhoun at the warning track. Thinking the ball left the park, Martinez slowed into his home run trot and rounded second before realizing his mistake and scampering back, barely avoiding the tag by shortstop Wilfredo Tovar.

Two innings later, Martinez was able to trot the whole way after driving one out to right-center for his 27th homer of the season. He finished 4 for 5 with four RBIs.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: RHP Griffin Canning (right elbow inflammation) is scheduled for a bullpen session Saturday. . LHP Adalberto Mejia, reclaimed by the Angels off waivers on Thursday, came out of the bullpen in the sixth. He faced four batters and didn't get an out, allowing two runs on one hit and two walks.

Red Sox: Johnson got the start for LHP David Price, who was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a cyst on his left wrist. Johnson pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits. He walked two and struck out one.

UP NEXT

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (1-3, 5.09 ERA) will be activated from the injured list and make his first start since July 16. Heaney has been out with inflammation in his left shoulder.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (10-8, 5.54) has won five of his last six starts.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Elise Amendola/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Celebrities and Sports Stars Take a Swing at Clayton Kershaw's Ping Pong Challenge]]>Fri, 09 Aug 2019 10:31:05 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-1160456557.jpgCelebrities and sports stars turned out Thursday night to take a different kind of swing at Dodger Stadium. Ellen and Clayton Kershaw host the annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose, an event that raises money for charities. Here are some of the photos from the Thursday Aug. 8, 2019 event.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for FIJI Water]]>
<![CDATA[Sale Fans 13 in Two-Hitter, Red Sox Beat Angels 3-0]]>Thu, 08 Aug 2019 20:28:27 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Chris-Sale-AP_19220859183393.jpg

Red Sox ace Chris Sale and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister logged long hours in the video room after Sale was lit up twice by the rival Yankees recently.

With a few tweaks, the lanky left-hander was picture perfect Thursday night.

Sale righted himself and struck out 13 over eight innings of two-hit ball to lift Boston over the Los Angeles Angels 3-0. He had allowed 14 runs over nine innings during his previous two starts, both against New York, but he bounced back with his 13th double-digit strikeout game this season.

"Just getting back to kind of what I was doing to make myself successful before all this," Sale (6-11) said. "We spent a lot of time this week looking at some things."

Sale's brilliance against the Angels merely lowered his season ERA to 4.41.

"This is August, so there's a lot of question marks for the right reasons, obviously," Cora said. "At least for today, he looked great."

A resurgence by Sale would be welcome news for a Boston club that needs to make up a sizable deficit in order to defend its World Series title. The Red Sox had lost nine of 10 games, not including's Wednesday's contest against the Royals that was suspended in the 10th inning with the score tied at 4.

Thursday's game ran without issue and was over in a tidy 2 hours, 16 minutes. Boston pulled within 5 1/2 games of the second AL wild card with Tampa Bay and Oakland idle.

"We've got a lot of work to do ahead, so (we're) looking forward to tomorrow," said first baseman Sam Travis, who hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off starter Dillon Peters in the second inning.

Angels star Mike Trout went 1 for 4 with three strikeouts a day after his 28th birthday. Los Angeles, which fell 10 games out in the AL wild card, suffered its season-high seventh straight loss.

"This is a tough stretch for us right now," Trout said.

Sandy Leon tacked on a solo homer in the fifth against Peters (2-1), who gave up three runs and five hits while striking out eight over six innings.

"I made a couple mistakes," Peters said. "You get beat out of the yard against this team."

SEVENTH HEAVEN

Sale became the only pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in each of the past seven seasons.

"It's special. I appreciate it," Sale said. "Obviously, with how this entire season's unfolded personally, I wish it was something else."

SCORE THAT "9?

Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun made a spectacular diving catch near Pesky Pole on a ball hit by Xander Bogaerts for the first out of the fourth inning, drawing "oohs" and "aahs" from the Fenway Park crowd.

"I had front-row seats to that catch. It was pretty incredible," Trout said. "Honestly I didn't think he was going to get to it."

TROUT TURNS 28

Trout celebrated his birthday at home during the team's day off Wednesday. The eight-time All-Star is one of seven players to hit 278 home runs before turning 28, a list that includes Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr. and teammate Albert Pujols.

"I think that's the most amazing part is he's only 28," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "With all the numbers that he has, the age is what sticks out."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (left shoulder inflammation) will be activated from the injured list to start Saturday's game in Boston. Heaney last pitched July 26 versus Houston. ... SS Andrelton Simmons (left ankle bone bruise and sprain) is receiving treatment in the Los Angeles area and has no timetable to return. ... RHP Griffin Canning (right elbow inflammation) threw on the field before the game. ... Los Angeles reclaimed LHP Adalberto Mejia, who pitched for the team earlier this season before being designated for assignment, off waivers Thursday and granted C Jose Briceno his unconditional release.

Red Sox: LHP David Price was placed on the 10-day injured list after receiving a shot of cortisone Wednesday to treat a cyst in his left wrist.

"The hope is for him to come (back) sooner rather than later, but we don't have a timetable," manager Alex Cora said.

RHP Hector Velázquez was recalled from Triple-A to fill Price's spot. ... 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee irritation) spoke with the team via FaceTime during Wednesday night's rain delay after having joint preservation surgery Tuesday.

"He seems like (he's) in good spirits," Cora said.

UP NEXT

Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (4-5, 6.36 ERA) has lost two straight starts and three of his last four.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-1, 6.88) takes Price's spot in the rotation and will be making his third start this season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Elise Amendola/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Martin 2-Out, 2-Run Single in 9th, Dodgers Edge Cards 2-1]]>Wed, 07 Aug 2019 22:41:37 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-edge-Cardinals-Aug-7-2019.jpg

As the Los Angeles Dodgers' oldest player, Russell Martin figures he has an extra appreciation for this club's remarkable string of impossibly dramatic victories at Chavez Ravine.

When the veteran backup catcher got a chance to contribute to this season of walk-off wonders, he didn't waste it.

"Let the old guys get hot too, you know?" Martin said with a grin.

Martin drove a two-run, two-out single up the middle for the Dodgers' 10th walk-off win of the season, and Los Angeles swept the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2-1 victory Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Martin delivered after a frustrating offensive day for the Dodgers, who have won five straight despite the best efforts of Jack Flaherty. Los Angeles couldn't score during seven brilliant innings of four-hit ball by the Cardinals starter in his hometown ballpark, but the Dodgers still came through against St. Louis' bullpen.

Andrew Miller hit Corey Seager with a pitch with one out in the ninth, and Carlos Martinez (2-2) gave up pinch-hitter Will Smith's single. After Martinez threw a wild pitch to move up both runners, Martin bounced a two-strike single through the middle, and Smith sprinted home with the winning run.

"You just shorten up your swing, try to touch the ball, and let destiny happen," Martin said.

Martin hadn't had a walk-off hit since May 2016 in Toronto, and he hadn't delivered a walk-off hit for the Dodgers since April 2007. He's batting .219 this season, but he still helped Los Angeles post its major league-high 77th win.

Casey Sadler (2-0) pitched the ninth for Los Angeles, which avoided its first shutout loss since May 18 with its final swing.

Los Angeles improved to 46-15 at home while hitting double digits in walk-off wins and matching the total walk-offs by last season's pennant-winning Dodgers.

When asked if the Dodgers are just expecting to win close home games these days, manager Dave Roberts replied: "Yeah. It's something that I think the other dugout feels it as well. ... Seems like every day, someone else gets the Gatorade."

Marcell Ozuna homered off Dodgers rookie Dustin May in the sixth inning for the Cardinals, who went 0-5 on their California road trip after scoring just two runs in three games at Dodger Stadium.

"The lack of execution in the ninth, that's what stands out," Cards manager Mike Shildt said. "We had a heck of a game from Jack. We executed for 8 ½ innings, but they made us pay."

St. Louis' clubhouse was somnolent after this game, but Flaherty saw positives.

"They've been the best team in baseball for a little bit now," Flaherty said. "But we've played them really, really well these last two games, and we know what happened earlier in this season (a four-game Cardinals sweep in St. Louis in April). So we know we're going to see them again. Everybody in here in confident about that. It's something that we're looking forward to."

JACK IS BACK

Flaherty struck out 10 with just one walk while dominating for the second time as a pro at Dodger Stadium, where he attended his first game on his mother's lap when he was less than a year old. In his Chavez Ravine debut as a pro last year, Flaherty threw six innings of scoreless one-hit ball for the Cards.

The right-hander was born and raised in Burbank, California, just a few miles away on the other side of historic Griffith Park. Flaherty even led Harvard-Westlake School to a state championship at Dodger Stadium six years ago by throwing a shutout and driving in the only run in a 1-0 win in the title game.

"St. Louis is home, but this is home," Flaherty said. "This is where I grew up watching baseball, so it's a little bit of a different vibe for me. Wherever I look, I see somebody I know. ... When you've got family around, and you've got friends you consider family, and you've got a team like this that you consider your family, it just brings around good things."

GINGERGAARD'S RETURN

May threw 5 2/3 innings of five-hit ball in a strong second career start for the Dodgers, who called up the redheaded power pitcher last week. May had seven strikeouts and held his own with Flaherty, but remained winless in the big leagues.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter left the game after getting hit in the foot by a pitch in the ninth. Shildt didn't immediately have an update on his injury. ... RHP Alex Reyes went back to St. Louis for more examination of the pain in his shoulder and pectoral muscle.

Dodgers: OF A.J. Pollock struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth after sitting out of the starting lineup for the fifth time in six games with groin soreness.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: After a travel day home, Dakota Hudson (10-6, 3.99 ERA) looks for a bounce-back start against Chris Archer (3-8, 5.35 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dodgers: After a day off at home, Walker Buehler (10-2, 3.22 ERA) returns Friday from his 15-strikeout complete game against San Diego to face Robbie Ray (10-7, 4.03 ERA) and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[You Can Now Order Your 'Dodger Dog' From the Stands]]>Wed, 07 Aug 2019 21:20:32 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/20190807-dodger-dog.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced a new partnership with Postmates Wednesday that allows fans to order a classic Dodger Dog from their stadium seat. 

Fans can now place their Dodger Stadium concessions order from their seats and pick it up when ready at designated pickup locations — with no added fees. 

For the remainder of the season, the service will only apply to the "Top Deck" section of the park. At Wednesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, fans were already able to order their Dodger Dogs from the stands in the "Top Deck" section.

The feature is expected to roll out to the entire stadium for the 2020 season.

Always looking to take things to another level when it comes to customer experience at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers found that on-demand food would help enhance that experience.

"At Dodger Stadium, we're always looking for ways to enhance the gameday experience," Michael Wandell, Dodger Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships, said in a news release. "In partnership with Postmates, we have co-authored the most dynamic and innovative mobile ordering platform in professional sports."

To order within Dodger Stadium, fans just need to open the Postmates app on their mobile devices and:

  • Browse and select desired offerings.
  • Place an order, pay in the app.
  • Once orders are placed, fans will receive a pickup time and text when the order is ready.
  • Orders will be available at designated Postmates Pickup points located throughout the stadium 



Photo Credit: Eileen Rose/ Flickr]]>
<![CDATA[Reds’ Offense Too Hot to Handle for Suarez, Angels Drop Sixth Straight]]>Wed, 07 Aug 2019 00:50:30 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Reds-Aug-6-2019.jpg

Another night, another start for a Los Angeles Angels' rookie and another loss for the Halos--an 8-4 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night.

This time, it was Jose Suarez who got the nod for the Angels. Unlike Patrick Sandoval on Monday, Suarez struggled right out of the gate.

The Halos took an early lead in the top of the first inning when Justin Upton hit a three-run home run. Coming into the game, Upton had been struggling mightily, hitting just .171 through his last 21 games. 

The Reds responded to Upton's three-run shot almost immediately with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first against Suarez. The runs came off of a solo home run from Eugenio Suarez and a two-run shot from Jose Iglesias.

But things really started to unravel for Suarez (2-3) and the Angels in the bottom of the fourth.

Aristides Aquino started the Reds' rally with a solo home run to give Cincinnati a 4-3 lead. Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani helped himself later that same inning by hitting an RBI single to extend the lead to 5-3. The final run of the inning came off the bat of Nick Senzel, who hit a blooper that landed between three Angels players and gave the Reds a three-run lead.

Suarez pitched five innings for the first time since June 20. The left-handed pitcher allowed six runs to score off of three home runs and 10 hits.

Despite the disappointing performance from Suarez, Angels Manager Brad Ausmus was optimistic postgame. "He showed signs," Ausmus told Angels.com. "We're not going to rush to judgment on a 21-year-old's first season in the big leagues."

Mike Trout added another home run to his AL-leading tally in the top of the fifth to cut the score to 6-4 in the top of the fifth. Trout's 38th homer of the season places him second in the majors between Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger.

"It's pretty cool with Yelich and Bellinger," Trout told Angels.com. "They are all having great seasons, MVP seasons. It's fun to watch. Fun to be a part of." 

The game underwent a 54-minute rain delay in the eighth inning, but once the rain stopped and play resumed, the Angels had a chance to get themselves back in the game.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth, Kole Calhoun stepped up to the plate with a chance to give the Halos the lead. Instead, Calhoun continued his batting struggles and flew out to right field to end the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, Tucker Barnhart hit his second home run of the game to extend the Reds' lead to four runs and effectively end the game.

The loss marked the Angels' sixth straight. They've now been swept in two consecutive series.

The bigger picture in the Angels' continued slide is that with every loss, the playoffs continue to slip further and further away. The Angels are now 10 games back of a wild card spot.

UP NEXT:

Angels: Left-handed pitcher Dillon Peters (2-0) will take the mound Thursday against the Boston Red Sox.

Chris Sale (5-11) will get the start for the Red Sox Thursday looking to bounce back from a 9-2 loss to the Yankees in which he gave up eight earned runs.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clayton Kershaw Remains Unbeatable at Home as Dodgers Top Cardinals]]>Tue, 06 Aug 2019 22:27:27 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Clayton-Kershaw-Aug-6-2019.jpg

Clayton Kershaw continues to be not only consistent, but dominant for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The left-hander struck out nine in seven innings and notched his 11th win of the season as the Dodgers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 Tuesday night.

Kershaw (11-2) — who allowed only one run on four hits — has gone at least six innings in all 20 starts this season. For as strong as that is, what he has done at Dodger Stadium has been even better.

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner is unbeaten in 21 straight regular-season starts at home dating to last season, going 10-0 with a 2.28 earned run average during that span.

"There are just a lot of things that make it a great place to play," said Kershaw, who is 8-0 at Chavez Ravine this season. "I think every team feels comfortable playing at home but there's something different about this one."

By winning the first two against the Cardinals, the Dodgers have taken 15 of 19 series on their home field and lead the majors with a 45-15 mark at home.

Once that third inning started, he got into a rhythm. He was really good. He really corralled those first couple innings where it didn't feel like he was in synch.

Kershaw allowed the Cardinals to get their leadoff hitter aboard the first three innings and scored first when Matt Carpenter's single drove in Paul DeJong. He settled down though after allowing Dexter Fowler to begin the third with a single, retiring 15 of the last 16 hitters he faced, including 13 straight at one point.

"It seemed like once that third inning hit he got into a rhythm and his tempo picked up. He was really good," manager Dave Roberts said. "It seemed like he changed speeds on his slider and it had really good depth. Just efficient."

Kershaw got some help from his defense in the seventh with the Dodgers hanging on to a 2-1 lead. Joc Pederson made a running catch in right field to rob Andrew Knizner of a possible extra-base hit and potential tying RBI to end the frame.

"That was a huge play. When you see a guy with your back to you going with that much speed you feel like it is going into the gap and it is tied," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.

The Dodgers' bullpen pitched shutout ball in the final two innings, but not without some drama. The Cardinals had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth, but Pedro Baez struck out DeJong.

Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth to earn his 26th save.

Justin Turner had two hits, including a double in the third inning that plated Pederson with what proved to be the go-ahead run in the third inning. Pederson led off the inning with a single.

Los Angeles tied it in the bottom of the second when Kristopher Negrón's bloop single to center drove in Corey Seager, who started off the frame with a double.

Los Angeles extended its lead to 3-1 in the seventh when Max Muncy's single brought in Edwin Rios.

Miles Mikolas (7-12) went 6 2/3 innings and surrendered two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts. The Cardinals have dropped four straight and five of seven.

"You had two guys that pitched very well," Shildt said. "We came up short. We weren't able to get the big hit and couldn't do much with runners in scoring position."

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES

The Dodgers had a seven-game homer streak snapped. ... Negrón is 9 for 23 (.391) with two home runs and six RBIs in seven games since joining the Dodgers, who acquired him from Seattle on July 28. ... Cardinals CF Dexter Fowler, who came into the game 1 for 23 leading off this season, went 2 for 4.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (right biceps tendinitis) was slated to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday, but that has been delayed due to neck soreness. He will resume throwing sometime the next couple days. ... LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (neck soreness) is on track to come off the injured list Sunday and start the series finale against Arizona.

Cardinals: C Yadier Molina (thumb) was in St. Louis to be evaluated before continuing his rehab assignment at Double-A Springfield on Thursday. Molina homered during Monday's game for Triple-A Memphis.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Burbank native Jack Flaherty (5-6, 3.93 ERA) makes his second career start at Dodger Stadium. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning last year before it was broken up by a Joc Pederson homer.

Dodgers: Dustin May (0-1, 4.76) makes his second major league start. The right-hander went 5 2/3 innings against San Diego on Aug. 2 and allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Unveil Players' Weekend White Jerseys]]>Tue, 06 Aug 2019 21:41:28 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/229*120/DodgersPlayerWeekend.jpeg

Let the Kids Play.

Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that the annual Players' Weekend would be back for a third consecutive year.

The weekend, which features an opportunity for players' to show off a little bit of their personality and take a break from the monotony of the marathon 162-game regular season commences on Aug. 23 thru the 25th.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will be home that weekend, hosting the New York Yankees. That means fans will have a chance to see all the fun nicknames and accessories, in-person at Dodger Stadium, but will be denied the chance to watch the longtime rivals square off in their traditional uniforms.

Instead of pinstripes and the "Dodgers" across the chest with the red numbers, both teams will wear white and black monochromatic uniforms. This is a stark change from the previous colorful uniforms of the previous two years that honestly looked more like little league uniforms than professional jerseys.

According to MLB, the home team will be able to decide which color they want to wear over the weekend. The Dodgers have already opted to wear white. The starting pitcher for the Dodgers during the three-game weekend series will have to wear a black hat to ensure umpires and batters have clear visibility of each pitch he throws.

In addition to the different uniforms with players nicknames on the back, the players will also be allowed to wear custom equipment throughout the game including, socks, cleats, batting gloves, bats, arm bands, pads, and catcher's gear.

One dramatic difference during this year's Players' Weekend compared to years previous is that MLB has announced they will be more relaxed with their strict mobile device policy.

This is a tremendous upside for the players, who will now be able to use their phones and tablets on the field or in the dugout before the game.

MLB also announced that each team will select an ambassador from the team for the Players' Weekend. The Dodgers chose Cody Bellinger. 

Speaking of Bellinger, the MVP candidate will stick with his longtime nickname of "Belli" this year. Many other Dodger players are doing the same, Kershaw is sticking with "Kersh," Kenley Jansen "Kenleyfornia," Corey Seager "Seags," and Enrique Hernandez "Kiké." 

There are a few surprises and changes this year: Walker Buehler for example, has gone by the nickname "Ferris," in the past two machinations of Players' Weekend. This year, the first-time All-Star chose "Buetane" as his nickname.

Arguably the greatest nickname in Players' Weekend history, Rich Hill's infamous "Dick Mountain," from 2018 is gone, and will be replaced with the name of his newly established charity, "Field of Genes." 

Among some of the other notable nickname choices on the Dodgers: relief pitcher Joe Kelly will pay homage to the Los Angeles area code he grew up in with the nickname "909," and newly acquired Kristopher Negron went with the creative "Negron James," (like LeBron James) we can hear the infamous video in our ears now.

In addition to some outstanding nicknames, there were of course some missed opportunities as well. Will Smith, known throughout the Southland as the "Fresh Prince of LA," opted for "Smitty," instead of the "Fresh Prince."

Joc Pederson known by his teammates as "Yung Joc," decided on just a crown emoji on the back of his jersey.

Matt Beaty, who is a man of many nicknames including "Gone, Beaty Gone,"Beaty, Beaty, Bom, Bom," and "Darth Bader," opted for the more mild "Baters Taters," a nickname he says people have called him since High School. However, Beaty and teammate Kyle Garlick—who both have bald heads—go by the nicknames "Beans and Potatoes," and we would have loved for them both to chose that instead.

Finally, Dodgers top pitching prospect, Dustin May—who made his MLB debut last week—has been given the nickname "Gingergaard" in reference to his resemblance to New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard." Despite being fine with the nickname, May refused to breathe life into it, choosing "Big Red," the nickname given to him by Triple-A Oklahoma City teammate Gavin Lux instead.

All of the Dodger players nicknames are listed in their entirety below and as they do every year, MLB will auction off the Players' Weekend jerseys with all the proceeds going towards the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation.

Dodgers complete list of nicknames :

Pedro Baez: “LA MULA”
Matt Beaty: “BATERS TATERS”
Cody Bellinger: “BELLI”
Walker Buehler: “BUETANE”
JT Chargois: “SHAG”
David Freese: “DAVEHUMAN”
Yimi Garcia: “VILLA TRINA”
Tony Gonsolin: “GOOOOSE”
Jedd Gyorko: “JERK-STORE”
Enrique Hernandez: “KIKÉ"
Rich Hill: “FIELD OF GENES”
Kenley Jansen: “KENLEYFORNIA”
Joe Kelly: “909"
Clayton Kershaw: “KERSH”
Adam Kolarek: “AK”
Kenta Maeda: “MAEKEN”
Dustin May: “BIG RED”
Russell Martin: “EL (MUSCLE EMOJI)”
Max Muncy: “FUNKY MUNCY”
Kristopher Negron: “NEGRON JAMES”
Joc Pederson: "(CROWN EMOJI)”
A.J. Pollock: “POLLO”
Hyun-Jin Ryu: "류현진"
Casey Sadler: “SADS”
Corey Seager: “SEAGS”
Will Smith: “SMITTY”
Ross Stripling: “CHICKEN STRIP”
Chris Taylor: “CT3"
Justin Turner: “REDTURN2"
Julio Urias: “EL CULICHI”
Alex Verdugo: “DUGIE”
Tyler White: “WHITEY"



Photo Credit: Los Angeles Dodgers
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<![CDATA[Players' Weekend is Back and So Are The Angels' Nickname Jerseys]]>Tue, 06 Aug 2019 17:33:43 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-nickname-jerseys-August-2019.jpg

Major League Baseball Players' Weekend is back for the third straight year and the Los Angeles Angels will give players the opportunity to showcase a bit more of their personalities Aug. 23-25. 

This years' jerseys will be black and white, a change from past seasons. That will allow custom accessories such as bats, compression sleeves and catchers equipment to stand out.

The jerseys will once again feature nicknames chosen by the players, displaying their humor and creativity. This has led to some mixed results in terms of creativity in the past, and this year is no different.

One of the best from the Angels comes from Ty Buttrey, who will have the peach and tree emojis on the back of his jersey in a very 2019 phonetic spelling of his name.

Buttrey won't be the only Angel using emojis on his jersey. Outfielder Justin Upton will be wearing "J (UP ARROW EMOJI)" in reference to the first letter of his first name and the first syllable of his last name.

Two-time MVP Mike Trout will be wearing "KIIIIID" despite turning 28 this week.

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Shohei Ohtani decided to go with their longtime nicknames, "SIMBA" and "SHOWTIME," respectively.

Albert Pujols was another player who paid tribute to his longtime nickname "The Machine" and his Hispanic heritage by translating it to "LA MAQUINA."

Pitchers Dillon Peters and Andrew Heaney went with something a little more creative and appetizing, going with "DILLYPICKLES" and "HEANDOG," respectively.

For every funny and creative nickname an Angels' players came up with, however, there was an equally less creative counterpart. 

Outfielder Brian Goodwin opted for "GOODWIN," which is probably the least creative choice in all of the majors. Griffin Canning and Taylor Cole went with "GRIFF" and "T.C.," respectively. 

Players will also have the option to pay tribute to Tyler Skaggs by wearing a patch in his honor.

The full list of nicknames for the Angels are listed below:

Justin Anderson: "ANDO"

Luke Bard: "BARDO"

Jaime Barria: "YAN"

Cam Bedrosian: "BEDROCK"

Ty Buttrey: "(PEACH, TREE EMOJIS)"

Kole Calhoun: "KOLESKI"

Griffin Canning: "GRIFF"

Taylor Cole: "T.C."

David Fletcher: "FLETCH"

Luis Garcia: "AMADITO"

Brian Goodwin: "GOODWIN"

Andrew Heaney: "HEANDOG"

Tommy La Stella: "TL"

Shohei Ohtani: "SHOWTIME"

Felix Pena: "LA BEFLA"

Dillon Peters: "DILLYPICKLEZ"

Albert Pujols: "LA MÁQUINA"

JC Ramirez: "J.C. TIME"

Luis Rengifo: "FIFO"

Hansel Robles: "CABALLO BLANCO"

Andrelton Simmons: "SIMBA"

Kevan Smith: "SMITTY"

Max Stassi: "STASSINELLI"

Jose Suarez: "RANCISS"

Matt Thaiss: "MATTY"

Wilfredo Tovar: "WILFRI"

Mike Trout: "KIIIIID"

Justin Upton: "J (UP ARROW EMOJI) "

Jared Walsh: "WALSHY"



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rookie Tony Gonsolin Earns 1st Win in Dodgers' 8-0 Rout of Cards]]>Mon, 05 Aug 2019 22:37:53 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Tony-Gonsolin-Aug-2019.jpg

Tony Gonsolin struck out Paul Goldschmidt and left the Dodger Stadium mound to a raucous standing ovation after his sixth scoreless inning.

Although the rookie right-hander couldn't have pitched much better in his second career start, Gonsolin knows he might have to do even more just to have a shot at sticking with Los Angeles for its playoff run.

The Dodgers are that loaded with talent as they steamroll toward October.

"This is a pleasant problem," manager Dave Roberts said with a grin.

Cody Bellinger hit a three-run homer and Gonsolin pitched six stellar innings of two-hit ball to earn his first major league victory in the Dodgers' 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.

Corey Seager, Justin Turner and rookie Matt Beaty had RBI doubles, and Joc Pederson also homered in the NL-leading Dodgers' sixth win in seven games. Los Angeles became the majors' first team to 75 victories with another big offensive game to back another pitching prospect who looks ready for the majors.

Three days after redheaded rookie Dustin May's promising big league debut, Gonsolin (1-1) was even better.

The 25-year-old from Northern California retired 14 of the Cardinals' first 15 batters and took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, yielding one walk and striking out seven.

"I've learned to trust my stuff and learned that I can compete here, whether it's starting or out of the 'pen," said Gonsolin, who earned a gutsy four-inning save at Colorado six days earlier. "That's the goal, to get that conversation going and get my name in the mix for staying here, hopefully."

Gonsolin allowed only a second-inning walk before Kolten Wong's two-out double in the fifth.

"I guess 'impressive' is the descriptor," Roberts said. "He was just really fun to watch. Just in complete control tonight. Getting that three-run blast by Belli early just allowed him to settle into the game."

Gonsolin was a ninth-round draft pick who got this opportunity with three strong years in the minors. He made the most of a chance to fill the rotation spot temporarily vacated by injured major league ERA leader Hyun-Jin Ryu — and he knows the Dodgers might not have another start for him anytime soon, depending on various players' comebacks from injury.

"Whatever it takes," Gonsolin said. "I'm just trying to get whatever role I can."

The Dodgers know they'll have some tough choices to make after what's essentially a two-month audition for spots on their postseason staff. Los Angeles (75-40) has an 8 ½-game lead over Atlanta atop the overall NL standings and a whopping 18-game lead over San Francisco and Arizona on the path to its seventh straight NL West title.

Michael Wacha (6-5) couldn't get out of the fourth inning for the Cardinals, who dropped to 0-3 on their five-game California road trip. St. Louis matched its season low with two hits while getting shut out for the second time in five games and the ninth time this season.

"(The Dodgers) grind you down and keep fouling off tough pitches and take the ones that are close," Wacha said. "We tried to get them to swing at those ones on the corner, those ones just off, and a well-disciplined team doesn't do that."

Gonsolin worked with a big early lead thanks to Bellinger, who put his shot deep down the right field line in the first inning. The slugger has three homers in his last four starts following a 12-game homerless drought.

Seager drove in his first run in eight games with a two-out double that bounced into the left field stands in the third. Pederson then added his 24th homer in the fourth, moving just two shy of his career-high.

"Pederson put a swing on (Wacha), and Bellinger's three-run homer snuck inside the foul pole, it looked like," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "Listen, he made a lot of quality pitches and got hurt on the ones that maybe were over the middle."

Wacha yielded seven hits and six runs in his first loss since June.

HOLLYWOOD HOMERS

Bellinger's 37th homer pulled him even in the Los Angeles metroplex homer race with Mike Trout, who also hit his 37th for the Angels in Cincinnati. Milwaukee's Christian Yelich, an LA-area native himself, kept the major league lead with his 38th and 39th homers in Pittsburgh earlier Monday.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: LF Tyler O'Neill is getting treatment on his strained left wrist in St. Louis. He is expected to get a rehab assignment before he returns to the lineup.

Dodgers: OF Alex Verdugo wasn't in the starting lineup as planned after he felt lower back tightness. He missed last Thursday's game with the same problem. ... OF A.J. Pollock wasn't in the starting lineup for the third time in four games due to a groin injury.

UP NEXT

Clayton Kershaw (10-2, 2.85 ERA) has 118 strikeouts in 111 1/3 career innings against the Cardinals. St. Louis counters with Miles Mikolas (7-11, 4.00 ERA), who hasn't pitched at Dodger Stadium since 2012.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Lose 7-4 After Castillo's Career Day for Reds]]>Mon, 05 Aug 2019 21:03:57 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Lose-to-Reds-August-2019.jpg

A red-hot Luis Castillo and slumping Los Angeles Angels offense added up to a career night for Cincinnati's ace.

Castillo struck out a career-high 13 and the Reds scored five first-inning runs on their way to a 7-4 interleague win over Los Angeles on Monday night.

"I felt confident going out there," Castillo said through a translater. "I was prepared 100% for that game."

Castillo improved to 4-1 in his last five starts by making effective use of his wicked changeup, which can be even more deceptive to teams that haven't seen it. He didn't pitch against Los Angeles when the two teams met in June.

"When you face a team for the first time, it makes it look even better than it is," catcher Tucker Barnhart said. "If you haven't seen it, you can watch all the video you want. It's not going to help."

Castillo (11-4) threw a career-high 119 pitches in seven innings while getting his career-best 11th win. He allowed three hits and one walk before finishing with a flourish, striking out the side in the seventh to earn a standing ovation and head rubs from teammates.

"He was outstanding," said Reds bench coach Freddie Benavides, managing in place of the suspended David Bell. "He was pushed, but he was strong and he wanted the ball. He didn't want to come out of the game. For him to get into that elite group, you have to do that. He was the man tonight."

Michael Lorenzen relieved Wandy Peralta with runners on first and third and one out in the eighth and struck out Mike Trout swinging before coaxing Kole Calhoun into an inning-ending flyout.

Raisel Iglesias struck out Shohei Ohtani to clinch his 22nd save.

Trout and Luis Rengifo hit solo home runs for the Angels, who've scored a combined 12 runs during a five-game losing streak. They've dropped nine of their last 11 since a four-game winning streak.

Castillo's 13 strikeouts are the most by any one pitcher against the Angels this season, surpassing the 11 piled up by Houston's Gerrit Cole on July 17.

"I thought our at bats were pretty good," Los Angeles manager Brad Ausmus said. "They were better than they have been recently. That's a plus. Castillo has really, really good stuff -- elite stuff."

After Taylor Cole started for Los Angeles, Patrick Sandoval took over in the second and turned in five innings of three-hit, two-run run pitching in his major-league debut. The left-hander struck out eight and gave up two walks and two wild pitches, which allowed Jesse Winker to advance from second to the plate with Cincinnati's sixth run.

"It was a little different," Sandoval, after posing for post-game on-field photos with his family, said about not starting. "You roll with it. I kind of liked it. It was a different feeling."

"That was an excellent first start," Ausmus said. "The results were there. He should be happy with the way he pitched."

Cincinnati sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning against Cole (1-3), highlighted by Nick Senzel's two-run bloop double down the right-field line. José Peraza followed with an RBI double off the left-center field wall that missed going out by a couple of feet.

Rengifo led off the third with his fourth homer of the season. Trout added his league-leading 37th, a no-doubt drive into the first row of the second deck in left field, with one out in the sixth.

Brian Goodwin added his first career pinch-hit home run, a two-run shot to right against David Hernandez, in the ninth.

ANGELS MOVES

The Angels on Monday placed RHP Luke Bard on the 10-day injured list with a bruised right triceps, an injury he suffered when he was hit Carlos Santana's line drive on Sunday in Cleveland. They also placed C Jonathan Lucroy on unconditional release waivers and promoted Sandoval from Triple-A Salt Lake Coty.

ON HIS WAY

The Reds claimed RHP Kevin Gausman (3-7) off waivers from Atlanta on Monday and designated for assignment INF Blake Trahan. The team will need to make a corresponding roster move when Gausman reports.

OPENING SALVOS

In the first inning, the Reds have outscored opponents by a combined 93-56. They lead the major leagues in first-inning runs.

RARE DROP

Trout dropped Tucker Barnhart's easy fly ball in the first inning for just the center fielder's second error of the season in 107 games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (left shoulder inflammation) threw a 64-pitch simulated game on Monday and reported no problems.

Reds: Cincinnati placed INF Derek Dietrich on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation and promoted INF Brian O'Grady from Triple-A Louisville.

UP NEXT

Angels: LHP Jose Suarez (2-2) will on Tuesday be making his first career appearance against a National League. His first plate appearance will be the first of his professional career.

Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (6-6) will on Tuesday make his first career appearance against the Angels.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Erickson, Dora Win Equal-Money Vans US Open of Surfing]]>Sun, 04 Aug 2019 21:33:34 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Vans-US-Open-of-Surfing-Aug-2019.jpg

Sage Erickson of Ojai, California, and Yago Dora of Brazil won the women's and men's divisions of the Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch on Sunday.

It was the first time the event paid equal prize money, with Erickson and Dora each receiving $30,000.

Each winner also earned 10,000 points in the World Surf League men's and women's Qualifying Series.

In a 3-to-5 foot (1-to-1.7 meter) swell, Erickson claimed the all-California final over defending champion Courtney Conlogue of Santa Ana with a 15.43 out of a possible 20.

She praised WSL deputy commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer, a former pro surfer, and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt for leading the push for equal pay.

"To be home in California, have a heat against Courtney and to be 10,000, it's more than just points," Erickson said. "It's equal pay, it's a prime, it's a lot for us women and a big shout out to Jessi for believing in our sport and to Sophie leading the WSL as a strong woman."

Dora beat Liam O'Brien of Australia in the men's final. Dora came out strong with the day's top single-scoring wave of a near-perfect 9.27 after soaring through the air and landing it smoothly. He scored another 8.60 on another massive air-reverse before shooting through the pier to finish it off and seal his first-ever QS 10,000 victory.

Surfing makes its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games next summer.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Get Stung by the Injury Bug, Fall 6-2 to the Indians]]>Sun, 04 Aug 2019 20:55:51 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-injuries-August-2019.jpg

The Los Angeles Angels' offensive drought mixed with lackluster pitching performances Sunday resulted in a 6-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians and a series sweep.

The Halos have now lost eight of their last 10 games. 

Jaime Barria (4-5) struggled on the mound while pitching with a blister on his right big toe and suffered his fifth loss of the season.

The Indians started the game dinging Barria up early and often. Cleveland hit three home runs in the first four innings to take a 3-1 lead and force Ausmus to change pitchers.

Luke Bard came in to get the Angels out of a jam in the fourth inning with two runners on and two outs. In the fifth inning Bard was struck in the arm by a line drive and subsequently taken out of the game in what could be yet another injury for the Halos.

"I think I'm all right," Bard told Angels.com after the game. "It hit that nerve and [the pain] kind of shot down my hand. It's kind of swollen and stuff, but I think I'm all right." 

Bard's tricep contusion is just the latest in a seemingly never-ending slew of injuries for the Angels. 

Before the game it was announced that starting pitcher Felix Pena (8-3) will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL after suffering the injury in Saturday's matchup against the Indians. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons (left ankle bone bruise and sprain) was scratched hours before the first pitch and will join right handed pitcher Griffin Canning (right elbow inflammation) and Pena on the injured list.

"You've got to keep plugging away," Angels manager Brad Ausmus told Angels.com before the game regarding the injuries to the roster. "It's not how we would have scripted this season for sure. But we have to find ways to win games, regardless."

J.C. Ramirez replaced Bard on the mound and pitched three innings, but the fifth inning was when the momentum started to swing. Jason Kipnis hit a single that drove in two runs and gave the Indians a 5-1 lead.

Kole Calhoun responded in the seventh inning with his 25th home run of the season to cut the lead to 5-2.

The Indians added another run for good measure in the bottom of the eighth off of a sacrifice fly by Francisco Lindor to earn the 6-2 win.

All-Star game MVP Shane Bieber (11-4) had an impressive showing on Sunday, pitching a complete game and striking out eight batters in the process. This marked the third time this year that Bieber has thrown a complete game.

UP NEXT:

Angels: Mission Viejo alum Patrick Sandoval is scheduled to make his first MLB start against the Cincinnati Reds after being called up from the Salt Lake Bees on Saturday.

Luis Castillo (10-4) will make his first start against the Angels for the Reds. Castillo ranks top 10 in the National League in wins, ERA, and strikeouts.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Muncy's Walk-Off 2-Run Double Sends Dodgers Past Padres 11-10]]>Sun, 04 Aug 2019 17:34:24 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-beat-Padres-Aug-4-2019.jpg

Max Muncy's fourth hit was a two-run, walk-off double, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied from a late three-run deficit for a wild 11-10 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

Muncy had a homer and two doubles while driving in three runs. Four Dodgers added two RBIs apiece as the NL West leaders took three of four from San Diego with a huge comeback at Chavez Ravine.

San Diego led 10-7 heading to the bottom of the eighth, but the Dodgers scored on A.J. Pollock's RBI double and Matt Beaty's groundout. Kirby Yates (0-3) ended that rally by retiring electric rookie Will Smith on a lineout — but another Dodgers star came through in their ninth walk-off win of the season.

Joc Pederson led off the ninth with a double off Yates. Pederson was thrown out trying to go to third on a grounder, but Corey Seager reached base when Luis Urías booted his potential game-ending, double play grounder to second.

Muncy then ended his eight-pitch at-bat with a double down the right field line, and Seager easily slid in ahead of the off-target relay throw. It was the first regular season walk-off hit of Muncy's career — he ended Game 3 of the World Series last year with an 18th-inning homer against Boston.

Eric Hosmer hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, while Francisco Mejía had three hits and Manuel Margot homered in San Diego's 11th loss in 16 games. Every starter got at least one hit, but the Padres still managed to lose in their highest-scoring performance since June 29.

Pollock and Russell Martin homered for the NL-leading Dodgers, who have won five of six overall, including three of four in this series with San Diego.

One day after Los Angeles' bullpen got the day off during Walker Buehler's 15-strikeout complete game, Kenta Maeda and six Dodgers relievers mostly struggled. Pedro Baez (6-2) pitched the ninth for Los Angeles.

Hosmer hit his second career grand slam off Maeda, who yielded five hits and five runs over 2 2/3 innings in his shortest start of the season.

Rookie right-hander Chris Paddack had an early RBI single for San Diego, but gave up six runs and six hits while failing to record an out in the fifth inning of the second-shortest start of his career.

The Padres took an early lead when Hosmer hit his slam into the right field bleachers. The Padres' $144 million slugger previously had homered in just one game since June.

Margot added his eighth homer in the fourth, but the Dodgers evened it with a three-run rally capped by Kristopher Negrón's two-run single — his sixth hit in five games since joining the Dodgers a week ago.

San Diego went ahead 8-7 in the seventh on Hosmer's sacrifice fly before adding two runs in the eighth on Tatis' RBI single and Greg Garcia's flyout, but the Dodgers answered with two in the bottom half — and two more in the ninth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Enrique Hernández (sprained left hand) and Chris Taylor (broken left forearm) are taking dry swings, and both could begin rehab assignments within the next week. Hernández has been out since July 24, and Taylor hasn't played since July 14. ... 1B David Freese might not return from his left hamstring strain until September, manager Dave Roberts said. ... RHP Ross Stripling is expected to get a two-inning rehab assignment Tuesday in his comeback from various injuries.

UP NEXT

Padres: After a day off, Dinelson Lamet (0-2, 5.09 ERA) makes the sixth start of his comeback season when they visit Seattle on Tuesday.

Dodgers: Rookie Tony Gonsolin (0-1, 5.63 ERA) makes his second career start Monday when Los Angeles welcomes Michael Wacha (6-4, 5.15 ERA) and the St. Louis Cardinals for a three-game series.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[US Women Open Victory Tour at Rose Bowl, Beat Ireland 3-0]]>Sun, 04 Aug 2019 18:30:27 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Women-Soccer-National-Team-August-3-2019.jpg

Departing head coach Jill Ellis and the U.S. women's national team opened their post-World Cup domestic Victory Tour with a 3-0 victory over Ireland on Saturday night.

Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and Carli Lloyd scored first-half goals on a celebratory evening at the Rose Bowl to kick off a five-city tour bringing the champions to their eager stateside fans. They'll also stop in Philadelphia, St. Paul and Charlotte before finishing in Chicago on Oct. 3 to conclude Ellis' 5 1/2 years in charge.

Ellis announced her decision Tuesday to walk away as the first two-time women's World Cup champion coach, and this win improved her record to 103-7-18 in the U.S.' top job since 2014. The Americans' new boss will have a compressed time frame to prepare the team for the Tokyo Olympic tournament, which will be in the semifinals at this time next year.

"I just felt the timing was right," Ellis said Friday. "The timing is right for whoever the new coach is. The timing was right for me on a personal level with my family."

But nearly four weeks after their World Cup-clinching victory over the Netherlands, the Americans showed off the ample two-way talent with which their new coach can work.

With an enthusiastic crowd of 37,040 cheering their every move, they had little trouble with Ireland, FIFA's 33rd-ranked side.

Late in the scoreless second half, that crowd started a loud chant of "Equal pay! Equal pay!" Players on the women's team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation in March, alleging gender discrimination in areas including financial compensation.

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan missed the game while healing from minor injuries, and Mallory Pugh was scratched during warmups with a minor muscle issue. Rapinoe, the Golden Ball winner in France, and Morgan got wild cheers whenever they were shown on the scoreboard sitting on the U.S. bench.

The crowd half-filled the vast stadium despite stiff ticket prices, the Rose Bowl's usual onerous parking fees and relatively short notice for the game. The fans included Kobe Bryant and Alessandro Del Piero, the retired Juventus star who lives in Los Angeles and owns a Hollywood restaurant.

A pregame ceremony included the unveiling of banners depicting four huge cloth stars symbolizing the Americans' record four World Cup wins.

U.S. Soccer picked an appropriate venue for the start of this tour: The Rose Bowl is the site of the team's landmark 1999 World Cup triumph, and a statue of Brandi Chastain celebrating her championship-winning penalty sits in a park near the venerable arena's front entrance.

Heath, a last-minute addition to the starting lineup, opened the scoring with a header in the 16th minute.

Horan added a tap-in goal and Lloyd connected on another header shortly before halftime.

The Irish dropped to 0-13-0 against the U.S., but the experience could help their play in UEFA Women's Euros qualification, which begins against Montenegro next month.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Walker Buehler Strikes Out 15, Leads Dodgers Past Padres 4-1]]>Sat, 03 Aug 2019 21:04:22 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Walker-Buehler-Dodgers-Padres-August-2019.jpg

Walker Buehler struck out 15 in his second career complete game, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 on Saturday night.

Buehler (10-2) reached double digits in strikeouts for the fourth time this season, all since June 3. It was the fifth double-digit strikeout game of his career. It was also the first time he reached double digits in victories after winning eight games in 23 starts last season.

The 15 strikeouts were his most since he had 16 in a complete-game victory over Colorado on June 21. Buehler has not walked a batter on any of his double-digit strikeout games this season.

Justin Turner hit his 17th homer as Los Angeles finished off San Diego in a tidy 2 hours, 18 minutes. Turner finished with two hits and two RBIs.

The NL West leaders grabbed control with three runs in the fifth inning, helped by some shaky Padres defense. Matt Beaty drove in Will Smith when Greg Garcia bobbled his grounder to second, preventing a potential double play.

Buehler followed with a sacrifice bunt that first baseman Eric Hosmer threw into center field. Max Muncy added a two-out RBI single, and Turner made it 4-0 with a bloop single.

Turner also hit his 17th homer in the fourth against Cal Quantrill. It was the first home run allowed by Quantrill over his last three starts.

Buehler struck out the side in the first inning and barely let up from there. He gave up five hits.

He was working on a shutout before Manuel Margot connected for his first career pinch-hit homer with two outs in the eighth inning. It was Margot's seventh homer of the season.

Quantrill (4-3) gave up four runs and six hits over five innings. It was the rookie right-hander's first loss since his third career start May 19.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (neck, biceps soreness) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session that was pain free and will pitch in a minor league rehab game Tuesday. ... OF A.J. Pollock tested his sore groin with a regular batting practice session and is expected to be back in the starting lineup Sunday or Monday. ... INF Jedd Gyorko, obtained from the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline, started a minor league rehab stint with Double-A Tulsa on Saturday as he gets closer to returning from a right wrist injury.

UP NEXT

Padres: Rookie right-hander Chris Paddock (7-5) is set to make his third start at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, his most at any visiting park.

Dodgers: Right-hander Kenta Maeda (7-8) will make his fourth start of the season against the Padres, coming off back-to-back outings where he gave up eight earned runs, the most he has given up in consecutive starts this year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ellis Content to Get Off US Women's Soccer 'Roller Coaster']]>Fri, 02 Aug 2019 20:53:08 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19215054553033.jpg

Jill Ellis likened her tenure in charge of the U.S. women's national team to an amusement park ride. She also compared it to a tumultuous ride on a five-year wave.

The most successful head coach in program history seems quite content to get off this merry-go-round on her own terms.

Ellis was upbeat Friday when she joined her players at the Rose Bowl for their first workout ahead of a five-game exhibition Victory Tour designed to bring the World Cup winners to their legions of domestic fans. The tour got a slight damper Tuesday when Ellis announced she will step down at its conclusion.

Before her team's first game since her decision, the only two-time Women's World Cup-winning coach expressed pride in her work and optimism for the future without her, starting with the Tokyo Olympics next year.

But more than anything else, Ellis exuded calm about her decision to walk away on top.

"When I took the job ... it was the beginning of a cycle, and now I feel like this is the end of a cycle," Ellis said. "I know the Olympics is very close, but that begins another cycle, if that makes sense. I think the timing is now. ... I mean, 5 1/2 years is kind of a long time in this job, which has been great and such a privilege. But I didn't give much consideration to coaching next year."

Ellis likely could have stayed on through Tokyo, but decided to give a head start to her successor. She had a few words of advice for whoever steps into her large shoes.

"It's a roller coaster. Put your seatbelt on," Ellis said with a grin. "Enjoy the ride, because you're going to expect highs and lows. It's the wave analogy. It's the trough and the crest. You can't have a beautiful ocean without both of those. You can't have this journey without all the highs and lows."

The 52-year-old Ellis lost exactly seven of her 127 games since May 2014, winning eight tournaments and half of the nation's four World Cup titles. When her team raised the trophy last month in France, the Americans reaffirmed their status as the world's dominant program.

"Well, I'm selfishly sad," World Cup hero Rose Lavelle said. "I've really enjoyed having her as a coach. I feel like I've grown so much the past three years, and I'm sad, but I'm happy she went out on top and now has some time with her family to enjoy."

No coach can match Ellis' international accomplishments, yet she still faced near-constant scrutiny for her tactics, lineup decisions and substitution patterns — even from former and current players for a team that never lost a game at two World Cups.

Megan Rapinoe said she "wasn't super surprised" by Ellis' decision.

"It's obviously a very difficult job to have, and to be able to go out on top is obviously a nice way to go," the Golden Ball winner added.

Christen Press praised Ellis for her ability to create a structured training environment similar to the stability of a men's club team — a difficult feat given the unstable, traveling nature of national teams.

"It's hard for me to imagine that any program in any sport would have this level of meticulous detail and control," Press said. "I think Jill was able to do that because she was in the system before she was the head coach. We're taking everything that we do on the road, so every single training facility is different. When you have a meeting is different. What you're eating is different. It's the head coach's job to oversee that, and it was such a seamless thing for us. We could really focus."

After this tour ends Oct. 6 in Chicago, Ellis will spend at least the next year working for U.S. Soccer as an ambassador. That hasn't stopped widespread speculation about her long-term plans, but Ellis isn't sharing in it.

"I haven't given any thought to my future, I really haven't," Ellis said. "I just felt the timing was right. The timing is right for whoever the new coach is. The timing was right for me on a personal level with my family. I'm going to still be working in a capacity for a while for U.S. Soccer, so I haven't even thought about coaching another team at this point."

The U.S. women are opening the tour with the team's fifth-ever game at the famed Rose Bowl, where they won the World Cup in 1999 on Brandi Chastain's penalty shot. A statue of Chastain celebrating her goal was dedicated outside the stadium last month.

Rapinoe and Alex Morgan won't play in the tour opener at the Rose Bowl while they recover from minor injuries.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Puig, Clevinger Lead Indians to 7-3 Victory Over Angels]]>Fri, 02 Aug 2019 20:45:43 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19215004632775.jpg

Indians manager Terry Francona knows Yasiel Puig's presence brings an extra buzz to the ballpark.

"If I was a fan that would be one of the guys, if I was hungry I'd wait until he hit because you want to see what he's going to do," Francona said.

Puig, acquired from Cincinnati in a blockbuster trade Wednesday, showed his assortment of skills in Friday night's 7-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

He drove in his first two runs for Cleveland with RBI singles in the first and second, helping Cleveland take an early 6-1 lead. He also scored from third base on a ground ball with a head-first slide.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound right fielder also showed off his defensive ability. He made a leaping catch on the warning track of Andrelton Simmons' line drive in the fourth and ran down Kole Calhoun's fly ball in the corner in the eighth.

"He plays with a lot of passion," Francona said. "He gets down the line. He went and got the ball in the corner."

Puig is 3 for 7 in two games for the Indians and has instantly become a fan favorite. The crowd of 28,386 gave him a loud ovation before each at-bat and chanted his name on several occasions.

"You're always waiting to see how far the ball's going to go or how hard it's going to come off his bat," said Indians starter Mike Clevinger, who won his fifth consecutive decision.

Clevinger (6-2) gave up one run in 6 1/3 innings — a solo homer to Mike Trout in the first.

The blast was Trout's 36th of the season and moved him into a tie for the major league lead with Milwaukee's Christian Yelich.

The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out eight. Clevinger is 4-0 in six career starts against the Angels, who traded him to the Indians in 2014 when he was pitching in the minors.

Trout doubled off in the third off Clevinger, who bounced back from a 3-0 count to strike out the Angels star in the sixth.

"He's the best player I've ever seen," Clevinger said. "He's potentially the best player to ever suit up."

Puig, Carlos Santana, José Ramírez and Jason Kipnis drove first-inning runs when Cleveland scored four times. Santana and Puig had RBIs in the second.

Roberto Perez hit his 19th home run of the season in the third.

The first five batters reached against Taylor Cole (1-2), who made his fifth start of the season in 25 appearances. The right-hander allowed four runs and retired one batter before being replaced by Dillon Peters.

The Angels have dropped six of eight.

"It was one of those days," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Generally the opener has worked pretty well for us but every once in a while it's going to not work out."

Francisco Lindor walked and Oscar Mercado followed with a single in the first. Santana's single made it 1-0 and Puig's line single to left scored Mercado.

Ramírez's double scored Santana and Puig scored when first baseman Albert Pujols bobbled Kipnis' grounder and couldn't make a throw.

Santana had a sacrifice fly in the second before Puig's single through the right side scored another run.

Francona returned Friday, a day after missing a game because of surgery for a tear in his retina.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (sore shoulder) threw about 30 pitches in a bullpen session.

Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (strained right groin) returned to the injured list, one day after appearing in his first game in two years after battling arm troubles. Salazar allowed two solo home runs in four innings and topped out at 88 mph ... LHP Tyler Olson (shingles) was placed on the 10-day IL.

TOUGH DECISION

Catcher Max Stassi, acquired from Houston on Wednesday, started after Jonathan Lucroy was designated for assignment. Lucroy returned from a concussion and broken nose Wednesday following a home plate collision last month.

"When you have to give bad news to good people that you like it's not a lot of fun," Ausmus said.

Lucroy missed 18 games after a collision at home plate with Houston's Jake Marisnick on July 7. Lucroy batted .242 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 74 games.

UP NEXT

Angels: Los Angeles didn't announce Saturday's starter. RHP Félix Peña (8-3, 4.66 ERA) will follow that pitcher.

Indians: RHP Adam Plutko (3-2, 4.83 ERA) will make his first career appearance against the Angels.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Tony Dejak/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Ryu Placed on Injured List Due to Neck Soreness]]>Fri, 02 Aug 2019 17:04:31 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1154829106.jpg

Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu has been placed on the 10-day injured list by the Los Angeles Dodgers due to neck soreness.

Friday's move was made retroactive to Thursday. The left-hander leads the majors with a 1.53 earned run average and has 11 wins. Ryu threw six scoreless innings at Colorado Wednesday while yielding three hits with a strikeout.

He left the game after throwing only 80 pitches. Dustin May, who will make his Major League debut Friday against San Diego, was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Los Angeles also recalled pitcher Tony Gonsolin and optioned Dylan Floro. To make room for May on the 40-man roster, Scott Alexander was moved to the 60-day injured list.



Photo Credit: MLB Photos via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers, Rams Hold First Practice in 2 Years Without Fight]]>Thu, 01 Aug 2019 22:28:09 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/alAP_19211718190726.jpg

The Chargers and Rams took the "Fight for L.A." slogan literally during a joint practice two years ago. Both coaches were thankful there wasn't a sequel on Thursday.

"That was a good professional practice," Lynn said after the two-hour session at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex, which is the Chargers' training camp base. "It was clean and there were a lot of plays back and forth."

The teams were involved in three fights during a practice at UC Irvine in 2017 with the most notable being Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen taking down Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. Allen's highlight this time was making a diving catch near the Rams' sideline on a deep ball from Philip Rivers.

Rams safety Eric Weddle, who played for the Chargers from 2007-15, said going against his former club was good, especially a week into training camp.

"They gave us different looks and Philip is one of the best quarterbacks in the league," Weddle said. "There weren't any cheap shots or anything you have to worry about. We got great work out of it."

The practice was also a good early gage to see how the Chargers are coping without running back Melvin Gordon and offensive left tackle Russell Okung. Gordon is holding out for a contract extension while Okung is out indefinitely due to blood clots.

Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson got most of the first team snaps at running back. Both showed some flashes with a couple nice gains after finding openings.

Ekeler, who is going into this third season, said he is getting more reps with the first team but getting the same amount of overall plays during practice.

"It's still the same plays and reads. It is six running backs in camp, so we have a good rotation," he said. "Even if he was here, we have same mentality. We still have to move forward."

Ekeler emerged last season as a good complementary back to Gordon due to his speed and ability to catch it out of the backfield. Jackson did not see much action until late in the season, when Gordon missed three games with a knee injury, but performed well when needed. He got the start in the Week 15 win over Kansas City, gaining 58 yards on 16 carries and scoring a touchdown.

"We're all trying to expand our game," Jackson said. "Melvin has been the bell cow and gets a lot of the inside runs. For all of us to get those runs too and more experience, that's important."

Lynn said he felt like the offensive line held its own against the Rams, especially Trent Scott, who has been seeing more time at left tackle due to Okung's injury. Scott and Sam Tevi would be in line to be the two tackles if Okung would not be ready for the Sept. 6 opener against Indianapolis.

"There are some things that we can do once we get into the games to help the young guys that we're not doing right now," Lynn said. "Right now, we want to see them struggle a little bit and get better."

Rams coach Sean McVay said the workouts have come at a perfect time for his team after four sessions of installing their system. They will hold a brief practice on Friday before the two teams meet again at the Rams field at UC Irvine on Saturday.

Ekeler is hoping that cooler heads will continue to prevail.

"I remember coming in two years ago the intensity level was pretty high but today it was pretty chill and just like a normal practice," he said. "It is great because in training camp there are going to be mistakes. We still can get excited and not have to fight each other."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Welcome New Additions During 10-Game Homestand]]>Thu, 01 Aug 2019 18:12:12 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/GyorkoDodgers.png

The team with the best record in baseball returns to the friendly confines of Chavez Ravine on Thursday after a winning road trip to Washington D.C. and Denver.

The first-place Los Angeles Dodgers will return to Dodger Stadium to host the San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, and Arizona Diamondbacks during a 10-game homestand to open the month of August.

The Dodgers will have two new additions to the roster when fans see them at Dodger Stadium over the next ten days.

Jedd Gyorko and Adam Kolarek were both acquired at the MLB Trade Deadline on Wednesday. Kolarek, a left-handed reliever who is lights out against left-handed hitters was added to the 25-man roster ahead of the Padres series on Thursday.

Gyorko is currently on the 60-day injured list, but Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said that he should begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Tulsa later this week and could be back with the team by the end of the month.

There's just 50 games remaining in the season, so come out to the Ravine this weekend and next week to catch all the action.

Thursday, August 1, 7:10 p.m. vs. Padres

Thursday's opener is also "Kershaw Day," as All-Star Clayton Kershaw takes the mound opposite Padres left-hander Joey Lucchesi. It's also Korea Night, and all fans who purchase special event tickets from the Dodgers website will receive a special Dodger-Korea themed hat.

Friday, August 2, 7:10 p.m. vs. Padres

Friday's matchup is certain to be a special one for fan's as the Dodgers will get a glimpse into the future, as right-hander Dustin May will make his Major League debut opposite left-hander Eric Lauer for San Diego.

It's also Hawaiian Night at the Ravine, and fans who purchase special event tickets from the Dodgers website will receive a special Hawaiian themed Dodger hat. After the game, be sure to stay in your seats for Friday Night Fireworks accompanied country music provided by DJ Severe.

 

Saturday, August 3, 6:10 p.m. vs. Padres

Walker Buehler is expected to toe the rubber for the Boys in Blue on Saturday. The first 40,000 ticketed fans in attendance will receive a free pair of Dodgers socks presented by Spectrum.

Saturday is also University of La Verne Night at the Stadium, and fans who purchase special event tickets from the Dodgers website can receive a limited edition University of La Verne Dodgers hat.

Sunday, August 4, 1:10 p.m. vs. Padres

Kenta Maeda is expected to head to the mound on Sunday afternoon for the finale of the four-game series with the San Diego Padres. After the game, kids will be allowed on the field to run the bases.

Monday, August 5, 7:10PM vs. Cardinals

The Dodgers welcome another first-place team on Monday when the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals come to town. The first 40,000 ticketed fans in attendance will receive a Kenley Jansen Bobblehead presented by State Farm. Fans are also encouraged to arrive early for a pregame ceremony honoring Manny Mota.

Tuesday, August 6, 7:10PM vs. Cardinals

Go Kings Go! Tuesday night's game is Los Angeles Kings night at the Ravine, and fans who purchase special event tickets at Dodgers.com/Kings, will receive a special Dodgers-Kings jersey, and have a pregame photo opportunity with Kings players and Hall of Fame announcer Bob Miller in the Right Field Plaza.

Kings players Trevor Lewis, Tyler Toffoli, Paul LaDue, and Daniel Brickley will all throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the two-time Stanley Cup Champions.

Wednesday, August 7, 12:10PM vs. Cardinals

Wednesday's game is a "Businessperson's Special," as tickets can be purchased as low as $14 for the rare mid-week matinee.

Friday, August 9, 7:10PM vs. Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks will return to Dodger Stadium on Friday a little weakened after the departure of star pitcher Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros. The Dodgers will be celebrating Healthcare Appreciation Night, and fans can purchase special event tickets from the Dodgers website and will receive a Healthcare Appreciation Night coffee mug.

After the game, stay in your seats for Friday Night Fireworks set to the music of the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival.

Saturday, August 10, 6:10PM vs. Diamondbacks

The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a baseball card giveaway on Saturday, which coincides with Scouts Night at the Stadium. Fans who purchase their tickets special event tickets from the Dodgers website can receive a limited edition scouting patch.

Sunday August 11, 1:10PM vs. Diamondbacks

The finale of the 10-game homestand features a kids backpack giveaway presented by Spectrum. The first 12,000 ticketed kids will receive a Dodgers backpack and can run the bases after the game.

Have fun during the homestand and will see you at the ballpark.



Photo Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Feeds Blue: Up Next, Koreatown's Park's BBQ]]>Thu, 01 Aug 2019 09:47:36 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-11574490761.jpg

Three dishes from the acclaimed Koreatown restaurant Park's BBQ will be available in Dodger Stadium's Right Field Plaza Thursday through Wednesday as part of the new LA Feeds Blue dining initiative.

The items are:

  • L.A. Galbi Bowl, beef short ribs marinated with soy sauce and sesame oil, served over steamed white rice and fresh vegetables;
  • White Shrimp Bowl, shrimp marinated with sweet onion and green onion sauce, served over steamed white rice and fresh vegetables; and
  • Kimchi Pancakes, a side dish of three handmade kimchi pancakes.

Park's BBQ was among the Los Angeles Times "101 Restaurants We Love" announced in December. The initiative brings renowned chefs, local ingredients and diverse flavors representing the neighborhoods of Los Angeles to Dodger Stadium.

In connection with Korea Night, a soju cocktail served in a hat shaker, will be available in locations on the field, loge and reserve levels for tonight's game against the San Diego Padres.

Poke Nachos and an "Ay Caramba Margarita," with Don Julio Tequila, triple sec, sweet & sour, lime juice, served in a tajin-rimmed hat shaker, will be available throughout the four-game series against the Padres.



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Score 5 Runs in the 9th, Beat Rockies 5-1]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2019 22:49:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodger-beat-Rockies-Will-Smith-July-31-2019.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers didn't make a lot of noise at the trading deadline, but they made plenty in their final turn at the plate on Wednesday.

Will Smith hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning to break open a scoreless game and lead the Dodgers to a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Kristopher Negrón also went deep during the rally and Alex Verdugo had four hits. Joe Kelly (5-3) pitched the eighth inning to earn the win.

This was the third time at Coors Field the game was scoreless through eight innings, according to Elias. The Rockies won the previous two, the last a 1-0 victory over the Dodgers in 10 innings on Sept. 14, 2008.

The trade deadline hit during the fourth inning with each team making two deals. The Dodgers acquired infielder Jedd Gyorko from St. Louis for reliever Tony Cingrani and minor league right-hander Jeffry Abreu. They also traded for Tampa Bay reliever Adam Kolarek, sending minor league pitcher Niko Hulsizer to the Rays.

Gyorko, who is recovering from wrist surgery and hasn't played since June 7, was transferred to the 60-day injured list on Tuesday. He is eligible to come off late next week.

"We've got to get him to health but he's a heck of a baseball player and a good right-handed bat," manager Dave Roberts said of Gyorko. "Now that this has passed we can focus on how we can deploy our guys and roles. The expectations, the goal hasn't changed, to win a championship."

The Dodgers, who lead the majors with 71 wins, didn't deal anyone off of their 25-man roster.

"Everyone here believes in everyone in this clubhouse," Smith said. "Best team in baseball for a reason."

The Rockies traded for right-handed reliever Joe Harvey from the New York Yankees for minor league pitcher Alfredo Garcia. They also received minor league outfielder Joe Herron from the Chicago Cubs for international cap money, general manager Jeff Bridich said.

"Nothing major," Bridich said. "There were conversations. Due to the last month of play, we were not looking to add to our team. We never got a point where it made sense to trade any of our team."

Colorado starter German Márquez was helped off the field at the start of the seventh inning with what the team said was full-body cramping. The right-hander fanned 10 through six innings, the ninth time in his career with double-digit strikeouts.

"It started in my back in the sixth and at the start of the seventh it was all over," Márquez said. "I got an IV and had it iced. I feel better."

The Rockies lost because of a bad ninth inning on Wednesday. Closer Wade Davis (1-5) walked Cody Bellinger and gave up a single to Corey Seager with one out. Smith followed with a homer to center, his fifth of the season. Verdugo then singled and Negrón homered for the second straight game.

"Wade had a tough one," manager Bud Black said.

Nolan Arenado had an RBI single in the bottom of the inning before Kenley Jansen came on to earn his 26th save.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Dylan Floro was activated from the injured list on Wednesday. Floro missed 10 games with neck inflammation. RHP Tony Gonsolin, who pitched four innings on Tuesday for his first career save, was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma.

Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon (back tightness) returned to the lineup after missing three games. Black said Blackmon was available as a pinch-hitter on Tuesday if needed but didn't get into the 9-4 loss.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (9-2, 2.85) will start Thursday against San Diego to open a 10-game, 11-day homestand for Los Angeles.

Rockies: Rookie RHP Peter Lambert (2-2, 5.67) will go for his first win since June 11 when the Rockies open a series against San Francisco on Friday. Colorado has lost seven straight games in which Lambert has started.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Lose Series to Tigers After 9-1 Defeat]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2019 18:46:58 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Angels-Lose-to-Tigers-July-2019.jpg

The Detroit Tigers earned their first series win in two months despite having two of their clubhouse leaders traded before Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Tigers dealt pitcher Shane Greene and outfielder Nicholas Castellanos at the deadline, but got contributions from the rest of the lineup in a 9-1 victory.

Jake Rogers, Brandon Dixon and Gordon Beckham went deep while Daniel Norris picked up his first win since May 12. The Tigers took two of three in a series for the first time since they did that May 27-29 at Baltimore.

"Guys played good baseball. There was a whirlwind of stuff going on today which fortunately our guys hung in there pretty good," Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was tough seeing Nick and Shane go, but that's baseball."

Castellanos was in the lineup batting second as the designated hitter, but was scratched at the last second. Gardenhire said he waiting until the last possible moment to print a lineup card and still had to change it as he was going out to give it to the umpires.

Gardenhire said that was the first time in his long career as a manager he's had that happen. Then again, rarely have games started right at the trade deadline.

"Normally I am going about my business and someone comes to the dugout and says you have to take a guy out of the lineup but I've never been sitting in here waiting to print out my lineup card. That was interesting especially with trying to see what to put on the lineup card," he said.

Despite the whirlwind of emotions, it didn't seem to affect the Tigers on the field.

Rogers opened the scoring in the third with his first homer in the majors. The rookie catcher, who was called up on Tuesday, deposited a José Suarez fastball over the wall in left for a solo shot.

"I tried to take it all in as much as I could," Rogers said.

Dixon and Beckham homered during a five-run eighth inning off Luis García. Dixon — who ended up with a career-high four RBIs — had a two-run blast to left-center and Beckham's was a three-run shot to right center.

Norris (3-8), who had gone 14 starts without a win, allowed only three hits over five innings with five strikeouts. The left-hander wanted to go longer but was experiencing groin cramps during the fifth inning. He was able to complete the frame but Gardenhire didn't send him out for the sixth.

American League home run leader Mike Trout supplied the Angels' lone run with a solo shot in the sixth. It is the center fielder's 35th of the season and a team-record 13th in July. He is the first player to have 13 homers in July since the Yankees' Hideki Matsui in 2007.

Suarez (2-2) didn't allow a hit the first two innings before running into trouble. The left-hander surrendered four runs on four hits over 4 1/3 innings.

The Angels won just twice during a seven-game homestand against two of the worst teams in the American League — Baltimore and Detroit.

"We don't like it. But it's on us," manager Brad Ausmus said. "We have to right the ship. We have some pretty good teams coming up on this road trip. We've got to right it, quick."

ANGELS MOVE

The Angels also made a deal at the deadline, acquiring C Max Stassi from Houston for minor-league Rainer Rivas and Raider Uceta.

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES

The Angels and Tigers split their six games in the season series. This is the first time LA has not won a season series against Detroit since 2012. ... 3B David Fletcher reached base safely in 20 of 24 July games. ... RHP JC Ramirez made his first appearance since April 7, 2018, and pitched a scoreless inning. Ramirez has missed the past 15 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery. ... Detroit has only three wins in its previous 28 games against the AL West. ... SS Niko Goodrum snapped a 0 for 11 skid with an RBI single in the third. ... Rogers is the first Tigers catcher with three runs scored in his first two games since Lance Parrish in 1977.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Tigers: RHP Spencer Turnbull (upper back strain) threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out seven for Triple-A Toledo in a rehab start Wednesday. It is unknown if Turnbull will make another rehab appearance.

Angels: C Jonathan Lucroy was activated after missing 18 games due to a nose fracture and concussion when he was involved in a home-plate collision with Houston's Jake Marisnick July 7.

UP NEXT

Tigers: LHP Tyler Alexander (0-1, 3.86 ERA) gets the starting assignment in Friday's opener of a three-game series at Texas. It is a homecoming of sorts for Alexander, who went to TCU.

Angels: LHP Dillon Peters (2-0, 3.06 ERA) will take the mound for Friday's game at Cleveland. This is the first time this season the Angels are facing the Indians.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Acquire Gyorko and Kolarek at Trade Deadline]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2019 14:48:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1163408068.jpg

The MLB Trade Deadline ended with a bang, but the Dodgers went out with a whimper.

On a relatively quiet start to the trade deadline, the Dodgers were involved in a lot of discussions, but ended the day without the big name reliever they coveted and had been linked to in recent weeks.

Instead, the Dodgers acquired infielder Jedd Gyorko, international cap space, and cash considerations from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for left-handed pitcher Tony Cingrani and right-handed pitcher Jeffry Abreu.

In a second trade that was announced just seconds after the Houston Astros acquired former Dodger pitcher Zack Greinke in a bombshell deal, Los Angeles acquired left-hander Adam Kolarek from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league outfielder Niko Hulsizer.

The relatively minor moves are on par with other recent moves the Dodgers front office has made in the last week; acquiring Tyler White from the Astros, Kristopher Negron from the Mariners, traded Zac Rosscup to the Cardinals, and signed free agent Tyler Thornburg.

However, none of these moves came anywhere close to some of the other big name transactions that occurred on Wednesday:

The Milwaukee Brewers acquired LHP Drew Pomeranz from the San Francisco Giants.

The Oakland Athletics acquired RHP Tanner Roark from the Cincinnati Reds.

The Washington Nationals acquired RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP Roenis Elias, and Hunter Strickland.

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired Corey Dickerson from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Atlanta Braves acquired Shane Greene from the Detroit Tigers, and Mark Melancon from the San Francisco Giants.

The Chicago Cubs acquired Tony Kemp and Nicholas Casellanos.

The Astros made the biggest impact of the day acquiring Zack Greinke, Aaron Sanchez, Martin Maldonado, and Joe Biagini.

The day began with high hopes for the Dodgers who expected to be a major player in the relief pitcher market. For over a month, the team had their sights set on the top three relievers available in Felipe Vazquez, Edwin Diaz, and Shane Greene.

According to sources with knowledge of the discussions, the Dodgers began with Vazquez, but Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington appeared unwilling to back off his high asking price of at least two of the Dodgers top four prospects. Reportedly, the Pirates were asking for a package of No. 1 prospect Gavin Lux (No. 10) and Dustin May (No. 35) in Baseball America's Top 100 list, and more.

The team pivoted to New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, but General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen believes the Mets can still compete this season and next, and reportedly did not want to sell Diaz at a lower price than he paid in December when he acquired him from the Seattle Mariners.

Next, the Dodgers engaged in talks with the Tigers on Greene. Other teams were interested as well, including the Atlanta Braves who sources said were in the lead over Los Angeles.

However, as talks continued, the Braves bullpen blew a three-run lead against the Nationals, and Alex Anthopoulos decide to pull the trigger, acquiring Greene and Melancon in separate deals.

With their top backup options off the board, the Dodgers pivoted to other relievers on their list, including Ken Giles of the Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, despite Giles dealing with shoulder inflammation, the Blue Jays were unwilling to lower their asking price from previous talks, and the Dodgers settled for Kolarek.

Kolarek fills a need for Los Angeles: a left-handed reliever who's excellent against left-handed hitters. In 54 games with the Rays, he was 5-4 with a 3.95 ERA and 36 strikeouts. In his career, left-handed hitters have a .209 batting average against him.

Gyorko provides the Dodgers with more depth and a right-handed bat off the bench with Chris Taylor, David Freese, and Enrique Hernandez all currently on the injured list.

Ironically, Gyorko is currently on the injured list as well, and has struggled in 38 games with the Cardinals this season, batting .198 with just two home runs and seven RBI.

Sources said that some members of the Dodgers front office was stunned after the deadline had passed and the team had not come away with more. Expectations are always higher than reality, but many rival executives around the league also were amazed that the Dodgers weren't able to acquire any of the big names available.

The Dodgers will now look internally to bolster their bullpen, with the additions of Casey Sadler and Tony Gonsolin to the major league roster perhaps providing a potential solution moving forward.

In September, the Dodgers are expected to call-up the two prospects they deemed untouchable in Lux and May. Both players are highly touted and could possibly help the club sooner than anticipated.

Thankfully for the Dodgers, they currently hold the best record in baseball at 70-39, and as the frontrunners, may have only needed to make minor improvements and tweaks at the deadline. Nonetheless, it certainly seems like the teams chasing them around the league all got significantly better on Wednesday.



Photo Credit: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kidd, Hollins Top Frank Vogel's Coaching Staff With Lakers]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2019 12:47:46 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_07311.jpg

Former NBA head coaches Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins have joined new coach Frank Vogel's staff with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers formally announced Vogel's full coaching staff Wednesday. Phil Handy, Miles Simon, former Lakers guard Mike Penberthy and Quinton Crawford also will be Vogel's assistant coaches. Simon is the only holdover from former coach Luke Walton's staff.

Kidd joins the Lakers after head coaching stints in Brooklyn and Milwaukee. The Hall of Fame point guard was fired by the Bucks in January 2018. Hollins spent four seasons with Memphis and two more with the Nets, who fired him in January 2016.

The Lakers also hired Greg St. Jean, Dru Anthrop and Jon Pastorek as player development coaches with additional responsibilities.



Photo Credit: Darron Cummings/AP
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<![CDATA[Villanova to Visit Southern California in Hoops Exhibition]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2019 12:31:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/trojansbasketball.jpg

Southern California will host two-time national champion Villanova in an exhibition basketball game on Oct. 18 with proceeds benefiting the California Fire Foundation.

It will be USC's first preseason game open to the public since 2014. The Trojans were 16-17 last season.

Villanova returns four of its top six scorers from last season when the Wildcats went 26-10 and won the Big East before losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The foundation provides financial and emotional support to families of fallen firefighters and their communities.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Latest on Dodgers Trade Talks Before Deadline]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2019 09:22:16 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-1151356244.jpg

Things are quiet at Chavez Ravine.

With just hours to go before the MLB Trade Deadline, the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be patiently playing the waiting game.

The Dodgers are not the only team lingering. The rest of the league appears to be in the same situation as well. Sure, there have been a few trades: the Mets got Marcus Stroman. Oakland got Jake Diekman, and old friend Yasiel Puig is headed to Cleveland for Trevor Bauer. But for the most part, front office executives are waiting for the floodgates to open.

The Dodgers front office, led by President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, has made a few minor moves in recent days: acquiring Tyler White from the Astros, Kristopher Negron from the Mariners, trading Zac Rosscup to the Cardinals, and signing Tyler Thornburg.

Nonetheless, these are not the enormous head-turning moves that the Dodgers fan base is accustomed to. After acquiring Mat Latos and Alex Wood in 2015, Rich Hill and Josh Reddick in 2016, Yu Darvish in 2017, and Manny Machado and Brian Dozier in 2018, Friedman has increasingly upped the ante each year.

With recent history as an indicator, the Dodgers will make a handful moves ahead of Wednesday's 4:00PM EST trade deadline. Not only does L.A. hope to be involved in the action, they plan on being a major player in it.

Here is the latest, according to sources and league executives NBC LA has spoken to in the past 24 hours:

With just a few hours until the one-and-only trade deadline, the biggest name on the market, Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez, still seems unlikely to be traded.

Sources with knowledge of the discussions between the Dodgers and Pirates said that they are still having active discussions, but that a trade as of Tuesday evening was doubtful to get done. "It's not trending in the right direction," said one source close to the talks.

As it's been widely reported, in order to acquire Felipe Vazquez, it would come at a steep price. Pittsburgh is asking for at least two of the Dodgers four Top 100 prospects; Gavin Lux (No. 10), Dustin May (No. 35), Keibert Ruiz (No. 36), or Will Smith, C (No. 57), and a third prospect with a high upside as well.

Friedman is notorious for holding on to his top prospects, and it's paid dividends in All-Stars Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, and should-have-been All-Star Alex Verdugo.

Holding on to these top young talents is a major reason why the Dodgers are 15 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the National League West and are cruising to their seventh straight division title.

Rival league executives told NBC LA, that they believe Lux, May, Ruiz, and Smith, all fall into that category of future All-Stars. Would the front office be willing to trade them to end the 31-year-old World Series drought?

That's the million-dollar question entering Wednesday's deadline.

The Pirates hold all the leverage. They do not have to move Vazquez at all. Vaquez is just 28 years old, affordable, and under team control until 2023. They can trade away other pieces if they so chose, but the offer for Vazquez would have to blow them away.

At the end of June, the Pirates were still well within striking distance of the NL Central. However, a handful of injuries and an awful month of July currently have them in last place in the division, and 10.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. Could that mean the Pirates change their mind in the next few hours and trade away their star closer when his value is at its apex?

Sources believe in order for a deal to take place before the deadline, the Pirates would have to lower their asking price, and the Dodgers would have to see a lot of their other options come off the board early in the day.

That brings us to the backup plans. If Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington maintains his steep asking price for Vazquez, expect the Dodgers to pivot to New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz or Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene.

According to multiple sources, the Dodgers are expected to acquire one of these three aforementioned closers.

Diaz is seen as the immediate Plan B to Vazquez, and would certainly not come at the same price. It's also possible that Diaz could be had for a lesser price than the Mets paid last December when they acquired him from the Mariners for outfielder Jarred Kelenic and RHP Justin Dunn (No. 24 and No. 77) prospects in all of baseball at the time.

Diaz is not having his best season in his first year in New York, with a 1-6 record and a 4.95 ERA in 44 appearances. Part of the reason for the bloated ERA is four bad outings in a little less than a 40-day span that saw him allow a combined 16 runs to the Phillies, Cardinals, and Dodgers. Every closer runs into a bump in the road every now and then, but when Diaz hits a bump, it's a full-on volcano ready to erupt.

Thankfully, his fastball is still averaging above 97 MPH, a weapon of epic proportions during October. Diaz is currently making the league minimum, and is under control until 2023 via arbitration. Needless to say, he's definitely a buy-low candidate, but other organizations know that as well, and the competition for Diaz is fierce with many other contending teams in need of bullpen help alsol. The Red Sox, Rays, Braves, and Padres are all interested in the 25-year-old closer.

Plan C is Tigers closer Shane Greene. An American League All-Star whose 1.18 ERA is not entirely indicative of how he's pitched this season. The 30-year-old right-hander is a free agent in 2021, so the asking price could presumably be lower than it is for Vazquez or Diaz.

However, Tigers General Manager Al Avila, is notorious for asking for the moon and the stars and the cat that jumped over it as well. With Blue Jays closer Ken Giles potentially off the market with shoulder inflammation, Greene's price tag may have gone up in recent days.

Nevertheless, that didn't stop the Dodgers from scouting Greene this week, and sources have said that both teams continue to discuss potential trade possibilities. Like all the good relievers still available, other teams are still involved as well, including the Braves, Nationals, and Red Sox high among them. If the price on Greene drops on Wednesday, expect one of those three teams to pounce.

Finally, multiple sources told NBC LA on Tuesday that if the Dodgers don't land one of the top three relievers mentioned, that they have multiple contingency plans in place depending on how things unwind on Wednesday morning. These plans could be in addition to acquiring one of the three closers mentioned, or in lieu of.

Sources have indicated that the Dodgers have had discussions with the Cincinnati Reds, and are interested in a number of the team's relievers; Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, and Raisel Iglesias among them.

On Tuesday, the Reds acquired RHP Trevor Bauer from the Indians, so rival executives are not quite sure where the team stands as buyers or sellers, but the Dodgers and Reds have shown an affinity to be able to negotiate with each other in the recent past, and could do so again on Wednesday.

One team that are for sure sellers is the Miami Marlins, who currently own the worst record in the National League. The Dodgers have shown recent interest in a few relievers, most notably; Nick Anderson, Jarlin Garcia, and Austin Brice. However, the Marlins front office have always had a steep asking price for their players in the past (think Cody Bellinger for J.T. Realumuto).

The San Francisco Giants have a plethora of relievers, and rival executives expect some of them to be traded on Wednesday. Expect Madison Bumgarner to stay, but one of their left-handers Will Smith or Tony Watson, to be on the move.

There are a few other preliminary discussions the Dodgers have had recently in the relief pitching market, according to sources. Some we've reported publicly, some we haven't, and then there's always the move that Friedman is hiding up his sleeve that nobody knows about. How many moves will be made by Wednesday's deadline? Will any move be made at all? We'll all know soon enough.



Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thaiss Homers, Drives in 3 to Lead Angels Over Tigers 6-1]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2019 01:40:53 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Matt-Thaiss-Angels-Tigers-July-2019.jpg

Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are the Los Angeles' Angels top players, but it was a pair of rookies who came up big in Tuesday night's 6-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Matt Thaiss homered and drove in three runs while Griffin Canning threw four-hit ball over six innings as the Angels put together a good game in what has been a disappointing homestand against two of the worst teams in the American League.

Los Angeles had momentum coming back home after a pair of wins at Chavez Ravine against the Dodgers. But it dropped three of four to Baltimore and has split the first two games with Detroit.

Ohtani was 3 of 20 at the plate in his previous five games but bounced back by going 3 for 4 with an RBI and stolen base. It is his sixth game this season with three or more hits.

This is Thaiss' third game with three RBIs since the All-Star break. The third baseman got the scoring started in the second when he took Drew VerHagen's fastball over the wall in right-center for his fifth homer of the season. Four have come in the past five games.

"Every level you go things move a little fast but I have been able to get more comfortable after getting more plate appearances and seeing different arms," Thaiss said.

Canning (4-6) struck out seven as he went at least six innings for the seventh time in 15 starts. The Tigers had runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth inning, but the right-hander got Niko Goodrum to line out to center to end the frame.

Canning said he was trying to stay aggressive throughout the game and wasn't worrying if hitters made contact.

"I was letting my stuff play and trying to stay on the attack," he said.

Angels manager Brad Ausmus said he was thinking about taking Canning out after five innings, but two runs in the fifth extended the lead to 4-0 and gave LA more breathing room.

"Once we extended the lead I was more comfortable. He was pretty efficient, especially during the first four innings," Ausmus said.

Catcher Jake Rogers, who was making his big league debut, drove in Detroit's lone run in the seventh with a single. Drew VerHagen (1-2) went 4 2/3 innings and surrendered four runs (three earned) on 10 hits.

The Tigers have dropped seven of eight and are 4-14 since the All-Star break.

"We hit some balls right on the screws and right at people. They made plays which frustrated us in the dugout," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I thought VerHagen did fine. If we make some plays, I think everything would have been better for him."

FIELDING WOES

Detroit had two errors that led to two LA runs. The worst one came in the sixth when Rogers dropped Luis Rengifo's fly ball between the mound and home plate. Rengifo eventually scored on Brian Goodwin's ground out.

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES

It is only the 21st game where the Angels have had their starter go six or more innings, which is last in the majors. ... SS Luis Rengifo went 2 for 4. His 54 hits since being recalled on May 21 are third most by an AL rookie behind Cleveland's Oscar Mercado (66) and Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (58). ... Detroit RF Nick Castellanos had his 37th double in the sixth inning, which is tied with Boston's Rafael Devers for most in the majors. ... Rogers is the fifth Tigers catcher with a hit and RBI in his debut and first since Alex Avila on Aug. 6, 2009, against Baltimore.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Tigers: OF Christin Stewart was placed on the seven-day concussion injury list. Stewart ran into the left-field fence during the fifth inning of Monday night's game while trying to chase down Kole Calhoun's home run. Victor Reyes was called up from Triple-A Toledo.

Angels: C Kevan Smith was originally in the lineup, but was scratched an hour before first pitch due to right big toe soreness.

UP NEXT

Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (2-8, 4.89 ERA) is looking for his first win since May 12 as Detroit closes out a seven-game road trip.

Angels: Close the homestand with rookie LHP José Suarez (2-1, 5.35 ERA) facing the Tigers for the first time.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Negron Homers in 1st LA At-Bat, Dodgers Tap Rockies 9-4]]>Tue, 30 Jul 2019 21:22:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Dodges-70-Wins-Negroni-July-2019.jpg

Kristopher Negron homered in his first at-bat with Los Angeles, one of four connections by the Dodgers in a 9-4 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

A.J. Pollock, Russell Martin and Justin Turner also went deep for Los Angeles. The Dodgers became the first team in the majors to reach 70 wins and increased their lead in the NL West to 15 games over San Francisco.

Rockies starter Kyle Freeland struggled again. The left-hander, who was fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting last season after winning 17 games, is 2-9 with a 7.48 ERA. He set a club record with a 2.84 ERA in 2018.

Colorado fell to 6-18 in July and has lost 24 of 34 since late June to fall eight games below .500.

Pollock led off the game with a homer as part of a three-run first inning. Negron, who was acquired from Seattle on Sunday, hit his first home run of the season leading off the second, and Martin hit Freeland's next pitch into the Colorado bullpen.

Tyler White gave Los Angeles a 7-0 lead with a two-run single in the third and Turner's two-run homer off Chad Bettis in the fourth made it 9-3.

Colorado scored three runs in the third on RBI doubles by Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond and a run-scoring single by Daniel Murphy.

Casey Sadler (1-0) tossed 2 1/3 innings in relief of Julio Urias to get the win. Rookie Tony Gonsolin pitched the last four innings for his first save after being called up from Triple-A.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (biceps tendinitis) played catch from about 90 feet Tuesday, and manager Dave Roberts said he didn't experience any pain. Roberts said Stripling will likely miss his next turn in the rotation.

Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon (back tightness) was out of the lineup for the third straight game. Blackmon hurt himself working out in Cincinnati on Saturday night and pinch-hit Sunday.

Up Next

Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.74) faces Rockies RHP German Marquez (10-5, 4.88) to wrap up the three-game series. Ryu has allowed just four runs over his last four starts while Marquez has won his last two outings after giving up 11 runs in 2 2/3 innings against San Francisco.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Confident of Memorable Super Bowl at Inglewood Stadium]]>Tue, 30 Jul 2019 16:27:41 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Inglewood-Stadium-NFL-tour-July-30-2019.jpg

The NFL committed the 2022 Super Bowl to the Los Angeles area back when the 298-acre stadium complex in Inglewood was still mostly a waterlogged hole in the ground.

That hole has long since been filled by the skeleton of a massive arena, and thousands of workers are making rapid weekly progress toward its grand opening in July 2020.

The league is feeling great about its decision to bring the Super Bowl back to its original home as quickly as possible, and a visit to the site by league officials Tuesday only amplified the NFL's faith in the people building its newest showpiece.

"We just couldn't be more excited to have this stage for our biggest game," said Peter O'Reilly, the NFL's executive vice president of club business and league events. "It absolutely blows you away, the scale and the way this entire district will come to life. Today's conversations really show that they've got the experts and the people here who understand what it takes to put on major events. We have incredible faith that the team here really understands what it means to put on a Super Bowl."

The Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers will begin play in Inglewood next year, and the Super Bowl will follow the teams' second season of residence. By that time, the league and the two teams plan to have every wrinkle ironed out of their operations when they welcome the entire pro football world back to LA.

"As the two teams learn from every event, we'll be learning as well," O'Reilly said. "Certainly sitting here today, unlike in a stadium that's built, we can't fully lock every little plan in. But that's OK. It is 100% worth the wait."

The Packers beat the Chiefs in the first Super Bowl in 1967 at Los Angeles' venerable Coliseum, a mere 8 miles northeast of the Inglewood project. The NFL has played seven Super Bowls around the LA area, but none since 1993 — less than two years before the Rams and Los Angeles Raiders simultaneously left town and ushered in a 21-year professional football drought in the nation's second-largest metropolitan area.

"There's so much history in Los Angeles around the Super Bowl," O'Reilly said. "It was clear that once this stadium was out of the ground, (the Super Bowl) was going to come back here, and we have to do right by it."

Most of those plans are still in the preliminary stages. The NFL could hold Super Bowl week events in the coastal Pacific cities, in bustling downtown Los Angeles or at numerous points elsewhere in the sprawling LA metroplex.

"We've got a lot of good variables," O'Reilly said. "What's probably changed the most since '93 is that the Super Bowl is now a nine-day festival environment with all these components. You want to find ways for all the people who aren't fortunate enough to be in here to experience the Super Bowl in their own way. That's what we're looking at."

The Super Bowl is just one of many landmark events headed to Inglewood in the next decade. College football's national championship game will be there in January 2023, followed by the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics. Along with two full slates of NFL games annually, the stadium will host a college football Los Angeles Bowl starting next year — and they're also hoping to land World Cup matches in 2026.

Despite its incredible scope, the stadium already is roughly 75% complete, with most of the physical structure in place. Most of the remaining work is considered "finishes," with hundreds of workers spending the next full year adding every detail necessary to open for business in 12 months.

"It never ceases to amaze me how much can be accomplished in a week when you dedicate the kind of resources and the manpower that they have here," said Fred Maas, the Chargers' chief of staff. "It's amazing. I don't think there's been a construction project of this scale and magnitude since the Great Pyramids."

That might be a slight exaggeration, but the entire multi-billion-dollar complex is twice as big as Vatican City and 3 ½ times bigger than Disneyland. Most of it should be complete in time for the Super Bowl, from the expansive outdoor mall to the league offices and studios amid eight acres of parks and a man-made lake.

The stylish roof, the seats and the enormous Oculus video board will be installed over the next several months.

"Every time you come here, you can't believe how different it is from even a month ago," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' chief operating officer. "At this point, you can really get a sense for what this building is going to be like."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[US Water Polo Star Johnny Hooper Shares Horror of South Korean Balcony Collapse]]>Tue, 30 Jul 2019 04:21:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Johnny-Hooper-Balcony-collapse-July-29-2019.JPG

Johnny Hooper, a U.S. Water Polo star, shared his story of survival after a balcony collapsed at a South Korean nightclub where the team was celebrating a world championship.

 "We felt the rumbling, the next thing you know, we were suspended in mid-air," Hooper says. "It's true like everyone says: Your life kind of goes right before your eyes and you're like, 'Is this it?'"

The second floor loft inside a South Korean nightclub collapsed, sending Hooper, his teammates and shards of glass crashing down.

"As soon as the floor collapsed, the most dangerous part about it: Those bottles became daggers, literally knives pointed up," Hooper recalls. 

Remarkably, Hooper escaped with a few cuts to his hand, now being held together with stitches. 

Despite his own injuries, Hooper and the team trainer rushed to the more severely injured Kaleigh Gilchrist, who was fresh off winning a third straight world championship for the U.S. Water Polo team. Gilchrist was writhing in pain from deep cuts to her leg.

"We saw immediate terrible pain, worse pain you can see ever in someone's facial expression," Hooper says.

Hooper says Gilchrist is now in good spirits, recovering from surgery and he can't wait to welcome the fellow Southern California native home.

But Hooper isn't dwelling too long on the tragic event that took two lives, as the water polo star is off to the Pan American Games in Peru With an important life lesson he’ll take with him in and out of the pool.

 "We have a switch," Hooper says. "We know when to turn it on. How hard a situation gets, you got the guy right next to you--left and right--and they have your back. You're not going to fail when you do it for people you love and care about."

Hooper said his doctor has given him to the OK to practice, even with stitches on his left hand. Along with his teammates, Hooper leaves for Peru on Wednesday.



Photo Credit: NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Commissioner, NFC Title Game Officials to Face Questions on 'No-Call']]>Mon, 29 Jul 2019 21:49:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NFC-Championship-no-call-case-July-2019.jpg

A Louisiana judge ordered that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and three officials from January's NFC title game be questioned under oath in September about the infamous "no-call" that helped the Los Angeles Rams beat the New Orleans Saints in January's NFC title game, a lawyer said Monday.

Attorney Antonio LeMon, who filed a lawsuit over the game that advanced the Rams to the Super Bowl, said he and league attorneys will pick a mutually agreeable date for depositions in New Orleans — barring any league appeals that might delay or cancel the questioning.

A league spokesman declined comment.

LeMon's lawsuit seeks $75,000 in damages — to be donated to charity — over the failure to flag a pass interference or roughness penalty against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman for his helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Tommylee Lewis well before a pass arrived. The no-call came at a crucial point in the game against the New Orleans Saints. The Rams won and advanced to the Super Bowl.

State Civil District Court Judge Nicole Sheppard of New Orleans ruled earlier this month that LeMon's lawsuit could proceed. She also ruled then that LeMon can request documents and ask questions of NFL officials. She said Monday that depositions should take place in September. She also set Aug. 22 for the next hearing in the lawsuit, according to LeMon.

Other suits dealing with the blown call have wound up in federal court, where they have failed. They included one long-shot effort to have the game or a crucial part of it played over before the Rams met the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, which the Patriots won.

LeMon, whose lawsuit alleges fraud by NFL officials, has crafted his lawsuit to avoid having it taken over by a federal court, in part by keeping the damages sought low. He said Monday that he intends for any money won to go to former Saints star Steve Gleason's charity to aid people with neuromuscular diseases. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aaron Donald Relishing First Rams training Camp Since 2016]]>Mon, 29 Jul 2019 18:22:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Rams-Aaron-Donald-Training-Camp-July-2019.jpg

When practice ends at UC Irvine and Aaron Donald is done chasing down the Los Angeles Rams' quarterbacks, he immediately starts after a high-energy 4-year-old with the same haircut as his All-Pro dad.

A.J. Donald and his 6-year-old sister, Jaeda, are getting their first chance to go to training camp with their father, who missed the Rams' past two camps while holding out in search of a massive new contract. Aaron Donald finally got that six-year, $135 million extension with $87 million guaranteed last season, and he eagerly showed up to his first training camp since 2016 this month to pursue his third straight NFL Defensive Player of the Year award — and little A.J., too.

Donald said Jaeda "doesn't remember the last time she was at camp, and my son has never seen camp. So to have them being around and watching me play football, and them getting to run around the field, these are the types of memories that last forever."

The Rams have endured plenty of contract drama and high-stakes negotiations over the past few years, but everything is calm this summer. The defending NFC champions have no holdouts or drama in this camp, with the likes of Marcus Peters and Jared Goff eagerly showing up for work to earn their next deals instead of staying away.

"I feel that you just keep coming and you do what you need to do, and everything will get taken care of, man," said Peters, the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback starting the fifth year of his rookie contract. "We've got bigger goals, really. All that other stuff will take care of itself."

Donald's presence is the biggest difference for the Rams, and his impact is felt on both sides of the ball.

He serves as an example and a teaching resource for his teammates — particularly rookie nose tackle Greg Gaines, who is competing for the starting job to replace Ndamukong Suh.

Donald's relentless rushes also force the Rams' offensive line to be at its best. Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen have been tapped for starting jobs after scarcely playing last season, and no challenge in the NFL is much bigger than Donald bearing down at full speed.

When Sean McVay was asked how he plans to monitor Donald's workload in his first training camp in three years, the head coach quipped: "Depends on how much he's wrecking practice. If he's really upsetting me by winning a lot, then he'll be standing next to me a lot."

McVay is grateful to have Donald and running back Todd Gurley, who will work out sparingly until the regular season begins in a bid to keep him fresh. Even if they don't take every practice snap — and Donald has been as busy as anyone on the field — their veteran presence boosts McVay's workouts.

"The biggest thing is just the way that (Donald) affects his teammates," McVay said. "Having him here, what that represents when he turns it up. You see why the production is what it is, and why he's the special player that he is."

Donald's absence from camp for the past two years clearly didn't affect him when the Rams finally reached the games that count, as his All-Pro selections and individual trophies attest.

Yet Donald hopes the early start to his season will translate into quicker starts overall. He had just one sack in the first three games during the past two seasons before going on to rack up spectacular totals, including an NFL-best 20 ½ sacks last season — a record for an interior lineman.

"Being here and getting myself in football shape and working my moves, hopefully it won't take me four games to get going this year," Donald said. "I think it's going to be a plus for me getting here, getting going right away. If anything, I should be better."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: MediaNews Group via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Ship Left-Hander Zac Rosscup to St. Louis Cardinals]]>Mon, 29 Jul 2019 17:28:09 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Zac-Rosscup-July-29-2019.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers have traded left-hander Zac Rosscup to the St. Louis Cardinals for cash.

The Dodgers also put Enrique Hernández on the injured list with a sprained left hand Monday.

Rosscup is headed to his fourth team this season.

Rosscup finished last season with Los Angeles, but was designated for assignment in November. He signed with Seattle, but was designated for assignment May 17.

Toronto claimed Rosscup off waivers, but designated him for assignment May 28 after two appearances. He re-signed with the Dodgers last month and made seven appearances, but was designated for assignment two weeks ago.

Rosscup is 2-0 with a 5.00 ERA in 28 combined appearances this season. He likely will join the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.

St. Louis optioned outfielder Harrison Bader to Memphis. Bader is batting .195 in 90 games this season and had started just six games since the All-Star break.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[US Water Polo Player From Newport Beach Recalls South Korea Balcony Accident]]>Mon, 29 Jul 2019 00:08:41 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/USA-Polo-South-Korea-Balcony-July-29-2019.jpg

One moment, Kaleigh Gilchrist was celebrating an unprecedented third straight world championship for the U.S. women's water polo team.

In the next moment, she was headed to a hospital in South Korea.

Gilchrist was partying with teammate Paige Hauschild and other competitors from the world swimming championships when a balcony at a nightclub near the athletes' village collapsed early Saturday morning, killing two people and creating a chaotic scene in the southern city of Gwangju.

"We were having the best night ever celebrating our win, and somehow, a freak accident happened," Gilchrist told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Gilchrist, a 27-year-old attacker from Newport Beach, California, who also was part of the United States' gold medal-winning team at the 2016 Olympics, sustained some deep lacerations on her left leg and got some stitches for cuts on her left thigh. But she said she had no broken bones or nerve damage.

Gilchrist had surgery later Saturday morning. She remained in the hospital Monday while doctors monitored her recovery, but she hoped to return to the U.S. on Tuesday.

She was counting her blessings, too.

"We are the lucky ones and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost loved ones," she said.

Gilchrist, who also has traveled the world as an accomplished surfer, remembers only parts of the harrowing night.

Hours after the Americans' 11-6 victory over Spain in the final, Gilchrist was on the balcony with Hauschild, U.S. men's attacker Johnny Hooper and other athletes when it went down.

"It was all pretty quick, I think," Gilchrist said. "But I remember falling and I talked to Johnny and we kind of thought the same thing: It's like, we felt like (we were) falling for 10 seconds, which it probably ended up being one or two seconds. But everything kind of slowed down."

Gilchrist said the railing of the balcony was lined with glued-down beer bottles that shattered when it collapsed. She thinks she was helped up before she made her way out of the nightclub with Hauschild.

When Gilchrist got outside, she realized the extent of her injuries and laid down on the sidewalk. She then got some help from some players on the U.S. men and Australian water polo teams, and Christopher Bates, a trainer for the U.S. men's team, joined the group.

"Chris was kind of just the biggest blessing," Gilchrist said. "He came, he's a trainer, he put his belt around my leg as a tourniquet and he came in the ambulance with me."

Gilchrist face-timed with her parents, Jenny and Sandy, and sister, Ali, right after she got hurt, and Bates and her U.S. teammates also provided updates. Larnie Boquiren, a trainer for the women's team, and team doctor Seth Schmoll also helped take care of Gilchrist.

"My mom wanted to fly out, but I said 'Don't worry. I'm here with our trainer, Larnie, and Dr. Seth,'" Gilchrist said. "They've been so great to me, so I told my mom don't worry and I'll be home in no time.

"She still wanted to come, but it's all good."

Hauschild, Hooper and U.S. center Ben Hallock also got hurt. Hauschild got stitches on her right arm and Hooper needed stitches for cuts on his left hand. Hallock had some minor scrapes on his legs.

Gilchrist said she should know more about her recovery after she returns to the U.S., but she is hoping to be back in the pool with the team in a few months. The U.S. became the first team to win three straight world water polo titles with the victory in South Korea, and it is a big favorite to win a third consecutive gold at the Olympics next year.

"It's awesome to be a part of history and I think there's something special about our team," Gilchrist told the AP. "It's just a bummer that an incident like this has to bring headlines to our team and not just the way we play the game and the way we work and grind. I think there's something to be said of the success and I think a lot of people could learn from us."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Routed 11-4 as Strasburg Tosses Gem]]>Sun, 28 Jul 2019 15:50:35 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-vs-Nationals-July-28-2019.jpg

Stephen Strasburg tossed seven masterful innings to win his seventh consecutive start, leading the Washington Nationals to an 11-4 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

Brian Dozier and Juan Soto homered, while Anthony Rendon continued to swing a hot bat with three hits and four RBIs that helped the Nationals (56-49) prevent a three-game sweep by the top team in the majors.

Corey Seager hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Nationals reliever Michael Blazek to help the Dodgers avoid their largest loss of the season.

Adam Eaton and Washington manager Dave Martinez were ejected in the first inning for arguing a called strike, which meant they weren't around to get a firsthand look at the latest gem authored by Strasburg (14-4).

The 31-year-old right-hander took over the major league lead in wins after striking out nine, walking none and limiting a potent Dodgers lineup to one run and two hits. He threw 67 of 100 pitches for strikes.

Strasburg was perfect through 4 1/3 innings before Los Angeles got to him. A.J. Pollock doubled into the left field corner and scored when Matt Beaty doubled down the right field line.

The Nationals quickly answered in the bottom half against All-Star Walker Buehler (9-2).

Gerardo Parra reached on an infield hit before Dozier hit his 15th home run a few rows over the tall wall in right-center.

Victor Robles, pressed into service on a scheduled day off after Eaton was ejected, extended the fifth-inning rally with a triple, which was the first of his three hits. Robles then scored on a single by Rendon, who has a hit in 16 of his last 18 games.

Strasburg helped his own cause in a four-run sixth by poking a bases-loaded single into right field to score Howie Kendrick. Strasburg has driven in six runs since July 18 after posting just one RBI up to that point this season.

Buehler lost for the first time since May 18. He allowed seven runs (four earned) and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings on his 25th birthday.

Soto launched his 18th homer as part of a four-run ninth for the Nationals.

SEE YOU LATER

Eaton was ejected for the third time in his career and first since 2016. He thought he had drawn a one-out walk and was a third of the way down the first base line after flipping his bat before he was summoned back into the box by plate umpire Jeremie Rehak.

Eaton struck out swinging on the next pitch and, after saying something to Rehak on his way back to the dugout, was tossed. Eaton then got into the face of the umpire, which prompted Martinez to race out of the dugout, shove his outfielder aside and plead his case.

Martinez was ejected for the third time this season and fourth in his career, but not before making a demonstrative display on his way off the field.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Valuable utilityman Kiké Hernández (left wrist) will likely be placed on the injured list Monday, according to manager Dave Roberts. "He's still in pain. It's getting better, but the IL is probably inevitable," Roberts said.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer felt "ornery" and "a little frustrated" after an MRI revealed a mid-back strain Friday, according to Martinez. Scherzer's status for his next scheduled start Tuesday against Atlanta remained unclear. "I want to make sure that he is 100 percent," Martinez said. "We need Max to be 100 percent to get us through the next few months. He's got to prove to us that he is that."

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-7, 3.81 ERA) looks for his first win since May 31 when the Dodgers open a three-game series Monday night in Colorado.

Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (8-5, 3.25) seeks his sixth win in 11 starts at Nationals Park this season against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves on Monday night. Corbin ranks second in the majors with a 1.68 ERA at home.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Orioles Set Homer Record, Edge Angels 8-7]]>Sat, 27 Jul 2019 22:14:59 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-lose-Orioles-July-27-2019.jpg

Hanser Alberto put Baltimore ahead with a two-run single in the eighth inning and the Orioles set a major league record with multiple home runs in their 10th straight game in an 8-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

Pedro Severino and Jonathan Villar homered for Baltimore, whose 1987 and 1996 teams were among the other five teams to have multiple homers in nine straight games. Baltimore has won seven of its last 10 games after falling 38 games below .500 following a loss to the Washington Nationals on July 16.

With the win, the Orioles moved within a victory Sunday of posting a four-game sweep of the Angels. The Orioles have not swept a series this season.

Baltimore almost had its chance at a sweep thwarted before one last Angels rally fell short. David Fletcher delivered an RBI single in the ninth inning for Los Angeles, but with the tying run at third base Mike Trout struck out and Justin Upton popped out against Baltimore right-hander Mychael Givens.

The Angels put on their own long-ball display. Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols all hit homers.

Pujols set an individual home-run milestone. He hit his 100th career home run at Angel Stadium. He also has 100 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and became the 12th player in major league history with 100 home runs at two ballparks. He is also just the third to do it in an American League and National League ballpark, joining Mark McGwire and Frank Robinson.

Villar's home run in the sixth inning, his 13th of the season, gave the Orioles a 6-5 lead. But Pujols countered with a home run in the bottom of the sixth, barely clearing the short wall in the right-field corner. It was Pujols' 16th of the season.

Both teams scored a pair of runs in the first inning. The Orioles have scored 27 runs in the three games in the series, while the Angels have scored 18.

Severino had a two-run single in the opening inning, while the Angels matched it on Trout's two-run home run as the second Los Angeles batter of the game. The blast to deep left field was Trout's American League-leading 34th of the season and his 12th in 16 games.

The Angels were right back at it in the second inning. Fletcher had a two-run double for a 4-2 lead. The Orioles moved back on top in the third on an RBI double by Renato Nunez and a two-run home run by Severino, giving him four RBIs in the first three innings.

The back-and-forth continued in the bottom of the third inning when Ohtani led off with a home run, his 15th and his first since July 7 against the Houston Astros.

Alberto's two-run single in the eighth inning chased Angels' reliever Ty Buttrey (6-5). Buttery recorded just one out while giving up two hits and two runs.

Orioles left-hander Richard Bleier (2-0) struck out one in a scoreless inning and picked up the victory. Givens got four outs for his ninth save.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: OF Dwight Smith Jr. left Saturday's game in the third inning with left calf soreness. ... OF/DH Mark Trumbo, on the 60-injured list after knee surgery, will take a break from his rehabilitation schedule following a recent setback. ... LHP John Means, who was placed on the 10-day IL on Friday, will now get an MRI on his injured left biceps, with the Orioles calling it "procedural."

Angels: RHP Noe Ramirez was placed on the 10-day IL with a viral infection, retroactive to Thursday, after initially believing he might have food poisoning. ... RHP JC Ramirez, on the 60-day IL after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, is expected to throw 20 pitches Sunday on a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire, and is expected to be activated onto the major league roster Tuesday, manager Brad Ausmus said.

UP NEXT

Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy (5-11), who has given up three home runs in nine at-bats to Albert Pujols and two home runs to Mike Trout in nine at-bats, will take the mound in Sunday's series finale.

Angels: RHP Felix Pena (8-3) will pick up a bulk of the innings Sunday, with the club still undecided if he will start the game outright or if it will use an opener at the outset.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Smith, Men in Blue Erase Nationals 9-3]]>Sat, 27 Jul 2019 16:59:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Will-Smith-Dodgers-National-July-2019.jpg

Rookie catcher Will Smith homered and drove in six runs, leading Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Washington Nationals 9-3 on Saturday.

Playing in his 10th major league game, Smith homered in the third inning, hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth, doubled home a run in the sixth, and broke the game open in the seventh with a bases-loaded double off the wall in left-center.

Kershaw (9-2) settled in after allowing two first-inning runs, giving up three hits while striking out nine with three walks through the sixth.

Yan Gomes homered for Washington, which has lost three straight for first time since a five-game skid May 19-23.

The Nationals employed an opener for the first time, with left-hander Matt Grace retiring all six Dodgers he faced, including four left-handed batters. Right-hander Joe Ross (0-3) allowed a homer to the first batter he faced and gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Max Muncy and Corey Seager had two hits each for the Dodgers and Muncy scored three runs.

The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the first on Adam Eaton's RBI triple and Juan Soto's sacrifice fly.

Smith's homer in the third made it 2-1.

Muncy's RBI single tied the game in the fourth and the Dodgers took the lead on Seager's double. He went to third on an error and it was 4-2 after Smith's sacrifice fly.

PASSING PIAZZA

Smith is the first Los Angeles Dodgers (1958-present) rookie catcher with a six-RBI game, surpassing Mike Piazza's previous high of five in a game (twice, the last on June 22, 1993).

ROSTER MOVE

The Nationals recalled INF Adrián Sanchez from Double-A Harrisburg and optioned RHP Kyle Barraclough to Harrisburg. Sanchez has gone 4 for 20 (.200) in 18 games over three stints for the Nationals this season. Barraclough went 1-2 with a 6.66 ERA in 33 games out of Washington's bullpen.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Placed RHP Ross Stripling (biceps tendinitis) on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 25. He left his Wednesday start with a sore neck. "Obviously, it started out in the neck and then just probably compromised his delivery, which got into the bicep," manager Dave Roberts said. . INF/OF Enrique Hernandez (hand) is likely headed for the IL. "Where he's at in terms of not being able to swing the bat, we've got to make sure he gets back to healthy," Roberts said.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (9-1, 3.23) allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings and struck out seven batters in a no-decision against the Nationals May 11 in Los Angeles.

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (13-4, 3.37) has won six straight starts, pitching to a 2.39 ERA over that stretch, while striking out 44 batters and walking 10.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Turner's Late Blast Helps Dodgers Beat Nationals 4-2]]>Fri, 26 Jul 2019 21:07:43 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19208014777331.jpg

Justin Turner hit a two-out, three-run homer in the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Friday night to open a three-game series.

After the Nationals had retired 22 straight batters, reliever Tony Sipp (1-2) walked Joc Pederson and then gave up a single to Alex Verdugo before exiting with two outs in the eighth.

Kyle Barraclough, who was recalled earlier on Friday from Double-A, came in and immediately gave up the Turner blast to center field. Turner has 15 homers this season.

Joe Kelly (4-3) retired Anthony Rendon to end the seventh while Kenley Jansen walked home a run before striking out Howie Kendrick with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to earn his 25th save of the season.

Nationals starter Aníbal Sánchez retired the final 20 batters he faced. Sánchez struck out six, while allowing one run on three hits.

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed eight hits and one earned run in 6 2/3 innings.

The NL West leading Dodgers snapped a two-game losing streak, while the Nationals lost back-to-back games for the first time since June 22-23 against Atlanta.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Cody Bellinger's RBI single into shallow center field. It was the Dodgers' third single of the inning but their last hit until the eighth.

The Nationals tied it at 1-all in the seventh on Adam Eaton's bases-loaded RBI single that scored Victor Robles. Pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra, who reached on a sacrifice bunt and fielding error by Turner, was thrown out at the plate by Alex Verdugo. The Nationals challenged the call and whether catcher Russell Martin had blocked the plate, but the call was upheld after video review.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Los Angeles placed infielder David Freese (left hamstring strain) on the 10-day injured list and added infielder Tyler White to the roster. ... Infielder/outfielder Kiké Hernández (left hand soreness) underwent an MRI on Friday and was available only as a defensive replacement.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer had an MRI on his back Friday morning that revealed a mild strain. Scherzer received a stem cell shot and will not throw for two days but hopes to make his next scheduled start on Tuesday against Atlanta. . Barraclough was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg while outfielder Andrew Stevenson was optioned to Triple-A Fresno. Barraclough (right radial nerve irritation) was placed on the 10-day injured list June 16 before being optioned to Harrisburg on July 9 where he made five appearances.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-2, 2.84 ERA) lost his last appearance to the Nationals on April 20, 2018 but posts a lifetime record of 11-3 with a 2.18 ERA in 16 career games against Washington.

Nationals: Washington has yet to name a starter.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Patrick Semansky/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Huntington Beach Welcomes the Best Surfers in the World]]>Fri, 26 Jul 2019 14:50:41 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Huntington_Beach_Welcomes_the_Best_Surfers_in_the_World.jpg

The Vans US Open of Surfing kicks of this weekend in Huntington Beach. Christine Kim reports for Today in LA on Friday July 26, 2019.]]>
<![CDATA[Angels and Orioles Trade Leads in a Surreal 16-Inning Battle]]>Fri, 26 Jul 2019 04:29:17 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/176*120/GettyImages-1157672533.jpg

Even after a postgame beer shower from his ecstatic Baltimore Orioles teammates, Stevie Wilkerson was shocked to learn he had just become the first position player in major league history to earn a save.

The Orioles' center fielder certainly couldn't believe he did it by throwing a perfect 16th inning way past midnight with a bunch of tepid lobs that never topped 56 mph.

"I don't think I've wrapped my head around it yet," Wilkerson said. "It was a wild game. It was crazy. I'm just glad I was a part of it."

Wilkerson's singular performance as the Orioles' 10th pitcher was only the final flourish on a 6-hour, 19-minute epic that just might have been struggling Baltimore's best win of the season.

Jonathan Villar threw out the Angels' potential winning run at the plate in the 15th inning and then hit a two-run homer in the 16th as the Orioles persevered for a wild 10-8 victory over Los Angeles early Friday.

Wilkerson and Villar were the unlikely heroes of what turned into a thoroughly unique night at Angel Stadium. The Orioles have had little to celebrate during their woeful season, but they were proud of their grit and resilience while this game got weird.

"Yeah, I think that was the best day of the year for all of us," said Villar, who snapped a 1-for-22 slump with his homer.

Both teams blew multi-run leads, and the Angels came within a desperate tag of walking off on Mike Trout's bases-loaded double against Tanner Scott (1-0) in the bottom of the 15th. David Fletcher tried to score from first, but was called out on a bang-bang play at the plate.

Wilkerson went to get his pitching glove around the 13th inning because he figured he might be needed for his third relief appearance of the year. He moved from center to the mound in the 16th and sparked a few chuckles from the hearty remaining crowd in Anaheim with his underwhelming pitches.

But he got three straight outs when sluggers Brian Goodwin, Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols all made easy outs.

"I was just hoping somehow they would hit three balls at somebody," Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. "It's below hitting speed, so that's hard."

Wilkerson also became the first player in major league history to start and earn a save in the same game.

Moments before his homer, Villar also saved the game as the shortstop in the 15th when he cut down the potential winning run with a relay throw home on Trout's two-run double that tied it at 8. The play was reviewed and the out call upheld just after 4 a.m. at the replay center in New York.

"Quite frankly, in my mind, he was safe," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "His hand was in there before the glove hit him in the chest. It's a tough call for (plate umpire) Tony Randazzo, but I think New York missed it."

Villar then connected off Griffin Canning (3-6), the Angels' 10th pitcher and their scheduled starter for Friday's game before this series opener spiraled into a magnificent mess.

The last-place Orioles rallied from a late two-run deficit and eventually snapped the Angels' four-game winning streak, with the final out recorded just before 1:30 a.m.

Baltimore also improved to 1-62 when trailing after seven innings this season, while the Angels dropped to 46-1 when leading after seven.

The game seemed much simpler three hours earlier when the Angels were up 4-2 heading to the eighth inning after Calhoun's three-run double. Trey Mancini put Baltimore up 5-4 with a homer in the ninth before Goodwin tied it in the bottom half with a one-out homer of his own.

And after five scoreless extra innings, the teams scored three runs apiece and resolved nothing in the surreal 15th.

Baltimore went up 8-5 in the top half with a rally highlighted by a two-run single from Jace Peterson, who was making his major league season debut.

But the Angels improbably answered -- and came within a whisker of walking off. Pujols led off with a single before the Halos drew three walks from Scott to force in a run.

After winning 12 of their previous 18 games, the Angels were hoping for a dominant week at home against cellar-dwelling Baltimore and Detroit to make a push for the AL wild-card race heading into August. But now they'll have to try it with their pitching staff in disarray for the next two days.

Pujols beat out an infield single in the seventh for his 3,155th career hit, passing George Brett for sole possession of 16th place in baseball history.

TITAN ON THE MOUND

Baltimore rookie Tom Eshelman entered in the third and pitched 4 1/3 innings of four-hit ball in his fourth big league appearance. Eshelman is a native of Carlsbad, California, who played down the street from Angel Stadium at Cal State Fullerton.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: C Jonathan Lucroy will begin a rehab assignment Friday. He hasn't played since Houston's Jake Marisnick gave him a concussion and a broken nose in a collision at the plate right before the All-Star break.

UP NEXT

The Angels will have some scrambling to do on the mound after Canning had to pitch in this game. They will face Baltimore's Asher Wojciechowski (1-3, 3.91 ERA), who pitched 7 1/3 brilliant innings of scoreless 10-strikeout ball against Boston last week to get his first win of the season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Unveil Images, Plans for Lavish New Inglewood Arena]]>Thu, 25 Jul 2019 23:26:21 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Clippers_Unveil_New_Home.jpg

The Los Angeles Clippers have unveiled the first visual renderings of the arena complex they're hoping to build in Inglewood.

The Clippers took the next step Thursday in their plans for an 18,500-seat arena and a billion-dollar development project they're hoping to occupy in 2024. The team says the complex will be funded entirely by owner Steve Ballmer.

The Microsoft billionaire is the wealthiest owner in U.S. team sports, and he says he wants "the Clippers to have the best home in all of sports."

The Clippers hope to build their arena just south of the lavish new football stadium nearing completion in Inglewood.

Billionaire Stan Kroenke is building that project, which will house his Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Los Angeles Clippers]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Win Series Finale 3-2, Sweep Dodgers for 1st Time]]>Wed, 24 Jul 2019 23:30:00 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Sweep-Dodgers-July-24-2019.jpg

Kole Calhoun had a homer and two doubles while driving in two runs in his second straight big game at Dodger Stadium, and the Los Angeles Angels swept the Freeway Series for the first time in franchise history with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.

Mike Trout drove in a run and scored another in the fourth straight victory overall for the Angels, who took two from Dodgers in Anaheim last month and two more in Chavez Ravine to earn their first sweep of this local rivalry series since interleague play began in 1997.

The Angels (54-49) also moved five games above .500 for the first time all season. They've won nine of 12 overall in a midseason push toward the playoff race since the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Justin Turner homered for the Dodgers, who couldn't overcome the Angels' sturdy defense and resilient pitching to back Calhoun's brilliance. Cody Bellinger was ejected by home plate umpire Dan Iassogna after arguing two called strikes in the eighth inning.

One day after Calhoun threw out Bellinger at the plate to end the Angels' 5-4 win, the Angels slugger kept up his torrid streak at the plate and his career-long excellence at Dodger Stadium, where he is a career .375 hitter with six homers.

Calhoun got extra-base hits in his final three at-bats Tuesday, and he got two more in his first two plate appearances Wednesday. His double to right drove in Trout from first base in the first inning, and he homered into the right field bleachers in the fourth. Calhoun added yet another double in the ninth.

Turner answered moments later with his 14th homer.

Trout put the Angels up 3-1 with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, but Corey Seager singled home Bellinger moments later.

The Angels' bullpen and defense took it from there, getting double plays to end the seventh and eighth innings. Hansel Robles pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save, enduring much less drama than in the series opener.

Ross Stripling (4-4) pitched five innings of three-hit ball for the Dodgers, giving up two runs before leaving with a stiff neck.

Jaime Barria (4-3) yielded three hits and two walks over five innings for the Angels, bouncing back impressively from a miserable start against Seattle last week.

Dodgers second baseman Enrique Hernandez left the game with left hand soreness shortly after he appeared to get hurt while swinging in the fourth inning. Hernandez popped out shortly after the problematic swing, and Matt Beaty replaced him in the fifth.

Bellinger, the NL wins above replacement leader, was tossed by Iassogna after going 0 for 3 with a walk and a run.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Reliever Dylan Floro threw a simulated game. He is on the injured list with a sore neck, but hopes to return Monday.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: After a travel day, All-Star Game starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.76 ERA) takes the mound in Washington on Friday.

Angels: Rookie Jose Suarez (2-1, 5.51 ERA) is expected to return from Triple-A Salt Lake to take the ball at Angel Stadium in a four-game series opener against woeful Baltimore.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Steve Ballmer is Pumped, Really Pumped About the Clippers]]>Wed, 24 Jul 2019 13:09:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Clippers_Steve_Ballmer_Pumped_Kawhi_Leonard_Paul_George_1200x675_1575968323603.jpg

Steve Ballmer seemed more pumped than usual when he introduced the Clippers' new stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard at a Wednesday July 24, 2019 news conference. ]]>
<![CDATA[Kawhi Leonard is Coming Home]]>Wed, 24 Jul 2019 20:44:43 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-1144470673.jpg

Do you remember the instant your life changed forever?

Kawhi Leonard does. It was January 18, 2008 and Leonard was driving in a car with his mother when he got a call from his sister that would permanently alter the course of his life.

Leonard was born in Los Angeles on June 29, 1991. He is the youngest of five kids, and is the only boy in the bunch (he has four older sisters). Like many of us born and raised in the City of Angels, Leonard grew up a fan of Southern California sports. The first NBA game he ever attended was a Clippers game. His favorite team was the Lakers, but his favorite player was Allen Iverson.

Leonard's father, Mark Leonard, was a football player. So Kawhi grew up a two-sport athlete, excelling in both basketball and football. If he wasn't playing one of those two sports, he was working at his father's car wash in Compton. Each and every summer he would hand wash car after car, from sunrise until sunset, until his gigantic hands went numb. 

"It was hard work," Leonard told ESPN in 2013. "But I loved it." 

After his parents separated, he moved with his mother to Riverside where he attended Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley.

Mark would visit his only son, and they'd jump the fence in the backyard and run up and down a hill for over 30 minutes. Then they'd throw the football around or practice shooting on the nearby basketball court.

Leonard remembers these memories with his father fondly. They are a treasure chest he can open at any time to pluck life's precious moments back into existence. He knew it would break his father's heart when he told him during his sophomore year of high school that he was quitting football to focus on basketball.

"He got kinda mad," Leonard told Fox Sports in 2011. "He wanted me to play both – and maximize my opportunity."

Before Leonard could focus on basketball, he first had to find a team he could play on. During tryouts his freshman year at Canyon Springs, his mother, Kim, was called in to work and therefore was unable to drive Kawhi to tryouts. Despite pleading with the head coach to allow him to try out after the fact, the coach of Canyon Springs refused, and Leonard spent his freshman year playing football instead.

But Leonard's first love was always basketball, and he'd soon demonstrate that he would stop at nothing to achieve his dreams of playing in the NBA and winning championships.

Thanks to the help of his AAU coach, Marvin Lea, Leonard was able to transfer to Martin Luther King High School his junior year where he was able to play basketball. The move paid off, as he was named California's Mr. Basketball—the best high school player in California—during his senior year.

"I called my father, who was a Hall of Fame high school coach and college coach," said MLK high school basketball coach Tim Sweeney Jr. to As It Happens host Carol Off last month."I said, 'You gotta get down to the gym right now. I think we've got ourselves not only an NBA player, he's an NBA All-Star.' He laughed at me."

Leonard's legendary drive, determination, and work ethic imparted upon him by his father were on full display, even at 16 years old. He would go for hours shooting basket after basket in the shadows of his high school gym. Steadfast on achieving greatness, Leonard did whatever it took to become the best basketball player he could be.

"He always stayed after practice," said Sweeney Jr. "I'm wanting to go home. I've got four kids, and I have to count on my assistant coaches to stay for Kawhi." 

That brings us to the phone call that changed Leonard's life forever.

During Leonard's junior year, his father, Mark Leonard, was trying to close down his car wash early in order to attend his son's basketball game when one last car pulled up asking for one final wash.

He agreed, and the car opened fire, shooting and killing Mark in the same car wash he owned and shared so many memories with young Kawhi in. The police never found the killer, or a motive for the shooting. Mark Leonard was just 43 years old.

"I'm not sure what happened," Leonard said about his father's death to Fox Sports in 2011."I really don't know anything other than someone random came to the car wash and shot him. I think it's better for me not knowing who it is."

Leonard was told of his father's death while driving with his mom and uncle. His sister was the one that called to break the bad news.

"She said that our dad died," recalled Leonard. "I felt like the world stopped. I didn't want to believe it. It didn't feel real to me."

The next day, Leonard's MLK high school basketball team had to play against vaunted Dominguez Hills at Pauley Pavilion. Leonard scored 17 points in front of a packed house, but his team lost 68-60.

After the game, a bystander witnessed Leonard breaking down in his Mother's arms in the hallway. The emotions of the last 24 hours had become too much for him.

"After the game, he just broke down," his mother, Kim Robertson told Ramona Shelburne in 2014. "They were close. Very close."

One of the bystanders watching the game was Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington. His son, Malcolm Washington, was on one of the team's playing that day.

"My son had a game and there was a second game, and it was a school called King Riverside…and I remember because that night they said, 'There's a young man who's playing tonight whose father had been killed,'" Washington told Bill Simmons on his podcast. "We had a moment of silence for him, and the kid's name was Kawhi Leonard, and he had about 29 points and 27 rebounds and I figured, 'Wow this kid is inspired by losing his dad.' And what a game. And no one knew, 'Oh no, he'll be able to do that for the next 20 years."

Other young men have allowed the murder of a loved one and the unanswered questions of who committed the crime to torment them, but after the breakdown in the hallway, Leonard never spoke about it again. Rather than allow his father's murder to hold him back, he used it as fuel to honor his legacy with his own life. Leonard turned tragedy into triumph, and perhaps that explains a lot about Leonard's infamously quiet and unpretentious demeanor that allows him to remain an enigma to the world.

"I really didn't see Kawhi suffer from it," Kim Robertson told Shelburne. "I wanted him to. I would say, 'Kawhi, you okay? Are you okay?' But I think he kept it all in. I was kind of scared. You know how young men…they lose their father, who is a big figure in their life. It might turn them to do things bad. But Kawhi's always been strong. I think he thinks about it. But he never mentions it. Never."

Kawhi Leonard's life changed forever that faithful day. The quiet reserved kid who spent his summer washing cars, lost his father. The hole in his heart from the loss of his dad is likely still empty to this day, but from tragedy and loss, often something new is born in its place. On that day, as Leonard's father was laid to rest, an unrelenting warrior with a fighting spirit was born. That's the Leonard we see on the basketball court even to this day.

Leonard's secrecy and aloofness were evident even in his younger days. The six-foot, seven-inch, 225-pound guard was recruited by both UCLA and USC. Recruiters and scouts would famously say that Leonard could not be reached by cellphone for a week.

Similar to his recent free agency decision, the scouts and recruiters at the collegiate level had no idea where Leonard would enroll. Finally, after weeks, Leonard opted for San Diego State University over all the Power Five conferences. SDSU head coach Steve Fisher played a big roll on why Leonard opted for the smaller school, saying that Fisher promised him the opportunity to start as a freshman.

"I knew I was their second option and that was a big issue for me," Leonard said of his decision to go to San Diego State over other schools at the time. "San Diego State told me they would give me the opportunity to come in and start. They weren't going to hand it to me and I'd have to work for it."

Leonard's intensity, focus, and determination in college is the stuff of legends. His prevailing status as a folk hero was cemented in those early days at Viejas Arena.

"He talked about going pro after his freshman year," San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher told Bleacher Report in 2017 after Kawhi's college days. "We did our due diligence, and he probably was not going to be a first-round draft pick. And I told him that. I said, 'You should not go.'"

Leonard admitted during the 2019 NBA Finals with the Toronto Raptors that he and his Aztec teammates had a mantra during college: "Board man gets paid." The theory was that the more rebounds Leonard and his teammates grabbed, the higher the probability they would get drafted into the NBA and turn pro.

San Diego State guards, Tyrone Shelley and LaBradford Franklin, Leonard's teammates at the time, shared some stimulating stories about Kawhi's trash talk in College.

"Most people say it like 'Oh, I'm about to get buckets on you.' He was just like, 'Buckets. Layup.' Just one word," said Shelly.

"He would just say, 'No, no, no.' or 'nope, nope.' And when he would score on you, 'Bucket. Bucket,'" said Franklin. "If he was grabbing a rebound, he'd say, "Give me that," or "Board man gets paid."

Regardless of what others thought of Leonard's one-word trash talking, his off-the-cuff ways worked wonders on the hardwood. Leonard led the conference in rebounding, offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, and was fourth in scoring and steals during his sophomore year with San Diego State.

"After his sophomore year, he was for sure a first-round draft pick," said Fisher. "We told him that and he decided to go [to the NBA] with our blessing, and I went to the draft with him. I was there, and he had workouts where he moved up the food chain, where the whispers were he might be a top-10 pick, based on his workouts."

Leonard led the Aztecs to the NCAA tournament as a freshman, but they lost in the first round to Tennessee, 62-59. In his sophomore season, Leonard once again led the Aztecs to the tournament, this time winning two games, as San Diego State advanced to the Sweet Sixteen where they lost to the eventual champion in UConn.

Leonard was selected No. 15 overall in the 2011NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, but a draft day trade by San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich sent the 19-year-old to Texas with George Hill going back to Indiana in the deal.

"Hill was one of my favorite players. He was important to us, but we needed to get bigger," said Popovich of the trade at the time. "It was the toughest [decision] in whatever, 20, whatever years I've been coaching here as a head coach. It's not even close. So in the end, we said we're going to roll the bones and we're going to do it, but I can't tell that at that point we knew Kawhi was going to be what he is today. That would be an exaggeration."

Eight years later, and Leonard has gradually ascended into one of the best players in the NBA. He won the NBA Finals and the NBA Finals MVP with the Spurs in 2014, dethroning the Miami Heat dynasty in the process.

Five years later, he would dethrone another dynasty as he almost singlehandedly destroyed the Golden State Warriors, arguably considered the best team in NBA history.

After the Raptors split the first two games of the series in Toronto, head coach Nick Nurse told his team in the locker room that they needed to go back to Oakland and steal one game.

"F--- that!" Leonard reportedly responded. "We're getting both."

The Raptors did indeed win both games on the road and went on to win the first NBA Championship in Toronto's history.

Leonard was again named NBA Finals MVP, becoming the only player in NBA history to win the NBA Finals MVP with two different teams in two different conferences.

Leonard reached another level in the postseason than he did in the regular season. After averaging 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds during the 82-game regular season, Leonard morphed into a force of nature in the playoffs, averaging30.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, four assists and two steals during the postseason.

His run with the Raptors was one of the greatest postseason performances in NBA history, right up there with his idols: Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Leonard finished with 14 different 30-point games in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, tied for the third most all-time behind only Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Over a decade after the death of his father Leonard is now coming home. The two-time NBA Champion agreed to a three-year, $103 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers last week, and even convinced another LA native, Paul George, to join him.

"We're both Southern California guys. Played right down the street with each other," said Leonard of the homecoming. "Now we're on the Clippers and we have something special. We can make history here."

Each and every night, Leonard will be able to suit up inside the same arena his father used to take him to games to as a child. Now his family and friends will be able to watch him play in person.

"Just to be able to have my friends and family drive to the game and watch me play and see them after is going to be great," added Leonard. 

Like his father before him, Leonard has always let his actions speak louder than his words, and his father's memory has always kept him on the correct path.

"I think he'd be proud of me," Leonard said after winning the NBA Finals in 2014 on Father's Day.

"I know he would," said Kim Robertson.

Nothing in life is guaranteed. You can't guarantee a long life for your loved ones. You can't guarantee you'll reach your dream of playing in the NBA, and you can't guarantee you'll turn that dream into championship glory. But one thing is for certain: Leonard's father would be very proud of the man and the player he has become.



Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Announce Sandy Koufax Statue ]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2019 21:07:38 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Koufax_Getting_Statue.png

Move over Jackie Robinson, you're about to have company.

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced on Tuesday that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax would be forever honored by the team with a statue at Dodger Stadium.

The announcement came at the end of a star-studded press conference on the field. Dodgers' All-Stars Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, were all in attendance as was the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. 

Even Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred returned to Chavez Ravine for the unveiling of the 2020 All-Star Game Logo, and the announcement of a new $100 million renovation plan called Centerfield Plaza.

Koufax will be the second statue erected by the Dodgers overall, joining Jackie Robinson whose statue was unveiled in July of 2018. Koufax will be the first pitcher to receive a statue.

Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten announced that Robinson's statue would be moved from its current home in the Left Field Reserve section to the new Centerfield Plaza that is expected to be ready for Opening Day 2020.

The new Centerfield Plaza will have a "front door" entrance into the stadium, for the first time in the stadium's 53-year history. The Robinson and Koufax statues are expected to be on opposite sides of the front door, to "greet" fans as they enter the stadium.

Koufax, 83, played for the Dodgers from 1955 to 1966, and in the final five seasons of his career, was easily the most dominant pitcher in all of Major League Baseball.

From 1962-1966, Koufax led the National League in earned run average, won three Cy Young Awards, pitched four no-hitters, one perfect game, and was named the MVP in 1963. 

During that dynamite five-year run, the Dodgers won two World Series titles, and Koufax was named the World Series MVP in each of them.

Koufax shocked the baseball world in the winter of 1966 when he suddenly and abruptly announced his retirement from baseball, despite still pitching at the peak of his power. Koufax was just 30 years old at the time of his retirement.



Photo Credit: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Shaun White Won't Let the Absence of Snow Stop Him]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2019 17:04:47 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/shaun-white-nbcla-skateboard-olympics-2019.jpg

There is no doubt that when people hear of snowboarding legends one of the first names that comes to mind is Shaun White, the three-time Olympic gold medalist.

Although the 32-year-old is best known for his work and love of snowboarding, he is deciding to go back to what started it all, his first love: skateboarding

"It's funny I mean I've always considered myself just as much of a skateboarder as a snowboarder," White said.

Even though people are used to hearing about White's snowboarding accomplishments, there is something about skating that brings him the same joy.

"Something about skating, maybe I just love it more sometimes because I don't get to do it as much and my snowboarding career is really doing its thing," he said.

Hours after winning his third snowboard gold, White's mind was already shifting to skateboarding. While he was on his way to pick up his gold medal in South Korea, he had already made a call to find out about qualifications for the skateboarding segment of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"Yeah I remember being on the phone with my team, I was like, 'OK cool cool cool, so when is the qualifying?'" said White.

With skateboarding being one of five new sports added to next year's Olympics, not all of White's fellow skaters were as excited as he was. Reason being that the sport has always had a "rebel vibe" — something that some say doesn't quite fit the image of the Olympics.

"I just remember the same exact thing happened in snowboarding. There were a lot of people that were for it, and a lot of people against it," White said.

He added that he thinks the Olympics helped in making snowboarding more legitimate in the eyes of the world, and he sees how the same thing can happen with skateboarding.

The chairman of the board has won skateboarding gold at two X-Games but his first Olympic tuneup was a completely different type of skating. In his first competition in France he said he got annihilated, saying the loss opened his eyes.

"I didn't get the outcome I wanted, and you think I would be discouraged by that but I'm not," White said. "I'm actually the opposite — I'm going to enter a contest, it's a World Cup contest down in Brazil, and then I don't know, usually competitions sort of just spark that fire to compete. So we'll see what happens after that."

Many of his fans believe that if anyone can win in the skateboarding Olympics, it can be White. And although he hasn't decided how he will pursue America's first Olympic skateboard team, one thing is for sure: Don't count him out.

"Make it or not, I'm so happy that it's made it into the Olympics. Skateboarding is going to be an amazing addition," said White.

White will need a strong performance at the world championships in September in order to have a shot at making the Tokyo Olympics. But whether he makes the skateboard team or not, he thinks the competitive juices in him might just push him to go for a fourth snowboarding gold in 2022.

"I'm definitely at this tipping point so stay tuned. The next couple months it should get exciting," he said. 



Photo Credit: NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Malibu Skateboarder Hopes to Make History at 2020 Olympics]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2019 18:32:14 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tom+Schaar1.JPG

Born in Malibu, now 19-year-old Tom Schaar was a "mega-ramp kid," catching big air and doing skateboarding tricks at a young age.

At just 3 years old, his older brother John got him on a skateboard for the first time in his life. By age 4, his dad had him on a halfpipe.

It's clear that when it came to skateboarding Schaar was destined for greatness and clearly his passion and dedication for the sport has led him to achieve some of his wildest dreams.

"I mean, skating is — it's just the best sport, you can be so free with it," Schaar said. "You can go really fast and just kind of fly around, and that seemed pretty fun to me as a little kid."

At 12 years old, Schaar spun himself into history books as he became the first skater to ever land a 1080, a trick that consists of three full rotations in midair. At the time he felt like that was the best accomplishment of his life.

"That was pretty much a huge shock to me. I didn't really think it was going to happen," Schaar said.

Now he hopes to make history one more time as he looks to qualify for Team USA when skateboarding makes its Olympic debut next summer.

"It's the Olympics. It's a huge deal to me. I get to represent my country possibly, which is the biggest honor there is, really," Schaar said. "And, I mean, it is the Olympics and all, but I am trying to think about it just like it is another contest so I can, I don't know — so I don't freak myself out, I guess."

But despite the hype that comes with the Olympics, Schaar said the vibe in skate parks is as much about camaraderie as it is competition. He said skating is probably one of the few sports in which there really are no rivalries, and a sport where there is more support than hate.

"Your friend does a really great run and you clap and cheer and everyone roots everyone on," he said. "It's really great because you see someone land something really cool, and it makes you want to go do something really cool."

Although the Olympics can be quite intimidating, Schaar said skateboarding his whole life helped prepare him for whatever may lie ahead.

"You just are constantly getting beat up skating, so you just learn not to give up on something easy," he said. 



Photo Credit: Kenny Holmes ]]>
<![CDATA[No Coaches, No Clubs, No Frills. Skateboarding at Olympics]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2019 16:50:10 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/skateboard-oly-2019.PNG

With news of skateboarding being added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there's no question as to why skateboarders and fans alike are excited for the upcoming games — many of which attended the first U.S. Olympic qualifying event the "Dew Tour" in Long Beach.

Considering that skateboarding was born on the sidewalks of sunny Southern California, there is no doubt the sport will bring a new "vibe" to the Olympic Games next summer. That vibe that will include music, video art and maybe a more chill attitude toward competing.

"It was developed with no adult intervention. It was done not even with adult support," said President of USA Skateboarding, Gary Ream. "It was done truly with the heart on the streets and they created a lifestyle that became world class athletics."

Skateboarding being added to the Olympics means a lot to those in the skating world and some say it could mean a lot for the Olympics as well. Skateboarder Bryce Wettstein says "the idea of the Olympics is definitely so crazy."

Some say skateboarding could possibly bring a more friendly attitude towardcompeting. Wettstein expressed how although the Olympics bring about the competitive side in anyone, skateboarders have a different approach to competition.

"It's just another contest with our best friends and having fun and doing what we love," said Wettstein.

The Tokyo games will likely feature a lot of skaters with Southern California ties — one of which is the No. 1-ranked skater in the world, Nyjah Huston. Huston hails from Laguna Beach.

Also riding the rails, ramps and stairs in the street style is top-ranked U.S. skater Lacey Baker, originally from Covina. There's also top-ranked 15-year-old Brighton Zeuner from Encinitas, and Tom Schaar from Malibu, who at the age of 12 was the first skater to ever land a 1080 in a competition.

With no age requirement and no compulsory competition components, skateboarding hopes to preserve the creativity and renegade spirit that is the heart of skateboarding.

"Skateboarders didn't grow up having coaches or clubs or anything they belonged to. That's not how they got good at skateboarding. They got good at skateboarding because they found this thing that captured their imagination and they spent all their time learning how to get better," Wettstein said. "It's chasing that feeling of what you get — the freedom that you get from skateboarding."

See more intense skating on YouTube pages by Vans Park Series, Red Bull, Nike and Bryce Wettstein.



Photo Credit: NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Unveil Plans for a Renovated Stadium]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2019 19:30:45 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DodgersStadiumRev10.jpg

The Dodgers Tuesday unveiled plans for a $100 million renovation of Dodger Stadium that will provide a new center field plaza as well as elevators and bridges that will connect the outfield pavilions to the rest of the stadium.

"Dodger Stadium has always been and remains the most beautiful place ever built to play or watch the game of baseball, and these renovations will enhance every aspect of the fan experience with modern and family-friendly amenities," said Dodger President & CEO Stan Kasten. "This latest project continues to demonstrate ownership’s commitment to give a first-class experience to the best fans in baseball."

The project is expected to be complete in time for next season, the Los Angeles Times reported this morning. The announcement will be made during a news conference where the logo for the 2020 MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium is expected to be revealed.

Spread over two acres, the new center field plaza will include food establishments, a beer garden, two sports bars, a children's play area, and a space for live pregame and postgame music, according to The Times. Fans will be able to watch the game from above a new batter's eye in straight away center field and from standing positions that ring the seating areas.

"Maybe the most important thing that drove me and Janet [Marie Smith] during this process is when you’re sitting in your seat at Dodger Stadium, whether you’re on the field level or in the top deck, it’s going to look the same as it did before," Kasten said. "That Dodger Stadium view from foul pole to foul pole is just timeless and iconic and we didn’t want to change that. The bleachers, the palm trees and the San Gabriel Mountains, that is never changing as long as we’re around."

The entrance to the plaza will feature a Jackie Robinson statue, which will be relocated from the left-field reserve plaza. It will also serve as a permanent home for the "Legends of Dodger Baseball'' plaques. Don Newcombe, Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela comprised this year's inaugural class of "legends."



Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Dodgers
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<![CDATA[Surf Expert Predicts a Lot of Waves With 'a Little Punch' for 2020 Olympics]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2019 08:35:44 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1162674002.jpg

The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are about one year away, but preparation for the games begin now.

For surfers in Southern California, that means conquering the waves and knowing what to expect in Japan. Surf forecaster Kevin Wallis predicts waves in Tokyo will be like waves in Huntington Beach.

“It’s probably the most consistent, rideable, and competitive wave in Japan,” said Wallis.

Wallis predicts Olympic surfers can expect lots of waves with “a little punch to them.”

Wallis said databases allow him to monitor waves a year in advance and check the overall wave climate at the event site. Watch the video above to learn more about how he makes predictions.

“We have a database going back 40 years,” Wallis said. “Once we get a week or two out, we can start to look for storms that are going to develop near Japan. And those are the ones that are going to send waves or even typhoons for bigger waves.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Californians Aim to Represent in Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2019 09:59:44 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tokyo+City+Night+3.png

More than 11,000 athletes from around the world will gather in Tokyo to compete in next summer's Olympics — and, of those 11,000, California could see a record number of its athletes on the roster.

The Summer Olympics — already the world's largest stage for showcasing athletes' speed, strength, grit, and grace across disciplines — have added several extreme sports to the program.

Two of those new additions, skateboarding and surfing, hope to excite and inspire younger viewers. Athletes bringing their signature daring stunts and gravity-defying jumps to the Olympic stage could do just that.

"Skating is such a rad form of self-expression and creativity," said Lacey Baker, a seven-time X Games skateboard street medalist. "You have such a rad opportunity to be creative, and do something with no rules, so it's so beautiful."

Skateboarding and surfing may be nontraditional for the Olympics, but both sports have a deep history rooted in Southern California.

Malibu-born Tom Schaar, an X Games medalist who competes in both Skateboard Big Air and Park, said the possibility of competing in skateboarding at the Olympic level was "a huge deal" to him. 

Whether it's gymnastics or judo, track or trampoline, biking or badminton, NBCLA sports anchor Fred Roggin says passion is what motivates Olympic athletes.

"Many of the Olympic disciplines are passion driven. You're not compensated the way athletes in the major professional sports are," he said. "You're doing it for your love of the game."

NBCLA is tracking nearly 200 local athletes who may represent the United States in Tokyo next summer. 

"SoCal is always represented in an enormous way," Roggin said. 

There's Los Angeles-born Allyson Felix — with nine track medals under her belt — making a run for a fifth Olympics.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, the most decorated volleyball Olympian of all time, also boasts California roots.

California native Kim Rhode, who's already medaled in six consecutive Summer Olympics, is shooting for her seventh.

And the reigning gold medalists in women's water polo — the United States' women's water polo team — has already qualified to compete in 2020.

"We play with a lot of heart," said Maggie Steffens, the USA women's water polo captain. "It's fun, you know. We like to share the ball. We play as a team."

Over the next year, athletes who are hoping to make their very first Olympic Games will also step into the spotlight.

"The future's looking bright," said Michael Norman, a sprinter who currently holds the world record in the indoor 400 meter dash. "We just have to continue to stay focused on what we want to achieve as athletes."



Photo Credit: NBCUniversal]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Barbara Surfer Hopes to Make Olympic History]]>Wed, 24 Jul 2019 15:26:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2020-olympics-conner-coffin-surfing-july-23-2019.jpg

California is making a big splash as it prepares three Olympic hopefuls who are vying to compete in the first-ever surfing competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Team USA will be sending two men and two women to represent the country. Among the potential candidates is Santa Barbara native surfer Conner Coffin, 26, who is currently ranked 11th in the world.

"It's like being on the top of a roller coaster," Coffin said. "That anticipation and then feeling that drop and that speed -- It's such a sense of freedom, and that's what I love about it."

Coffin hopes to solidify his place in Olympic history by competing in surfing's debut at the Tokyo games next summer.

"What's great about surfing being in the Olympics is just sharing this culture that we all love so much with a bigger audience," Coffin said.

Coffin grew up in Santa Barbara with his younger brother Parker, who said there are no bad days when they get to go out to the ocean and ride some waves.

"He's really strategic and smart about where he turns, and he just has a knowledge for the ocean that most people don't have," Parker said.

A home video shows a five-year-old Coffin riding his first waves and literally falling into his passion.

"I just fell so in love with the sport. I was like, 'How can I do this all the time?'" he said.

Coffin said he enjoys the "zen" part of waiting for the right wave as well as the physical aspects of the sport.

"The way we surf, and like trying to do all the tricks and turns that we do, your hips take a beating," Coffin said. "All that rotation and power comes from your hips connecting with your cord down to your knees and ankles and toes, then to your board."

Coffin grew up on extreme sports. His favorite Olympic moment belongs to another season and a different kind of "boarder."

"When Red Gerard won the downhill slope style on the snowboard last year, that gave me full goosebumps," Coffin said.

The enthusiasm was returned by the gold medalist, who said he is a "massive" fan of Coffin's.

"I love his surfing, and I've been trying to learn surfing as well. I've been trying to pick it up. It's very hard, so it's really cool to hear him say that," Gerard said.

During the next few months, Coffin will be busy with Olympic qualifying events, but he keeps the intensity in check by thinking back to the wisdom and teachings offered to him by his grandfather.

"Just stay confident, and keep pushing," Coffin said. "The more I enjoy it, the more I'm grateful for what I'm doing."

If you want to check out more of Coffin's surfing, check out his Youtube channel.

The official team roster will be announced in December.



Photo Credit: NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[What Does Ruiz's Promotion Mean For Dodgers?]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2019 18:12:20 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Keibert+Ruiz+promotion.png

The Los Angeles Dodgers promoted top prospect Keibert Ruiz to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday and the move prompted many questions from fans. 

The Dodgers already had two catchers in Rocky Gale and Will Smith in Oklahoma City, and are flush at the position within the farm system.

Behind Smith and Ruiz, is 17-year-old Diego Cartaya and Connor Wong. Wong was promoted to Double-A Tulsa to replace Ruiz.

Sources told NBC LA that Ruiz's promotion was meant to showcase the 21-year-old switch-hitter, as his name has come up in trade talks recently. Ruiz impressed scouts in his first game at Oklahoma City, going 2-for-4 with a home run, a career-high four RBI, and two runs scored in his Triple-A debut on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Smith is expected to be called back up to the major leagues ahead of the Dodgers two-game Freeway series with the Anaheim Angels on Tuesday.

UPDATE: Smith was not called up to the Dodgers ahead of the Freeway Series with the Angels, and catcher Rocky Gale was outrighted to OKC, opening a 40-man roster spot. Gale is currently the third catcher in Triple-A, and Smith is still expected to be called back up soon.

Sources believe that the Dodgers are more willing to part with Ruiz in a trade than they are Smith, who the team believes is more major league ready.

After hitting two walk-off home runs in just nine games at the big league level, Smith is expected to be on the Dodgers Opening Day roster in 2020.

However, just because Ruiz has been promoted, and Smith is expected to be called back up to the big leagues, does not guarantee that one of them will be traded by the July 31 MLB trade deadline.

In order for the Dodgers to move Ruiz or Smith, they would have to be getting an All-Star caliber player in return.

There are the flashy names of course, like Felipe Vazquez, Brad Hand, Will Smith, and Kirby Yates. Each one an All-Star closer this season, and someone the Dodgers would be happy to pair with Kenley Jansen at the back end of the bullpen.

Then there's the list of second-tier relievers they've checked in on like Ken Giles, Mychal Givens, Shane Greene, Chris Martin, Jarlin Garcia, Scott Oberg, and Jake Diekman. It's likely the Dodgers would not be willing to trade Ruiz for one of these second-tier relievers, especially for a position that is so volatile.

Complicating matters is the 20 or so teams that are still within a handful of games of a playoff spot. Many teams are still uncertain if they will be buyers or sellers, and it's made the market much more murky than in previous years.

Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, has shown a penchant for being aggressive at the trade deadline in the past, but also a track record of holding on to the team's top prospects i.e. Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger, and Alex Verdugo.

This year could be different, as the Dodgers have the best record in baseball and a monster lead in the N.L. West. Their biggest weakness is the bullpen, and a solid setup man, plus a wipe-out lefty could be the difference in the Dodgers hoisting the World Series trophy this October instead of watching their opponents celebrate a championship at Chavez Ravine.

With less than 10 days remaining until the one-and-only trade deadline this year, things are certainly going to get exciting as we head into the weekend.



Photo Credit: Rob Tringali/MLB via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Private Funeral Held for Angels Pitcher Tyler Skaggs]]>Mon, 22 Jul 2019 15:42:30 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/skaggsusatsi.jpg

A private funeral service was held Monday for Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who was found dead in his hotel room earlier this month in Southlake, Texas.

Friends, family and Skaggs' teammates were among those attending the service at St. Monica's Catholic Church. Cameras were not permitted in the service, but Skaggs' wife Carli was among those speaking to the crowd.

"I will love you until my last breath, until we are together again," she said. "Miss you babe."

Skaggs, 27, was a native of Woodland Hills and a graduate of Santa Monica High School. He and Carli were married in December, and they had no children.

Skaggs was found dead in his Texas hotel room on July 1. A cause of death has not yet been released. Skaggs was one of the most popular players in the clubhouse and one of the Angels' most reliable pitchers this season, going 7-7 with a 4.29 ERA in 79 2/3 innings across 15 starts.

He was 28-38 with a 4.41 ERA during a seven- year career that was interrupted by the Tommy John surgery in 2014 and several other injuries.



Photo Credit: Jessica Kleinschmidt]]>
<![CDATA[Pujols, Trout Homer, Goodwin Hits 2 HRs as Angels Maul Mariners 9-3]]>Sun, 21 Jul 2019 17:01:08 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Mariners-July-21-2019.jpg

Resurgent slugger Albert Pujols and Mike Trout homered, Brian Goodwin connected twice and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 9-3 on Sunday.

Pujols sliced a second-inning solo drive into the right field seats for his 648th career homer.

The 39-year-old Pujols joined home run champ Barry Bonds and Hall of Famers Eddie Murray and Frank Robinson as the only players to tally at least 15 homers in each of their first 19 seasons.

Pujols drove in two runs and has 14 RBIs in his last eight games. He got two hits and moved past Paul Waner for 16th place on the career list 3,154.

Trout added to his AL-leading totals with his 32nd home run and 79th RBI, hitting a solo shot in the seventh.

Minor league call-up Dillon Peters (2-0) sent the Mariners to their eighth loss in nine games and 15th in the last 18. Peters, replacing the injured Andrew Heaney, pitched five scoreless innings and allowed four hits.

Seattle rookie Yusei Kikuchi (4-7) continued to struggle, giving up nine hits and seven runs in five innings. The Mariners are 0-3 in games in which Kikuchi and former Japanese high school classmate Shohei Ohtani have faced each other.

Kikuchi struck out Ohtani in the first and induced a groundout in the third before giving up a leadoff double to the designated hitter in the fifth. Ohtani scored on Justin Upton's double.

EDGAR'S BIG DAY

The Mariners opened T-Mobile Park early to allow fans to sit in the stands and watch Edgar Martinez's induction into the Hall of Fame. Several thousand watched on the stadium's big screen as Martinez gave his speech. He spent 18 years with the team, the only one he played for during his career.

Martinez saluted his native Puerto Rico, speaking in Spanish to fans there, his family and former manager Lou Piniella. He also gave shout-outs to a few former teammates who are now fellow Hall of Famers.

On Ken Griffey Jr.: "It was such a treat to look at that beautiful swing from the on-deck circle." And of Randy Johnson, he said, "I love that edge you gave our team."

MARINERS MOVES

Seattle acquired reliever Matt Magill from the Minnesota Twins for cash, the latest move in a season-long attempt to shore up the bullpen. Magill was designated for assignment on July 18.

The right-hander is expected to report to the team within the next day or two, manager Scott Servais said. He was 2-0 with a 4.45 ERA in 28 appearances, but has tailed off as the season progressed after a strong start. He arrives with a chance to earn a spot in a bullpen that's been ravaged by injuries and inconsistency.

"We've given an opportunity to a number of guys like this," Servais said. "Some have worked out great. And some haven't. it's just kind of where we're at."

The Mariners gave All-Star DH/1B Daniel Vogelbach a day off. Vogelbach has been dealing with a sore shoulder since the All-Star break, Servais said.

UP NEXT

Angels: RHP Felix Pena (7-3, 4.92 ERA) will start when the Angels travel to the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (10-8, 4.48) will start and is 5-2 since June 7 for the Mariners.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Walker Buehler Strikes Out 11 as Dodgers Sweep Marlins]]>Sun, 21 Jul 2019 16:54:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Walker-Buehler-Dodgers-Marlins-July-21-2019.jpg

The latest win for the major league-leading Los Angeles Dodgers was about as comfortable as they come.

Walker Buehler struck out 11 over seven innings and Los Angeles hit a trio of home runs to complete a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins with a 9-0 victory Sunday.

On an afternoon when slugger Cody Bellinger was rested, the Dodgers still were able to show off their power while getting yet another strong outing from one of three starters they sent to the All-Star Game.

Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock went deep as Los Angeles won for the sixth time in nine games since the All-Star break. Buehler recorded his third double-digit strikeout game this season during a decisive victory that took a tidy 2 hours, 41 minutes.

"It's always good to have a game like that to get everything moving going into the off day and get everybody a chance to get a rest," Muncy said. "We can feel good about things and get ready (for the Los Angeles Angels) on Tuesday."

Miami rookie Jordan Yamamoto not only lost for the first time in seven major league starts, but the home runs by Muncy and Pederson were the first ones he's allowed in his career. Yamamoto (4-1) had the third-longest winning streak to begin a career in Marlins history.

With little to no fastball command, Yamamoto unraveled early — but manager Don Mattingly was far from worried about his 23-year-old right-hander.

"Jordan is all right. He will be fine," Mattingly said. "He's a kid that is pretty good at self-evaluation, knowing that he just made mistakes with location. He'll be fine. He's a pretty unique kid with his demeanor and everything else."

One day after the Dodgers' bullpen blew a late 6-0 lead before the offense rallied, Buehler (9-1) took the heat off the relievers by giving up just five hits and no walks. Casey Sadler and Caleb Ferguson completed the shutout.

"He definitely has three, four elite pitches," Pederson said of Buehler. "When you can throw really hard, have elite pitches and command, it's a good recipe for success."

Buehler cruised after being staked to an early lead, although he already gave a glimpse of what kind of day it would be before the Dodgers even came to the plate for the first time. Buehler struck out the side in each of the first two innings.

In between, Muncy gave Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the first on his 25th home run. Yamamoto had gone six starts without being taken deep, just the fourth pitcher in Marlins history to make at least six starts without giving up a homer.

Pederson tagged him again two innings later, giving the Dodgers a 4-0 lead with a shot into the Marlins' bullpen in right field. It was Pederson's 23rd of the season and second in two games. He has three home runs since participating in the Home Run Derby during All-Star festivities this month.

Yamamoto also gave up an RBI double to Kiké Hernández in the fourth as the Dodgers built their advantage to 5-0. The right-hander allowed five runs and four hits over four innings with two walks and four strikeouts.

"It was very frustrating and it just kind of (stinks) that I couldn't give the team the best chance to win," Yamamoto said. "Just going out there and letting home runs happen, it's one of those things that I am just more (ticked) off at myself more than anything right now."

There was no matching Buehler, whose strikeout pace did slow somewhat on a day when he had complete control with his fastball. He got his 10th strikeout in the seventh when Neil Walker was called out looking. It was the right-hander's first game of at least 10 strikeouts since he fanned 16 Colorado Rockies on June 21.

"I think when you spin the fastball and can get some angle on it, it's going to help you out," Buehler said. "I think that is what I have been searching for and I found it a little today trying to drive the ball down and create that illusion where it stays up."

Pollock added an RBI single in the fifth and a three-run homer in the seventh off Tayron Guerrero. It was Pollock's sixth of the season.

DEFENSIVE SCRAMBLE

Already one of the most versatile teams in baseball, the Dodgers experimented on defense even more in a lopsided game.

Veteran catcher Russell Martin played third base in the ninth inning, the first time he's been there this season and the 51st time he's played the position in more than 1,600 career games. Third baseman Justin Turner moved to second for one inning, the first time he'd played there in four years.

Pederson, who has added time at first base to his outfield resume this season, was asked if there was any other infield spot still on his wish list.

"If you asked me that before I started playing first base, I would have a lot of them," the left-handed Pederson said with a smirk. "But now that I play infield, no, none of them."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas was not in the lineup after leaving Saturday's game with a right shoulder strain. The injury is not a long-term issue, according to Mattingly.

UP NEXT

Marlins: RHP Trevor Richards (3-11) opens a three-game series Monday at the Chicago White Sox. Richards has gone at least five innings in a career-best 12 consecutive games.

Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-6) returns to the rotation Tuesday in the opener of a two-game home series against the Angels. Maeda made a one-inning relief appearance Friday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Trout's 3-Run Homer Helps Angels Top Mariners 6-2]]>Sat, 20 Jul 2019 22:29:16 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mike-Trout-Angels-Mariners-July-20-2019.jpg

David Fletcher singled home the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning, Mike Trout followed with a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Angels took advantage of a big mistake on defense by Seattle to beat the Mariners 6-2 Saturday night.

Held without a baserunner until the ninth inning of a 10-0 loss Friday, the Angels bounced back and stopped a three-game skid.

With two outs in the ninth, the Mariners misplayed Luis Rengifo's popup into an infield single that left runners at the corners. Fletcher's single gave Los Angeles a 3-2 lead, and Trout connected off Roenis Elías (2-2) for his AL-leading 31st home run.

It was Rengifo who singled in the ninth Friday night for the Angels' only hit, ending Mike Leake's run at a perfect game.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Recover to Beat Marlins 10-6]]>Sat, 20 Jul 2019 22:17:41 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Matt-Beaty-Dodgers-Marlins-July-2019.jpg

Matt Beaty broke an eighth-inning tie with a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers recovered to beat the Miami Marlins 10-6 on Saturday night after blowing a six-run lead.

Beaty's drive to right-center on a changeup by Elieser Hernandez (1-4) bailed out the Dodgers' bullpen and defense. Los Angeles led 6-0 through six innings after Clayton Kershaw had a season-high 10 strikeouts and allowed only two hits. Joc Pederson and Justin Turner provided the early lift on offense with home runs before the Marlins rallied to tie.

Miami took advantage of a Los Angeles bullpen that has struggled in middle relief and benefited from a pair of errors in a five-run eighth. The Dodgers, who had three errors in the game, have committed 20 in July, which is the most in the majors.

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager dropped a foul ball by Curtis Granderson, which would have been the first out in the eighth. Instead, Granderson doubled to left.

Jorge Alfaro nearly had a grand slam but Alex Verdugo made a great catch at the base of the wall in right to keep it a sacrifice fly. Brian Anderson's two-run double brought the Marlins within 6-4 before they tied it on a throwing error by second baseman Enrique Hernandez, which allowed Anderson to score.

Starlin Castro started the Marlins' comeback in the seventh with a solo shot to left-center off JT Chargois.

Kershaw retired the first 10 Marlins he faced — seven via strikeout — before Martin Prado and Garrett Cooper got aboard with one-out singles in the fourth. Pedro Baez (5-2) got the win.

Pederson, who came into the game 4 for 22 since the All-Star break, hit a line-drive shot over the short wall in right off Sandy Alcantara to lead off the first.

Los Angeles added three in the fourth on Austin Barnes' two-run double and an RBI single by Kershaw. The next inning, Turner hit a solo shot over the wall in center and Max Muncy added an RBI double to make it 6-0.

After Beaty's home run, Russell Martin provided added insurance with an RBI single.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

The Dodgers improved to 39-12 at Dodger Stadium. That equals the 2017 team for best home start after 51 games in franchise history. It is also only the fourth time since 1969 that an NL team has won 39 or more through 51 home games.

FERNANDOMANIA FLASHBACK

Fernando Valenzuela was inducted into the "Legends of Dodger Baseball" before the game.

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES

Alcantara went five innings and allowed six runs on seven hits. ... Seager had three hits. ... Kershaw's 2.30 home ERA is eighth in the NL.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas was taken out during the fifth inning due to a strained right shoulder. ... RHP Pablo Lopez (right shoulder strain) threw a bullpen session Saturday in Jupiter, Florida. Manager Don Mattingly said he expects Lopez to throw two more bullpen sessions before making a couple of rehab appearances.

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (forearm strain) has started a throwing program with the possibility of returning sometime in September. ... LHP Scott Alexander, who is on the IL with left forearm inflammation, is also dealing with a nerve problem in his left thumb. Manager Dave Roberts said both should heal without surgery but there is no timetable on a return.

UP NEXT

Marlins: RHP Jordan Yamamoto (4-0, 1.59 ERA) faces the Dodgers for the first time. He is holding opponents to a .134 batting average, which is the lowest in the Majors since June 12.

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (8-1, 3.44 ERA) makes his third career start vs. the Marlins. He has no record and a 3.60 ERA.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fernando Valenzuela Inducted Into Legends of Dodger Baseball]]>Sat, 20 Jul 2019 20:32:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fernando-Valenzuela-Dodgers-July-2019.jpg

Fernando Valenzuela became the final inductee of the inaugural class of Legends of Dodger Baseball before Saturday's game against the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium.

The ceremony included appearances by Mike Scioscia, the Dodgers starting catcher when Valenzuela pitched for them; Mike Brito, the Dodger scout who discovered Valenzuela in 1979 when he was an 18-year-old pitching in the Mexican League; and longtime Dodger broadcaster Jaime Jarrin.

Valenzuela ignited what would be dubbed "Fernandomania" when he went 8-0 with five shutouts, seven complete games and an 0.50 ERA in his first eight starts as a 20-year-old rookie in 1981, baffling hitters with his screwball and becoming the only player to win the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season.

The Dodgers purchased Valenzuela's contract from Leones de Yucatan on July 6, 1979, and assigned him to their Class-A California League affiliate in Lodi.

Valenzuela was taught to throw a screwball by Dodger pitcher Bobby Castillo following the 1979 season. Armed with the new pitch, Valenzuela led the Texas League in strikeouts in 1980.

Valenzuela made his Dodger debut in 1980, not allowing an earned run in 17 2/3 innings in 10 relief appearances and posting a 2-0 record.

When Jerry Reuss pulled a leg muscle 24 hours before his scheduled opening day start in 1981 and Burt Hooton wasn't ready to fill in, Valenzuela became the Dodgers opening day starter, pitching a five-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory over the defending National League West champion Houston Astros.

Valenzuela was a six-time National League all-star, led the league in strikeouts in 1981 and victories in 1986. He pitched a no-hitter in 1990, his final season with the Dodgers.

Valenzuela was released by the Dodgers during spring training in 1991.

He continued to pitch in the majors through 1997 and in Mexico's winter league through 2006. He has been a Dodger broadcaster since 2003.

The team will induct legends on an annual basis in recognition of their impact on the franchise, both on and off the field. Inductees will receive a plaque honoring their Dodger achievements, which will also be on permanent display at Dodger Stadium.

The late Brooklyn Dodgers pitching great Don Newcombe was the first inductee, inducted before the April 27 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Retired first baseman Steve Garvey was the second, inducted before the June 1 game against the Philadelphia Phillies.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Manny Pacquiao beats Keith Thurman by split decision]]>Sat, 20 Jul 2019 23:32:33 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Manny+Pacquiao-July-20-2019.jpg

Manny Pacquiao knocked down Keith Thurman in the first round and persevered for an exciting split-decision victory Saturday night, adding a third straight win to his career resurgence after turning 40 years old.

Pacquiao (62-7-2) dropped his previously unbeaten opponent with a combination late in the first round, and the Pac-Man dominated the opening rounds with a combination of flair and power that recalled the incredible prime of the only eight-division champion in boxing history.

Thurman (29-1) showed remarkable tenacity in rallying through the middle rounds, repeatedly testing Pacquiao's chin with big shots.

Two judges scored the bout 115-112 for Pacquiao, while Glenn Feldman scored it 114-113 for Thurman. The Associated Press also scored it 115-112 for Pacquiao.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Give Up on Matt Harvey, Drop Pitcher From Roster]]>Fri, 19 Jul 2019 19:33:57 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19200063032782.jpg

The Los Angeles Angels gave up on their $11 million investment in Matt Harvey, designating the 30-year-old right-hander for assignment on Friday.

Harvey was 3-5 with a 7.09 ERA in 12 starts. He gave up six runs, seven hits and five walks over six innings in a 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

"The decision was made because we felt like it would increase our chance of winning games," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said after discussing the move with general manager Billy Eppler.

"Matt was a very well-liked teammate, a guy that everyone pulled for, including myself. But we're in the business of winning baseball games. In talking to Billy, we just felt like this was the best move to make in order to help us win games."

Once dubbed The Dark Knight, Harvey was among baseball's most dominant starters for a time with the New York Mets. He started the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field but hurt his elbow later that summer and never consistently regained his 98 mph fastball or his command following Tommy John surgery.

Harvey lost his spot in the Mets' rotation after four starts last year and had a 10.50 ERA in four relief appearances. When he refused to accept a minor league assignment, the Mets traded him to Cincinnati. Harvey went 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 24 starts for the Reds, became a free agent and signed with the Angels.

He did not pitch for Los Angeles between May 23 and July 13 because of a strained back, and his fastball velocity averaged 92 mph in the two starts after his return. He gave up 48 runs and 63 hits in 59 2/3 innings this season with 39 strikeouts and 29 walks.

"He's not throwing 97, but he's not throwing 89 either," Ausmus said. "He's got four pitches.

He's got the stuff to get major league hitters out. He just has to find a way to harness it."

Los Angeles called up right-hander Jaime Barria from Triple-A Salt Lake City before the series opener against the Mariners on Friday and hope he's ready for a larger role.

"Obviously we're going to need starting pitching," Ausmus said. "Hopefully he pitches well and grabs one of those spots."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Kyusung Gong/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Host Angels in Final Freeway Series of Season]]>Fri, 19 Jul 2019 13:51:11 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Dodgers+Host+Angels.png

The 2019 MLB All-Star Game is now in the rear view mirror, and the best team in baseball is heading back to Los Angeles for a five-game homestand after a winning road trip in Boston and Philadelphia.

The Dodgers begin the homestand on Friday night at Chavez Ravine where they will host the Miami Marlins for a three-game weekend series. The trio of games marks the 2019 return of former Dodger manager Don Mattingly.

Friday, July 19, 7:10 p.m. vs. Marlins

Friday's opener pins RHP Zac Gallen for Miami against All-Star Hyun-Jin Ryu for the Dodgers on Friday Night Fireworks Night presented by Denny's. DJ Severe will play music during the fireworks show in honor of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.

Saturday, July 20, 6:10 p.m. vs. Marlins

Fans will want to show up to the park on Saturday night as the Dodgers will induct pitcher Fernando Valenzuela into the "Legends of Dodger Baseball" during a pregame ceremony. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a limited edition Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead courtesy of San Manuel Casino.

Former Valenzuela teammate Mike Scioscia, the scout that discovered Valenzuela in Mexico, Mike Brito, and his current broadcast partner, Jaime Jarrin, will all be in attendance for the ceremony and unveiling of the plaque.

On the field RHP Sandy Alcantara will face All-Star Clayton Kershaw at 6:10PM PT.

Sunday, July 21, 1:10 p.m. vs. Marlins 

The finale of the three-game series with the Fish will take place on Sunday afternoon, and is highlighted by Cuban Heritage Day. There will be a Viva Los Dodgers pregame event in the parking lot at the old 76 Station at 11:00AM featuring Cuban music, food, games, and player/broadcaster autograph sessions.

Fans who purchase special event tickets at Dodgers.com/Events will receive a long-sleeved "Cuba Day" t-shirt. On the field, RHP Jordan Yamamoto will face RHP Walker Buehler in a matchup of hard-throwing young stars. After the game, kids are invited on to the field to run the bases.

  

Tuesday, July 23, 7:10 p.m. vs. Angels

After an off-day on Monday, the Dodgers will host the inner-city rival Angels in the final Freeway Series of the season. RHP Kenta Maeda is expected to start the opener on Tuesday as the Dodgers host new MLS soccer club, LAFC.

Players from the first-place team in the MLS will be honored before the game, and available for photographs in the right field plaza. Fans who purchase special event tickets at Dodgers.com/LAFC will receive a Dodgers and LAFC jersey.

Wednesday, July 24, 7:10 p.m. vs. Angels

The finale of the homestand on Wednesday will feature a pregame concert by Japanese musician MIYA VI. Women's Tennis Champion, Naomi Osaka, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in honor of Japan Night presented by TACOM.

Fans who purchase tickets at Dodgers.com/Events for Japan Night will receive a special Kenta Maeda Dodgers jersey in Japanese.

Have fun during the homestand and see you at the ballpark.



Photo Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Female BMX Riders Plan to Protest X-Games]]>Fri, 19 Jul 2019 16:37:06 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BMX_Female_Riders_Will_BoyCott_the_X-Games.jpg

BMX freestyle is a sport that's about to make history with its Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020.

Many of the riders are from Southern California like Angie Marino who is on track to send a very big message to the sports world.

She is one of 10 women BMX athletes invited to the X Games who will be a no-show in August, the I-Team has learned.

"We weren't trying to bash them by not attending the demo," Marino said.

She says the women BMX riders were asked to be part of a demonstration event and not compete like the men.

Over the last couple of years, the women riders, who come from Germany, Japan and New Zealand, have been given appearance fees of $1,000 at the X Games, she and other riders say.

Cash prizes for the men are reportedly at least $25,000.

"We've been accepted at all these other contests as an equal and we just want that same respect given back to us by the X Games," Marino said, pointing out events like the Van Pro Cup and UCI competitions offer pay and medals. Marino is sponsored by Vans.

Similar calls for parity and equity were literally chanted at the FIFA Womens World Cup, which Team USA won for the fourth straight year, and the Times Up Movement.

Marino, who is a member of Team USA in BMX Freestyle, says women riders are making their mark with a potential 259 million in reach after reviewing the social media accounts of top BMX women freestylers.

"I have more followers than a lot of the men do and there's other girls that have more than me so to say that we don't have an impact that there's no advertising that's totally false," she said.

Nina Buitrago, a professional BMX freestyle rider and member of Team USA for Tokyo 2020, has been riding for nearly two decades.

She says she worked since 2003 to get the X Games to have a medal event for Women BMX. She says she even collected hundreds of signatures of people who say they want to see women medal events and presented them to game officials.

"The time is now to look at what's happening in women's soccer and their demand for equal pay. We just want to compete," Buitrago said.

One of Marino's sponsors, Cult, a BMX bicycle manufacturer from Santa Ana, says it is standing by her and the three other riders they represent who decided not to go to the X Games this year. A post on its Instagram site says, "we stand by our women."

A spokesperson for the X Games says it is the first action sports competition to offer equal pay to men and women starting in 2007.

"Specific sports disciplines are reviewed and adjusted regularly based on many factors, including participation levels, competitive levels, relevance, programming needs, overall industry schedules and top-level athlete availability — to name a few," the statement said. "The X Games has featured a complement of sports disciplines — more than 100 in total over our 25-year history — that have continuously been evaluated and evolved.

"We've enjoyed having Women's BMX Park athletes at X Games in recent years, and unfortunately, women's BMX Park athletes declined to participate in a third-consecutive year of demos at X Games Minneapolis. We will, however, continue to monitor how the women's BMX landscape evolves for potential inclusion at future X Games events."

The folks at the X Games say at its winter events, both Ski and Snowboard Big Air medaled events (men's and women's) went away for years before returning to the X Games program and that Downhill Skateboarding twice had a demo on the Street Luge course in the early X Games events, but didn't become an actual X Games medaled sport.

"I think that the fact that the women in BMX have done demos, rather than compete at the summer X Games for at least 10 years is baffling to me," said Cindy Whitehead, a 2016 Skateboard Hall of Fame inductee and founder of Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word from Hermosa Beach. "These women are heading to the Olympics in 2020 and the IOC feels they are 'enough' but X Games doesn't?

"It's time for X Games to step up and offer them exactly what the men have — a chance to compete in front of the crowds, stand on a podium and have an X Games medal draped around their necks and the benefits and visibility that comes with it."

Added Marino: "I really hope that X Games will be willing to work with us for 2020 and moving forward and having a girls class and no more demos."



Photo Credit: Angie Marino]]>
<![CDATA[Young Man Tells Story of Him Going From Compton to Oxford]]>Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:15:58 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Young_Man_Tells_Story_of_Him_Going_From_Compton_to_Oxford.jpg

The young man wants to inspire others the way he was inspired by his mother. He has even written a book. Mario Solis reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, 2019.]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Unveil $100 Million Renovation Plan of Stadium]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2019 15:34:12 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DodgersStadiumRev1.jpgThe Dodgers Tuesday unveiled plans for a $100 million renovation of Dodger Stadium that will provide a new center field plaza as well as elevators and bridges that will connect the outfield pavilions to the rest of the stadium, along with other new fun additions for fans.

Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Dodgers ]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Trout Still Out, Angels Lose to Astros 11-2]]>Thu, 18 Jul 2019 00:29:14 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Angels-lose-to-Astros-July-2019.jpg

Southern California natives Gerrit Cole and Jake Marisnick had big games for the Houston Astros while playing in front of friends and family Wednesday night.

Cole struck out 11 over seven innings, Marisnick had three hits amid a chorus of boos and the Astros got back on track with an 11-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

"We played great. Gerrit did a good job of setting the intensity and was really dominant," manager AJ Hinch said. "I think coming back from the way this week and the past couple games have gone it was huge for us to look like ourselves again and control the game."

Marisnick is from nearby Riverside but has drawn the ire of Angels' fans this series after he ran over catcher Jonathan Lucroy in a home-plate collision July 7 in Houston. Marisnick was drilled between the shoulder blades by Angels reliever Noé Ramirez during the sixth inning of Tuesday's game, when the teams nearly came to blows.

Ramirez was suspended for three games but is appealing, and manager Brad Ausmus was given a one-game suspension that he served Wednesday. Bench coach Josh Paul filled in.

"He's been getting worn out by Angels fans behind the dugout this entire series, he's got worn out by some of their players and their manager in the press. Some of the criticism has been unfair and he has handled it first class," Cole said.

Marisnick has tried to stay above the fray though and is 5 for 7 in the past two games.

"I've had a chance the past couple nights to put some good at-bats together," he said. "My timing has been better and I've fine-tuned some things."

After having a team meeting following Tuesday's loss, the Astros played one of their better all-around games of the season.

Cole (10-5) — who grew up in Newport Beach — pitched one-run ball and extended his major league strikeout lead with his 11th double-digit strikeout game in 21 starts. Michael Brantley and George Springer went deep for the Astros, who had 12 hits the first five innings as every player in the lineup had at least one.

The outfield also came up with big plays defensively to rob Los Angeles of hits. Left fielder Josh Reddick threw a perfect strike to catcher Robinson Chirinos to get Andrelton Simmons at home to end the fifth inning.

"I think we're now in the second half and teams in our division are trying to hunt us," said Cole, who is 6-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his last 10 starts. "It's important that we work on the balance that we have between having fun and playing with an edge. This is how we want to play in the postseason."

Félix Peña struggled in his first outing since combining with Taylor Cole for a no-hitter last Friday. The right-hander surrendered a career-high eight runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time he had started a game and had not come in after an opener in 15 appearances.

"They jumped him early, and just carried the momentum throughout the game, said Paul of Peña. "They were patient and they got the pitches that they needed to hit hard and they hit them hard."

After Alex Bregman's double drove in Jose Altuve, Brantley took Peña's fastball over the wall in right for his 100th home run.

Houston led 6-0 after four innings before breaking it open in the fifth with five runs, including Springer's three-run homer to center off Luke Bard.

Dustin Garneau hit a solo shot off Cole in the fifth inning and added an RBI double in the ninth for the Angles, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES

Altuve had two hits, including a two-run double in the second. He is 11 for 24 with three doubles and seven RBIs in his last five games. ... Cole and Justin Verlander are the first pair of teammates in the AL to reach double-digit wins this season. ... Angels LF Justin Upton, who had two hits, has hits in 14 of 20 games since returning from the injured list.

TROUT STILL OUT

Angels star center fielder Mike Trout missed his third straight game due to a mildly strained right calf but could return for Thursday's series finale. Trout said he is feeling better but that it was better to rest for one more day.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: OF Yordan Alvarez, who has been bothered by left knee pain for the past three weeks, was held out of the lineup. The rookie had a nine-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday night.

Angels: IF Zack Cozart had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder Wednesday in Los Angeles.

UP NEXT

Astros: LHP Wade Miley (7-4, 3.32 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA in two previous starts at Angel Stadium.

Angels: RHP Matt Harvey (3-4, 6.88 ERA) allowed only one run in 5 2/3 innings on July 13 against Seattle. That was his first start since May 23, when he went on the injured list due to an upper back strain.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Toss 2-Hitter, Beat Phillies After Lengthy Rain Delay]]>Thu, 18 Jul 2019 00:20:50 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-beat-Phillies-after-Rain-Delay-July-2019.jpg

David Freese didn't want a long night to drag out even longer.

Freese hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning, six Dodgers pitchers combined on a two-hitter spanning a 2 hour, 37 minute rain delay, and Los Angeles completed a 7-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies early Thursday morning.

Justin Turner also homered, and A.J. Pollock and Kiké Hernandez drove in runs for the NL-West leading Dodgers, who improved their MLB-best record to 64-34 while remaining 14 games in front of Arizona.

Rain delayed the game in the top of the third, and the last out was recorded at 1:42 a.m. The teams are set to conclude the four-game series at 12:35 p.m. Thursday.

"Try not to go into extra innings tonight," Freese said. "Glad we got it in and got the W."

The Phillies didn't register a hit until Scott Kingery's bloop single to center in the sixth. Adam Haseley singled with one out in the ninth.

"The bullpen did a great job," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Philadelphia has lost four of six to remain 8 ½ games behind Atlanta in the NL East while falling a half-game behind Milwaukee for the second wild card.

"We don't have time to be disappointed," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "We have to be here early in the morning."

Kenta Maeda pitched two scoreless innings for Los Angeles but was pulled after the delay. Casey Sadler relieved Maeda and got two outs, and Julio Urías followed with 2 2/3 innings and was charged with two unearned runs. Pedro Baez (4-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings, Joe Kelly tossed a perfect eighth and Dylan Floro pitched a scoreless ninth.

"You manage the game like the playoffs," Roberts said. "Julio was the glue. It was a collective team win."

Los Angeles went ahead for good with two runs in the seventh. After Max Muncy started the frame with a single to right, Freese drove a fastball from Juan Nicasio (1-3) over the wall in right to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead.

"Just got the barrel out and caught it," Freese said.

Los Angeles went up by four runs in the eighth on Turner's two-run, pinch-hit drive to left off Austin Davis.

Phillies starter Nick Pivetta didn't give up a hit but surrendered a run while walking four and striking out four in 2 1/3 innings.

Urías helped himself with an RBI single in the sixth that put Los Angeles up 2-0.

Philadelphia got its runs in the sixth on Brad Miller's bases-loaded walk and Haseley's RBI groundout.

SLIP, SLIDE AND SLAMMER

A fan was chased down by security guards after running on the field and sliding on the wet infield tarp during the rain delay.

BROTHERLY LOVE

Two young Phillies fans shared a heartwarming moment in the fifth. A boy fetched a foul ball, then turned and handed it to another boy who had also been chasing it. The two then exchanged a big hug in the aisle.

NERIS SUSPENDED

Phillies closer Hector Neris has been suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing a pitch in the area of the head of Freese on Tuesday night. Neris is appealing the suspension.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Closer Kenley Jansen was not available after taking a grounder off his foot in the ninth inning Tuesday. Roberts said Jansen likely would be able to close in the series finale if needed. Roberts also said it's "a little bit tough to swallow" that Jansen changed his mind about the severity of a foot injury after blowing the save in Philadelphia's 9-8 victory. He told Roberts on the mound that he was good to stay in the game, but told reporters afterward that he should have been pulled.

Phillies: Philadelphia placed veteran OF Jay Bruce on the 10-day injured list with a strained right oblique and recalled OF Nick Williams from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Bruce was injured on a checked swing in the third inning on Tuesday. Williams went 0 for 3 with a strikeout and a walk. ... Jean Segura (heel contusion) and Maikel Franco (groin) were out of the starting lineup for the second straight night, but each popped out foul to first base while pinch-hitting.

UP NEXT

The teams close out their four-game series in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon with Dodgers RHP Ross Stripling (4-3, 3.65) opposing Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.63).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Beat Astros 7-2 for 5th Straight W]]>Wed, 17 Jul 2019 03:59:47 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Albert-Pujols-gets-curtain-call-in-St-Louis-June-2019.jpg

The Houston Astros expected the Angels to retaliate against Jake Marisnick in his first game versus Los Angeles since his violent home plate collision with catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

So while the pitch that hit Marisnick in the back in the sixth inning was no surprise, it still left manager AJ Hinch and his Astros profoundly steamed — even after Noe Ramirez insisted he hadn't done it on purpose. 

Albert Pujols hit a bases-clearing double during the Angels' six-run first inning, and Los Angeles remained unbeaten in five games since the All-Star break with a 7-2 victory over the Astros on Tuesday night.

But both teams were preoccupied by the moment when Ramirez (4-1) drilled Marisnick between the shoulder blades with a 1-1 pitch in the sixth. Players nearly came to blows moments later, and Hinch vaguely hinted at retaliation if Ramirez isn't punished by Major League Baseball.

"Wasn't everybody expecting something to happen to Jake tonight?" Hinch asked. "I mean, the entire industry was probably expecting it. Our guy got suspended for an unintentional act, and they got a free shot. I feel bad for players nowadays. There's a lot of gray area in what to do."

Marisnick ran over Lucroy while trying to score in Houston nine days ago, leaving Lucroy with a concussion and a broken nose. He is out for at least three more weeks.

Shortly after Ramirez hit Marisnick, a verbal confrontation broke out between Pujols and several Astros in the dugout, including Lance McCullers Jr. and Justin Verlander. Both benches and bullpens partially emptied, but there was no serious physical contact.

"Sometimes you can retaliate, like tonight," Hinch said. "They're going to get away with it, unless he gets suspended. Sometimes you can't, and you get thrown out of the game for backup sliders that hit guys. It's a confusing time. Either the players govern the players on the field like it's always been, or we legislate it to where none of this crap happens. They got a free shot at him with no warning, with no ejection. We'll see if there's discipline, and without discipline, there's not going to be any issue doing it the next time. So if retaliations are in, cool. We're well aware."

Marisnick, a native of nearby Riverside, likely isn't on board with that mentality. He noticeably tried to calm his teammates during the fracas, and he attempted to shrug off the heavy boos that greeted his every move at Angel Stadium.

"It's not what I want," said Marisnick, who had two hits. "It was an unfortunate play back in Houston. I feel terrible about it. To come here and have something like this go down, it (stinks). ... It was a little high, a little inside. There's unwritten rules in baseball, and I think as players we respect them. I think that's a question for him, if it was intentional or not. I'm not the one throwing the baseball."

Ramirez, one of the Angels' most effective relievers, repeatedly insisted the whole thing was a misunderstanding.

"I was just trying to sneak a fastball by him," he said. "I threw two sliders away. I think the scouting report on me is I might sneak a fastball in there after a couple off-speed pitches. I tried to sneak one by him in, and it just got away from me. ... They're a good team, so I wasn't trying to give them any sort of chance. They get a baserunner on, they're a pretty good team. They get a rally going pretty good. That's the last thing I was trying to do."

Hinch didn't believe Ramirez, and the manager also wasn't happy about the way it happened.

"I wish they would have handled it better," Hinch said. "It was too high. If they're going to hit guys, they need to hit guys the right way. They don't need to throw two ... sliders and then throw @ a guy at the neck level. That's not right. That's not the right way to do it, even if you're allowed to do it, which you apparently are nowadays."

Mike Trout missed his second straight game with a mildly strained right calf, but Shohei Ohtani and Luis Rengifo also drove in first-inning runs in Los Angeles' eighth victory in 11 games since the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Tyler White had three hits and an RBI in the Astros' fourth loss in six games. Their division lead over Oakland is down to 4½ games, matching their smallest advantage since May 9.

With another impressive victory while mourning Skaggs' death, the Angels (50-46) moved four games above .500 for the first time since June 2018, albeit while still in fourth place in the AL West. Los Angeles has scored 54 runs in its last six games.

MARKED MARISNICK

Marisnick was booed heavily from pregame introductions onward. He is currently appealing his two-game suspension for the collision.

"The fans were brutal over the dugout," Hinch said. "He was certainly the villain tonight. I think he handled himself well. He was actually the guy that was trying to calm the issue down whenever there was a bit of chirping."

BAD START

The Angels' first six batters reached base against Astros opener Héctor Rondón (3-2), who gave up six runs on five hits and a walk in just nine batters while failing to get out of the first.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: Trout hopes to return Wednesday. Brian Goodwin came off the injured list after missing nine games with a bruised wrist and went 2 for 4 while replacing Trout in center.

UP NEXT

Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.23 ERA), the Newport Beach native who graduated from nearby Orange Lutheran High School, pitches for Houston against an opener and Félix Peña (7-2, 4.32 ERA), who threw the final seven innings of the Angels' combined no-hitter last week.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bryce Harper Rallies Phillies Past Dodgers, 9-8]]>Tue, 16 Jul 2019 21:02:30 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-lose-to-Phillies-July-16-2019.jpg

Bryce Harper threw his helmet off rounding the bases, thrust his arms in the air and screamed while teammates stormed out of the dugout to mob him.

That's what Philadelphia has been waiting for from its $330 million man.

Harper hit a two-run double off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen with one out in the bottom of the ninth after pinch-hitter Matt Beaty hit a three-run homer off Phillies closer Hector Neris in the top half, rallying Philadelphia to a 9-8 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

"That's what baseball is all about," Harper said. "Against one of the best closers, it's always fun."

Pinch-hitter Andrew Knapp hit a double with one out after Adam Haseley's grounder hit off Jansen's right foot near the ankle and rolled to first base. Cesar Hernandez followed with a single and Scott Kingery's bloop single to center scored Knapp to get the Phillies within a run. Harper then ripped a ball to the gap that bounced off A.J. Pollock's glove and went to the wall to win it.

"That was a huge moment for Bryce," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "You could see how important that was for him."

The Phillies rebounded from a 16-2 loss in the opener of a four-game series against the two-time defending NL champions.

Cody Bellinger hit his major league-leading 34th homer and Max Muncy, A.J. Pollock and Joc Pederson also went deep for the Dodgers.

Harper hit a three-run homer and had five RBIs for the first time since April 19, 2017, at Atlanta. Brad Miller and Kingery also connected for the Phillies.

Ranger Suarez (1-0) got two outs for the win.

Neris was ejected after hitting pinch-hitter David Freese in the back with the next pitch after Beaty homered, and Kapler also was tossed.

Jansen (3-3) has four blown saves in 24 tries. He was limping in the clubhouse after the game.

"I should've come out of the game," Jansen said.

Kingery drove his 13th homer out to left to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the first. Muncy crushed his 25th homer on an 0-2 pitch in the second to tie it at 1.

After J.T. Realmuto reached on a throwing error on third baseman Justin Turner to start the Philadelphia's second, Miller hit a two-run shot.

Harper then blasted his 17th homer to deep center with two outs to make it 5-1.

Bellinger lined a two-run shot in the fourth and Pollock connected one batter later to cut it to 6-4. Pederson launched his 21st homer in the fifth.

STAT STORY

The Dodgers lost despite five players hitting homers for the second time in franchise history, according to STATS. The other time was May 14, 1961, against the Cubs.

STARTING TIME

Dodgers: Walker Buehler gave up six runs — two earned — and four hits in six innings.

Phillies: Vince Velasquez gave up five runs — four earned — and five hits, striking out seven in 4 2/3 innings.

BENCHED

Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco wasn't in the starting lineup because he didn't run hard down the line on a grounder to third bases with two outs and the bases loaded during Monday night's 16-2 loss. The throw was wide but Franco was still out.

Kapler wouldn't call it a "benching" and added Franco said he didn't run hard because of a groin injury, but his explanation made it clear it was disciplinary. Kapler hasn't sat a player for lack of hustle until now and has heard plenty of criticism from media and fans for not doing it.

"Taking a player out of the lineup in a punitive way is not my natural way of handling these type of situations," Kapler said. "In this particular situation, I thought it was critical to address in part because right after some of the other incidents that we've had."

Franco grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: LF Jay Bruce left in the third inning with a right oblique strain. ... SS Jean Segura didn't start because of a heel contusion. ... RHP Edubray Ramos was placed on the 10-day injury list with a right shoulder impingement and LHP Austin Davis recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... RHP Juan Nicasio was activated from the 10-day injured list and RHP Yacksel Ríos was optioned to Triple-A.

UP NEXT

RHP Kenta Maeda (7-6, 3.82 ERA) starts for the Dodgers and RHP Nick Pivetta (4-4, 5.81 ERA) goes for the Phillies on Wednesday night.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WNBA Suspends Sparks Riquna Williams 10 Games for Domestic Violence]]>Tue, 16 Jul 2019 15:30:08 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WNBA-Suspends-Riquana-Williams-Domestic-Violence-July-16-2019.jpg

Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams was suspended without pay by the WNBA on Tuesday for 10 games — nearly a third of the season — for a domestic violence incident.

Williams was arrested on April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.

The WNBA conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the league said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun. The WNBA also will require Williams to participate in counseling.

"As an organization, we abhor violence of any kind and specifically take domestic violence allegations very seriously," the Sparks said in a statement. "We will provide whatever resources we are allowed to help Riquna learn and grow from this unfortunate situation."

The suspension, which surpassed the seven games given to Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson in 2015 for their domestic violence arrests, will begin with Thursday's game against the Dallas Wings. It's not the longest in league history: The WNBA dismissed Rhonda Mapp, who also played for Los Angeles, in 2003 for violating its drug policy. Mapp never returned after being suspended by the league for two years.

According to an arrest report, Williams forced her way inside a Florida home and repeatedly struck Alkeria Davis in the head and pulled her hair on Dec. 6. Two men told Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies they spent 10 minutes trying to break up the fight. When they finally separated the women, the 28-year-old Williams grabbed a gun from her car, placed it on the trunk and pointed it at one man, saying "you'll get all 18" before speeding off, authorities said.

Davis said she and Williams had been together on and off for five years and had broken up a month earlier. She told authorities she thought Williams was jealous but had never been violent in the past.

Williams was booked on burglary and aggravated assault charges.

The Sparks signed her on May 15. The seventh-year player has started six games this season and is averaging 11.5 points. She had 23 points in Los Angeles' last game, an overtime win over Atlanta on Sunday.

Assuming she doesn't appeal, Williams would return for the Sparks' final eight games, starting against the Indiana Fever on Aug. 22.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pujols' 3 Hits, 3 RBIs Power Streaking Halos Past Astros 9-6]]>Tue, 16 Jul 2019 02:24:41 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Pujols-5-8-19.jpg

The Los Angeles Angels all acknowledge they're still mourning Tyler Skaggs' death, even if the relentless grind of the baseball schedule doesn't give them much time to do it.

Kevan Smith believes that pain contributes to the passion with which the Angels are climbing the standings without their teammate and friend.

Albert Pujols got three hits and drove in three runs, and the Angels remained unbeaten since the All-Star break with a 9-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday night.

Mike Trout didn't play due to a strained right calf, but Pujols picked up the slack with his first three-hit game since May 13 and the Angels took the series opener from the AL West leaders.

Andrelton Simmons also homered as Los Angeles rallied from an early three-run deficit and improved to 7-3 since Skaggs' death, including four straight home victories out of the break. The Angels (49-46) are three games above .500 for the first time since June 25, 2018.

"Skaggs is definitely smiling down on us right now," said Smith, who drove in three runs. "We're still grieving Skaggsy, and we miss him to death, but there's an incredible energy on this team. Everybody is just getting it done. We're just going out there and trying to have some fun."

Los Angeles even overcame a terrible start by rookie Griffin Canning, who walked six and threw four wild pitches while getting just four outs.

Five relievers combined for 7 2/3 resilient innings, with Taylor Cole throwing 3 1/3 innings of three-hit ball in his first appearance since combining with Félix Peña on their no-hitter in the Angels' cathartic 13-0 victory over Seattle last Friday. Justin Anderson (3-0) got the win, and Hansel Robles secured his 14th save.

"We don't really look at .500 as a goal," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "It's something you pass on the way to your goal."

Pujols had an RBI double in the fourth inning and a two-run single during the Angels' four-run fifth, and the 39-year-old slugger even scored twice with clever baserunning.

George Springer hit two homers for the Astros, who opened a four-game series with their third loss in five games.

Jose Altuve played shortstop for the first time in three years after a defensive switch in the late innings for the Astros, whose patchwork lineup hasn't hurt their cushion in the AL West yet.

"We had a lot of issues, from on the mound to throughout hitting, and to a couple of errors," Houston manager AJ Hinch said. "We had our opportunities, and we just didn't do much right."

Justin Upton and Pujols opened the fourth with doubles off Framber Valdez (3-6). Pujols eventually tagged up and scored on a sacrifice fly — no small feat for one of the slowest runners in baseball.

Valdez yielded six hits and seven runs — four earned — over four innings, failing to impress in his latest chance to secure a rotation spot.

"I feel disappointed right now," Valdez said through a translator. "It's not what I've been accustomed to. It's not what I did last year. You can't deny it's been tough."

Pujols came up with the bases loaded in the fifth and knocked a two-run single to right.

He singled again in the seventh, and then showed he still has wheels — or at least great baseball instincts. He went to third on Smith's double, and when Altuve bobbled the throw back to the infield, Pujols took off and slid home safely when Robinson Chirinos dropped the throw to the plate.

ROUGH START

Canning's last start was July 4, and the rookie looked profoundly rusty. Just 20 of his 50 pitches were strikes.

Canning issued four consecutive two-out walks in the first inning with one wild pitch included. After escaping that jam, he gave up two walks and two singles with three wild pitches in the second, his deliveries bouncing all around home plate while Smith frantically tried to stop them.

ALBERT AND THE ASTROS

Pujols' double was the 651st of his career, tying him with Honus Wagner for eighth place in baseball history. Nap Lajoie is next with 654.

Pujols' single gave him 160 career RBIs against Houston, passing Tony Perez for the most against the Astros in major league history. Pujols already leads every opponent with 59 homers against Houston.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz began rehab assignments with Triple-A Round Rock. Correa has been out since May 27 with a broken rib, but could return next week.

Angels: Trout left Sunday's game after two innings, but the two-time AL MVP said he didn't think the injury was serious. An MRI exam Monday revealed what the Angels called "a small strain in his right calf." Trout hopes to play Tuesday. "I wanted to be out there, but the training staff didn't think it was a good idea," he said.

UP NEXT

Andrew Heaney (1-3, 5.18 ERA) takes the mound for the Angels for the second time since the death of Skaggs, his best friend. Hinch said the Astros will call up a pitcher from the minors.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Malibu Swimmer Qualifies for 2020 Olympics]]>Mon, 15 Jul 2019 22:20:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Malibu-swimmer-Olympics-July-15-2019.jpg

Jordan Wilimovsky of Malibu qualified for the 2020 Olympics Monday with a fifth-place finish in the men's 10K open water race at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

In a race where the top 10 finishers in the field of 74 swimmers were assured of Olympic berths, Wilimovsky was 15th through three of six laps. He moved up to ninth through four laps and fifth entering the final lap.

Wilimovsky took the lead with 600 meters to go, but was passed by four swimmers. However, he still finished high enough to qualify for his second consecutive Olympics.

The 25-year-old Wilimovsky was timed in one hour, 48 minutes and one second. Florian Wellbrock of Germany won in 1:47:55.90.

The other American swimmer, David Heron of Mission Viejo, was 25th in 1:49:57.60.

"Usually, I try to hang back a little more, but this being an Olympic qualifier and everything, the first half of the race I went a little harder than I normally do just to make sure I was in a good position and be safe and be at the front the whole way," Wilimovsky said. "So I changed my strategy a little bit compared to what I normally do."

Wilimovsky said he was ``super stoked'' to qualify for the Olympics.

"Any time you get to represent the U.S. is super cool, so that's awesome," Wilimovsky said. "I definitely wanted to do better than fifth, but I've got a year to work on that, so overall I'm happy."

Wilimovsky won the men's 10-kilometer open water race at the 2015 FINA World Championships and finished third at the 2017 FINA World Championships. The world championships are conducted every two years by FINA, the international aquatics governing body.

Wilimovsky is the third American to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. USC alumnus Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell of Fayetteville, New York qualified Sunday with second- and sixth-place finishes in the women's 10K open water race.

Wilimovsky was fifth in the men's 10-kilometer open-water race and fourth in the 1,500-meter freestyle in the 2016 Olympics.

He is the only American to qualify for both open water and pool competition at the Olympic Games in the same year. Open water swimming has been part of the Olympics since 2008.

Wilimovsky is scheduled to swim the 800-meter and 1,500-meter freestyle next week at the FINA World Championships.

Wilimovsky graduated from Malibu High School in 2012, and completed his college swimming career at Northwestern in 2017.

He said he began swimming when he was 9 years old to qualify for the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Lifeguard Division's Junior Lifeguard Program, which required participants to swim 100 yards in one minute, 50 seconds.

He failed to meet that standard in his first attempt, then joined the swim team at the Palisades-Malibu YMCA in 2004 and qualified for the Junior Lifeguard Program.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cody Bellinger Hits 2 Homers, Dodgers Rout Phillies 16-2]]>Mon, 15 Jul 2019 19:50:10 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Dodgers-Bellinger-July-15-2019.jpg

Cody Bellinger hit his 32nd and 33rd homers, Clayton Kershaw struck out seven in six innings and the major league-leading Los Angeles Dodgers routed the Philadelphia Phillies 16-2 on Monday night.

Bellinger passed reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich for the MLB lead in homers and drew "M-V-P" chants from a large group of Dodgers fans who made the cross-country trip to Philly and nearly turned it into a home game for Los Angeles.

The vocal Dodgers faithful, sitting across several sections in the second deck in right field, taunted Bryce Harper by chanting "Over-rated!" and "Where is Harper?" after the slugger exited the game.

Kershaw (8-2) gave up one run and four hits and retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

Philadelphia's Zach Eflin (7-9) allowed seven runs and nine hits in six innings. After three relievers surrendered seven runs, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler made the call to his bench and brought in outfielder Roman Quinn with the bases loaded in the eighth.

Quinn retired Joc Pederson on a fly ball to left and allowed two runs in the ninth, though it would've been a clean inning if first baseman Rhys Hoskins ran to the bag after fielding Bellinger's grounder.

The Phillies are 15-24 since a 33-22 start.

After Kershaw pitched out of a bases-loaded jam for the second straight inning, the Dodgers scored six runs in the fourth.

Justin Turner started it with an RBI double. Max Muncy's checked-swing, infield hit drove in another run. Enrique Hernandez had an RBI single. Austin Barnes' suicide squeeze turned into a single because nobody was covering first base. Pederson's infield hit deflected off Eflin and drove in another run. Barnes then stole home on a double steal with Pederson taking second to make it 6-1.

Bellinger clubbed solo shots in the fifth and sixth for his 11th career multi-homer game and fourth this season. Muncy followed Bellinger with a solo shot in the sixth. Alex Verdugo hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Yacksel Rios, who was ejected for hitting Turner with his next pitch.

Scott Kingery ripped a solo drive to left to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead, snapping an 0-for-9 slump with his 12 homer.

Kershaw walked two batters in the second after walking only two batters in his previous three starts combined but Jay Bruce flied out to end the inning. Bruce struck out with the bases loaded in the third and Maikel Franco grounded out to end a 10-pitch at-bat.

ROSTER MOVE

The Dodgers recalled RHP Casey Sadler and designated LHP Zac Rosscup for assignment.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: INF/OF Chris Taylor was placed on the injured list with a fractured left forearm after being hit by a pitch Sunday against the Red Sox. Taylor led off in three of the previous four games. 1B/OF Matt Beaty was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take Taylor's roster spot.

UP NEXT

RHP Walker Buehler (8-1, 3.46 ERA) starts for the Dodgers and RHP Vince Velasquez (2-5, 4.63) goes for the Phillies.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Beat Red Sox, 7-4, in 12 Innings to Take Fenway Series]]>Sun, 14 Jul 2019 23:58:33 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Dodgers-beat-Red-Sox-July-14-2019.jpg

The World Series weekend rematch added a flashback to last fall's epic Game 3.

Max Muncy drew a bases-loaded walk and Alex Verdugo had an RBI single during a three-run 12th inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Boston Red Sox 7-4 early Monday morning in another late-night showdown of last year's pennant winners.

After playing 18 innings spanning 7 hours, 20 minutes in the third game of last year's Series, the teams needed 5:40 to decide this series finale. It was Los Angeles' third win in 14 tries (including World Series games) at Fenway Park.

"It was a grinder," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "You could see the way those guys played with their intensity and focus that they wanted this series. I thought it was very focused baseball and two equal ballclubs."

After avoiding the rematch talk most of the weekend, Roberts smiled and said: "I think we were just fortunate that (Nathan) Eovaldi wasn't in the building. Once I knew that he wasn't active, I felt a little bit better."

The Red Sox righty, currently on the injured list, went six innings on two days of rest last fall in the memorable 18-inning Los Angeles win.

"We know them pretty well from playing them in the World Series last year," Dodgers infielder Justin Turner said. "It's good to get a series from them."

Boosted by a large and loud contingent of Dodgers fans that were heard the entire weekend, Los Angeles took the final two of a three-game set against the defending champs and sent Boston to its first interleague series loss in Fenway since losing to the Chicago Cubs in 2014.

Boston rallied with back-to-back homers from Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez in the eighth against Pedro Báez but then stranded seven runners over the final four innings.

"Just one of those that we had our chances, we didn't take advantage of it, and then at the end they did what they did and scored some runs," Boston manager Alex Cora said.

Los Angeles' Joc Pederson opened the 12th with a walk against Hector Velázquez (1-4), and Cody Bellinger was awarded first base by the umpires when he collided with the pitcher as he was running down the line after first baseman Brock Holt bobbled his grounder. A.J. Pollock singled before Muncy drew his go-ahead walk. Verdugo then singled, making it 6-4. A third run came on Russell Martin's fielder's choice.

Dylan Floro (4-2) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the victory. Former Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly struck out the final two batters for his first save.

Pollock hit a short three-run homer down the right field line in the first inning against David Price and added an RBI single.

NL All-Star starter Hyun-Jin Ryu went seven solid innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, striking out six and walking one.

Wearing a small paw print on his cap in honor of his dog Astro, who died during the All-Star break, Price gave up four runs, one earned, in five innings, allowing four hits, striking out seven and walking three on a season-high 113 pitches.

"Whenever I have the opportunity to put somebody away, I haven't been able to do that the past two or three weeks, and it's really driven the pitch count up," Price said.

Pollock's homer sliced into the first row — estimated at 326 feet — just beyond the Pesky Pole. He was smiling rounding second, maybe about the short distance it traveled.

Boston scored twice in the first with three infield singles to short mixed into the five singles. Benintendi beat out a bases-loaded grounder that shortstop Chris Taylor made a diving stop on, and Bogaerts, originally on second, raced home for the second run when Taylor's throw bounced past first.

MONSTER CELEBRITY

Singer/actor Jennifer Lopez, the fiancée of ESPN analyst Alex Rodriguez, watched from the Green Monster seats behind the Sunday Night Baseball crew.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Roberts rested SS Corey Seager until he pinch hit in the 11th inning and stayed in. Roberts said he's planning on playing him the next three days in Philadelphia. ... Taylor was hit near the left wrist by a fastball by Heath Hembree and came out in the 12th. Roberts said he had X-Rays that were negative.

Red Sox: Placed knuckleballer Steven Wright on the 10-day injured list a day after he was hit on the right foot by Muncy's liner and added Andrew Cashner, acquired from Baltimore on Saturday for two minor leaguers, to the roster. ... 1B Mitch Moreland (strained right quadriceps) worked out and got treatment with the team.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 3.09 ERA) is slated to pitch the opener of a four-game series in Philadelphia. RHP Zack Eflin (7-8, 3.78) is scheduled for the Phillies.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (6-7, 5.33) is set to start the first of a four-game set in Fenway against Toronto RHP Trent Thornton (3-6, 4.85).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Vault: Living the Dream]]>Sun, 14 Jul 2019 21:20:44 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/VAULT_ROGGIN_ALL_STAR_1200x675_1570781763931.jpg

Ever dream of playing in baseball's All-Star game. Fred Roggin got a chance to live out my dream at Dodger Stadium back in 1981.]]>
<![CDATA[Rookie Thaiss Helps Angels Complete Sweep of Mariners]]>Sun, 14 Jul 2019 17:39:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1162043381.jpg

Rookie Matt Thaiss hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels completed a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a 6-3 victory on Sunday.

Mike Trout left the game before the third inning due to right calf tightness, but the Angels (48-46) kept rolling two days after their cathartic no-hit victory in their first home game since the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

After Kole Calhoun walked and went to third on pinch-hitter Justin Bour's two-out single off Anthony Bass (1-3), Thaiss connected off Seattle's Roenis Elias for his first career homer.

The rookie's blast barely cleared the fence in right, but it sent the Angels to their sixth win in nine games since Skaggs' death.

Thaiss, the Angels' first-round pick in 2016, was playing in just his fifth big-league game. He followed up his stellar defensive play at third base during the Angels' no-hitter with the second and third hits of his big-league career Sunday.

Calhoun hit his 21st homer for the Angels and Shohei Ohtani got his 100th major league RBI with a game-tying sacrifice fly for the Angels, who also tagged out three Mariners at the plate.

Domingo Santana and Austin Nola hit early homers off Angels rookie José Suarez for the Mariners, who have lost seven of eight.

Ty Buttrey (5-4) pitched the eighth, and Hansel Robles finished for his 13th save.

Seattle starter Yusei Kikuchi yielded just two hits, but the Japanese left-hander also walked four and couldn't get an out in the fifth inning. Ohtani walked and struck out in his latest meeting with his fellow product of Hanamaki Higashi High School in Japan.

Suarez pitched seven-hit ball through 4 1/3 innings in his seventh career start and left trailing 3-1.

Andrelton Simmons drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth in his first plate appearance after replacing Trout in the lineup. Ohtani followed with a long fly that gave him 100 RBIs in 160 games with the Angels.

Trout's incredible recent success at the plate was interrupted when he played just two innings in the series finale. The All-Star lined out to first in his only plate appearance, and he didn't emerge from the dugout to start the third.

The two-time AL MVP had eight homers and 18 RBIs in his previous seven games, becoming just the sixth player in AL history to reach those totals in a seven-game span. He homered in each of this series' first two games, including a first-pitch blast in the Angels' no-hit victory Friday.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Sam Tuivailala will make at least one more appearance for Triple-A Tacoma before he returns from a torn Achilles tendon that has kept him out of the majors since last August.

Angels: C Jonathan Lucroy is expected to be out for about three weeks after he has surgery Tuesday on the fourth broken nose of his career. Lucroy also incurred his third diagnosed concussion in a collision with Houston's Jake Marisnick before the All-Star break. ... OF Brian Goodwin could return Monday from a bruised right wrist.

UP NEXT

Mariners: After a day off, Marco Gonzales (10-7, 4.24 ERA) will go after his sixth win in seven impressive starts since June 7 when Seattle opens a road series against Oakland and Daniel Mengden (4-2, 4.73).

Angels: Rookie Griffin Canning (3-4, 4.43 ERA) gets his first look at the AL West-leading Houston Astros, who visit the Big A for a four-game series.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trout, Pujols Power Angels to 9-2 Victory Over Mariners]]>Sat, 13 Jul 2019 22:00:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Pujols-Angels-Mariners-July-13-2019.jpg

Mike Trout hit a two-run home run, Albert Pujols had four RBIs and the Los Angeles Angels followed up a no-hitter with a 9-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

Kole Calhoun also homered and David Fletcher added two RBIs for the Angels, who have won their first two home games since the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who would have turned 28 Saturday.

Before the game, the Angels placed the ball from the final out of their combined no-hitter on Friday in Skaggs' locker.

Angels reliever Noe Ramirez used his hat to catch Trout's 30th home run of the season, a 409-foot shot into the bullpen in left field in the third inning that pushed the lead to 5-0. Trout broke his own team record for fewest games needed to hit 30 homers, reaching the mark in 93 games, compared to the 98 games he needed in 2015.

Matt Harvey (3-4) gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings after being activated off the injured list earlier on Saturday. Harvey had not started since May 23 against Minnesota because of a back strain.

Wade LeBlanc (5-3) allowed six runs on 10 hits in four innings to end a stretch of eight consecutive appearances without taking the loss.

Pujols got the Angels on the board in the second inning with a ground ball through the gap at first that scored Andrelton Simmons. Calhoun followed with his 20th homer of the season, a line drive to center field that made it 2-0.

The Mariners got in gear in the sixth inning, when Mallex Smith tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by J.P. Crawford, cutting the deficit to 6-1. Tim Beckham had an RBI single to center in the seventh to make it 6-2.

Pujols hit a three-run shot in the seventh inning. It was his 647th homer and moved him within three of Willie Mays for fifth place on the career list.

ROSTER MOVE

The Angels designated OF Jarrett Parker for assignment, with Harvey coming off the injured list. Parker went 0 for 12 with three walks in five games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: OF Braden Bishop has been cleared to resume physical activity after undergoing surgery to repair a lacerated spleen on June 5. "He's probably a long ways away from game action, but he'll start doing real workouts and stuff like that," manager Scott Servais said. ... INF Ryon Healy (back) has resumed baseball activities. Healy has not played since May 20 because of spinal stenosis.

Angels: RHP JC Ramírez (elbow) will make at least one more start at Triple-A Salt Lake, manager Brad Ausmus said. Ramírez had Tommy John surgery in April 2018. ... RHP Keynan Middleton (elbow) will move his rehab assignment to Triple-A on Monday. Middleton had Tommy John surgery in May 2018.

UP NEXT

Mariners LHP Yusei Kikuchi (4-6, 4.94 ERA) has allowed at least four earned runs in each of his three starts against the Angels, giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings during a 12-3 loss in Anaheim on June 8. The Angels are looking for LHP José Suarez (2-1, 5.40) to bounce back after going just 3 1/3 innings at Houston on Sunday, his shortest outing in six starts.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Snap Losing Streak, Pummel Red Sox 11-2 at Fenway]]>Sat, 13 Jul 2019 20:20:20 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-beat-Red-Sox-July-13-2019.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers had lost seven straight at Fenway Park, including Games 1 and 2 of the World Series last October.

That's nothing, at least to Chris Sale.

The Red Sox left-hander has not won a regular-season game in Boston in more than a year, a slump that continued on Saturday night when he left in the fifth inning with a four-run deficit and the Dodgers went on to beat the Red Sox 11-2.

"I've got no other excuses. I'm just not getting it done," said Sale, who allowed five or more runs for the third straight outing — a career first. "Nobody else to blame."

Justin Turner had three extra-base hits, two of them off Sale, and Cody Bellinger moved into a tie for the major league lead with his 31st homer — one of four hit by the Dodgers to snap a four-game losing streak. Los Angeles had lost seven straight at Fenway and fell to 1-11 all-time there after dropping the series opener on Friday night.

Sale (3-9) knows how they feel, going 0-3 in 13 regular-season starts in Boston since his last win at home on July 11, 2018.

"Going out there every fifth day and getting my (butt) kicked ... it's not fun," said Sale, who made the All-Star Game and finished in the top six of the Cy Young voting in each of the last seven seasons. "I'm still working, still grinding. I'm not going to give up. It's tough going out there every day and being a liability to your team."

Sale allowed five runs on seven hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out seven. He gave up Turner's leadoff homer in the third that made it 2-0 and then an RBI double to start the scoring in the Dodgers' three-run fifth inning.

"He's one of the best pitchers in the big leagues and this is on us — the coaching staff — to get it right," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "We've got to get him the right place. We'll look hard the next four days and he'll be out there on Thursday ready to go.

"We need him. We know that."

Ross Stripling (4-3) allowed one run — Xander Bogaerts' 19th homer — on four hits, striking out seven to snap Boston's five-game winning streak. Bellinger, who turned 24 on Saturday, and A.J. Pollock hit back-to-back homers off knuckleballer Steven Wright in the seventh for the Dodgers, who lead the majors with 61 victories.

The next batter, Max Muncy, lined one off Wright's foot to knock him out of the game.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

The large and vocal Los Angeles contingent in the crowd out-cheered the Red Sox fans for much of the game. By the time Dodgers left the field after the game, almost all of the fans who had remained were rooting for the visitors and they serenaded Bellinger with an "M-V-P!" chant.

OLD FRIENDS

Ex-Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly reliever Stripling to start the sixth with a 5-1 lead and gave up a flare single to Bogaerts that brought in one run. With two on, he threw an extremely high wild pitch to put runners on second and third, then worked a full count to Christian Vázquez.

Vázquez fouled off a pair of pitches before fanning on a 99 mph fastball to end the inning.

CATCHING FLAK

With Sale pitching to his regular catcher Sandy León, Cora put Vázquez at first base to keep his bat in the lineup. He had a tough time.

In the fourth inning, Corey Seager hit a sharp grounder to first and Vázquez wheeled to throw to second to get the lead runner. The relay from Bogaerts at shortstop came back to first, where second baseman Brock Holt was covering.

Vázquez, who was in the area but a step or more away from the bag, nabbed the throw, but needed a second before realizing he had to hustle to tag the base before Seager got there.

There was no damage done, but that wasn't the case in the Dodgers' four-run eighth. With Muncy on first, Seager hit a slow roller back to the mound for the 1-3 putout; Muncy headed to third, which was uncovered because of the shift.

Vázquez threw behind third baseman Rafael Devers as he raced to the bag, the ball went into left and Muncy scored to make it 8-2.

"With this club, you've got to continue to push on," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "They're so offensive, anything can happen. It's a credit to our offense. We didn't give them an opportunity to come back into the game."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Roberts said LHP Scott Alexander is still not ready to return from left forearm inflammation. He wasn't on the injured list June 11 and remains in Arizona. "This has taken longer than expected," Roberts said.

Red Sox: 1B Mitch Moreland (right quadriceps strain, June 8) was "a little bit tight," Cora, and did not play in his rehab assignment on Friday. He's now scheduled to make an appearance for Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday. ... RHP Nathan Eovaldi (loose body, right elbow) was scheduled to pitch to live batters on Monday.

UP NEXT

The teams complete their three-game series on Sunday night, with Red Sox lefty David Price (7-2) facing All-Star Game starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-2).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[On His Birthday, Angels Put No-Hitter Ball in Skaggs' Locker]]>Mon, 15 Jul 2019 05:36:52 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Tyler-Skaggs-No-Hitter-July-2019.jpg

The shrine that has become Tyler Skaggs' locker in the Los Angeles clubhouse had a new addition Saturday — the ball from the final out of the no-hitter the Angels pitched while wearing their late teammate's jersey.

As they prepared to face Seattle on what would have been Skaggs' 28th birthday, the Angels were still trying to take in everything that transpired a day earlier in a remarkable 13-0 victory.

Taylor Cole started with two perfect innings and Félix Peña held the Mariners hitless the rest of the way in the Angels' first home game since Skaggs was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Texas on July 1.

Cole was wearing a T-shirt with Skaggs' catchphrase — "We're Nasty" — in the clubhouse before the game. He said he was still hyped up after the win.

"I feel great to have been a part of history and helping this city cope a little bit," he said. "When you can comfort and help people heal, and help people realize that there is something more to this than baseball, everybody is going to be OK."

Catcher Dustin Garneau said he still had over 100 text messages on his phone that he hadn't had a chance to look at after being behind the plate.

"Honestly, it was what we needed and hopefully what his family needed to where it kind of gives them some solace. For us it brought us all together," he said. "After the game we were all sitting at our lockers and were still in shock. It was really cool to see it happen."

It was the first combined no-hitter thrown in a game in California since July 13, 1991, which was the day Skaggs was born. That wasn't the only numerological coincidence. The Angels scored seven runs in the first and finished with 13 for the game — 7/13, like his birthday.

Mike Trout's first-inning home run traveled 454 feet, matching Skaggs' No. 45 jersey.

"I've seen all the numbers that surrounded the game. It's pretty remarkable," manager Brad Ausmus said. "You don't know if you really could even script it. You'd have to have a wild imagination to script that."

The Angels went back to wearing their regular jerseys on Saturday, but Skaggs' red No. 45 was still hanging in the third-base dugout. The makeshift memorial of flowers and other tokens of remembrance were still outside the home plate gate at Angels Stadium. A short video remembering Skaggs' birthday was played midway thru the first inning.

While Friday's game was emotional, starting with Skaggs' mother Debbie throwing out the first pitch, many of the players said it provided them with a sense of normalcy. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons said it was the first time he had slept well since Skaggs' death.

"It was very comforting from the last couple weeks," he said. "Every once in a while you try to move on, try to move past the fact. It is still difficult at times but you have to."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: MediaNews Group via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Do the Improbable With Skaggs on Their Minds]]>Sat, 13 Jul 2019 02:20:47 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1155364619.jpg

The Los Angeles Angels all put on Tyler Skaggs' No. 45 jerseys and stood solemnly on the field while his mother, Debbie, delivered a heartbreakingly perfect strike on the first pitch.

The Angels then proceeded to play their heavy hearts out in their first home game since their beloved pitcher's death.

Two Angels pitchers combined to throw the 11th no-hitter in franchise history, and Mike Trout drove in six runs in a stunning 13-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

On the day before what would have been Skaggs' 28th birthday, these astonishing Angels played a practically perfect game with his memory in their minds.

"Tonight was in honor of him," Trout said. "He was definitely looking over us tonight. He's probably up there saying we're nasty. What an unbelievable game to be a part of. I'm speechless. This is the best way possible to honor him tonight. It was pretty crazy."

This tribute ended up exceeding all logic and expectation. Still reeling from the loss of their left-handed starter early last week in Texas, the Angels somehow excelled in every aspect of the game while wearing replicas of Skaggs' red jersey.

The Angels scored seven runs on eight hits in the first inning alone, with Trout delivering a two-run homer and a two-run double. Taylor Cole opened with two perfect innings before Félix Peña came on for seven more, allowing only a fifth-inning walk in the performance of his life.

After the final out, the Angels celebrated on the field before pulling off their No. 45 jerseys and laying them all on the mound. They stood in a reverential circle around the shirts, which nearly covered every inch of the dirt.

Before the game, Skaggs' presence was strong in Anaheim.

"He's still a part of the team, even though he's not here," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said before the game.

His jersey hung in his untouched locker in the clubhouse, his pristine cleats and gloves ready for a ballgame. The big stereo system in the room's center is silent because the affable left-hander who controlled the Angels' musical choices is no longer here. 

And on the far wall of the clubhouse, two photos of Skaggs now flank his competitive catchphrase printed in tall letters: "WE'RE NASTY."

"He's the life of the team, honestly," said infielder Zack Cozart, Skaggs' teammate for the past two seasons. "We're family in here. We're around each other all day, every day. You just hurt so much for Tyler's family. ... It's so sudden and so tragic. Forty-five will always be in my mind. That's how it's always going to be for all of us."

The baseball season's relentless pace forces the Angels to heal while they play, and they went back to work after a somber All-Star break during which Skaggs was honored at the game in Cleveland.

"In some respects, sometimes keeping busy can help," Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. "I don't really know if that's the right way to go about it, because you do need to grieve. Everybody has those moments, personal to them. I've had a couple of those myself. But for a lot of us, seeing each other again is nice."

During a poignant pregame ceremony, both teams lined the basepaths as Skaggs' family took the mound led by Debbie Skaggs, the longtime softball coach at Santa Monica High School.

Debbie Skaggs threw a brisk strike to Andrew Heaney, Skaggs' best friend and fellow Angels rotation member.

The Angels then battered Seattle starter Mike Leake in a surreal seven-run, eight-hit first inning highlighted by Trout, who has been relentless at the plate ever since Skaggs' death.

Trout crushed a 454-foot, two-run homer to left-center on the first pitch he saw from Leake. The two-time AL MVP appeared to look toward Skaggs' family in the stands as he crossed the plate after an unusually long home run trot.

Cole also opened flawlessly on the mound. The reliever pounded his chest and pointed at the sky when Kole Calhoun caught the final out of the second.

While the Angels eventually will settle into the rhythms of the season, Skaggs' presence will be felt throughout the stadium, from his intact locker to the large likeness of the well-liked pitcher now displayed prominently on the center field wall.

A memorial created by fans in front of the Big A's main entrance has grown to the size of a pitcher's mound, with hats, signs and baseballs and other Angels memorabilia delivered to the stadium by heartbroken fans over the past 10 days. Most of the Angels saw the memorial in person for the first time when they returned from a difficult road trip and the ensuing All-Star break.

"I think guys will become emotional again, because it is still very fresh," Ausmus said. "That's fine. We're human beings. There's nothing wrong with that."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Diomande Scores Twice, LAFC Hands Dynamo 1st Home Loss]]>Fri, 12 Jul 2019 20:55:53 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1001498770.jpg

Adama Diomande scored twice off assists from Lee Nguyen and Los Angeles FC handed the Houston Dynamo their first home loss of the season, 3-1 on Friday night.

Los Angeles (14-2-4) has won five of its last six games. Houston (8-8-3) has just one win in its last eight matches. Diomande tied it at 1 in first-half stoppage time on a towering header of Nguyen's cross to the far post.

Nguyen drew the defense on a fake shot near the penalty spot and found Diomande open at the corner of the 6-yard box in the 49th. Diego Rossi capped the scoring in the 88th on a breakaway for his 11th goal of the season.

Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the third minute with an individual effort to create space for a deflected shot past Tyler Miller.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Shaun Clark/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers and Red Sox Ready For World Series Rematch]]>Fri, 12 Jul 2019 14:12:51 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/Dodgers+Red+Sox+Rematch.png

Let's run it back.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox are two of the best teams in baseball, and they will once again reunite at Fenway Park this weekend for a World Series rematch.

Fresh off facing each other in the MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. Managers Dave Roberts and Alex Cora will once again be in opposite dugouts making chess moves against one another.

Both teams got off to different starts in 2019 after meeting in the Fall Classic last October.

The Dodgers are off to a blistering first half. Holders of the best record in baseball, they are 60-32 and in first place in the N.L. West Division.

The Red Sox struggled to start the season, perhaps a World Series hangover after defeating the Dodgers in five games to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy. However, their struggles could aslo be due to a broken bullpen that saw many of its mainstays leave in free agency during the offseason.

"We're a lot better than this," Cora told reporters during All-Star Game Media Day. "We are. We need to get better. We need to get better. There's a few things here that, although we finished strong and all that, they know it. They know it asa group. We have to be ready for Friday, and then we play 34 in 34 days after that, and we start with the Dodgers right away. It should be fun over the weekend. But I think we can be a lot better than this."

After a tough April and May, the Red Sox are surging again, winners of five of their last six, they are currently 49-41, and in third place in the N.L. East.

The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball at bashing right-handed pitching, but they are expected to face three consecutive lefties in Boston.

Friday's pitching matchup is RHP Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.76 ERA) against Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-4, 4.65 ERA).

Saturday's matchup is expected to be Dodgers' RHP Ross Stripling (3-3, 3.79 ERA) against Chris Sale (3-8, 4.04 ERA).

Sunday's finale is All-Star Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-2, 1.73 ERA) against LHP David Price (7-2, 3.24 ERA).

"It's crunch time for us right now," Price told reporters before the break in Boston. "Enjoy these next four days and come back and ready to play against whoever we're playing against. The Dodgers. All Right." 

The World Series rematch marks the return of reliever Joe Kelly back to Boston since pitching in Game 2 at Fenway Park during the Fall Classic. The Southern California native signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Dodgers in the offseason.

The Dodgers are expected to get a boost back in their lineup as shortstop Corey Seager and center fielder A.J. Pollock have both been activated off the injured list and are in the starting lineup for the opener on Friday.

Here are the scheduled first pitch times for the weekend series:

Friday, July 12, 4:10PM PT
Saturday, July 13 4:15PM PT
Sunday, July 15 4:08PM PT



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grieving Angels Return for 1st Home Game Since Skaggs' Death]]>Fri, 12 Jul 2019 20:34:53 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19194031260510.jpg

Tyler Skaggs' jersey hangs in his untouched locker in the Los Angeles Angels' clubhouse, his pristine cleats and gloves ready for a ballgame. The big stereo system in the room's center is silent because the affable left-hander who controlled the Angels' musical choices is no longer here.

And on the far wall of the clubhouse, two photos of Skaggs now flank his competitive catchphrase printed in tall letters: "WE'RE NASTY."

The pitcher's grieving teammates returned to Angel Stadium on Friday night for the first time since Skaggs was found in his hotel room in Texas nearly two weeks ago. On the day before what would have been Skaggs' 28th birthday, every Los Angeles player wore Skaggs' No. 45 jersey as they faced the Seattle Mariners.

"He's still a part of the team, even though he's not here," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. During a poignant pregame ceremony, both teams lined the basepaths as Skaggs' family took the mound led by his mother, Debbie, the longtime softball coach at Santa Monica High School.

With emotion evident on her face, Debbie Skaggs threw a perfect strike on her ceremonial first pitch. Her catcher was Andrew Heaney, Skaggs' best friend and fellow Angels rotation member.

The Angels then battered Seattle starter Mike Leake in a surreal seven-run, eight-hit first inning highlighted by Mike Trout, who has been relentless at the plate ever since Skaggs' death. Trout crushed a 454-foot, two-run homer to left-center on the first pitch he saw from Leake. The two-time AL MVP appeared to look toward Skaggs' family in the stands as he crossed the plate after an unusually long home run trot.

When he came up again in the first inning with the bases loaded, Trout roped a two-run double to left field. The Angels' first four batters got hits overall, and they sent 13 men to the plate. They led 7-0 after a clearly cathartic first inning in their identical jerseys. Angels starter Taylor Cole also opened with two perfect innings on the mound.

The reliever pounded his chest and pointed at the sky when Kole Calhoun caught the final out of the second. While the Angels eventually will settle into the rhythms of the season, Skaggs' presence will be felt throughout the stadium, from his intact locker to the large likeness of the well-liked pitcher now displayed prominently on the center field wall.

A memorial created by fans in front of the Big A's main entrance has grown to the size of a pitcher's mound, with hats, signs and baseballs and other Angels memorabilia delivered to the stadium by heartbroken fans over the past 10 days. Most of the Angels saw the memorial in person for the first time when they returned from a difficult road trip and the ensuing All-Star break.

"I think guys will become emotional again, because it is still very fresh," Ausmus said. "That's fine. We're human beings. There's nothing wrong with that."

The baseball season's relentless pace forces the Angels to heal while they play, and they're back to work after a somber All-Star break during which Skaggs was honored at the game in Cleveland. The Angels also persevered through last week on the road with a resilience that impressed general manager Billy Eppler, who had grown personally close to Skaggs.

"In some respects, sometimes keeping busy can help," Eppler said. "I don't really know if that's the right way to go about it, because you do need to grieve. Everybody has those moments, personal to them. I've had a couple of those myself. But for a lot of us, seeing each other again is nice."

The Angels' clubhouse was quiet before the game, with most of the present players absorbed in their phones before batting practice. While the initial shock has worn off, Skaggs was a well-liked player and leader whose absence is still crushing.

"He's the life of the team, honestly," said veteran infielder Zack Cozart, Skaggs' teammate for the past two seasons. "We're family in here. We're around each other all day, every day. You just hurt so much for Tyler's family. ... It's so sudden and so tragic. Forty-five will always be in my mind. That's how it's always going to be for all of us."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bronze Statue Captures Brandi Chastain's Iconic Celebration]]>Thu, 11 Jul 2019 10:49:40 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/brandi-chastain-statue-soccer-july-11-2019.jpg

A statue capturing Brandi Chastain's iconic reaction to scoring the U.S. team's winning goal in the 1999 Women's World Cup has been unveiled outside the Rose Bowl.

Chastain was on hand for the unveiling Wednesday, the 20th anniversary of the historic win which coincided with celebrations in New York for this year's World Cup champion team. This year's the team sealed its second consecutive tournament win by beating the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday.

The statue shows Chastain at the moment she dropped to her knees in exultation, clutching the jersey she pulled off after cinching the win over China on a penalty kick in the game played at the Rose Bowl.

"It was a magical moment for a magical time," Chastain said at the statue's unveiling.

The moment has been credited as a watershed for invigorating women's sports.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP/Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Kawhi Leonard and Paul George Officially Join LA Clippers]]>Wed, 10 Jul 2019 17:52:14 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kawhi-Leonard-Paul-George-LA-Clippers-july-2019.jpg

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are now officially with the Los Angeles Clippers, moves that bring both of them back to their native Southern California.

It might not be forever: Both can become free agents in only two years.

The Clippers completed their blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, acquiring George for guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari and five first-round draft picks — along with the chance to swap draft places in two other years.

"Paul George is one of the greatest two-way players in our game," Clippers President Lawrence Frank said. "He is both an elite scorer and a relentless defender whose versatility elevates any team. When you have the opportunity to acquire a contributor of his caliber, you do what it takes to bring him home."

George can become a free agent again in 2021 if he chooses to exercise that option, and Leonard will be in the same situation as well. A person with knowledge of the situation said that the deal Leonard signed Wednesday is a three-year max that could be worth nearly $110 million, though the third season is at Leonard's option. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Clippers did not release contract terms.

The Athletic first reported the three-year term and option provision in Leonard's deal. When Leonard decided that he was leaving Toronto for the Clippers last week, he and the team had talked about a four-year max worth $141 million — but this move, which would make Leonard a free agent after his 10th season, gives him the maximum amounts of flexibility and future earning power.

"This is a historic moment for our organization and our fans," Frank said. "We are grateful and honored that Kawhi Leonard has decided to come home and join the L.A. Clippers. Kawhi is a peerless two-way player, a relentless worker and a natural fit for the serious, professional culture our group has established."

Another major deal got completed Wednesday: Klay Thompson, who will miss part of next season while recovering from a torn ACL, signed his five-year deal to stay with Golden State for nearly $190 million — the largest free-agent one agreed to this summer. Portland's Damian Lillard signed a $196 million extension that begins in two years, but he wasn't a free agent. The Warriors also waived Shaun Livingston, who was part of all five of their NBA Finals teams over the last five seasons.

"He has been a tremendous credit to the Warriors organization and our community for the last five years," Warriors co-chairman and CEO Joe Lacob said of Livingston.

Leonard will cost the Clippers a lot of money.

George is costing them a lot of money and a lot of picks.

The Clippers surrendered their first-rounder picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026, plus sent ones for 2021 and 2023 that were obtained through Miami, to Oklahoma City to complete the George trade. Oklahoma City also has the right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025.

"From the time that Paul and his representation made us aware of what had been transpiring and their subsequent request, our focus as an organization was identifying the best paths for our future," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. "Resiliency has been a staple of our city and our franchise, and this challenge provided us with another opportunity to demonstrate that."

The Thunder also now have a $10.4 million trade exception.

"Our goal with this transaction was to create value both in the short and long term and help reposition and replenish the organization's future platform," Presti said. "We are thrilled to welcome two extremely talented and efficient players in Shai and Danilo."

It's unclear if Presti is done making big moves this summer. The Thunder has engaged teams in conversations about the possibility of trading All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, a person familiar with that situation told the AP. Miami is one of the teams that has been part of those talks, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Thunder have not revealed specific details.

Presti said he wished George well.

"We are proud that Paul is a part of our history as an organization and that some of the best basketball of his career was in Oklahoma City," Presti said. "He should be remembered fondly; we wish him and his family the best."

George averaged a career-best 28 points last season even while dealing with shoulder issues that required surgery, and the Thunder couldn't get out of the first round in either of his two seasons in OKC. George was a finalist for both NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year this past season, when he led the league with 2.21 steals per contest.

Leonard is also coming off the best season of his career. Leonard averaged a career-high 26.6 points in the regular season and was even better in the playoffs, averaging 30.5 points for the Raptors in their run to the title. He won NBA Finals MVP honors for the second time, adding this one to the one he got as a member of the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.

"His expectation, and ours, is to contend for championships," Frank said.

Also Wednesday:

— The Philadelphia 76ers completed the signings of forwards Tobias Harris (who ended last season with Philly) and now-former Boston Celtics standout Al Horford. Both of those deals were agreed upon last week.

"We're excited to welcome one of the NBA's best frontcourt players in Al Horford to Philadelphia," 76ers general manager Elton Brand said. "He has built his reputation around hard work and a tradition of winning, which are the same qualities that have formed the foundation of the 76ers. Al's playmaking, elite defensive talents and veteran leadership confirm why he is a crucial addition to our roster."

— Washington completed the signing of two-time All-Star Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal. He fills a major position of need for Washington, which is bracing to be without John Wall next season.

Thomas said he's simply looking for a chance to prove himself again. Injuries have limited him to 44 games over the last two seasons.

"I want to compete. I want to win," Thomas said. "That was one of the most important things in the Wizards' meeting. I'm coming here to win. I don't know any other way. They felt the same way."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Sam Forencich/NBAE | Vaughn Ridley via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Everything You Need to Know About the 2019 ESPYs]]>Wed, 10 Jul 2019 19:47:51 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TracyMorganESPYS2019.png

The 27th edition of the ESPYS honored the top athletes in the world and their achievements at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California on Wednesday.

The top sports award show did not disappoint as it seemlessly blended celebrities, musicians, athletes, and courageous individuals on one stage.

Among the many hosts and presenters were comedian Tracy Morgan, Kobe Bryant, Billie Jean King, actress Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks and Lily Singh, comedian Joel McHale, and singer Usher.

Among the many nominees were Drew Brees, Todd Gurley, Chloe Kim, Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, Mikaela Shiffrin, Breanna Stewart, and Trae Young.

Russell Wilson, Jared Goff, Rob Gronkowski, Zion Williamson, Brooks Koepka, Lindsey Vonn, Dwyane Wade and the 2019 Women's World Cup Team all took home awards.

The full list of winners is below:

Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Rob Mendez

Pat Tillman Award for Service: Kirstie Ennis

Arthur Ashe Award for Courage: Bill Russell

Best Coach: Jim Calhoun


Best Team

Boston Red Sox (MLB)

Clemson Tigers (NCAA Football)

New England Patriots (NFL)

Toronto Raptors (NBA)

Baylor Bears (NCAA Women's Basketball)

Virginia Cavaliers (NCAA Men's Basketball)

US Women's National Team (World Cup) - WINNER

Best Male Athlete

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks - WINNER

Brooks Koepka, Golf

Best Female Athlete

Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm

Simone Biles, Gymnast

Alex Morgan, USWNT - WINNER

Mikaela Shiffrin, US Skiing

Best Breakthrough Athlete

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants - WINNER

Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers

Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Naomi Osaka – US Open, Australian Open

Best Comeback

St. Louis Blues - WINNER

Best Moment

Rob Gronkowski, Lindsey Vonn, and Dwyane Wade retire - WINNER

Best Game

NCAAF – LSU vs. Texas A&M: Aggies win seven-overtime 74-72 thriller in highest scoring game in FBS history

NFL Week 11 – LA Rams (54) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (51) – Monday Night Football - WINNER

NCAAW Final Four – Notre Dame (81) vs. UConn (76) – 26 lead changes

Best College Athlete

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma Football – 2018 Heisman Trophy Winner

Zion Williamson, Duke MBB – 2019 Wooden Award Winner - WINNER

Rachel Garcia, UCLA Softball – USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year

Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon WBB – 2019 Wooden Award Winner

Best Record-Breaking Performance

Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) passed Peyton Manning’s 71,940 career passing yards to move into first place on the all-time list; most completions in NFL history, 6,300+ completions passes Brett Favre - WINNER

Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon Basketball) recorded her 13th triple-double. She now holds the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball record for triple doubles. She surpassed Kyle Collinsworth’s mark of 12 in four seasons at BYU. She also broke the Division I men’s and women’s record in a single season in the Ducks’ 96–78 win over Southern California (7) breaking former BYU guard Kyle Collinsworth

Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors) broke the NBA 3-point record in a game with 14, passing Stephen Curry’s previous mark

Matthew Boling became the first-ever high schooler to break 10 seconds in the 100-meter dash, dropping a 9.98

Best Play (bracket-style voting)

Miami Miracle: Miami Dolphins Stun the New England Patriots

Kawhi Leonard Drains Game-Winner at Buzzer in Game 7

Derrick Henry’s NFL-record 99-yard run vs. Jaguars

Wayne Rooney Just Single-Handedly Won A Match For D.C. United

UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi scores a perfect 10 - WINNER

Andrew Benintendi calls game

Damian Lillard Sends OKC Home On Buzzer Beater

Manchester QB Brendon Clar throws this ball to Kevin Henderson for the 48 yard TD catch

Texas Tech WR makes one-handed grab that mirrors OBJs best catch

Kinsley Washington singled home Jacqui Prober to win the Bruins’ 12th softball title

Julie Ertz gives the USWNT the lead early in the second half

Texas A&M’s Infinite Tucker goes ALL OUT for the gold

Arike Ogunbowale Behind the Back Pass

Kihei Clark, Mamadi Diakite Save Virginia at the buzzer

Wilmington Charter’s Taylor Gillis with CATCH OF THE YEAR!

‘Hail Mary’ pass helps Texas high school football team win state title

Best Viral Sports Moment

Rudolph “Blaze” Ingram, the 7-year-old running phenom is already faster than you

Texas A&M’s Infinite Tucker goes ALL OUT for the gold

Katelyn Ohashi, UCLA Gymnastics – scores a perfect 10 - WINNER

Don’t Sleep on Sister Mary Jo’s curveball

Best Upset

NCAAF – Old Dominion defeats No. 13 Virginia Tech 49-35, Old Dominion only had a 1.8% chance of winning according to ESPN’s FPI, making it the largest upset by an FBS team in the 14 years of Football Power Index projections

2018 US Open – Naomi Osaka defeating Serena Williams

NHL – Columbus Blue Jackets pulled off what many thought impossible, an upset for the ages after a 7-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on in Game 4 of their best-of-7 series.

Boxing – Andy Ruiz Jr. upset win over Anthony Joshua - WINNER

Best International Men’s Soccer Player

Lionel Messi - WINNER

Cristiano Ronaldo

Kylian Mbappe

Virgil Van Dyke

Best International Women’s Soccer Player

Pernille Harder, Denmark

Ada Hegerberg, Norway

Sam Kerr, Australia - WINNER

Lucy Bronze, England

Best NFL Player

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs - WINNER

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Best MLB Player

Mookie Betts, Red Sox

Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers - WINNER

Jacob DeGrom, New York Mets

Blake Snell, Tampa Bays Rays

Best NHL Player

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals - WINNER

Best Driver

Lewis Hamilton, F1

Steve Torrence, NHRA

Scott Dixon, Indy

Kyle Busch, NASCAR - WINNER

Best NBA Player

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks - WINNER

James Harden, Houston Rockets

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

Paul George, OKC Thunder

Best WNBA Player

Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm - WINNER

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury

Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics

Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks

Best Boxer

Canelo Alvarez - WINNER

Vasily Lomachenko

Oleksandr Usyk

Terence Crawford

Best MMA Fighter

Israel Adesanya

Daniel Cormier - WINNER

Henry Cejudo

Amanda Nunes

Best Male Golfer

Brooks Koepka - WINNER

Tiger Woods

Justin Rose

Francesco Molinari

Best Female Golfer

Ariya Jutanugarn

Brooke Henderson - WINNER

Jin-Young Ko

Sung Hyun Park

Best Male Tennis Player

Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer - WINNER

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Best Female Tennis Player

Naomi Osaka

Simona Halep

Serena Williams - WINNER

Petra Kvitová

Best MLS Player

Josef Martinez, Atlanta United

Wayne Rooney, DC United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, LA Galaxy - WINNER

Aaron Long, NY Red Bulls

Best NWSL Player

Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns

Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns

Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars - WINNER

Abby Erceg, North Carolina Courage

BEST MALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE 

Nyjah Huston (USA), skateboard - WINNER

Scotty James (AUS), snowboard

Tom Pages (FRA), freestyle motocross

Gabriel Medina (BRA), surf

BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE

Kelly Sildaru (EST), ski

Chloe Kim (USA), snowboard - WINNER

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (NZL), snowboard

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), surf

Best Horse Jockey

Irad Ortiz Jr.

Mike Smith - WINNER

Florent Geroux

Jose Ortiz

BEST MALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY 

Mark Barr – Triathalon - WINNER

Declan Farmer – Hockey

Daniel Romanchuk – Marathon Racing 

Oz Sanchez – Cycling

BEST FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY

Oksana Masters, Nordic Skiing

Tatyana McFadden, Marathon Racing 

Shawn Morelli, Cycling

Allysa Seely, Triathalon - WINNER

Best Bowler

Jason Belmonte

Norm Duke - WINNER

Anthony Simonsen 

Jakob Butturff

 

Please refresh this page throughout the show for live updates, winners, and reactions.



Photo Credit: Image Group LA via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Disappoint in All-Star Game]]>Tue, 09 Jul 2019 23:53:18 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/Kershaw+ALl+Star+Game.png

The American League defeated the National League 4-3 in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night for their seventh consecutive victory.

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander started the game, So-Cal Native and Cleveland Indians pitcher Shane Bieber struck out the side and won the MVP, and New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman got the save for the American League.

The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the Midsummer Classic with the best record in baseball, and had a NL-best five All-Stars on display in Cleveland.

Unfortunately, for the Boys in Blue, most of them disappointed in the annual showcase.

Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu started the game for the National League in his All-Star Game debut, and threw a scoreless inning to start the game.

Clayton Kershaw followed him in the second inning and allowed the first run of the game when Astros hitters Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley hit a single and a double to start the scoring. Kershaw was credited with the loss.

Ironically, the first three hits of the game for the American League all came from Astros hitters and they all came off of Dodger pitching. 

George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Michael Brantley became the first MLB team in All-Star Game history to account for the first three hits of an All-Star Game. 

Cody Bellinger started in right field, and despite some witty banter with reigning MVP Christian Yelich during the game, the 23-year-old finished 0-for-2 with two strikeouts before he was replaced after the fourth inning.

Dodgers' right-hander Walker Buehler allowed the second run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez led off the inning with a double down the left field line, and scored two batters later on a single to second base.

The first five hits of the game for the American League all came off of Dodgers' pitchers.

Max Muncy was the final Dodger to appear in the game, as he replaced Ketel Marte at second base in the bottom of the fifth inning. Muncy made a spectacular play on defense in the sixth inning, but finished 0-for-2 at the plate, striking out for the penultimate out of the game.

Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon homered for the National League, and Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso knocked in two runs with a two-out single past Gleyber Torres in the eighth inning.

However, it was Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo's seventh inning home run off San Francisco Giants' closer Will Smith that proved to be the difference in the game. 

Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts has now lost two consecutive All-Star Games, to go with back-to-back World Series defeats to the Astros and Red Sox.

Thankfully for the Dodgers' faithful, this game doesn't count for home field advantage anymore, but the team definitely went dark when the lights turned up on Tuesday.

Ultimately, how the Dodgers performed in the showcase doesn't matter as much as how they will perform in the second half of the season, in October, and most importantly in the Fall Classic, when they try to win their first World Series title since 1988.



Photo Credit: y Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)]]>
<![CDATA[Legendary High School Football Coach Diagnosed With Blood Cancer]]>Tue, 09 Jul 2019 19:24:53 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Legendary_High_School_Football_Coach_Needs_Help.jpg

Coach Lou Farrar finds himself in the fight of his life, as he needs a tissue match to ward off blood cancer. Mario Solis reports for NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on July 9, 2019.]]>
<![CDATA[Alonso Wins Derby, But Pederson Puts on a Show]]>Mon, 08 Jul 2019 20:02:35 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/195*120/JocPedersonHRDerby19.png

Rarely is the word "legendary," used to describe the annual Home Run Derby, but Monday's battle at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio was indeed legendary.

Los Angeles Dodgers infielder/outfielder Joc Pederson, and Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put on an epic performance in the semifinals round before the Mets' rookie eventually defeated an exhausted Vladito in the Finals.

Pederson was competing in his second Home Run Derby after finishing second to Todd Frazier in the 2015 contest, which ironically was also in Ohio, albeit at Great America ballpark in Cincinnati.

Pederson must have drawn the short straw, as he went first overall in the competition, kicking off the Derby with 17 home runs in four minutes. The format for the Derby changed in 2015 for the first time, and each contestant receives a 30-second bonus for hitting two home runs of over 440 feet.

Pederson easily reached the bonus, and hit four more homers in the bonus round, giving him a first round total of 21, a record for the first round under the new format. Pederson advanced to the semifinals after his competitor, Houton Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, finished with 16 total homers without reaching the bonus.

Pederson's record-breaking round didn't last long, as 15 minutes later, Guerrero Jr. shattered the record with 29 first round homers, the most ever hit in any round (under any format) in Home Run Derby history.

Both Pederson and Guerrero Jr. advanced to the semifinal where they put on a show for the ages. Vladdy Jr. went first, and matched his first round total with another 29 home runs.

Most believed there would be no way Pederson would surpass that record-breaking total, but with one-million dollars on the line, and his older brother, Champ Pederson, in attendance, Pederson tied the record with 29 home runs of his own.

In what quickly became the most intense, dramatic, and insane round of the Home Run Derby we've ever seen, Pederson and Guerrero Jr. each took turns matching each other in three different tiebreaking rounds.

The 2019 Home Run Derby rules called for both competitors to each have a one-minute tiebreaking round, followed by a total of three swings each in the following tiebreaker rounds until there was only one player left standing.

Guerrero Jr. ultimately bested Pederson by hitting two home runs in three swings in the fourth tiebreaker round, finishing the second round with a total of 40 homers.

Pederson finished one homer short, with 39 homers in the second round, and a total of 68 home runs overall in a losing effort. The most home runs hit by a competitor who did not reach the finals in Home Run Derby history.

It's a shame that the epic battle between Pederson and Guerrero Jr. was not the final round, as both Vladito and Alonso appeared to be exhausted in the Finals, each falling well short of the record-breaking 29 homers in a round.

After hitting just 22 homers in the Final Round, Guerrero Jr. was bested by Alonso, the man nicknamed "The Polar Bear," who hit 23 homers without needing to use his 30-second bonus. The "Home Run Derby Champion" chain, and a check for $1 Million dollars went to 24-year-old power hitter.

The 2019 MLB All-Star Game between the American League and National League will take place at 5:00PM PT on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 on FOX.



Photo Credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kings Coach Luke Walton Says Sex Assault Claim Lacks Facts]]>Mon, 08 Jul 2019 16:54:27 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-lose-to-Nuggets-3-9-18.jpg

Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton says sexual assault allegations against him are not backed up by facts and are designed to attract media attention.

Walton made his comments in a court brief filed Wednesday in response to a lawsuit by former sportscaster Kelli Tennant.

The lawsuit is filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, and the Sacramento Kings and the NBA are jointly investigating the accusations.

Walton's court filing claims Tennant filed a lawsuit nearly five years after the alleged assault, which the brief calls a "pleasant encounter," after she quit two jobs and needed money.

Tennant has said Walton attacked her in 2014 when he was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, but she was too afraid to file charges though she did confide in others at the time.

"I was scared," she said. "I felt coming forward would jeopardize every aspect of my life."

Tennant calls Walton a former longtime friend and mentor who wrote the foreword to a book she had written.

When the coach was on a Warriors road trip to Los Angeles, she met him in the lobby of his Santa Monica hotel and he invited her to his room, she said.

They discussed the book, and Walton allegedly grabbed her.

"Out of nowhere, he got on top of me and pinned me down to the bed and held my arms down with all of his weight while he kissed my neck and my face and my chest," Tennant said at an April news conference, adding that when she asked him to get off, "he laughed at me."

Tennant's attorney, Garo Mardirossian, has said it's unlikely police would be able to put together a criminal case.

Walton's lawyer, Mark Baute, has called Tennant "an opportunist, not a victim."

The Kings held a news conference Monday in Las Vegas to introduce free-agent signees, but declined to comment on Walton's filing.

"There is an ongoing independent investigation and we do not have any further comment at this time," the team said in a statement.

The court filing last week says the encounter was "very short, entirely pleasant and consensual," and it did not include raised voices or groping.

In the filing, Walton said he did not write a foreword for Tennant's book and does not consider himself a mentor to her.

They briefly worked at Spectrum Sports at the same time.

The court filing characterizes the meeting as "platonic in nature" where Tennant was "entirely pleasant during the encounter."

The filing also states Tennant waited beyond the statute of limitations to come forward and has no basis to seek economic relief from Walton because she quit her job at Spectrum Sports for reasons unrelated to him.

Walton is seeking for the lawsuit to be dismissed and Tennant to pay his costs and attorneys' fees.

Tennant's lawyer, Mardirossian, on Monday said his client will prove her case through testimony in front of a jury.

He disputed that Tennant sought media attention, saying the press hounded her until she gave a news conference.

Mardirossian noted that Walton's filing acknowledges that an encounter took place and said the coach is "half-heartedly denying things."

Attorneys for Walton could not immediately be reached for comment.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mexico Beats U.S. 1-0 in Gold Cup Final, Crowds Gather in Southern California]]>Sun, 07 Jul 2019 21:59:02 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mexico-Beats-US-in-Gold-Cup-Final-July-2019.jpg

Los Angeles Galaxy star Jonathan Dos Santos scored in the 73rd minute, and Mexico beat the United States 1-0 Sunday night to win its record eighth title in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and crowds of supporters of El Tri gathered to celebrate across Southern California.

Pacific Boulevard was closed from Florence Avenue to Gage Avenue in Huntington Park, according to the Huntington Park Police Department. Newschopper4 Bravo observed large crowds of fans waving Mexico flags in the area.

Despite missing their top three forwards, El Tri dominated possession against an American team playing its first tournament under new coach Gregg Berhalter.

Christian Pulisic, the Americans' 20-year-old star midfielder, was by far the best U.S. player and used bursts of speed and cutting ability to create chances.

Jordan Morris beat goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa with a 6-yard header from Pulisic's corner kick in the 51st minute, but Andrés Guardado headed the ball at the goal line.

Cristian Roldan had a chance to tie the score in the 87th minute, but his point-blank shot hit Héctor Moreno on the head and bounced away.

While the crowd in France was overwhelmingly pro-American as the U.S. beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the Women's World Cup final earlier in the day, Mexican fans in green, white and red in the crowd of 62,493 made Solider Field seem like Mexico City's Estadio Azteca. Whenever American Zack Steffen took a goal kick, there were loud chants of "puto," an anti-gay slur Mexican fans repeatedly have been admonished for.

Mexico scored on a move started by Dos Santos, who plays in Major League Soccer for the LA Galaxy. He passed the ball to Rodolfo Pizarro, who switched from the left flank to the right in the second half. Pizarro crossed in the penalty area where Raúl Jiménez played a back-heel pass to Dos Santos, who had continued his run. His left-footed shot went by the outstretched arm of Steffen for just his third goal in 46 international appearances.

The U.S. has been rebuilding under Berhalter, the first American to coach the national team after playing in the World Cup for the U.S. Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup will not start until next summer, leaving the biennial championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean as the first measuring test for a team whose streak of seven straight World Cup appearances ended when it failed to make the field in Russia last year.

Mexico was playing in its first tournament under new coach Tata Martino. It has not lost a competitive match to the U.S. since 2013, re-establishing itself as the region's power.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scary Collision at the Plate Overshadows Angels' Loss]]>Sun, 07 Jul 2019 17:27:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Astros-July-7-2019.jpg

George Springer hit a game-ending, RBI single in the 10th inning and the Houston Astros beat the Angels 11-10 Sunday after a violent collision at home plate knocked Los Angeles catcher Jonathan Lucroy out of the game.

The Astros' Yuli Gurriel hit a grand slam to homer in his fifth straight game, and All-Star Ryan Pressly (2-1) allowed one hit in a scoreless 10th for the win.

Josh Reddick led off Houston's 10th with a double off Taylor Cole (0-1) before Springer hit a ball to the right-center gap with one out to give Houston the victory.

Mike Trout homered twice for the Angels, who watched Lucroy get carted off in the eighth inning after being bowled over by Jake Marisnick. Lucroy was taken to a hospital, and the team said he would get a CT scan and be evaluated for a concussion and nose fracture.

The Astros loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Hansel Robles struck out Tyler White to send it to the 10th.

There were runners at second and third with no outs in the eighth when rookie Yordan Alvarez sent them both home with a single to center to tie it at 10. The bases were loaded with one out when Marisnick attempted to score on a flyout by Springer.

Marisnick crashed into Lucroy as he attempted to field the throw, and the catcher immediately fell on his back. He didn't move for a few seconds before struggling to sit up. Marisnick tagged home and then leaned over Lucroy to see if he was OK. He lifted his head off the ground a few seconds later as blood dripped from his nose.

Angels players rushed to the plate as trainers checked on him. He was lifted to a sitting position after a couple of minutes and held a towel to his nose. He was then helped to a cart and taken off the field while clutching a bloodstained towel.

Marisnick was called out for colliding with Lucroy and the call was upheld after a crew chief review to end the inning.

Trout has an American League-leading 28 home runs and set a franchise record for home runs before the All-Star break.

Trout had a solo shot in the sixth before Gurriel's slam in the bottom of the inning tied it at 8. There was one on in the eighth when he connected off Will Harris to straightaway center field to put Los Angeles on top.

Trout, whose previous high before the break was 26 home runs, has hit six homers in the last five games.

Shohei Ohtani added a two-run home run for the Angels in a five-run third inning that gave them the lead.

The Angels led by four after Trout's home run in the sixth inning.

Gurriel has hit nine homers in his last 11 games to give him 14 this season after he finished with 13 last year.

Tony Kemp put Houston up early with a two-run homer in the second. Lucroy had an RBI triple in the fifth to make it 7-2.

Angels: OF Justin Upton sat out for a fourth straight game with a tight quadriceps muscle, but he is expected to return after the All-Star break.

Astros: RHPs Joe Smith (Achilles' tendon) and Brad Peacock (shoulder soreness) are both expected to make rehabilitation starts during the break and both could return soon after that.

UP NEXT

Angels: Los Angeles will resume play after the break on Friday in the opener of a three-game series against Seattle.

Astros: Houston starts the second half on Thursday in the first of four games at Texas.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Fall 5-3 in Final Game Before All-Star Break]]>Sun, 07 Jul 2019 17:14:59 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Padres-July-7-2019.jpg

Fernando Tatis Jr. homered twice and had four RBIs and Manuel Margot also homered Sunday and the San Diego Padres rolled into the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak after a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Joey Lucchesi held the Dodgers in check into the seventh inning while Margot hit a home run for the second consecutive day as the Padres handed Los Angeles its first three-game losing streak at home this season.

Max Muncy and Justin Turner homered for the Dodgers, who still closed out the first half with a major league-best 60 victories. They became the 15th team in major league history to win 60 games before the break when they defeated the Padres on Thursday, but lost the last three games of the series.

Tatis did not wait long to give the Padres the lead, lifting his home run over the left-field wall against Dodgers starter Ross Stripling five pitches into the game. It was his second leadoff home run of the season and third for the Padres.

Margot, who gave the Padres insurance runs with a two-run home run in the eighth inning Saturday, added his fifth of the season in the second inning. His drive to center field bounced off the top of the wall, just eluding the glove of the Dodgers' Alex Verdugo.

Muncy, who is headed to Tuesday's All-Star Game at Cleveland, hit his 22nd home run of the season in the second inning to bring the Dodgers within a run at 2-1.

The Padres pulled away in the fifth inning, aided by a popup that was lost in the sun. With Margot on first base, Austin Hedges hit a bloop toward Muncy at first base. Muncy moved into position, but lost track of the ball as it came down and hit him in the back of the head.

Hedges ended up with a double on the play, putting runners on first and third with nobody out. Stripling struck out Lucchesi before Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called for Pedro Baez out of the bullpen. Tatis greeted the right-hander with a home run on his fifth pitch.

It was the first multi-homer game for Tatis, who has 14 on the season.

Turner's home run, his 10th of the season, came in the sixth inning to make it 5-2.

Lucchesi (7-4) gave up three runs and six hits over 6 1/3 innings with no walks and four strikeouts. He earned his first career victory over the Dodgers in five tries. Kirby Yates pitched the ninth inning for his 30th save in 31 tries this season. Yates earned the save in all three victories over the Dodgers in the series.

Stripling (3-3) gave up four runs and six hits over 4 1/3 innings with three strikeouts.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: C Will Smith (right oblique strain) was activated from the 10-day injured list and optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

UP NEXT

Padres: San Diego will be at home Friday to open a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves, before heading back on the road for a three-city trip that starts July 16 at Miami.

Dodgers: Los Angeles will be at Boston on Friday to open a World Series rematch against the Red Sox that starts a seven-game road trip, which also includes a stop at Philadelphia.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Los Alamitos Race Track Cancels Races, Suffering From Shortage of Horses]]>Sat, 06 Jul 2019 23:25:28 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Los-Alamitos-race-track-July-6-2019.jpg

The Los Alamitos Race Course has canceled races for the third time in the first few days of its three-week Thoroughbred Meet due to fallout from the deaths of 30 horses at Santa Anita during its recently completed meet.

"Due to a shortage of entries, there'll be no daytime Thoroughbred racing Thursday," track officials said in a tweet released Saturday. "Racing resumes on Friday."

Los Alamitos cancelled its first Thursday and Friday races before its season started June 29, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The track's Summer Thoroughbred Meet runs through next Sunday, July 14.

A shortage of entries also caused Santa Anita to run only three days a week the last half of its troubled season and Del Mar racetrack in San Diego County has races scheduled for only Wednesday through Sunday, the Times said.



Photo Credit: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trout Homers Again, Angels Hit 4 HRs to Edge Astros 5-4]]>Sat, 06 Jul 2019 03:12:24 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mike-Trout-Angels-July-5-2019.jpg

Mike Trout is on a roll and it's helping the Los Angeles Angels get on one, too.

Trout hit his American League-leading 26th homer, and Kole Calhoun, Shohei Ohtani and Andrelton Simmons also went deep to give the Angels a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Calhoun, Ohtani and Simmons all connected off Houston starter Justin Verlander (10-4) as he gave up three home runs for the third time in his last five starts.

The Angels won for the third time in the four games since pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on Monday.

"Obviously, it's good to get back into things, but we're still thinking about him," Trout said. "He's watching over us and (we're) just going out there playing for him."

The victory snaps a seven-game skid against Houston and ends a five-game winning streak overall by the Astros.

Los Angeles was swept in a three-game series against the Athletics before getting on track in the last few days. Trout's home run came off Hector Rondon with no outs in the eighth to make it 5-2. It's his third straight game with a homer and his 26 home runs are tied for his most before the All-Star break and most in franchise history before the midsummer classic.

Calhoun called Trout's recent offensive outburst "special."

"He's a guy that can carry this ballclub," he said. "We can go a long way on his back."

The three homers tied a season high for Verlander and he also matched a season high by allowing four runs in seven innings.

"I've seen Verlander firsthand, saw him for years," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "Great competitor, great pitcher and you know you're in for a battle. With that being said, I haven't come across any pitcher who's pitched in the big leagues for any length of time who's unbeatable. You will find most of them have losses. Really, the frame of mind is, yeah, it's going to be tough but nobody is unbeatable."

Verlander has allowed an MLB-leading 26 home runs this season, including 12 in his last five starts.

"I've got to do a better job of keeping the ball in the yard," he said. "It's been a common theme here all year really, but really the last four or five starts. I've got to figure out a way to combat this thing."

Noé Ramirez opened the game and threw a perfect first before Felix Pena (6-2) took over and allowed three hits and two runs while striking out five in four innings.

Michael Brantley homered and tied a career high with four hits as he finished a triple shy of the cycle, and Yuli Gurriel had a two-run shot as he homered for the third straight game. Brantley opened Houston's second with a home run to right field to make it 1-0.

Brantley singled with one out in the eighth before Gurriel got Houston within a run with his two-out shot to right field off Cam Bedrosian.

Hansel Robles pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save.

David Fletcher singled with one out in the third before Calhoun sent a pitch from Verlander into the bullpen in right-center for his 19th homer to put the Angels up 2-1.

There were two outs in the inning with Ohtani, who turned 25 on Friday, added a solo shot to push the lead to 3-1.

Brantley and Yordan Alvarez hit consecutive doubles with one out in the fourth before Brantley scored on a groundout by Gurriel to cut the lead to 1.

Simmons opened the sixth inning with his home run to the seats in left field to extend the lead to 4-2.

The Astros had a chance to cut the deficit in the sixth inning when Josh Reddick walked to load the bases with two outs. But Robinson Chirinos grounded into a force out to end the inning.

Verlander allowed seven hits and struck out six to move past Hall of Famer Jim Bunning for 18th place on the all-time strikeouts list with 2,859.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: OF Justin Upton, who left Wednesday's game with tightness in his left quadriceps, remained out of the lineup Friday, but Ausmus said he was feeling better and could return Saturday. ... RHP Matt Harvey (back) is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday and is expected to return to the rotation after the All-Star break.

Astros: SS Carlos Correa (broken rib) and INF Aledmys Diaz (hamstring) are at Houston's spring training facility in Florida continuing their rehabilitation. Manager AJ Hinch said both players are improving, but did not have a timetable for their return. ... RHP Corbin Martin, ranked by MLB.com as Houston's No. 4 prospect, had Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.

REMEMBERING TYLER

The Astros observed a moment of silence before the game to honor Skaggs. The team also planned to donate the proceeds of their charity raffle on Friday night to the Angels Baseball Foundation.

UP NEXT

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (1-2, 5.40 ERA) will start for Los Angeles on Saturday night. Heaney yielded six hits and five runs in six innings of a loss to Oakland in his last start.

Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (8-5, 3.28) is scheduled to start for Houston on Saturday. Cole allowed five hits and one run in seven innings against Seattle in his last start to win his fourth straight decision.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[7.1 Earthquake Doesn't Stop Dodger Game]]>Sat, 06 Jul 2019 00:39:49 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Earthquake-July-5-2019.jpg

Eric Lauer was on the Dodger Stadium mound when he heard the crowd suddenly get loud and wondered why.

"I thought there was like a streaker at first and then I looked around, there was nobody," he said. "I thought there was a fight in the stands."

Lauer kept pitching, throwing two strikes in the midst of a strong earthquake that rattled the stadium during San Diego's 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.

"Not many people can say they threw a strike during an earthquake," Lauer said. "My ball, my pitch, started an earthquake."

Early magnitude estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey wavered between 6.9 and 7.1.

Lauer didn't realize it until he returned to the dugout and his teammates asked if he felt it.

"I was locked in no matter what," he said. "When you really focus in there's not a lot that can distract you."

All-Star lefty Clayton Kershaw pitched seven sharp innings for the Dodgers, but the loss snapped their nine-game home winning streak.

Kershaw was in the tunnel between the dugout and clubhouse during the quake and said he didn't feel it.

"We really couldn't feel it as much on the field as the people in the upper deck, so there was a lot of commotion going on," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who was quickly informed of the cause. "Dodger Stadium held up."

Lauer was facing Enriquè Hernàndez when the quake struck in the fourth. Lauer's first three pitches of the at-bat — including two strikes — came during the shaking that unnerved some fans in the crowd of 49,790 enough to move from their seats in the upper reserve level and caused the press box to lurch for several seconds.

The TV broadcast was marred by the camera bouncing up and down.

Hearing the crowd stirring, Hernàndez stepped out of the batter's box after Lauer's third pitch. He eventually flied out to left field to end the inning.

"He didn't feel it, either, so he was kind of wondering what all the ruckus was about," Roberts said. "I was hoping that he would hit the ball out of the ballpark, add to the commotion."

Padres manager Andy Green said he felt the quake and noticed one of the foul poles swaying.

"I said to (coach) Rod (Barajas) that I'd love for Kikè Hernàndez to hit a ball right down the line where the foul pole sways in and the ball swings just foul based on that," he said.

Nothing was said by the public address announcer regarding the quake.

"People were freaking out," said Daniel Earle, a 52-year-old fan sitting with his wife in the reserve level. "I'm surprised my arm is still here. She was squeezing into it so hard."

Jamie Taralunga of Ann Arbor, Michigan, landed in Los Angeles on Thursday, just after a 6.4-magnitude quake. The latest one unnerved her.

"It was pretty crazy," she said. "I just heard a bunch of screaming all of a sudden and everyone's shaking back and forth. Swaying almost like a boat."

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was relaxing on a couch in the clubhouse when the shaking began.

"I thought I was tripping for a second," he said. "It's not fun. You get worried. There's 50,000 people in the stands, the stadium is shaking, and there's nowhere to go."

Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo noticed third base coach Dino Ebel moving his arm in a wave-like motion.

"I kind of felt the railing and I was like, we are moving a little bit," the rookie said. "We could be scared but I can't tell the earth to stop moving."

Verdugo said teammate Chris Taylor was "all fired up" and came running out from the batting cage after seeing the jarring motion on the TV broadcast.

Hunter Renfroe matched a career high with his 26th homer, connecting off Yimi Garcia (1-3) with two outs in the eighth to snap a 2-all tie.

Craig Stammen (6-4) got the victory in relief. Kirby Yates earned his 28th save.

The Dodgers tied it at 2 in the sixth. Newly named All-Star Max Muncy grounded into a fielder's choice to first base that scored Verdugo, who had a leadoff double and went to third on Lauer's wild pitch.

Taylor's RBI single in the third provided the Dodgers' first run.

The Padres took a 2-0 lead in the third.

Eric Hosmer's RBI double to deep center scored Lauer, who reached on catcher's interference by Austin Barnes. Manny Machado, the former Dodger who has been booed heavily in the first two games of the series, followed with a fielder's choice groundout to third that scored Fernando Tatis Jr., who singled.

Lauer allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked one.

Kershaw gave up two runs — one earned — and five hits. He struck out nine and walked one.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: C Will Smith went on the 10-day IL with a strained right oblique, retroactive to June 25. ... OF A.J. Pollock (right elbow inflammation) and SS Corey Seager (strained left hamstring) are scheduled to be activated for the first game at Boston after the All-Star break. ... INF David Freese (strained left hamstring) is about 75% healthy and might not return this weekend as originally thought.

UP NEXT

Padres: RHP Chris Paddack (5-4, 3.05 ERA) makes his second start against the Dodgers. The rookie gave up six runs, three earned, in a 6-3 road loss on May 14.

Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-4, 3.78) has limited batters to a .224 average in 13 career starts against San Diego. He's 6-3 with a 4.11 ERA in that span.

___

AP freelancer Jolene Latimer contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Reportedly Getting Kawhi Leonard, Paul George]]>Sat, 06 Jul 2019 02:16:28 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kawhi-Leonard-Clippers-July-2019.jpg

Riverside native and two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard is joining the Los Angeles Clippers and fellow Southern California native Paul George is joining the Clippers via trade, according to multiple reports Friday night.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports first reported the decision of the two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable player, who had been reportedly mulling over choosing between the LA Clippers, LA Lakers and Toronto Raptors.

In addition, the Clippers are acquiring George, who is an All-Star guard and Palmdale native. George is joining the Clippers via a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for a "record-setting collection of draft choices," according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Leonard and George met earlier in the week and George asked Oklahoma City for a trade, according to ESPN.

The Clippers are sending the Thunder four unprotected first-round draft picks, one protected first-round draft pick, two pick swaps, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wojnarowski reported.

Even giving up a major haul of draft picks, the Clippers now have two elite talents that should rival the Lakers' new superstar tandem of LeBron James, 34, and Anthony Davis, 26. Considering the ages of George, 29, and Leonard, 28, the Clippers have two superstars in the prime of their basketball careers and should immediately be considered title favorites, alongside with the Lakers.

Without a doubt, the Clippers have landed the most highly sought free agent of the summer of 2019, as Leonard is coming off a NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award winning performance with the Toronto Raptors.

Leonard, who has won two NBA titles and two NBA Finals MVP awards with two different teams, led the Raptors to their first ever NBA championship in June. Now, the Clippers will hope Leonard, along with George, can lead LA's often overlooked franchise to its first ever title.



Photo Credit: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers Beat Angels 9-3 in Finale Skaggs Would Have Started]]>Fri, 05 Jul 2019 11:00:33 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N4P_VO_ANGELS_SKAGGS_DE_KNBCSC6Z_1200x675_1561591363894.jpg

Tyler Skaggs' No. 45 jersey still hung prominently over his locker in the visiting clubhouse after the Los Angeles Angels wrapped up their first series since the 27-year-old pitcher's death.

While the grieving Angels lost 9-3 in the finale against the Rangers in the Fourth of July game that Skaggs had been scheduled to start, Los Angeles took the first two games during the series after he was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Texas.

"Taking two out of three from a pretty good team that's second in the division, under the circumstances, I think is a victory," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said.

"It's been really tough, yet the guys haven't made any excuses," he said. "We've gone out there and played hard, played to win. That's what Skaggsy would have wanted, and I don't think he would have liked it too much if we're in here feeling sorry for ourselves about it."

Lance Lynn worked seven innings to match the major league lead with his 11th win, and Rougned Odor homered twice to drive in five runs for the Rangers, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Mike Trout hit another impressive homer for Los Angeles in the first inning, his AL best-tying 25th. But Lynn (11-4) limited the Angels to only one more run while striking out five without a walk over his 115 pitches.

"There's no manual for how you handle something like this. I think the games do provide a space for (players) because they're trained to focus on just their job, and not be reminded of Tyler's passing," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "You look at it from a baseball perspective, we were able to win two out of three on the road against a team that's in front of us in the standings. But it certainly wasn't easy."

An emotional trip for the Angels that began with them traveling to Texas in cowboy hats and Western attire -- a theme initiated by Skaggs -- now takes them to Houston for three games this weekend against the Astros before the All-Star break.

The Rangers went ahead to stay on Nomar Mazara's two-run double in the third that made it 3-2. Mazara finished with four hits.

Odor hit a two-run homer in the fourth, snapping his streak of four consecutive strikeouts and seven Ks in his previous eight at-bats. His three-run shot to center in the seventh was estimated at 471 feet.

All that offense was plenty for Lynn, the first Texas right-hander since 1998 to have 11 wins before the All-Star break. He has gone at least six innings in 13 consecutive starts, the longest stretch for a Rangers pitcher since 2013, and has won his last five decisions.

"He's so reliable. You know he'll go deep in the game, you know he's going to compete on every pitch," Texas manager Chris Woodward said. "That's fun to watch. It's been a huge factor for us being in the position we're in now."

Angels rookie right-hander Griffin Canning (3-5) struck out six, but walked three and allowed six runs over 3 1/3 innings.

Trout's homer was his third in two games, and ninth this year against Texas to match an Angels record for the most against another team in the same season. The estimated 445-foot laser ricocheted off the glass facade of a club beyond the first deck of seats in left field.

Vladimir Guerrero had nine homers for the Angels against Seattle in 2001, and Tim Salmon hit nine against Cleveland in 1998.

The Angels still play their AL West rival six more times this season. That includes a doubleheader when they return to Texas for another series Aug. 19-21, though it hasn't been announced on which of those days there will be two games.

CLEVELAND ON CRUTCHES

Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella will go to next week's All-Star Game in Cleveland on crutches and in a cast. The first-time All-Star is out 8-10 weeks after he broke his right tibia when he fouled a 97-mph fastball off his lower leg on Tuesday. Ausmus, a one-time All-Star as a player, helped convince La Stella that "he deserved it, he earned it" even though he can't play. "I think he'd regret it if he didn't go experience," Ausmus said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: OF Justin Upton didn't play after leaving Wednesday night's game with left quad tightness. ... INF Zack Cozart, out since May 27, saw Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister for a second opinion on his left shoulder. Cozart will get a new MRI in California on Friday. He played only 58 games in 2018 before surgery on a torn labrum.

UP NEXT

Angels: The Angels face another 10-game winner (Justin Verlander) in the opener of a three-game series at Houston.

Rangers: RHP Adrian Sampson, 6-2 in his last nine games, starts the opener of a weekend series at Minnesota on Friday night.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

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<![CDATA[Hyun-Jin Ryu Dominates on the Mound in Dodgers' 5-1 Fourth of July Win]]>Thu, 04 Jul 2019 22:50:55 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/192*120/AP_19186085139823.jpg

The Dodgers notched their 60th victory of the season with their ninth straight home win.

And compared to the last couple days, this one seemed rather dull.

"I apologize for the lack of drama, theatrics at the end," manager Dave Roberts said with a smile.

Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed six scoreless innings and All-Star Cody Bellinger hit his 30th home run in a 5-1 defeat of the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.

The Dodgers had won their previous five home games in thrilling walk-offs, one short of the major league record set by the 2000 Kansas City Royals. Bellinger had the winning RBIs on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This one was strictly by the book.

Ryu (10-2) allowed three hits, struck out five and walked a season-high three to become the first Dodgers starter to win a game since June 21, when Walker Buehler struck out 16 in a 4-2 victory over Colorado. The South Korean left-hander had one or no walks in his first 16 starts.

"My last game didn't go so well so I tried to go full-throttle from the get-go," Ryu said through a translator, referring to a 13-9 loss at Colorado last week that was his lone poor outing of the season.

Ryu lowered his major league-leading ERA to 1.73 in his final appearance before starting for the National League in next week's All-Star game in Cleveland. His ERA is the sixth-best in franchise history entering the break.

"He was in complete control," Roberts said.

Ryu is even better at home, with a 7-0 mark and 0.85 ERA.

"He's been the best pitcher in the National League. You can see why," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He pitches on edges all day long. He mixes. He gets to 2-0 counts, he doesn't give in."

Bellinger homered leading off the sixth, sending a 2-2 pitch into right field to join Reggie Jackson, Mark McGwire and Willie Mays as players 23 or younger with 30 homers before the All-Star break. Bellinger is the only Dodger to have done so.

"It doesn't matter who's throwing to him," Roberts said, "he's in such a good place."

Chris Taylor's sacrifice fly later in the inning extended the Dodgers' lead to 5-0.

The Padres dropped their fifth in a row, with JT Chargois striking out their final five batters to end the game.

"We put some grinds to the at-bats, we created some first-and-third scenarios, just couldn't deliver that big swing," Green said.

Dinelson Lamet (0-1) limited the Dodgers to two hits -- including Max Muncy's 21st homer -- through four innings of his season debut and first start since 2017.

But he found trouble in the fifth.

After Matt Beaty singled leading off, Lamet loaded the bases on back-to-back walks to Taylor and Russell Martin. Ryu struck out before Lamet hit Joc Pederson, scoring Beaty.

Alex Verdugo followed with a sacrifice fly to left field. Taylor tagged up and sprinted to the plate, swiping it with his left hand as he rolled over in beating the tag to make it 3-0.

Lamet missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery. The right-hander gave up three runs and three hits in five innings, struck out seven and walked two.

"It was a really special moment," Lamet said through a translator, "especially after everything that I went through during the post-op process. It was great to get back out there."

The Padres' lone run came on Eric Hosmer's RBI single in the eighth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: OF Franchy Cordero won't return before Sept. 1. He's appeared in just nine games this season after sustaining an elbow injury in early April and a quadriceps injury during a rehab game in mid-June. ... Placed RHP Robert Stock on 10-day IL with right bicep strain retroactive to Wednesday. ... Recalled RHP Gerardo Reyes from Triple-A El Paso.

Dodgers: OF A.J. Pollock (right elbow inflammation) began a rehab assignment at Class A Rancho Cucamonga and will rejoin the team in Boston after the All-Star break.

WINNING ON THE FOURTH

The Dodgers have won six straight games on the Fourth of July, tied with Boston for the second-longest active winning streak on the holiday, trailing only Oakland with eight.

They also tied their longest Fourth of July streak set from 1960-64.

UP NEXT

Padres: LHP Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.22 ERA) is 3-0 with a career 1.46 ERA against the Dodgers. He won those three games last year, becoming the first Padres rookie to win three straight starts against any single divisional opponent since Jimmy Jones in 1987.

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 3.23) makes his last start before appearing in the All-Star Game. He is 19-6 with a 2.02 ERA in 36 career outings against the Padres, averaging 9.43 strikeouts per nine innings.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Targeting These Relief Pitchers]]>Thu, 04 Jul 2019 14:02:06 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-1151356244.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record in baseball. Halfway through the season they are the MLB version of Superman, and relief pitching is their kryptonite.

In a perfect world, Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, would wave his magic wand and quickly accumulate a bevy of elite bullpen arms that rivals that of the Astros, Yankees, and Athletics. But unfortunately, constructing a bullpen is a lot like investing in Bitcoin: it's extremely volatile.

"Every year, going into the year, the bullpen performance is what keeps me up at night," Friedman admitted before the 2019 season began. "And it's funny because the years that I've had the most confidence is probably the years where we've struggled the most, and the years where I've been the most afraid are the years where we've been the best."

To Friedman's point, building a bullpen is an arduous task. Much like the MLB playoffs themselves, the construction of a bullpen is a crapshoot for a multitude of reasons.

Firstly, the data and research on relief pitching is still in its infancy. Baseball analytics has a plethora of data on starting pitching and position players, but when it comes to relief pitching, it's hard to decipher.

Sure, the statistics and numbers are there, but the impact of throwing ten pitches one day, thirty the next day, and then the outcome if said pitcher were to throw a third day is difficult to predict. How often or how little a reliever is used in consecutive days, and how that effects their pitching performance is still a surprise to front offices across the league.

Outside of elite closers, relief pitchers are usually failed starting pitchers. Of the hundreds of relief pitchers in baseball, most started out as starting pitchers in high school, college, and in the minor leagues. At some point, they were converted into relievers and their dreams of becoming a dominant starting pitcher were dashed.

Unlike a starting pitcher who has ample time to warm up before a start, going through his routine like horses on a carousel, a relief pitcher typically has just minutes to get ready to enter a game. This adds another incidental finding when trying to determine through data how reliable a relief pitcher will be.

When it comes to the Dodgers, Friedman and the front office have struck gold on some surprising former starters liker Joe Blanton and Brandon Morrow, but have gone down in flames when signing free agent relievers with a proven track record like Sergio Romo and Joe Kelly.

"We're comfortable being aggressive," Friedman said of his strategy when it comes to acquiring relievers for the bullpen. "We're not comfortable being stupid." 

Kelly was unstoppable against the Dodgers in the Fall Classic last season; throwing six shutout innings while appearing in every single game of the series. Overall, Kelly was terrific in the 2018 postseason, allowing just one earned run in 11 and 1/3 innings of relief.

That dominant stretch was all the Dodgers needed to see this offseason when they signed Kelly to a three-year, $25 million contract. The 31-year-old Los Angeles native was the first free agent the front office signed last winter, and bolstering the bullpen was the top priority on Friedman's checklist.

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Kelly has struggled in his first year with the Dodgers. At the end of May, he posted an 8.45 ERA. By the end of June, he had lowered it to 6.31, but mostly in mop-up duty.

"He's just going through a rough time right now," said closer Kenley Jansen who also hasn't looked like himself this season either. "People can doubt him and say all the stuff they can say, but we believe in him. I believe him. I'm sure Doc and Andrew and everybody believes in him. He's a champion. A true champion. What he did last year against us -- he's a true champion. It's a long season, man. All we need him to do is figure it out at the right time. And that right time is closer to the end of the season."

However, Kelly is not the only reliever struggling this season.

Dylan Floro has a 4.45 ERA and has allowed seven runs in his last three appearances.

Yimi Garcia had a 5.09 ERA entering June, and Scott Alexander was just below 4.00 before he went on the disabled list last month. 

Even Jansen, a three-time All-Star, hasn't looked like himself. After blowing two saves against the Red Sox in the World Series last season, Jansen already has three blown saves in 26 chances this season.

Yes, the Dodgers are a juggernaut. That much is certain. Their offense is among the top three in the league. They have an MVP candidate in Cody Bellinger, and their starting rotation is the second best in all of baseball. They have three different All-Stars in their rotation who each could be the ace of any other team in the league. 

Their defense is the best in the game, recording the most defensive runs saved in the entire league, but despite all those stats, their bullpen has been inconsistent and unreliable.

The Dodgers bullpen currently ranks ninth in the league. That's not bad, but it's been on the rise the last few weeks. Two weeks earlier it was 14th, and after May it was among the worst in the league.

The Dodgers have the fewest losses in the league at 29. However, 19 of those losses are the responsibility of relievers.

The Dodgers are not alone in their bullpen woes. Many other World Series contenders have bullpen issues as well. The Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Chicago Cubs all are below Los Angeles in bullpen ERA.

The Cubs addressed their bullpen struggles by signing the best free agent reliever available in former closer Craig Kimbrel. The Dodgers were one of a handful of teams who were also vying for Kimbrel's services, which begs the question:

What are the Dodgers going to do to at the trade deadline to bolster their bullpen?

If you've read this far, then this is the part you've been waiting for. 

Sources have told NBC LA, that they expect the Dodgers to acquire at least one reliever, if not two. As they do every year at the trade deadline, their list is long, thorough, and contains multiple options/plans.

According to sources, the Dodgers have reached out to opposing teams and had introductory calls regarding all the following players. However, I caution with this: these are just some of the players we've heard about. The actual list of names and teams they've contacted is likely much longer than what we've been told.

Scott Barlow and Jake Diekman – Kansas City Royals

Barlow is a 25-year-old right-hander who spent six seasons in the Dodgers farm system before he was signed by the Royals in 2017. Barlow has struggled this season, posting a 6.19 ERA in 30 games with Kansas City.

Diekman is left-hander who the Dodgers targeted last season when he was with the Texas Rangers. The 32-year-old was ultimately traded to the Diamondbacks at the deadline and signed a one-year deal with the Royals in the offseason. Diekman is 0-5 with a 4.89 ERA this season, but the Dodgers are hoping a pennant race can help reinvigorate him to his previous level.

Felipe Vazquez and Keone Kela – Pittsburgh Pirates

Since Vazquez was traded to the Pirates at the deadline in 2016, he has been of the best relievers in the game. The Dodgers have long coveted Vazquez, and his acquisition would immediately give them the best one-two punch in the backend of the bullpen.

However, Vazquez is under a team-friendly contract until the 2023 season, and would easily be the top reliever available should the Pirates decide to trade him. Presumably, in order to trade for Vazquez it would cost the Dodgers No. 1 prospect Kerbert Ruiz, and more. With the Pirates sitting at .500 and just three games out of first place in a vaunted NL Central, it's doubtful they'd be willing to part with their All-Star closer.

Similarly to when the Dodgers acquired left-hander Tony Watson at the deadline from the Pirates in 2017, if the front office can't pry Vazquez from the Bucs, Kela could be a more agreeable Plan B. 

The Dodgers were interested in Kela at the trade deadline last season before the Pirates swept in and stole him from the Rangers. After a stellar season in 2018, Kela has struggled in 2019, posting a 4.63 ERA in just 14 games.

Kela has been on the injured list with shoulder discomfort since May 8, but is expected back after the All-Star break. His shoulder injury could mean one of two things for the Dodgers: it could dissuade them from trading for him, or it could allow them to buy him at a discounted price.

Ken Giles and Sam Gavigallo – Toronto Blue Jays

The Dodgers know Giles well after facing him in the 2017 World Series when he was the closer for the Houston Astros. For whatever reason, Giles struggled in Houston, but has been sensational so far in Canada.

After back-to-back years in Houston hovering around a 5.00 ERA, Giles has an astonishing 1.24 ERA in 29 games with the Blue Jays. Los Angeles traded with Toronto last season for reliever John Axford, and with the Blue Jays in the midst of a rebuild, he could be the most rumored reliever at the trade deadline.

Sam Gaviglio is a right-handed reliever out of Oregon State. He's young and under team control. He hasn't been great with Toronto this year, sporting a 4-1 record with a 4.42 ERA, but he has a high ceiling, and could be a nice complimentary piece if the Dodgers are able to acquire him with Giles.

Brad Hand – Cleveland Indians

Like Vazquez, Hand is another elite reliever the Dodgers have been coveting for years. After two unsuccessful attempts to acquire him from the Padres, Hand was traded to the Indians at the deadline last season for top prospect Francisco Mejia. 

The Indians and Dodgers discussed a multitude of trade scenarios in the offseason, so both teams are familiar with each other's players and prospects. However, Cleveland is currently within striking distance of the Minnesota Twins for the top spot in the AL Central, and are presently the second wild card team. It's possible they decide to become sellers at the deadline, but with Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and possibly Carlos Carrasco all returning at some point in the second half, it's more than likely they become buyers.

Seth Lugo – New York Mets 

Lugo is another reliever the Dodgers were interested in at the trade deadline last season. The hard-throwing right-hander is under team control until 2023, and recently returned from injury. He's currently 4-2 with a 3.51 ERA in 31 games, and has been a solid reliever over the span of his four-year career. 

Let's face it; the Mets are a mess, and currently the second-worst team in the National League. If new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen decides to blow the whole thing up, Lugo could definitely be a deadline deal for the Dodgers or another team in need of bullpen help.

Nick Anderson – Miami Marlins

Many of you might be asking: who exactly is Nick Anderson? But, if you haven't heard the name yet, you soon will. Anderson is easily one of the better relievers in the game, and the fact that he's flying under the radar, only bodes well for his value.

Anderson has one of the lowest FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) in the league, and one of the highest strikeout rates in all of MLB. It's no surprise the Dodgers are interested in Anderson. They had multiple talks with the Marlins for their relievers last season, and this season Anderson is easily among the Fish's best.

The hard-throwing right-hander has a fastball clocked at 96MPH, but his best pitch is his slider. Anderson's 4.33 ERA this season is deceiving. He had two bad outings in May, allowing five runs on May 4 and three runs on May 17. Outside of those two blips, he's been lights out.

Hansel Robles – Anaheim Angels 

Despite the Angels struggles this season their bullpen has been a bright spot, and Robles is the team's biggest bulb. Robles has recorded a 2.95 ERA to go with three wins and no losses. The veteran reliever spent the first 10 years of his career with the New York Mets, but has finally come into his own with the Halos.

The Dodgers were interested in a couple of Angels' relievers at the trade deadline last season, and they likely will be again with Robles topping the list.

Will Smith – San Francisco Giants

The rival Giants and Dodgers have only completed three trades since both clubs moved west in 1958. It's been over a dozen years since the last trade with the Giants, so perhaps it's time to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Former Dodgers' general manager Farhan Zaidi is now the President of Baseball Operations for San Francisco, so his familiarity with the Dodgers front office and organization could bode well for both clubs at the deadline.

Smith is at the top of the Dodgers' wish list as the left-hander was just selected to his first All-Star appearance. The Giants' closer has a 2.16 ERA and has converted all 21 of his save opportunities this season.  

Zaidi knows the Dodgers farm system well and will certainly have a handful of prospects in mind should the teams delve deeper into trade talks. Regardless, the nest few weeks are sure to be sizzling as the rumors heat up.



Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Beat D-Backs 5-4 for 5th Straight Home Walk-Off Win]]>Wed, 03 Jul 2019 23:40:01 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-AP_19185114488861.jpg

All-Star Cody Bellinger hit a tiebreaking homer in the 10th inning, giving the Los Angeles Dodgers a major league-tying fifth consecutive walk-off victory at home, 5-4 over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

Bellinger hit a solo shot in the second and his 29 homers are the most in franchise history before the All-Star break. He broke a tie with Gil Hodges and Duke Snider, who had 28.

After Chris Taylor struck out to open the 10th, Bellinger crushed a high-arching pitch from Yoan Lòpez (1-2) into right field, triggering a raucous celebration and chants of "MVP! MVP!"

Joe Kelly (3-3) got the win after retiring the side in the 10th.

The Dodgers had a chance to win it in the ninth when Arizona closer Greg Holland stumbled for the second straight night.

Enriquè Hernàndez opened the inning with a double to deep right. Holland issued four of Arizona's five walks with two outs in the ninth Tuesday.

Matt Beaty's RBI single tied the game 4-all. He took second on Holland's wild pitch.

With the sellout crowd of 53,327 on its feet rhythmically clapping and chanting "Let's go Dodgers!" pinch-hitter Justin Turner struck out looking against Holland, who was replaced by Yoshihisa Hirano.

Pinch-hitter Russell Martin and Joc Pederson drew consecutive walks to load the bases. Alex Verdugo grounded into a weak double play to second to send it to the 10th.

The D-backs took a 4-3 lead in the ninth on Carson Kelly's homer off closer Kenley Jansen. They tied the game 3-all on Ketel Marte's RBI single with two outs in the seventh.

A night after Arizona blew an early 3-0 lead, it was the Dodgers' turn.

They led 3-0 in the second on Bellinger's homer and a pair of RBI singles by starter Walker Buehler and Pederson with two outs.

The D-backs closed to 3-2 on Christian Walker's two-run shot in the fourth.

Tied 3-all, the Dodgers had runners on base with two outs in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Edwin Rios drew a walk from reliever Matt Andriese and Pederson singled to left. Rios took third and Pederson went to second on a wild pitch by reliever Andrew Chafin before Alex Verdugo struck out swinging.

Coming off his worst outing of the season, Buehler allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings. The All-Star right-hander struck out nine and walked none.

Buehler gave up seven runs and 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings at Colorado last week. In seven of his previous eight outings, he'd allowed two earned runs or fewer.

Arizona's Merrill Kelly allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out two and walked none in his first career appearance against the Dodgers.

TRAINER'S ROOM

D-backs: LF David Peralta left the game in the bottom of the third with right shoulder soreness.

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (left forearm strain) was transferred to the 60-day IL. He's not allowed to pick up a baseball for four weeks and then will begin playing catch. ... 3B Justin Turner pinch-hit in the ninth and stayed in the game in the 10th. He didn't start for the second straight game because of residual soreness from being hit on the left elbow at Colorado. He's expected to start Thursday. ... INF David Freese (strained left hamstring) took some swings and will return Friday or Saturday.

UP NEXT

D-backs: They're off on July Fourth for the first time. RHP Zack Greinke (9-3, 2.90 ERA) starts Friday at home against Colorado.

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-2, 1.83) starts Thursday against San Diego. The NL starter in next week's All-Star Game looks to bounce back after his second loss of the season at Colorado.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Try to Get Handle On Raw Emotion After Skaggs Death]]>Thu, 04 Jul 2019 00:35:46 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/177*120/GettyImages-1159493137.jpg

Mike Trout led a parade of Los Angeles Angels into the interview room of the Texas Rangers for the first interaction with reporters since teammate Tyler Skaggs died. 

The two-time AL MVP tried to smile when it was his turn to talk, only to find himself fighting back tears almost immediately. Trout wasn't alone following a 9-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night, a day after the 27-year-old Skaggs was found unresponsive in his room at the team hotel.

Andrew Heaney, a starter alongside Skaggs who said the fellow left-hander was his best friend, choked back sobs before finding his composure.

It was the opposite for Justin Upton, who started with a smile talking about how Skaggs' reaction to the victory would be to say, "We're nasty!" Soon, though, the outfielder dropped his head and stopped in the middle of a sentence, getting a squeeze on the shoulder from Trout.

The emotion was just as raw in that same room a few hours earlier with manager Brad Ausmus and general manager Billy Eppler.

"It's just a tough 24 hours," Trout said as he sniffed and gained a handle on his emotions. "Like Brad said earlier, Skaggsy wouldn't want us to take another day off. The energy he brought to the clubhouse, every time you saw him, just pick me up."

Before Wednesday's game, the Angels clubhouse was open to reporters for the first time since Skaggs' death. His No. 45 jersey was hanging in his locker along with the equipment that had come with him for the road trip, including his glove.

Trout and three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols didn't appear while reporters were allowed in, and others milled about as the baseball routine began to kick in again.

"The guys all believe that we'll get through it," Ausmus said in the LA dugout before Wednesday's game. "It'll help being together getting through it. Today is probably the very first small step in that direction, but it's going to take time."

Tommy La Stella was on crutches the day after fouling a 97 mph fastball off his lower right leg and fracturing a tibia. The AL All-Star had to be replaced and is likely to miss at least two months. But losing out on his first All-Star chance two days after being selected as a reserve didn't matter much to La Stella with Skaggs on his mind.

"With what we're all dealing with right now, this is pretty meaningless," he said.

There was some question whether Trout and his teammates would talk to reporters after Tuesday's game — until just about every one of them showed up in a room normally occupied only by the home team's manager after each game.

Ausmus, much more composed than he was in a pregame meeting with reporters that included Eppler, owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino, said he would take questions about the game before turning it over to the players.

There was one question each for five players, including Kole Calhoun after his two-run homer that included a heartfelt celebration at home plate when he pointed skyward and had a message for his fallen teammate.

Justin Bour, who had a two-run single on the only pitch he saw as a pinch-hitter after La Stella was injured and had to leave the game on a 3-2 count, finished off the interview session.

Bour went through the same thing three years ago with the Miami Marlins, when pitcher José Fernández was killed in a boating accident late in the season.

"Like the guys say, reserve your sorrow for Skaggs' family, his wife," Bour said. "We're going to keep grinding every day and playing hard and playing with a spirit."

Heaney was singled out for a question among the couple of dozen players because of his close relationship with Skaggs, a Southern California native remembered as a fun-loving teammate.

The day before he died, Skaggs posted a picture on Instagram of him and the Angels in cowboy hats and other western clothing outside their plane. Skaggs organized the effort because the club was stopping in both major league cities in Texas. LA goes to Houston next.

"There's probably about 100 other people out there that would say he was their best friend too," Heaney said as he tried to control his sobs. "Because he treated everybody like that. He just had such an infectious personality."

The team will remember the energy he brought to the clubhouse.

"He was magnetic," Eppler said. "He was generous and kind, and our team will never be the same without him. But forever we've been made better by him."

And the Angels will be playing for him, probably for the rest of the season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: MediaNews Group via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vela Scores 17th Goal, Rossi gets 9th as LAFC Beats Sporting KC]]>Wed, 03 Jul 2019 20:38:26 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LAFC-Carlos-Vela-July-3-2019.jpg

Carlos Vela scored his 17th goal of the season, Diego Rossi added his ninth and Los Angeles FC beat Sporting Kansas City 5-1 on Wednesday night.

Christian Ramirez opened the scoring in the 28th minute for Los Angeles (12-2-4) by sending a free kick under the wall and past a diving Tim Melia. Rossi made it 2-0 in the 50th by curling a shot from the 18-yard line and Vela scored from the penalty spot in the 63rd for a 3-0 lead.

Rodolfo Zelaya scored on a breakaway in the 89th for a 4-1 lead and Mohamed El-Munir finished an individual effort two minutes later.

Kansas City (4-7-7) dropped its second straight following a three-game undefeated run.

Yohan Croizet scored for Kansas City in the 85th after settling Ilie Sánchez's chipped pass and finishing with his left foot. Minutes earlier, Dániel Sallói was denied his first goal of the season when Los Angeles goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega blocked a penalty kick.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Trout Homers Twice, Angels Beat Rangers 6-2]]>Wed, 03 Jul 2019 20:34:49 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-beat-Rangers-July-3-2019.jpg

Mike Trout homered twice and Jaime Barria, filling the roster spot of the late Tyler Skaggs, struck out a career-high eight batters in five innings as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 on Wednesday night.

Trout hit a three-run homer in the third inning and a solo shot leading off the sixth. He has hit 24 home runs this season, tied for the American League lead with the New York Yankees' Edwin Encarnación, with eight against Texas.

Barria (3-2) was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake for his sixth stint with Los Angeles this season. He allowed both runs on four hits and two walks. He has pitched five innings in all three of his Angels starts this season.

The Rangers were shut out over the final four innings by four relievers, limited to four hits overall and have lost four straight games. Ariel Jurado (5-4) gave up all six runs on seven hits and one walk after pitching seven shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers last Thursday.

The Angels have won both games played following the death of Skaggs on Monday. His spot in the rotation will come up for the first time in Thursday's series finale with Griffin Canning starting, moved back from Wednesday.

Trout has 33 career homers against the Rangers, second to his 37 against the Seattle Mariners. It was his 17th career multi-homer game and second this season.

The matchup of Barria vs. Jurado marked the first major league game in which both starters were from Panama.

Matt Thaiss was selected from Salt Lake and made his major league debut starting at third base with All-Star second baseman Tommy La Stella lost for 8-to-10 weeks after sustaining a right tibia fracture Tuesday night when he fouled a 97-mph fastball ball off his leg. David Fletcher moved from third base to second base.

Thaiss hit an opposite-field double in his first at-bat and went 1 for 3.

Tim Federowicz hit his third homer in 14 games with the Rangers and scored both of Texas' runs.

OTHER PREGAME MOVES

Angels OF Jarrett Parker was also selected from Salt Lake and entered the game in the sixth inning. He replaced Justin Upton, who left with left quad tightness. ... Texas recalled RHP Phillips Valdez from Triple-A Nashville and optioned RHP Pete Fairbanks to Nashville. Valdez made his second major league appearance, pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out three.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: La Stella and OF Brian Goodwin were placed on the 10-day injured list. Goodwin sustained a right wrist contusion Tuesday when he was hit by a pitch.

Rangers: DH Hunter Pence (groin) won't play in Tuesday's All-Star Game after being voted in and isn't expected to be ready for Texas' first game after the break, July 11 at home against Houston.

UP NEXT

RHP Canning (3-4, 3.79) won last Thursday, holding Oakland to two runs in six innings. He'll face RHP Lance Lynn (10-4, 4.00), who has won four straight decisions and trails only the Chicago White Sox's Lucas Giolito in major league wins.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Transfer Pitcher Rich Hill to 60-Day Injured List]]>Thu, 04 Jul 2019 00:07:57 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-683960502.jpg

Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill has been transferred to the 60-day injured list with a left forearm strain.

The 39-year-old left-hander went on the IL June 20. He is 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 10 starts this season.

Los Angeles acquired pitcher Casey Sadler from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for pitcher Nathan Witt on Wednesday.

Sadler was added to the 40-man roster and optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The 28-year-old was 0-0 with a 1.86 ERA in nine games for the Rays. Sadler has spent part of four seasons in the major leagues with the Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Witt was 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA in 22 games for Single-A Great Lakes. The 23-year-old had been with the Dodgers since 2017, all in the minors.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Image]]>
<![CDATA[Grieving Clubhouse: Tough for Angels, Like Teams Before Them]]>Wed, 03 Jul 2019 12:17:12 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels+Game+After+Skaggs+Death.jpg

Giancarlo Stanton knows from his own heart-wrenching experience what the Los Angeles Angels are feeling now, and will experience moving forward, after the death of a teammate during the season.

The slugger's message to the Angels, playing with heavy hearts after the death of 27-year-old pitcher Tyler Skaggs, is to "hug each other, laugh, cry, lift the ones taking it extra hard up."

Stanton, now playing for the New York Yankees, was still with the Miami Marlins three years ago when 24-year-old two-time All-Star pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating crash late that season.

Los Angeles returned to the field with an emotional 9-4 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night, a day after Skaggs was discovered unresponsive in his hotel room in Texas. No cause of death has been released.

"You're going to wonder why all of this is happening, is it real, why are u suiting up to play a game that seems irrelevant," Stanton wrote in an Instagram post. "Some Anger will ensue while u have to grieve in a fish bowl. A lot will go through your mind. So stay together through that."

Stanton said the Angels need to understand how important their strength is for Skaggs' family, as well as their fans and "anyone looking for the power to overcoming something."

Justin Bour, a first-year Angel who had a two-run single in his only at-bat Tuesday, was also with the Marlins in 2016.

"I know how tough it's going to be every single day," Bour said after the game. "And it takes a really long time for it to sink in. And it still, sometimes it just doesn't."

Texas catcher Jeff Mathis also played for the Marlins in 2016 and with Los Angeles in 2009 when 22-year-old Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver after only his fourth game in the big leagues.

"It was almost like we were playing that season for him," Mathis said about the 2009 Angels. "Obviously, it was something very dear to us to honor him in just the best way we could. Every time we stepped on that field that was part of the reason that we played the way we played."

The Angels won the AL West in 2009. They swept Boston in the AL Division Series before losing the AL Championship Series in six games to the New York Yankees.

Angels owner Arte Moreno described it "like a punch in the heart" when general manager Billy Eppler called him Monday with the news about Skaggs. That brought back memories of Adenhart's death 10 years ago.

"The team is such a family, and when you take a piece away from the family, there's always a hole," Moreno said Tuesday after traveling to Texas to join his grieving team.

Rangers pitcher Jesse Chavez spent 2017 with the Angels, and before Tuesday's game, he ran around the outfield to greet and hug former teammates such as Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun.

"It's a little bit harder, especially when you're playing a team that you played with him on," Chavez said somberly. "He was a kid, plain and simple."

Angels manager Brad Ausmus and Seattle manager Scott Servais both played for the Astros, though they were teammates at different times in Houston with Darryl Kile, who in June 2002 with the St. Louis Cardinals died in a Chicago hotel room during a road trip. Kile was 33.

Current Angels first baseman Albert Pujols was on that Cardinals team with Kile.

Servais, an assistant GM for the Angels when they reacquired Skaggs after the 2013 season, said playing after a tragedy isn't easy but provides some therapy by being back on the field.

"It's really hard to get through," Servais said. "You have to lean on each other. That's what you really have to do."

Servais was among the managers, some of whom had been through similar situations, who reached out to Ausmus.

"To a man, it's the same advice, and that is there's no handbook for this," Ausmus said. "Just kind of got to go with your honest feelings. If you do that, I think then you're not going to be wrong."

Ausmus, who broke down in tears while talking about Skaggs, described the feeling as identical to when Kile died.

"Once the game starts it actually is a refuge because it takes your mind off, it distracts you for a while," Ausmus said. "When you go back to your hotel room, you're reminded of reality. ... I know it gets easier, but it's difficult."

Asked about the challenge of managing under such circumstances, instead of playing like he was after Kile's death, Ausmus said everybody feels a tremendous loss but understands that life and the baseball season have to go on.

"It'll move forward at different paces for different guys, but this is just a reminder that professional athlete or not, we're all human and it can strike just the same," Ausmus said. "But as far as wearing the manager hat, I'm just wearing a hat right now. I'm just wearing an Angel hat."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Walk This Way: Dodgers Beat D-Backs 5-4 on 5 Straight Walks]]>Wed, 03 Jul 2019 02:25:43 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-beat-Dbacks-June-25-2019.jpg

The Dodgers couldn't believe what they were seeing. Neither could Diamondbacks closer Greg Holland.

Trailing 4-3 and down to their last out, Cody Bellinger's bases-loaded walk — the fifth in a row given up by Arizona's bullpen with two outs — forced in the winning run in the ninth and helped Los Angeles edge Arizona 5-4 Tuesday night.

"We put on a clinic there in the ninth. Our guys really just not blinking and waiting for their pitch," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It's a gut punch to the other side."

Holland (1-1), a former All-Star closer, couldn't find the strike zone after retiring his first two batters. He walked pinch-hitters Chris Taylor, who fell behind 0-2, and Russell Martin and Alex Verdugo to load the bases.

Matt Beaty then walked on four pitches to bring in the tying run and keep the bases loaded as Holland exited.

"I felt pretty good out there and then I just completely lost command of the strike zone altogether," said Holland, who threw 30 pitches, including 20 balls. "We had them beat and I let it slip away."

T.J. McFarland nearly hit Bellinger in the elbow, which would have brought in the winning run, but he jumped out of the way.

"That was impressive on our part to lay off pitches and some pretty good pitches, too," Bellinger said.

McFarland went ahead 1-2 in the count before walking the Dodgers slugger on six pitches, forcing in the winning run.

"I got him where I wanted to and wasn't able to put him away," McFarland said. "I didn't throw strikes when I needed it."

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo defended his decision to keep Holland in as long as he did.

"He is our closer and I felt like it was his opportunity to still get the close and slam the door," he said.

It was the Dodgers' fourth straight walk-off win at home, and they became the first team to record four or more consecutive walk-off victories since the 2004 Oakland Athletics notched five in a row.

"They're relentless in every way," Dodgers starter Ross Stripling said of his teammates. "They can slug, they can put together great at-bats and walk every night."

Yimi Garcia (1-2) pitched the ninth to earn the win.

Stripling said he'd never seen anything like what happened.

"As a pitcher it's hard to watch because you feel for him," he said.

The D-backs blew an early 3-0 lead and staved off scoring threats in the seventh and eighth only to have Holland and McFarland implode in the ninth.

"It stings, it definitely stings," Lovullo said. "We were one out and one strike away from the win."

Bellinger beat the shift in the eighth, stroking a double to left center with five D-backs players stacked on the right side of the field. The All-Star was hitless in his first three at-bats after going 7-for-23 on the Dodgers' just completed seven-game trip.

Max Muncy and Enriquè Hernàndez struck out swinging to end the inning.

Taylor tripled to deep center in the seventh and nearly lost his balance rounding second before sliding head-first into third. But Garlick struck out swinging and Verdugo grounded out to pitcher Andrew Chafin to end the inning.

Adam Jones grounded into a fielder's choice to third base, scoring Ketel Marte to put Arizona ahead 4-3 in the fifth.

Nick Ahmed staked the D-backs to a 3-0 lead in the second with a two-run homer that hit the top of the wall in center and bounced out. It came on the first pitch from Stripling.

Eduardo Escobar's two-out RBI double in the first scored Arizona's first run.

Stripling produced the Dodgers' first run with a two-out RBI single in the second.

Hernàndez's slugged a two-run homer that tied it 3-all in the fourth.

Arizona starter Taylor Clarke gave up three runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out one and walked three.

Stripling allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two in his eighth start of the season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner was out of the lineup because of residual soreness from being hit on the left elbow by a pitch from Colorado's Chad Bettis a day earlier. X-rays on his elbow and left wrist (hit by a pitch on March 29) were negative. ... OF A.J. Pollock (elbow surgery) and INF Corey Seager (strained left hamstring) are expected to return after the All-Star break. Pollock will have a minor league rehab assignment first, while nothing has been set for Seager. ... INF David Freese (strained left hamstring) will be back Friday or Saturday.

UP NEXT

D-backs: RHP Merrill Kelly (7-8, 4.00 ERA) leads National League rookies in innings pitched (99.0) and is second in both wins and strikeouts (79). He's coming off a loss at the Giants last week, when he allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings.

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (8-1, 3.43), a newly named All Star, is 1-0 with a 3.47 ERA in four career starts against Arizona. He's held D-backs batters to a .163 average.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grieving Angels Beat Rangers 9-4 Day After Death of Tyler Skaggs]]>Tue, 02 Jul 2019 22:17:13 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Beat-Rangers-after-Skaggs-death-July-2-2019.jpg

Justin Bour delivered a two-run single on the first pitch he saw after replacing injured American League All-Star Tommy La Stella, and the grieving Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 9-4 on Tuesday night.

The emotional win came a day after the death of 27-year-old pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who was found unresponsive in his room at the team's hotel before what was supposed to be the series opener Monday. That game was postponed.

A few hours after watching with his teammates as manager Brad Ausmus struggled to keep his composure in a news conference to discuss Skaggs' shocking death, Jonathan Lucroy had a tying two-run single in the sixth inning and finished with three RBIs.

Bour, with a .194 average, entered the game on a full count with two outs in the sixth after La Stella, a first-time All-Star as a reserve, fouled a 97 mph fastball from Texas reliever José Leclerc off his right leg, just below the knee. The second baseman had to be helped off the field and was to be re-evaluated Wednesday for a right shin contusion.

After grounding a high fastball into right field with the bases loaded to send home Mike Trout and Justin Upton, Bour touched his chest twice and tipped the bill of his batting helmet before pointing skyward. Upton had put the Angels ahead for good with an RBI single.

Kole Calhoun connected for his 18th homer , a two-run shot in the eighth, pointing skyward with both hands above his head while saying something as he crossed home plate.

The game was notably subdued, with the Rangers skipping the normal walk-up music for their hitters and between-inning promotions along with the customary display of fireworks that accompanies the theme song from the movie "The Natural" on home runs.

Delino Deshields circled the bases without the usual fanfare after his second homer of the season , a solo shot down the line in left for a 2-1 lead in the third.

Skaggs' No. 45 was painted in bright Angels red on the back of the mound, and both scoreboards had the late left-hander's number next to the display of balls, strikes and outs on both of the primary scoreboards, high above left-center and right field.

There were a few smiles, such as when Luis Rengifo of the Angels joked with Texas second baseman Rougned Odor while returning to first base after running on a pitch before a foul ball in the fourth inning.

Mostly, though, the game was just what Texas slugger Joey Gallo said he thought it would be beforehand: strange and quiet, starting with the moment of silence before the first pitch.

Los Angeles starter José Suarez honored Skaggs with "RIP 45" written next to what appeared to be a cross on one side of his ballcap. The initials "TSK" were just above the bill on the other side of the Angels logo.

Before throwing his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning, the left-handed Suarez appeared to write something in the dirt below Skaggs' number on the mound. He then tapped the number and his chest before returning to the mound.

Suarez gave up three runs — two earned — with seven strikeouts in four innings.

In his first start since being named an American League All-Star, Texas left-hander Mike Minor failed to make it through five innings for the first time since opening day against the Chicago Cubs.

Minor, who allowed two hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings while matching his season high with four walks, also learned he probably won't get to pitch in the All-Star Game because he's supposed to start Sunday.

Elvis Andrus stole home for a major league-leading third time for a 3-1 Texas lead in the third on a double steal with Logan Forsythe. Andrus was initially called out on a sweep tag by Lucroy on the return throw, but the call was overturned on review. Andrus had three steals.

PITCHERS OF RECORD

Trevor Cahill (3-6) got his first win since May 10, allowing a hit and a run in two innings. Rookie Pete Fairbanks (0-2) allowed all three batters he faced to reach on two walks and a hit, and all three scored.

UP NEXT

Angels: RHP Griffin Canning (3-4, 3.79 ERA) got his first win since May 18 in his previous start at Oakland, allowing two runs with six strikeouts in six innings. The rookie had a no-decision in his only start against the Rangers, allowing one run in five innings.

Rangers: RHP Ariel Jurado (5-3, 3.90) pitched a career-high seven innings in a 3-1 win at Detroit his last time out. Jurado didn't allow a run and struck out four. He has no record with a 4.41 ERA in three career appearances against the Angels.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Hire Ex-Kings Coach Darryl Sutter as Adviser]]>Tue, 02 Jul 2019 18:49:55 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ducks-Darryl-Sutter-July-2-2019.jpg

Longtime Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter joined the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday as an adviser to new coach Dallas Eakins' staff, enlivening an otherwise quiet free-agent signing period for Southern California's two rebuilding NHL clubs.

Sutter is the winningest coach in the history of the Kings, the Ducks' crosstown archrivals. He has been out of coaching since Los Angeles fired him in April 2017 despite his two Stanley Cup titles.

Anaheim general manager Bob Murray announced the addition with a dry news release, but Sutter's move down the I-5 freeway added some intrigue to a fallow year for Southern California hockey. The Kings and Ducks missed the Stanley Cup playoffs in the same spring for the first time since 2004, and neither team has made a significant addition in free agency.

"Darryl will provide invaluable expertise to our coaching staff and players," Murray said. "Both Dallas and I agree his proven track record and vast knowledge of the game will be very beneficial for us."

The 60-year-old Sutter coached Los Angeles to its only two championships in 2012 and 2014. He won a franchise-record 225 games over 5½ seasons, and his Kings won an impressive 10 playoff series over three seasons during their prime.

The Kings fired Sutter after they missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Los Angeles failed to win a playoff series in the three seasons following its second championship.

Before he joined Los Angeles, Sutter was a general manager and coach with the Calgary Flames. He also had previous stints as a head coach with San Jose and Chicago.

Although Sutter's Kings put together one of the most impressive three-season runs in recent hockey history, his apparent preference for a deliberate, physical style of play often appeared to clash with the speed and skill prevalent in the modern game.

Yet the change didn't help the Kings, who are on their third head coach in two years since Sutter's dismissal. Los Angeles hired Todd McLellan in April.

Anaheim appointed Eakins last month after firing Randy Carlyle during last season. Assistant coaches Mark Morrison and Marty Wilford are expected to stay on Eakins' staff after they finished last season as assistants to Murray, who coached the Ducks' final 26 games.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: NHLI via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: How Baseball and Its Fans Are Remembering Angels Pitcher Tyler Skaggs]]>Tue, 16 Jul 2019 13:41:34 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/angels-tyler-skaggs-outfield-2019-2.jpgMajor League Baseball and its fans remembered 27-year-old Angels pitcher will solemn pre-game ceremonies and a memorial outside the stadium where he played in Anaheim.

Photo Credit: 2019 © Angels Baseball LP]]>
<![CDATA[Angels, MLB Mourn Tyler Skaggs After Pitcher Dies in Hotel Room]]>Tue, 02 Jul 2019 19:45:30 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19183061391690.jpg

With the memory of Tyler Skaggs weighing heavy on their hearts, the Los Angeles Angels took the field for their first game since the death of the much-loved 27-year-old pitcher who got to play for his favorite childhood team.

"He was an exceptional young man with an entire life so full of promise yet to live. For some reason, that is incomprehensible to all of us, he lives on now only in our minds and our hearts," general manager Billy Eppler said before Tuesday night's game. "Our team will never be the same without him. But forever we've been made better by him."

The Angels decided to play a day after the postponement of the series opener against the Rangers. Skaggs was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Texas on Monday. A cause of death has not been reported.

"The first game back, whether today or tomorrow was going to be one of the toughest other than yesterday," manager Brad Ausmus said.

"The game itself is going to be a refuge for players, where they can turn their minds off and concentrate on baseball," he added. "I don't know that sitting in a hotel room would do them any good."

There was a moment of silence before the game, with the Angels lined up outside the dugout when Skaggs was recognized. The pitcher's No. 45 was painted on the back of the mound and was also posted on the scoreboards.

Before Angels starter Jose Suarez threw his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning, the left-hander appeared to write something in the dirt with his finger on the back of the mound. He then touched the No. 45 and followed that by tapping his heart.

Public address announcer Chuck Morgan introduced the moment of silence by saying the Rangers offered their deepest sympathies and condolences to Skaggs' family, his teammates and the entire Angels organization.

The introductions of the starting lineups by Morgan before that were uncharacteristically subdued, and the Rangers ran to their positions for the start of the game quietly without any music playing in the stadium.

When Rangers batters were introduced, there was no walk-up music played.

Eppler said he spoke to several players about whether to play or not.

"It felt it's what Tyler would want, and also allow them to get back in a routine, and to have a period of time where they feel disconnected," the GM said. "A lot of problems go away when the first pitch is thrown until the last pitch is thrown."

While Angels players weren't made available to the media, they sat in the room when Eppler and Ausmus addressed the pitcher's death along with team owner Arte Moreno and Angels president John Carpino.

"There are no words to express our sadness today," Moreno said.

All-Star center fielder Mike Trout sat in a second row of seats against the wall, at times with his head down, like many of his teammates around him.

Ausmus said the team gathered together a couple of times Monday at the team hotel about 20 miles from the ballpark.

"Some of the guys spoke. I think most importantly in the end, we were able talk about Tyler and laugh about some of the stories and some of the goofy things he did, and listen to some of his music," Ausmus said before wiping away tears.

Asked about his message to his players, Ausmus said that was a "family conversation" that would remain between them.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he couldn't imagine what Ausmus and his players were going through preparing to play in that situation.

"I hate to even put myself into that, because it breaks my heart just to think about something like that," Woodward said before the game. "The shock of it all, it's heartbreak."

Eppler described Skaggs as a teammate, a brother, a friend and most importantly a husband and a son who "brought joy to everybody around him."

Angels players wore a black encircled patch with No. 45 above the heart of their uniforms.

With the team out of town, fans went to Angel Stadium, where they left flowers, hats, baseballs, signs, photos and other memorabilia in a makeshift memorial mound.

The poignant display resembled the fan-created memorial for Nick Adenhart in 2009 after the rookie pitcher was killed by a drunk driver. That tribute stayed out front of the Big A through the summer.

Carpino said the Angels would pay tribute to Skaggs in much the same way they did Adenhart, who was killed after his first start of the 2009 season that was only his fourth major league game.

"The way we'll honor them both is just watching these guys play," Carpino said, referring to the players sitting to his left. "As far as the stadium, just typical with a patch and all that, but honoring him so much more with our thoughts and our hearts is the most important thing."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Alex Gallardo/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Everything You Need to Know About Dodgers Holiday Homestand]]>Tue, 02 Jul 2019 00:16:35 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Dodgers+homestand+dbacks+and+padres.png

After their first losing road trip since April 14, the Los Angeles Dodgers return to the friendly confines of Chavez Ravine for a six-game homestand before the All-Star break.

The first-place Dodgers will host two familiar N.L. West opponents in the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres.

Ross Stripling will make a spot start in the opener on Tuesday night, and fans will hope the force is with him as everyone celebrates Star Wars Nigh at the ballpark. Fans who purchase a ticket at Dodgers.com/StarWars will receive a Hyun Solo bobblehead featuring All-Star pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu as Han Solo.

 

Fans will want to come out early on Wednesday night as newly announced All-Star Walker Buehler will square off with right-hander Merrill Kelly. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a Justin Turner bobblehead. The collectible figurine depicts Turner after his go-ahead homer in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the 2018 NLCS in Milwaukee.

Fourth of July falls on Thursday, and fans are encouraged to celebrate their Independence Day at Dodger Stadium with a postgame holiday fireworks show. The game starts at 6:10PM, and there will be a patriotic pregame ceremony consisting of a giant American flag held by military members, a Joint Forces Color Guard, a flyover, and US Army Major General Jeff Broadwater will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

If you missed the fireworks show on Fourth of July, don't worry, you'll have another chance on Friday for Friday Night Fireworks set to the music of Paul McCartney.

Saturday is "7/6 Day," and longtime Dodgers' sponsor 76 gas stations will celebrate with a pregame event at the old station in the parking lot behind centerfield. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will also receive a Cody Bellinger jersey giveaway presented by 76.

The finale of the homestand on Sunday will mark Jewish Community Day at Dodger Stadium, and fans that purchase the ticket pack at Dodgers.com/Events will receive a Dodgers kippah. After the game, kids are allowed to run the bases on the field.

See you at the ballpark!



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former USC Football Analyst Suing University for $2 Million]]>Mon, 01 Jul 2019 15:46:55 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/USC-lawsuit-July-1-2019.jpg

A former USC football senior defensive analyst filed court papers Monday seeking $2 million from the university, alleging he was fired after reporting multiple violations to school officials.

Rick Courtright's papers were brought in Los Angeles Superior Court.

A USC representative said the school is investigating the allegations and that the university "strives to ensure compliance with NCAA rules."

Courtright was with the Trojans in 2016-18, and Athletic Director Lynn Swann gave him several awards and a raise in 2017 for his work, according to his court papers.

Courtright alleges he learned two USC graduate assistants working for the football team were paying other students to take their classes for them with the knowledge of USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

Courtirght also maintains he reported safety violations, including two football players who he says suffered concussions after an unsupervised pre-game warmup in which they did not wear protective gear.

Courtright alleges he suffered a backlash after reporting what he knew to the USC compliance office. He alleges he was subjected to pranks and ostracized.

Head coach Clay Helton put Courtright on administrative leave in January 2018 and three months later told him to either resign or be fired, according to his court papers.

Courtright says he resigned in May 2018 to avoid having a firing on his record and believes he is unlikely to be hired as a football coach by another college or university.

Courtright was once a former assistant secondary coach and defensive quality control coach with the Arizona Cardinals and served as a scout for the New York Jets in 2013-15, his court papers state.



Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Announce Chef Series Pop-Up]]>Sun, 30 Jun 2019 23:57:58 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/LA+Dodgers+Chef+Series.png

The food at Dodger Stadium is considered among the best in baseball, but it's about to get a whole lot better.

The Dodgers and their hospitality partner, Levy Restaurants, have joined forces to launch a brand new culinary concept entitled "LA Feeds Blue."

"Dodgers fans know we’ve added more fresh, locally-inspired dining options over the last few seasons, and the Chef Series builds on that focus with a true taste of LA’s restaurant community," said Ryan Evans, Executive Chef for Levy at Dodger Stadium. "We’re fortunate to have some amazing, iconic restaurants and neighborhood joints are breaking through in a big way. We wanted the Chef Series to showcase both those recognizable, craved flavors, and up-and-coming restaurants with really unique concepts."

The dining initiative will bring renowned chefs, local ingredients, and diverse flavors that represent Los Angeles neighborhoods to the concession stands at Chavez Ravine this summer.

The pop-up concession stands will run through all Dodger homestands in July and August, and will feature rotating chefs with rotating menus and a host of celebrity restaurateurs.

The "LA Feeds Blue" initative will take place in the right field plaza, in the area that used to be "Tommy's Trattoria."

This season's rotating chef series schedule includes: 

  • Trejo’s Tacos, July 2-7: Actor, restaurateur, and Dodger diehard Danny Trejo and business partners Ash Shah and Jeff Georgino serve up their signature street tacos and authentic Mexican fare.

  • Border Grill + Socalo, July 19-24: Award-winning chefs, restaurateurs, and authors Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken bring a dueling menu inspired by their iconic Border Grill restaurants and their newest venture Socalo, an all-day canteen serving coastal Latin cuisine, opening this summer.

  • Park’s BBQ, August 1-7: Chef-Owner Jenee Kim delivers a taste of Park’s BBQ’s acclaimed Korean BBQ and sizzling inventive takes on traditional Korean fare made with the finest meats and produce.

  • Boo’s, August 20-25: Owner John Ahn and his son and business partner Andrew came to LA from Philly to sling the city’s most authentic, mouthwatering cheesesteaks made with the freshest ingredients.

Is your mouth watering yet? 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Meet the Dodgers 4 All-Stars]]>Sun, 30 Jun 2019 23:36:07 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Kershaw+and+Ryu.png

A handful of Dodger players better cancel their mid-July plans.

Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Walker Buehler were all announced as 2019 National League All-Stars.

The Dodgers quartet will headline the July 9th game in Cleveland, Ohio after Major League Baseball unveiled the full rosters (including reserves and pitchers) for the Midsummer Classic on Sunday.

The Houston Astros led all teams with six players selected to the All-Star Game, and the Milwaukee Brewers, and Colorado Rockies also each had four players selected.

Bellinger was the second-leading vote getter and was named a starter in the outfield. He will be making his second All-Star appearance after debuting as a rookie in 2017.

Kershaw is 7-2 with a 3.23 ERA this season, and will be making his eighth All-Star Game appearance.

Ryu, 9-2 with a 1.83 ERA, and Buehler, 8-1 with a 3.43 ERA will each be making their All-Star Game debut.

Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts will manage the National League squad, and after the team's 10-5 victory over the Rockies on Sunday, he named Ryu as his starter.

The 2019 MLB All-Star Game will air live on FOX on Tuesday, July 9 at 4:30PM PT.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Rout Angels 12-3 at the Big A]]>Sun, 30 Jun 2019 17:28:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-lose-to-As-June-30-2019.jpg

Matt Chapman hit a three-run homer, a triple and a three-run double on the day he was named to his first All-Star team, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Los Angeles Angels 12-3 Sunday to take three of four from their AL West rivals.

Chapman racked up a career-high six RBIs starting with his 21st homer in the fifth inning, shortly before he learned of his selection to the midseason showcase in Cleveland.

The slugger then got two extra-base hits in the eighth. He led off the inning with a triple before clearing the bases with his double after two errors by the Angels prolonged the A's seven-run rally.

Shohei Ohtani hit two homers for the Angels, who wrapped up their final homestand before the All-Star break by losing three straight at home to a team they're chasing in the division standings.

Chapman homered in his second straight game and reached base in his 17th consecutive game. He began the day tied for the AL lead with 42 extra-base hits and tied with Nolan Arenado for the major league lead in homers among third basemen.

Ramon Laureano drove in two runs for the A's, who have won five of six overall.

Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella learned of his first All-Star selection while he walked up to the plate in the sixth inning, acknowledging the cheers and the scoreboard announcement with a wave. La Stella then singled in his next three at-bats after the announcement, producing his sixth multi-hit game in his past 10 starts.

Los Angeles dropped back below .500 after getting a season-high two games above the mark Thursday.

Ohtani connected on leadoff homers in the fourth and eighth innings for his third career multihomer game, his first at Angel Stadium.

His shot in the eighth didn't mean much after Oakland's seven-run rally, but it traveled 447 feet high into the right field stands. The AL Rookie of the Year already has 12 homers and 35 RBIs since making his season debut May 7, including two on this homestand.

Andrew Heaney (1-2) yielded five runs over six innings of six-hit ball for the Angels, giving up Chapman's big shot after a mound visit in the fifth.

Chris Bassitt (5-3) pitched five-hit ball into the sixth inning for Oakland.

Before the eighth-inning rally secured the win, Oakland's bullpen stranded two runners apiece in the sixth and seventh innings. Joakim Soria froze Mike Trout with a slider for a called third strike to end the seventh.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: OF Stephen Piscotty went on the 10-day injured list after spraining his right knee Saturday night while sliding into second. Oakland recalled INF Franklin Barreto, who started at second. Piscotty was scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday. ... OF Khris Davis didn't start for the third straight game after getting hit on the hand with a pitch Thursday.

Angels: Reliever Cam Bedrosian left in the eighth inning after Robbie Grossman's comebacker glanced off his glove and into his face.

UP NEXT

Athletics: After a day off, Daniel Mengden (2-1, 4.03 ERA) takes the mound in Oakland for a series opener against the Minnesota Twins and AL wins co-leader Jake Odorizzi (10-3, 2.73 ERA).

Angels: José Suarez (2-1, 5.57 ERA) will come up from Triple-A to start in the opener Monday night of a key series at Texas, which counters with Mike Minor (8-4, 2.40 ERA).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Rebound in 10-5 Win Over Rockies, Split Series]]>Sun, 30 Jun 2019 17:25:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Rockies-June-29-2019.jpg

Joc Pederson had three hits and three RBIs, Matt Beaty doubled twice and drove in two, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied past the Colorado Rockies 10-5 Sunday to split their four-game series.

Kenta Maeda pitched into the fifth but didn't figure in the decision. He had a hand in the Dodgers' first two runs, though, singling and scoring in the third and laying down a sacrifice bunt that helped bring Kiké Hernandez home in the fifth.

Dylan Floro (3-2) got two outs to pick up the win and Julio Urias helped keep the Rockies in check with three scoreless innings in relief.

The Dodgers finished their seven-game trip at 3-4.

David Dahl, a first-time NL All-Star who learned of his selection during the game, homered for the Rockies. Shortstop Trevor Story and right fielder Charlie Blackmon also were selected. Blackmon connected for his 20th homer of the season — a solo shot — with two outs in the ninth.

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado and the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger were selected in fan balloting announced earlier. In addition, Dodgers pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu were selected for the NL squad.

Los Angeles vaulted back in front with a six-run burst in the sixth, a rally that pinch-hitter Justin Turner sparked when he was hit by a pitch by reliever Chad Bettis (1-4) with the bases loaded. Pederson followed with a two-run single, Beaty had an RBI double, and Max Muncy an RBI single along with Bellinger's run-scoring fielder's choice as the Dodgers moved in front 9-4.

Bellinger singled in the Dodgers' eighth to drive in a second run.

Trailing 3-0 going into their half of the fifth, the Rockies came back to take a 4-3 lead. With two on and one out, Maeda was relieved by Zac Rosscup, who gave up an infield RBI single to Blackmon before Dahl connected for a three-run home run, his 12th of the season.

Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez went four-plus innings and allowed three runs on five hits.

TRAINING ROOM

Dodgers: INF David Freese practiced against live pitching this weekend and is nearing a return from the 10-day injured list (left hamstring strain). Manager Dave Roberts said he anticipates Freese could be activated sometime this week.

Rockies: SS Trevor Story is finishing up a weekend rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque. Barring any setbacks, Story is expected to be reinstated sometime this week from the 10-day injured list (thumb).

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Following an off day, RHP Ross Stripling (3-2, 3.08 ERA) is slated to pitch a series opener Tuesday night against Arizona, his second consecutive start against the Diamondbacks.

Rockies: After a day off, RHP German Marquez (8-3, 4.29 ERA) takes the mound for the opener of a two-game interleague series against the Houston Astros.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Blank Angels 4-0, First Shutout Loss Since April 16]]>Sat, 29 Jun 2019 22:29:52 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1152906380.jpg

Brett Anderson pitched 7 2/3 dominant innings of two-hit ball, and Matt Chapman hit a two-run homer in the Oakland Athletics' 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

Anderson (8-5) was brilliant in his first start since giving up seven runs while failing to get an out in the fourth inning against Tampa Bay last weekend. The veteran left-hander didn't allow an Angels runner to reach second base until Luis Rengifo's eighth-inning double chased him on his 100th pitch.

Marcus Semien and Josh Phegley drove in runs for the A's, who have won four of five and 12 of 17 overall to push past the Angels in the middle of the AL West pack. Oakland has won 16 of its last 21 road games, as well.

Mike Trout went 1 for 3 with a walk and a ninth-inning single, and Shohei Ohtani went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts as Los Angeles was shut out for the first time since April 16, failing to get any runners to third base.

Tyler Skaggs (7-7) gave up just two runs, but couldn't get through five innings for the Angels. They have fallen back to .500 again with two straight losses following a four-game winning streak.

Oakland's Stephen Piscotty left the game in the sixth inning after spraining his right knee while sliding into second. The outfielder was attempting to stretch his hit into a double until he got hurt, and the Angels tagged him out when he ended up lying on the ground past the base.

Anderson had only one win in his previous five starts in June, but he repeatedly got the Halos to swing early in the count, and their rare hard-hit balls went right at defenders.

Neither team managed a hit in the first three innings, but after Jurickson Profar drew a leadoff walk in the fifth, Semien chased Skaggs with an RBI double.

Former A's pitcher Trevor Cahill came in, and Chapman hit his first pitch into the right field stands for his 20th homer, reaching base in his 16th straight game in the process.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: OF Khris Davis sat out his second straight game after getting hit on the hand by a pitch Thursday. The slugger isn't expected to miss much more time.

Angels: RHP Matt Harvey will begin another rehab assignment Tuesday. He hasn't appeared for the Halos since May 25 due to a back strain, and he has struggled when healthy in his first season with the club.

UP NEXT

Andrew Heaney (1-1, 4.99 ERA) will look to build on his first win since Sept. 9, 2018, when he takes the mound for Los Angeles in the series finale against Chris Bassitt (4-3, 3.86 ERA), who will match his career high with his 13th start already this season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw, Dodgers Fall 5-3 in Colorado]]>Sat, 29 Jun 2019 22:23:52 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Dodgers-lose-to-Rockies-June-29-2019.jpg

Jon Gray and Clayton Kershaw turned Coors Field into a pitcher's park for one night. Charlie Blackmon showed the hitters are still dangerous in the thin air.

Gray pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Blackmon homered to lead the Colorado Rockies past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 on Saturday.

Gray (9-5) allowed three runs, two earned, and struck out eight over 6 2/3 innings to give Colorado's tired bullpen some rest. He outdueled Kershaw, who was cruising until an error started a three-run rally in the sixth.

After nine straight games of unprecedented offense at Coors Field — the Rockies and their opponents combined for 170 runs — the pitchers were in control this time.

"We went through a rough stretch. We weren't really picking up the offense at all," Gray said. "I just feel like it's our time to step up for the team and really give our best."

Gray did that with some big pitches in tough situations. He struck out Max Muncy in the first inning with a runner on second and got Kiké Hernández to pop up with a runner on third to end the fourth.

"Jon Gray did such a good job today it's hard to tell you how important for us to keep that game close," Blackmon said. "For him to pitch well and give us such length when our bullpen is tired out — just a good start by him."

Gray kept it close until the Dodgers' leaky defense helped Colorado take the lead. An error by Muncy at second started things, and Nolan Arenado tied the game with a single. After Ian Desmond singled off Hernandez's glove at shortstop to load the bases, Mark Reynolds' two-out, two-run single put the Rockies up by two after six.

"When you give that team outs in this ballpark, the momentum shifts and you just kind of extend innings," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts. "That play to Muncy and obviously the Kiké play, it was a tough play but it's a play that he makes, and at that point in time you're out of the inning and things change."

The Dodgers threatened in the seventh but Jairo Diaz struck out Justin Turner with two on to end the inning.

Alex Verdugo had two hits and Edwin Rios got his first major league hit and drove in a run for the Dodgers.

Scuffling closer Wade Davis got three outs for his 12th save in 14 chances.

Kershaw (7-2) needed only 89 pitches to get through seven innings. He struck out seven and didn't walk a batter, but gave up five runs — four earned. He added a single in two at-bats.

Pat Valaika, who had two hits, led off the third with a single and Blackmon followed with his 19th homer to give Colorado a 2-1 lead.

Kershaw said he shook off catcher Austin Barnes to throw a curveball, and Blackmon hit it into the Rockies bullpen.

"That was the last thing Barnsie called and I should have listened to him," Kershaw said. "I felt confident about the curveball there and I felt it was a decent one. He hit it well, so it was obviously the wrong pitch to throw."

When told it was the first time a left-hander hit a regular-season home run off Kershaw's curveball, according to Inside Edge, Blackmon shrugged.

"That's interesting. I guess it doesn't count," he said. "You have to do it twice or it doesn't count."

Los Angeles tied it in the fourth on Rios' RBI triple and took the lead in the fifth on Verdugo's single.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: SS Trevor Story (right thumb sprain) was in the lineup for Triple-A Albuquerque. He is eligible to come off the 10-day injured list Sunday but will have one more rehab start and join the team Tuesday.

NFL EUROPE

The New York Yankees' 17-13 win over Boston in London on Saturday had Roberts shaking his head. "That's unbelievable," he said before his team's game. "Was that the Giants vs. the Patriots or the Jets vs. the Patriots?"

ARENADO RETURNS A FAVOR

Sam Grayston, a 17-year-old high school baseball player from Laguna Hills, California, got the thrill of a lifetime when he fielded grounders from Arenado during the offseason a few years ago. Saturday the two reunited when Arenado hosted Grayston at Coors Field through Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Grayston, diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth, toured the clubhouse and took batting practice before the game.

"He's just been speechless," Grayston's mom, Laurie, said. "He's trying to play it cool, but he just can't wipe that smile off his face."

UP NEXT

Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (7-4) faces RHP Chi Chi González (0-1) in the series finale Sunday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kawhi to Lakers? Clippers? NBA Free Agency Finally Starts Sunday]]>Sat, 29 Jun 2019 17:19:33 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NBA-Free-Agency-2019-Kawhi-Leonard-Lakers-June-2019.jpg

Kawhi Leonard is planning meetings in Los Angeles. Kevin Durant will do the same in New York.

Those are the cities where they'll begin free agency.

Where they will end it will finally start to get clearer soon.

NBA teams will start opening their checkbooks Sunday at 6 p.m. EDT, when the negotiating window for one of the most hotly anticipated free-agent periods begins and with more than 200 players — including two dozen players with at least one All-Star appearance — eligible to change teams in the coming weeks.

"Some people could say, 'Oh my God, look at all that player movement,'" NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during this past season. "On the other hand, that player movement could be very positive for a lot of teams."

Leonard, Durant, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Nikola Vucevic, Al Horford and Khris Middleton are among the top players who will be deciding whether to change addresses or not. Boston apparently knows it will be losing Kyrie Irving, since a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday that fellow All-Star point guard Kemba Walker has informed the Charlotte Hornets that he's leaving them for the Celtics. Irving's focus is believed to be on joining the Brooklyn Nets.

No deals can be signed until July 6 because of the league's annual moratorium, though players and teams can enter into agreements starting Sunday.

"There's a lot of obviously decisions that will go into the summer," Golden State guard Stephen Curry said. "And we'll deal with those accordingly."

Everyone will, and won't have a choice.

Changes could shift the balance of NBA power considerably — especially if Durant leaves the Warriors and Leonard leaves the NBA champion Toronto Raptors. Durant will be pursued by the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers along with Golden State; Leonard is likely to hear pitches from the Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers and the Raptors.

Durant and Leonard were asked countless times this past season about their free-agent plans.

Neither offered much of a hint.

"I just want to play and just let people remember that I played hard at both ends of the floor, I was a winner, and that's basically it," Leonard said during the NBA Finals, on his way to winning his second ring and second finals MVP award. "I'm just here enjoying my dream, having fun."

Durant won't play next season because of a ruptured Achilles. He still may command a $221 million, five-year contract from Golden State.

"I know what I bring to the team but I also know that a lot of people on the outside, you know, don't like to see us together," Durant said last month. "You know, I get it."

Whether he and the Warriors remain "us" is up to him now.

Then again, even when players say certain things, it doesn't mean much. A parting of ways between Irving and the Celtics didn't seem likely in October, when the point guard grabbed the microphone at a fan event in Boston and said "if you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here."

Plans apparently changed.

"I shouldn't really comment on things until things are done," Celtics President Danny Ainge said on draft night, dodging question after question about Irving and Horford's respective futures. "I really can't comment on all of the things that are said to have happened. I wish I could tell you everything I know, but I can't."

It's a certainty that the Lakers will be extremely active in free agency, since they're about a week away from having only three players actually on their roster. Take away their restricted free agents, and when the complex six-player, four-pick trade with Washington and New Orleans gets executed on July 6 and lands the Lakers Anthony Davis, they'll have just him, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma under contract.

"We have a superstar on our team and an open slot," Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said earlier this offseason, when the team hired Frank Vogel as its new coach and before it swung the deal that will net Davis. "So I think that people can look at this as an opportunity to come and win a championship possibly next year. And we've got to do the work."

Some deals shouldn't take long to be announced Sunday.

The Warriors have said they have no intention of letting Thompson leave, even while he recovers from a torn ACL, so expect a $190 million, five-year deal to be agreed to quickly there. A person with knowledge of the situation told AP that Sacramento plans to offer Harrison Barnes a deal that will pay him as much as $90 million over the next four years, with the exact total hinging on math that will be figured once the salary cap is set for next season.

Jimmy Butler could re-sign with Philadelphia to stay there, or as the first step in a sign-and-trade with Houston and Miami among the potential suitors in that case. Orlando wants to keep Vucevic, and Milwaukee seems positioned to give Middleton a max deal that will keep him alongside NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

"A lot of things are going to happen," said Raptors guard Danny Green, one of this summer's free agents.

Come 6 p.m. Sunday, those things can officially begin.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ohtani, Calhoun Help Angels Win 4th Straight, 8-3 Over A's]]>Fri, 28 Jun 2019 01:21:45 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels21.jpg

Shohei Ohtani and Kole Calhoun provided the big hits for the Los Angeles Angels, but they weren't the only ones to contribute.

Ohtani and Calhoun each hit two-run homers, but every player in the lineup had at least one hit as Los Angeles beat the Oakland Athletics 8-3 for its fourth straight win.

"We're as deep as we've been since I've been here. We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things. This is kind of what we've been waiting for since spring training," Calhoun said.

With Andrelton Simmons coming off the injured list, Thursday was the first game where the Angels had their entire lineup in place. Ohtani and Justin Upton were on the IL to begin the year.

Getting all of the pieces in place is also coming at the right moment. This is the first time this season the Angels are two games above .500 and only the third time they have won at least four straight games.

The Angels had 12 hits and are batting .270 in June, which is third in the AL. The two homers gave them 44 this month, which is second in the AL and a new club record for June.

"It's a good lineup. They have a solid amount of players with power," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "It's tough to pitch around guys and it is deep. They are going to be a tough team to deal with."

Both homers were to center field and came on sinker pitches by Tanner Anderson (0-3). Calhoun's drive gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead in the second. Ohtani's shot came during a five-run third that broke the game open.

Griffin Canning (3-4) allowed only three hits over six innings while striking out six.

The right-hander surrendered both his runs on solo shots. Ramon Laureano lined a slider over the wall in left-center in the second and Matt Olson connected on a fastball in the fourth.

"It was a good test for me because I have been trying to play to my strengths," said Canning, who worked at least six innings for the sixth time in 11 starts. "It's been awesome having our full, healthy lineup. All those guys are clicking and feeding off each other."

Luis Rengifo had three hits, including a two-run single in the third that chased Anderson, who had his shortest outing in four major-league starts. The right-hander went 2 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs and eight hits.

"He got off to a decent start and then had some trouble with their lefties. He had some trouble painting away and getting inside. It happened in a hurry in the third," Melvin said of Anderson.

STREAKS AND STATS

This was the third time this season all nine Angels starters had a hit. ... Ohtani became the fifth player in Angels history to have 10 or more HRs in his first two seasons. He joins C.J. Cron, Mike Napoli, Wally Joyner and Lee Thomas. ... Laureano has five home runs and 15 RBIs over his last 14 games.

STAR GAZING

Mike Trout, who was named a starter for the AL for the July 9 All-Star Game, went 1 for 4 and drove in a run. Trout is batting .347 (34 for 98) with 10 HRs and 27 RBIs over his last 26 games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: DH Khris Davis was hit on his elbow by a pitch during the seventh inning and was taken out of the game. Melvin said Davis' status for tomorrow's game is uncertain. ... RHP Blake Treinen (shoulder) threw 20 pitches on flat ground Thursday. He is expected to throw a bullpen session Saturday.

Angels: RHP Keynan Middleton will throw to hitters in Arizona on Friday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery last year. It will be three more weeks before he could be activated.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers (7-3, 4.20 ERA) has gone 5-0 with a 2.51 ERA in his last nine starters, including a no-hitter May 7 against Cincinnati.

Angels: Will go with an opener before turning it over to RHP Felix Pena (5-2, 4.68). Los Angeles have used an opener in 10 of Pena's last 11 appearances.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP]]>
<![CDATA[It's Only Fair: California's Pay to Play Act]]>Thu, 27 Jun 2019 22:37:24 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ROGGIN_STEVEN_BRADFORD_1200x675_1560038979815.jpg

Should college athletes be able to make money from endorsement deals and jersey sales? The NCAA forbids it but California's Fair Pay to Play Act is out to change that. State Senator Steven Bradford of Gardena co-authored the bill, he joins Fred Roggin to explain why California is giving college athletes an assist.]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Trade 3 Players to Wizards, Create Space for Max FA]]>Thu, 27 Jun 2019 13:11:48 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/Lakers+Trade+Wagner.Jones.Bonga.png

The rollercoaster ride that is the Los Angeles Lakers took everyone for another spin on Thursday, when it was announced that the team had agreed to trade Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards, as part of a three-team trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.

The deal is simply a salary dump of players on the Lakers roster not named LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma or Davis, and it allows the Lakers to create a maximum salary space of $32 million in free agency. 

In order to create the space to sign a maximum free agent, Davis agreed to waive his $4 million trade bonus, allowing the Lakers to now pursue a third superstar to join LeBron and "The Brow." The Lakers are reportedly targeting star free agents like Kyrie Irving, D'Angelo Russell (restricted), Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, and Kawhi Leonard.

Speaking of Leonard, the reigning NBA Champion and NBA Finals MVP has agreed to meet with the Lakers once free agency begins on July 1. Leonard also plans on meeting the with Clippers and possibly the New York Knicks, with the Toronto Raptors having the final meeting in hopes of retaining their superstar.

As part of the three-team trade that won't be finalized and official until July 6, the Lakers are sending a 2022 second-round pick to the Wizards, and Washington will send cash to the Pelicans.

And if all of this news wasn't enough to completely shake up your Thursday during the NBA offseason, James put the final exclamation point on the morning, when according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, LeBron James has agreed to give his No. 23 Lakers jersey to Davis for the upcoming season.

It's unknown at this time which number LeBron will wear instead, but he previously wore No. 6 while with the Miami Heat from 2010-2014.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vote Now for Bellinger and Pederson]]>Thu, 27 Jun 2019 06:47:50 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Bellinger+and+Pederson.png

Wednesday night was our first look at some of the Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential Election in the first debate in Miami.

Next year, there will be an important vote for our country, but on Thursday, there is an important vote for Major League Baseball.

Similar to the primaries and the general election in politics, MLB enacted a new policy for how fans vote for players to compete in the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio.

The voting process has two phases: the Primary Phase, and the All-Star Starters Election Phase.

In year's past, diehard fans of teams like the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, and New York Yankees have been able to rig the All-Star voting process, by selecting their own teams players at every position, and voting around the clock to make sure they had the most votes and would start in the Midsummer Classic.

This voting process led to six, sometimes seven players from the same team to start in the annual July exhibition, despite the fact that probably some players shouldn't have even been named All-Stars at all.

In order to counteract that, MLB opened the Primary Phase to everyone. Allowing all votes to count as before, and then selecting the leading three Primary vote getters to enter into All-Star Starters election phase. 

That phase began on Wednesday, and weeds out the number of choices each voter gets in an attempt to get the best player at each position named as a starter in the All-Star game.

Voters can choose among each of the finalists (three at each position, nine outfielders, and three designated hitters) to decide which players will start at their position in the All-Star Game at Progressive Field on Tuesday, July 9.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have two finalists in the outfield category in Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson. 

Bellinger was the leading vote getter in the Primary Phase, and has arguably had one of the best first halves to a season in MLB history. Bellinger was an All-Star in 2017, and the National League Rookie of the Year Winner. Bellinger is batting .354 with 26 home runs and 63 RBI so far this season. 

Pederson is batting just .232, but he has 20 home runs in limited playing time this season. The left-handed slugger almost plays exclusively against right-handed pitching, and recently has been starting games at first base. Despite that, he was named as one of the nine finalists in the outfield to become a starter. 

In case you were wondering what happened to other Dodger players, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, Enrique Hernandez, and Justin Turner all finished fourth in the Primary Phase.

The remaining players for the All-Star Game, including pitchers, are selected by a combination of Player voting, Manager selection, and the MLB "Final Vote" contest. 

Fans can vote for Bellinger, Pederson, or any other finalist here.

Voting for the All-Star Starters Election Phase ends at 1 p.m., so you better hurry up and vote!



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bour's 2 HRs Power Angels Past Reds 5-1 for 2-Game Sweep]]>Wed, 26 Jun 2019 22:09:57 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Sweep-Reds-June-26-2019.jpg

Justin Bour returned from his banishment to the minors with a slightly tweaked swing and a renewed hunger at the plate.

With another huge game in his June power surge, both the slugger and his Los Angeles Angels are showing it's not too late to get something great out of their up-and-down season.

Bour hit two homers, Mike Trout scored the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning and the Angels got back above .500 with a 5-1 victory over the slumping Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

Immediately after Trout scampered home on David Fletcher's infield hit, Bour followed with an impressive three-run homer. He also hit a solo shot in the fifth inning of his first multihomer game since joining the Angels in the offseason.

"I've felt good for a while now, and it's just a matter of contributing when I get the opportunity," Bour said.

Bour has four homers in five starts since returning to the Angels from that monthlong stretch at Salt Lake. He was batting .163 when he was sent down, but a more upright batting stance and the reality check of 19 games of Triple-A ball have snapped Bour back into focus.

"A lot of it was just getting my own body out of the way," the burly first baseman said. "There's a lot of me, so it's just about getting out of the way. ... Home runs are great, but I just feel comfortable and in control in the box."

Bour came through on an important night for the Angels (41-40), who hit the halfway point of their season with six wins in nine games after this two-game interleague sweep. Los Angeles hasn't been two games above .500 all season, but the returns of several injured regulars are inspiring optimism among the Halos for this final stretch before the All-Star break.

Bour knows he won't get extensive daily playing time behind Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani, who went 3 for 3 with a walk. But he feels ready to make the most of limited action.

"The guy that we've seen since he's gotten recalled is the guy that we were hoping to see," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "Looks like the Justin Bour that we signed."

Yasiel Puig homered in the fifth for the Reds, who lost four straight to close out their six-game road trip. Although the Reds didn't make as many blatant mistakes Wednesday as they did in Tuesday's embarrassing defeat , Cincinnati scored just two runs in 18 innings at the Big A.

"This little stretch here really tests your resolve to bounce back," manager David Bell said. "Good teams that have good seasons find a way to bounce back."

Starters Tanner Roark and Jaime Barria worked quickly and efficiently amid the pitcher-friendly shadows at Angel Stadium to open a rare early-starting weekday game.

Roark allowed four hits and pitched into the sixth inning for the Reds, striking out six in his first career appearance at the Big A.

Barria tossed five innings of three-hit ball for the Angels, striking out six in a strong fill-in start.

The Reds hadn't hit a ball hard against Barria until Puig led off the fifth with a line-drive homer to right, his 17th of the season.

Bour tied it with a solo shot off Roark moments later.

"It was an OK pitch," Roark said. "I didn't think it was going to hurt me, but it did."

THE WINNER

Cam Bedrosian (3-3) pitched around Justin Upton's two-base error in left field to work a scoreless eighth. The Angels' bullpen pitched 7 2/3 innings of scoreless, two-hit relief in the two-game series.

GOING IN FRONT

Right before Bour's second blast, the Angels eked out a go-ahead run.

Trout walked leading off the eighth and advanced on a wild pickoff throw by Raisel Iglesias (1-7). After Ohtani singled Trout to third, Cincinnati got two outs before David Fletcher hit a deep grounder to shortstop Jose Iglesias, who couldn't get off a throw.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: C Tucker Barnhart was in the initial starting lineup, but was scratched about two hours before the first pitch due to soreness in his right side. He hadn't played since Saturday.

Angels: Four hours before the game started, Ohtani threw off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery Oct. 1. The two-way star threw 40 pitches and made 70 additional throws on flat ground. He won't pitch until next season, but his recovery is proceeding smoothly. ... Trevor Cahill was reinstated from the injured list. The $9 million starter will come out of the bullpen for now, and he pitched two innings of two-hit ball in relief of Barria.

UP NEXT

Reds: After an off day, Sonny Gray (3-5, 4.03 ERA) is back on the mound in Cincinnati on Friday for a series opener against the Chicago Cubs.

Angels: Rookie right-hander Griffin Canning (2-4, 3.88 ERA) takes the mound when they open a four-game home series with the Oakland Athletics and Tanner Anderson (0-2, 4.20).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels' Ohtani Throws Off Mound for 1st Time Since Surgery]]>Wed, 26 Jun 2019 16:14:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Shohei-Ohtani-Mound-June-26-2019.jpg

Shohei Ohtani has thrown off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery, taking another significant step in his return to pitching for the Los Angeles Angels next season.

About four hours after Ohtani threw 40 pitches off a mound and made 70 additional throws on flat ground Wednesday at Angel Stadium, he was in Los Angeles' lineup as the designated hitter against Cincinnati.

Ohtani had elbow ligament replacement surgery Oct. 1, and his rehabilitation has gone smoothly. The AL Rookie of the Year returned to the Angels' lineup May 7 as their designated hitter, and he has been an everyday player while building his arm strength.

Ohtani will not pitch for the Angels until 2020, manager Brad Ausmus confirmed.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson]]>
<![CDATA[Inside-the-Park HR powers Angels past Reds, 5-1]]>Tue, 25 Jun 2019 23:36:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-beat-Reds-June-25-2019.jpg

Although the Cincinnati Reds didn't commit an actual error, they made a prolific number of boneheaded plays at Angel Stadium — losing fly balls in center, losing their way on the basepaths, possibly losing track of the outs, even losing their cool over balls and strikes.

Tommy La Stella, Wilfredo Tovar and the Los Angeles Angels were happy to capitalize on the Reds' comprehensive ineptitude for a win that got them back to .500.

La Stella hit a leadoff inside-the-park homer and Luis Rengifo added a three-run shot in the Angels' 5-1 victory over the mistake-prone Reds on Tuesday night.

Tovar tagged up and scored from second when Jose Peraza didn't hustle after catching Shohei Ohtani's long fly to left in the seventh inning.

The Angels (40-40) opened their homestand with their fifth win in eight games. They played well, but the Reds handed them a comfortable win with an embarrassing performance.

"We're looking forward to coming out tomorrow and bouncing back from this one," said manager David Bell, who was ejected along with Yasiel Puig in the sixth.

Almost every time the Reds made one of their many mistakes, the Angels pounced.

La Stella led off the first with a long drive to center, and Nick Senzel botched a tough catch. While the ball rolled along the warning track toward right, La Stella motored home for the 16th homer of his breakthrough season.

"I saw it kick away, so I knew I had third," La Stella said. "I was surprised. When I saw (third base coach Mike Gallego) sending me home, I knew I had a shot."

Joey Votto homered in the first inning for the Reds, but they got just two more runners to third base all night. Eugenio Suarez got caught in a rundown instead of hustling for home later in the first, and Peraza got caught halfheartedly trying to steal in the second.

"You never want to make mistakes like that," Bell said. "It's really important to us, how we run the bases."

La Stella singled leading off the seventh, and Tovar cleverly advanced three bases on two long flyouts, embarrassing the Reds' outfielders after pinch-running.

After Tovar tagged up and got to second on Mike Trout's fly to deepest center, he went from second to home when Peraza caught Ohtani's fly at the wall, but possibly lost track of the outs — or maybe just didn't hustle.

"I was running hard, and I noticed the left fielder kind of put his head down," Tovar said through a translator. "So I turned on the jets."

Andrew Heaney (1-1) pitched five-hit ball into the sixth inning for his first win since September, overcoming four walks.

Tyler Mahle (2-8) yielded six hits and four runs — including Rengifo's second-inning homer — over five innings in the Orange County native's first career start at Angel Stadium.

DOWN THE LINEUP

Albert Pujols went 1 for 4 while batting sixth for the first time since his rookie big-league season in 2001. Pujols hadn't batted lower than fifth in 2,608 consecutive games. Since 1920, only Pete Rose (2,994) and Hank Aaron (2,971) had longer streaks of batting in the top five of his team's order, according to Stats LLC.

PUIG NOT YOUR FRIEND

Puig argued strenuously following a called third strike by umpire Kerwin Danley. The longtime Dodgers outfielder eventually dumped his helmet and bat at the plate, and Bell had to restrain Puig from a more vociferous argument at one point. "It all happened so quick," Bell said. "I felt responsible for not getting out there sooner."

TAKE IT INSIDE

The Halos hadn't hit an inside-the-park homer since Peter Bourjos did it April 11, 2012 at Minnesota. Los Angeles hadn't produced an inside-the-park homer at Angel Stadium since Sept. 29, 2006, when Chone Figgins did it.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: LHP Alex Wood has a sore back after throwing batting practice last Saturday. Cincinnati isn't sure when he will resume throwing. The former Dodgers starter hasn't pitched for the Reds since the offseason trade.

Angels: Ohtani will throw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery Oct. 1. ... Andrelton Simmons is close to a return from a sprained ankle. He played seven innings in a rehab game with Single-A Inland Empire on Tuesday. ... 3B Zack Cozart's left shoulder inflammation hasn't improved, he said. The former Reds regular has been out since May 27, and he is uncertain whether he'll play again this year.

UP NEXT

The two-game interleague set concludes with Tanner Roark (5-6, 3.47 ERA) making his Angel Stadium debut for Cincinnati against Jaime Barria (2-2, 6.52 ERA).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Leadoff Homer Helps Dodgers Top Diamondbacks 3-2]]>Tue, 25 Jun 2019 23:32:11 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-beat-Dbacks-June-25-2019.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers hit the halfway mark of their schedule with the most wins in the majors and matched the best midway mark in franchise history.

The season hasn't been perfect so far, but it's pretty close.

Enrique Hernandez hit his sixth career leadoff home run, Justin Turner added a solo shot and the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 Tuesday night.

"Every team has to deal with injuries, we've had our fair share, just continue to trudge along, continue to win baseball games that's the thing we can hang our hat on," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "The results are a byproduct of that."

Hernandez hit a 0-2 pitch out to left off Robbie Ray (5-5) to open the game and Turner hit his off the left-hander in the sixth inning. Chris Taylor drove in the go-ahead run on a double two batters later.

A night after the bullpen struggled in an 8-5 loss to Arizona, it shut down the Diamondbacks with six scoreless innings.

Joe Kelly worked a perfect fourth inning — despite dropping an easy foul pop-up — in place of Ross Stripling, who was on a limited pitch count in his return to the rotation.

Julio Urias (4-2) allowed a hit in three innings and Pedro Baez had a dominating eighth. Kenley Jansen needed 27 pitches in the ninth, but worked around Nick Ahmed's two-out single and stolen base to close out his 23rd save.

The NL West-leading Dodgers have won seven of eight and are a baseball-best 55-26.

"One bad night by one guy reflects the whole pen, but tonight, collectively, they did a nice job," Roberts said.

David Peralta had run-scoring hits in the first and third innings for the Diamondbacks. Ketel Marte went 2 for 4 for his eighth straight multi-hit game, breaking Luis Gonzalez's team record set in 2001.

Arizona has lost seven of nine.

"Couldn't really get anything going offensively against their bullpen," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "We made some noise in the ninth inning and hopefully that will be a push for us tomorrow, be a catalyst for a good outcome."

Ray gave up the leadoff homer to Hernandez, but held the Dodgers without a hit over the next four innings despite running up his pitch count.

The left-hander ran into trouble in the sixth inning as Turner hit his to left, and consecutive doubles by Alex Verdugo and Taylor put the Dodgers up 3-2.

Ray allowed three runs and four hits, while striking out nine in 6 1/3 innings.

"I felt really good. I felt like I mixed up really well in and out, up and down," Ray said. "I kept us in it, gave us a chance to win. It just didn't come out that way."

STRIPLING'S NIGHT

Stripling started the season in the rotation before being bumped to the bullpen when Rich Hill returned from a knee injury in April. The right-hander was solid as a starter his previous go-round, going 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA.

Roberts wanted to limit Stripling's pitch count in his return to the rotation after another Hill injury, so he was pulled after allowing two runs on four hits in three innings.

"I wasn't extremely sharp, but I made some pitches," Stripling said. "Not upset up with it by any means, but definitely not the sharpest I've been."

TRAINER'S TABLE

Dodgers: SS Corey Seager is progressing in his return from a hamstring injury and took some groundballs on Monday, but no timetable has been set for his return.

Diamondbacks: INF Jack Lamb (quadriceps) completed his rehab and is expected to be activated from the injured list on Wednesday. Arizona optioned INF Domingo Leyba to Triple-A Reno Tuesday night to make room for Lamb on the roster.

UP NEXT

Dodgers THP Tony Gonsolin will make his major league debut in the series finale on Wednesday. Arizona RHP Taylor Clarke allowed three runs on four hits to lose his first career start against the Dodgers on June 4.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels' Shohei Ohtani to Throw Off Mound Wednesday]]>Tue, 25 Jun 2019 21:36:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Shohei-Ohtani-June-25-2019.jpg

Shohei Ohtani will throw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since Tommy John surgery.

The Los Angeles Angels announced the latest big step in their two-way star's comeback Tuesday night.

Ohtani had surgery Oct. 1 at the conclusion of his AL Rookie of the Year season. He returned to the Angels' lineup as a designated hitter May 7, posting nine homers and 30 RBIs already this season with an .834 OPS.

The Angels repeatedly have said Ohtani won't pitch in games until 2020, but his recovery appears to be progressing well.

Ohtani went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 10 starts as a rookie. He also hit 22 homers and drove in 61 runs with a .925 OPS.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Diamondbacks Top Dodgers 8-5, End Winning Streak at 6 Games]]>Mon, 24 Jun 2019 23:28:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Lose-to-Dbacks-June-24-2019.jpg

Arizona made sure there wouldn't be any late heroics in a fourth straight game by the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Instead, it was the Diamondbacks who came up big.

David Peralta hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning and the Diamondbacks rallied for an 8-5 win over the NL West-leading Dodgers on Monday night.

The Dodgers had won their last three on game-ending home runs.

Former Dodger Tim Locastro put the game out of reach with a two-run single off losing pitcher Dylan Floro (2-2), part of a four-run outburst in the eighth for the Diamondbacks. Christian Walker and starting pitcher Zack Greinke homered, Ketel Marte had two hits for his seventh consecutive multi-hit game and Arizona ended the Dodgers' winning streak at six games.

"I tell these guys, once we're in a tie game, let's play all night until somebody comes out and does their job. And I'll bet on us to do it right," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.

The highly anticipated battle of Cy Young Award winners didn't produce much of a pitchers' duel, though both the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and Greinke lasted six innings.

Yoan Lopez (1-1) worked a scoreless inning and earned the win.

Max Muncy drove in three runs for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers jumped on Greinke for three runs in the first inning. Joc Peterson and Justin Turner singled, and with one out, Cody Bellinger doubled to right-center, plating the first run. Muncy grounded out to first, allowing Turner to score.

Then, Chris Taylor doubled to right field, bringing home Bellinger. Both Bellinger and Taylor hit first pitches from Greinke.

"I just came out throwing strikes, they came out swinging," Greinke said.

Kershaw was burned twice with two-out mistakes. Walker took him deep to left-center field in the bottom of the first, tying the game. That gave Walker three home runs in his first six career at-bats against the Dodgers' ace, tying him for the most homers against Kershaw among active players.

"Baseball's funny. Things come in bunches," Walker said. "For whatever reason, I see that slider well. Two of them for sure, maybe all three (home runs) on that pitch."

Greinke's second-inning home run was a line drive into the left-field seats, his career-high third of the season.

"It was a bad game. It was just unfortunate they scored three runs early for me and I give it right back," Kershaw said. "It was a tough one for sure. It just lands on my shoulders to do better the next time."

Both pitchers settled down after early struggles, but the Dodgers squandered an opportunity to at least draw even in the sixth. Bellinger singled and Muncy reached on a throwing error, before Greinke struck out the side.

The Dodgers threatened again in the seventh, and after Greinke departed one batter in. Bellinger was intentionally walked a second time, loading the bases. Muncy drew a two-out walk from Yoshihisa Hirano, tying the game at 4-all.

Hirano battled back from a 3-1 count on Taylor, striking him out looking and ending the inning.

Greinke and Kershaw had identical lines of six innings and four runs on seven hits allowed. Greinke struck out six; Kershaw struck out two.

Greg Holland got one out in the ninth for his 200th career save.

AH-'MED'-ZING

Ahmed leaped high in the air to take a base hit away from the Dodgers' Will Smith in the top of the eighth, snaring a line drive and drawing a standing ovation from Diamondbacks fans, plus a tip of the cap from teammate Eduardo Escobar.

HISTORIC BLAST

Greinke's home run marked the seventh time in history of that a former Cy Young winner hit a home run against a fellow former Cy Young winner, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Greinke joined former Dodgers great Don Drysdale as the only former Cy Young winners to hit multiple career home runs against other former Cy Young winners.

Greinke's homers came off former Phillies star Cliff Lee in 2012 and Kershaw on Monday. Drysdale hit two home runs off Warren Spahn in 1965.

"It's not as big a shock as it used to be," Greinke said of pitchers hitting home runs.

FAN INCIDENT, AGAIN

For the second straight game, a female fan ran from out of the stands toward Bellinger. She reached him before security got there and escorted her from the field.

It happened in the bottom of the eighth inning.

"I had a feeling that it was definitely a possibility just because it kind of blew up on social media. I'm just trying to play a game and I don't think I have to worry about if anyone comes on the field," Bellinger said.

"I had a feeling she was harmless ... but it could potentially get dangerous, especially if it keeps getting blown up like it is."

A 14-year-old girl attempted to get a hug from Bellinger during Sunday's game at Dodger Stadium as he stood in the outfield.

MOVING PARTS

The Dodgers had Pederson at first base on Monday, a recent development, and manager Dave Roberts hopes to use Austin Barnes, Monday's catcher, at second base this week. Also, Roberts is looking to give catcher Russell Martin a start at third base. "Just kind of continue to increase options for our roster," Roberts said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Diamondbacks: Marte was back in the lineup after missing the last two days dealing with a minor groin injury. ... RHP Luke Weaver's MRI showed improvement on his elbow area, but there is no timetable for when he will start throwing.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Roberts announced before the game that RHP Ross Stripling (3-2) will start Tuesday's game. Stripling has made six starts in his 20 appearances this season. Roberts also said the current plan is to call up RHP Tony Gonsolin from Triple-A Oklahoma City to start Wednesday's game. Gonsolin was the organization's minor league pitcher of the year in 2018 and would be making his big-league debut.

Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (5-4, 3.87 ERA) brings a 7-4 mark and a 2.89 ERA in 17 career starts against the Dodgers when he takes the mound on Tuesday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UCLA Softball Player Named Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year]]>Mon, 24 Jun 2019 22:13:00 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/UCLA-Rachel-Garcia-Woman-Athlete-of-the-Year-2019.png

UCLA softball player Rachel Garcia has been named Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.

Garcia was presented with the Honda Cup on Monday night in a ceremony at Galen Center on the USC campus.

The junior pitcher from Palmdale, California, was named most outstanding player of the Women's College World Series after leading the Bruins to their 13th national championship.

Garcia has won consecutive USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year honors. She was the Pac-12 player and pitcher of the year this season. She led UCLA with a 1.14 ERA while compiling a 29-1 record.

Garcia went 9-0 in the NCAA Tournament.

The other finalists were basketball player Megan Gustafson of Iowa and swimmer Lilly King of Indiana. Both are seniors.

The finalists were decided in voting by nearly 1,000 NCAA member schools. The winner was chosen by the board of directors of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards.

Volleyball player Jenna Fessler of Thomas More won the Honda Inspiration Award; volleyball player Taylor Reiss of Southwest Minnesota State won Division II Athlete of the Year; and basketball player Madison Temple of Thomas More won Division III Athlete of the Year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: UCLA Softball Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo Wins NBA MVP, Gets Emotional]]>Mon, 24 Jun 2019 22:00:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Giannis-NBA-MVP-2019.jpg

The Milwaukee Bucks fell two games short of the NBA Finals.

They won big at the NBA Awards.

A tearful Giannis Antetokounmpo earned Most Valuable Player honors, Mike Budenholzer won Coach of the Year, and Jon Horst took Executive of the Year on Monday night in Santa Monica.

Antetokounmpo, a 24-year-old forward from Greece, beat out Paul George of Oklahoma City and James Harden of Houston, who won last year.

Antetokounmpo was a resounding winner. He received 941 points and 78 first-place votes in the balloting — 165 points more than Harden.

Harden finished second with 776 points and 23 first-place votes.

"MVP is not about stats and numbers, and obviously James Harden had unbelievable numbers and Paul George also, but obviously it's about winning," Antetokounmpo said backstage. "We created great habits throughout the season and were able to stick by them, and that's why we were able to have a chance in every single game we played and were able to win 60 games."

The show had an international flair, with three international players besides Antetokounmpo winning.

Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds while earning All-NBA first-team honors this season, his sixth with the Bucks. He led the franchise to the best record in the regular season and the Bucks reached the Eastern Conference finals.

Tears rolled down his cheeks as Antetokounmpo thanked his mother Veronica and brothers in the audience at Barker Hanger. He credited his late father for pushing him toward his goals and his teammates and coaching staff for their help.

"We started from nothing as a family," he said, "and we are going to be in every stage that we can be as a family."

Antetokounmpo said backstage that he had vowed to his family he wasn't going to cry.

"When you hear your name up there on the stage and then you realize these years of hard work, what you did in the past, then you start getting emotional," he said.

Budenholzer also got choked up while thanking his family after his second coaching honor. He earned the trophy for the first time with Atlanta in 2015.

He guided the Bucks to a 60-22 record in the regular season in his first year with the franchise, leading them to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to eventual NBA champion Toronto.

"What they did on the court this year, including the playoffs, was special," Budenholzer said backstage. "We weren't good enough in the end, but we certainly feel like we have enough talent, we have enough character to be a team that's playing in the finals and winning a championship."

Budenholzer also coached Team Giannis in the All-Star Game last season.

He beat out Denver's Mike Malone and Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Horst was honored in voting by his fellow NBA executives, while the six biggest awards were determined in voting by a global media panel.

Lou Williams was voted the Sixth Man of the Year for the second season in a row and third time in his career, tying former Los Angeles Clipper guard Jamal Crawford.

The guard won for the first time in 2015 with Toronto.

Williams beat out teammate Montrezl Harrell, with whom he formed the highest-scoring bench duo in NBA history last season, and Domantas Sabonis of Indiana.

Williams became the career leader in points off the bench during the season.

"This one was different because I kind of went into the season wanting this one. In years past I always just played and lived with whatever happened," he said. "I felt like this one was going to be a legacy piece."

Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz won Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.

The 26-year-old center from France beat out Antetokounmpo and George.

"I never thought I would be able to do that when I started basketball playing in France," Gobert said backstage. "I didn't know an NBA player, I didn't know nothing about basketball. I was just having fun."

Pascal Siakam of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors earned Most Improved Player.

The 25-year-old from Cameroon averaged 16.9 points and started 79 of 80 regular-season games for the Raptors in his third year with the team.

Siakam had 26 20-point outings after scoring 20 points in a game only once in his first two seasons. He then scored 32 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Siakam beat out De'Aaron Fox of Sacramento and D'Angelo Russell of Brooklyn.

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks easily won Rookie of the Year.

The 20-year-old small forward from Slovenia accepted his trophy from RJ Barrett, who went to the New York Knicks as the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft last week.

Doncic was the No. 3 pick last year.

The other finalists were Deandre Ayton of Phoenix and Trae Young of Atlanta.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson shared the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The former rivals took turns holding their trophies while each other spoke.

Bird said the NBA is in good hands with today's talented athletes and he urged them to keep the game the same so it continues on for future generations.

Johnson starred for the Los Angeles Lakers and Bird with the Boston Celtics.

Mike Conley Jr., newly traded to the Utah Jazz, claimed trophies for Teammate and Sportsmanship of the Year.

Conley earned the awards for his 12-year tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards received the NBA Cares Community Assist honor.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Announce Netting Extension in Wake of Fan Hit by Baseball]]>Mon, 24 Jun 2019 20:22:14 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-fan-hit-by-ball-June-23-2019.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers said Monday that they plan to extend netting to protect fans following a girl getting hit in the head by a baseball during Sunday's win at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers released a statement Monday evening: "Fan safety is of the utmost importance to the Dodgers and during the offseason, we began the process of studying how the netting at Dodger Stadium could be configured to provide better protection for our fans. Once this study is completed, the team will implement the recommended changes and extend the netting at Dodger Stadium. The team will provide more information on the project timeline and scope when available.”

The Orange County Register  first reported that the team was taking action in the wake of a girl getting hit in the head by a line drive off Cody Bellinger's bat.

"Surely we will be expanding netting," Dodgers CEO Stan Casten told the OC Register. "I don't know yet the final configuration. Obviously there are some different choices to be made and different products which each come with their own set of challenges."

Casten added, "For sure, something is going to be done. As for the exact timing, I don't know that yet."

The fan struck by the ball appeared to be OK but was taken to the hospital "as a precaution," the Dodgers said on Sunday.

Last season, a 79-year-old woman died after being hit in the head by a foul ball. Linda Goldbloom was celebrating her 79th birthday and 59th wedding anniversary to her husband at a game when she was struck by a foul ball.

Prior to that fatal incident, all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums had already extended protective netting to reach at least until the end of both dugouts.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fan Runs Onto Field to Hug Dodgers' Cody Bellinger]]>Mon, 24 Jun 2019 06:05:16 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/Cody+Bellinger+hugged+by+fan.png

"It was worth it."

Those were the final words of a young female Dodger fan as she was being carried off the field by security at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The young fan is reportedly a 14-year-old girl who jumped from the stands and onto to the field in the top of the eighth inning just to give Los Angeles Dodgers' outfielder Cody Bellinger a hug.

"At first I heard the crowd cheering, and I looked to my left and saw this chick recording with her phone. Running," said Bellinger of the moment in question. "She came up to me and said 'I want a hug.' She gave me a hug, and then as she gave me a hug a security guard tackled her."

According to the Los Angeles Dodgers Fan Code of Conduct, any fan that goes onto the field of play is considered a violation that will result in "Immediate ejection and/or arrest and prosecution."

Bellinger knows the rules well, so after the girl was tackled he told her:

"You know you're going to jail?"

According to Bellinger, she replied:

"Yeah, I know. It was worth it."

Bellinger went on to say that despite the fact that she believed it was worth it, her parents—who will likely have to pay her fine—probably wouldn't agree with her.

Bellinger thought the whole ordeal was "funny," and cautioned any future fans out there who are contemplating running on to the field during a game to give him a hug:

"I don't think my hugs are that special to be honest. So for future reference, my hugs aren't that great, so don't rush me on the field."

The incident with the young Bellinger fan wasn't the only oddity on the day. Besides the Dodgers making MLB history with their third consecutive win via walk-off home run by a rookie, a different fan was hit in the head by a foul ball earlier in the game.

Ironically, the foul ball also came off the bat of Bellinger in the bottom of the first inning, and it struck the young female fan who was sitting in the front row of the field section down the first-base line.

"It was weird. It's the first time I think I've hit a fan," said Bellinger. "I saw it literally hit her face. That was tough. I just tried to regroup. I'm sure it was tough for everyone."

The young fan was visibly shaken up, but remained in her seat shortly after the sharp line drive struck her. Dodgers' security gave her an ice pack, and Bellinger checked on her between innings.

"I went over the next half inning just to make sure she was alright," he said. "She said she was alright. She gave me a thumbs up. Obviously, it's a scary situation."

Despite giving Bellinger the thumbs up, the fan later left the game and was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary reasons. She is expected to make a full recovery.

Last year, a 79-year-old woman was killed after being hit in the head by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium. In May, a young girl was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. in Houston.

The incidents have reignited the discussions around Major League Baseball to extend the safety netting in the lower seats. Many players and teams believe extending the safety netting all the way to the foul pole in all 30 stadiums is the next step towards fan safety.

"I would assume, that would be a smart decision," said Bellinger of extending the netting. "Just to protect those people in the front row who don't have enough reaction time. It's a scary situation."

 

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<![CDATA[Come Join Celebrities and Athletes at Dodger Stadium For Clayton Kershaw's Ping Pong Tournament]]>Sun, 23 Jun 2019 22:55:02 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Clayton+Kershaw+Ping+Png+Tournament+7th.png

Have you ever dreamed of being on the field at Dodger Stadium? Hobnobbing with celebrities and athletes alike?

If you answered yes, now's your chance.

Los Angeles Dodgers three-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw, and his wife Ellen, are hosting the 7th annual "Kershaw's Challenge Ping-Pong 4 Purpose Celebrity Tournament" on Thursday, August 8 at Dodger Stadium.

The annual tournament is a charity fundraising event with the proceeds going towards children and community initiatives worldwide.

If you're a fan of the Dodgers, the fast-paced sport of ping-pong or simply want to go out and have a good time, this event is for you.

The annual summer showdown originated in 2013, and started off as a simple ping-pong tournament between teammates and a few celebrity friends, in order to raise money for Clayton and Ellen's charity, Kershaw's Challenge.

However, as the years went on the tournament transformed into one of the premier events in Los Angeles. Featuring venerated athletes, musicians, actors, and major sponsors, the night is an action-packed entertainment experience unlike any other.

"The ping-pong event has become a highlight for us every year," said Ellen and Clayton Kershaw. "It's awesome to have so many teammates and friends from the LA community to come out and support a cause that is so important to us. Kershaw's Challenge is able to give away funds to our beneficiaries because we have such a wide base of support. PingPong4Purpose serves a great purpose…and it is also a lot of fun. August 8th is shaping up to be our best event yet! A great night for a great cause—come join us!"

In addition to the intense ping-pong tournament, last year's sold out event featured a catered dinner, gifting, a full bar, poker, a silent auction, and more. For the last seven years, the event as featured superstar athletes and entertainers such as Matthew McConaughey, Bryan Cranston, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, Susan Sarandon, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Kimmel, Jack Black, Jason Bateman, Sarah Hyland, Eric Stonestreet, Justin Hartley, Kunal Nayyar, Josh Duhamel, Mario Lopez, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Blake Griffin, Oscar De La Hoya, Chris Paul and the entirety of the Dodgers 25-man roster.

This year, Clayton and Ellen will honor country music sensation Brad Paisley and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, with the "Impact Award" for their impact on the community.

Major sponsors include American Airlines, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, and Hope Faith and Grace Fund.

Presenting Sponsors include UCLA, Mattel, Children's Hospital, TOMS, HiHo Cheeseburger, SPIN, and STIGA. 

Kershaw's Challenge is a non-profit organization that helps the lives of others in need at home and internationally, impacting children and families in the greater Los Angeles community, the Dominican Republic, and Africa. Kershaw's Challenge is also building classrooms and parks, bringing after-school programs into Los Angeles schools, refurbishing Jackie Robinson Stadium and Dodgers Dream fields in Compton, supporting rescue and restoration efforts for victims of sex trafficking, and much more. 

Sponsorship opportunities, tickets, and VIP packages are still available for the event at: https://www.kershawschallenge.com/pp4p.



Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pujols Concludes St. Louis Return With 2 Hits, Molina Jersey Swap]]>Sun, 23 Jun 2019 20:23:46 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Angels-Pujols-returns-June-23-2019.jpg

Angels slugger Albert Pujols had two hits and exchanged jerseys with former teammate Yadier Molina to conclude an emotional return to St. Louis, and Los Angeles beat the Cardinals 6-4 on Sunday night.

Pujols was cheered throughout his first series in St. Louis since leaving the club in free agency after the 2011 season. The former Cardinal got standing ovations before each plate appearance throughout the weekend and a curtain call after popping out in his final at-bat. After the game, he and Molina met at home plate, hugged and swapped uniforms.

"This is probably one of the best moments of my career," Pujols said. "I'm going to put it up there with the two World Series championships."

Tommy La Stella and David Fletcher drove in two runs apiece, and Tyler Skaggs tossed five shutout innings for the Angels. Los Angeles snapped a three-game losing streak and finished a long road trip with a 6-5 mark.

The Cardinals rallied for four runs with two outs in the ninth, sparked by Jose Martinez's solo homer. Angels closer Hansel Robles came on to get the final out in a non-save situation.

Pujols was 4 for 11 over the three-game set, including a home run during a 4-2 loss Saturday. He spent 11 years in St. Louis and won three MVP awards and two World Series (2006, 2011) with the Cardinals.

After Pujols popped out with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, fans chanted his name as he returned to first base the next half-inning. It may have been the 39-year-old's final chance to play in front of his old fan base.

"I wasn't expecting this," Pujols said. "These fans are unbelievable."

La Stella had run-scoring hits in the second and sixth innings to back a strong effort from Skaggs and five other relievers.

Skaggs (7-6) allowed four hits over five scoreless innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas (5-8) gave up one run and seven hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked two.

REYES SUFFERS SETBACK

St. Louis RHP Alex Reyes was removed in the second inning of a start for Triple-A Memphis on Sunday with right pectoral discomfort. He will be re-evaluated Monday.

Reyes missed all of 2017 and most of 2018 after undergoing elbow surgery. He made four appearances on the major league level this season with an 0-1 record and 15.00 ERA.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: RHP Jordan Hicks will be out two to three days after leaving Saturday's game with right triceps tendinitis. "I'm really confident from the doctors and the medical team that it's nothing related to anything structural," St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said.

UP NEXT

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (0-1, 5.68) will face Cincinnati RHP Tyler Mahle (2-7, 4.17) on Tuesday in the first of a two-game series, which will kick off a six-game homestand. Heaney is making his sixth start of the season after missing the first 51 games with left elbow inflammation.

Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (4-4, 4.24) will take on Oakland RHP Chris Bassitt (4-3, 3.64) in the first of a two-game set on Tuesday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Win on Walk-Off Home Run for 3rd Straight Game]]>Sun, 23 Jun 2019 17:08:33 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-win-Walk-off-Will-Smith-June-23-2019.jpg

Will Smith had seen fellow Los Angeles Dodgers rookies Matt Beaty and Alex Verdugo deliver walk-off homers during their weekend series against the Colorado Rockies. Hours after being called up from the minors on Sunday, it was Smith's turn to join the fun.

The rookie catcher connected for a pinch-hit, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning that lifted the Dodgers to a 6-3 victory and a three-game sweep over their closest NL West pursuers.

"Just when you think it can't get any better, it does," manager Dave Roberts said. "We talk about these young players not being afraid of the moment. For Will to get a pitch in and carry it to the opposite part of the field is pretty impressive."

It is the first time in major league history that rookie teammates have hit walk-off homers in three straight games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Matt Beaty hit a two-run shot in the ninth inning on Friday and Alex Verdugo did it in the 11th on Saturday.

The last team to win three straight games in walk-off fashion was Oakland two years ago. The Dodgers had not done it since a 2010 series against Arizona.

Colorado manager Bud Black said not having much scouting information on rookies wasn't a factor in the losses.

"A couple bad pitches got us. Scott didn't locate his slider where he wanted to," he said. "There are going to be great wins and tough losses. They are on a little bit of a nice roll but we'll be back."

Smith, a 24-year-old catcher playing his seventh game in the big leagues, hit a slider from Scott Oberg (5-1) over the wall in center. Beaty singled to lead off the inning and advanced on a wild pitch, and Russell Martin was intentionally walked with two outs.

Smith was promoted when infielder David Freese was put on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Friday with a left hamstring sprain. He caught a morning flight from Oklahoma City and got to the ballpark a couple hours before the game.

"I didn't know if I was going to play today, so I made the most of my opportunity," Smith said. "I was concentrating on the approach of the at-bat and getting the right pitch to hit."

The Dodgers, with the best record in the majors, have won six straight games to tie the 1974 NL champions for the best start in franchise history (54-25) and complete a 9-2 homestand. Kenley Jansen (3-2) pitched one inning.

Dodgers star Cody Bellinger hit a line-drive foul ball down the first-base line that struck a young woman in the head during the first inning. She was taken to a hospital for precautionary tests.

In the ninth inning, a female fan ran toward Bellinger in right field. He was trying to fend her off, and security personnel tackled her as she tried to hug Bellinger.

All six Dodger runs came via pinch-hit home runs. Chris Taylor greeted Rockies' reliever Chad Bettis with a three-run homer in the seventh to give LA a 3-2 lead. Colorado tied it in the eighth when Daniel Murphy scored from first on Tony Wolters' double into the right-field corner.

ROCKY SKID

Colorado has lost 11 straight to Los Angeles dating to last season. The Rockies are 13 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West nearing the midpoint of the season.

"We came in here ready to go and they beat us pretty good," third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "At the end of the day we have to finish games. The good teams finish them. If we want to get to where we needed to go we have to win those."

STREAKS AND STATS

Max Muncy has reached base safely in 32 straight games, which is the longest streak by a Dodger since Yasiel Puig's 33-game run in 2014. ... Murphy had his fifth three-hit game of the season and is batting .338 this month.

FOR STARTERS

Colorado's Antonio Senzatela allowed only three hits the first six innings before running into trouble. The right-hander worked 6 1/3 innings and surrendered two runs on five hits with five strikeouts. It is the eighth time in 14 starts where he has allowed two or fewer runs.

Los Angeles' Kenta Maeda went a season-high seven innings and allowed two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts. The righty has 49 strikeouts and 10 walks in his last eight starts since May 10.

Maeda's only big mistake came in the first inning when he gave up a two-run homer to David Dahl.

ROCKIES MOVE

Colorado optioned pitcher Jeff Hoffman to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for OF Garrett Hampson. Hampson played center field and batted second, going 2 for 5.

UP NEXT

Colorado: RHP Jon Gray (7-5, 4.18 ERA) gets the call Monday for the start of a three-game series in San Francisco.

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 2.85 ERA) starts the first of a three-game set Monday at Arizona.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Get Another Walk-Off Win, Beat Rockies in the 11th Inning]]>Sat, 22 Jun 2019 21:01:33 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dodgers-walkoff-June-22-2019.jpg

Alex Verdugo hit his second home run of the game in the 11th inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 5-4 on Saturday night for their fifth straight win.

Verdugo hit a fastball from Jesus Tinoco (0-1) into the Rockies' bullpen in right field for his fourth hit of the game and second career game-ending homer. It was the second straight night the Dodgers won with the long ball. Matt Beaty, who had three hits, ended Friday's game with a two-run shot in the ninth inning.

Raimel Tapia's pinch-hit home run in the seventh had given the Rockies a 4-3 lead, but Beaty tied it at 4 in the eighth with an RBI single.

Joe Kelly (2-3), the seventh Dodgers pitcher, allowed only one walk in the 11th. Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was trying to become the first 10-game winner in the NL, allowed three runs for the first time this season. However, only one was earned. Ryu worked six innings and surrendered six hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

Colorado's Ian Desmond had his first four-hit game since 2016, when he was with Texas. The center fielder came into the game 0 for 15 against LA this season.

Colorado took a 1-0 lead in the first when Nolan Arenado's two-out single to left drove in Desmond. It was the first time since May 1 that Ryu had surrendered a run in the opening frame.

The Dodgers answered in the second when Max Muncy led off with a double and scored on Chris Taylor's single.

Colorado scored twice in the third. Pitcher Peter Lambert started the inning with a single and advanced to second when shortstop Chris Taylor bobbled the throw from first baseman Joc Pederson. Lambert scored on Desmond's single and Charlie Blackmon, who reached base earlier on the Taylor error, made it 3-1 when Daniel Murphy beat out a grounder that could have been a double play.

The Dodgers rallied to even it at 3 thanks to Verdugo. He doubled to start the third inning and was driven in on Justin Turner's single. The center fielder then homered to left-center on a first-pitch fastball from Lambert to tie it in the fifth.

Lambert, who grew up in San Dimas, bounced back after giving up eight runs last Sunday at San Diego. The right-hander allowed three runs on seven hits in his fourth major league start and first against the Dodgers.

Tapia's solo shot to left-center on Caleb Ferguson's curveball in the seventh inning was his second pinch-hit homer of the season and third of his career.

STREAKS AND STATS

Muncy extended his hit streak to 10 games and has reached base safety in 31 straight, which is the second-longest active streak in the NL. ... Desmond is batting .386 (32 for 83) with 10 doubles over his last 25 games. ... Lambert had two hits and is 5 for 8 at the plate. ... The Rockies have six pinch-hit homers, which is tied for third in the majors.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: Right-handers Scott Oberg, Chad Bettis and Jairo Diaz were not available out of the bullpen. Oberg and Bettis got a second straight day off after both went two innings or more Thursday at Arizona. Diaz had pitched three of the past four days and gave up the game-winning home run to Beaty on Friday.

Dodgers: Manager Dave Roberts said there is a possibility that OF A.J. Pollock could return after the All-Star break. Pollock has been out since April 30 due to right elbow inflammation.

UP NEXT

Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (6-5, 5.09) has won three of his last four starts.

Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-4, 3.89) has lost his last two starts.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boateng, Alvarez score in Galaxy's 2-0 win over FC Cincy]]>Sat, 22 Jun 2019 20:27:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA-Galaxy-win-June-2019.jpg

Emmanuel Boateng and Favio Alvarez scored in a three-minute span early in the first half to help the Los Angeles Galaxy beat expansion FC Cincinnati 2-0 Saturday night.

Boateng scored his first goal of the minute in the 12th minute, taking a pass in stride running to the left side of the box and punching a left-footed shot across his body back to the right. Favio Alvarez connected in the 15th on a shot that resulted from FC Cincinnati's failure to clear the ball out of its own end. A pair of defenders collided trying to head the ball from the right of the box, giving Alvarez a clear shot.

The Galaxy (10-6-1) have won three of their last four. FC Cincinnati (3-12-2) was shut out for the second straight game.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels' Pujols Homers Against Cards, Gets Curtain Call in St. Louis]]>Sat, 22 Jun 2019 17:09:40 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Albert-Pujols-gets-curtain-call-in-St-Louis-June-2019.jpg

Albert Pujols delivered for his many fans in St. Louis. The Cardinals were crowd pleasers, too.

Pujols took a curtain call for his adoring fans at Busch Stadium after homering against the Cardinals, but Marcell Ozuna connected to lead Dakota Hudson and St. Louis over the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Saturday.

Pujols was all smiles as he circled the bases after his 13th home run, a solo drive in the seventh inning. He got a standing ovation during his trot, and the cheers grew louder until Pujols emerged from the dugout and tipped his hat to the sellout crowd.

"Trying to walk around the bases, getting to the plate and trying to get into the dugout and hold everything in — that was hard," Pujols said. "It was pretty special."

"It's just a special moment," Pujols said. "It's great, but you get to the part that we lost the game, and that to me is important, too."

Pujols has 646 career homers, including 445 in his 11 seasons with the Cardinals. His 111 home runs at the new Busch Stadium are the most by anyone.

The three-time NL MVP who helped the Cardinals win two World Series championships returned to the ballpark on Friday night for the first time since helping St. Louis take the 2011 title. Pujols signed with the Angels after that season, and they hadn't played an interleague game at Busch until this weekend.

Pujols was showered with ovations while hitting a single in two at-bats and drawing a walk Friday night. He went 1 for 4 in this loss, the third in a row for the Angels.

"I guess Cardinals fans got what they wanted today," Los Angeles manager Brad Ausmus said. "They got a win and they got an Albert home run."

The Cardinals won for the fifth time in seven games.

Ozuna hit his team-leading 20th homer of the season off Felix Peña in the sixth inning to make it 4-0 lead. Ozuna homered for the second straight day.

Hudson (6-3), who surrendered the homer to Pujols, gave up one run on five hits in a season-high 112-pitch stint over seven innings. He struck out six and walked one. He has allowed one earned run or less in four of his last five starts.

Hudson grew up with Pujols posters on the wall in his room. He did not mind the home fans cheering the emotional home run.

"The guy deserves that ovation," Hudson said. "It was a lot of fun just being able to go out there and face him."

St. Louis manager Mike Shildt enjoyed the atmosphere.

"What a special moment for him," Shildt said. "And the whole stadium and really Cardinal Nation. He's an icon and a living legend."

Hudson was able to refocus after the homer. He retired three of the next four hitters to finish his afternoon with a 4-1 lead.

"One big swing can turn to two," Hudson said. "You just have to limit it. I took in the moments. I enjoyed what I was doing put there."

Paul Goldschmidt had two hits for St. Louis.

Justin Upton also homered for the Angels, a solo shot in the eighth. Pena (5-2) started the third inning in relief of opener Noé Ramirez.

St. Louis broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the fifth on a throwing error. Yadier Molina singled and Kolten Wong walked before Hudson set down a bunt that Peña threw wildly to third.

Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks left the game with two outs in the ninth. Shildt said Hicks felt tightness in his triceps.

"More like a cramp," Shildt said. "He feels good — it's favorable news."

Tyler Webb picked up his first save by retiring Jonathan Lucroy on a grounder to end the game.

The Cardinals improved to 185-177 in interleague play, the best among NL teams.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: RHP Trevor Cahill (right elbow inflammation) is almost ready to return to the active roster. Manager Brad Ausmus would not commit to whether he will return to the starting rotation or pitch out of the bullpen.

Cardinals: INF Jedd Gyorko will undergo a minor arthroscopic procedure on his right wrist on Monday. Shildt says there is no structural damage and that Gyorko's recovery from his wrist surgery should coincide with his return from his calf injury that has kept him on the injured list since June 8.

UP NEXT

St. Louis RHP Miles Mikolas (5-7, 4.48) will face LHP Tyler Skaggs (6-6, 4.61) in the finale of the three-game set on Sunday night. Mikolas tossed six scoreless innings in a 5-0 win over Miami on Monday. Skaggs, who is looking to win his third successive start, leads the Angles in wins and strikeouts (70).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Buehler Makes History in Dodgers Dramatic Walk-Off Win]]>Fri, 21 Jun 2019 23:17:42 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/Buehler+makes+history.png

On Thursday night, Dodgers infielder Matt Beaty was at a hotel, watching the Dodgers square off against Madison Bumgarner and the rival San Francisco Giants.

He had just been optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and was scheduled to jump on the first flight back to Oklahoma in the morning.

Little did he know, that in a little less than 24 hours, he would cap off a historic night for the Dodgers with his first career walk-off home run.

"You dream about this as a kid," said Beaty. "Hitting a walk-off home run, there's probably no better feeling."

But this story is not all about Beaty, the Dodgers rookie was merely a co-star to Walker Buehler's starring performance on Friday night.

Buehler dazzled the sellout Dodger Stadium crowd, putting on a pitching performance the likes that fans in Los Angeles have never seen before, and may never see again.

Buehler struck out a career-high 16 batters, and finished off the first complete game of his career.

It was a career night for Buehler across the board, as in addition to his personal best strikeout mark, he threw a career-high nine innings, and 111 pitches in the process.

"That's checking another box for me," said a soft-spoken Buehler about going the distance. "It's important for me. I want to eat innings, I want to throw 200 innings, and that's stuff you have to do. Thanks to Doc [Dave Roberts] for letting me go back out there. He believed in me."

Despite all that, as Buehler walked off the mound in the top of the ninth inning, having struck out Nolan Arenado to complete his career-high, his effort was still in jeopardy as the Dodgers and Rockies were deadlocked at two runs apiece.

That's when Beaty made sure Buehler's historic night had a storybook ending.

"I was thinking he [Walker Buehler] had a really special night and it would be really fun to get a win for him," said Beaty as he grabbed his bat and prepared to hit in the bottom of the ninth. 

With two outs, and Max Muncy on first, Beaty sent a fastball from Jairo Diaz over the center field wall for the game-winning walk-off homer, graciously handing Buehler his eighth win of the season, and the Dodgers MLB-best 52nd on the year. 

"Friday night…sellout crowd…when the ball went over the fence I just heard the crowd erupt and it was pretty cool," said Beaty of the moment he sent the Ravine into rousing hysteria. "It just felt like I was floating around the bases and I was trying to soak it in. My heart hasn't stopped pounding yet."

 

Beaty's homer put the exclamation point on a historic night for Buheler. In striking out 16 hitters, the 24-year-old joined an exclusive list of legendary pitchers to don Dodger blue.

Buehler's 16 strikeouts are tied for the third most by a pitcher in a single-game in franchise history, behind only Ramon Martinez (18) in 1990, Sandy Koufax (18) in 1959 and 1962, Dazzy Vance (17) in 1925, and Hideo Nomo (17) in 1996.

Buehler also became the only Dodgers' pitcher in franchise history to record 16 strikeouts without issuing a single walk .

Clayton Kershaw famously had 15 strikeouts and no walks during his no-hitter against the Rockies in 2014.

After the game, draped in a black hooded sweatshirt and tennis shoes,an expressionless Buehler stood in front of his locker. You would never have known that he had just made history on one of the game's greatest stages.

As always, he was calm, cool, and collected. He played down his pitching performance as a combination of "good calls," "bad swings," and "throwing strikes," but even the 54,044 in attendance all knew there was much more to it than that. This was special.

Ironically, Beaty's locker is located right next to Buehler's; so as the 26-year-old rookie who was covered in baby powder and gatorade, celebrated the completion of a childhood dream, Buehler was still all business.

"Any time you do something for the first time its got a little more meaning" he finally admitted. "But when you throw strikes good things happen."

Needless to say, good things happened for both players on Friday.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Lakers Ticket Prices Expected to Skyrocket ]]>Fri, 21 Jun 2019 20:52:03 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Lakers+ticket+prices+expected+to+sky+rocket.png

If you're planning on seeing the new-look Lakers in person next season, prepare yourself to empty your wallet.

After the acquisition of six-time All-Star, Anthony Davis, from the New Orleans Pelicans, ticket experts expect Lakers ticket prices to rise significantly next season.

"With the Lakers landing Anthony Davis, it's a near lock they'll have the most expensive ticket heading into 2019-2020 season," said Brett Goldberg, the CEO of TickPick, a secondary ticket company. "After comparing the price jump from the season before LeBron joined the Lakers to last season, we project ticket prices to increase 15 to 20 percent next season with the addition of AD."

Using median ticket prices over the last few years, the average ticket price for the 2017-2018 season, before LeBron James joined the team, was $128.

After LeBron joined the Lakers, ticket prices increased by 63 percent to $209 on average. Lakers season tickets sold out after James announced he was taking his talents to Tinseltown, and despite the Warriors reaching five consecutive NBA Finals, the Lake Show is still the hottest ticket in the NBA.

According to Goldberg, the median ticket price for the Lakers now with LeBron and Davis in 2019-2020, is expected to be over $250, that would set an all-time NBA record for the average admission price.

Despite missing the playoffs for a franchise worst, six consecutive seasons, the Lakers became the betting favorites to win the 2019-2020 NBA Championship after the announcement of the Davis trade was made public. 

Oddsmakers are banking on the dynamic duo of LeBron James and Davis, becoming basketball's best one-two punch since Shaq and Kobe in the early 2000s. As you can see from the expected ticket prices, the Lakers organization is banking on that also, and raising the price of admission.

Davis not only brings cache and stardom to a landmark franchise, he brings hope and optimism. Fans believe that with the addition of Davis, that the Lakers are "back," and well on their way to a record tying 17th NBA title.

The addition of Davis is a monumental step into completing the rebuild that came in the wake of Kobe Bryant's retirement. After each and every disappointing season, the franchise and their fans have put their hopes into the summer in the event the team could land a marquee free agent. 

For years, those franchise changing free agents never arrived, until LeBron announced he was signing with Los Angeles in the summer of 2018.

Now, with James and Davis together, the Lakers could possible lure a third superstar and create a new "Big Three," under the bright lights of Hollywood.

"If Los Angeles is able to find a way to lure a [third] superstar in free agency like Kawhi or Kyrie, ticket prices could skyrocket to a level we've never seen before in the regular season," said Goldberg. 

Is that worth the price of admission to the average fan? Only time will tell.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Trolling of Bumgarner Reaches Epic Heights]]>Fri, 21 Jun 2019 06:46:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Dodgers+Troll+MadBum+Start.png

In the Pantheon of sports greatest rivalries, there's the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, and then everyone else.

Needless to say, there's no love lost between the Dodgers and Giants, so it should come as no surprise to those reading this that Los Angeles upped their game to an epic level on Thursday night in what could be the final time they see Madison Bumgarner in a Giants uniform.

In the most recent chapters of the contentious rivalry, Bumgarner and three-time Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw, have been the central characters of the story.

That didn't change a couple weeks ago in San Francisco when on June 9 at AT&T Park, Bumgarner became public enemy number one in Los Angeles when he had beef with Dodgers slugger Max Muncy after he hit a home run into McCovey Cove.

Bumgarner told Muncy to "stop watching the ball and run," Muncy responded with the now famous phrase, "If you don't want me to watch the ball, go get it out of the ocean."

The comeback became a rallying cry for Dodgers fans as they turned it into a t-shirt (one that Muncy has been wearing all week), a meme, and on Thursday—in what could be Bumgarner's final start against the Dodgers if he ends up getting traded—a trolling of epic proportions.

The trolling began before the game when the pitching matchup showed Bumgarner wearing a scuba mask.

Just a few hours before first pitch, Giants' manager Bruce Bochy was asked about the Dodgers wearing the "Go Get it out of the Ocean" t-shirts and what he thought of all the trolling, his response: 

"That's the poking the bear. If you poke the bear enough, you can't be upset if he bites back."

Strong words from the manager about his best pitcher, and they would have held up had Bumgarner backed them up, unfortunately for Bochy, he didn't.

Bumgarner began the game by hitting Enrique Hernandez, so the Puerto Rican utility player made him pay by promptly stealing second and third. That set the table for Muncy, and the team's trolling began with the Dodgers in-house video operations crew putting this on the videoboard:

Fans got in on the fun too by unveiling this banner:

Muncy knocked in the first run of the game off Bumgarner with an RBI single to right field and Dodgers' organist Dieter Ruehle immediately played "Under the Sea," from The Little Mermaid.

But Ruehle wasn't done yet. Throughout the game, he continued to troll Bumgarner every time he gave up a hit or came up to bat. He displayed the full arsenal of his wizardry on the keys, instantly playing the theme from SpongeBob SquarePants, "Smoke on the Water," "Ocean," Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," "Mad World," and more. His completely setlist directed at Bumgarner during the game is below:

The trolling began to reach its apex as Bumgarner struggled to get out of the fourth inning. Smelling blood in the water, the Dodgers video operations team played a video of Giants' mascot Lou Seal surrounded by sharks in the ocean.

Kyle Garlick and Austin Barnes followed with a pair of two-run homers, and the trolling culminated with Dodger Stadium DJ, DJ Severe, playing "Cake by the Ocean," after each home run trot.

As Bochy came to get Bumgarner with two outs in the inning, DJ Severe, sent the former World Series MVP off the field with "Waterfalls," by TLC.

Don't go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to
I know that you're gonna have it your way or nothing at all
But I think you're moving to fast.

The Giants went on to lose the game, 9-8, and Bumgarner was tagged with the loss, allowing six runs on ten hits in just 3 and 2/3 innings of work. It was the most hits and runs he's allowed in a game against the Dodgers, and the shortest start he's ever had against the Boys in Blue.

If Thursday was Bumgarner's final start against the Dodgers with the Giants, it will be one he won't soon forget, despite the fact he tried to shrug off the trolling after the game.

"What environment are you talking about?" he said when asked what he thought of the trolling going on in the stadium and if it affected him at all. "Come on, no."

 

NOTE: If you can't see the tweets embedded in the story, scroll down and select "View on NBC Southern California" below.



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<![CDATA[Lakers Acquire No. 46 Pick in NBA Draft]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 22:00:06 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Talen+Horton-Tucker.png

Entering the 2019 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers had no selections to make that would actually net them players who would don the purple and gold.

After trading the No. 4 overall pick in the Anthony Davis trade last week, the Lakers had no other picks remaining entering Thursday.

Since the Anthony Davis trade cannot be completed until July 6 at the earliest, the Lakers selected DeAndre Hunter from the University of Virginia on behalf of the New Orleans Pelicans, who traded the rights to Hunter to the Atlanta Hawks before the draft.

Earlier in the week, there were reports that the Lakers were looking to acquire second round picks in the draft either by trading the few remaining players on their already thin roster (i.e. Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga, or Jemerrio Jones) or by paying for the pick using allocated funds.

As the draft got underway on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, pick after pick was made, but the Lakers still seemed to struggle finding a team willing to sell or trade them a pick.

Finally, in the middle of the second round, just as the 40th overall pick was announced, it was reported that the Lakers had acquired the No. 46 overall pick from the Orlando Magic in exchange for cash.

At the time, once presumed top five pick Bol Bol, the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, was still available, having fallen all the way into the second round due to injury concerns at the University of Oregon. 

Many fans were hoping he would be available at No. 46 when the Lakers would have their chance to snag him, but he went two picks prior to the Miami Heat, who then traded Bol's rights to the Denver Nuggets. 

Instead, the Lakers selected shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker out of Iowa State University; a versatile wing player with plenty of upside potential.

Horton-Tucker flew under the radar during the 2018-2019 NCCA Men's Basketball season, but showed flashes of greatness for the Cyclones. Tucker-Horton finished the season averaging 11.7 points, four rebounds, and 1.3 steals and showed he can be a big time playmaker on the court.

Horton-Tucker is a scorer at any level, and his skill set will be needed with the Lakers who currently only have six players on their roster, and only one of them (Bonga) is a guard. Scouts believe that Horton-Tucker is one of the best shot creators in the 2019 draft class and has an insatiable defensive prowess as well.

As a combo guard, Horton-Tucker should see plenty of playing time with the Lakers in his rookie season, and has the ability to start right away if needed.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Anaheim Ducks Buy Out Contract of Former MVP Corey Perry]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 01:42:05 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DIT_SPO_COREY_PERRY_041017-149185856421300001.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks have bought out the contract of former NHL MVP Corey Perry after 14 seasons with the franchise.

The Ducks announced the move Wednesday, with general manager Bob Murray calling it "one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make in my 44 years in the NHL."

Perry has spent his entire career with the Ducks, and he is the franchise leader with 988 games played — four more than Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf, his teammate and frequent linemate throughout their intertwined careers. The Ducks' decision to part ways with Perry while keeping Getzlaf ends one of the most durable partnerships in recent hockey history.

Perry had two seasons left on his contract with an annual salary cap hit of $8.625 million, but his scoring production has declined in recent seasons while Getzlaf is still going strong.

Perry and Getzlaf won the Stanley Cup together in 2007 and signed similar eight-year contract extensions in March 2013, but the 34-year-old stars' remarkable partnership is over.

"Corey gave everything to this franchise for 14 years, never giving an inch to his competitors," Murray said. "While his scoring touch is undeniable, his will to win became his greatest attribute. We thank Corey for everything he's meant to the Ducks organization. No matter what he elects to do from here, Corey ... will always be part of the Ducks family."

Perry won the Ducks' only Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player in 2011. He is the third-leading scorer in Ducks' history with 776 points, and his 372 goals rank second while his 404 assists are third.

The sometimes-pugnacious forward is also the Ducks' career leader with 1,110 penalty minutes. Perry and Getzlaf led the Ducks' tough-nosed approach to the game over the past decade in particular, with Anaheim making the postseason 11 times in their 14 years together.

"For many years, Corey has epitomized what it means to be a Duck, playing an aggressive, relentless game while being a compassionate and giving member of the Orange County community," Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli said in a statement issued by the team.

Perry is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist as part of Canada's championship teams in 2010 and 2014, again playing alongside Getzlaf. Perry also won championships at the World Cup, Memorial Cup, World Juniors and World Championships, joining Scott Niedermayer as the only players to win titles in those six levels of hockey.

Perry scored a career-best 50 goals during his MVP season, and he has posted eight 25-goal seasons. But he has just 42 total goals over the past three years, and he missed five months of last season with a major knee injury.

The Ducks are rebooting after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2012. Murray and new head coach Dallas Eakins seem determined to make the Ducks faster and younger, which led to the decision to move on from Perry's goal-scoring and toughness.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

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<![CDATA[Women's World Cup Viewing Parties Set Throughout LA County]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 07:30:41 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/US-Womens-World-Cup-Viewrship-Record-June-2019.jpg

Viewing parties for the telecasts of Thursday's U.S.-Sweden 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup game will be held at Banc of California Stadium and other locations in Los Angeles County.

The party at The Fields LA, the food court attached to Banc of California Stadium, will begin at noon, coinciding with the start of the Group F game from Stade Oceane in Le Havre in northern France. Parties organized by various chapters of American Outlaws, a nationwide support group for the U.S. men's and women's national soccer teams, will be held in the following locations:

-- Legends Sports Bar, 5236 E. Second St., Long Beach;

-- Q's Billiard Club, 11835 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood;

-- 1739 Public House, 1739 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; and

-- Underground Pub & Grill, 1332 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach.

Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy will host a watch party at Tom's Urban at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.

The game will be televised in English by Fox and in Spanish by Telemundo.

The game is the last in group play for both teams. The winner will be the group winner. If the game ends in a tie, the U.S. will be the group winner because it has the better goal differential. Both teams are assured of advancing to the knockout round.

Both teams are 2-0-0 in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. The U.S. defeated Thailand, 13-0, on Tuesday, June 11, and Chile, 3-0, on Sunday. Sweden defeated Chile, 2-0, June 11, and Thailand, 5-1, Sunday.

The U.S. is first in the rankings compiled by FIFA, soccer's international governing body. Sweden is ranked ninth.

Sweden is the most recent team to defeat the U.S. in World Cup play, winning 2-1 in a group play game in 2011. (The U.S. loss to Japan in a penalty kick shootout in the 2011 final is considered a tie under soccer rules.) The U.S. is 9-0-3 in World Cup games since the 2011 loss to Sweden.

The U.S. is 21-6-11 against Sweden, including a 5-3-5 record since 2010.

Regardless of Thursday's result, the U.S. will next play on Sunday, June 23. A victory or tie against Sweden means the U.S. will begin the knockout round against Spain, which finished second in Group B with a 1-1-1 record and is 13th in the FIFA rankings. A loss means the next U.S. opponent will be the second-place team in Group E, the loser of Thursday's Canada-Netherlands game.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grand Slam, Kershaw Highlight Dodgers' 9-0 Win Over Giants]]>Tue, 18 Jun 2019 23:20:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Beat-Giants-9-0-June-18-2019.jpg

Clayton Kershaw combined with two relievers on a four-hit shutout, Enriquè Hernàndez had a pinch-hit grand slam to highlight a six-run seventh, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the rival San Francisco Giants 9-0 Tuesday night.

Kershaw (7-1) allowed three hits, struck out six and walked two. The left-handed ace improved to 23-11 in his career against the Giants, who suffered their largest loss of the season.

Dylan Floro struck out three in the eighth and Joe Kelly finished it off in the ninth, giving up a hit and a walk to go with one strikeout.

Hernàndez slugged his second career grand slam off Trevor Gott after coming in 2 for 15 on the homestand. He was intentionally walked after entering in the sixth.

The Dodgers batted around in the seventh while extending their lead to 9-0.

Pinch-hitter David Freese got the scoring started with an RBI groundout to third base and Austin Barnes added an RBI single. Hernandez cleared the bases with a 416-foot shot to left field.

The victory kept the Dodgers from losing two in a row at home for the first time since mid-April after they dropped the series opener 3-2. They had 14 hits and left 10 runners on base.

Rookie Shaun Anderson (2-2) gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out two and walked three.

The Dodgers jumped on Anderson in the first, taking a 2-0 lead. Joc Pederson hit his 19th homer leading off the game and Justin Turner doubled in the other run.

Chris Taylor reached on a bunt single in the sixth when no one was covering first after Brandon Belt got pulled off, making it 3-0.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: INF Pablo Sandoval got the day off against left-handed pitching after injuring his right pinky finger when it was stepped on by a baserunner. He's day to day with four stitches in his finger.

Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (sore right wrist) took a comebacker off his wrist Monday. X-rays were negative and he'll get an extra day of rest before his next start. ... LHP Scott Alexander (forearm) will have a minor league rehab assignment next week. ... OF A.J. Pollock (sore right elbow) will work out at the team's spring training facility in Arizona before going on a rehab assignment.

MOVING OVER

Left fielder Pederson took grounders at first base and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated a position change is in the future. The move would keep Pederson's home-run hitting bat in the lineup. The outfield is already set: Pollock is expected back after the All-Star break, rookie Alex Verdugo has proven reliable and Cody Bellinger has moved from first base to protect his shoulder. Max Muncy alternates between second and filling in for Turner at third. "(Joc) is actually more excited about playing first base than I've seen him excited about anything, outside of hitting a homer," Roberts said.

SPOT STARTER

A spot starter will be added to the Dodgers' rotation in the next three or four days, said Roberts who didn't name the person. It's needed while Maeda gets rest.

FAMILY TIES

Actress Kelley Jakle, the great-granddaughter of Dodgers GM Branch Rickey who signed Jackie Robinson, sang the national anthem. Kershaw's children, 4-year-old Cali and 2-year-old Charley, tossed first pitches from the mound on the fifth anniversary of their father's no-hitter against Colorado. Neither ball got very far, with the elder Kershaw and Russell Martin handling catching duties.

UP NEXT

Giants: LHP Drew Pomeranz (2-6, 6.43 ERA) has been better in his last two starts than in his previous 10 when he had an 8.08 ERA.

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.60) has dominated against the Giants since he came to L.A., going 6-1 with a 1.81 ERA.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Looking at Urias or Stripling to Fill Hill's Spot]]>Fri, 21 Jun 2019 02:59:13 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1052860624.jpg

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is optimistic that pitcher Rich Hill will be back before the end of the season. But with the left-hander out for at least four weeks, Roberts still needs to fill a spot in his rotation.

Roberts said he is looking at either Julio Urias or Ross Stripling to plug that hole after Hill was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday with a left forearm strain. Hill left Wednesday's game before the second inning after retiring the side in the first.

"Obviously, to lose him, the way he's been pitching, is disheartening any way you look at it," Roberts said. "He's a big part of what we're trying to do moving forward, so to lose him for 3-4 weeks is tough. We know the prognosis and will go from there."

Hill is 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 10 starts. It is the second time this season the 39-year old has been on the injured list. He missed the first month due to a left knee sprain.

Urias and Stripling both ended up being used in Thursday night's 9-8 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Urias got the start, which was his first start since April 18 at Milwaukee. The left-hander worked three innings and gave up one hit while striking out five.

"If it is me I am going to do my job. I have been focusing on attacking the strike zone more," said Urias, who is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 17 appearances — including five starts

Roberts said he was really encouraged with how Urias came out and was aggressive.

"We talked about his last outing where he kind of felt his way into the game, and tonight, he was on the attack from the beginning," he said.

Stripling went two innings in relief and allowed three unearned runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout. The right-hander has started six games this season and is 3-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 20 games. His last start came on April 25 at the Chicago Cubs.

"Ross is built up more," Roberts said. "It's more potential matchups, innings for Julio, what gives best chance to win, value of each guy in the 'pen, one guy starting."

The Dodgers called up right-handed pitchers JT Chargois and Josh Sborz from Triple-A Oklahoma City in time for the game. Los Angeles also optioned infielder Matt Beaty to Oklahoma City.

Both pitchers ended up making appearances Thursday night. Chargois — making his third stint in the majors this season — pitched two innings and gave up a run on two hits but got the win.

Shorz made his major league debut and allowed three runs on two hits in an inning plus.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Hold Off Giants' Rally in 9th for 9-8 Victory]]>Fri, 21 Jun 2019 02:26:08 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/Bellinger+two+run+homer+in+Game+7+NLCS.png

The Los Angeles Dodgers roughed up Madison Bumgarner and rode their hot-hitting lineup for the first eight innings of Thursday night's game against San Francisco. It was their clutch fielding that ended up helping them hold on for a 9-8 win.

The Giants trailed 9-4 going into the ninth but scored four times to get within a run.

With runners on first and second and none out, first baseman Cody Bellinger grabbed Tyler Austin's bunt and threw to third to get Stephen Vogt on a close play. The Giants challenged, but the call was upheld after a nearly two-minute review.

"That turned out to be a big play," Bellinger said. "It probably would've been the weirdest loss I would have been a part of. Good thing it wasn't."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy was miffed the replay umpires did not overturn the call at third and made his feelings clear after the game.

"I would like to know what they are looking at in New York. I wish they could show me what they saw," he said. "I saw it on the scoreboard and after the game. It could be missed on replay and it looked like it was missed. You couldn't have a bigger call go against you."

The first five San Francisco batters got on in the ninth, including a two-run double by Brandon Crawford and RBI singles by Mike Yastrzemski and Vogt.

But the Dodgers turned in another defensive gem when they needed it. Center fielder Alex Verdugo chased down Buster Posey's line drive and made a diving catch, and Kyle Garlick caught Brandon Belt's fly ball near the warning track in right for the final out.

Kenley Jansen was charged with a run and two hits but was able to hang on for his 22nd save.

Garlick, Austin Barnes and Joc Pederson each hit a two-run homer for the major league-leading Dodgers, who won three of four against the rival Giants.

Garlick and Barnes — who each had three hits — drove their balls over the left field wall during a five-run fourth inning. Pederson came on as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and launched his 20th of the season to left.

The Dodgers sent 11 batters to the plate and had eight of their 16 hits in the fourth as they chased Bumgarner (3-7) after 3 2/3 innings.

Justin Turner also had three hits, and Garlick had his first three-RBI game in the majors. The Dodgers have won six of eight on their homestand.

"You take out that ninth inning, it was a very clean, well-played game for us all around," manager Dave Roberts said.

Yastrzemski had a two-run homer in the seventh for last-place San Francisco, which has dropped four of five. Crawford added three RBIs.

Los Angeles lefty Julio Urias made his first start since April 18 at Milwaukee. Urias, who could move back into the rotation after Rich Hill was placed on the injured list, worked three innings and gave up one hit while striking out five.

JT Chargois (1-0) allowed a run in two innings for the win.

A START TO FORGET

If this was Bumgarner's last outing against LA as a member of the Giants, it was not his most memorable.

Max Muncy wore a T-shirt reading "Go get it out of the ocean" again during batting practice. The message was Muncy's response when the left-hander told him "Don't watch the ball, run" after Muncy homered into McCovey Cove in San Francisco for the only run of the game on June 9.

Bochy said the Dodgers might be "poking the bear" by wearing the shirts.

"You poke the bear enough, you can't be upset if he fights back, either. Some things are best to let it go," Bochy said.

Bumgarner, who could be traded before the July 31 deadline, had his shortest outing in 35 starts against the Dodgers, as well as allowing his most hits to them and surrendering six or more runs for only the second time.

"This start didn't feel any different than the rest of them," Bumgarner said. "I gave up a lot of hits in a row. I will have to see if I can find a reason for why it unraveled."

STREAKS AND STATS

It was the third straight night the Dodgers scored nine runs against their NL West rivals. The last time they had three nights in a row against the Giants with nine or more runs was July 1977. ... Turner is batting .344 since April 26.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto, recovering from Tommy John surgery last August, will throw a bullpen Friday in Arizona. Bochy said Cueto is throwing 40 pitches per session and continues to make progress.

"He's making enough strides that he could start his rehab in August, and then a month of rehab and he could be ready to go in September," Bochy said. "This isn't us pushing him, this is just the schedule that was set out when he started his rehab."

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-6, 3.96 ERA) takes the mound Friday for the opener of a three-game series in Arizona. Samardzija has lost five of his last six starts and allowed a season-high nine hits in his last one Sunday against Milwaukee.

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (7-1, 3.06) starts the first game of a weekend series against Colorado. Buehler is 2-0 in three June starts and has allowed only one earned run in his last 22 innings.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels beat Blue Jays 3-1, Finally Back at .500]]>Tue, 18 Jun 2019 21:33:06 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Beat-Blue-Jays-June-18-2019.jpg

After seven failed attempts, Tyler Skaggs and the Los Angeles Angels are finally back at .500.

Skaggs pitched into the eighth inning, Kole Calhoun and Brian Goodwin hit solo home runs, and the Angels beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (37-37) had lost its past seven opportunities to return to .500 for the first time since being 8-8 on April 15.

"That's a huge hurdle for this team," Skaggs said. "Hopefully we can keep rolling."

Skaggs (6-6) went a season-best 7 1/3 innings. He allowed a run and three hits, walked none and struck out six to win consecutive starts for the first time since beating Kansas City on April 26 and Toronto on May 2.

"Clearly his best outing of the year, possibly our best start of the year," manager Brad Ausmus said.

It was the second time this season that Skaggs didn't issue a walk. He also did it April 12 against the White Sox.

"Tonight he was just attacking the zone with all of his pitches," catcher Kevan Smith said. "He trusted all of them and you saw the results."

Ty Buttrey got two outs in the eighth, and Hansel Robles finished for his 11th save in 13 opportunities.

Luis Rengifo had two hits as the Angels remained unbeaten in five meetings with the Blue Jays this season. Los Angeles has won 17 of 23 games in Toronto.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered for the Blue Jays, who have lost six straight at home for the first time since May 12-20, 2018. Toronto (26-47) is a season-worst 21 games below .500.

Skaggs retired his first 11 batters before Gurriel hit a two-out homer in the fourth. The shot was his eighth in 23 games since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on May 24.

Calhoun tied it with a drive off the right field foul screen to begin the fifth, his 16th. Two outs later, Goodwin connected to put the Angels in front. The homer was Goodwin's seventh.

Both homers came off right-hander Marcus Stroman (4-9), who allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings. Stroman has lost three of his past four decisions.

"He was really good," manager Charlie Montoyo said. "Just a couple mistakes today against a good lineup."

Calhoun also homered in Monday's 10-5 win for the Angels. He's gone deep three times in five games against Toronto and has 10 career homers against the Blue Jays, more than any other non-division opponent.

Toronto's Randal Grichuk singled to begin the fifth but right fielder Calhoun threw him out at third as he tried to advance on a single by Rowdy Tellez.

"That's a big change," Ausmus said. "Could be, potentially, a game-changing play."

Freddy Galvis reached on an error by Rengifo, but the shortstop recovered to start an inning-ending double play, catching Danny Jansen's liner and doubling Tellez off second base.

Tim Mayza replaced Stroman after Smith reached on an infield single to begin the eighth. Mayza struck out pinch-hitter Justin Upton, and Rengifo singled before Tommy LaStella made it 3-1 with an RBI groundout.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons (left ankle) was scheduled to play five innings at rookie-level Orem on Tuesday, with by a seven-inning stint on tap Wednesday. ... Upton was held out of the starting lineup but hit for Goodwin in the eighth. Upton returned to the lineup Monday after being out since March because of turf toe on his left foot.

Blue Jays: 1B Justin Smoak (left quadriceps) and RHP Edwin Jackson (strained lower back) were placed on the 10-day injured list. Toronto recalled OF Billy McKinney and RHP Justin Shafer from Triple-A Buffalo. ... OF Teoscar Hernandez, who left Monday's game because of a sprained left wrist, was held out of the lineup and is day to day. Hernandez was injured when he crashed into an unpadded section of the outfield fence while trying to make a catch.

THREE OF A KIND

The Angels won for the third time this season when scoring three or fewer runs.

SUPPORT SYSTEM

The Blue Jays have scored two or fewer runs in 12 of Stroman's 16 starts, and have failed to score at all in seven of his outings.

0-FOR-OPEN

Toronto is 0-6 when the roof at Rogers Centre is open.

UP NEXT

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (0-1, 4.57) is winless in four starts since being activated off the injured list. Heaney missed the first 51 games of the season because of a sore elbow.

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-8, 5.04) has lost seven straight decisions since beating Oakland on April 27. He's 1-4 with a 3.42 ERA in five career games against the Angels.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Trout Has 4 Hits, Angels Beat Blue Jays 10-5]]>Mon, 17 Jun 2019 20:56:59 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels-Beat-Blue-Jays-June-17-2019.jpg

Justin Upton homered on the first pitch he saw in his return from the injured list, Mike Trout had a solo homer among his four hits and the Los Angeles Angels used a seven-run second inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-5 Monday night.

Shohei Ohtani and Kole Calhoun also connected in the second for the Angels, who have won all four meetings with Toronto this season.

Toronto rookie Cavan Biggio hit two home runs, a solo shot in the first and a two-run drive in the eighth, the second multihomer game of his brief career. Randal Grichuk hit a two-run homer in the seventh, but the Blue Jays lost for the eighth time in 11 games.

Trout finished a triple shy of the cycle. He flied out in the first, doubled in the second, singled in the fourth, homered in the sixth, and singled again in the eighth.

Upton went on the injured list in late March because of turf toe on his left foot. He missed 71 games before returning.

Upton started the seven-run rally with a first-pitch blast off right-hander Edwin Jackson (1-5). Later in the 11-batter frame, he chased Jackson with a single.

Upton is the first Angels player to homer in his first at-bat of a season since Trout did it against Seattle's Felix Hernandez in 2015. The last Angels player to homer on his first pitch of a season was Jeff Mathis, who did it against Minnesota's Scott Baker in 2010.

Calhoun went back-to-back with Upton in the second, his 15th. It was the third time this season the Angels have hit consecutive home runs.

Two outs later, Trout hit a two-run double and Ohtani followed with a three-run homer, his ninth.

Jackson, who snapped a five-game winless streak by beating Baltimore in his previous outing, allowed seven runs and six hits, including three home runs, in 2/3 of an inning. He has a 12.43 ERA in seven games with Toronto.

Trout's homer, his 20th, was an estimated 456-foot drive into the center field party deck. It's the fourth time Trout has hit 20 or more home runs before the All-Star break. He and former slugger Tim Salmon jointly hold the team record with eight seasons of 20 or more home runs.

Luis Garcia opened for the Angels and gave up Biggio's homer in the first.

Felix Pena (5-1) followed and allowed four runs and six hits in six-plus innings.

The Angels have won 16 of their past 22 in Toronto.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: OF Cesar Puello was designated for assignment to make room for Upton.

Blue Jays: Toronto activated RHP David Phelps (elbow surgery) off the 60-day injured list and optioned RHP Justin Shafer to Triple-A Buffalo. To make room for Phelps on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays transferred RHP Elvis Luciano (elbow) to the 60-day injured list. Phelps made his first appearance since August 2017, when he pitched a scoreless seventh. ... OF Teoscar Hernandez sprained his left wrist crashing into the outfield scoreboard while chasing Justin Bour's double in the third. Hernandez was replaced in the seventh. X-rays were negative.

UP NEXT

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (5-6, 5.00) is 3-2 with a 3.93 ERA in six career starts against Toronto.

Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (4-8, 3.18) is 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 11 career games against the Angels.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Rout Giants 9-2 for 50th Win]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 02:21:21 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19152164698385.jpg

Cody Bellinger keeps getting on base, and if he's at home chances are it's via a home run.

Bellinger slugged his 24th homer — 16th at Dodger Stadium — and Los Angeles kept it together after losing starter Rich Hill to injury in a 9-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night, becoming the major leagues' first 50-win team.

At 50-25, the Dodgers are tied with the 1977 club for the second-best start in Los Angeles history. It's also the first time since that year that the team has collected 50 wins in its 75th game.

"We're all confident in ourselves and it's showing on the field," Bellinger said.

Chris Taylor homered twice to help the NL West leaders improve to a big league-best 30-9 at home. They routed the Giants for the second straight game, following up on a 9-0 win Tuesday.

"We're playing free and easy," Taylor said. "We're playing our best baseball."

The only downer was Hill's departure after one inning because of left forearm discomfort that will send him to the injured list. The left-hander retired the side on 15 pitches with two strikeouts.

"You could see something wasn't right, something was going through his head. Our radar was up," manager Dave Roberts said.

Hill is scheduled for a MRI on Thursday. He said he had elbow tightness in his two previous starts and "everything tightened up" after his third warmup pitch before the second inning.

"I didn't feel it would be a wise move to continue," Hill said. "The MRI will probably show something, but I don't think it will be in the concerning category."

Roberts said, "I'm hopeful."

Dylan Floro (2-1) got the victory with one strikeout in two innings. He was followed by Yimi Garcia, Caleb Ferguson, Pedro Bàez and Joe Kelly who combined to limit the Giants to two runs and four hits.

"The bullpen was incredible," Hill said. "Kudos to them."

The Dodgers' offense got going early, powering to a 6-0 lead after three innings.

Taylor hit a two-out, three-run homer in the first off Drew Pomeranz (2-7).

Rookie Kyle Garlick added his first career homer leading off the second, Alex Verdugo had a sacrifice fly and Russell Martin had a two-out RBI single in the third, and Taylor's solo shot in the fifth made it 7-1.

Bellinger recorded his 24th homer in the seventh, a two-run shot off Dereck Rodriguez. He's reached base in 68 of 70 starts this season.

Los Angeles had 13 hits after recording 14 on Tuesday.

The Giants have just 10 hits going into the series finale Thursday.

"We're just not swinging the bats very well right now," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Some pretty good arms they brought in."

The Giants' runs came on solo homers by Tyler Austin in the fourth and Mike Yastrzemski in the sixth.

Pomeranz gave up seven runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one. He's worked past the fifth inning just once in 13 starts.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: OF Steven Duggar was scratched with a tight lower back and is day to day. ... INF Pablo Sandoval pinch hit in the ninth after leaving Monday's game with an injured right pinky finger.

MAKING MEMORIES

The fan who snagged Garlick's home run gave the ball to him and Garlick turned it over to his father after the game. "It was awesome being able to do it in front of my parents," he said.

UP NEXT

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-6, 3.87 ERA) seeks his first win against the Dodgers since Sept. 23, 2017. He's 0-3 with a 2.43 ERA in his last six starts against them.

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (3-2, 3.05) comes out of the bullpen to make a spot start in place of RHP Walker Buehler, who gets extra rest. Urias is 1-1 with a 3.66 ERA in four starts this season. He hasn't pitched longer than three innings since April 18.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Win Over Chile Becomes Most-Watched US Women's World Cup Group Match]]>Mon, 17 Jun 2019 15:39:24 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/US-Womens-World-Cup-Viewrship-Record-June-2019.jpg

The Americans' 3-0 win over Chile set a record for the most-watched group-stage Women's World Cup match on U.S. English-language television.

Fox drew 5,324,000 viewers for Sunday's game, topping 4,492,000 for the Americans' 0-0 group-stage draw against Sweden in 2015. The game was the most-watched English-language soccer telecast in the country since last year's men's World Cup final.

In addition, Sunday's match averaged 84,000 viewers online, the second-most streamed Women's World Cup match.

The first two U.S. matches averaged 3,975,000, up 2 percent from 3,902,000 from four years ago.

The U.S. has advanced to the knockout stage and will finish group play on Thursday against Sweden.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LaMelo Ball, 17, Signs With Australian Team to Prep for NBA]]>Mon, 17 Jun 2019 15:30:34 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LaMelo-Ball-Australia-June-17-2019.jpg

American teenager LaMelo Ball has signed with the Illawarra Hawks for the upcoming National Basketball League season, the second top U.S. prospect to join the Australian league under its Next Stars Program.

The 17-year-old guard is rated as one of the best U.S. high school basketball players and is expected to be one of the top picks in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Ball is the brother of Lonzo Ball, who is being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis deal.

American guard R.J. Hampton decided last month to forego his college eligibility and sign with the New Zealand Breakers in the nine-team NBL. The 18-year-old Hampton turned down offers from several top colleges, including Kansas, to sign with the Auckland-based team.

Illawarra team owner Simon Stratford said Ball is an "exceptional talent."

"Having him in a Hawks jersey fits with the goal of cultivating the best young talent and making them great," Stratford said in a statement Tuesday. "It's putting the club at the top of the list for future NBA stars."

The Next Stars Program places players with Australian teams who are eligible for the NBA draft and hand-picked by scouts.

Ball said a season in Australia would be the perfect opportunity for him to hone his skills for a future move to the NBA.

"The NBL is a really solid league, with great coaches and players, and I am looking forward to putting all my focus and energy into basketball and getting to work," he said.

The 2019-20 NBL season begins in October. The Hawks are based in Wollongong, south of Sydney.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Eakins is Named the Anaheim Ducks' New Coach]]>Mon, 17 Jun 2019 12:25:05 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-463507645.jpg

Dallas Eakins was named the Anaheim Ducks' coach on Monday, moving up from their AHL affiliate in San Diego for his second chance behind an NHL bench.

The Ducks filled the NHL's last head coaching vacancy with the veteran coach who spent the past four seasons with the Gulls, leading them to the AHL's Western Conference Finals this season. The 52-year-old former NHL defenseman has worked extensively with the homegrown talent that currently fills much of the Ducks' roster.

Eakins replaces Ducks general manager Bob Murray, who stepped behind the bench for the final 26 games of the season after firing Randy Carlyle. Anaheim went 14-11-1 under Murray, but the Ducks couldn't overcome a midseason slump and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

After 73 days without a head coach in place, Murray found his next coach exactly where most observers thought he would. Murray, who has made only three permanent coaching changes in 11 years running the Ducks, took 46 days to replace Bruce Boudreau with Carlyle in 2016.

Eakins coached the Edmonton Oilers from the start of the 2013-14 season until December 2014, going 36-63-14.

He was considered a blue-chip NHL coaching talent with forward-thinking opinions on strategy, but he couldn't stop the Oilers' decadelong struggles. Eakins has said in recent months that the experience helped and matured him as a coach, and he showed it by building a consistent winner in San Diego.

Eakins was the obvious choice to replace Carlyle, whose second stint with the Ducks lasted 2 1/2 seasons. Carlyle, who won the only Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2007, got the Ducks to the Western Conference final in 2017 after winning their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title.

But the Ducks were swept out of the first round in 2018, and they started this season well before falling into a horrific 2-15-4 slump shortly before Christmas. Carlyle was fired Feb. 10 and Anaheim resumed playing solid hockey but couldn't make up the ground it lost.

The Ducks have been one of the NHL's most consistent winners over the past 15 years, missing the playoffs just three times. Anaheim reached the conference finals in 2015 under Boudreau and again in 2017 with Carlyle but couldn't get back to the Stanley Cup Final since that championship season in 2007.

Instead of handing the job to Eakins, Murray interviewed other candidates and deliberated over his decision for 2 1/2 months.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Edge Cubs 3-2 on Father's Day]]>Sun, 16 Jun 2019 19:51:36 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodger-Beat-Cubs-3-2-June-2019.jpg

Russell Martin singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Alex Verdugo made a game-saving catch for the game's final out and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 Sunday night.

Cody Bellinger hit his 23rd homer in front of his parents on Father's Day.

Martin struck out in his first three at-bats before singling to left off Steve Cishek (1-4). Chris Taylor came around from second base after he walked to open the inning. He slid headfirst and his helmet went flying as the throw from Kris Bryant sailed past catcher Willson Contreras.

The series featured 13 home runs and 18 of 24 runs scored on homers, with the NL West-leading Dodgers taking three of four.

Kenley Jansen earned his 21st save the hard way.

He pitched into trouble for the second straight game after Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer off Jansen on Saturday gave the Cubs a 2-1 victory.

Jansen gave up a leadoff single to Albert Almora Jr. and walked Jason Heyward to put the tying and go-ahead runs on base. Pinch-hitter Kyle Schwarber grounded out, moving Almora to third and Heyward to second.

Pinch-hitter Victor Caratini bounced a short grounder to the right side, and Jansen fielded and fired home to get Almora at the plate for the second out.

With Heyward at third, Javier Bàez flied out to center and Verdugo made a running catch to preserve the win, diving onto his stomach shortly after the ball fell into his glove.

Ross Stripling (3-2) got the victory with one inning of relief.

The Cubs led 2-1 in the sixth on Contreras' RBI single and David Bote's sacrifice fly.

Chicago fell to 3-10 in its last 13 road games.

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu gave up two unearned runs and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked none.

Chicago starter Josè Quintana gave up two runs and six hits in five innings. The left-hander struck out three and walked three.

Quintana gave up a two-out single to David Freese in the first. He then walked Bellinger, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy in succession, forcing in Freese and giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

UP NEXT

Cubs: They're off Monday, their first such break since May 30. LHP Cole Hamels (6-2, 2.98 ERA) starts Tuesday against the White Sox.

Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-3, 3.89) starts Monday in the opener of a four-game set against the Giants.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Fans Paint Massive Mural for Anthony Davis]]>Mon, 17 Jun 2019 13:54:05 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/anthony-davis-mural-lakers-june-17-2019.jpg

That was fast.

It's been a little over 24 hours since the basketball world was stunned by the news that the New Orleans Pelicans had traded six-time All-Star Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.

 

Despite the news of the trade still raw, and technically not official until at least July 6, that didn't stop a handful of excited Lakers fans from staying up all night to paint a massive mural of Davis on Melrose Ave.

 

Local artist, Gustavo Zermeno Jr., and a handful of his friends pulled an all-nighter in order to paint the mural of Davis and his signature unibrow.

As you can see from Zermeno's post on Instagram, the mural depicts Davis in a purple Lakers jersey with gold lettering. In the background, over his right shoulder is 12 of the Lakers retired jerseys. Over his left shoulder is just a few of the championship banners that hang in the rafters at Staples Center.

Zermeno and his friends painted the mural after Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news on Saturday afternoon that the Lakers and Pelicans had agreed on the framework of a trade that would send Davis to Hollywood in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, and two future first round draft picks.

 

Ironically, just over a year ago, Zermeno stayed up all night again to paint a mural of LeBron James looking up at past Lakers' stars in front of Staples Center, after the three-time NBA Champion announced he was signing with the Lakers.

 

Unfortunately, that mural was vandalized two weeks later because of angry Kobe Bryant fans who were insulted at the insinuation that James was the new "King of LA," before even taking the court in a Lakers' jersey.

Of course, those fans ultimately proved to be correct in their sentiments, as LeBron and the Lakers struggled in his first season in Los Angeles. James missed 17 consecutive games with a groin injury, and the Lakers missed the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

This time though, we think Zermeno's mural of Davis will last a little longer.



Photo Credit: Christine Kim
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<![CDATA[Cody Bellinger Surprises Father and Son for Father's Day]]>Sun, 16 Jun 2019 18:02:55 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Cody+Surprises+Seth+and+Paul.JPG

As Fathers across the country were honored on Sunday, Dodgers' outfielder Cody Bellinger decided to make one family's day extra special.

Bellinger surprised Seth Grossman and his son, Paul, at the DICK'S Sporting Goods store in Tustin, CA ahead of the Dodgers Father's Day matchup against the Chicago Cubs.

Grossman, who is the Northwood Little League President and coach, thought he was going to the store to go shopping with his son, but as the pair walked around the store, they stopped to watch someone hitting in the DICK's new batting cage.

"Let's check out his form," said Grossman to his son. 

After watching the impressive swing in action, the Father and son tandem was shocked when the man turned around and revelead himself to be the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Winner, Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger took the Grossmans inside the store's new batting cage and talked about his own relationship with his father, Clay Bellinger, a three-time World Series Champion and Cody's coach when he was in Little League.

Bellinger played in the 2007 Little League World Series for the Chandler, AZ team that was coached by his father. Everything came full circle at the 2017 MLB All-Star Weekend, when the younger Bellinger asked his father to pitch to him during the Home Run Derby in Miami.

At the conclusion of their visit, Bellinger surprised the Grossmans with tickets to the Father's Day game at Dodger Stadium against the Cubs.

Bellinger is off to a historic start to the season, batting .355 with 22 home runs and 57 RBI.



Photo Credit: DICK’S Sporting Goods]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Gives Her Dad the Father's Day Gift of a Lifetime at Dodger Stadium]]>Mon, 17 Jun 2019 06:56:37 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/anthem-dodgers-girl-june-16-2019-2.jpg

An 8-year-old girl wowed the crowd at Dodger Stadium with a powerful rendition of the nation anthem on Father's Day.

As Yorba Linda's Madison Taylor Baez finished her amazing performance her father, who is recovering from Stage 4 colon cancer, ran toward Madison at home plate to give her a hug. Chris Baez credits his daughter and her voice with helping him through his health problems.

As it has since 1996, Major League Baseball used Father's Day to raise awareness about prostate cancer and raise funds for research to fight the disease. For the fourth consecutive year, players wore specially designed caps featuring a light blue crown to accent team colors on the brim and logo.

Blue is the official color for prostate cancer awareness. Players and all other on-field personnel wore the symbolic blue ribbon on their uniforms and blue wristbands. Players also had the option to wear multi-pattern blue-dyed socks, as well as light blue compression sleeves, batting gloves, footwear, wrist/elbow/leg guards and catcher's equipment, and use light blue bats.

All royalties for the sales of Father's Day caps and apparel emblazoned with the symbolic blue ribbon will be donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer, an effort to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly.

Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards also were blue.

Sunday marked the conclusion of the Santa Monica-based Prostate Cancer Foundation's 24th annual Home Run Challenge where fans can make a one-time monetary donation or pledge for every home run hit by their favorite MLB team from June 1-19.

Every dollar donated through the Home Run Challenge goes to the foundation to fund critical research to defeat prostate cancer. More than $1.33 million has been donated via the Home Run Challenge in 2019, according to the foundation.

Since its inception, the Home Run Challenge has raised more than $51 million for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which was founded in 1993 and has funded nearly $800 million of cutting-edge research by 2,200 scientists at 220 cancer centers in 22 nations.

The foundation says its research impacts 67 forms of human cancer by focusing on immunotherapy, the microbiome and food as medicine.

It was a just one of the Father's Day events  at Dodger Stadium, where fans could play catch on the field following the Los Angeles Dodgers-Chicago Cubs game.

The Father's Day theme also included children of Dodger players throwing first pitches to their fathers.



Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: 76 Gas Stations Surprise Dodgers Fans With Tickets]]>Sat, 15 Jun 2019 22:28:50 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/76+Pumpire+Promotion+.png

Most weekdays at the gas station are pretty mundane, but for a dozen or so drivers in Woodland Hills, it was pretty eventful.

Select drivers who fueled up at the 76 gas station in Woodland Hills on Wednesday received a surprise, as the company's newest promotion, the "Pumpire," was there to greet them.

The one-of-a-kind umpire was inspired by the fortune telling machine "Zoltar," featured in the 1988 movie BIG, starring Tom Hanks. Part umpire, part gas pump, the "Pumpire," asks drivers three questions and then decides who is fair and who is foul.

If you're fair, the Pumpire will reward you with two free tickets to the July 6 game at Dodger Stadium when the Dodgers take on the San Diego Padres. Otherwise known as "7/6 Day."

The "7/6 Day" promotion was created to commemorate the longstanding sponsorship between 76 brand and the Los Angeles Dodgers. 76 gas stations have been a proud sponsor of the Dodgers since 1962, and have celebrated four World Series Titles and ten National League pennants together.

In fact, fans might remember there was a full service 76 gas station located in the Dodger Stadium parking lot behind centerfield (bottom right corner of the picture below). The gas station is no lo longer in service, but the iconic 76 ball can still be seen turning from inside the stadium.

Justin Turner and his wife Kourtney, were among the many people who turned out for the promotion. Even my dog "Mellow Yellow," won a pair of tickets!

 

In addition to the two tickets to the July 6th game, 76 will also provide fans with a pregame VIP experience including food, drinks, and games at the old 76 gas station in the parking lot.



Photo Credit: 76 Gas Stations
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Tyson Fury Stays Unbeaten, Beats Schwarz in 2nd Round]]>Sat, 15 Jun 2019 22:02:16 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tyson-Fury-wins-in-2nd-Round-June-15-2019.jpg

Tyson Fury put on a show before, during and after his first bout in the fight capital of the world.

The British heavyweight star stopped Tom Schwarz with 6 seconds left in the second round Saturday night, packing plenty of entertainment into his brief Las Vegas debut.

Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) made short work of his previously unbeaten German opponent, battering him with a jab before knocking him down to a knee in the second round right after Schwarz (24-1) landed a big punch. Fury pressed ahead after the knockdown and forced Schwarz's corner to throw in the towel before the bell.

Fighting for the first time since he dramatically rose from a devastating 12th-round knockdown to secure a draw with Deontay Wilder, Fury confirmed his world-class ability following his comeback last year from a 2 1/2-year ring absence.

"I came here to enjoy myself and put on a show for Las Vegas," Fury said. "I hope everybody enjoyed it as much as I did."

Although Fury already had memorable fights in New York and Los Angeles, the Manchester native wanted something special in Sin City, which he once vowed never to visit before he got a fight here.

The performance by the world's lineal heavyweight champion against an overmatched foe was just as dominant as expected, but Fury's shenanigans before and after the bout at the MGM Grand Garden might prove to be even more memorable.

After Schwarz ring-walked to the mellow strains of Bob Marley, Fury appeared in red-white-and-blue gear — including a top hat — as he stepped through a cordon of showgirls. With a broad grin, he took the ring to James Brown's "Living in America," the entire entrance in homage to Apollo Creed's famed fictional entrance at the MGM Grand in "Rocky IV."

Unlike Creed, Fury survived and won.

And after the bout, Fury showed off his decent singing voice in what's becoming a post-fight tradition. With the microphone in his boxing glove, Fury serenaded his wife, Paris, with Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing."

The first fight of the 30-year-old Fury's lucrative new co-promotional deal with Top Rank was intended to introduce his violent skills and loquacious character to ESPN's large audience, and he did both — however briefly.

"The key tonight was to enjoy myself," Fury said. "I used the jab. I was slipping and sliding. I caught him with the straight left. It was a good shot. It could put anybody away. I put on an extra 12 pounds, and I could really feel (the power)."

After dominating the first round with his jab, Fury switched to a southpaw stance late in the second round, and Schwarz caught him with a shot. Fury got mad, battering Schwarz with a combination and dropping him to a knee with a huge right hand to the head.

Schwarz got up with a badly bloodied face, and Fury teed off, peppering his turtling opponent with big shots. Referee Kenny Bayless stopped it at roughly the same moment Schwarz's corner threw the white towel into the ring.

The 6-foot-5 Schwarz is highly ranked by the WBO, but he had never fought outside his native Germany or the Czech Republic before Fury's camp picked him for this showcase bout.

Schwarz was aware that just two weeks ago, Anthony Joshua was stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history. Schwarz never appeared to have a chance of pulling a similar upset — not with the 6-foot-9 Fury towering over him and fighting in crisp form.

Fury said he plans to fight again on Sept. 21 or Oct. 5, "and next year, we're going to hold down Deontay Wilder and make him give me that green (WBC championship) belt."

Top Rank boss Bob Arum predicts Fury's next bout will be Oct. 5 in New York.

"There is no heavyweight in the world that can beat him, now that he is in shape," Arum said. "Deontay Wilder is not going five rounds with him. We will have another fight (on Oct. 5), then we will fight Wilder."

Fury improved to 3-0-1 since returning from a 2 1/2-year ring absence while he battled substance abuse, depression, enormous weight gain and suicidal thoughts. Fury's life fell apart after he won multiple title belts with his stunning victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, but he has put it back together with bigger goals in mind.

With a gentler public persona and a commitment to opening dialogue about mental health issues, Fury's redemption has rekindled the interest of many boxing fans turned off by his past homophobic and sexist statements.

Although Fury had to relinquish his titles during his ring absence, he is still the heavyweight division's lineal champion as the man who beat Klitschko.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Lose 2-1 on Cubs' 9th Inning 2-Run Homer]]>Sat, 15 Jun 2019 21:21:42 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-lose-Cubs-June-15-2019.jpg

Anthony Rizzo hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth, lifting the Chicago Cubs to a 2-1 victory over the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night.

The Cubs blew early leads and got outscored 12-6 in losing the first two games of the series, which has featured 12 home runs and 17 of 20 runs scored on homers.

Yu Darvish was booed heavily in his return to Dodger Stadium for the first time since getting roughed up in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series when he pitched for Los Angeles.

Jansen hit Kris Bryant in the arm leading off the ninth. Rizzo followed with his 19th homer, sending a 2-0 pitch into the lower right-field seats.

Jansen (2-2) retired the next three batters, including two on strikeouts, to end the inning, but the damage was done.

After Justin Turner grounded out and Cody Bellinger struck out, Pedro Strop walked Max Muncy to put the tying runner on in the bottom of the inning. But Max Beaty struck out swinging to end it and give Strop his eighth save.

Kyle Ryan (2-1) got the victory with one-third inning of relief.

Jansen spoiled a gem by Walker Buehler, who outdueled Darvish with seven scoreless innings.

Buehler struck out six and walked none. He has struck out 26 in his last three starts, while allowing only one earned run in 22 innings.

Buehler retired his first 10 batters before Bryant was safe at first on a throwing error by shortstop Enriquè Hernàndez in the fourth.

Buehler then retired his next six straight batters before giving up back-to-back singles to Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber in the sixth. But Bryant flied out to right and Rizzo grounded out to Buehler to end the inning.

Alex Verdugo homered on the first pitch from Darvish leading off the fourth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

In the 2017 World Series, Darvish was chased early as the Houston Astros beat Los Angeles to win their first championship. The Japanese right-hander got hit hard in both of his starts in that Series and some fans blamed him for the Dodgers' defeat.

They booed him during pregame introductions and the noise increased during his first at-bat in the third.

Darvish gave up one run and two hits in seven innings. He struck out 10 — one off his season high — and walked one.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks went on the IL with right shoulder inflammation a day after one of his worst appearances of the season Friday, when he allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings. He leads the team in innings pitched and has a 3.36 ERA and staff-leading 4.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

UP NEXT

Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana (4-6, 3.89 ERA) has lost his last five decisions. He's 1-3 with a 5.13 ERA in seven road starts.

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-1, 1.36) is 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Antuna Has Hat Trick, Mexico Routs Cuba 7-0 in Gold Cup]]>Sat, 15 Jun 2019 21:17:01 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mexico-beats-Cuba-7-0-Rose-Bowl-June-2019.jpg

Uriel Antuna had a hat trick, Raúl Jiménez scored twice and top-seeded Mexico cruised to a 7-0 rout over Cuba on the opening day of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.

Antuna was a late addition to the roster after Jorge Sanchez was injured during a friendly last week. The 21-year-old LA Galaxy forward was making only his third appearance for the national team.

Antuna opened the scoring in the third minute when Jiménez's shot hit the right post and he buried the rebound. He made it 4-0 in the 44th minute when goaltender Sandy Sanchez was caught out of position on a breakaway and completed the hat trick after Sanchez made another diving save but was unable to clear it for Mexico's final goal in the 80th minute.

Jiménez — who plays for Wolverhampton in the Premier League — scored in the 31st and 64th minutes.

Diego Reyes and substitute Alexis Vega also scored for Mexico, which will face Canada on Wednesday in Denver.

Mexico outshot Cuba 30-3 and controlled possession 66 percent of the time. Cuba didn't record its first shot until the 66th minute.

Aricheell Hernandez had Cuba's best opportunity in the 80th minute, but the ball hit the top of the post.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels End Morton's Streak, Beat Rays 5-3]]>Sat, 15 Jun 2019 17:59:59 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Angels-Beat-Ray-June-2019.jpg

Charlie Morton's luck finally ran out.

He suffered his first loss in 22 starts on Saturday when the Angels hit three homers in a 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay. It was his first loss since Aug. 11, when he pitched for the Houston Astros.

"I've pitched poorly enough to lose this year. I just didn't because our guys put up a bunch of runs and got me off the hook," said Morton (8-1). "You can lose giving up a run or two. I've just been really fortunate to be on a really good team, really good defense, really good offense."

He struck out nine in six innings, giving up four runs on five hits, including a couple of home runs.

"I didn't think my best stuff, my best pitches, came until the last few innings," he said. "That was the kind of game where you make a couple mistakes and you for pay for it."

David Fletcher, Justin Bour and Kevan Smith homered for the Angels. Fletcher's three-run home run in the second spotted left-hander Jose Suarez an early lead in his third major league start, and the Angel bullpen preserved it with 3 1/3 shutout innings.

Hansel Robles pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 12 opportunities.

The Angels' victory, coming quickly after a bullpen meltdown in a 9-4 loss on Friday night, was good for manager Brad Ausmus' appetite.

"It's good to get that off your back," Ausmus said. "We had a rough one yesterday out of the pen, but to come back less than 24 hours later and get the job done, it certainly makes it a lot easier to enjoy dinner."

The Angels' fourth win in five games came without a hit from Mike Trout (0 for 4), Shohei Ohtani (0 for 4) or Albert Puljols, who had the day off. Trout saw it as a big confidence boost for the beleaguered bullpen on a day when veteran Cody Allen was designated for assignment.

"Obviously you're going to run into games like (Friday night)," Trout said. "But they stepped up today and that's what you've got to do in baseball; you've got to turn the page."

The Rays fell into a virtual first-place tie with the New York Yankees, who were scheduled to play Saturday night.

Brian Goodwin drove in the Angels' first run with a double and scored on Fletcher's two-run homer, giving Los Angeles a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Bour made it 4-0 with a homer in the fourth, his sixth of the season.

Yandy Diaz got the Rays back in the game with a three-run homer, his 11th, after hits by Avisail Garcia and Tommy Pham in the sixth. Pham had two singles in his fourth straight multi-hit game.

Smith's second homer of the season, off reliever Jake Faria, regained a two-run lead for the Angels in the eighth.

Suarez (2-1) gave up three runs on five hits, including Diaz's homer, in 5 2/3 innings.

"He did everything we needed him to do today," said Smith. "He was able to go deep into the game, and he did it with all of his pitches. Kept them off balance, and we were able to get to our horses in the bullpen and close the game out."

TRIPLE-A SHOWDOWN

Tampa Bay two-way prospect Brendan McKay entered after an opener for Triple-A Durham against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and struck out rehabbing New York Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge (left oblique strain) and Giancarlo Stanton (biceps/shoulder/calf) a combined three times in four at-bats. The lefty, who has a 1.35 ERA in four appearances, retired Judge on a grounder and a strikeout, while striking out Stanton twice.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: SS Tommy La Stella remained out of the lineup with left forearm tightness. ... RHP Trevor Cahill threw from up to 180 feet as part of his recovery from right elbow inflammation.

Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (strained right forearm) threw briefly off a bullpen mound for the first time. He can come off the 60-day IL on July 10.

MOVING DAY

Angels: Struggling reliever Cody Allen, 0-2 with a 6.26 ERA in 25 games, was designated for assignment one day after allowing four runs over two-thirds of an innings in Friday's 9-4 loss to the Rays. RHP Taylor Cole was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake.

Rays: RHP Jake Faria was recalled from Triple-A Durham due to a taxed bullpen and INF Daniel Robertson was optioned to the International League club. Robertson was hitting just .205 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 58 games.

UP NEXT

RHP Griffin Channing, one of four pitchers in AL history to have recorded five or more strikeouts in each of his first eight starts, makes his ninth start in Sunday's series finale against Rays opener Ryne Stanek. The Angels will be trying to get back to .500 for the first time since April 15.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Build Playground at Belvedere Elementary]]>Sat, 15 Jun 2019 16:18:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-Brian-Allen-center-May-2019.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams visited Belvedere Elementary School in East Los Angeles Friday to build a playground and beautify the campus.

The initiative was a part of the team’s 11th annual Community Improvement Project. Rams head coach Sean McVay, General Manager Les Snead, COO Kevin Demoff, players, cheerleaders, front office staff and mascot upgraded the school’s play and social spaces by building a new playground structure, painting murals, basketball backboards, and landscaping.

Belvedere Elementary School is the franchise's fourth project in the Los Angeles area, following projects at Woodworth Elementary in Inglewood, Figueroa Street Elementary in Vermont Vista, and Twentieth Street Elementary in Central-Alameda.

All equipment for the playground was provided by Playcraft Systems.

Since returning home to Los Angeles, Rams staff members have provided more than 6,000 hours of community service and impacted 36 non-profits and 56 schools through the Staff Day of Service program.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Reportedly Agree to Anthony Davis Trade With Pelicans]]>Sat, 15 Jun 2019 19:45:20 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/225*120/AD+to+the+Lakers+Favorites.png

LeBron James finally has his second superstar. 

Adrian Wojnawrowski of ESPN is reporting that the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to a trade that would send forward/center Anthony Davis to the Lake Show in exchange for point guard Lonzo Ball, forward Brandon Ingram, guard Josh Hart, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and two future first-round picks to the Pelicans.

The Lakers were able to keep forward Kyle Kuzma out of the trade, which cannot be finalized until July 6. 

The trade is sure to shift the NBA landscape, and the future of both franchises for many years to come. 

New Orleans Pelicans president of basketball operations David Griffin, a former general manager of LeBron James in Cleveland, will receive a haul of players, including two former top-five draft picks in Ball and Ingram, and the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft. He will then pair those young players with presumptive first overall pick Zion Williamson of Duke University. 

Davis requested a trade back in January, and the Lakers tried to acquire the All-Star forward at the February trade deadline. However, after details of the talks were leaked to the media, the deal fell apart and it had a ripple effect with both teams in the second half of the season.

The Lakers' young core never seemed to be the same after being included in the very public trade talks, and reports of distrust inside the locker room circled the conclusion of the season. 

Meanwhile, the Pelicans benched Davis immediately and lowered his minutes for the second half of the season as they fell in the standings. Also, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps lost his job after the failed negotiations.

With the injuries to both Kevin Durant (ruptured Achilles) and Klay Thompson (torn left ACL) in the 2019 NBA Finals, the Western Conference is suddenly wide-open, and the Lakers with Davis are now letting the basketball world know it's theirs for the taking.

Together, James and Davis will form one of the most formidable duos in NBA history. Despite Davis being a free agent at the end of the season, reports indicate that the man known as "The Brow," plans to sign a longterm contract to stay in Los Angeles. 

As the Lakers appear to be the immediate winners of the trade, the Pelicans will surely be the longterm beneficiaries of one of the more substantial trades in NBA history. 

In addition to building a young nucleus of Williamson, Ingram, Ball and Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans will have the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's draft to either trade for a veteran player, or keep. 

They also will receive a protected first in 2021, and an unprotected first in 2024. The Pelicans will also have the right to swap firsts in 2023 and 2025, which could be after LeBron retires.

The Lakers might not be finished making major moves as well. As of today, the Lakers will have $27.8 million in cap space, and if the two teams wait until July 30, to complete the trade, then Los Angeles will have $32.5 million to lure a third superstar. 

Reports already have the Lakers sights set on Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker who is set to become a free agent, and James' former running mate in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving. Free agent forward Jimmy Butler could also be in the running to join the Lakers. 

Even if that third star doesn't arrive in L.A. in time for the start of the 2019-2020 season, the Lakers will have plenty of time (and room) to add veteran players around LeBron and Davis, the way the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers did when they had James on the roster. 

Saturday's blockbuster trade doesn't guarantee the Lakers a championship, but it certainly changes the perception of a franchise that has been riddled with chaos and turmoil in recent years. 



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Rally to Beat Cubs 5-3 for 7th Straight Home Win]]>Sat, 15 Jun 2019 03:10:28 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rich+Hill+blister+Dodgers+Lose.png

Rich Hill attacked with pinpoint location and his reliable curveball. Where the 39-year-old pitcher surprised was at the plate.

Hill singled in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 Friday night for their seventh straight home win.

Since giving up five runs to Pittsburgh in his delayed season debut April 28, Hill hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start. In three June starts, he's given up five earned runs over 19 innings.

Hill (4-1) allowed three runs and seven hits. The left-hander struck out seven and walked none in earning his first win against the team that drafted him out of Michigan in 2002.

"That curveball just kind of comes and hits the brakes and takes a turn on you," Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo said. "You're ready for the fastball, you see the curveball and you can't get right on it. It just runs away from you."

Hill struck out 11 consecutive batters during one stretch.

"The curveball definitely got better as the outing went on," he said. "That was the X-factor."

The NL West-leading Dodgers rebounded from an early deficit for the second straight game, getting two-out homers from Matt Beaty — a two-run shot that was the first of his career — and Justin Turner that tied it up. The Dodgers improved to a league-best 27-7 at home.

"They're good and right now they're really good," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "They're posing a lot of problems because they put together good at-bats."

Kenley Jansen worked the ninth for his 20th save. Jason Heyward was safe at second after the ball went through the legs of Beaty at first for an error. He took third on Jansen's balk before Victor Caratini struck out to end the game.

With two outs and the game tied, Hill singled into shallow left field to score Beaty, who had doubled, and gave the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. That ended a streak of the Dodgers scoring 13 straight runs on homers.

"I'll take any hits I can get," said Hill, who had an .083 batting average.

Dave Roberts' assessment of Hill's hitting? "He's a good trier at the plate," the manager said.

The Dodgers added a run in the fifth when Max Muncy grounded into a fielder's choice to first off Kyle Ryan and Alex Verdugo scored to make it 5-3.

Beaty homered in the second and Turner added a solo shot for his 100th career homer in the third that tied it 3-all.

"Hitting is contagious when guys are swinging it well," Beaty said.

Two of the Dodgers' four home runs in Thursday's 7-3 win came from Cody Bellinger, but he was limited to one hit with two walks Friday.

The Cubs led 2-0 in the first on Anthony Rizzo's team-leading 18th homer down the right field line. Bellinger leaped for it and the ball hit a fan in the chest and bounced back on the field. It was initially ruled a double, but was changed to a homer after a review.

Kris Bryant's 15th homer gave Chicago its last lead at 3-2 in the third.

Kyle Hendricks (7-5) gave up five runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings — his shortest outing since lasting four innings at Milwaukee in his second start of the season. The right-hander struck out one and walked two in losing for the first time since April 26 at Arizona.

"My fastball wasn't quite working, didn't have it down in the zone enough," Hendricks said. "I was missing up when I was trying to go up too many times. Everything works off my fastball for me."

The Cubs fell to 7-6 against left-handed starters and have dropped nine of 11 road games. They remained a game back of first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central after the Brewers lost at San Francisco.

"Coming out hot, then we're letting them back in and they're just holding on," Maddon said.

The Dodgers loaded the bases on three consecutive walks by Mike Montgomery in the seventh. Albert Almora Jr. robbed Chris Taylor of a grand slam with a sensational catch against the center field wall that caused him to fall on his back.

GO FISHING

Muncy had some fun with his comment to Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner after the second baseman homered into San Francisco Bay last week.

Muncy wore a T-shirt reading "Go get it out of the ocean" during batting practice Friday. That was his response when Bumgarner told him "Don't watch the ball, run."

Teammate Enriquè Hernàndez donned a similar shirt.

SLICK FIELDING

Verdugo recorded three consecutive outs in the Cubs' half of the sixth. The center fielder charged a liner by Javier Bàez and made a diving catch for the first out. Willson Contreras and Almora Jr. followed with fly balls that Verdugo caught, providing Hill with a quick inning.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.98 ERA) pitches at Dodger Stadium for the first time since a disastrous outing in a Game 7 loss in the 2017 World Series when he was with Los Angeles.

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (7-1, 3.35) has a 10.80 ERA and an 0-1 record in two career games against the Cubs.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill]]>
<![CDATA[Everything That Happened During Kershaw's Undefeated Streak]]>Fri, 14 Jun 2019 21:26:26 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Kershaw+Undefeated+Streak.png

Clayton Kershaw took the mound against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night; his first start since he took his first loss of the season last weekend in San Francisco.

Kershaw allowed three runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts in six innings, as the Dodgers defeated the Cubs 7-3. It was his sixth win of the season, and his 11th straight start of six innings or more.

The Dodgers improved to 10-1 in games Kershaw has started this season, but as the Southpaw begins another streak, it's imperative to look back at the historic one that was broken last week in the Bay.

Entering last Friday, Kershaw had made 21 consecutive starts without a loss. Overall, the Dodgers had won their last 17 straight regular season games that Kershaw started, a new franchise record.

In fact, Kershaw's last loss before Friday was on July 21, 2018. That's a span of 321 days between losses. Almost a full year. That means there's many babies that were born in the summer of 2018 about to turn a year old that had never seen Kershaw or the Dodgers lose a game that he took the mound.

Think about that for a second.

To put that in perspective, we decided to research and create a timeline of all the major events that occurred during the time Kershaw last lost a regular season game:

On July 25, 2018, just a few days after Kershaw's last loss, scientists found evidence of a salty lake buried beneath the surface of the planet Mars. The discovery of the large body of water meant that it could have been possible for life to have existed at some point on the red planet.

Just over a week later, Apple became the first publicly traded United States company to hit a market cap evaluation of over $1 trillion dollars. Amazon and Microsoft have both since passed the mark as well, but Apple will forever be known as the first powerful tech company to reach the milestone.

Months later, the world was stunned when Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey at the behest of the Saudi Arabia Crown Prince.

In early October, as Kershaw and the Dodgers were preparing for the MLB Playoffs, the United States confirmed a new Supreme Court Justice after a controversial and wrenching debate over the candidates temperament and past behaviors with women. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, was ultimately confirmed (50-48) to the highest court in the land, after weeks of testimony and accusations that he had sexually assaulted women in his high school and college days. After the closest confirmation vote since 1881, Kavanaugh was ultimately sworn into the court, providing a huge victory for President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

The Dodgers advanced to their second consecutive World Series in November, but ultimately watched another American League team celebrate on their own field after the Boston Red Sox defeated them in five games.

The Democrats won control over the House of Representatives during the November midterm elections.

Kershaw started and lost Game 5 of the World Series that ended the Dodgers 2018 season. Just days later, California's deadliest and most destructive wildfires in history swept across the state, claiming the lives of 88 people, and destroying nearly 19,000 buildings. 

Shortly thereafter, climate change scientists announced that the global temperate had risen 1.5 degrees Celsius, and that carbon pollution had rose for the third consecutive year. "We hoped that we had turned a corner…" said Rob Jackson an Earth scientist at Stanford University. "We haven't."

Following in the footsteps of many states that have voted to legalize marijuana, Canada became just the second country in the world to legalize the sell of cannabis. Uruguay is the only other nation to have legalized marijuana. 

The Los Angeles Rams advanced to the Super Bowl in just their third season back in L.A.

In April, the first ever photograph of a black hole was captured by the Event Horizon telescope.

Just days before Kershaw's last loss, LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Nearly a year later, chaos and dysfunction ran rampant, as the Lakers were riddled with injuries and bad feelings, missing the NBA playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.

In June of 2016, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to withdraw from the European Union. The shocking vote passed by just 1.9 percent, and three years later, including 21 consecutive starts by Kershaw without a loss, the fight in Britain still rages on.

Not one, but two different plane crashes involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8, occurred during this time span, killing 346 people. The planes were grounded immediately following the crash in Ethiopia, and the safety issue believed to have caused the crashes still has not been completely fixed.

The two-year long investigation into Russian collusion by the Trump campaign comes to an end as Robert Mueller submits his report to the Justice Department.

There was a measles and ebola outbreak.

Same-sex marriage is now recognized in 32 countries.

Six mass shootings claimed the lives of 44 people. 

An estimated 3.4 million babies were born in the United States.

All of that, and arguably the game's greatest pitcher, never lost a single regular season start.



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sean McVay's Reading List]]>Thu, 13 Jun 2019 23:52:46 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SEAN_MCVAY_READING_1200x675_1539166787761.jpg

Want to join Sean McVay's book club? The Rams coach runs down his reading list during an interview with Fred Roggin for Going Roggin.]]>
<![CDATA[Angels' Ohtani First Japanese Player to Hit for Cycle]]>Fri, 14 Jun 2019 02:03:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Angels21.jpg

Even without full use of his powerful right arm, Shohei Ohtani possesses one of baseball's most diverse skillsets.

It all showed in a memorable performance Thursday night.

Ohtani became the first Japanese-born player to hit for the cycle, helping the Los Angeles Angels beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 after a delay caused by a power outage.

"You need some power to hit the home run, some speed to accomplish a triple," Ohtani said through a translator. "To be able to do that at the major league level is going to lead to a lot of confidence. The important thing now is to try to continue this tomorrow."

Ohtani hit a three-run homer in the first inning and completed the feat with a single on a 3-2 pitch in the seventh. It was the Angels' sixth and final hit of the game.

"I wasn't necessarily trying to hit a single," he said. "I was just trying to get on base, whether it was a base on balls or any other way because it was still a close game."

After a triple in his third at-bat, Ohtani's cycle quest became the focus of the game.

"People were talking about it. It's not like a no-hitter when no one mentions it," said Angels manager Brad Ausmus, who was most impressed that the left-handed hitting Ohtani got his first three hits off a left-handed pitcher.

"We forget how young he is," Ausmus added. "He's in a new country, his second year here. He's 24 years old. He carries a lot on his shoulders, but he still stands pretty tall."

Ohtani is the eighth Angels player to hit for the cycle and the first since Mike Trout on May 21, 2013.

"There's been so many other great Japanese players before me. Being the first to accomplish it makes me very happy," he said.

Albert Pujols also homered for the Angels, becoming the sixth player ever with 200 home runs in each league. He hit 445 in 11 seasons with St. Louis and has 200 in eight years with the Angels, including 12 this season.

Ohtani's homer came on Ryan Yarbrough's 10th pitch of the game after a double by Tommy La Stella and a walk to Trout. It was Ohtani's eighth homer of the season and sixth in 11 games.

He led off the third with a double and tripled in the fifth before Pujols' home run. A two-out single in the seventh completed the cycle in just four plate appearances, and fans at Tropicana Field gave him a standing ovation.

The game was held up 36 minutes by a power delay in the fourth with the Angels leading 3-0. The power outage was caused by a fire at a nearby substation.

"I don't think I've ever seen that happen before," Yarbrough said. "Of all things, it was kind of cool when everyone turned their (cellphone) lights on. It kind of looked like a little concert and then people got energized into the game after that. That was kind of cool."

Tommy Pham had two hits and drove in two for the Rays, who have lost three straight.

Yarbrough (5-3) gave up five runs and five hits (all for extra bases) in six innings, striking out four.

Angels starter Tyler Skaggs (5-6) pitched five innings, giving up three runs and seven hits while striking out five in the Angels' third straight win.

Cam Bedrosian pitched the ninth for his first save.

OHTANI BACK ON A MOUND SOON

Ohtani won't pitch again until next season, but he might be on a mound again within a month. Relegated to a DH role while recovering from Oct. 1 Tommy John surgery, the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year might be throwing off a mound before the All-Star break. "I won't say it's probable, but it's possible," Ausmus said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: INF David Fletcher was a late scratch due to left shoulder soreness but entered the game at 3B in the eighth inning. ... SS Andrelton Simmons (sprained left ankle) will face live pitching next week and will probably be activated before the end of the month.

Rays: INF Joey Wendle (fractured right wrist) will be activated Friday. ... INF Matt Duffy (strained left hamstring) might be ready to resume a rehab assignment next week. ... INF Christian Arroyo (right forearm tendinitis) was put on the 10-day IL.

UP NEXT

LHP Andrew Heaney (0-1) will make his fourth start of the season for the Angels on Friday night against LHP Blake Snell (4-5). Snell's win at Boston on Sunday was his first since May 6.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Outslug Cubs With 4 Homers to Win 7-3]]>Fri, 14 Jun 2019 01:59:03 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dodgers-Bellinger-Pirates-4-28-19.jpg

Cody Bellinger's recent 0-for-13 slump appears to have been a mere blip in a memorable season so far.

Bellinger hit a pair of home runs, Max Muncy and David Freese each added a two-run shot and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 7-3 Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.

The leading vote-getter in All-Star balloting, Bellinger is batting .358 with 22 homers and 57 RBIs.

The slugger ended his skid at the plate in a loss at the Angels earlier this week. Now he's back home, where Bellinger has 14 homers and has hit safely in 28 of 32 games.

"A lot of work in the cage and tried to get back to where I was," he said. "We're good at bouncing back and forgetting about the past, treat every day like it's a new day."

Bellinger belted a two-run homer in the fourth inning. He added a solo shot in the seventh and drew chants of "MVP! MVP!"

"Just don't think of him as a hitter — he's a great athlete," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He plays all over the place, he plays every position well, he can run."

The NL West-leading Dodgers rallied from a 3-0 deficit after Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant hit leadoff homers against Clayton Kershaw in the early innings.

The Cubs arrived in Los Angeles having just ended a five-game road skid, but they've lost eight of 10 away from home. The loss dropped them a game behind the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, who were idle.

It wasn't a great night for either team's left-handed ace.

Jon Lester, a three-time World Series champion, gave up three homers. Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, allowed two.

Kershaw (6-1) yielded three runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out eight and walked two.

"It's not great, but you can live with that," Kershaw said.

Julio Urias earned his third save with three scoreless innings of relief.

Lester (5-5) gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

"They've got great hitters," he said. "Bellinger's probably one of the better hitters I've seen, as far as his approach and not chasing, playing the game and doing all that."

Lester got hit in the left foot by a comebacker from Freese in the fourth and said it was sore after the game.

Schwarber's homer came on the first pitch of the game and Willson Contreras added an RBI single in the first.

Bryant hit his 14th homer in the third.

Lester retired 10 of his first 11 batters before getting hit hard in the fifth. With one out, he allowed five consecutive hits — including two-run homers by Bellinger and Muncy — that gave the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.

The Cubs turned a double play to escape the inning.

"It's great when those lefties get going like that against Lester," Kershaw said.

Freese slugged a two-run shot off Lester with two outs in the fifth, extending the lead to 6-3.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: RHP Carl Edwards Jr. didn't make the trip to LA because of stiffness in his upper back.

Dodgers: SS Corey Seager went on the injured list with a left hamstring strain, the result of getting hurt in the ninth inning Tuesday against the Angels.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-4, 3.00 ERA) has been strong over his last three starts. He has a 2.05 ERA with 20 strikeouts and two walks in that span.

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (3-1, 2.40) has averaged 10.80 strikeouts per nine innings and held Cubs batters to a .167 average in two career games. He has no record or ERA in those games.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Seager Goes on IL With Strained Hamstring]]>Fri, 14 Jun 2019 01:27:34 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Corey-Seager-AP_19162154843405.jpg

The NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers have placed shortstop Corey Seager on the injured list with a left hamstring strain.

The move made Thursday is the result of Seager getting hurt in the ninth inning of a loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

The Dodgers say he had an MRI that revealed a strain less severe than initially believed.

"I was just talking to him today and the thing that's disappointing and disheartening for him is that there were no signs of this," manager Dave Roberts said. "So, as far as fatigue, soreness, any type of strain a little bit before that to kind of give a heads-up. But I think it was kind of out of the blue."

The injury couldn't have come at a worse time for Seager, who had a season-best, nine-game hitting streak during which he was batting .459 with seven doubles, one home run and nine RBIs.

For the season, the 25-year-old infielder is batting .278 with 21 doubles, eight homers and 38 RBIs.

Seager missed most of last season after having Tommy John and left hip surgeries.

The Dodgers activated infielder Matt Beaty from the 10-day IL. He appeared in 17 games with the team before being sidelined with a left hip flexor strain June 3. He was hitting .286 with seven RBIs.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Alex Gallardo/AP]]>