Angels pad lead to 3 games over A’s…Nats hit 6 homers
UNDATED (AP) — Make it two straight victories for the L.A. Angels over Oakland, and make it a three-game lead over the Athletics in the American League West. The Angels blanked the Mariners 4-0. Albert Pujols (POO’-hohlz) connected on his 516th career home run. Chris Iannetta added a two-run shot.
Jered Weaver outpitched Jon Lester to improve to 15-7. Weaver threw three-hit ball for seven innings. He is 8-1 over his last 14 starts.
Lester gave up two runs in six innings, falling to 13-9.
In the rest of baseball:
— The Washington Nationals hit six homers in their 8-3 win at Seattle. Wilson Ramos, Jason Werth, Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon (rehn-DOHN’) connected off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who fell to 13-5. Then Ramos and Bryce Harper connected off reliever Joe Beimel (BY’-mihl). The Nationals have beaten the Mariners 10 straight times in interleague play. Rendon went 4-for-4.
— San Francisco routed Milwaukee 13-2 behind a 19-hit attack. The Giants scored in each of the first five innings. Buster Posey went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Posey is batting .500 (20 for 40) with five home runs, 13 RBIs and 11 runs scored in his past nine games.
— Yasmani Grandal singled in the winning run with two outs in the 12th inning and the San Diego Padres beat the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Friday night. Earlier in the inning, the Dodgers used a five-man infield, including a four-man shift against left-handed hitting Seth Smith, all stationed between first and second.
— Chris Davis hit his fourth career grand slam and the Baltimore Orioles got a dominating pitching performance from Miguel Gonzalez in a 9-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Delmon Young also homered for the AL East-leading Orioles, who built an 8-0 lead by the fifth inning and coasted to their fourth win in five games.
— Atlanta won its third in a row, 5-2 over Miami. Justin Upton homered and had three RBIs. Jason Heyward drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.
— The Chicago Cubs surprised St. Louis 7-2. Jorge Soler hit two homers and fellow rookie Javier Baez had a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth inning off All-Star reliever Pat Neshek (NEE’-shehk).
— Justin Verlander beat the White Sox for the 14th time in 18 career decisions since 2009 as Detroit beat the White Sox 7-1. The former AL MVP allowed one run and nine hits in seven innings to improve to 12-11.
— Cleveland beat AL Central leading Kansas City 6-1. Carlos Santana swatted his 22nd home run. The Royals lead is down to a half-game ahead of Detroit and four and a-half over the Indians.
— Rookie Mookie Betts hit his first career grand slam, Anthony Ranaudo pitched six effective innings and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-4.
— Josh Harrison hit an RBI triple and scored on Jose Tabata’s tiebreaking single in the eighth inning, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
— The New York Mets beat Philadelphia 4-1. Jacob deGrom pitched seven strong innings to improve to 7-6. He allowed four hits and one unearned run.
— Arizona rallied with four in the eighth to beat Colorado 5-2. The big hit was a grand slam homer by Jake Lamb.
__ The New York Yankees doubled up Toronto 6-3. Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits, including a two-run homer, his 14th of the season. Chase Headley also went deep for the Yanks.
— Michael Choice and Rougned Odor (ROOG’-nehd oh-DOOR’) both hit three-run homers and the Texas Rangers cruised to a 13-6 win over Houston.
Spartans romp in opener
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Eighth-ranked Michigan State opens its season with an easy 45-7 rout against Jacksonville State. The Spartans entered with the highest pre-season ranking since 1967. Some consider them a threat to make it into the four-team end of the season playoff that will determine a national champion.
Connor Cook threw three touchdown passes in the first quarter. Cook completed his first nine passes in a nearly flawless performance.
Cook was able to come back for Michigan State’s next drive. He finished 12 of 13 for 285 yards before sitting out the second half.
Cutdown day snags several big names
UNDATED (AP)— The Law Firm has closed up shop in Cincinnati.
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was released by the Bengals. He was among a handful of players out of jobs — for now — as NFL teams started to trim their rosters to get down to the mandatory 53 players by Saturday afternoon.
Green-Ellis was Cincinnati’s top rusher the past two seasons. But the running back with the amusing nickname was made expendable once the Bengals drafted LSU’s Jeremy Hill in the second round in May. Cincinnati also waived linebacker Brandon Joiner, defensive tackle LaKendrick Ross and quarterback Tyler Wilson.
Green-Ellis, who ran for 756 yards and a career-low 3.4 yards per carry last season, was entering the final year of his contract. Meanwhile, Hill carried 20 times for 90 yards and caught a team-high six passes for 70 yards during a 35-7 preseason win over Indianapolis on Thursday night.
Also among the announced cuts: Buffalo punter Brian Moorman and quarterback Jordan Palmer, Jacksonville center Mike Brewster, Atlanta linebacker Pat Angerer and Chicago running back Jordan Lynch, a former Heisman trophy finalist as a quarterback at Northern Illinois.
Niners’ Smith and Vikings’ Simpson suspended
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for nine games by the NFL after a series of off-field legal issues. A statement from the league says Smith had violated the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies. He won’t be eligible to return until Nov. 10, the day after the 49ers’ game against the New Orleans Saints.
The 24-year-old Smith, one of the NFL’s top pass rushers, missed five games last season to undergo treatment at an in-patient facility following his DUI arrest Sept. 20.
Just before training camp began last month, he was sentenced to serve three years of probation and to spend 11 days with a work crew after he pleaded no contest to drunken driving and weapons charges.
He has repeatedly said he has been sober since his DUI arrest last September.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Wide receiver Jerome Simpson of the Vikings has been suspended for three games by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. This is his second such punishment in three seasons. Simpson missed the first three games in 2012 following a felony drug conviction.
Simpson will be on the sideline until Sept. 22 when the Vikings begin practice for Week 4. He will miss games against the Rams, Patriots and Saints.
Federer into third round, avoiding day of upsets…Sharapova into the quarters
NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Federer produced one particularly brilliant backhand lob that he celebrated by wagging a finger overhead during a straight-set second-round victory at the U.S. Open.
The second-seeded Federer beat 104th-ranked Sam Groth of Australia 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Federer is 24-1 for his career in night matches held in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Fourth-seed David Ferrer (feh-REHR’) advanced when Bernard Tomic withdrew with an injury.
On the women’s side, Venus Williams was two points away from the fourth round at the U.S. Open but couldn’t close the deal. The two-time champ committed 52 unforced errors in a 6-love, love-6, 7-6 loss to Italy’s Sara Errani and has been eliminated from the U.S. Open. Williams served for the match leading 5-3 in the final set.
In other action, women’s No. 2 Simona Halep (HAL’-ehp) was also beaten, as was No. 6 Angelique Kerber.
Halep was ousted by a 32-year-old qualifier ranked 121st. Halep, the runner-up at the French Open and a semifinalist at Wimbledon, had seven-double faults and only 17 winners in a 7-6, 6-2 loss to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia.
Kerber was stopped by Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, 6-1, 7-5.
And women’s No. 5 Maria Sharapova (shah-rah-POH’-vah), a five-time major champion, won a third-round match against 26th seed Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 6-4. Lisicki beat Sharapova en route to reaching the Wimbledon final in 2013, but has lost all six of their other meetings.
Basketball World Cup has record 45 NBA players
BILBAO, Spain (AP) — The Basketball World Cup started Saturday with a record 45 current NBA players on the rosters of the 24 teams.
There were 75 players in the tournament who have played in the NBA, along with 17 more who have been drafted and whose rights are owned by NBA teams.
All 12 players on the U.S. roster are on NBA teams. Host Spain is next with six current NBA players.
Only three teams in the tournament have no players who have either played or been drafted by NBA clubs. Cleveland and Houston both have a league-high four players in the field.
The previous record was 44 active NBA players in the 2010 tournament.
Harvick on Atlanta pole
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Kevin Harvick has won the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Harvick turned a fast lap of 29.118 seconds Friday night, as drivers sought track time with cloud cover and cooler temperatures for better grip.
Brad Keselowski will join Harvick on the front row after qualifying second. Rounding out the top five were Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth.
Tony Stewart, making his return to racing this weekend, qualified 12th.
Stewart returns to action
HAMPTON, Georgia (AP) — Tony Stewart is back behind the wheel for this weekend’s Sprint Cup action in Hampton, Georgia. The race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be his first since the death of dirt track driver Kevin Ward Jr.
At a news conference, Stewart said in a prepared statement that the death of Ward will affect his life forever.
After the accident, Stewart pulled out of the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol.
Castroneves on pole for final race of the season
FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — Will Power has struggled in qualifying for the final race of the IndyCar season, leaving the series leader starting in 21st place when he chases his first championship. Power had the second-worst performance in qualifying, while Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves (EHL’-ee-oh kas-troh-NEH’-vehz) won the pole. Castroneves turned a lap with an average speed of 218.540 mph.
All Power has to do is finish sixth or better to win the overall driver’s championship. He leads teammate Castroneves by 51 points.
Palmer goes low
NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Ryan Palmer fired an 8-under 63 and a two-shot lead over Ryder Cup hopeful Keegan Bradley after the opening round of the Deutsche (DOY’-cheh) Bank Championship. Webb Simpson, another Ryder Cup hopeful, and Jason Day of Australia were among those at 66.
The top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings qualified for the tournament. The field will be cut to 70 for the BMW Championship next week.
Kim stays on top
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — First-round leader I.K Kim shot a 5-under 67 in the second round to take the 36-hole lead at the LPGA Portland Classic. Kim is 12-under par for the 36 holes. That leaves her two shots in front of Laura Diaz and two others.
Pernice and Bryant shoot 62
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Tom Pernice (pur-NEES’) Jr. and Bart Bryant shot 8-under 62 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s Shaw Charity Classic.
David Frost was a stroke back.
Former Villanova coach dies
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Former Villanova basketball coach Jack Kraft has died at 93. Kraft coached the Wildcats for a dozen seasons, including a 1971 appearance in the NCAA title game. He finished with 238 victories at the school.