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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP: Top Sports Top Sports Headlines from the AP


US routs Puerto Rico 8-0 to win WBC behind dominant Stroman

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:13:16 UT

The United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries on Wednesday night behind six hitless innings from Marcus Stroman. Accepting the gleaming silver trophy from baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, manager Leyland told the crowd, "This is for the men and women who serve our country." The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays gave up one hit in six-plus innings, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches. Stroman allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when he departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead with the help of Ian Kinsler's two-run homer. For the tournament, Stroman allowed 12 hits and four runs in 15 1/3 innings, with a 2.35 ERA, nine strikeouts and two walks. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S. Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego. The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Chris Wondolowski thankful for call-up to national team

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:00:41 UT

(AP) — Chris Wondolowski didn't have to travel far when he got the call to join the U.S. national team ahead of two key World Cup qualifiers. The U.S. will be playing Honduras on the home field of Wondolowski's San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night as the Americans look to bounce back from an 0-2 start in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region. "To represent your country is the ultimate pinnacle, especially as a soccer player in a World Cup qualifier in your hometown," Wondolowski said. Bobby Wood is out with a back injury, Jordan Morris has not practiced this week because of an ankle injury and Clint Dempsey said he might not be able to play 90 minutes after missing the final four months of the 2016 MLS season due to an irregular heartbeat. With the game scoreless late in regulation, he had a chance at a game-winner but shot over the crossbar from inside the 6-yard box. After the losses to Mexico and Costa Rica last November that led to coach Jurgen Klinsmann's firing and the return of Bruce Arena as coach, the U.S. has little margin for error.

Miller and Mack still close after time together at Xavier

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:57:13 UT

(AP) — Sean Miller had just been named Xavier's head basketball coach when he began meeting with athletic director Dawn Rogers about filling out his staff. "Sean is very analytical, he doesn't do thing by chance, takes time to make thoughtful decisions," said Rogers, now president and CEO for Final Four Phoenix 2017. Just like two years ago, when Miller's Wildcats knocked off Mack's Musketeers to reach the Elite Eight, this will not be fun for either coach. Miller was a feisty point guard at Pittsburgh who could shoot and understood the game like few college players can. Arizona played the first 19 games without sophomore guard Allonzo Trier and suffered through a string of injuries, yet shared the Pac-12 regular-season title and won the conference tournament. The Musketeers lost star point guard Edmond Sumner to a season-ending knee injury in late January and suffered through a six-game losing streak while Trevon Bluiett battled injuries. The losing streak nearly knocked Xavier out of NCAA Tournament contention, but a late-season run not only got them into the bracket but through to the Sweet 16 for the sixth time in 10 years.

Tipping Off: Michigan talked Super Bowl on way to Sweet 16

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:53:44 UT

John Beilein conjured up the highlight-reel catch that Patriots receiver Julian Edelman made during New England's game-tying drive in the Super Bowl, and said the Wolverines should keep that sort of play — an outlier, as he called it — in mind. Michigan's road from the bubble to the Sweet 16 continues Thursday night with a game against third-seeded Oregon. Since the Super Bowl, the Wolverines are 12-2, including a sweep through the Big Ten tournament that secured their spot in the NCAAs. [...] yet, when the NBA draft rolls around, they will likely wait a long time to hear their names called. Purdue coach Matt Painter calls Swanigan, a 6-foot-9 forward, a "poster child for today's player in terms of going to the draft, listening to what NBA people do and then improving on the things that NBA people told him he needs to improve on." [...] coach Bill Self called Mason, who had academic issues coming out of high school, "the steal of that draft class nationally." Karnowski missed most of last season after back surgery, and during much of that time, resuming day-to-day functions were more a priority than returning to the court. "Initially it was just, we've got to help this kid somehow just get back to normal activity, a normal life where he can get up out of bed," coach Mark Few said. Karnowski, who had nine and 10 points in Gonzaga's wins over South Dakota State and Northwestern last week, said the long road back from his injury deepened his appreciation for hoops.

Day heads home as his mother faces lung cancer surgery

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:49:23 UT

Day heads home as his mother faces lung cancer surgery AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Six holes into his opening match, Jason Day walked off the golf course. Day walked briskly toward the media center at the Dell Technologies Match Play and before he could speak, the Australian began wiping tears from his face. When he won the PGA Championship in 2015, the start of his rise to No. 1 in the world, Day told of watching his mother cut the lawn with a knife because they couldn't afford a lawnmower. Why even bother coming to the Match Play in the first place? Day was the defending champion after rolling through seven matches, with only one of them — the semifinal match against Rory McIlroy — reaching the 18th hole. In his other four tournaments, he was a combined 42 shots out of the lead. [...] much depends on Friday, how surgery goes to remove a mass that Day said was 3 to 4 centimeters. The hope is for a recovery, which is better news that what she heard from doctors at home.

Manfred: WBC tournament had major success, has bright future

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:37:07 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even before the United States took the field to face Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic championship on Wednesday night, Rob Manfred was confident in declaring this sometimes troubled tournament to be a smashing success. The Major League Baseball Commissioner's confidence seemed well-founded when the Americans claimed their first WBC title in grand style with an 8-0 victory at raucous Dodger Stadium. Manfred and players' union head Tony Clark appear to be in complete agreement on the success of the 2017 WBC, which attracted more than 1 million fans for the first time and expanded its television reach as a unique worldwide platform for the game. The robust ratings for MLB Network's game broadcasts and the raucous crowds of costumed, singing fans in Los Angeles and Miami belied the WBC's biggest problem, one that still prevents a dwindling number of American fans and players from taking it seriously. While the WBC sells out stadiums and sparks baseball curiosity from Tokyo to Tel Aviv, the event still must persuade U.S. players and fans that it's a world-class competition while the biggest American stars are skipping it. Yet dozens of lesser American big-leaguers filled out the rosters of other nations by virtue of their ancestry, and the current U.S. team is likable and entertaining, from its thrilling finishes to the bald eagle statue adopted as their cheesy mascot. The U.S. then capitalized with a championship game rout, capping a streak of three straight dramatic victories in must-win contests — the last two against previously unbeaten Japan and Puerto Rico. The tournament is the biggest sports news story in Japan, the winner of the first two tournaments, and it took off in attention everywhere from South Korea to the Netherlands this time out.

Bengals' Adam 'Pacman' Jones faces 3 misdemeanor charges

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 02:34:01 UT

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones faces three misdemeanor charges, including assault, but no longer is being charged with a felony for a January confrontation with hotel security guards, police and a nurse. A felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance, for allegedly spitting at a nurse, was dismissed at the prosecuting attorney's request, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said in a statement Wednesday. The 33-year-old veteran football player, whose career has been marked by off-the-field legal issues, was jailed early Jan. 3. Cincinnati police said he pushed a security employee and poked him in the eye, then kicked and head-butted as officers tried to put him into a police vehicle. After sitting out the 2009 season, he signed with the Bengals as a free agent and played five games before suffering a neck injury. Earlier that year, he paid a fine for disorderly conduct after police accused him of making offensive comments during a traffic stop.

Westbrook posts 35th triple-double; Thunder roll past 76ers

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 02:31:45 UT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook recorded his 35th triple-double of the season with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists and the Oklahoma City Thunder cruised to a 122-97 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. After 11 lead changes in the opening minutes, the Thunder seized control with a 14-3 run near the end of the first quarter that put them ahead 29-22. Philadelphia scored to start the third quarter, then the Thunder scored the next 15 points to build a 26-point lead and the triple-double watch intensified. The team confirmed before the game that center Joel Embiid would have surgery in the coming days to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, but offered no timetable for his return. ... Dario Saric scored 12 points, extending his double-figure scoring streak to 21 straight games, the longest by a rookie this season. ...

Mickelson says he won't be called as witness in trial

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:09:50 UT

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — While his name has been mentioned as a pivotal figure in a federal insider trading criminal trial, Phil Mickelson shrugged off any hint that will be hanging over him this week or in the run up to The Masters next month — both with his play and his comments. [...] prosecutors and defense attorneys for gambler William "Billy" Walters have said Mickelson would be a key figure in the trial in New York, and the judge hinted to jurors last week the five-time major champion could be called to testify. Mickelson does not face criminal charges but he previously agreed to return nearly $1 million he earned in 2012 after Walters suggested a stock trade. Prosecutors say Walters encouraged friends, including Mickelson, to buy stock in Dean Foods Co., a Dallas-based company that is one of the nation's largest processors of milk for retailers. Mickelson, who has experience in match play, made quick work of Kim, winning four of the first seven holes.

For Oregon's Dana Altman, it's old home week at KC regional

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:00:43 UT

(AP) — Dana Altman is back in his old stomping grounds for the NCAA Midwest Regional. [...] he left for Oregon in 2010, the 58-year-old Nebraska native had spent his entire childhood and all but one of his first 26 years as a head coach at schools no more than a three-hour drive from Kansas City. First eight or nine months my wife and daughter weren't there, so it was a lot tougher. Altman was criticized for recruiting unsavory characters after three players were accused of gang-raping a student in 2014. The alleged victim sued the university, which paid her an $800,000 settlement in 2015. Last week, two of the three accused players filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming their reputations were ruined by the allegations. Altman has Oregon in the NCAA Tournament for a school-record fifth straight year, and the Ducks are one win from setting the program record for victories in a season.