National Sports

LEADING OFF: Banner day at Wrigley Field; Verlander vs Sale

By The Associated Press A look at what's happening all around the majors today: ___ BANNER DAY In a home opener unlike any other at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs will raise a banner as defending World Series champions for the first time since they moved into the venerable ballpark more ...

Instead of folding up, Garcia fights back to win Masters

By JIM LITKE, AP Sports Writer AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — No one had played more majors with less to show for it. Sergio Garcia had plenty of reasons to believe it would go on that way forever. He was already two shots behind Justin Rose with just six holes left when his hooked tee shot at No. 13 ...

Neymar will be seeking redemption in Champions League

By JOSEPH WILSON, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — One month after leading the most improbable of comebacks, Neymar earned himself the scorn of Barcelona's fans with a pair of senseless bookings. He'll get a chance to redeem himself on Tuesday when his team faces Juventus in the ...

Ace move: Kuchar gives Masters hole-in-one ball to young fan

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — To get an autographed, hole-in-one ball handed to you at the Masters sounds like a golf fan's dream. Matt Kuchar made an entire family's dream come true. Kuchar gave the ball he used to ace the par-3 16th hole on Sunday to 10-year-old Owen Lockaby of Bradenton, Florida, ...

Westbrook sets triple-double record, Thunder beat Nuggets

By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Sports Writer DENVER (AP) — First, Russell Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson's record for most triple-doubles in a season. Then, he broke the Denver Nuggets' hearts. Westbrook's 36-foot dagger at the buzzer gave Oklahoma City a 106-105 victory, eliminating the Nuggets ...

NHL playoffs open Wednesday with five series starting

By STEPHEN WHYNO, AP Hockey Writer A look at the NHL playoffs that begin Wednesday: ___ WHO'S PLAYING EAST: The NHL-leading Washington Capitals face the Toronto Maple Leafs and the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins have home-ice advantage against the rival Columbus Blue ...

US, Mexico, Canada to make joint bid for 2026 World Cup

By Ronald Blum AP Sports Writer NEW YORK (AP) — The United States, Mexico and Canada are going to announce a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup on Monday, a person familiar with the decision said. The Confederation of North and Central America and Caribbean Association Football is moving ...

Maple Leafs wrap up final playoff spot

TORONTO (AP) — Connor Brown broke a tie with 2:48 left and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on Saturday night to wrap up their first playoff spot since 2013. James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Kasperi Kapanen and Auston Matthews also scored for Toronto, and Curtis ...

Rose, Garcia tied for lead at Masters in prelude to finale

By Doug Ferguson AP Golf Writer AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Justin Rose had a back-nine charge so common at Augusta National. Sergio Garcia finally caught a good break in a major. Jordan Spieth got his name high on those famous white leaderboards, the only spot he has ever occupied on the weekend ...

White Sox hand Twins 1st loss with 6-2 win

By Jack Cassidy Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Avisail Garcia and White Sox manager Rick Renteria are already excited about the returns from the 25-year-old’s offensive adjustment. The idea is simple: Just make contact, and big hits will follow. Garcia homered and had three RBIs, ...

Masters traffic jam: Contenders galore at Augusta National

By PETE IACOBELLI, AP Sports Writer AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Fans of dominant, wire-to-wire performances and runaway winners, this Masters is not for them. Forget a Tiger Woods' style blowout. Unlike that performance 20 years ago, Augusta National has a traffic jam atop the leaderboard that will ...

LEADING OFF: Arroyo, Guthrie back in majors, Red Sox ailing

By The Associated Press A look at what's happening all around the majors today: ___ BRONSON'S BACK Bronson Arroyo is set to make his first big league start since 2014 when the Reds host Philadelphia. The 40-year-old had Tommy John surgery two years ago and tore a tendon in his rotator cuff ...

Davis Cup: US wins doubles to stay alive in quarterfinal

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Late substitute Jack Sock and partner Steve Johnson kept the United States alive in its Davis Cup quarterfinal with Australia, beating Sam Groth and John Peers 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in Saturday's doubles. The win on a hard court at Brisbane's Pat Rafter Arena ...

Wild pitch gets Brewers get 2-1 win in 11th, Cubs’ Baez hurt

By GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports Writer MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Brewers mobbed Ryan Braun at home plate after he scored the winning run by beating a desperate throw home from catcher Willson Contreras. It was a satisfying end to an 11-inning game for Milwaukee against the defending World Series ...

Second Act: Spurs excelling after Tim Duncan’s departure

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Basketball Writer Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs did everything they could to prepare for life without Tim Duncan. They studied the pitfalls that plagued other franchises that lost foundational stars, drafted and developed talented players to be ready to pick ...

Denver beats UMD in Frozen Four finals

By Jay Cohen AP Sports Writer CHICAGO (AP) — Jarid Lukosevicius scored three goals in the second period, and Denver beat Minnesota Duluth 3-2 on Saturday night for the NCAA championship. Troy Terry had two assists and Tanner Jaillet made 38 saves as Denver moved into a tie with North ...

Fowler joins 4-way tie at top in Masters

By Doug Ferguson AP Golf Writer AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Rickie Fowler finally got to the top of the leaderboard in a major and didn’t have much of a view. Right next to him was Charley Hoffman, playing in the final group going into the weekend at the Masters for the second time in three ...

Shockers make move: Wichita State leaving MVC for AAC

By Pat Eaton-Robb AP Sports Writer Wichita State accepted an invitation Friday to join the American Athletic Conference, ending a relationship with the Missouri Valley Conference that dated back 72 years. The presidents of the AAC’s 12 member schools voted unanimously to admit the school ...

Lonzo Ball’s father blames ‘3 white guys’ for UCLA loss

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The father of UCLA star Lonzo Ball says the Bruins lost in the NCAA Tournament because "three white guys" couldn't pick up the slack after his son injured his hamstring. LaVar Ball tells Southern California News Group (http://bit.ly/2nLy5DG ) that "realistically you can't ...

Molina: “Dumb” to ask about substance on chest protector

By STEVE OVERBEY, Associated Press ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and most everyone else at Busch Stadium laughed at the bizarre sight — a ball somehow stuck to his chest protector , in plain view of everybody except him. But the St. Louis star didn't think it was so ...