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Posted: Saturday, June 28, 2014 8:57 am


Cubs thump Nats...Rays take opener

UNDATED (AP) — Edwin Encarnacion (ehn-kahr-nah-see-OHN') has become a proven slugger with 103 homers since the start of 2012. Jose Abreu (ah-BRAH'-oo) is a rookie trying to prove himself after leaving Cuba for a major league contract. Nelson Cruz is a player who was given a one-year contract and a second chance after serving a 50-game suspension last season for violating baseball's performance-enhancing drug policy. Right now, all three share the major league home run lead after they added to their totals Friday night.

Abreu belted his 24th and 25th homers in the Chicago White Sox's 5-4 win at Toronto. Abreu sandwiched his two blasts around Encarnacion's homer in the sixth inning.

Dayan Viciedo (dy-AHN' vih-see-EH'-doh) and Alexei Ramirez also went deep to support John Danks, who gave up two solo homers and three other hits in six innings.

Cruz also hit his 25th home run, a two-run blast in the seventh inning of Baltimore's 4-1 win over Tampa Bay, giving the Orioles a split of their day-night doubleheader. Nick Hundley hit an RBI single and put the Birds ahead with a sixth-inning homer in the nightcap.

The Rays took the opener 5-2 as Brandon Guyer had three doubles, scored twice and drove in a run. The Orioles only managed three hits in losing to the Rays for just the second time in nine games this season.

Elsewhere in the majors:

— John Baker was 3-for-3 with four RBIs as the Cubs dumped Washington 7-2 in Chicago. Baker put the game out of reach with a three-run double in the seventh, three innings after Ryan Sweeney delivered a tiebreaking, two-run single.

— Atlanta shares the NL East lead with Washington after Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer and an RBI double to give the Braves a 4-0 lead by the second inning of a 4-2 triumph at Philadelphia. Julio Teheran struck out nine while giving up one earned run and six hits in seven innings for his seventh win.

— Oakland blew a 4-0 lead and trailed 5-4 before Josh Reddick laced an RBI triple in the eighth inning of the Athletics' 9-5 win at Miami. Reddick had three hits and two ribbies, while Josh Donaldson drove in three runs.

— Kelly Johnson and Brian McCann hit two-run homers and Brett Gardner added a solo shot as the New York Yankees blanked Boston 6-0. Vidal Nuno entered the game with a 5.88 ERA before holding the Red Sox to two hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

— Omar Infante (ihn-FAHN'-tay) capped a seven-run fifth with his first career grand slam before Kansas City held on for an 8-6 victory against the Angels. Los Angeles ended a six-game winning streak despite C.J. Cron's two home runs.

— Detroit's seven-game streak ended when Jason Castro homered in the bottom of the 11th to give Houston a 3-2 triumph against the Tigers. Jose Altuve (al-TOO'-vay) was 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

— Ryan Braun singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to push Milwaukee past Colorado 3-2. Braun bailed out closer Francisco Rodriguez, who served up a game-tying homer by Josh Rutledge in the top of the ninth.

— Pittsburgh pulled out a 3-2 win over the New York Mets on Josh Harrison's RBI double in the bottom of the 11th. Jordy Mercer hit a two-run single for the Pirates, who are two games above .500 for the first time since April 10.

— Yadier Molina (YAH'-dee-ehr moh-LEE'-nuh) hit a solo homer and Jhonny Peralta added a tiebreaking, two-run double in the Cardinals' 3-1 verdict over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The St. Louis bullpen tossed shutout ball for 4 2/3 innings after starter Carlos Martinez was lifted in the fifth.

— Billy Hamilton hit a two-run single while Cincinnati scored five times in the fifth inning of a 6-2 win at San Francisco. Johnny Cueto allowed two runs and just three hits over 8 1/3 innings of the Reds' third straight win.

— Arizona was a 2-1 winner at San Diego behind Brandon McCarthy, who held the Padres to a run and six hits while striking out seven in seven innings. The Diamondbacks' runs came on David Peralta's (peh-RAHL'-tahz) two-run single in the fourth.

— Chris Young is 7-4 after allowing a run and four hits in five innings of Seattle's 3-2 victory against Cleveland. Kyle Seager went 3-for-4 with an RBI single that drove in Endy Chavez, who was 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored.

— Adrian Beltre belted a two-run homer and Shin-Soo Choo had three hits as Texas topped Minnesota 5-4 to end an eight-game losing streak, the Rangers' longest in nearly nine years. Nick Tepesch allowed only three singles over 7 1-3 scoreless innings for the Rangers.


Angels, Bucs swap struggling relievers

UNDATED (AP) — The Angels have acquired veteran Jason Grilli from the Pirates for Ernesto Frieri in a swap of struggling former closers. The 37-year-old Grilli is 0-2 with a 4.87 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances this season, one year after making the NL All-Star team. Frieri had a career-best 37 saves for Los Angeles last year, he's just 0-3 with 6.39 ERA and 11 saves in 34 appearances this season.

In other major league news:

— New York Mets third baseman David Wright was scratched from Friday's lineup in Pittsburgh because of a sore left shoulder that he says has been nagging him for three weeks. Wright will travel to New York on Saturday and undergo an MRI. He first started feeling pain in the shoulder June 13 in a game against Milwaukee at Citi Field in after stealing a base in his only attempt of the season.

— The Baltimore Orioles have placed pitcher Bud Norris on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin. The right-hander leaves the team having won his last four starts. He is 7-5 on the season with a 3.62 earned run average.


Panthers take blueliner Ekblad with top pick in NHL draft

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The NHL draft has begun with the Florida Panthers selecting defenseman Aaron Ekblad with the first overall pick.

Ekblad played for Barrie of the OHL and was the league's most outstanding defenseman, leading all blueliners with 23 goals and collecting 53 points and 91 penalty minutes of 58 games.

The Sabres used the second pick to grab center Sam Reinhart, who had a team-high 105 points for Kootenay of the WHL.

One pick later, the Oilers took German-born Leon Draisaitl (DRY'-sy-tul), a center who led Prince Albert with 105 points in 64 games.

The Flames grabbed center Samuel Bennett with the fourth pick, and the Islanders chose left wing Michael Dal Colle at No. 5. Bennett was ninth in the OHL with 91 points in 57 games for Kingston, and Dal Colle paced the OHL's Oshawa franchise with 95 points.

The draft will resume with the second of seven rounds on Saturday.


Teams have more to spend

NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL and the NHL Players' Association say the salary cap for the 2014-15 season is going up to $69 million after a year of record revenues.

That's a step up from the $64.3 million upper limit that teams operated on during the just-completed season. As stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players, clubs must maintain a minimum payroll of $51 million.


Draft Day deals

UNDATED (AP) — In a draft day trade the Anaheim Ducks have acquired center Ryan Kessler from Vancouver in a deal that sends Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa (LOO'-kuh SPEE'-zuh) and the 24th overall pick in the draft to the Canucks. The 29-year old Kessler has spent his entire 10-season career with the Canucks, with six 20-goal seasons.

In other NHL news:

— Pittsburgh sent forward James Neal to the Predators for forward Patric Hornqvist and center Nick Spaling.

— Phoenix has bought out the remainder of forward Mike Ribeiro's (rih-BEHR'-ohz) contract.


Rain delays all but center courtWomen's No. 2 loses and Men's No. 1 survives fall

LONDON (AP) — Play is being delayed by rain at Wimbledon today, except on Centre Court, where the roof is closed. Second seed Rafael Nadal is playing Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.

In yesterday's action, men's top seed Novak Djokovic (NOH'-vak JOH'-kuh-vihch) overcame a hard fall in the third set to beat Gilles Simon (zheel see-MOHN') 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round at Wimbledon. After the match he said he felt a sharp pain but that nothing is damaged.

Defending champion Andy Murray has moved into the fourth round as well with a straight sets win.

No. 6 Tomas Berdych (bur-DEECH') was the highest men's seed to lose on Day 5 at All-England Club, falling to No. 26 Marin Cilic (CHIH'-leech), 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (6).

The big shocker of the day came from the women's side as second seed Li Na (lee nah) bowed out with a 7-6, 7-6, loss to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Five-time champ and 30th seed Venus Williams was bounced from London by Petra Kvitova (kuh-VIHT'-oh-vuh) 5-7, 7-6, 7-5 in the third round.

French Open finalist Simona Halep (HAL'-ehp) won her second-round match in three sets.

Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki (wohz-nee-AK'-ee), fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska (ag-nee-EHS'-kah rad-WAHN'-skah) and No. 6 Petra Kvitova (kuh-VIH'-toh-vah) all won their third-round matches.


Woods heads home early

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Tiger Woods has been a gracious host at the PGA's Quick Loans National near Washington, D.C. So gracious, that he allowed 103 players to outscore him.

Woods has missed the cut in his first tournament since undergoing back surgery three months ago. He fired a 4-over 75 in his second round to go +7 through 36 holes, four strokes below the cut line. It's only the 10th time that Woods has failed to make a cut on the PGA Tour.

Oliver Goss has a share of the lead in just his second professional start. Goss shot a second-round 66 for a 6-under total, tying him with Marc Leishman and Ricky Barnes.

Patrick Reed and Hudson Swafford are one shot back.


Langer moves to the front

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bernhard Langer has moved to the top of the leaderboard after two rounds of the Senior Players Championship after a 6-under 64. Langer's 11-under total is two shots better than Doug Garwood and Bill Glasson. Garwood posted a 67 while Garwood matched Langer's 64.

Defending champ Kenny Perry shot the best round of the day with a 63 that got him to within four shots of the lead.


Sharp has lead

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — Alena Sharp is the first-round leader at the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship.

Sharp fired a 6-under-par 65, leaving her one stroke ahead of Alejandra Llaneza and Michelle Wie (wee), last week's U.S. Women's Open winner.


Keselowski has Sparta pole

SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — Brad Keselowski had a track-record speed of 188.791 mph to win the pole for tomorrow night's Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway. Keselowski overtook Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano, who turned a lap of 187.175 after leading the first two rounds.

Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin will make up the second row.


IU to guarantee scholarships

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana athletic director Fred Glass says the school plans to immediately begin guaranteeing four-year scholarships to athletes and will agree not to reduce the amount of money students on partial scholarship receive year to year. Previously, the amount could be reduced for illness, injury or ability.

The changes are part of a plan announced by the school that Glass calls a "student-athlete bill of rights." He says it will include significant financial support to former athletes who wish to return to finish their degrees and increased health care commitments.


New deal for Randolph

MEMPHIS (AP) — The agent for Memphis forward Zach Randolph says his client is exercising his $16.5 million option for 2014-15 and has agreed on a two-year extension worth $20 million.

Randolph led the team in scoring and rebounding last season, averaging 17.4 points and 10.1 boards.


Washington's Webster may miss start of the season

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Wizards forward Martell Webster may miss the start of the season after undergoing back surgery on Thursday to repair a herniated disc in his lower back.

Webster averaged 9.7 points and 2.8 rebounds a game last season after signing a four-year contract with the Wizards last summer.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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