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What’s next for the Blue Jackets in post-Torts era?

By MITCH STACY AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets will take a deliberate approach to hiring a replacement for John Tortorella, who stamped his brand on the franchise over six seasons and carried it to unprecedented success.
“I think we’re going to take our time,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said Monday, a day after the apparently amicable break with Tortorella, the winningest coach in the team’s 20-year history.
“The league is still playing, there are some regular season games left and other organizations are going to make their decisions at the end of the regular season, maybe after the first round of the playoffs,” Kekalainen said. “So we’re going to make sure we do our due diligence with all the candidates we think are worthy of our consideration and would be a good fit with us. So we’re not in a hurry.”
Longtime NHL coaches Bruce Boudreau, Claude Julien and Gerard Gallant have been floated as potential candidates for the job.
The 62-year-old Tortorella was in the last year of his contract, and the separation wasn’t a surprise after a tumultuous season that saw the Blue Jackets plunge to last place in their division amid Tortorella’s admitted failure to influence the team culture.
Stars Zach Werenski and Boone Jenner were lost to season-ending injuries. The trade deadline brought the sell-off of beloved captain Nick Foligno and defenseman David Savard, two of the foundations of the team during Tortorella’s tenure, as well as veteran center Riley Nash. The Blue Jackets limped to an 18-26-12 finish.
The retooling will continue in earnest this summer.
“I think a lot of good coaches would agree with us that we have a lot of good pieces here,” Kekalainen said. “This year was obviously disappointing, but we made the playoffs four years in a row, and many of those core players are still here and still in the prime of their career. We have strong goaltending, we have one of the best D-pairings in the league (Werenski and Seth Jones) and some talented young players. I think we’re going to keep growing here, and I think we’ll find a coach who wants to be part of it.”
KEEPING JONES
Signing Jones, the team’s best player, to a long-term contract is critical on many levels. He will be an unrestricted free agent after next season and allowing a fan favorite to walk away would be poor optics for a rebuilding team trying to fight the narrative that nobody wants to play in Columbus. Based on the current market, the 26-year-old Jones will command around $10 million per year.
“He’s probably the most important piece to this puzzle,” veteran forward Cam Atkinson said.
ELVIS OR KORPI?
Columbus has a pair of proven No. 1 goaltenders whose contracts expire after next season. Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo both want to play regularly but were rotated this season when heathy. Despite a depressed goalie market this summer, one could be traded as the Blue Jackets seek established offensive players. Both goalies say they’d prefer to stay in Columbus and be the starter.
“Nobody is stupid here,” Merzlikins said. “We understand there are two No. 1 goalies on one team. I don’t think both are going to stay, but you never know. I don’t want to go into the business, but Korpi, he wants to play, I want to play, and to share the net I don’t think is best for our future.”
ATTRACT FREE AGENTS
Kekalainen is expected to look to free agency to add some offensive players, with the center position a priority. Jones said the players’ leadership group planned to meet with Kekalainen on Monday, and one of the topics would be the more aggressive steps the team can take to attract top free agents who want to play here.
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Ohio Sports

USC hires Cavs’ Lindsay Gottlieb as women’s hoops coach

By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lindsay Gottlieb is returning to the Pac-12 as the head women’s basketball coach at Southern California.
The school on Monday announced the hiring of Gottlieb, an assistant coach with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 43-year-old Gottlieb spent the past two seasons with the Cavs after a successful stint as the women’s head coach at California, where she built the Golden Bears into a national power from 2011-19. Cal went 179-89 under Gottlieb and made seven NCAA Tournament appearances in her eight seasons in Berkeley, reaching the Bears’ first Final Four in 2013.
After two years away, Gottlieb is headed back to the West Coast with a mandate to revitalize the Trojans, whose once-powerful program has underachieved for 15 years. The Trojans went 11-12 last season, finishing eighth in the Pac-12 under now-retired coach Mark Trakh.
“I am inspired by the incredible history of this program and excited about the opportunity to do special things with the young women I will have the privilege to coach,” Gottlieb said in a statement.
“I went to the NBA to challenge myself at the highest levels of the game of basketball and was fully invested in that journey,” she added. “However, the commitment of President Carol Folt and athletic director Mike Bohn to women’s basketball at USC, and to my vision of success, made it clear that now is the right time to come here and use all my coaching experience to partner with the young women in the program, the administration and our future student-athletes to make USC women’s basketball the most dynamic program in the country.”
Gottlieb returns to a conference loaded with talent in several contending programs. Stanford is the reigning NCAA champion after beating Arizona in the title game. Oregon made the Sweet Sixteen, while UCLA and Oregon State also won NCAA Tournament games.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer called Gottlieb’s move to USC “a great hire.”
UCLA coach Cori Close said she believes “the Pac-12 got better today. Lindsay is a great hire for USC. She is a proven winner and develops people as well as basketball players. Rising tides lift all boats and the Pac-12 women’s basketball boats rose to another level.”
Gottlieb was hired away from Cal by Cavs coach John Beilein in 2019, becoming the seventh female assistant coach in NBA history and the first women’s head coach from a Power 5 league to jump to the NBA.
But Beilein, the former Michigan coach, left Cleveland after less than a season, and the Cavs have had two rough years while Gottlieb has been on their staff. Cleveland is staggering to the finish of the current season on a 10-game losing streak and will miss the playoffs once again.
Gottlieb was often praised by Cleveland’s players for her preparedness and basketball knowledge. And while she was something of a pioneer in her jump from the women’s game, Gottlieb’s success at Cal made her an obvious target for college programs looking to reach national prominence.
Bohn said Gottlieb is “a trailblazer who smashed through the glass ceiling of men’s professional sports. I cannot think of a better coach, leader, and role model for our young women.”
Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff credited Gottlieb’s “fearlessness” in her transition from college to the NBA. He said her impact went way beyond the court.
“How she cares about other people. How she opens your eyes to different scenarios and things that are going on in the world, and it’s every single day,” Bickerstaff said. “You see how she embraces people and how people welcome her. All those things that make it difficult in our business, she excelled at.”
Gottlieb seized an undoubtedly lucrative collegiate opportunity with the Trojans, who can give her the financial resources and national visibility necessary to restore the women’s program to the perennial winner it was during the 1980s and early 1990s with Hall of Famers Cheryl Miller, Cynthia Cooper and Lisa Leslie.
Trakh retired late last month after going 65-50 with no NCAA Tournament appearances in his second stint in charge of the Trojans.
USC has made just one NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006 and had just two 20-win seasons since 2005 — an improbably poor track record for a powerhouse university in the heart of the talent-rich Los Angeles area.
Gottlieb is a New York state native who played college basketball at Brown, graduating in 1999. She was the head coach at UC Santa Barbara from 2009-11 before landing at Cal.
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AP Sports Writers Tom Withers and Janie McCauley contributed to this report.
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Pacers beat Cavaliers 111-102, move into ninth place in East

BRIAN DULIK Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — Domantas Sabonis had 21 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists as the Indiana Pacers strengthened their hold on a play-in tournament spot with a 111-102 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
Kelan Martin scored a career-high 25 points and Caris LeVert had 20 points and 10 assists for the Pacers, who moved one-half game ahead of Washington into ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards were beaten 125-124 in Atlanta.
“Every game matters and we just saw that the Wizards lost, but it all depends on us,” Sabonis said. “We want to get as high as we can in the play-in round. The most important thing is continuing to distribute the ball because it makes everybody happy.”
Indiana reduced its magic number for clinching a play-in berth to two with four games remaining. Chicago is 11th — one spot outside of the play-in tourney — and the Pacers are now within a game of eighth-place Charlotte.
“We weathered the storm all night and Kelan carried us down the stretch,” LeVert said. “I’m really enjoying building chemistry with these guys and Domas is probably the best passing big man I’ve played with. He’s a special talent.”
Collin Sexton scored 25 points for the Cavaliers in their 11th straight loss, matching the eighth-longest skid in team history. Rookie Isaac Okoro had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Dean Wade had 19 points and 12 rebounds in their first career double-doubles.
Cleveland dressed nine players with nine others out with injuries, including starters Kevin Love (right calf strain) and Darius Garland (left ankle sprain). Love played 27 minutes Sunday against Dallas and was given the evening off to rest his leg.
“We fought like hell and I’m appreciative of their effort,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We had a number of guys carry the load for us like Bull (Sexton), D-Wade and Isaac the whole time. It was all heart and all strength.”
A Sabonis layup put Indiana in front for good at 93-91 with 6:09 left, beginning a 9-1 run that gave it an eight-point lead. The Cavaliers, who were ahead by double-digits in the first half, never got closer than five in the final four minutes.
Justin Holiday scored 11 points and T.J. McConnell had 10 points and seven assists as Indiana’s bench outscored Cleveland’s 47-17. Sabonis added four blocked shots and two steals, falling one assist shy of his ninth triple-double of the season.
“I love playing pick-and-rolls and the two-man game with someone as aggressive as Caris,” Sabonis said. “And Kelan was big. He’s always aggressive and stayed ready. Today was one of those days when he got hot and gave us energy.”
Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon missed his sixth straight game with a sore right hamstring.
The Cavaliers held their first halftime lead since April 23 at 60-53, fueled by 19 points from Sexton. Cleveland has lost a season-high seven consecutive home games.
BACK TO COLLEGE
Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb has been hired as the women’s basketball coach at Southern California. Gottlieb is in her second season on Cleveland’s staff and returns to the Pac-12, where she made seven NCAA Tournament appearances in eight years as the head coach at California. “The NBA is a different monster, but Lindsay was able to make the transition seamlessly,” Bickerstaff said. “She was able to build relationships with the guys and the coaches quickly.” Gottlieb, 43, became the seventh female coach in NBA history when she was hired by Cleveland in 2019.
TIP-INS
Pacers: Sabonis notched his 45th double-double of the season, five shy of his franchise record set in 2019-2020. … C Myles Turner (right plantar plate tear), G Jeremy Lamb (left knee soreness), F T.J. Warren (left foot stress fracture) and F JaKarr Sampson (concussion) were inactive. Sampson, who last played on April 29, is traveling with the team and worked out earlier in the day.
Cavaliers: No. 5 overall draft pick Okoro has appeared in a team-high 64 games, starting all of them. … F Larry Nance Jr. (right thumb fracture), G Matthew Dellavedova (neck strain), F Cedi Osman (right ankle soreness), C Isaiah Hartenstein (concussion), F Lamar Stevens (concussion), F Taurean Prince (left ankle surgery) and F Dylan Windler (left knee surgery) remain out.
UP NEXT
Pacers: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday. Indiana begins a three-game homestand that also includes the Bucks and Lakers.
Cavaliers: Host Boston on Wednesday. Cleveland plays its final game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse this season.
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Naquin, Barnhart lead Reds to 14-1 rout of Pirates

By JOHN PERROTTO Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tyler Naquin homered and drove in four runs, Tucker Barnhart keyed a six-run fourth inning with a two-run double and the Cincinnati Reds rolled to a 14-1 victory over the skidding Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
Naquin’s three-run shot bounced off the right-field foul pole and made it 11-1 in the seventh. He also doubled home a run in the fourth.
“It’s been a lot of fun to be able to come over here and do my thing,” Naquin said.
The outfielder has been an unexpected bright spot for the Reds after being signed to a minor league contract in the offseason. A first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians, he’s hitting .278 with eight homers in 28 games.
“It’s fun to see a talented player get an opportunity and then do what he’s doing with it,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He had a great night, but he’s been swinging the bat consistently well all year. He’s a really good all-around player. He’s a good defensive player. He runs well. He does a lot of things to help us win.”
Barnhart’s double to left-center was the big blow in the fourth as the Reds snapped a 1-all tie. Nick Senzel capped the inning with a two-run single.
After abandoning switch-hitting this season to bat strictly from the left side, Barnhart has a .307 average.
“It’s really taken a load off me because it’s easier to maintain one swing than two,” he said.
Eugenio Suarez broke an 0-for-15 slump with a solo homer for Cincinnati in the second. Nick Castellanos capped the scoring in the eighth with a two-run double.
Tyler Mahle (2-1) allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings for the win. He gave up four hits, walked four and struck out seven as Cincinnati (16-16) won for the third time in four games to reach .500.
“I think the key that set the tone for us was Tyer Mahle,” Bell said. “I thought he got better as he went, actually.”
Mahle left his previous three starts with a lead but the bullpen blew saves each time.
Mitch Keller (2-4) was tagged for seven runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. He had two walks and two strikeouts after pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings to win at San Diego in his previous outing. Keller’s ERA is 7.81 after seven starts.
“He did not locate his pitches in the fourth inning by any stretch of the imagination,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I don’t have a good explanation except that he was just missing spots. In the big leagues when you don’t locate and leave balls in the middle of the plate, they are going to get hammered, especially by that lineup.”
Pittsburgh (14-20) has dropped nine of 11 since moving one game over .500. The Pirates have also lost eight straight to Cincinnati.
Six players each had two of the Reds’ 15 hits.
Jacob Stallings hit a solo homer for the Pirates in the second. Adam Frazier extended his hitting streak to 11 games with two hits.
AWAY GOES FRAZIER
The Pirates designated infielder Todd Frazier for assignment to clear a roster spot for outfielder Ben Gamel, who was claimed off waivers from Cleveland on Sunday.
Frazier, a two-time All-Star, hit just .086 in 13 games. The 35-year-old had three hits in 35 at-bats with no home runs and four RBIs.
“It’s unfortunate because Todd was great here,” Shelton said. “He was great in spring training with our group. He was great when he came back up, was with us as a taxi (squad) member and then got activated.”
IN DEMAND
Reds left-hander Wade Miley said his cell phone has rarely stopped ringing since he threw a no-hitter last Friday in Cleveland.
“It’s hard to keep the battery charged right this moment,” Miley said. “It’s starting to fade a little bit.”
Miley will try to join Johnny Vander Meer as the only pitchers in major league history to throw consecutive no-hitters Thursday night when he starts at Colorado. Vander Meer, also a Reds lefty, pulled off the feat in 1938.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco should return from the COVID-19 list in the “next few days,” according to Shelton. Polanco violated MLB’s health and safety protocols last week. … CF Bryan Reynolds was back in the lineup after missing two games with lower-body soreness and went 2 for 2 with a triple and two walks.
UP NEXT
Reds RHP Jeff Hoffman (2-2, 4.39 ERA) will face RHP JT Brubaker (2-2, 2.78) on Tuesday night. Hoffman has lost both his career starts against Pittsburgh, giving up nine runs in eight innings. Brubaker has lost his last two decisions after winning his first two.
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Ohio Sports

Monterrey, Columbus Crew draw 2-2 in Champions League

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jose Alvarado scored in stoppage time to give Monterrey a 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night in the opening leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.
Ake Loba scored against the defending MLS Cup champions in the ninth minute. Monterrey, which has lost three straight Liga MX games, was without key players Vincent Janssen, Maxi Meza and Ponchito González.
Pedro Santos scored the equalizer for Columbus in the 65th minute before Zelarayan’s goal in the 87th gave the Crew a brief lead.
Columbus’ Lucas Zelarayan was given a yellow card in the 12th minute that will force him to miss next Wednesday’s game at Monterrey.
The Crew were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in both 2010 and 2011. Monterrey has won the tournament four times in the last decade.
The winner of this quarterfinal will face the Toronto-Cruz Azul winner.
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Magic squander 23-point lead in fourth, beat Cavs 109-104

BRIAN DULIK Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cole Anthony made the tiebreaking layup with 45 seconds left, and the Orlando Magic squandered a 23-point lead before edging the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-104 on Wednesday night to snap a six-game losing streak.
The Magic went up 86-63 on R.J. Hampton’s hoop with 10:42 remaining, but Cleveland responded with a 41-18 run to tie the score at 104 on a 3-pointer by Kevin Love.
Love was held scoreless until the fourth quarter, two days after his on-court tantrum against the Raptors in Tampa, Florida.
Anthony put Orlando in front for good with a tough driving layup, then made a pair of free throws after a Cavaliers turnover to make it 108-104. The rookie from North Carolina scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth.
“In order to make the right play, I felt like I had to have the ball in my hands, to be honest,” Anthony said. “My job as a point guard is to make things happen for my team the best way I can.”
Gary Harris had 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists for Orlando, which won for the second time in 14 games and pulled into a tie with Detroit for the worst record in the East. Chuma Okeke had 18 points before exiting with a twisted ankle.
“Cole is a gamer who wants the moment, he wants the ball in his hands,” Harris said. “He’s going to be a very good player for a long time in this league. We’ve had some ups and downs, but we’re building something here.”
Love missed his first eight shots, seven of them 3-pointers, and finished with six points on 2 of 11 from the field. He added 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals in 35 minutes.
The five-time All-Star received a mixed reaction from the crowd after publicly apologizing earlier in the day.
“I think Kevin put the burden on himself because of the last couple of days, but when it came time, he made the big shot,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He didn’t make shots early, but he was contributing in other ways all night.”
Darius Garland scored 25 points in the Cavaliers’ fourth straight loss, while Cedi Osman had 19 points and Jarrett Allen added 17 points and 13 rebounds. Cleveland, which began a season-high, five-game homestand, is 1-7 in its last eight.
The Cavaliers were without seven injured players, including leading scorer Collin Sexton, who missed his third game after suffering a concussion at Charlotte on April 23.
“You can talk about injuries or us coming home from a road trip, but we have to come out as professionals at the start,” Allen said.
James Ennis III returned for the Magic after being sidelined for five games with a sore right calf. He started at small forward and had eight points.
Orlando coach Steve Clifford has been away from the team since Sunday because of NBA health and safety protocols. Tyrone Corbin, serving as acting coach, said Clifford is not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
“Steve is feeling good, but he is bored by himself in quarantine,” Corbin said, chuckling.
Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith of Alabama was in attendance. Cleveland will host the NFL Draft beginning Thursday.
TIP-INS
Magic: F Otto Porter Jr. (left foot pain) has been sidelined since April 3 and has only appeared in three games since being acquired in a four-player trade with Chicago on March 25. Corbin said there is no timetable for his return, but Porter does report to the team facility each day. … G Markelle Fultz (left knee reconstructive surgery), G Terrence Ross (back spasms), G Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle sprain), C Jonathan Isaac (left knee and rookie G Devin Cannady (right ankle dislocation) also were out.
Cavaliers: F Taurean Prince (left ankle surgery) will miss the rest of the season after an arthroscopic procedure Tuesday in New York. Prince averaged 10.1 points in 29 games after being acquired from Brooklyn on Jan. 14. …. G Matthew Dellavedova (neck strain), C Isaiah Hartenstein (concussion), F Larry Nance Jr. (right thumb fracture), F Lamar Stevens (concussion) and F Dylan Windler (left knee surgery) were inactive. … G Jeremiah Martin, who played with the Nets last season, signed a two-way contract.
SPECIAL GUEST
Former Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund, whose purchase of the franchise in 1983 prevented it from relocating, was honored during the game. Gund sold controlling interest to current owner Dan Gilbert in 2005, and had his minority share bought out on April 14. “With Mr. Gund, Wayne Embry as general manager and Lenny Wilkens as coach, they were just super people to be around,” said Corbin, who played from Cleveland from 1986-88. “I really enjoyed my time here.”
UP NEXT
Magic: Visit Memphis on Friday. The teams will complete their two-game season series at Amway Center on Saturday.
Cavaliers: Host Washington on Friday. Cleveland plays eight of its final 10 games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
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Ohio Sports

Buxton gets 5 hits, Twins homer 6 times in rout of Indians

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — As Byron Buxton walked to the plate for his final at-bat, he didn’t consider hitting for the cycle until a fan pointed out the obvious.
“I heard this little kid and he’s like, ‘All you need is a triple,'” said Buxton, who settled for his second double.
It’s the only time he came up short Wednesday.
Buxton homered on Logan Allen’s second pitch and went 5 for 5, Mitch Garver hit two homers and the struggling Twins connected six times to end a four-game losing streak with a 10-2 thumping of the Cleveland Indians.
Buxton’s AL-leading eighth homer triggered a three-homer barrage in the first off Allen (1-4), who allowed six home runs in a 12-batter span over two starts and soon will be on his way to Triple-A Columbus.
Buxton added two doubles, two singles and stole a base while pushing his average to .438.
“Leave it up to Buck to get the team going,” Garver said. “He’s been playing out of his mind right now. We follow his lead when he sets the pace for a game. He’s got to be like the most electric baseball player in the game right now.
“He’s certainly the hottest. Everything is going his way. ”
Not long after Buxton returned to the dugout in the first, Josh Donaldson hit a 425-foot homer. Allen walked Nelson Cruz and surrendered Jorge Polanco’s 426-foot homer into the left-field bleachers as the Twins took extended batting practice to open a 4-0 lead after 14 pitches.
The home runs energized the two-time defending AL Central champion Twins, who have fallen into last place.
“It was awesome,” Garver said of the early onslaught as Minnesota became the first visiting team to hit six home runs in one game at Progressive Field, which opened in 1994.
J.A. Happ (2-0) took advantage of all the run support. The left-hander, who carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Pittsburgh in his previous start, didn’t have to be nearly as good and allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings.
Garver, among several Twins struggling at the plate in the season’s first month, connected for a solo homer in the fifth and added a two-run rocket in the seventh off rookie Sam Hentges.
Williams Astudiollo also homered as Minnesota salvaged the finale of the three-game series and won for just the second time in 10 games.
Amed Rosario homered for the Indians, who went 3-5 in their homestand against the White Sox, Yankees and Twins.
Buxton came in batting .390, so Twins manager Rocco Baldelli moved him into the leadoff spot for the second time this season.
The hunch paid off immediately as Buxton’s third career leadoff homer set the tone for the Twins, who connected for 1,201 feet of homers in the first off Allen.
Buxton leads the league in several offensive categories, but never considered one of them might be home runs. He laughed when asked if he would consider an invite to the All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby later this season in Denver.
“You ever see how big them dudes is in that?” he said.
Allen, who was rocked last week in a start against New York, got a sarcastic Bronx cheer from Indians fans when he finally threw a strike and again when recording an out. He was mercifully pulled in the second and will now go to the minors to work on his game.
“I’m not worried,” Allen said. “I’m upset I let my teammates down and I’m upset that the last three outings have come to this, but it’s part of it. I just have to go down there and attack and when I come back, hopefully we don’t have these tough conversations.”
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Fast starts are nothing new to the Twins, who are batting .380 (35 for 92) in the first inning. That’s tops in baseball and 63 points ahead of the next-closest team (Milwaukee, .317).
ROSTER MOVE
Unable to find good spots for Oliver Pérez to pitch, the Indians designated the 39-year-old left-hander for assignment.
“It was having a tough time figuring out how to use him,” manager Terry Francona said. “He was kind of pitching in games that were spread out, which doesn’t kind of fit the role for a lefty specialist. I told him last night, ‘Man, I haven’t figured it out.'”
Pérez was re-signed this winter after spending the past three seasons with Cleveland.
Nick Wittgren returned to the club after being placed on paternity leave.
UP NEXT
Twins: Minnesota will have Thursday off before beginning a three-game home series on Friday against Kansas City with Michael Pineda starting. The Royals haven’t announced their starter.
Indians: Following an off day, the Indians open a three-game series in Chicago with Cy Young winner Shane Bieber (2-2) facing left-hander Dallas Keuchel (1-0).
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Kershaw dazzles Reds, Dodgers win 8-0 to snap 3-game skid

By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When the Los Angeles Dodgers badly needed somebody or something to pull them out of a weeklong slump, Clayton Kershaw did it with cool confidence.
He has been performing these feats regularly for the Dodgers since 2008, and the 33-year-old lefty doesn’t look like he’ll relinquish the responsibility any time soon.
Kershaw yielded four hits over seven masterful innings, Justin Turner homered and the Dodgers ended their three-game losing streak with an 8-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
“It’s always a good feeling knowing we’ve got Kersh on the mound,” said Chris Taylor, who had an RBI triple and scored two runs. “It was huge to have him get us out of this funk. He was outstanding.”
Kershaw (4-2) racked up eight strikeouts with one walk while never allowing Cincinnati to get a runner to third base in his first win over the Reds since 2016. He won an impressive pitching duel with Sonny Gray (0-2) before his teammates tacked on six runs in the eighth inning.
“We’ve been scuffling a little bit, and we wanted to end the homestand on a good note,” Kershaw said.
Kershaw’s brilliance was the biggest reason the Dodgers avoided their first four-game losing streak since 2018, allowing them to finish a 2-5 homestand with a renewed positivity. Los Angeles still leads the NL at 16-9, but the past week underlined weaknesses that will have to be fixed over the next five months.
“He’s been a great pitcher for a long time, and he’s a stopper,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s been the ace. He knew how much we needed this game, so for him to go deep in this game, put up zeros, throw a shutout, was big for our club.”
Matt Beaty had a two-run single in the eighth on his 28th birthday as the defending World Series champions broke away late for just their third win in 10 games.
Nick Senzel matched his career high with four hits for the Reds, who wrapped up a 2-4 trip by taking two of three at Chavez Ravine. Senzel got three of Cincinnati’s four singles off Kershaw, but the Reds were shut out for the fourth time this season.
“Nick had a great day at the plate, which was great to see, but we just couldn’t get anything else going off Kershaw,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “We’ve all seen that before.”
Gray pitched four-hit ball into the sixth while striking out 11 — the most by any pitcher against the Dodgers this year. Gray yielded four hits and three walks, but left trailing 2-0.
“I know just coming off the last start, he wanted to make a statement, and he did,” Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson said. “It was good to see him back to what he can be.”
While Gray’s bounce-back start was good, Kershaw is still firmly on top of his game: He has pitched at least six innings with at least six strikeouts in five consecutive starts since opening day.
Turner hit his sixth homer deep into the left field bleachers in the third. The RBI was the 20th in just 23 games for Turner, a former Reds draft pick.
Taylor tripled over Nicholas Castellanos in right field in the eighth, scoring Turner from first. Beaty and Mookie Betts added two-out, two-RBI singles off Sal Romano.
INFIELDER PITCHING
After Romano yielded four hits, four walks and six runs, Reds infielder Alex Blandino took the mound and recorded the last out of the eighth, getting Turner to fly out on an 86-mph pitch.
Blandino had pitched once previously in 2018, and he preserved his career 0.00 ERA.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Reds: OF Shogo Akiyama will play an intrasquad game Thursday. He is on the 10-day injured list with a strained hamstring, but is likely to make his 2021 debut next week.
Dodgers: SS Corey Seager got a scheduled rest day. … Reliever Garrett Cleavinger left the game after taking a line drive from Tyler Stephenson off his triceps in the ninth inning. Roberts said they’ll know more about the injury Thursday.
UP NEXT
Reds: After an off day, Wade Miley (2-2, 2.45 ERA) takes the mound Friday at home to face the Cubs. He has a career 4.50 ERA against Chicago.
Dodgers: Trevor Bauer (3-0, 2.53 ERA) takes the mound in Milwaukee on Thursday. The Cy Young Award winner struck out 32 in 20 1/3 innings against the Brewers over three starts last season with Cincinnati.
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Ohio Sports

Cavaliers’ Love sorry for on-court tantrum: ‘That wasn’t me’

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Kevin Love spoke from his heart. Over 13 minutes, he apologized, lectured and asked for forgiveness and understanding.
He regrets his fit of frustration but said it shouldn’t define him.
“That wasn’t me,” Love said. “I apologize for that moment. It was an ugly one. It was one that was not ill-intentioned.”
The five-time All-Star apologized Wednesday for his on-court tantrum two days earlier in a game against Toronto, saying his behavior was out of line and out of character — but that it had nothing to do with any frustration toward his teammates or coaches.
Love did not take any questions from reporters after speaking passionately about the incident, using the Zoom call as what he called a “therapy session” to express his feelings about dealing with an injury this season, and his leadership role in Cleveland and continued struggle with mental health.
“I (messed) up,” Love said, using an expletive to open his remarks. “Everyone knows that. My intent wasn’t to disrespect the game, my intent wasn’t even for the damn ball to go inbounds. It was a moment that I got caught up in.”
Late in the third quarter against Toronto, a frustrated Love, who was upset with the officials for some non-calls, angrily tapped the ball back into play on an inbounds pass. The loose ball was grabbed by the Raptors, who made a 3-pointer and went on to win 112-96.
Video of the tantrum went viral on social media, and Love was blistered by fans and media for behavior called “childish” and “unacceptable.”
Love took exception to some of the criticism, saying he felt aspects of his behavior were “a little blown out of proportion.”
“I just hope that you judge my character, judge me as a man,” said Love, who helped the Cavaliers win an NBA title in 2016 and signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension two years later. “I mean, the basketball stuff, you can crush me, you can kill me by any means. I’ll take that on the chin all day.
“I don’t care. I love this game. I’ll always love this game. I hope I can play as many years as I possibly can.”
Coach J.B. Bickerstaff called Love’s actions a “lapse in judgment.”
Before Wednesday’s game, Bickerstaff said he had spoken to Love, who is in his seventh season with Cleveland.
“He owned up to it. He held himself accountable,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s what I expected from Kevin. I had a long conversation with Kevin this morning, and Kevin had a long conversation with his teammates this morning.”
Love received a mixed reaction from fans in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse when he was introduced before facing the Magic. He missed all seven shots — including six 3-pointers — in the first half and was called for a technical foul late in the second quarter.
He finished with six points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field in Cleveland’s 109-104 loss. He added 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals in 35 minutes.
Love said he didn’t realize how bad the incident looked until after the game and he felt embarrassed and ashamed.
“I believe that we have to be better and especially me being a leader, I have to be better,” he said. “But I know that I’m a good human being. I know in some cases that I’m misunderstood. And that’s fine.”
The Cavaliers were missing seven players with injuries for the game, and Love’s outburst only compounded things for a young team stumbling to the season’s end. Cleveland is 21-40.
Love said he has only respect for Bickerstaff and his teammates. He believes they’ve accepted his apology knowing how hard he has worked this season to come back from a calf injury that sidelined him for two months.
“I’ll ride or die for J.B. and our coaching staff, and I’ll ride or die for our young guys, even when I’m giving 60%, 70% of myself up right now because I’m still getting over the hump with my injury. But, if you’re not in the arena, and getting your (behind) kicked a lot of the time, I don’t care about your opinion.
“I don’t care about how you feel about me, or what you see in me. What matters to me is the opinion of my teammates, and how they feel about me, and how everybody in this organization feels about me.
“So, I live at peace, knowing that they think highly of me, and I think highly of them.”
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Ohio Sports

Naylor hits into triple play, makes key E, Reds edge Indians

By MITCH STACY AP Sports Writer
Josh Naylor lined into a triple play in the eighth inning, then let a routine grounder roll through his legs at first base with two outs in the ninth that led to Cincinnati’s tying run as the Reds beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 in the 10th Saturday.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Stephenson’s single in the 10th won it.
Naylor had a chance to boost Cleveland’s one-run lead in the eighth when he came up with runners at the corners with no outs. He hit a liner to first baseman Joey Votto, who tagged Franmil Reyes as he tried to dive back into the bag and then threw to third to double off Eddie Rosario, who took off because he thought the ball hit the ground and had already crossed the plate.
“We got the break and we made the most of it, and we came back and won,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It definitely could have been a different game if they score a run or two there.”
Pitching with a 2-1 lead, Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase was pumping in 100 mph fastballs and retired the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth. Max Schrock then hit a grounder through Naylor for a two-base error and Jesse Winker followed with an RBI single.
“He just missed the ball. I don’t know what else to tell you,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Eugenio Suárez started the Reds 10th as the automatic runner on second and moved to third on Tyler Naquin’s flyout. After an intentional walk, Stephenson singled to deep right off Oliver Perez (0-1).
“Really just looking for a good pitch to hit,” Stephenson said. “I was prepared for it and got a sinker out over (the plate) and hit it to right field. I was on time, and I got it.”
Sean Doolittle (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th.
Eddie Rosario hit an RBI triple for the Indians in the third. Andres Giménez homered in the fourth.
Sonny Gray made his first appearance of the season for the Reds after being sidelined with a muscle strain in his back. He gave up two runs and six hits, striking out six over 4 1/3 innings.
Tucker Barnhart homered in the Reds second.
Indians starter Triston McKenzie struck out seven and gave up a run on five hits through five innings.
WHOOPS
Votto was thrown out in the fifth when he tried to score from first on a deep single by Naquin. With the ball already relayed to the infield, Votto was sent by third base coach J.R. House and was out by so much he just stopped and let catcher Austin Hedges tag him to end the inning.
GRAY IN, BEDROSIAN OUT
Gray officially came off the disabled list before Saturday’s game, and right-handed reliever Cam Bedrosian was designated for assignment. Bedrosian made the team out of spring training, but had an 11.12 ERA in six appearances.
MORE HELP
To get some more depth in their taxed bullpen, the Indians recalled rookie left-hander Sam Hentges from the alternate training site. To make roster room, they sent outfielder Ben Gamel down. Cleveland used five relievers despite a good start by McKenzie. Hentges wasn’t one of them.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Reds 3B Mike Moustakas isn’t feeling well and was out of the lineup for the second straight day. Utility infielder Alex Blandino was put on the injured list, and outfielder Mark Payton was recalled from the alternate site.
UP NEXT
The Indians send RHP Shane Bieber (1-1), the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, against Reds LHP Wade Miley (2-0) in the finale of the series on Sunday afternoon. Bieber went nine innings in the Indians’ 2-0 win over the White Sox Tuesday, extending his streak of to 15 starts with at least eight strikeouts. Miley gave up two hits and no runs in five innings in the Reds’ 3-0 win over the Giants Monday.
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Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy