The Sports Report: Big Ten jump protected UCLA Olympic sports
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
From Mike DiGiovanna: Three times Mike Trout strode to the plate against Houston pitcher Jose Urquidy on July 2, and three times he returned to the dugout in frustration, the Angels star striking out on three pitches in each at-bat.
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There was no trickery involved in the whiffs. Urquidy’s first pitch to Trout that day at Minute Maid Park was a curveball. His next eight pitches were 93-95 mph fastballs, seven of them in the upper third of the strike zone.
High heat. This was Trout’s kryptonite in 2014, when he won his first of three American League most valuable player awards despite a career-high 184 strikeouts, and it is a glaring weakness again in 2022, even as Trout compiles another All-Star season after sitting out most of 2021 because of a calf strain.
Trout has always crushed breaking balls in the zone, with a major league-leading .866 slugging percentage on such pitches since the start of the 2018 season.
But he entered Wednesday night’s game against the Astros with an .064 average in plate appearances ending with high fastballs this season, managing three singles in 47 at-bats with 27 strikeouts, according to Baseball Savant.
Those struggles have contributed to Trout striking out 97 times in 79 games, tied for ninth-most in the majors, and a career-high strikeout rate of 29.8%, well above his 26.1% strikeout rate of 2014 and his career average of 21.9%.
“I haven’t been in a good spot at the plate, and usually when I’m in a good spot, I either don’t swing at those pitches or I get to them,” Trout said before Tuesday night’s game, in which he struck out twice before departing because of upper back spasms. “If I’m in a good spot and seeing the ball, we’re not even talking about this.”
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From Jack Harris: Cody Bellinger began to sense it in the seventh, after Will Smith’s two-run home run.
For Trea Turner, the sensation set in during the eighth, when the Dodgers lineup began to mount a rally again.
Manager Dave Roberts could tell over the entirety of the last three innings, as his lineup wore down the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen, strung together one productive at-bat after the next, and orchestrated their latest, and biggest, comeback yet, adding another highlight to their ever-burgeoning season.
“I kind of sound redundant,” Roberts said, “when I say it’s the biggest win of the year.”
After trailing by six runs through six innings, the Dodgers rallied to beat the Cardinals 7-6 on Wednesday at Busch Stadium, completing their biggest come from behind win since August 2016 and their 26th such victory this season, matching the New York Yankees for most in baseball.
“Offensively, I just can’t say enough about the guys,” Roberts said. “We believe now that, if we keep playing like this, we’re in every game.”
Even ones that look well out of reach.
Talks resume to avert All-Star Game strike by Dodger Stadium concession workers
From Steve Henson: Bru McCoy dropped legal action challenging a 2021 emergency order that removed him from the USC campus a few days after a felony domestic violence arrest involving an ex-girlfriend.
McCoy, a talented wide receiver from Santa Ana Mater Dei High, transferred to Tennessee in May. He played for USC as a freshman in 2020 but sat out 2021 because he was barred from campus.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff dismissed the case Tuesday, four days after McCoy made the request in a court filing.
From Eric Sondheimer: At first, Simi Valley football players were skeptical that the Rams’ Aaron Donald would be dropping by their school on Wednesday afternoon. Coach Jim Benkert had given them the news the night before.
“They didn’t believe me,” Benkert said.
Close to 100 players sat in the bleachers in the gym as Donald walked through the entrance dressed in a white T-shirt, gray gym shorts and gray workout shoes. Benkert introduced him with a microphone but soon he was answering questions without the microphone, talking about his early life in Pittsburgh when few schools recruited him out of high school; about winning the Super Bowl with the Rams; about what it takes to succeed.
“I don’t mind talking to kids,” Donald said. “I could do that all day.”
Benkert set up the visit, and 6-foot-1, 285-pound center Jess Norton was thrilled.
“It’s pretty inspiring and cool that someone of that stature comes to Simi Valley,” he said.
One of Donald’s most important messages was about working out when no one is paying attention.
“It’s easy to do when your coach or teammates are around,” he said. “Let’s see how you work when nobody is watching.”
From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: The WNBA’s third-best three-point shooter watched the league’s annual three-point contest on a TV in Las Vegas, more than 1,700 miles away from the All-Star festivities in Chicago. Lexie Brown would have loved to have been there, but she didn’t receive an invitation to the contest that, in theory, was created to highlight the exact skill the 45.7% three-point shooter has mastered.
To say the Sparks guard was “a little” disappointed was an understatement, Brown said.
The All-Star Game was touted as a passing of the torch, evidenced by 25-year-old A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, 27, handing flowers to retiring legends Sue Bird, 41, and Sylvia Fowles, 36. But the weekend’s other events mostly recycled names from the readily available All-Star pool or players who were already in Chicago. The six-player field in the three-point contest included five All-Stars, one player shooting better than 40% from three-point range and a sentimental fan favorite in Chicago native Allie Quigley.
Two days after Quigley won her record-setting fourth three-point shooting crown, Brown was back in the practice gym with the Sparks working the way she’s always done. She has no problem proving on the court why she deserves a slice of the limelight next time.
“You kind of just have to put your head down and work and hopefully find yourself in a position where you can be successful,” said Brown, who went from the Connecticut Sun to the Minnesota Lynx for two seasons to winning a championship with the Sky before settling with the Sparks. “For a lot of players, that probably takes throughout your entire rookie contract to figure that out. … To get to this point, Year Five, I feel like I’m just getting started.”
JT Marcinkowski had a career-high eight saves, Cristian Espinoza and Jeremy Ebobisse scored first-half goals one minute apart and the San Jose Earthquakes held off the Galaxy 3-2 on Wednesday night in Carson.
Espinoza scored on a penalty kick in the 13th minute for his fifth goal of the season. Ebobisse followed with his 11th and defender Marcos López scored his first goal of the season to stake San Jose (5-7-7) to a 3-0 lead in the 40th minute.
Dejan Joveljic finished with a second-half brace for the Galaxy (8-8-3), scoring in the 48th and 88th minutes. He has eight goals this season.
The Galaxy outshot the Earthquakes 25-11 with a 10-4 edge in shots on goal.
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THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1951 — Citation is the first horse to win $1 million in a career by taking the Hollywood Gold Cup by four lengths in Inglewood. Citation retires after the race with total earnings of $1,085,760. In 45 starts, Citation ran out of the money only once.
1964 — Jacques Anquetil wins his fifth Tour de France. It’s his fourth straight title of the cycling event.
1967 — Eddie Mathews of the Astros hits his 500th home run off San Francisco’s Juan Marichal at Candlestick Park. Houston beats the Giants 8-6.
1968 — Hank Aaron hits his 500th home run off Mike McCormick as the Atlanta Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2.
1973 — Tom Weiskopf wins the British Open by three strokes over Johnny Miller and Neil Coles. Weiskopf goes wire-to-wire and his total of 12-under-par 276 matches the Open Championship record set by Arnold Palmer on the same Troon Golf Club course in 1962.
1985 — Kathy Baker beats Judy Clark by three strokes to win the U.S. Women’s Open golf title.
1985 — The Baltimore Stars defeat the Oakland Invaders 28-24 to win the United States Football League championship.
1986 — Jane Geddes beats Sally Little in an 18-hole playoff to take the U.S. Women’s Open championship.
1991 — Meg Mallon shoots a 4-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over Pat Bradley in the 46th U.S. Women’s Open. Mallon finishes with a 1-under 283.
1995 — Ramon Martinez throws a no-hitter, giving the Dodgers a 7-0 victory over the Florida Marlins.
2001 — John Campbell scores an unprecedented sixth victory in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace as Real Desire beats favored Bettor’s Delight in the stretch. Real Desire paces the mile in 1:49.3 in matching the record set by The Panderosa two years ago in the race that gave Campbell his fifth win. Campbell, 46, is a winner of a $1 million race 19 times.
2005 — In Oklahoma City, the United States is beaten in an international softball game for the first time since 2002, losing 2-1 to Canada in the inaugural World Cup of Softball.
2009 — The American League continues its dominance over the National League with a 4-3 win in the All-Star game. The AL is 12-0-1 since its 1996 defeat at Philadelphia — the longest unbeaten streak in All-Star history.
2011 — Kaio breaks former grand champion Chiyonofuji career sumo victory record, beating Mongolian Kyokutenho for No. 1,046. The 39-year-old Kaio forces out Kyokutenho in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
2011 — Amateur Tom Lewis shoots a record 5-under 65 in the opening round of the British Open. The 20-year-old Lewis posts the lowest round ever by an amateur in golf’s oldest major to pull even with Thomas Bjorn at Royal St. George’s.
2013 — Jordan Spieth becomes the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years. The 19-year-old outlasts David Hearn and Zach Johnson on the fifth hole of a playoff to win the John Deere Classic. He’s the first teenager to win since Ralph Guldahl took the Santa Monica Open in 1931.
2015 — Mike Trout becomes the first player in 38 years to lead off the All-Star Game with a home run, and the American League beats the National League 6-3 to secure home-field advantage in the World Series for the third straight time and 10th in 13 years. Trout also becomes the first player to be selected the game’s MVP two years in row.
2018 — Angelique Kerber claims her first Wimbledon title with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over seven-time champion Serena Williams.
2019 — Novak Djokovic wins the longest ever Wimbledon title over Roger Federer 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 in 4 hours 57 minutes.
Compiled by the Associated Press
Ramon Martinez pitches a no-hitter. Watch and listen here.
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