AP Sports Wrap from Sunday, April 3, 2016
UNDATED (AP) — The Kansas City Royals raised their championship flag and then topped the team they beat in the World Series. The Royals held off the National League champion Mets 4-3 in their opener at Kauffman Stadium.
Edinson Volquez hurled six shutout innings for the victory. Volquez allowed just two hits and struck out five in his 2016 debut. The Royals bullpen gave up three runs in the eighth before closing the Mets out. Closer Wade Davis struck out Yoenis Cespedes with two on for the final out.
The Royals touched up Mets starter Matt Harvey for four runs on eight hits in his five and two-thirds innings.
In other opening day results:
— The 2016 major league baseball season began on a sunny but cool day in Pittsburgh as the Pirates beat the Cardinals 4-1. Winning pitcher Francisco Liriano (leer-ee-AH'-noh) tied a club record with 10 opening day strikeouts.
— Toronto opened defense of its first AL East title in 22 years by beating Tampa Bay 5-3. Marcus Stroman outpitched Bucs starter Chris Archer in his first opening day start. Stroman allowed three runs and six hits over eight-plus innings for the Blue Jays, who won 93 games in 2015.
A dozen more major league openers are scheduled for Monday. The Tigers and Marlins are the last to open, on Tuesday at Marlins Park.
NCAA WOMEN'S FINAL FOUR
Huskies vs. Orange in title game
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — No. 1 overall seed Connecticut remained on its mission to win an unprecedented fourth straight NCAA women's basketball title by steamrolling an overmatched Oregon State team 80-51 in the first national semifinal.
Morgan Tuck led UConn with 21 and Breanna Stewart added 16 points and eight rebounds.
The top-seeded Huskies are unbeaten in 37 games this season and have won their last 74 straight, including 23 in a row in the NCAA tourney. They will go for 75 in a row Tuesday night when they play Syracuse in the women's NCAA championship.
Fourth seed Syracuse made 12 of 33 3-point shots and downed Washington 80-59 to reach the final. Alexis Petterson had 18 points to lead the Orange. The women's victory took some of the sting out of the Syracuse men losing to North Carolina in their Final Four semifinal on Saturday.
If UConn does win on Tuesday night coach Geno Auriemma (aw-ree-EH'-muh) will have an 11th national championship moving him past vaunted UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden for the most all time.
NCAA MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
'Nova set for Tar Heels
HOUSTON (AP) — The championship game of men's college basketball is set with Villanova facing North Carolina Monday night in Houston. North Carolina has beaten Villanova five of six meetings in the NCAA tournament. 'Nova coach Jay Wright is winless in three games in his career against Roy Williams' team.
In Saturday night's national semifinals, Villanova shocked the hoops world with a 95-51 dissecting of Oklahoma. The Wildcats set a record for margin of victory in a Final Four game. They held Oklahoma's Buddy Hield (HEELD) to his second-lowest output of the season, nine points.
'Nova connected on 35 of 49 shots for a 71.4 shooting percentage. Villanova enters the title game with a record of 34-5.
The Carolina-Syracuse semifinal game was never really in doubt as the Tar Heels won 83-66. The victory for the Tar Heels was their third this season over the Orange.
On Monday night Carolina coach Roy Williams will be looking for his third national championship with the Tar Heels.
Cavs close to clinching No. 1 seed in East...Warriors back on track to beat the Bulls record
UNDATED (AP) — Five day games were on the NBA schedule and in Cleveland the Cavaliers increased their lead over idle Toronto in the race for the top seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference to 3 ½ games with a 112-103 win over Charlotte. LeBron James led the Cavs with 31 points and 12 assists while J.R. Smith added 27 points and Kevin Love 25.
In other NBA:
— After having their 54-game regular-season home winning streak end Friday night with a 109-106 loss to Boston, the 69-8 Warriors trounced Portland 136-111 behind Stephen (STEH'-fihn) Curry's 39 points, six rebounds and seven assists. The Warriors need to win four of their last five games to beat the all-time 72-victory season set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
— Nikola Vucevic (nih-KOH-lah VOOCH'-uh-vitch) scored 25 points off the bench, Victor Oladipo (OH'-luh-dee-poh) and Evan Fournier added 22 points each and the Orlando Magic topped the struggling Memphis Grizzlies 119-107. The Grizzlies, trying to hold onto the fifth seed in the Western Conference, have lost six straight for their longest skid since November 2009.
— Wesley Matthews hit six 3-pointers and scored 19 points as the Mavericks won a game they couldn't afford to lose, 88-78 over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Mavs are involved in a real battle for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. They are currently tied with Utah for the final spot.
— Utah downed Phoenix 101-86. Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 22. The Jazz scored 23 points off 21 Suns turnovers and committed only 10 turnovers themselves.
— The Rockets are a game back of Dallas and Utah after their 118-110 victory over the Thunder in Houston. James Harden had 41 points and nine assists.
— In Los Angeles Blake Griffin appeared in a game for the first time since Christmas Day as the Clippers beat Washington 114-109. Griffin missed all that playing time with injuries and a four-game suspension from the team for punching a club employee. He had just six points in the win. Chris Paul led the Clippers with 27 points and 12 boards.
— Also in Los Angeles the Boston Celtics topped the Lakers 107-100. Isaiah Thomas was high man for the Celtics with 26 points and six assists.
— Paul George returned from an injured ankle to hit the tiebreaking jumper with 23.6 seconds left, and the Indiana Pacers beat the New York Knicks 92-87 to tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. George finished with 20 points and nine boards.
— Jimmy Butler scored 25 points on 10-of-11 shooting, Pau Gasol (pow gah-SOHL') had 16 points and eight rebounds and the Chicago Bulls held off the Milwaukee Bucks, 102-98.
— In a game featuring two teams heading home in the offseason, the Pelicans beat the Nets 106-87. Tim Frazier had 19 points and 13 assists for the winners while Luke Babbitt added 21 points.
Hat trick for Kane
UNDATED (AP) — Patrick Kane had three goals and an assist as the Blackhawks exploded for a six-goal lead in the second period before hanging on for a 6-4 win over Boston. Kane also had an assist in reaching the 100-point mark for the first time in his nine-year career. The win was career No. 800 for Chicago coach Joel Quenneville (KWEHN'-vihl).
The result of the game sent the Florida Panthers to the playoffs, just their second trip in the last 15 seasons.
In other hockey:
— Pittsburgh matched its longest win streak of the season at six by outscoring Philadelphia 6-2. Sidney Crosby, Beau Bennett and Patric Hornqvist scored to help Pittsburgh build an early 3-0 lead midway through the second period.
— St. Louis routed Colorado 5-1 to move the Avalanche to the brink of postseason elimination. David Backes (BAH'-kihs) started the scoring in a three-goal first period. The Blues have a two-point lead over Dallas atop the Central Division.
— Winnipeg routed Minnesota 5-1. Mark Scheifele (SHIHF'-lee) opened the scoring with his 27th goal. The Wild have lost three straight.
— And Anaheim leap-frogged the L.A. Kings to get back into first place in the Pacific Division with a 3-1 victory over Dallas. Nate Thompson and Ryan Kesler each scored a short-handed goal.
SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) — Another Formula One race is over and once again the winning driver was Nico (NEE'-koh) Rosberg of Mercedes. He followed up his win in the Australian Grand Prix with a dominant flag-to-flag victory. Mercedes teammate and defending world champion Lewis Hamilton was third with Kimi Raikkonen (KEE'-mee RAY'-koh-nehn) second.
In another big surprise, the new Haas racing team out of the U.S. scored in the points once again. After finishing sixth in Australia, Romain Grosjean (groh-ZHAHN') scored a fifth-place finish in Bahrain.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel never really got going as his car suffered an engine failure.
Busch takes first
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Kyle Busch finished first in the Sprint Cup race in Martinsville, Virginia. He led 352 of the 500 laps in a commanding performance. He pulled away on a restart with 11 laps to go and outran AJ Allmendinger to the finish. The rest of the top five included Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski.
First-time winner heading to Augusta
HOUSTON (AP) — After years of trying to win a PGA event, Jim Herman has done it. The former University of Cincinnati star finished in first at the Houston Open by completing play 15-under-par. The win also sends him to the Masters that starts Thursday.
Henrik Stenson wound up in second place with Dustin Johnson third. Jordan Spieth (SPEETH) and Phil Mickelson wound up 8-under.
Ko cashes in
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Lydia Ko took advantage of Ariya Jutanugarn's late collapse to win the ANA Inspiration for her second straight major victory and second LPGA Tour win a row.
The top-ranked Ko closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 12 under.
Jutanugarn had a two-stroke lead at 13 under with three holes to play. But she bogeyed all three.
CHAMPIONS TOUR-MISSISSIPPI GULF RESORT CLASSIC
SAUCIER, Miss. (AP) — Miguel Angel Jimenez closed strong to win the Champions Tour's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. He had a final round 8-under-64 to win the event by two strokes. Jimenez finished play at 14-under with Scott Dunlap in second.
The win is Jimenez's third in 10 starts on the Champions Tour.