AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Cavaliers hammer Warriors
CLEVELAND (AP) — There was a third straight blowout in the NBA Finals on Wednesday. This time, it was the Cleveland Cavaliers doing the postgame celebrating.
LeBron James had 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists as the Cavs crushed Golden State 120-90 to pull within two games to one in the series. Kyrie (KY'-ree) Irving dropped in 30 points for the Cavaliers, who were coming off 15- and 33-point losses to the Warriors in Oakland.
Cleveland jumped out to a 30-10 lead, then watched the Warriors get within seven in the first half before the Cavaliers dominated the last two quarters. Irving led the Cavs' first-quarter assault by scoring 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting.
J.R. Smith helped the Cavs pull away in the second half. He shot 5-for-10 from 3-point range in scoring 20 points.
Cleveland veteran Richard Jefferson had a productive game in place of Kevin Love, who has not been cleared by doctors after suffering a concussion in Game 2 on Sunday. Jefferson contributed nine points and eight rebounds in 33 minutes while helping the Cavs hold Draymond Green to six points on 2-for-8 shooting.
Warriors guards Stephen (STEH'-fehn) Curry and Klay Thompson each had another sub-par performance, going scoreless in the first quarter and finishing with just 29 points. Curry paced Golden State with 19 points and still hasn't scored 20 in any game of the series.
Game 4 is Friday in Cleveland.
Lackey dominates Phillies
UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Cubs' starting rotation entered Wednesday's major league schedule with an exceptional 2.34 ERA this season. That number has been further reduced by John Lackey, who tossed seven shutout innings to lead an 8-1 rout of the Phillies in Philadelphia.
Lackey held the Phils to three hits and no walks while striking out eight. He improved to 7-2 with a 2.63 ERA while helping the Cubs improve to a major league-best 41-17.
Javier Baez was 4-for-4 with three RBIs for the Cubbies, who also got homers from Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist (ZOH'-brihst).
Elsewhere in the majors:
— The Rangers' five-game winning streak is over after Doug Fister combined with four relievers on a 10-hitter in Houston's 3-1 triumph at Texas. George Springer hit a first-inning homer and Jose Altuve (al-TOO'-vay) added a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh as the Astros beat the Rangers for the first time in nine tries this season. Rangers starter Yu Darvish left after feeling tightness in his right shoulder during the fifth inning, but the team said he was lifted only as a precaution.
— Taijuan (TY'-wahn) Walker fanned 11 while limiting Cleveland to three hits over eight innings of Seattle's 5-0 shutout. Chris Ianetta (eye-ah-NEH'-tuh) homered twice and had four RBIs as the Mariners climbed within three games of the AL West-leading Rangers. The Indians still top the AL Central by 2 ½ games over Kansas City.
— Chris Tillman picked up his seventh win as he and Brad Brach (brahk) combined on a nine-hitter with 12 strikeouts in Baltimore's 4-0 shutout of Kansas City. Tillman struck out nine over 7 1/3 innings as the Orioles completed a three-game sweep and dealt the Royals their seventh consecutive loss. The game was scoreless until Ryan Flaherty laced a two-run double in a four-run fifth that sent the Birds to their fourth straight win.
— Baltimore's lead in the AL East is up to 1 ½ games over Boston after Brandon Belt and Mac Williamson homered off David Price in the Giants' 2-1 victory over the Red Sox in San Francisco. Price took the loss despite firing a three-hitter. The Giants now top the NL West by four games over Los Angeles.
— The Dodgers were 1-0 losers to Colorado as Chris Rusin won a pitcher's duel against Kenta Maeda (mah-EH'-dah). Rusin combined with four relievers on a four-hitter, but the game was scoreless until Daniel Descalso lined an RBI single off Maeda in the seventh inning.
— Toronto has ended Detroit's five-game winning streak as Josh Donaldson belted a three-run homer and Justin Smoak added a two-run shot in the Blue Jays' 7-2 romp over the Tigers. Kevin Pillar (pee-AHR') added a two-run triple to back R.A. Dickey, who gave up nine hits but just two runs over 5 1/3 innings. Losing pitcher Jordan Zimmermann was tagged for seven runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, leaving him with a 3.30 ERA just over a month after he owned a 1.10 earned run average.
— Carlos Beltran belted his 16th homer and had three RBIs as the New York Yankees mauled the Angels 12-6. Chris Parmelee homered twice in his first start as a Yankee, Jacoby Ellsbury added a solo shot and Brett Gardner went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored in the Yanks' eighth straight home win over Los Angeles.
— St. Louis outscored Cincinnati 12-7 behind three-run homers by Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta (JAH'-nee peh-RAHL'-tah). Brandon Moss homered twice and drove in three for the Cardinals, who got at least one hit from each of their starting position players.
— Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Drew, Danny Espinosa and Jayson Werth homered while Washington was building an 11-0 lead in an 11-4 pounding of the White Sox in Chicago. Max Scherzer (SHUR'-zur) scattered five hits in seven scoreless innings as the Nationals won their third in a row to maintain a 3 ½-game lead over the New York Mets in the NL East.
— The Mets had dropped nine straight to Pittsburgh before Wilmer Flores poked an RBI single in the 10th inning to give New York a 6-5 triumph over the Pirates. Ty Kelly hit his first major league homer and Michael Conforto capped his three-RBI night with a game-tying, two-run blast in the eighth.
— Corey Dickerson was 3-for-5 with a pair of homers as Tampa Bay won for the fifth time in six games, 6-3 at Arizona. The Rays' bullpen threw four scoreless innings after winning pitcher Jake Odorizzi was reached for three runs and five hits over five frames.
— Chase Anderson pitched two-hit ball over 6 2/3 innings of Milwaukee's 4-0 shutout of Oakland. Scooter Gennett (geh-NEHT') drove in three runs with a pair of singles to help the Brewers win for the 10th time in 15 games.
— Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe and Byung Ho Park homered before the Twins scored twice in the seventh to beat Miami 7-5. Park's blast knotted the score in the sixth, and Plouffe broke the tie with an RBI double before scoring on Brian Dozier's single.
— The Braves were 4-2 winners at San Diego behind the pitching of Julio Teheran, who allowed a pair of solo homers by Wil Myers but just three other hits over eight innings. Chase d'Arnaud (dahr-NOH') had three hits and an RBI, while Ender Inciarte (EHN'-dur ihn-see-AHR'-tay) went 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
Mets get Johnson back
NEW YORK (AP) — Kelly Johnson has been reacquired by the Mets in a trade with Atlanta.
The Braves get right-hander Akeel Morris in the deal and will have to pay $450,000 to New York to cover part of Johnson's salary.
The 34-year-old is hitting .215 with one homer and 10 RBIs this season.
New York has been seeking to bolster its roster following injuries to third baseman David Wright and first baseman Lucas Duda.
Some trying to sell free Ali memorial tickets
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Some people are trying to cash in on the free tickets they've obtained to the Muhammad Ali memorial service planned for Friday in Louisville.
Thousands of tickets for the service were claimed on a first-come, first-served basis in about an hour. Some ticket holders immediately sought to profit from the tickets by going online to sell theirs.
Ali family spokesman Bob Gunnell denounced the profiteering, saying Ali wanted the free event to be open to all.
Talib at Broncos HQ after shooting
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Cornerback Aqib Talib (ah-KEEB' tah-LEEB') is having his gunshot wound evaluated by Broncos' doctors and trainers at the team's headquarters.
He was shot over the weekend in Dallas, where he has an offseason home.
Citing police, WFAA-TV in Dallas reported that Talib said he was too intoxicated to recall details of the shooting. The bullet entered Talib's right thigh and exited his right calf, suggesting a trajectory that could indicate Talib shot himself.
He didn't need surgery and the Broncos have said he's expected to make a full recovery.
Sharapova given two-year ban
LONDON (AP) — Barring a successful appeal, you won't see Maria Sharapova compete in another tennis tournament until January 2018.
The five-time major champion has been suspended from competition by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for meldonium at the Australian Open. The ban is retroactive to her positive test following a quarterfinal loss to Serena Williams.
The ruling by an independent three-person panel appointed says Sharapova did not intend to cheat because she didn't know meldonium was banned. But, she bears "sole responsibility" for the positive test. She was provisionally suspended by the ITF in early March, when she announced that she failed a doping test in January.
The five-time Grand Slam champion immediately said she will appeal to sport's highest court.
HORSE RACING-BELMONT STAKES DRAW
Exaggerator is Belmont favorite
NEW YORK (AP) — Preakness winner Exaggerator has been made the 9-5 favorite in a field of 13 for Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
The 3-year-old colt trained and ridden by the Desormeaux (deh-SOHR'-moh) brothers has drawn the No. 11 post position.
Stradivari is the surprising second choice at 5-1. He ran fourth in the Preakness in his stakes debut. Destin is third choice at 6-1. Both are trained by Todd Pletcher.