AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Ramirez powers Red Sox into first...Altuve boosts average to .357
UNDATED (AP) — There's been at change at the top of the American League East standings. Boston is on top, Baltimore drops a half-game behind and the New York Yankees are two games over .500 for the first time since April.
Hanley Ramirez hit three home runs in the Red Sox' 11-7 beatdown of the San Francisco Giants. Ramirez hit a two-run shot in the second inning and another in the third off Giants starter Matt Cain. Ramirez drove in a career-high six runs as the Red Sox won for the eighth time in nine games.
In the fourth, Ramirez was hit by a pitch, prompting him to glower at reliever Albert Suarez before the home plate umpire warned both benches.
Ramirez came up with a man on again in the sixth against Suarez and hit a line drive that smacked off a shelf above the Green Monster. Ramirez began the game with eight home runs this season. Travis Shaw and Sandy Leon also homered for Boston, and Mookie Betts had three hits.
The Giants made their first visit to Fenway Park since 2007 and just their second since the start of interleague play. They have never beaten the Red Sox at the century-old ballpark. Their last win at Fenway came when they were the New York Giants against the Boston Braves in the 1912 World Series.
In other major league play:
— Mark Teixeira (teh-SHEHR'-uh) homered in his return from his latest injury, and the New York Yankees blanked the Baltimore Orioles 5-0. Michael Pineda improved to 4-9 with six strong innings.
— The L.A. Angels built a 5-0 lead after two innings and held off AL West-leading Texas 7-4. Jefry Marte (JEH'-frey marh-TAY') hit a three-run homer, helping the Angels finish a three-game sweep. The Angels have won six in a row to move out of the basement in the AL West. Meanwhile, the Rangers lead is down to three and a-half games over Houston.
— Anthony Rizzo homered twice off Bartolo Colon to help the Cubs beat the Mets 6-2. Rizzo's two-run homer highlighted a three-run fifth inning. The Cubs took two of three from the Mets in their rematch of last year's NL Championship Series.
— Bryce Harper hit a tape-measure, 451-foot two-run home run into the third deck at Nationals Park and the Washington Nationals beat Los Angeles 8-1 after losing five straight meetings with the Dodgers. That's his 20th homer. Ben Revere and Jayson Werth added back-to-back home runs off loser Bud Norris in the fifth inning. Anthony Rendon (rehn-DOHN') also went deep for the Nationals, who lead Miami by five and a-half games.
— Jeremy Hellickson struck out eight in eight innings, Tyler Goeddel hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 4-1. Hellickson evened his mark at 7-1.
— Milwaukee worked over Pittsburgh 9-5. Jonathan Lucroy (LOO'-kroy) drove in three runs, including a two-run single in the sixth inning that broke things open.
— Tyler Naquin hit two of the Indians' five homers and had a career-high six RBIs in Cleveland's 11-4 rout of Kansas City. Naquin had his first multi-homer game. Mike Napoli (NAP'-oh-lee) went deep for the second straight day. Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana also hit home runs. Carlos Carrasco only allowed one hit in six shutout innings to improve to 7-3. The loss drops the Royals nine games back of the AL Central-leading Indians.
— Ex-Padre Jedd Gyorko (JURK'-oh) homered for the fifth straight game off San Diego pitching, connecting twice with all three RBIs in a 3-2 victory that gave the St. Louis Cardinals a doubleheader sweep. Gyorko, dealt by the Padres in the offseason for outfielder Jon Jay, is 13 for 21 against his old team with six homers and 10 RBIs. He also homered in the first half won by the Cardinals 4-2.
— Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario homered off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth, lifting Minnesota to a 4-1 win over the Tigers. That was the first scoring since Minnesota's Joe Mauer and Detroit's Ian Kinsler homered in the first inning. The Tigers wasted a strong performance by starter Justin Verlander, who gave up a run and two hits in eight innings.
— Joey Votto (VAH'-toh) continued his hot recent pace with a two-run homer in Cincinnati's 6-3 win over Atlanta. Votto is 11 for 20 in the last six games with two homers, a double and six walks. Tucker Barnhart also hit a two-run homer to back the pitching of Anthony DeSclafani who improved to 5-0 with a 2.61 ERA. The Reds won four of seven this season against the Braves, who have the league's worst record at 33-62. Cincinnati isn't much better at 36-59.
— Chris Archer struck out 11 over six innings for his first win since June 6, Tim Beckham had a career-high five hits and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Colorado Rockies 11-3. Evan Longoria kept up his hot hitting with two doubles as the Rays took two of three at Coors Field.
— Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion (ehn-kar-nah-see-OHN') each hit two-run homers and the Toronto Blue Jays routed the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-4. Donaldson's homer off Patrick Corbin landed in the Chase Field swimming pool in the first inning.
— Doug Fister pitched seven innings for his 10th win and Jose Altuve (al-TOO'-vay) continued his torrid hitting as the Houston Astros blanked the Oakland Athletics 7-0. Altuve was 2 for 3 with two walks. He's baseball's leading hitter with a .357 average and is 12 for his last 17 in his last four games.
— Leonys Martin hit his second home run of the game, a solo shot with one out in the 11th inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox 6-5. Martin hit a two-run drive in the second inning.
Big problems for Fielder...Cubs bolster their bullpen...LA pitcher faces surgery
UNDATED (AP)— Texas Rangers slugger Prince Fielder is facing the prospect of season-ending neck surgery after an MRI revealed a herniated disk just above an area that was repaired two years ago. Fielder and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo were placed on the 15-day disabled list by the slumping AL West leaders.
In other baseball news:
— The Cubs added bullpen help by acquiring left-hander Mike Montgomery from the Seattle Mariners for first baseman and designated hitter Dan Vogelbach. Chicago also obtained right-handed prospect Jordan Pries in the deal that sent right-hander Paul Blackburn to Seattle.
— Koji Uehara (oo-eh-HAHR'-ah), who took over the closer's role for Boston when Craig Kimbrel was injured, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Red Sox with a right pectoral strain. Right-hander Noe Ramirez was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
— Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher Alex Wood underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow that will keep him out for about eight weeks. Wood hasn't pitched since May 30 because of the problem. He's been on the 60-day disabled list since an initial MRI found an elbow impingement.
League to hire medical officer
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL will be hiring a chief medical officer to work with team medical staffs, the players' union and league committees. In a letter sent to the 32 team presidents and obtained by The Associated Press, Commissioner Roger Goodell (guh-DEHL') said the chief medical officer also would work with the broader independent scientific and medical communities.
UNDATED (AP) —Brad Richards is ending his 15-year NHL career that included two Stanley Cup championships.
He was voted the 2004 Conn Smythe trophy winner as playoff MVP when he led Tampa Bay to the title. He also played on the 2015 Stanley Cup winner with Chicago.
Richards was a 10-time 20-goal scorer and finished with 298 goals and 634 assists for 932 points in 1,126 games in a career that included stops with Dallas, the Rangers and Detroit.
In other hockey:
— The Washington Capitals and forward Marcus Johansson have avoided arbitration by signing a $13.75 million, three-year contract. Johansson had 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points in 74 games last season. In 419 regular-season NHL games, Johansson has 78 goals and 154 assists for 232 points and has added 22 points in the playoffs.
Earnhardt out, Gordon in
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss two more races with concussion-like symptoms and Jeff Gordon will come out of retirement to drive the No. 88 car for at least the next two weekends. Hendrick Motorsports made the announcement saying Earnhardt will not compete at this weekend's Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis and the next race, at Pocono, as he continues to recover from balance issues and nausea.
Gordon, a four-time series champ and the only five-time winner of the Brickyard 400, will make his season debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He has not competed since retiring after last year's season finale and has spent this season primarily as a commentator on Fox Sports' NASCAR coverage.
Decision expected Sunday
UNDATED (AP) — Former World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey says it should be a "clear-cut" decision: Russia should not be allowed to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Meanwhile, Russia's top Olympic official says he expects a final decision by Sunday on whether the entire Russian team will be banned from next month's Rio Games.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport will issue its verdict today on Russia's appeal to overturn the IAAF (I-double-A-F) ban on its track and field athletes for the Olympics. The IOC will take that into account before making its own decision.
TOUR DE FRANCE
Zakarin wins stage, Froome increases lead
FINHAUT-EMOSSON, Switzerland (AP) — Russia's Ilnur Zakarin has won the 17th stage of the Tour de Franc, which was the first Alpine stage.
It was Zakarin's first stage win at cycling's biggest event.
Defending champ Chris Froome increased his overall lead to 2 minutes, 27 seconds.