AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Hawks take 3-2 series lead on Horford's heroics...Warriors up 3-2 after routing Grizzlies
UNDATED (AP) — Eastern Conference top-seed Atlanta nipped Washington 82-81 on Al Horford's put-back with 1.9 seconds left. That gives the Hawks a 3-2 series lead in their NBA Eastern Conference final.
That final rebound capped a career playoff game for Horford. The Atlanta center finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots. Paul Millsap added 14 points and 7 rebounds for the Hawks.
John Wall of the Wizards started at point guard after missing the last three games after suffering five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist and hand in Game 1. Wall finished with 15 points and seven assists. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 23 points.
Game 6 is Friday in Washington.
While Atlanta needed a nail-biter, the Golden State Warriors enjoyed a 98-78 blowout to take their 3-2 series lead over the Memphis Grizzlies. Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 21. NBA MVP Steph Curry had 18 points and contributed six steals.
With defensive stopper Tony Allen sidelined with a left hamstring injury, the Grizzlies struggled to contain Golden State's streaky shooters. The Warriors made 14 of 30 shots from 3-point range, while Memphis made just four of 15 from long distance.
The Warriors can eliminate the Grizzlies with a victory Friday night in Game 6 in Memphis.
Rangers win Game 7, face Lightning next
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Rangers got a goal from Derek Stepan 11:24 into overtime to eliminate Washington 2-1 in Game 7 and earn a trip to the NHL Eastern Conference final. The Rangers won the final three games of the series after the Caps had a 3-1 series lead. The Caps are now 4-10 in Game 7s in their history.
Alex Ovechkin, who had guaranteed a Caps victory, scored the lone goal for Washington. The Caps have lost five Game 7s in as many tries when leading a series 3-1. Kevin Hayes tied it in the second.
Henrik Lundqvist was huge in goal for the Rangers with 35 saves. He has now tied an NHL record with six straight victories in Game 7s. The Rangers are 7-0 in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers now face Tampa Bay in the conference final. That series opens Saturday at the Garden.
Kluber combines on a 1-hitter...Nats slam D-Backs...Gray sharp, but loses
UNDATED (AP) — Corey Kluber got his first win of the season with a vengeance.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner struck out 18 and allowed just one seventh-inning single in his eight innings of work in the Cleveland Indians' 2-0 win over St. Louis. It was Kluber's first victory of the season after opening 0-5.
Kluber didn't yield a hit until Jhonny Peralta grounded a clean single to center with two outs in the seventh. A small crowd of 12,313 on a crisp night at Progressive Field gave Kluber a warm ovation and he finished the inning by striking out Jason Heyward. Closer Cody Allen completed the one-hitter.
Kluber's 18 strikeouts tied the club record for a nine-inning game held by Hall of Famer Bob Feller in 1938. It's also the most strikeouts by an AL pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1998.
In other baseball:
— Sonny Gray only gave up one run for Oakland against Boston. But it was enough to earn him his first loss of the season. Daniel Nava reached Gray for an RBI single in the second inning and the Red Sox went on to a 2-0 win. Gray fell to 4-1 despite allowing just the one run on three hits and striking out nine in seven innings.
— Baltimore beat Toronto 6-1. Miguel Gonzalez scattered three singles and allowed just one unearned run while pitching into the eighth inning and improved to 4-2.
— Asdrubal Cabrera got his 1,000th hit during a two-run second inning, and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied from an early deficit to beat the New York Yankees 3-2.
— Prince Fielder homered and had three hits, Shin-Soo Choo hit a leadoff home run for the second straight game and the Texas Rangers beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2.
— Torii Hunter homered and Joe Mauer hit a bases-loaded triple, leading the Minnesota Twins past the Detroit Tigers 6-2.
— Michael Taylor hit his first career grand slam in the ninth after Bryce Harper was ejected two innings earlier, lifting the Washington Nationals to a 9-6 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Taylor entered the game in the seventh inning after Harper and Nationals manager Matt Williams were ejected for arguing a check swing call.
__ Chris Coghlan drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Chicago Cubs a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets.
__ Speedster Dee Gordon had four hits against his former team, Giancarlo Stanton had a decisive two-run single in the seventh and the Miami Marlins' bullpen finished off a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
— Cincinnati topped Atlanta 5-1. Reds rookie Raisel Iglesias pitched eight innings of two-hit baseball in his second career start. Todd Frazier connected for his 12th home run of the season. Marlon Byrd added a solo shot.
— Cole Hamels struck out nine over seven strong innings, Jeff Francoeur threw out the potential tying run at the plate to end the game and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2. Hamels is 3-3.
— In interleague play, Avisail Garcia and Adam LaRoche hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning to lead the Chicago White Sox past the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2.
__ George Springer hit a tie-breaking solo homer in the eighth and the AL West-leading Houston Astros rallied past the San Francisco Giants 4-3. __ San Diego doubled up Seattle 4-2. James Shields improved to 5-0. He struck out nine and allowed one run over six innings.
__ And in 11 innings, the L.A. Angels rallied to beat Colorado 2-1. Albert Pujols drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
Red Sox' Masterson to DL
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Red Sox plan to place right-hander Justin Masterson on the disabled list Thursday after two starts in which he has struggled with velocity. Manager John Farrell made the announcement a day after Masterson only threw one of 57 pitches that reached 90 mph. His fastball has averaged just under 89 mph this season, down more than 2 mph from September.
Masterson is 2-2 with a 6.37 earned run average in seven starts since joining Boston with a $9.5 million, one-year deal in December.
— Tampa Bay left-hander Drew Smyly will miss the rest of the season because of a torn labrum. The 25-year-old Smyly came back from a spring bout of tendinitis to make three starts. But he began complaining of tightness in his arm during a game at Boston on May 5. He is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA.
— Right-hander Jason Garcia has been placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Baltimore Orioles. The team says that Garcia has right shoulder tendinitis.
— Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss has been taken to hospital after two days of stomach discomfort. Bench coach Tom Runnells will handle things until Weiss returns. The Rockies begin a four-game series up the freeway at Dodger Stadium Thursday night.
HORSE RACING-PREAKNESS STAKES
Derby winner is odds-on Preakness favorite
BALTIMORE (AP) — Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah has been made the 4-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Preakness Stakes. The horse drew the unfavorable No. 1 post position in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Trainer Bob Baffert is looking for his sixth Preakness win with American Pharoah and Dortmund. Dortmund is the 7-2 second choice after finishing third in the Derby, while runner-up Firing Line is next at 4-1.
A field of eight 3-year-olds was entered Wednesday. It's the smallest Preakness field since 2000, when Red Bullet upset Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.
The last horse to win the Preakness from the inside post was Tabasco Cat in 1994.
Busch approved for the Chase
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Busch is eligible to compete for the NASCAR championship despite missing the first 11 races this season because of injuries suffered in a crash. NASCAR has announced that it has granted Busch a waiver that would allow the Joe Gibbs Racing star to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Busch needs a victory in one of the remaining 15 points races and be 30th or better in the standings to qualify. He is returning to racing this weekend for the exhibition All-Star race in Charlotte.
Scary crash for Castroneves
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) —Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has been cleared and released from infield medical center after a spectacular crash during practice for the race. His car went airborne after spinning into the outer wall and rolling backward between the first and second turns. The car landed upside down before rolling back over on its wheels.
Castroneves climbed out of the car without assistance.
U.S. loses London silver
LONDON (AP) —The entire U.S. men's sprint relay team has been stripped of its silver medal from the 2012 London Olympics as a result of Tyson Gay's doping case. Gay returned his own medal last year after accepting a one-year doping suspension and the loss of results going back to July 2012, but the status of the U.S. second-place finish in London and the medals of Gay's relay teammates had remained in limbo until now.
Former Tar Heels coach dies
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Bill Guthridge, who replaced Dean Smith as head basketball coach at North Carolina before the 1997-98 season, has passed away at 77. Prior to taking over the North Carolina program Guthridge served for three decades as Smith's assistant coach. Guthridge helped Smith and Carolina win national championships in 1982 and 1993.
Following the retirement of Smith, who died earlier this year at 83, Guthridge led the Tar Heels to two trips to the Final Four before retiring in June of 2000.