- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Alex Rodriguez homered for his 3,000th career hit and smiled all the way around the bases, the highlight so far in what’s become a resurgent season for the disgraced slugger.

The New York Yankees star wasted no time, connecting in the first inning on a first-pitch, 95 mph fastball from Detroit ace Justin Verlander.

Out of baseball last year while serving a drug suspension, Rodriguez became the 29th player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits. He was the first to do it since Yankees great Derek Jeter homered from the very same batter’s box in 2011.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Commissioner Rob Manfred said that Major League Baseball has a system in place for monitoring attacks on computer systems used by teams and the league’s office.

Speaking before Oakland’s home game against the Los Angeles Angels, Manfred did not delve into the details of the FBI’s investigation into the St. Louis Cardinals for allegedly hacking into a database operated by the Houston Astros. Manfred did say he was confident no other incidents like this one had taken place before.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Pablo Sandoval was back in the Boston Red Sox lineup after being benched Thursday for using his cellphone during a game.

Sandoval received a warning letter from Major League Baseball, but was not fined for his transgression. The third baseman acknowledged he used his cellphone during Wednesday’s game at Atlanta to click “like” on a woman’s photographs that appeared in his Instagram account.

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Indians have agreed to a minor league contract with left-hander Brady Aiken, their risky first-round pick in this year’s draft.

Cleveland took a gamble on the 18-year-old, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and won’t pitch until 2016. Aiken was selected by Houston with the overall first pick last year after going 7-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 11 starts as a senior at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder was unable to work out a contract with the Astros and had surgery in March.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A minor league baseball team in Utah has canceled a promotion called “Caucasian Heritage Night.”

The Orem Owlz, a minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, had the promotion scheduled for Aug. 10. The team said in a statement that the promotion was planned as a joke with Wonder Bread on burgers with mayonnaise, clips of Friends and Seinfeld and an attempt to “solve the vertical leaping challenge.”

The statement didn’t elaborate on what led to the cancellation, though there was heavy criticism online and on social media in the hours leading up to the announcement.

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GOLF

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. (AP) - Unbeaten as Ryder Cup teammates, Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth now chase a U.S. Open title this weekend at Chambers Bay.

Spieth overcame a double bogey on an 18th hole that he called “the dumbest he has ever played” for a 3-under 67. Reed made only two pars over his final 12 holes, a wild ride that resembled putts on these heavily sloped greens, and had to settle for a 69.

They were tied for the lead on a day that included Jason Day collapsing to the ground because of vertigo, Tiger Woods posting the highest 36-hole score of his pro career and Rory McIlroy making everything from eagle to double bogey on a course that gave him nothing more than two more days to figure it out.

Dustin Johnson was in the mix for the longest time until making three bogeys over his last five holes for a 71. Johnson was one shot behind, along with Branden Grace of South Africa, who matched Spieth with a 67.

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SOCCER

LONDON (AP) - Sepp Blatter believes FIFA’s top officials should be required to pass integrity checks as the governing body remains mired in scandal.

The measure was first recommended three years ago by FIFA’s anti-corruption advisers but was rebuffed by the executive committee. Blatter, however, floated the idea again in his column in the weekly in-house magazine as soccer’s governing body again looks for reforms following a U.S.-led corruption investigation. But the 79-year-old Swiss did not address a recent report he could perform a U-turn and stand in the fresh presidential elections.

Four days after being elected for a fifth, four-year presidential term, Blatter abruptly announced plans on June 2 to stand down amid escalating criminal investigations into FIFA officials. FIFA said he stands by that statement.

Seattle forward Clint Dempsey was suspended for three games by Major League Soccer and fined for his conduct toward a match official during a U.S. Open Cup game this week, a penalty the U.S. captain will finish serving before the Americans start the defense of their CONCACAF Gold Cup title next month.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber concluded Dempsey’s behavior was “referee abuse,” which requires a minimum three-game suspension, and not “referee assault,” which has a minimum six-game ban.

Dempsey was punished for a confrontation with a referee Tuesday in the Sounders’ fourth-round loss to rival Portland, when he grabbed a notebook from the official and tore it after a teammate was given a red card.

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PRO BASKETBALL

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The streets of Oakland were awash in yellow and blue as hundreds of thousands of fans watched and cheered the Golden State Warriors victory parade, which has been 40 years in the making.

In a rare moment of glory, Oakland - a city that usually makes news for crime, corruption, protests and violence- shined in the national spotlight. Fans flooded downtown to see the NBA championship players, MC Hammer, six floats and, of course, the championship trophy, won after the team bested LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.

Three people shot five blocks from the NBA championship celebration were in stable condition. Police say they received a call shortly after noon Friday and found three male victims with gunshot wounds.

ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Hawks agreed to a buyout of the final two years of general manager Danny Ferry’s contract, a person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced. The person said the buyout will be paid by the current ownership group, which has a deal to sell the team for $850 million to a group led by billionaire businessman Antony Ressler.

Ferry was the lead architect of the Hawks’ most successful season. Atlanta won a franchise-record 60 games before losing to Cleveland in its first Eastern Conference final.

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OLYMPICS

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - Pop violinist Vanessa-Mae was cleared by sport’s highest court of allegations she helped fix Alpine skiing races so she could qualify for the Sochi Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, upheld the ruling that Vanessa-Mae should have been ineligible for the 2014 Games because the qualifying events in Slovenia were “so defective.” The court lifted the four-year ban imposed on the celebrity athlete by the International Ski Federation, meaning she can try to qualify for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

LONDON (AP) - Angered by “rumors and speculation” swirling around him, two-time Olympic champion Mo Farah said he has never taken performance-enhancing drugs and described his two missed tests as “simple mistakes.”

The British distance runner missed the tests in 2010 and 2011 in the buildup to the 2012 London Olympics, where he won gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. The missed tests were disclosed for the first time this week by the Daily Mail newspaper.

The report came at a time when Farah’s coach, Alberto Salazar, is under scrutiny amid doping allegations. Farah, who has not been accused of wrongdoing himself, issued a strongly-worded statement on Facebook to insist he is clean.

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TENNIS

LONDON (AP) - Top-seeded Andy Murray stayed on course for a fourth title at Queen’s Club by overcoming Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 to reach the semifinals.

Like in previous matches this week, Murray struggled early against a solid opponent. Muller broke to lead 3-1, and Murray failed to convert two break points in the next game. The second set then went with serve until Murray finally raised his game and was able to dominate the tiebreaker. He then broke early in the third, which was enough to decide the match.

HALLE, Germany (AP) - Ivo Karlovic served an ATP record 45 aces in beating third-seeded Tomas Berdych, while Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori and Andreas Seppi also progressed to the Gerry Weber Open semifinals.

Karlovic defeated Berdych 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-3, finishing it off with an ace on match point as the big-serving Croat eclipsed the previous ATP record of 44 for a best-of-three-sets match, which he shared with Mark Philippoussis.

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PRO FOOTBALL

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Danny Villanueva, who was one of the NFL’s first Latino kickers and a pioneer of Spanish-language television, died at 77.

Family members and officials at New Mexico State University, where Villanueva was a member of the athletic hall of fame, confirmed that he died Thursday after suffering a stroke earlier this week.

Born to migrant missionary workers in eastern New Mexico, Villanueva went on to attend New Mexico State on a football scholarship. After graduating in 1961, he played for the Los Angeles Rams, where he was nicknamed “El Kickador.” Bullfighting music was played whenever he walked onto the field. Villanueva also played with the Dallas Cowboys. His last game ended up being the championship against Green Bay at Lambeau Field in 1967. He and his teammates suffered through the brutally cold temperatures that day in Wisconsin.

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