April 11 Sports Briefs

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Haniger’s 2-out HR in 9th leads Mariners over KC 6-5

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mitch Haniger hit a tiebreaking homer with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting Seattle over Kansas City 6-5 on Wednesday after Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to a Royals-record 31 games. Merrifield’s RBI bunt single in the seventh tied it at 5 and moved him past Hall of Famer George Brett for the franchise mark. Kansas City dropped to 2-9 with its ninth straight loss. Haniger took Brad Boxberger (0-2) deep, making Seattle 12-2 following an offseason roster overhaul. The Mariners and the 2002 Cleveland Indians are the only teams since 1908 to homer in each of their first 14 games. The Mariners have 34 homers, tied with the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals for most ever through 14 games. Seattle has scored at least five runs 13 times. Anthony Swarzak (1-0) got two outs in the eighth and Roenis Elias worked out of a bases-loaded jam for his second save. Seattle’s Jay Bruce, tied for the AL lead with seven homers, left in the fourth with tightness in his left Achilles tendon.

Twins go wild, let win slip away against the Mets

NEW YORK (AP) — Jake Odorizzi and Minnesota’s bullpen suddenly went wild, allowing seven straight batters to reach base despite not hitting a single fair ball and letting Noah Syndergaard and New York stroll past the Twins 9-6 on Wednesday. One day after the teams set a Citi Field record by totaling 10 home runs in the Twins’ 14-8 romp, the Mets barely had to swing to build a big lead. A startling stretch that kept snowballing saw Odorizzi, newly promoted reliever Andrew Vasquez and Trevor Hildenberger combine to walk six and hit a batter with a pitch without getting an out. At one point, the Twins threw 21 pitches — 19 missed the strike zone, many of them bouncing or sailing all over. Wilson Ramos grounded a two-run single that capped the crazy six-run rally in the fifth inning. The Mets could’ve scored more, but Jeff McNeil was picked off third after hesitating on a bases-loaded pitch that skittered to the backstop. Syndergaard (1-1) had permitted just two hits in taking a 9-1 lead into the eighth, and was pulled after giving up a single, double and triple to begin the inning. It had already been a strange season for Odorizzi (0-2) — he struck out 11 against Cleveland, then got only two outs while being tagged by Philadelphia — before this bizarre start.

Nuggets win over ‘Wolves clinches No. 2 seed in West

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 14 rebounds and had a key strip in the closing seconds as Denver scored the game’s final 15 points and secured the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a 99-95 win over Minnesota on Wednesday. James Murray added 17 for the Nuggets, who are in the postseason for the first time in six years and will face seventh-seeded San Antonio. Gorgui Dieng added 18 points for the Timberwolves backups and rookie Cameron Reynolds scored a careerbest 17 points, including a 3-pointer that put Minnesota ahead 95-84 with 4:01 left.

Blazers top Kings 136-131 in regular season finale

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Rookie Anfernee Simons scored a career-high 37 points in his first start of the season and Portland secured the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference using just six players in a 136-131 win over Sacramento on Wednesday. The Blazers have won 14 of 17 games en route to their sixth straight trip to the playoffs. Portland will open the postseason against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who finished in sixth. Marvin Bagley III had 20 points to lead the Kings, who lost their 11th straight game in Portland.

Tribal flags now OK during anthem at Montana tourneys

BILLINGS (AP) — The Montana High School Association’s executive board has voted to allow tribal flags at midcourt during the national anthem at district, divisional and state basketball games. The Billings Gazette reports that the decision, which came Monday, means that starting next year, any Montana tribal flag can be presented alongside the American and Montana state flags during the playing of the national anthem at postseason basketball tournaments. The vote followed a grievance filed with the association by the Fort Peck Tribes after a Poplar High School flagbearer was told last month to stand on the baseline during the opening night of the Class B state boys’ tournament in Belgrade.

RJ Barrett leaving Duke

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — RJ Barrett is leaving Duke after one season to enter the NBA draft. Barrett announced his decision Wednesday in a video posted on social media. Barrett said playing at Duke is a dream but added that “it’s also a dream of mine to play in the NBA and have great success there.” School spokesman Mike DeGeorge said Barrett plans to hire an agent but has not yet chosen one. The AP All-American averaged an Atlantic Coast Conference-best 22.6 points along with 7.6 rebounds while forming half of perhaps the nation’s most potent one-two punch along with classmate and roommate Zion Williamson.