BASEBALL

Tyreque Reed drove in four runs during an 11-run second inning, and Ronaldo Hernandez also finished with four RBI Thursday night as the Portland Sea Dogs routed the Hartford Yard Goats, winning 14-3 in Hartford, Connecticut.

Hudson Potts homered and drove in three runs as the Sea Dogs supported starting pitcher Brayan Bello with a 17-hit attack. Bello allowed three hits and one run in five innings, with six strikeouts and three walks. Rio Gomez pitched a scoreless inning in relief, extending his scoreless streak to 24 innings dating back to early July.

Despite the victory, Portland was eliminated from playoff contention in Double-A Northeast when Somerset won its game at Akron.

HOCKEY

NHL: Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly estimates that 98% of players will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time the season begins on Oct. 12., leaving between 10 and 15 unvaccinated players among roughly 700 on 32 teams across North America.

The league and NHL Players’ Association did not impose a vaccine mandate on players, but restrictions – including the potential of not being able to cross the border from the U.S. into Canada without a lengthy quarantine – contributed to the number. Teams will be able to suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in hockey activities as part of the protocols, which could include games in Canada.

“If you’re unvaccinated, you’re on a U.S. team, you’re traveling to Canada to play games in Canada, there is no exception at this point for that player to be exempted from a 14-day quarantine,” Daly told The Associated Press. “Most of our U.S. clubs aren’t doing 14-day road trips into Canada (so) that player typically would be left home because he can’t participate if he goes to Canada. So, those are the types of disruptions that we’ll see with unvaccinated players.”

Fully vaccinated players will have any COVID-19 positives treated as hockey injuries and still be paid. Unvaccinated players will have their movements restricted when on the road. And there will still be regular coronavirus testing for vaccinated players.

Three teams – Calgary, Toronto and Carolina – have confirmed all their players are vaccinated, and Philadelphia expects to be at 100% soon. Coaches and staff must be vaccinated as a condition of employment. Columbus recently replaced assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre because he declined to be vaccinated.

The Buffalo Sabres’ cross-border rivalry against the Toronto Maple Leafs is heading outdoors.

The Sabres are listed as the home team against the Maple Leafs in the NHL’s Heritage Classic, to be played at Tim Hortons Field, home of the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, on March 13, the league announced.

Buffalo becomes the first U.S.-based team to compete in what will be the sixth Heritage Classic, which is part of the NHL’s outdoor series of games and traditionally set in Canada featuring matchups of Canadian teams. In choosing Hamilton, Ontario, as a host, the NHL selected a site that is essentially the mid-point of the 100-mile drive separating the Atlantic Division rivals.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: Brittney Sykes scored 17 points, Nneka Ogwumike had 15 points and 10 rebounds and the Los Angeles Sparks kept their playoff hopes alive with a 74-68 win over the Atlanta Dream.

Los Angeles (12-19) is in ninth place, a half-game behind the Washington Mystics for the final playoff spot. The Sparks close their season Sunday against Dallas. The Mystics play at New York on Friday and host Minnesota on Sunday.

NBA: The Dallas Mavericks signed free-agent guard Frank Ntilikina, who averaged 5.5 points and 2.7 assists in four seasons with the Knicks.

SOCCER

U.S. WOMEN: Carli Lloyd scored a career-high five goals and the United States routed Paraguay 9-0 in Cleveland in the national team’s first game since the Olympics.

Lloyd, who is retiring at the end of the year, scored a pair of goals in the opening five minutes, and added her third and fourth before halftime as the United States built a 6-0 lead. She got her final goal in the 61st.

Lloyd, 39, has 133 international goals in 313 appearances with the national team. She moved in front of Kristine Lilly for third on the career list.

OLYMPICS: CONCACAF took an unusual decision to eliminate its men’s Olympic qualifying tournament and will instead have under-20 teams determine its representatives at the Paris Games in 2024.

Olympics men’s soccer is for under-23 teams, with each nation allowed three wild-card players over the age limit. The United States failed to qualify in 2012, 2016 and this year.

CONCACAF said it will hold under-20 qualifying from Nov. 5-14 this year in the Dominican Republic for nations not in its top 16 of under-20 rankings. Four teams will advance to the CONCACAF under-20 championship next summer. The semifinalists will qualify for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia in 2023, and the finalists will qualify for the Paris Olympics.

GOLF

LPGA: Carlota Ciganda overcame an early double bogey in chilly morning conditions for a 4-under 68 and a share of the first-round lead in the Cambia Portland Classic at West Linn, Oregon.

Gemma Dryburgh of Scotland also shot a 68 in the morning, and Pajaree Anannarukarn of Thailand grabbed a share of the lead in the afternoon.

TRACK AND FIELD

SALAZAR BAN UPHELD: Track coach Alberto Salazar received no relief from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which upheld his four-year ban for a series of doping-related violations that had long been pursued by American regulators.

CAS announced the decision Thursday, confirming its three-judge panel has rejected two appeals – one from Salazar and endocrinologist Jeffrey Brown, who challenged their four-year bans, and a request by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for longer sanctions. The judges confirmed Salazar had broken anti-doping rules and had been banned in line with current guidance, but they also were critical of USADA’s handling of the case over several years.

The court said in a statement “the way in which the case was conducted by USADA and that the evidence was presented and, in some cases, later abandoned, seemed to be out of proportion and excessive when compared to the severity and consequences of the (violations) that have been established.”

Salazar is a former marathon champion who, as coach of the Nike Oregon Project, trained a long list of championship distance runners, including Mo Farah, Galen Rupp and, for a time, Kara Goucher. None of his former runners have been charged with doping violations. Tipped off by Goucher and others, the USADA investigated Salazar and the running team for about six years before handing down sanctions in 2019.

HORSE RACING

JOCKEY BANNED: Jockey Tomas Mejia has been banned 10 years for using an electronic device to win a race at Monmouth Park earlier this month. The stewards at Monmouth Park also fined the 26-year-old Panamanian $5,000 and recommended that the New Jersey Racing Commission permanently revoke his jockey’s license. Tracks around the country will uphold the ban.

The electronic device, also known as a ‘buzzer’, is used to urge a horse into running faster by delivering an electronic shock. They are prohibited.

The stewards said in their ruling that Mejia used the electronic device in winning the seventh race at Monmouth on Sept. 3 with Strongerthanuknow. They said he had the prohibited device entering the winner’s circle and prior to dismounting. The board said photographic evidence was presented at its hearing on Sept. 9. The jockey was taken off his mounts the following day. The original hearing was continued on Wednesday before a decision was made. It came on Mejia’s birthday.

During the suspension, which runs through Sept. 9, 2031, Mejia is denied access to all grounds under the jurisdiction of the state racing commission. Mejia had 19 wins in 149 rides at Monmouth Park this season and was 11th among the jockeys in wins. For the year, he had 42 wins on 350 mounts. Mejia started riding in the United States in 2018 and has 110 wins in 1,101 rides with earnings of $2.96 million.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE:  Sebastian Vettel will drive for Aston Martin again next year, as the team extended his contract by one year. The four-time F1 champion joined Aston Martin this season on a one-year deal after losing his seat at Ferrari, where he earned the last of his 53 wins in 2019.

OLYMPICS

KENYA CORRUPTION: Kenya’s former sports minister paid a fine of just over $32,000 to avoid a six-year jail sentence after being convicted of corruption and abuse of office for misappropriating money set aside for the country’s 2016 Olympic team.

Hassan Wario’s sentence was to pay the fine or go to jail. He paid and was released from custody soon after Thursday’s sentencing hearing, provoking uproar from some Kenyans on social media. They were angered that Wario was freed after being found guilty of corruption relating to the misuse of more than $800,000 that was meant to help Kenyan athletes’ prepare for and perform at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

There were allegations that corruption in the buildup and during the Games was rife among other Kenyan government and sports officials, who were accused of stealing money from the $5.7 million Olympic budget and some of the $700,000 given to the track and field federation by sponsor Nike.

Stephen Soi, a co-accused in the trial who was the Kenyan team’s chef de mission in Rio, was also convicted on the same charges and sentenced to 12 years in jail or a fine of about $950,000. Wario and Soi were sentenced by anti-corruption judge Elizabeth Juma, who found them guilty on Wednesday. She ruled that Wario, who was sports minister from 2013-2018, used some of the team’s budget to fly three people unconnected to the Olympics to Brazil and pay them allowances.

WEIGHTLIFTING

DOCTOR BANNED: A doctor from Moldova has been banned from sports for life for arranging for lookalikes to give drug testing samples under the names of real weightlifters heading to the world championships.

The International Testing Agency said that Dorin Balmus represented three Moldovan athletes in 2015 when they were asked to provide samples shortly before competing at the world championships in Houston.

The ITA said three lookalikes took on the identities of the weightlifters because the weightlifters were “each undergoing a doping cycle at the time” and risked testing positive. All three were able to compete at the world championships but later received doping bans.

Life bans for doping are rare in sports but the ITA ruled it was appropriate for Balmus “given the nature and severity of the rule violations.”

The deception later came to light in a 2020 documentary by German broadcaster ARD. The film also reported on doping cover-ups and financial irregularities at the International Weightlifting Federation, leading to longtime president Tamas Ajan stepping down.


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