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Thursday’s Sports Minute

Thursday’s Sports Minute

BASEBALL:Tampa Bay Rays' Alex Cobb rounds first and heads for second on an RBI-double during the second inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wednesday, July 23 in St. Louis. Photo: Associated Press/Jeff Roberson

A look at the sports news making headlines today, Thursday, July 24.

Torrid Rays win 7th straight…Cespedes goes deep twice

The Tampa Bay Rays just keep winning. The Rays, who got off to an awful start the first two months of the season, captured their seventh in a row with a 3-0 whitewash of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Rays have won 25 of 36 and are 13-4 in July.

Alex Cobb and two relievers combined on a five-hit shutout. Cobb struck out 10 in his seven innings. He’s 6-6. It’s the fourth time he has thrown at least seven innings without an earned run this season. Cobb missed 50 games last season with a concussion after being hit by a liner.

That moves the Rays within four games of .500 and within striking distance of the wild card hunt.

The loss drops the Cardinals two and a-half games back of division-leading Milwaukee in the NL Central.

Elsewhere:

  • The 41-year-old Bartolo Colon came within seven outs of a perfect game as he retired the first 20 batters in the New York Mets’ 3-2 win at Seattle. Colon finally gave up a single to Robinson Cano (kan-OH’) and improved his overall mark to 9-8 this season and 13-1 all-time at Safeco Field. The rotund right-hander wound up giving up two runs and three hits in 7 1/3 innings.
  • Jorge De La Rosa struck out a season-high 11 as he pitched efficiently into the eighth inning and the wobbly Colorado bullpen held off Washington’s late rally, helping the Rockies snap a seven-game skid with a 6-4 win over the Nationals. LaTroy Hawkins got out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth to help De La Rosa improve to 11-6. He is 42-14 lifetime at Coors Field.
  • Atlanta moved within a game of the NL East-leading Nationals by trouncing Miami 6-1. Freddie Freeman hit a three-run home run, ending a 2-for-44 slump. Ervin Santana improved to 9-6.
  • The San Francisco Giants beat the Phillies 3-1 move two games ahead of the L.A. Dodgers in the NL West. Hunter Pence blooped a bases-loaded double off Jonathan Papelbon that drove in all three Giants runs in the top of the ninth. Madison Bumgarner won his 12th game with eight shutout innings.
  • Pittsburgh downed the L.A. Dodgers 6-1. Josh Harrison had two hits with two RBIs. His two-run double highlighted a four-run first inning against loser Dan Haren, who fell to 8-8.
  • Zimmerman to the DL…Padres’ Maybin suspended 25 games

    The Washington Nationals have placed third baseman/outfielder Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. He was injured in the sixth inning Tuesday night while running out a grounder. The 29-year-old Zimmerman missed 44 games with a fractured right thumb earlier this season.

    The Nationals are 33-19 this year with Zimmerman in the lineup. He’s hitting .282 with five homers and 36 RBIs.

    In other baseball news, San Diego Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin has been suspended for 25 games after testing positive for an amphetamine. He is batting .247 with one home run and nine RBIs in 62 games this season.

    Owner forced to step aside because of Alzheimer’s

    Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is giving up control of the team to deal with Alzheimer’s disease. The team has announced that the 70-year-old will no longer be a part of the team’s daily operations. Team president Joe Ellis will take over after being named the Broncos’ chief executive officer.

    After acknowledging in 2009 that he suffered short-term memory loss, he stepped back from day-to-day operations in 2011 when he promoted Ellis to president.

    The Broncos say the ownership of the team is held in a trust and the hope is that one of Bowlen’s children will run the team one day.

    Under Bowlen’s guidance, the Broncos made six Super Bowl appearances.

    Gronk cleared to play

    Tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play by the New England Patriots. Coach Bill Belichick says the veteran has been cleared after offseason knee surgery. Gronkowski missed the last three regular-season games and both playoff games after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he was hit in a game with Cleveland. He underwent surgery in January.

    In other NFL news:

  • Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles has reached a two-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. A person familiar with the contract said the deal will keep Charles in Kansas City through the 2017 season.
  • The Browns have signed rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert, one of their first-round draft picks, to a four-year, $12.8 million contract. Cleveland selected Gilbert with the No. 8 overall pick. He’s expected to start on the opposite side from Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden.
  • Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice is retiring from the NFL after an injury-plagued career that included issues with concussions. Rice missed half of last season with the Seahawks after tearing his ACL against St. Louis.
  • Kreider back with Rangers…Avs ink O’Reilly

    Chris Kreider and the New York Rangers have agreed on a two-year deal shortly before going to arbitration. The 23-year-old Kreider made a deal Wednesday morning with an average salary of $2.475 million moments before the scheduled hearing. He will receive $2.35 million next season and $2.6 million during 2015-16.

    In other NHL news, the Colorado Avalanche have avoided arbitration with Ryan O’Reilly by signing the forward to a two-year deal. O’Reilly led the team with a career-high 28 goals last season. He also had six game-winners as the Avalanche advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10 under first-year coach Patrick Roy.

    Colorado selected O’Reilly in the second round of the 2009 draft.

    More cycling in France

    Race leader Vinzenzo Nibali of Italy gained key seconds during the 17th stage of the Tour de France to pad his lead. The winner of the race was Poland’s Rafal Majka, who took the lead with a late breakaway on the last of four tough climbs in the Pyrenees.

    The 17th stage covered around 77 miles and was the shortest stage in this year’s Tour.

    Sterling vs. Sterling, Continued

    Testimony has ended in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling’s estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Shelly Sterling, who had testified early in the trial, was expected to be the final witness Wednesday, but her husband’s lawyers decided not to call her to the stand.

    Closing arguments are set for Monday before the judge decides whether Shelly Sterling can sell the team for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

    Donald Sterling continues to say he won’t sell and has filed multiple lawsuits in an effort to avoid being forced to make such a move.

    Mavs cancel deal for Lewis

    The Dallas Mavericks have voided the contract of Rashard Lewis because the free agent forward needs surgery on his right knee. President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson says the team discovered the need for surgery during a physical. Lewis had signed a one-year deal for the veteran minimum of $1.4 million.

    The 34-year-old Lewis spent the past two seasons mostly coming off the bench in Miami. He was expected to back up Dirk Nowitzki at power forward.

    In other NBA news, guard Raymond Felton of the Dallas Mavericks has worked out a deal in New York that will keep him out of jail. The point guard pleaded guilty in a New York gun case, taking a plea deal that involved admitting a felony but spares him jail.

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