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Former FSU star Brooks Koepka ties record in U.S. Open win

Brooks Koepka traveled around the world to find his game. He found stardom right at home as the U.S. Open champion.

Koepka broke away from a tight pack with three straight birdies on the back nine Sunday at Erin Hills and closed with a 5-under 67 to win the U.S. Open for his first major championship. A par on the final hole tied Rory McIlroy‘s record score to par at 16 under for a four-shot victory.

Not even the wind could stop the onslaught of low scores at Erin Hills.

And nothing could stop Koepka.

“What I’ve done this week is amazing,” Koepka.

Tied for the lead with six holes to play, Koepka made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole. As Brian Harman began to fade, Koepka poured it on with birdies over the next three holes, lightly pumping his fist after each one.

His reaction was subdued, just like his close friend and last year’s U.S. Open champion, Dustin Johnson. They spend time a lot of time together on the course, in the gym and at home, so Koepka has seen that U.S. Open trophy plenty at Johnson’s house in south Florida.

And now he gets to keep it for a year, with his name on it.

It capped quite a journey for the 27-year-old Floridian. Without a card on any tour when Koepka got out of Florida State, he filled his passport with stamps from the most unlikely outposts in golf while playing the minor leagues on the European Tour – Kazakhstan and Kenya, Portugal and India and throughout Europe.

It was at the U.S. Open three years ago when Koepka tied for fourth that helped earn a PGA Tour card, and he powered his way from obscurity to his first PGA Tour victory in Phoenix, his first Ryder Cup team last fall and now a major championship.

Harman’s chances ended with two straight bogeys, and a bogey on the par-5 18th hole gave him a 72 and a tie for second with Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who closed with a 66. Matsuyama didn’t need to stick around very long. Koepka simply couldn’t miss.

Koepka, who finished at 16-under 272, became the seventh straight first-time winner of a major championship, and it was the first time since 1998-2000 that Americans won their national championship three straight years.

Tommy Fleetwood, who played alongside Koepka and closed with a 72 to finish fourth, played the Challenge Tour a year before Koepka arrived.

“It gives you a good grounding,” Fleetwood said. “Obviously, Brooks dealt with it amazingly. He came and kicked everyone’s (behind) over there, didn’t he? But he’s proven for a long time how good he is. Now he’s done it in a major.”

It was only fitting that Koepka left Erin Hills with yet another record matched or broken.

McIlroy finished at 16-under 268 when he won on rain-softened Congressional in the 2011 U.S. Open. But the low scoring went much deeper than that. Only six players had ever reached double digits under par in the previous 116 times at the U.S. Open. McIlroy and Tiger Woods (12 under at Pebble Beach in 2000) had been the only players to finish there.

This week alone, nine players reached at least 10 under and seven finished there.

Xander Schauffele, a rookie on the PGA Tour playing in his first U.S. Open, birdied his last hole for a 69 to tie for fifth at 10-under 268 along with Bill Haas (69) and Rickie Fowler (72), who was poised at yet another major to win only to fall back. Fowler started one shot out of the lead at the Masters this year and shot 76. He was only two behind when he made the turn, but bogeys on the 12th and 15th holes – and no birdies until No. 18 – ended his hopes.

Justin Thomas, coming off a 9-under 63 that matched the major championship scoring record and was the first 9-under round at a U.S. Open, went out in 39 and closed with a 75 to tie for ninth.

The week ended with 31 players under par, breaking the U.S. Open record of 28 players at Medinah in 1990. There were 133 sub-par rounds, nine more than the previous record in that 1990 U.S. Open.

Erin Hills, an 11-year-old course shaped out of Wisconsin pastureland, didn’t put up much of a fight without much wind. The strongest gusts were Sunday morning and it tapered to a strong breeze by the afternoon.

No one was more solid from start to finish than Koepka. He opened with a pair of tap-in birdies and putted for birdie on every hole but the par-3 13th. Of all his birdies, that 8-foot par putt might have been as big as any.

“I needed something to go in and see that to build momentum off it, and just carried that over,” Koepka said.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Rays unload 5 homers in 9-1 rout of Tigers

Logan Morrison homered twice and Steven Souza Jr. hit his first career grand slam as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Detroit Tigers 9-1 Sunday to split a four-game series.

Derek Norris and Evan Longoria also homered for the Rays, who won five of seven in the season series with Detroit.

Jake Faria (3-0) allowed one run, six hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out a career-high nine. Faria is the second starting pitcher in Rays history to win his first three career games, joining Jeremy Hellickson.

Buck Farmer (2-1) allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings, and has now allowed 13 runs in 4 2/3 innings over his last two starts. Farmer gave up five hits, including three homers, walked one batter and hit another.

Morrison gave the Rays a 2-0 lead in the first with his 20th homer of the season, a drive off the railing above the right-field fence. There was momentary confusion, as the ball bounced back onto the field, leading Morrison to stop at second while Farmer chased down what he thought was a wild throw from the outfield.

“I’m sure having a game like this on Father’s Day was special for LoMo, because we all know how close he was to his dad,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Justin Upton‘s RBI single made it 2-1 in the bottom of the first, but Norris restored the two-run lead with a homer in the third.

Later in the inning, the Rays loaded the bases with a single, a hit batter and a walk before Souza made it 7-1 with his first grand slam.

Longoria and Morrison gave the Rays an eight-run lead with back-to-back homers off Chad Bell in the seventh. It was Tampa’s ninth set of back-to-back homers this season, tying a franchise record set in 2007 and tied in 2008.

The first pitch was delayed 31 minutes by rain.

TRAINER’S ROOM

C Wilson Ramos (ACL tear) caught six innings for Triple-A Durham on Saturday, marking the first time he had caught on back-to-back days in his rehab process. He had a scheduled day off on Sunday.

UP NEXT

Tampa Bay opens a six-game, seven-day homestand Monday, with RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 3.77) facing Cincinnati’s Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.29).

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Rowdies concede in final seconds of 1-1 draw against Richmond

The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Richmond Kickers played to a 1-1 draw Saturday night at City Stadium.

After going up 1-0 early in the second half via a Marcel Schäfer goal, the Rowdies were seconds away from winning before conceding an equalizing goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

“It’s a tough result,” said Head Coach Stuart Campbell. “We controlled most of the match, and to get scored on in the final play of the match is hard.”

It was Richmond who got the first chance of the match in the fourth minute, drawing a dangerous free kick just inches outside the 18-yard box. Midfielder Raul Gonzalez set up to take the kick and curled it to the far post, but fortunately for the Rowdies, there was no one there to tap it in.

The Rowdies would answer in the 12th minute, after forward Martin Paterson pressured the Kickers’ defense into a mistake and recovered the ball in the opposing 18-yard box. After trying to find an incoming Joe Cole, Rowdies midfielder Leo Fernandes was on the end of a poor clearance and fired his shot. The Kickers scrambled to get back in position and were able to get a piece of it to clear it for a corner.

The Rowdies were forced to use an early substitution, as Leo Fernandes was forced to come off due to injury in the 21st minute.

The clearest chance of the night came in the 26th minute when Schäfer curled a perfect corner kick to a towering Neill Collins, but the Scotsman’s header was just wide of the frame.

Richmond closed out the half holding possession and creating several chances of its own. A Fernando cross in the 40th minute nearly found an open Yudai Imura at the far past, but the Japanese midfielder was unable to get his header on goal.

The Rowdies would jump ahead in the 64th minute via a Marcel Shäfer free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. His rocket hit the wall and trickled past Richmond goalkeeper Matt Turner, who was diving the other way.

“It’s always nice to score, but I would change a goal for three points any day,” said Schäfer. “We controlled the game and getting scored on in the last moment of the match is hard. We picked up a point on the road, but it could’ve easily been three.”

Minutes later, midfielder Joe Cole had the chance to double the lead after stealing the ball off a Richmond center back and going in on goal, but Richmond recovered well and blocked Cole’s shot.

The Rowdies would regret not securing the match, as Richmond’s newcomer Frank Tayou scored the equalizer in the final play of the match. The second-half substitute, who only signed with the Kickers Friday, received a ball from defender Mallan Roberts and fired a volley from outside the 18-yard box into the top corner of the net, denying the Rowdies the three crucial road points.

The Rowdies will play on the road Thursday, June 22, this time flying up to Pittsburgh to face the Riverhounds. They will then have another road match July 1, this time facing the first-place Charleston Battery.

“We have another important road match Thursday,” said Campbell. “We’re going to look at this game and work on several things. We need to learn from games like these and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Scoring Summary
Rowdies: Marcel Schäfer — 64th minute
Kickers: Franck Tayou — 90+’ minute (assisted by Mallan Roberts)

Caution Summary
Rowdies: Luke Boden — 41st minute
Rowdies: Keith Savage — 44th minute
Rowdies: Damion Lowe — 60th minute

Starting Lineups
Rowdies XI (4-2-3-1) GK Matt Pickens; D Darnell King, Damion Lowe, Neill Collins, Luke Boden; M Marcel Schäfer, Keith Savage; M Georgi Hristov, Joe Cole, Leo Fernandes (Darwin Jones 21′); F Martin Paterson (Deshorn Brown 80′)

Richmond XI (4-5-1): GK Matt Turner; D Alex Lee, Conor Shanosky (c), Mallan Roberts, Braeden Troyer; M Luiz Fernando (Finnlay Wyatt 70′), Yudai Imura (Fred Owusu Sekyere 77′), Raul Gonzalez, Chris Durkin, Sunny Jane; F Anthony Grant (Franck Tayou 66′)

 

Louisville can bring up Penn State when appealing NCAA penalties

For those who have the stomach to read the NCAA’s report on what happened with the Louisville men’s basketball program between 2010 and 2014, put your head on a swivel. One’s head will instinctively shake.

It is a detailed account of strippers, prostitutes and teenagers all in the name of luring them to play basketball for the Louisville Cardinals and Coach Rick Pitino. The Committee on Infractions panel presented a meticulous case against those involved and why Pitino bears  responsibility, even if he was unaware of what was transpiring.

One of the penalties prescribed was forfeiting games over those four years, which includes their 2013 NCAA championship. This part should be, and must be, reversed.

To be sure, what happened over that four-year period is beyond reprehensible. Louisville admitted that one of Pitino’s staff members (identified by accuser Katina Powell as Andre McGee), arranged sexual trysts for teenage recruits, including four 17-year-olds and at least one who was only 16 at the time. Graduate assistant Brandon Williams was also implicated.

At least two players on the Louisville 2013 championship team roster were also involved. Those identified to ESPN by Powell and two of her daughters (who were among the “escorts”) were star player Russ Smith and Montrezl Harrell.

They are now on probation, they lost scholarships and their recruiting practices are limited. The also made it difficult for McGee to get a job in college basketball for 10 years and Williams for one year.

For his part, Pitino is suspended for the first five games of the 2018 ACC schedule. Then NCAA accepted the school’s self-imposed post season ban in 2015-16.

All of these make sense. It is a little bit tougher when the committee ordered the school to give up its share of revenue earned from playing in the 2012-2015 NCAA Tournament. The justification? The participating members of the basketball team became “ineligible” because they received “impermissible benefits.”

This is the logic also used in forfeiting all wins over the period, including the 2013 championship. Impermissible benefits are usually reserved for cash under the table, cars, no-work jobs, etc. While such actions carried out with legal age young men may be morally wrong, it’s hard to keep a straight face in hearing sexual favors described as a benefit when determining eligibility.

“Not only was this unjust and over the top in its severity,” Pitino said at a news conference, “but I’ve lost a lot of faith in the NCAA.”

Why should anyone outside of the Cardinals’ fan base be worked up about this? Two words:

Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky perpetrated horrific treatment of young boys while serving as an assistant coach to Joe Paterno at Penn State. Sandusky is rightfully in prison and the NCAA ruled Paterno and the university were negligent as the atrocities continued. According to court testimony, Paterno knew about Sandusky’s behavior.

The Committee on Infractions slapped PSU with a $60 million fine, cut scholarships, instituted a post-season ban and forced Penn State to vacate their wins from 1998-2011. They were also forced to return bowl game money.

But when Penn State and supporters fought back (rightly or wrongly), the vacated wins were restored by the NCAA in January, 2015.

Think about that. No wins are vacated following criminal behavior that ruined lives.

What Louisville did was wrong, repugnant and also qualifies as child abuse in some of the cases. But when compared to Penn State, they should have every reason to believe they will win on appeal to either the NCAA or in court.

Rays hold off Tigers 3-2

After seeing their team trounced by the Detroit Tigers, Chris Archer and Alex Colome pitched in to stop them.

Archer threw six strong innings and Colome got the final five outs as the Rays held off Detroit 3-2 on Saturday.

Daniel Robertson drove in Tampa Bay’s first two runs, then scored the tiebreaker in the seventh inning. Detroit had won the first two games of the series, outscoring the Rays 18-7.

“That’s a nice team win after a couple frustrating days,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We got beaten up, but we bounced back against a really good pitcher.”

Archer (5-4) gave up two runs on six hits and a walk, striking out eight.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera hit his second homer of the series after not hitting one since May 20.

“That’s a very, very good lineup,” Archer said. “Everything was working well today, but I made one mistake to Miggy, and he capitalized on it. He does that to everyone.”

Mikie Mahtook led off the Detroit ninth with an infield single and took second on Jose Iglesias‘s bunt down the first-base line. Iglesias was initially ruled safe, but the call was overturned after a short replay review.

Ian Kinsler flied and after Mahtook stole third, Colome got Alex Avila to ground out to end it.

“This is one of those days where you just tip your cap to the opposing pitchers,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “It’s not easy to score runs against Chris Archer and Colome.”

Michael Fulmer (6-5) allowed three runs on six hits and four walks in 6 2/3 innings. He made his first start since skipping a start and receiving a cortisone shot to reduce inflammation in his pitching shoulder.

“I felt fine, but I was a little out of rhythm after eight days off,” he said. “I went three days where I didn’t even play catch, and I think that led to some of the walks.”

The Rays took a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Colby Rasmus doubled with one out and after Fulmer walked Tim Beckham, Robertson lined an RBI single to center. Robertson took second on the throw to third, but Fulmer struck out Derek Norris and Mallex Smith grounded out.

Kinsler hit a tying double in the bottom half, and Cabrera hit his seventh homer in the sixth for a 2-1 lead.

Tampa Ray rallied for two runs in the seventh. Robertson hit an RBI single off Kinsler’s glove at second with two outs and Norris also singled. After Alex Wilson relieved, Smith grounded a go-ahead single.

“I had a chance to shut that inning down, and I just didn’t get it done,” Fulmer said. “That’s the one frustrating thing about today.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: C Wilson Ramos (torn ACL) caught seven innings for Triple-A Durham on Friday and was scheduled to catch again on Saturday, his first back-to-back outings behind the plate. He will have Sunday off before being evaluated on Monday.

Tigers: DH Victor Martinez (irregular heartbeat) was released from a hospital in the morning after two nights of observation. Martinez, who was placed on the disabled list on Friday, will undergo monitoring next week while the Tigers are on the West Coast.

NO CONCERNS ABOUT FULMER

Ausmus said he was pleased by Fulmer’s performance after the shoulder inflammation.

“He looked perfectly normal out there, which is just what we wanted to see,” Ausmus said. “He didn’t win, but he allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings, which is a good start.”

RED-HOT ROBERTSON

A night after driving in a career-best three runs, Robertson had two more. He has now reached safely in 17 straight starts, the longest stretch of his career.

“Any hit is a good hit, but I had some luck on my side that time,” he said. “It looked like Kinsler had it, but it just slipped out.”

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Jake Faria (2-0, 1.42) will try to become the second pitcher in Rays history to win his first three career games as a starter. Jeremy Hellickson was the other, doing it in 2010.

Tigers: RHP Buck Farmer (2-0, 3.52) will start the series finale. After winning his first two starts this season without allowing a run, he gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings in a no-decision against Arizona on Tuesday.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Tigers rout Rays 13-4

Nicholas Castellanos doubled, tripled and drove in four runs as the Detroit Tigers routed the Tampa Bay Rays 13-4 on Friday night.

Justin Upton drove in three runs for the Tigers, while Ian Kinsler and Alex Avila homered.

Daniel Norris (4-4) got the win, giving up three runs on eight hits and a walk in six-plus innings. He matched a season high with eight strikeouts.

Erasmo Ramirez (3-2) matched a career worst by allowing 10 runs on nine hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Kinsler hit the 43rd lead-off homer of his career in the first. That broke a tie with Curtis Granderson for sixth on the career list and moved him one behind Brady Anderson.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Miguel Cabrera’s walk-off homer gives Tigers 4-3 win over Rays

Miguel Cabrera‘s two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning gave the Detroit Tigers a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.

The game was tied at three entering the ninth, but Alex Avila singled off Tommy Hunter (0-2) with one out. Andrew Romine pinch ran and trotted home when Cabrera hit his seventh career game-ending homer into the right-field stands.

Justin Wilson (3-2) picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief.

Tigers starter Justin Verlander pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and five walks. He’s now walked five batters three times this season after not doing it a single time in 2016. He struck out six.

Alex Cobb gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings, striking out three.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

 

Rays part of American League’s parade of “parity”

The late Pete Rozelle was known to strive for “parity” during his days as NFL Commissioner. Perhaps the first 26 games of the Buccaneers’ franchise, when they went 0-26, influenced his mindset.

Rozelle and the NFL tweaked schedules to help more teams reach 8-8 and make it harder for teams to regularly go 14-2. While the elite teams mostly remained elite for a reason, the end result saw most teams in the playoff hunt as the seasons reached their final stages.

Baseball, at least in the American League, displays the kind of parity Rozelle sought for football. With 40 percent of the season now complete, nearly every American League team can still claim a chance to earn a wild card playoff spot.

The Houston Astros are the class of the league with a 46-22 record and an 11-game lead in the American League West. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are 13 and 9 games over .500, respectively.

After that, the league is a parade of parity.

Only two other teams, the Rays and the Los Angeles Angels, are over .500. Tampa Bay enters tonight’s game in Detroit with a 35-33 record and the Angels are 35-34.

A total of 8 teams are at either .500 or within four games of .500.  Even last year’s representative in the World Series, the Cleveland Indians, have managed to only earn a 31-31 record.

The Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox are the “worst” teams in the league with winning percentages of 42 and 44 percent.

The National League is somewhat similar, but has some bigger gaps. Los Angeles, Colorado, Arizona and Washington are all at least 13 games over 500. The Milwaukee Brewers are the only other team to have won more than they have lost.

Shockingly, the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs are one of 10 teams with losing records. Fortunately for them, they play in the mediocre Central Division where they are only two games behind the 35-32 Brewers.

The Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants are all more than 10 games under .500 and the only teams that should be looking ahead to next year.

The Rays try to stay above the break-even mark in Detroit, where they begin a four-game series starting Thursday night against the 30-34 Tigers. Alex Cobb starts on the mound for the Rays, while Justin Verlander tries for his first win in a month for Detroit.

Late HR lifts Jays over Rays, 7-6

Russell Martin hit a tiebreaking home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

Kendrys Morales homered among his two hits and drove in four runs for the Blue Jays, who won after giving up a three-run lead in the top of the eighth.

Trailing 6-3, the Rays tied it on Logan Morrison‘s 19th homer, a two-run shot off reliever Joe Smith (3-0) and Derek Norris’ sacrifice fly.

Martin then connected for his sixth home run of the season off reliever Jose Alvarado (0-1) over the center-right-field fence in the bottom half.

Roberto Osuna ensured it stood up in the ninth, finally forcing Evan Longoria to pop out to second base to earn his 17th save of the season.

Tampa Bay lost for just the second time in eight games.

Toronto starter Francisco Liriano went seven innings for his longest outing of the season, giving up five hits and two earned runs while striking out nine. The no-decision left him at 99 career wins.

After surrendering two runs in the third, Liriano was on the verge of getting pulled after loading the bases with none out on two walks and a bunt in the fourth inning. However, he escaped the jam, giving up just one run, before retiring the next seven batters in a row.

With the Blue Jays trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Morales hit a three-run shot over the right-field fence into the second deck for his 13th home run of the season and fourth RBI of the game. Morales also had a run-scoring grounder in the third for Toronto’s first run.

The home run chased Tampa starter Jake Odorizzi. It marked the ninth consecutive appearance that Odorizzi had allowed a honer, a career high and the second-longest active streak in the majors behind 11 by Jesse Chavez of the Los Angeles Angels.

The Rays had taken the lead in the third inning when Corey Dickerson continued his strong hitting with a two-run triple.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: SS/2B Tim Beckham‘s knee responded well to treatment, according to Tampa manager Kevin Cash, and is expected to play this weekend in Detroit.

Blue Jays: OF Ezequiel Carrera was placed on the 10-day DL on Wednesday with a fractured right foot. The left fielder suffered fouled a ball off his foot in Tuesday night’s loss to the Rays and while X-rays were negative, a CT scan Wednesday showed the fracture. The Jays summoned Dwight Smith Jr. from Triple-A Buffalo to take his place, and he started in left field. . Manager John Gibbons said OF Steve Pearce, out since May 15 with a calf strain, should rejoin the team by the weekend.

UP NEXT

Rays: The Rays visit Detroit for a four-game series beginning Thursday, when RHP Alex Cobb (5-5, 4.29) will take on RHP Justin Verlander (4-4, 4.68).

Blue Jays: After a day off, Toronto will open a three-game series against the White Sox on Friday with a matchup between RHP Joe Biagini (1-5, 3.38) and Chicago LHP Jose Quintana (2-8, 5.30).

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

 

Jacob Faria leads Rays to 8-1 rout of Blue Jays

Rookie Jacob Faria dazzled again and Logan Morrison hit his 18th home run of the season to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 on Tuesday night.

Six days after his big-league debut, Faria (2-0) became the third Rays pitcher all-time to win his first two career games, joining Jeremy Hellickson and Joe Kennedy. The victory was Tampa Bay’s sixth in its last seven games.

The 23-year-old right-hander held the Blue Jays to six hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out eight and giving up one run. He was called up on Monday to replace Matt Andriese, who went on the disabled list with a hip complaint.

Corey Dickerson went 4 for 5 with a homer — his 15th of the season.

Marco Estrada (4-5) had his shortest outing of the season, lasting just 3 1/3 innings after giving up 12 hits and being charged with six runs in his sixth straight loss to Tampa.

Taylor Featherston opened the scoring in the third inning with his first home run of the season, lining a drive over the fence in right-center field. Estrada’s problems deepened in the bat-around inning when Morrison smashed a three-run shot into the second deck in center field.

Dominic Leone replaced Estrada in the fourth, but was unable to prevent Evan Longoria doubling home two inherited runners to extend Tampa Bay’s lead.

Former Blue Jay Colby Rasmus tacked on another run in the seventh, driving in Longoria with a sacrifice fly. Toronto ended Faria’s shutout bid in the bottom half of the inning when Ezequiel Carrera sent Russell Martin home from second with a line drive up the middle.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: SS/2B Tim Beckham sat out Tuesday’s game with a sore knee. Manager Kevin Cash said Beckham was being rested and the team would see how he felt on Wednesday. . C Wilson Ramos joined Triple-A Durham on a rehab assignment in his continued quest to come back from a torn knee ligament.

Blue Jays: OF Steve Pearce has been moved to Triple-A as he continues his rehab assignment from a calf strain. Pearce has been on the disabled list since May 15. . RHP Aaron Sanchez is due to begin throwing off a mound in the next couple of days, according to Jays manager John Gibbons. Sanchez suffered a finger laceration and was placed on the DL on May 20.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 3.59 ERA) has allowed a home run in eight consecutive starts, tied for the second-longest active streak in the majors.

Blue Jays: LHP Francisco Liriano (3-2, 5.87) makes his fourth start of the season against Tampa Bay, looking to improve to 2-0 against Toronto’s AL East division rival.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

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