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Lester goes 7 innings to help Cubs beat Marlins 5-3

AP Published 7:15 p.m. ET June 24, 2017 | Updated 6 minutes ago

Lester goes 7 innings to help Cubs beat Marlins 5-3

Chicago Cubs' Jon Jay (30) is congratulated after scoring on a single hit by Ian Happ during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Photo: The Associated Press)

MIAMI (AP) — Jon Lester gave up a three-run homer to J.T. Realmuto in the first inning and then settled down to help the Chicago Cubs beat the Miami Marlins 5-3 Saturday afternoon.

Lester (5-4) went seven innings, retiring 13 in a row after Realmuto's seventh homer of the year. Cubs starters have an ERA of 2.52 over the past 11 games.

Wade Davis completed the four-hitter with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 15th save.

Javier Baez had an RBI single in the fourth, and his two-run double in the sixth put the Cubs ahead to stay. Jon Jay, a one-day sub for Anthony Rizzo in the leadoff spot, had two hits and scored a run. Addison Russell had two hits and scored twice.

Lester beat Miami for the first time in five career starts. The Marlins have only 16 hits in their past four games but have won two of them.

Miami's Justin Nicolino remained winless in five starts, allowing three runs, two earned, in four innings. The damage might have been worse, but catcher Realmuto, third baseman Martin Prado and first baseman Tyler Moore helped him with fine defensive plays.

Third baseman Baez and second baseman Ian Happ made flashy plays to rob the Marlins.

The Cubs took the lead for good in the sixth against Nick Wittgren (1-1). Addison Russell led off with a double, Happ singled and Baez hit a two-run double.

Chicago scored an unearned run in the first. Jay led off with a single, advanced when center fielder Christian Yelich bobbled the ball, and scored on Happ's two-out single.

Baez had an RBI single in the fourth and scored on Albert Almora Jr.'s double.


The crowd of 25,448 was the largest at Marlins Park since May 13. Some spectators cheered for the home team.


1B Rizzo was given a breather and held out of the lineup.

"I don't want to beat him up," manager Joe Maddon said. "We've got a long way to go, and if you ride them too hard, the point of diminishing returns will set in. I've been a part of way too many teams that have been exhausted in September."

Rizzo, who lined out as a pinch hitter in the ninth, will be back in the leadoff spot Sunday, Maddon said.


Cubs: 2B Ben Zobrist (left wrist) is unlikely to return for the Cubs' next series against the Nationals, and a rehab stint is a possibility. ... LHP Brett Anderson (strained lower back) will begin a rehab assignment Sunday when he pitches for Double-A Tennessee.

Marlins: SS Adeiny Hechavarria (oblique), who has been the disabled list since May


Professor's response to student's absence: Bring the baby

USA Today


LSU beats Oregon State 6-1 to reach CWS finals

AP Published 6:00 p.m. ET June 24, 2017 | Updated 9 minutes ago

LSU beats Oregon State 6-1 to reach CWS finals

LSU's Michael Papierski (2), hugs Greg Deichmann, right, after scoring on his three-run home run against Oregon State in the third inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball elimination game in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, June 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Photo: The Associated Press)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Caleb Gilbert held No. 1 national seed Oregon State to two hits in 7 1/3 innings, Michael Papierski homered from both sides of the plate and LSU beat the Beavers 6-1 on Saturday to reach the College World Series finals.

The Tigers (52-18) won their third straight elimination game, including back-to-back victories over Oregon State. The Beavers (56-6) had a pair of 23-game winning streaks and finished the season with a .903 winning percentage — the best since Texas' mark of .908 in 1982.

The Tigers beat the Beavers 3-1 on Friday to force the second game.

Gilbert allowed an infield single and walk before Michael Gretler homered in the seventh. He struck out a career-high seven in his longest outing in his two seasons at LSU. Zack Hess allowed one hit the rest of the way.

Papierski became the first player to homer twice in a CWS game since TCU's Bryan Holaday in 2010. He went deep from the left side off Bryce Fehmel in the second and the right side off Brandon Eisert in the fourth.

The Beavers managed only a season-low two hits on Friday and the three against Gilbert and Hess on Saturday. They went the first 17 innings Friday and Saturday without having a leadoff batter reach base.

Before Saturday, Oregon State hadn't lost consecutive games since a five-game losing streak from May 6-13, 2016, and hadn't been shut out since April 30, 2016.

Fourth-seeded LSU bounced back from a 13-1 loss to Oregon State on Monday and reached the championship round for the first time since winning the national title in 2009. The Tigers will open the best-of-three finals Monday against the winner of the Florida-TCU game Saturday night.

Fehmel was a surprise starter for the Beavers. Coach Pat Casey said Friday that the plan was to throw Drew Rasmussen, but he and his staff changed their minds because Fehmel was effective against LSU on Monday and they wanted Rasmussen available for relief. Fehmel was coming off four days' rest since holding LSU to one run and two hits over eight innings in the Beavers' 12-run win. Fehmel got knocked out of the game Saturday with one out in the third and down 4-0.

The Beavers had made up a four-run deficit in a 6-5 win over Cal State Fullerton last Saturday, but Gilbert and Hess made that a nearly impossible task.

Papierski opened the scoring with his three-run drive into the right-field seats, and he made it 5-0 in the fourth when he homered to left.

Beau Jordan homered in the sixth off Rasmussen to make it 6-0.

Oregon State's postseason


Vargas earns 11th win as Royals top Blue Jays 3-2



Larson and McMurray make it 1-2 for Chip Ganassi at Sonoma

The Associated Press Published 3:51 p.m. ET June 24, 2017 | Updated 0 minutes ago

Larson and McMurray make it 1-2 for Chip Ganassi at Sonoma
CLOSE Larson and McMurray make it 1-2 for Chip Ganassi at Sonoma

USA TODAY Sports' Brant James breaks down the upcoming 10-turn road course. USA TODAY Sports


Jamie McMurray qualified second Saturday at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo: Jared C. Tilton, Getty Images)

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — Chip Ganassi likes winners, and his drivers have him in prime position to celebrate another victory.

Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray swept the front row in Saturday qualifying at Sonoma Raceway to give Chip Ganassi Racing a 1-2 start on the wine country road course.

Larson turned a lap at 95.295 mph Saturday and just nipped his teammate, who ran his qualifying lap at 95.204 in the Ganassi Chevrolet. McMurray is seeking his first win of the season.

Larson is coming off a Cup win last week at Michigan — where he also started from the pole — and is looking to make it two consecutive wins. In fact, Larson is on an incredible hot streak and, including his sprint car races, has four total wins in the last two weeks.


He planned to be a spectator Saturday night at Calistoga Speedway, where best friend Rico Abreu was hosing a charity sprint car race that featured Abreu, Tony Stewart and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. As much as he wished he could get out and play with his friends in the dirt, the focus is Sunday for the Monster Energy Series points leader.

“The whole lap actually felt pretty bad,” he said. “I felt like I gave up enough there that I wouldn’t have a shot at the pole. So, I was surprised and I was happy about that. This is cool to get a pole on a road course at my home state. This is my closest track to Sacramento, or Elk Grove, where I grew up. I have lots of friends and family here, we’re going to celebrate with the team, and then we’re going to head out to Calistoga and go watch some Sprint Car racing. So, I’m excited about that.”

McMurray noted Ganassi had left Sonoma to return to the IndyCar event in Wisconsin, but the car owner would be reaching out to his drivers shortly.

Martin Truex Jr., the most consistent driver this season, qualified third in a Toyota for Furniture Row Racing, and Kyle Busch was fourth in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.

AJ Allmendinger was fifth for JTG Daugherty Racing, and Danica Patrick was sixth for Stewart-Haas Racing in her best qualifying run of the season. She was also the highest qualifying Ford.

“Let’s be honest, I just love the area,” Patrick said. “And I had a glass of my wine before I made my lap. That’s a joke. But I am really comfortable here.”

Ryan Blaney was seventh and followed by Chase Elliott, who is in a backup car following a Friday wreck. Chris Buescher was ninth and the rest of the final round of qualifying was rounded out by Dale Earnhardt

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