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Angels can’t overcome Griffin Canning’s rough start against Brewers

ANAHEIM — It wasn’t so much the first inning that got right-hander Griffin Canning in trouble this time. It was the first, second and fourth innings that put the Angels in a sizable hole that neither Canning nor the rest of the team could completely overcome.

But the Angels tried with a late rally that came up short in a 6-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.

Trailing, 6-0, the Angels scored three runs in the ninth before putting two men on first and second base with two outs. Taylor Ward then blasted a 2-and-2 pitch to the wall that Brewers center fielder Sal Frelick managed to snag, ending the Angels’ comeback bid.

But before any of the 27,967 fans got fully out of their seats, the umpires called for a replay of the final out. Just to be sure.

“I thought it was a tie ballgame,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “He (Frelick) went up there and got it off the wall. I wanted to see if he caught it off the screen, but it was legit.”

Ward said he wasn’t sure if Frelick was going to reach the ball.

“It’s baseball,” he said. “It is what it is.”

The brief comeback was a welcomed respite from the other eight innings. Up until then, the Angels couldn’t muster much offense against Brewers starter Tobias Myers (4-2). The right-hander held the Angels scoreless on four hits, striking out six and walking two to pick up the victory.

“We didn’t quit,” Washington said. “We just couldn’t do anything with the start of the game. We put ourselves in position to pick and peck and maybe get a run here and a run there, but we just couldn’t get to him (Myers). Then we took care of the bullpen when they came in, but it wasn’t enough.”

Canning came into the game against the Brewers having allowed 18 earned runs in his 14 first innings this season. He said after his previous outing that he has had trouble settling in. It took him a few innings longer on Tuesday, which only made things worse for the right-hander.

Canning was looking to end a series of rocky starts, but he never seemingly found his groove as the game wore on and the Brewers held on.

The Brewers took a 1-0 lead with two outs in the first on a home run by Christian Yelich, his sixth this season and 200th of the former Westlake High star’s career. They added another run in the second when Frelick, who had doubled, scored on a wild pitch by Canning, his first of two.

Frelick went 2 for 3 with two runs scored before his game-ending heroics.

Canning managed to get out of a sticky third inning when a quick-thinking throw by second baseman Brandon Drury to catcher Logan O’Hoppe on an attempted steal of home prevented the early going from getting worse for Canning. Until it did.

The Brewers struck for three more runs in the fourth on a two-run double by Jackson Chourio, who then scored on a fielding error by Jo Adell, the Angels’ third miscue of the game.

“That part of the game right there, put us in the position we were in at the end of the ball game,” Washington said. “If we could have gotten to that ball, they might have gotten two runs out of that, but it would have been a closer ball game.”

After putting two on in the sixth, Canning (2-8) was done, getting tagged for all six runs – five of them earned – leaving him with a bloated 5.02 ERA. He gave up eight hits and struck out four while burning through 100 pitches in his fourth consecutive loss.

“Anytime you don’t pitch well, it’s frustrating,” Canning said. “So much work goes into it day to day in between starts. You want success but sometimes it just doesn’t turn out that way.”

Right-hander Roansy Contreras came on with no outs in the sixth and immediately loaded the bases by walking Frelick. The Brewers then added another run on Chourio’s sacrifice fly to right, scoring Rhys Hoskins, who had singled to start the inning for a 6-0 lead.

With two outs in the second, the Angels got back-to-back singles from Drury and Zach Neto, but they couldn’t get them across the plate.

Drury started at second in his first game back off the injured list. He had missed 34 games because of a hamstring injury he suffered on May 8.

The Angels again got two men on in the sixth, including Nolan Schanuel who went 3 for 4 for the game, but stranded them when Willie Calhoun hit into a double play.

Despite the rough day, Canning took solace in watching the Angels’ late-game play.

“That was awesome … showing not to give in, not to roll over,” he said. “To bring the tying run up and have Ward do what he did.”



Dodgers produce 7-run 9th inning to stun Rockies


Stanley Cup Final: Connor McDavid, Oilers stay alive again with Game 5 win

By TIM REYNOLDS AP Sports Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. — Matthew Tkachuk took off at full speed from basically center ice, chasing a puck that had sailed over his head and was heading directly toward an empty net.

He dove. He outstretched his stick. He swatted and barely, just barely, knocked the puck away to keep the Florida Panthers’ hope of forcing overtime alive. Problem was, the next person who got to the puck was Connor McDavid – who scored to put the game away.

Such was how Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final went for the Panthers. Even when they were good, it wasn’t good enough. And another long flight to Alberta awaits, with this title series suddenly looking very tight.

The Panthers gave up two power-play goals and a short-handed score, got into a 3-0 hole before trying to rally and wound up falling, 5-3, to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of the title series on Tuesday night. It was the second consecutive time Florida was thwarted in a chance to win the Cup, after an 8-1 embarrassment in Edmonton over the weekend.

Game 6 is there on Friday night.

“I’m not pumping tires. I’m not rubbing backs. I don’t think we need that at all,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “Everybody feels probably exactly the way I do right now. I’m not feeling deflated. Neither’s the hockey team. They’re not feeling deflated. Little grumpy.”

Maybe a lot grumpy.

“We’re going to turn the page,” forward Evan Rodrigues said. “We’re going to learn from this one.”

Rodrigues and Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist for Florida, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 19 shots for Florida, which will see its 30-years-and-counting wait for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title last at least three more days.

“We get another crack at it on Friday,” Tkachuk said.

McDavid had two goals and two assists to become the first player in NHL history to have back-to-back four-point games in the Stanley Cup Final, and Evan Bouchard added three assists for Edmonton. Connor Brown, Zach Hyman and Corey Perry also had goals for the Oilers while Stuart Skinner stopped 29 shots.

McDavid said it was a total team effort. It was, but it was also another superhuman effort from McDavid, the game’s best player who is doing things never before done in the title series.

The four points gave McDavid 42 in these playoffs, the fourth-most in a single postseason in NHL history. The only players ahead of him are the ones everyone would expect: Wayne Gretzky had 47 points in 1985, Mario Lemieux had 44 in 1991 and Gretzky had 43 in 1988.

McDavid will have at least one – and, he hopes, two – games to add to that total. If there is a Game 7, it will be in Florida on Monday night.

“Anytime you’re in the same realm as those two, it’s always a good thing,” McDavid said.

It was the first time in Panthers history that they played a home game with a chance to win the Cup. Another sellout crowd came, some of the paying more than $1,000 apiece for tickets on the secondary market – the crowd pushing Florida’s total attendance for the season over 1 million for the first time.

They came to see the trophy.

The Oilers just wouldn’t let it happen. And when it was over, Tkachuk was asked if the Panthers feel the pressure.

“No. No. No,” Tkachuk said. “It’s not an elimination game for us. We’re going up there, we have a 3-2 series lead, just got to take care of business like we did in Game 3.”

Edmonton came into the night having scored 10 of the series’ last 11 goals – a 2-0 third period in its Game 3 loss, then the 8-1 romp in Game 4.

And the Oilers picked up right where they left off, with an absolute clinic of special-teams hockey.

Game 5 started just as Game 4 did, with Edmonton getting a short-handed goal. Brown assisted it on Saturday night; he scored it unassisted in this one, and the Oilers were on their way. Florida took a penalty – interference by Niko Mikkola – as time expired in the first and it proved costly.

Hyman made it 2-0 with two seconds left in the second-period-opening power play, and McDavid pushed Edmonton’s lead to 3-0 from a ridiculously tough angle that he made look easy three minutes later.

The three-goal lead has been infallible in the Stanley Cup Final for almost two decades; no team had lost after leading by three in a title series game since Edmonton against Carolina in 2006. Every team since then, 39-0 in such games.

Make it 40-0. But the Panthers made it interesting.

It was 4-2 by the end of the second, Tkachuk and Rodrigues sandwiching goals around Perry’s first of the playoffs – set up by a brilliant pass from McDavid. Ekman-Larsson scored early in the third, but the equalizer never came.

“Never want to put yourself behind the 8-ball,” Rodrigues said. “We’ve got to win one game. Simple as that. Go up there, got to win one game. That’s our mindset. That’s what we’re going to go do.”

OILERS DRAG PANTHERS BACK TO CANADA

With back-to-back four-point performances, McDavid joined Wayne Gretzky in 1985 as the only players to have four or more in two games of a Final.

“I love playing in the playoffs,” McDavid said. “I love playing with this group. It’s been a fun ride, and we’re glad it’s going to go one more day. But that’s all we’ve earned here: Another day, another flight. We’ll be ready to go in Edmonton on Friday.”

McDavid’s eight points over this span are the most for a player in consecutive games for a team on the brink.

“Connor doing Connor things,” said Hyman, who scored his playoff-leading 15th goal with an assist from McDavid. “That’s what makes him special. He’s able to elevate his game at the most important time, the biggest reason why we’ve come so far. We’re not here without him. He continues to drive the bus.”

“Drag them back to Alberta” became the Oilers’ rallying cry, started by McDavid after he led the way in avoiding a sweep and echoed by Connor Brown hours before puck drop in Florida. Brown, the other Connor, scored short-handed five minutes in after Stuart Skinner made several big-time saves on the first few shifts as the Panthers opened with a strong push in their second chance to hoist the Cup.

That will have to wait thanks to the Edmonton power play that was 0 for the series at 5-on-4 building the lead with goals by Hyman and Perry, each one assisted on by McDavid.

“He puts this team on his back,” Perry said. “When we’re against the wall, he puts us on his back and he plays. You see why he is the best player.”

Retired referee Kerry Fraser, who worked the final 12 times during his lengthy career, posted on social media, “Connor McDavid reminds me of how Mark Messier could take over a playoff game and ultimately a series.” Fraser referenced Messier carrying the Oilers to the Cup in 1990 – the franchise’s last championship, which capped that dynasty’s run of five in seven years.

McDavid’s empty-net goal Tuesday set off the Oilers’ victory song, “La Bamba,” playing all over Edmonton.

“We believe,” fan Trevor Savage said after watching Game 5. “We all knew it was possible. We knew Connor could lead us. We knew the team was going to be ready, and we’re just excited for Game 6 back home.”

McDavid did not do the dragging by himself.

Brown’s goal made Edmonton the first time since the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins (Mario Lemieux and Bob Errey) to score short-handed in back-to-back games in the final. And Skinner, whose play coming into the series looked like the biggest uncertainty, was on his game.

Meanwhile, the Oilers again got to Bobrovsky, three nights after chasing him from Game 4 midway through an 8-1 rout. McDavid’s goal in particular Tuesday night from a tight angle, a soft one to give up by the goaltender everyone just calls “Bob.”

More shaky Bobrovsky when the series shifts back to Edmonton could set the stage for a comeback not seen in more than 80 years. The Oilers became just the third team in Cup final history and first since New Jersey in 2012 to fall behind 3-0 and win the next two games, and the only team to come all the way back to win it all was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.

“It’s been a crazy story this whole year,” Hyman said. “We’ve got to continue to write it. It doesn’t make for a good story unless you finish it.”



Procession to cemetery for LACo firefighter Andrew Pontious, killed in explosion, set for Wednesday a.m.

Firefighters from the Los Angeles County and Los Angeles fire departments and other agencies will hold a procession on Wednesday, June 19 to transport a county firefighter to his final resting place after he was killed when part of a burning front-loader exploded at a quarry in Littlerock.

Andrew Pontious, 52, a 19-year veteran firefighter, died around 2 p.m. Friday in the explosion at a quarry in the 7300 block of Pearblossom Highway.

Pontious leaves his wife, Kim; his stepdaughter, Sara; parents Gary and Ellie; brother, David, a former county fire department captain; and an extended family.

Beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters from the Los Angeles County and Los Angeles fire departments will join firefighters from the West Covina and Alhambra fire departments and other public safety agencies in a procession to transport Pontious’ body from the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner to Forest Lawn-Covina Hills cemetery.

Pontious, who worked in the Palmdale area, also served the communities of El Monte, Rosemead and San Fernando during his career, according to the county fire department.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered flags at the state capitol to be flown at half-staff in honor of Pontious.

“His service protecting the Los Angeles community will never be forgotten,” the governor said in a statement a day after the tragedy.

Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Anthony Marrone said that a short time after crews arrived at the quarry on Friday — around 2:10 p.m. —an explosion occurred, killing Pontious and injuring a second firefighter.

Late Friday, a procession of first responders escorted Pontious’ body from the quarry to the medical examiner’s office in Boyle Heights.

The second firefighter, who has not been identified, was treated at Antelope Valley Medical Center and released, Marrone said.

The large front-loader continued to burn following the explosion, sending thick black smoke into the air.

“I don’t know how the fire started and I don’t know what exploded,” Marrone said at the time, noting that a thorough investigation will be conducted.

Homicide and arson investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are overseeing the probe.

Marrone described Pontious as a “wonderful man. He was married. He’s a father. It’s just such a tragedy.”

Pontious was known for his exemplary work ethic, unwavering positive disposition and genuine love for helping people, department officials said.

New firefighters could always count on him for guidance and mentorship, the department said. When new battalion chiefs arrived, he was the first to give them a tour on their first day.

Pontious was also a talented cook who often volunteered even when not on the schedule. Known affectionately as “Uncle,” Pontious was said to have enjoyed spending time with his family, hunting and studying wildlife. His passion for wildlife conservation was well-known among colleagues and friends.



U.S. Olympic swimming trials: Regan Smith sets world record in 100 backstroke

By PAUL NEWBERRY AP National Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — This world record was five years in the making for Regan Smith.

What an up-and-down journey it’s been.

Bouncing back from a close-but-no-Olympics call in her first race, Smith set a world record in the women’s 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. swimming trials on Tuesday night.

The 22-year-old Minnesota native touched in 57.13 seconds, easily beating the mark of 57.33 set a year ago by Australia’s Kaylee McKeown.

Smith was just 17 years old when she first set a world record in the 100 back at the 2019 World Championships. But she struggled to deal with the sudden, newfound fame, ceding dominance in the event to McKeown.

“A long time coming,” Smith said. “It’s about time.”

There was never any doubt about Smith’s talent, but a lack of confidence was almost crippling at times.

She’s been working with a sports psychologist since October, which helped turn things around from mental standpoint. Her coach, Bob Bowman, best known for his work with 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, took care of the physical side with a grueling training regimen.

“This is incredibly rewarding,” Smith said. “When I was a teenager, I had not done much. There was no pressure on me. I was always the youngest. No one expected much from me. I could go into it fearless.”

Once she tasted success, it was hard to get back on top. She made the U.S. team for the Tokyo Olympics, but finished third in the backstroke as McKeown took the gold.

“I’ve always had it physically, but I didn’t have it mentally,” Smith conceded. “I just didn’t have it up here,” pointing toward her head.

Showing how much her confidence has grown, Smith bounced back emphatically after getting edged for a spot on the U.S. team in the 100 butterfly, where she finished third behind Gretchen Walsh and Torri Huske.

Flipping to her back, Smith set the second world record of the trials, following Walsh’s mark in the semifinals of the 100 fly.

Katharine Berkoff claimed the second expected Olympic spot for the U.S. with a time of 57.91.

In the night’s other final, Bobby Finke earned the right to defend the 800 freestyle gold he won in Tokyo with a time of 7 minutes, 44.22 seconds.

Finke had to work hard to get to the wall ahead of 18-year-old Indiana phenom Luke Whitlock, who set a national age-group record at 7:45.19 and will likely head to his first Olympics with the second U.S. spot.

No one else was within four seconds of the top two.

“I find I need pressure to do well, at least in my eyes,” Finke said. “So I feel like the more pressure I feel, then the more likely I am to do well. Happy with the time we got.”

Whitlock splashed the water emphatically after going virtually stroke-for-stroke with the reigning Olympic champion, who swept the 800 and 1,500 free in Tokyo.

He is expected to become the youngest male swimmer to make the U.S. team since that guy named Phelps, who was 15 when he qualified for his first Olympics in Sydney in 2000.

“It’s really just over the last, especially the last two months, my training has really picked up and now just talking to my coach, we just had a really good plan,” Whitlock said. “We kind of got everything planned out like a month and a half before this and I was just really confident with the work I’ve been putting in, so I knew I could execute it.”

Two of America’s biggest swimming stars, Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel, had impressive debuts at the trials, though there’s still work to do to make it back to the Olympics.

Dressel was the third-fastest qualifier in the preliminaries and semifinals of the men’s 100 freestyle, both times finishing behind Jack Alexy and Chris Guiliano. The tattooed Floridian will have to beat at least one of them in the final Wednesday night to earn a chance to defend his Olympic title in that event.

Manuel was the fastest qualifier in the women’s 100 free preliminaries and took the second spot behind Torri Huske in the semifinals.

Dressel and Manuel are both coming back from long layoffs that cast doubts over whether they’d be able to qualify for Paris.

The winner of five gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, Dressel mysteriously walked away in the midst of the 2022 World Championships, later revealing he needed an extended break to rekindle his love for the sport.

Manuel, the first Black female swimmer to capture an individual gold medal, was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome ahead of the last Olympics. She barely managed to qualify for the U.S. team, then shut down all physical activity under a doctor’s care to allow her body to recover.

Robert Finke swims during the Men's 800 freestyle finals Tuesday, June 18, 2024, at the US Swimming Olympic Trials in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Robert Finke swims during the 800-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials on Tuesday night in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)



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