Jason Kipnis homered and drove in four runs to help the Cleveland Indians snap a four-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night. Kipnis hit a three-run home run — his first since July 31 of last season — in the third and then capped another three-run rally in the sixth with an RBI grounder. Michael Bourn’s double gave Cleveland the lead. Danny Salazar (3-0) allowed four runs in six innings.
Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar suffered a bruised left cheek after being hit in the head by a 96 mile an hour fastball from Salazar in the fifth inning. The ball struck Escobar on the left side ear flap of the helmet and he was on the ground for several moments. He walked off the field with help from two Royals trainers. Yordano Ventura (2-2) allowed five runs in 5 1-3 innings.
Peter Bourjos hit a game-tying RBI triple, then scored the go-ahead run by beating the throw home on an infield tapper to fuel a four-run fifth inning in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies last night. Bourjos entered 7 for 15 against Harang with a homer and four RBIs, no doubt factoring into his second start considering he was just 1 for 10 on the season. Carlos Martinez (3-0) allowed two runs in six innings and Matt Adams doubled twice with an RBI for the Cards.
Ryan Howard hit his 20th career homer against St. Louis, 11 coming in his hometown, and Odubel Herrera had two hits and an RBI. Aaron Harang (2-2) surrendered five runs in six innings, ending a career-best run of eight consecutive quality starts dating to last September.
The Memphis Grizzlies have advanced to the NBA’s Western Conference semifinals for the third time in five years. Marc Gasol had 26 points and 14 rebounds as the Grizzlies closed out their opening-round series in five games, beating Portland 99-93. Courtney Lee finished with 20 points for the Grizzlies, who lost only Game 4 of the series to earn the right to take on top seed Golden State. C.J. McCollum had a career-high 33 points for the Trail Blazers, Damion Lillard chipped in 22 and LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 before fouling out. Lillard and Aldridge shot just 13 of 37 for the Blazers, who are done after one round for the seventh time in their last eight postseasons.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks have ended a two-game skid and grabbed a three-games-to-two lead in the NBA’s Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Al Horford shook off a dislocated finger to score 20 points as the top-seeded Hawks downed the Nets 107-97 in Atlanta. Jeff Teague also had 20 points and delivered a pair of late baskets after the Hawks blew most of a 17-point lead. DeMarre Carroll scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half and helped the Hawks carry a 33-16 advantage into the second quarter. Alan Henderson had a team-high 23 points off the bench for the Nets, who will try to stave off elimination at home on Friday.
BIG-12 PLAYOFF COMING
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says he believes the conference will move toward having a championship football game because not having one puts it at a disadvantage when it comes placing teams in the College Football Playoff.
Bowlsby says he spoke with selection committee chairman Jeff Long this week during the College Football Playoff meetings in North Texas and came away convinced not having a conference championship game to end the season will continue to be a problem for the league.
The Big 12 is the lone Big Five conference that has only 10 teams and does not have a title game. Baylor and TCU tied for the Big 12 title last season, but were both jumped by Ohio State in the final playoff committee rankings.
American Pharoah was made the early 5-2 favorite and drew the No. 18 post for the 141st Kentucky Derby this Saturday at Churchill Downs. American Pharoah comes into the Derby having won the Arkansas Derby by eight lengths. Undefeated Dortmund drew the No. 8 post and is 3-1 for the 1 1/4-mile race. That gives trainer Bob Baffert the top two choices on the morning line.