Update on the latest in sports:
NHL-STANLEY CUP FINALS
Predators even series
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Stanley Cup final is now a best-of-3 after the Nashville Predators evened the series at two games apiece.
Frederick Gaudreau scored the game-winner and Pekka Rinne (PEH’-kuh REE’-nay) stopped 23 shots as the Predators earned a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Nashville. The game was tied 1-1 until Gaudreau beat Matt Murray 3:45 into the second period. Viktor Arvidsson made it 3-1 later in the middle period.
Calle Jarnkrok (KAL’-ee YAHRN’-krahk) and Filip Forsberg also tallied to support Rinne, who blanked the Penguins after Sidney Crosby’s goal tied the game late in the first period.
The Predators outscored the Penguins 9-2 in the two games at Nashville after Pittsburgh picked up 5-3 and 4-1 wins at home.
Game 5 is Thursday in Pittsburgh.
Finals ratings best since ’98
CLEVELAND (AP) — The first two games of the NBA Finals have been blowout wins by the Golden State Warriors over the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they’ve drawn plenty of television viewers.
The Nielsen company says the games have averaged 19.6 million viewers, a five percent increase over last year’s finals and the most since Michael Jordan’s last title with the Chicago Bulls against the Utah Jazz in 1998. Sunday’s game averaged 20.1 million viewers and peaked at 23.1 million.
The Warriors opened the series with a 113-91 rout of the Cavaliers on Thursday and pulled away for a 132-113 victory on Sunday.
The finals shift to Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday.
Astros win again
UNDATED (AP) — Is it too early to talk about magic numbers when discussing the Houston Astros?
The Astros top the American League West by a whopping 14 games after stretching their winning streak to 11 games with a 7-3 trouncing of the Royals in Kansas City. It’s the longest winning streak in the majors this season and one shy of the Astros’ record set in 1999 and matched in 2004.
Yuli Gurriel (YOO’-lee gur-ee-EHL’) put the game out of reach with a three-run blast in the ninth. Gurriel has 10 RBIs during his six-game hitting streak.
Brian McCann hit a two-run shot for the Astros, who also own an 11-game road winning streak.
Mike Fiers (FY’-urz) gave up two runs over five innings to help Houston improve to a major league-best 42-16. The Astros also have a 22-6 road record, the best in baseball.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— The Nationals are a National League-best 36-20 following their sixth win in seven games, 4-2 over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Anthony Rendon (rehn-DOHN’) launched a solo homer and Matt Wieters (WEE’-turz) singled home a pair to help Washington win a rematch its 2016 division series. The Dodgers reached Gio Gonzalez for two runs and just four hits over six innings.
— Pinch-hitter Aaron Hill laced a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth before the Giants completed a 7-2 win over the Brewers at Milwaukee. Jeff Samardzija (sah-MAHR’-juh) fell behind 2-0 in the first inning before blanking the Brewers the rest of the way, allowing six hits while fanning 10 over 7 2/3s. The loss puts Milwaukee in a virtual tie for first in the NL Central, one percentage point behind the Chicago Cubs.
— The Cubs are 4-0 on their 10-game homestand after Eddie Butler tossed three-hit ball into the sixth inning of a 3-1 victory against the Marlins. Mike Montgomery tossed 3 1/3 innings for his second save in his first appearance since May 28. Kris Bryant belted a two-run homer and Albert Almora Jr. added a solo blast for Chicago.
— Eugenio (ay-oo-HEH’-nee-oh) Suarez and Scooter Gennett (jeh-NEHT’) hit consecutive two-run doubles in the seventh inning as the Reds pulled out a 4-2 comeback win over the Cardinals in Cincinnati. Redbirds starter Carlos Martinez was 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA over his previous six starts and faced the minimum through six innings before fading. St. Louis has dropped four straight and eight of 11.
— Oakland was a 5-3 winner over Toronto behind Ryon Healy’s two home runs and career-high five RBIs. Healy hit a three-run homer in the second and a two-run drive in the fourth for his second multihomer game in three days. Sean Manaea won his fourth consecutive start by limiting the Blue Jays to two runs with seven strikeouts over six innings.
— Odubel (oh-DOO’-bul) Herrera, Tommy Joseph and Aaron Altherr (ahl-TEHR’) provided much of Philadelphia’s offense in an 11-4 assault on the Braves in Atlanta. Herrera hit a two-run homer and became the first Phillies player since at least 1913 to double twice in three straight games. Joseph homered and drove in three, and Altherr slammed a two-run shot.
Murray, Warwinka advance
PARIS (AP) — The French Open men’s and women’s quarterfinals begin today with men’s second seed Novak Djokovic (JOH’-koh-vihch) against No. 6 Dominic Thiem (teem) and fourth seed Rafael Nadal versus Pablo Carreno Busta.
Women’s No. 11 Caroline Wozniacki (wohz-nee-AK’-ee) is the highest women’s seed in action Tuesday, taking on Jelena Ostapenko after Kristina Mladenovic faces Timea Bacsinszky (bah-CHIHN’-skee).
Top seed Andy Murray and No. 3 Stan Wawrinka (vah-VRIHN’-kah) have advanced to the quarterfinals with straight-sets victories yesterday. Murray posted a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Karen Khachanov, and Wawrinka was a 7-5, 7-6, 6-2 winner against Gael Monfils (mohn-FEES’).
No. 8 Kei Nishikori (kay nee-shee-KOHR’-ee) knocked out Fernando Verdasco in four sets despite losing love-6 in the first. Seventh seed Marin Cilic (CHEE’-lihch) was leading his fourth-round match, 6-3, 3-0 when Kevin Anderson had to retire due to injury.
On the women’s side, second seed Karolina Pliskova had to rally for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against Veronica Cepede Royg. Third seed Simona Halep (HAH’-lehp) cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 21 Carla Suarez Navarro. Fifth seed Elina Svitolina defeated Petra Martic, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to join No. 28 Carolina Garcia in the quarters.
None of the women still playing for the French Open title has ever won a Grand Slam tournament.
Tomas Berdych fires coach Goran Ivanisevic
PRAGUE (AP) — Tomas Berdych (TOH’-mahs bur-DEEK’) has fired former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic (ee-van-EE’-seh-vihch) as his coach.
Berdych was eliminated from the French Open in the second round by Karen Khachanov of Russia 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.
OHIO STATE-MATTA OUT
Thad Matta out as Ohio State coach
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State is making a major change to its men’s basketball program.
Thad Matta is out after 13 seasons on the Buckeyes’ sideline, saying he and the school had come to a mutual agreement. Matta cited his health as a factor in the decision after being bothered by chronic back problems for years. Athletic director Gene Smith said Ohio State wasn’t winning the recruiting battles he felt it needed to win.
The Buckeyes won at least 20 games in each of Matta’s first 12 years at the school, but the Buckeyes went just 17-15 last season and missed the NCAA playoffs for the second consecutive spring.
Matta won five regular-season Big Ten titles, captured four league tournaments and made two Final Four appearances with OSU.
Wallace to become fourth black driver in NASCAR’s top circuit
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Darrell Wallace Jr. will replace the injured Aric Almirola at Pocono Raceway this weekend, making him the first black driver since 2006 to race in NASCAR’s top circuit.
Richard Petty Motorsports said Wallace will continue to drive the No. 43 car until Almirola returns. Almirola fractured a vertebra during a fiery wreck last month at Kansas Speedway and is out indefinitely.
Bill Lester was the last black to start a Cup event. Wendell Scott raced from 1961-73, and Willy T. Ribbs competed in three races in 1986.
Lawmakers take another look at erasing convictions
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are re-examining a legal custom that allows for criminal convictions to be erased when a defendant dies before an appeal can be heard.
The scrutiny follows Aaron Hernandez’s prison death.
A judge dismissed the former NFL player’s murder conviction in a 2013 killing after Hernandez was found hanging in his cell in April. His death was ruled a suicide.
Niners ink Dumervil
UNDATED (AP) — Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said quarterback Cam Newton is ahead of schedule in his rehab from shoulder surgery and is expected to begin throwing next week at minicamp. Newton will start by throwing on a side field and isn’t expected to participate in team drills until the team reports to training camp in late July. Newton injured his shoulder in Carolina’s Week 14 win against the San Diego Chargers but continued to play the rest of the season.
Also in the NFL:
— The San Francisco 49ers have signed free agent Elvis Dumervil (DOO’-mur-vihl) in an effort to bolster their pass rush. The 33-year-old Dumervil has 99 career sacks in 10 seasons with Denver and Baltimore, but he recorded a career-low three while playing just eight games last year.
— The Seattle Seahawks have altered their quarterback depth by signing Austin Davis and releasing Jake Heaps. The 28-year-old Davis will be added to the backup competition with Trevone Boykin, last year’s No. 2 behind starter Russell Wilson.
— New York Giants backup receiver Roger Lewis Jr. was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, over the weekend. The police report said Lewis was suspected of using alcohol. The report noted that a small amount of marijuana was found.
GOLF-US OPEN QUALIFYING
Stricker earns Open berth
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Steve Stricker has earned a spot in the upcoming U.S. Open following rounds of 67 and 65 in the sectional qualifier in Tennessee.
Stricker was leading when he finished and was assured of being among nine players who earned spots to Erin Hills Golf Club next week.
The 50-year-old Stricker has been playing a limited schedule, but he cranked it up in recent months in a bid to make the U.S. Open.
Lydia Ko still top-ranked women’s golfer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — An oversight by the women’s world golf ranking means Lydia Ko is still No. 1.
The LPGA Tour said last week that projections from the world ranking showed Ariya Jutanugarn going to No. 1 because Ko didn’t play the ShopRite LPGA Classic and So Yeon Ryu missed the cut. However, the tour says those projections were based on the day they were calculated, instead of the day when the ranking is released. A tournament from two years ago was inadvertently included, which gave Ko an additional event.
Jutanugarn is playing the Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada this week and can become No. 1.