Update on the latest sports
Western Conference finals begin in San Jose
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ The St. Louis Blues visit San Jose Saturday for Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference finals.
Both teams are coming off seven-game series. San Jose eliminated Colorado on Wednesday while St. Louis finished off Dallas the night before in double overtime.
And both franchises have had their share of playoff disappointments.
The Blues reached the Cup final their first three years as the top team in the all-expansion Western Conference but were swept all three times. They haven’t been back to the Cup final despite making the postseason 39 times since. They lost in the conference final in 1986 to Calgary, in 2001 to Colorado and three years ago to the Sharks.
The Sharks have also been one of the most consistent teams in the league without winning the ultimate prize. They lost in the conference finals in 2004, 2010 and 2011 before finally breaking through with the win against the Blues. But they fell to Pittsburgh in six games in the Cup final and are running out of time to deliver a title for 39-year-old star Joe Thornton.
Brewers try for 8th straight win
UNDATED (AP) _ The Milwaukee Brewers go for their eighth straight win Saturday when they continue their series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Milwaukee won Friday’s opener 7-0, pulling into a virtual tie with the Cubs for the NL Central lead. Zach Davies starts for the Brewers against Cole Hamels.
Elsewhere in the majors:
_ One night after busting loose for their biggest first inning in 30 years with eight runs, the Mets look to give Jacob deGrom some offensive support as well for a change. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has lost four straight decisions, and New York hasn’t scored in either of his last two games. It’s a pattern that persisted last year, when deGrom went 10-9 despite a big league-low 1.70 ERA. This time he takes on Sandy Alcantara and the major league-worst Marlins at Citi Field.
_ The Reds will try again to tee off against Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija (suh-MAHR’-juh). Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker and Derek Dietrich tagged Samardzija for three homers on three pitches in the first inning Sunday, though Samardzija settled to throw five innings of four-run ball and San Francisco rallied to win 6-5. The Reds have scored six or more runs just six times this season, and three of those came during a four-game split with San Francisco last week.
_ Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (suh-BATH’-ee-uh) faces the Rays for the first time since being ejected for plunking Jesús Sucre during a game last September. Sabathia was tossed two innings short of meeting a $500,000 performance bonus in his final start of the season, though New York later gave him the bonus anyway. Sucre is no longer with the Rays, but Sabathia’s gripe was with the entire team _ he stood and yelled into Tampa Bay’s dugout after the ejection, upset that Andrew Kittredge had thrown a pitch near the head of Yankees catcher Austin Romine.
_ Max Scherzer takes the mound for Washington at Dodger Stadium in an uncharacteristic position: the Nationals have lost the last five games he has started. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 1-4 with a 3.78 ERA overall this year. The most consecutive team losses in Scherzer starts is six, starting in 2009 when he played for Arizona and ending in 2010 when he pitched for Detroit. Walker Buehler starts for the Dpodgers.
Federer adds Italian Open to his Roland Garros preparation
ROME (AP) — Roger Federer has added the Italian Open to his schedule.
A day after his three-set loss to Dominic Thiem (teem) in the Madrid Open quarterfinals, Federer announced his plans in an Instagram video on Saturday.
The Italian Open starts on Sunday and Federer has a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed. He’ll open against either 37th-ranked Frances Tiafoe or 75th-ranked Joao Sousa.
Federer is a four-time runner-up at the Italian Open, which he’s never won, making it one of the few significant trophies the 20-time Grand Slam winner hasn’t claimed.
He skipped the clay swing the past two years to remain fit for the rest of the season. He decided to return this year in preparation for his first French Open appearance since 2015.
US powers to 2 wins on opening day of world relays
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Sharika Nelvis and Devon Allen dominated the mixed shuttle hurdles relay as the United States won both finals at the world relays on the opening day Saturday.
Nelvis pulled ahead on the third leg and Allen anchored the Americans to victory in 54.96 seconds. Host Japan was runner-up in 55.59. Australia was disqualified and Jamaica did not start the mixed shuttle hurdles relay, one of two new disciplines making its debut at the meet in Yokohama.
The race featured two men and two women on each team running 110-meter legs.
In another event making its debut, Ce’Aira Brown and Donovan Brazier led the U.S. to first in the mixed 2x2x400-meter relay with a time of 3:36.92. Australia was second in 3:37.61, and Japan third in 3:38.36.
The U.S. leads the overall standings with 16 points, three ahead of Japan. Australia was third with seven points.
The competition concludes on Sunday with finals in seven events.
Swiss thrash Italy, Denmark beat France at ice hockey worlds
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Kevin Fiala scored a hat trick and added an assist as Switzerland thrashed Italy 9-0 in their first game at the world hockey championship on Saturday.
It was Switzerland’s biggest victory over Italy at the worlds.
Last year’s finalist, Switzerland, didn’t waste time and took control with four goals in the opening period in the Group B game in the Slovak capital of Bratislava.
In Group A in Kosice, Frederik Storm scored the winner for Denmark to prevail over France 5-4 in a penalty shootout.
Later, Britain returns to the top division after 25 years to open against Germany, while host Slovakia faces Finland also in Group A. In Group B, Latvia takes on Austria, and the Czech Republic plays Norway.
Bottas wins pole at Spanish GP ahead of Hamilton
MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Formula One leader Valtteri Bottas has won the pole position for a third straight grand prix after topping qualifying at the Spanish GP with a new track record on Saturday.
Teammate and defending champion Lewis Hamilton was next, setting up Mercedes’ dominant pair with a good shot at scoring a fifth consecutive one-two race finish to start the season.
Bottas bettered Hamilton’s track record from 2018 qualifying at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit with a lap of 1 minute, 15:406 seconds.
Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari will start from third, just in front of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start from fifth.
Vettel is 35 points behind Bottas in third place.