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Update on the latest in sports:

September 17, 2018

MLB

Rockies, Dodgers begin final series of regular season

UNDATED (AP) — With the Rockies a half-game ahead of the Dodgers for the NL West lead, the teams begin their final series of the regular season.

Jon Gray (11-7) pitches the opener of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium against Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-3). Gray is 4-0 in 11 starts since returning from the minors.

After getting shut out on consecutive days, the Rockies ended their longest scoring drought of the year during a 3-2 win Sunday in San Francisco.

Colorado is 41-34 on the road this season, and one more victory will break the franchise record for wins away from Coors Field.

Here’s what else is happing around the majors today:

— It’s a potential playoff preview and a matchup of All-Star pitchers when Miles Mikolas (15-4) and the Cardinals visit first-place Atlanta. Mike Foltynewicz (11-9) starts for the Braves, who lead second-place Philadelphia by 6½ games in the NL East. Atlanta’s magic number is eight to win its first NL East title in five years. But the Braves have been struggling at home, where they have lost eight of 11 and are 38-36 overall. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said third baseman Johan Camargo should be back in the lineup after missing four games with left groin tightness.

— Leading the NL Central by 2½ games over Milwaukee, the Cubs hope to get their slumping bats going when they face left-hander Patrick Corbin (11-5, 3.05 ERA) in Arizona. Chasing its third consecutive division championship, Chicago scored only five runs in a three-game home series against last-place Cincinnati over the weekend. The Cubs have totaled 15 runs in their past seven games. “We have to do better than one run somehow,” manager Joe Maddon said. Left fielder Kyle Schwarber (back) has missed six games in a row and didn’t accompany the team to Arizona.

— Mookie Betts and the major league-leading Red Sox get a day off before their first chance to clinch a third straight AL East crown. Boston can wrap up the division title at Yankee Stadium for the second time in three seasons, needing only one win during a three-game series that opens Tuesday afternoon. Betts, a contender for AL MVP, left Sunday’s win over the Mets after hurting his left side making a throw to home plate. He said the injury is minor and he’ll be in the lineup Tuesday. The Yankees hold a 1½-game lead over Oakland for the top AL wild card. New York manager Aaron Boone said star slugger Aaron Judge could return to the lineup against Boston.

2026 BIDS-SAPPORO

Sapporo ends bid for 2026 Winter Olympics

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Japanese city of Sapporo has dropped its bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics following a recent earthquake.

After meeting with Sapporo representatives, the International Olympic Committee says the city will now focus on a bid for the 2030 Games. About 40 people were killed when an earthquake hit Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, where Sapporo is located, this month.

The IOC says it “expressed its understanding that recovery from the earthquake in the region should be the immediate principle focus but greatly appreciated the continued strong commitment as a future host for the Olympic Winter Games.”

Four bids remain in contention for 2026: Stockholm, Sweden; Calgary, Canada; a three-way Italian bid from Turin, Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo; and Erzurum, Turkey.

ALBANIA-PANUCCI

Albania coach Panucci sues country’s former president

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania coach Christian Panucci has filed a civil lawsuit against the country’s former president for calling him a “charlatan” after losing a friendly soccer match.

A Federation spokesman says Panucci filed a lawsuit in Tirana court asking for 100,000 euros ($116,000) for having his image damaged.

Bujar Nishani, Albania’s president until last year, wrote on his Facebook page on May 29: “Kosovo-Albania (3:0). Bravo Kosovo! Panucci, a charlatan who is destroying what had been built up.”

The judge will decide in 30 days whether to proceed with a trial after hearing from the defendant.

Panucci, a 45-year-old Italian, has been coaching Albania’s national team since July 2017.

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