Closer-less Cubs look to stay ahead of Milwaukee

UNDATED (AP) — The Cubs send ace Jon Lester to the mound Saturday when they host Cincinnati. Left-hander Cody Reed starts for the Reds. NL Central-leading Chicago beat the Reds 3-2 Friday night to stay 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place Milwaukee.

The Cubs are going to try a closer-by-committee approach down the stretch after learning Pedro Strop is out for the rest of the regular season because of a strained left hamstring. Manager Joe Maddon said he envisions calling on veterans including Steve Cishek, Justin Wilson and Jesse Chavez to finish games. Strop hurt himself this week trying to beat out a double-play grounder.

In other games on the Saturday schedule:

— Mike Clevinger starts for Cleveland as the Indians try to clinch their third straight AL Central title. They're hosting the Detroit Tigers, who send Michael Fulmer to the mound. The Indians have a magic number of one. They can wrap up the division with a win over Detroit, or a loss by Minnesota at Kansas City.

— The Dodgers continue their series in St. Louis, a day after drawing even with the Cardinals in the NL wild-card race with a 3-0 victory. The Dodgers moved within one-half game of first-place Colorado in the NL West. Veteran lefty Rich Hill starts for the Dodgers against Cardinals right-hander John Gant, who will make his third career appearance and first start against Los Angeles.

— The A's and Rays, two of the primary teams using relievers as openers to start games, will employ the strategy against each other for the first time. Tampa Bay will go with Ryne Stanek while Oakland counters with Liam Hendriks at Tropicana Field.


Anisimova beats Zhang to reach her 1st final at age 17

TOKYO (AP) — American qualifier Amanda Anisimova is in her first WTA final at age 17 after upsetting top-seeded Zhang Shuai of China 7-6), 7-5 at the Japan Women's Open on Saturday.

Trailing 5-4 in the second set, Anisimova hit two fierce winners down the line and went on to win with her first match point as Zhang's backhand went long.

Anisimova, who turned 17 just two weeks ago, is the youngest player to reach a final since 16-year-old Donna Vekic at Tashkent in 2012 and Birmingham in 2013.

Anisimova will face Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei in Sunday's final. Hsieh overpowered China's Qiang Wang 6-4, 6-4 in Saturday's other semifinal.


Hamilton takes pole for Singapore GP, Verstappen 2nd

SINGAPORE (AP) — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took a brilliant pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen under floodlights on Saturday.

Hamilton set a blistering time and secure a record-extending 79th pole position in Formula One and a 200th for a British driver.

Verstappen drove impressively but the 20-year-old Dutchman missed out on being the youngest ever driver to secure pole. He also started from second last year.

Sebastian Vettel qualified third with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen (KEE'-mee RAY'-koh-nehn) fifth behind the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.