AP Sports SummaryBrief at 11:53 p.m. EDT

Juan Soto overcomes JRod, contract talk to win HR Derby

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Washington Nationals star Juan Soto won his first Home Run Derby. He held off Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodríguez in the final 19-18. The 23-year-old Soto hit 53 total homers to win the midseason power showcase, showing off his incredible talent. Soto was locked in at the plate even during a tumultuous recent stretch packed with speculation about his possible departure...

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Juan Soto overcomes JRod, contract talk to win HR Derby

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Washington Nationals star Juan Soto won his first Home Run Derby. He held off Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodríguez in the final 19-18. The 23-year-old Soto hit 53 total homers to win the midseason power showcase, showing off his incredible talent. Soto was locked in at the plate even during a tumultuous recent stretch packed with speculation about his possible departure from the Nats after turning down a huge contract extension. Soto beat Cleveland’s José Ramírez 18-17 in the first round before getting past 42-year-old Albert Pujols 16-15 to reach the final.

All-Star Game decided by a HR derby if tied after 9 innings

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lot of baseball fans are likely to be rooting for the All-Star Game to be tied after nine innings on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. That’s because of a new rule this year that says if the All-Star Game goes to extra innings, it will instead be decided by a Home Run Derby. The American League and National League will each send up three hitters, and they’ll get three swings apiece to determine the winner. With the All-Star Home Run Derby always popular the night before the game, Major League Baseball decided to make a slugging showcase part of the Midsummer Classic. New York Mets star Pete Alonso has already told NL manager Brian Snitker that hed gladly take part.

Jackie Robinson’s legacy looms over All-Star Game in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The legacy of Jackie Robinson showed in Major League Baseball’s draft. Four Black players were among the first five selected for the first time in history. Still, baseball has a smaller percentage of Black players now than any year since the early 1990s. And Robinson would likely be unsatisfied with those numbers. His legacy as the first player to break baseball’s color barrier will be honored at the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. It was the subject of discussion by four former All-Stars at a gathering in Los Angeles as part of the All-Star festivities. Robinson broke the sport’s color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Hall of Famer has a statue outside Dodger Stadium.

Contreras brothers enjoying being on same All-Star squad

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Willson and William Contreras will become the fifth brothers to start together in the All-Star Game, and they’re batting back to back in the National League’s lineup. Willson, the Chicago Cubs catcher, will bat sixth while William, a catcher for the Atlanta Braves, is seventh as the designated hitter. William was elevated to the starting lineup after Philadelphia Phillies’ slugger Bryce Harper could not play due to injury. The two brothers were side by side in the middle of the second row for the NL All-Star photo taken before workouts at Dodger Stadium on Monday.

Lyles celebrates 25th with cruise through world qualifying

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Noah Lyles celebrated his 25th birthday by running the fastest time in 200-meter qualifying at world championships, a 19.98-second romp that he punctuated by playfully wagging his finger at the six other sprinters straggling behind. Lyles was part of a cavalcade of the world’s best sprinters — including 100 champions Fred Kerley and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton — who cruised through the first heats of the 200 without much fuss. Other winners on Day 4 at worlds included Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam in the heptathlon and Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas In triple jump. It was Rojas’ third world title.

Steph Curry steps out of comfort zone as host of The ESPYS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fresh off leading the Golden State Warriors to an NBA championship, Stephen Curry is hosting The ESPYS. The finals MVP hints that his fellow athletes attending the show in Hollywood might want to be a little worried at what he’ll say during the opening monologue. Curry says hosting is out of his comfort zone and he expects to be on an emotional roller coaster for the live ABC broadcast. Curry also is nominated for three individual trophies and the Warriors are vying for best team. He says he hopes to channel two of his favorite comedians, Dave Chapelle and Kevin Hart.

Pitch clocks, shift limits, larger bases in MLB’s future

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Major League Baseball is considering a pitch clock for next year along with shift limits, larger bases and restrictions on pickoff attempts. A clock experiment in the minor leagues cut the average this year to 2 hours, 37 minutes from 3 hours, 4 minutes at a similar point for non-clock games last year. The average time of nine-inning MLB games increased from 2 hours, 43 minutes in 2003 to 3 hours, 13 minutes in 2020 before dropping to 3 hours, 2 minutes so far this season. An 11-person competition committee with six management representatives, four players and one umpire will make the decisions. Limited use of robot plate umpires is possible as early as 2024.

Shohei Ohtani is ‘Made In Japan’ with American adaptations

TOKYO (AP) — Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels is doing things no other player has ever done. His roots are deep in northeastern Japan where he played high school baseball and got his start. High school baseball in Japan is highly competitive and is run in a military-like fashion with countless practices with a focus on the development of spirit, teamwork and self-sacrifice. Ohtani took that background with him to the United States. Baseball was first introduced in Japan in 1872 and Ohtani is the product of 150 years of evolution that has also produced other top players like pitcher Hideo Nomo and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.

Kershaw to start All-Star Game for NL, McClanahan for AL

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will start for the National League on Tuesday night in the first All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium since 1980, and Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan will be on the mound for the American League. Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani will lead off for the AL as the designated hitter. There had been speculation Ohtani would be the starting pitcher, too. He said he won’t pitch in the All-Star Game and instead will start the Angels’ first game after the break, on Friday in Atlanta. The 34-year-old Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, is 7-2 with a 2.14 ERA. McClanahan, a first-time All-Star, is 10-3 with a major league-leading 1.71 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings.

Red Sox lefty Sale has finger surgery, no return date set

BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale had surgery on his broken left pinkie finger, a day after he was hit by a line drive in a game against the New York Yankees. The Red Sox called the surgery successful but did not give a timetable for his return. A broken bone usually takes 4-6 weeks to heal, which would allow Sale to return before the end of the season. In the first inning of Sunday’s game against the Yankees Sale was hit in the hand by Aaron Hicks’ 106 mph line drive. The Red Sox ace screamed in pain and walked immediately off the field.

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