February 6, 2023
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Wednesday’s Sports in Brief | The Sacramento Bee

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, whose unmistakable swagger in helping the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title earned him the nickname “Lenny the Cool,” died Wednesday. He was 87.

Dawson’s family announced his death in a statement through KMBC, the Kansas City-based television station where he starred in his second career as a broadcaster. No cause was given, though Dawson had been in declining health for years. He entered hospice care on Aug. 12.

Dawson was the MVP of the Chiefs’ 23-7 Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings in January 1970.

Dawson personified the Chiefs almost from the start, when the suave standout from Purdue lost out on starting jobs in Pittsburgh and Cleveland and landed with the nascent franchise, then located in Dallas. There, Dawson reunited with Hank Stram, who had been an assistant with the Boilermakers, and together they changed the franchise.

The coach and quarterback won the AFL championship together in 1962, their first year together, and became bona fide stars the following year, when club founder Lamar Hunt moved the team to Kansas City and rechristened it the Chiefs. They proceeded to win two more AFL titles, one in 1966 when they lost to the Green Bay Packers in the first Super Bowl, and the other in ’69, when Dawson returned from an injury to help beat the Vikings at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith has a torn left hamstring and could be sidelined for months, according to an ESPN report.

Smith was injured during 11-on-11 drills in practice when he went to engage linebacker Leighton Vander Esch about 5 yards downfield before crumpling to the turf. He walked off the field without help.

The team initially said on its website Smith had a knee injury and an MRI was planned. ESPN, citing unidentified sources, later reported the 31-year-old had a torn hamstring.

The eight-time Pro Bowler has been hampered mostly by back, neck and shoulder injuries in recent years. Smith has missed at least three games each season since 2016, including a career-low two games in 2020 before season-ending neck surgery.

The Cowboys were counting on Smith and five-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin as the anchors on an offensive line that is young at the other three spots.


SEATTLE (AP) — Mariners right-hander George Kirby set a major league record by throwing 24 straight strikes to start the game and fellow Seattle rookie Julio Rodriguez reached a new level, but Ildemaro Vargas hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning that lifted the Washington Nationals to a 3-1 win.

Kirby gave up five hits and one run before throwing his first ball to Joey Meneses in the third. Kirby topped the mark of 21 consecutive strikes to open by Joe Musgrove for Pittsburgh against St. Louis in 2018.

Rodriguez hit his 20th home run, tying it at 1 in the eighth. The 21-year-old sensation who put on quite a show at the All-Star Home Run Derby became the fourth rookie in big league history with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season, joining Mitchell Page (1977 Athletics), Ellis Burks (1987 Red Sox) and Marty Cordova (1995 Twins). Rodriguez leads all rookies in home runs and has stolen 23 bases.

The teams split its brief two-game series, with Seattle winning three of four this year after sweeping Washington in a doubleheader July 13. The Mariners hold the third and final spot in the AL wild-card race while the Nationals have the worst record in the majors.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andrew Heaney struck out 10 in his first win in four months, Austin Barnes drove in four runs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pummeled the Milwaukee Brewers for the second straight game, winning 12-6.

The Dodgers took the season series, 4-3, while outscoring the Brewers 22-11 over the three-game series, including a 10-1 rout on Tuesday. Los Angeles has scored 10 or more runs in three of its last four games. The Dodgers pounded out 13 hits and batted around in the first and fourth innings.

Hitting in the ninth spot, Barnes slugged a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth, extending the lead to 12-2.

Heaney (2-1) allowed two runs and four hits, walked one and struck out 10 Brewers — one off his season high — for the second time in a week, giving him back-to-back 10-strikeout outings for the first time since June 2019. The right-hander won for the first time since April 17. He had five consecutive no-decisions and a loss at Milwaukee last week between victories. Heaney has been on the injured list twice, most recently in July with left shoulder inflammation.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kyle Wright allowed two hits over seven efficient innings, Matt Olson hit a grand slam that found the Allegheny River and the Atlanta Braves drilled the sloppy Pittsburgh Pirates 14-2 to complete a three-game sweep.

Wright (16-5) struck out eight and walked one to tie Houston’s Justin Verlander and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin for most victories in the majors. Wright needed just 73 pitches to record 21 outs while trimming his ERA to 2.99.

Atlanta has won 14 of 16 overall to keep pressure on the NL East-leading New York Mets.

The lone highlight for the Pirates came from rookie Oneil Cruz, who ripped the hardest-hit ball since Major League Baseball began measuring exit velocity in 2015. The ball left Cruz’s bat at 122.4 mph and slammed into the 21-foot-high Clemente Wall in right field with two outs in the third. He was held to a single.



ATLANTA (AP) — The PGA Tour made its boldest response yet to the rival Saudi-funded league with a plan for the best players to commit to a 20-tournament schedule in which they will compete against one another up to 17 times for average purses of $20 million.

The tour also is doubling the bonus pool of its Player Impact Program to $100 million spread across 20 players, and it’s changing the criteria so it’s geared more toward media exposure.

Players starting out their careers will get $500,000 at the start of the year that will count against their earnings until the number is surpassed.

Of the sweeping changes PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan laid out, the most significant was what came out of a private meeting of 23 top players last week: a new model that assures the best play in the same tournaments more often.

The 20-tournament commitment starts in January with the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua and assumes top players are eligible.

ATLANTA (AP) — Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are bringing their own version of team golf to the PGA Tour.

A day after Woods and McIlroy announced a new media venture called TMRW Sports, they unveiled a project that involves 18 players competing in a series of matches featuring technology as much as shot-making.

It’s called “TGL,” a tech-infused golf league that will be held in a stadium built for the occasion where fans can watch three-man teams compete in an 18-hole match — using simulators for the long shots, live shots for the shorter ones — that will take only two hours.

The league is to start in January 2024 and feature 15 regular-season matches on Monday nights, followed by the semifinals and the finals. TMRW Sports — pronounced “tomorrow” — was formed to build technology-focused projects with a progressive approach to sports, entertainment and media.

Among the investors is Dick Ebersol, the retired chairman of NBC Sports whose many contribution to sports on TV include Sunday Night Football.


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — DeWanna Bonner scored 21 points, Alyssa Thomas had 13 points and eight rebounds, and the No. 3 seed Connecticut Sun eased past the short-handed Dallas Wings 73-58 to advance to the semifinals.

Connecticut earned its first winner-take-all victory since Sept. 29, 2004, and got past the opening round of the WNBA playoffs for the sixth straight season. The Sun play at the defending champion Chicago Sky on Sunday in a best-of-five series.

The Sun broke it open in the third quarter, using a 15-6 run to build a 49-40 lead. The Wings only made four field goals in the third quarter and Connecticut started the fourth on an 8-0 run for a 65-46 lead.

Connecticut held Dallas to 24 second-half points and a season-low point total.


More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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