National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Ortiz goes deep twice again as Red Sox beat Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) David Ortiz homered twice for the second straight game and the Boston Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 9-4 on Wednesday night.

Big Papi went 3 for 5 with two RBIs, one night after a four-hit performance against his former team. Both of his homeruns - off Kevin Correia (1-5) in the third and Caleb Theilbar in the fifth - traveled more than 400 feet into the right-field upper deck at Target Field, where he's batting .528 (28 of 53) in 13 career games.

It was more than enough for Felix Doubront (2-3), who allowed a run on seven hits in 6 1-3 innings and retired nine straight at one point. Doubront hadn't won since April 3 at Baltimore, his first start of the season.

Ortiz, who also doubled in the first inning, moved into sole possession of third place on Boston's all-time homers list (384) and recorded his 43rd career multi-homer game, 41 of which have come with the Red Sox.

Even the Minnesota fans - many of whom likely remember some of the 58 homers he hit with the Twins from 1997-2002 - appreciated Ortiz's display of power, politely standing and clapping as he rounded the bases after his second homer put Boston up 6-1 in the fifth.

Trevor Plouffe hit his second homer of the year for Minnesota, a two-run shot in the ninth.

Joe Mauer's sacrifice fly in the third scored Eduardo Escobar. Minnesota added an unearned run in the eighth after a throwing error by Burke Badenhop from the mound allowed Chris Parmelee to reach third, He eventually scored on Eduardo Nunez's RBI single.

Grady Sizemore had two hits and a pair of RBIs; Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks each drove in a run for Boston. A.J. Pierzynski added a two-run double in the ninth.

Notes: Ortiz's 442 homers moved him into a tie with Dave Kingman for 39th place on baseball's all-time home run list. . The Twins reinstated OF Oswaldo Arcia from the 15-day DL and optioned him to Triple-A Rochester. Arcia missed 33 games with a right wrist strain before playing a 12-game rehab assignment in Rochester. ... Friday will be a big day for injured Twins players in Rochester. Manager Ron Gardenhire said OF Josh Willingham (broken wrist) will start a rehab assignment, and RHP Mike Pelfrey (groin) will start on Friday for the Red Wings. . The teams will play the rubber third game of their series Thursday when Clay Buchholz (2-3) - who is 3-1 in seven career starts against Minnesota - takes the mound for Boston. The Twins' Phil Hughes (4-1) will try for his fifth straight win

Tanaka pitches 4-hitter, Yankees beat Mets 4-0

NEW YORK (AP) Masahiro Tanaka pitched a four-hitter for his first major league shutout and the New York Yankees got home runs from Yangervis Solarte and Mark Teixeira in a 4-0 victory over the Mets on Wednesday night.

Brian Roberts tripled twice and the Yankees finally beat their crosstown rivals after dropping six straight.

The Mets took all four Subway Series games last year and won two slugfests in the Bronx this week. Back home at spacious Citi Field, however, their bats went silent again.

Tanaka (6-0) had plenty to do with that, overwhelming the Mets with his vast assortment of pitches while spoiling Rafael Montero's big league debut. Montero (0-1), the latest to arrive in a line of touted Mets pitching prospects, threw six competitive innings but was no match for the $155 million rookie from Japan.

"In some ways, this is a David-and-Goliath matchup. One guy's never lost and the other guy's never pitched," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said before the game. "So, it's interesting. We'll see how many rocks Rafael's got."

Not enough.

Tanaka is 34-0 combined in Japan and North America over his last 42 regular-season starts. He did lose Game 6 of the Japan Series last year - before earning a save in Game 7.

The right-hander struck out eight and walked none, throwing 76 of 114 pitches for strikes during his first complete game in the majors. He made it look easy most of the night in giving the Yankees' taxed bullpen a much-needed break.

Tanaka even singled in the ninth inning for his first major league hit - giving him one more than Mets pitchers have in 64 at-bats this season.

Montero (0-1) allowed three runs and five hits. He struck out three and walked two after getting called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to step into the rotation slot previously held by Jenrry Mejia, who was moved to the bullpen.

The slim right-hander fanned Derek Jeter in the third for his first strikeout, but was hurt by his defense an inning earlier. With a runner on first and Tanaka on deck, left fielder Eric Young Jr. made an ill-advised dive in trying to catch Roberts' sinking liner with two outs.

The ball got past Young and went all the way to the wall, allowing Solarte to score from first base as Roberts cruised into third with his first triple.

Solarte, the AL's leading hitter at the beginning of the day, hit a solo homer to right in the fourth. A pleasant surprise as the replacement for suspended star Alex Rodriguez at third base, Solarte has 23 RBIs in his rookie season, tops on the team.

Teixeira sent Montero's second pitch of the sixth to right-center for his eighth home run of the season and seventh in his last 15 games.

Jeter's infield single, a dribbler that barely traveled 20 feet out in front of home plate, scored Brett Gardner in the seventh.

NOTES: Yankees RF Carlos Beltran (right elbow) was still unavailable but reserve outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (back) was feeling better, manager Joe Girardi said. ... Injured LHP CC Sabathia had his sore right knee drained and the Yankees hope he can return as soon as his 15-day stint on the disabled list is up, Girardi said. Sabathia was examined by Dr. James Andrews and is receiving treatment. ... The Mets plan to commemorate Jeter's final regular-season Subway Series game Thursday. ... The previous three starting pitchers to make their major league debuts for the Mets did not allow a run: Zack Wheeler, Collin McHugh and Matt Harvey. ... A resurgent Ruben Tejada started at shortstop again over Wilmer Flores. "You've got to ride that wave," manager Terry Collins said. "This kid has really put his mind to producing." Collins said his coaches told him Tejada was "too hot to take out."

Panthers' Hardy released from jail on $17,000 bond

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was released from jail on $17,000 bond Wednesday, one day after being arrested on charges of assault on a female and communicating threats.

Hardy left jail wearing sweatpants and a black tank top. He did not speak to reporters.

Charlotte Mecklenburg County Judge Rebecca Thorne Tin called Hardy a potential threat and ordered him not to have any contact with the accuser and to attend three Alcoholic Anonymous meetings per week.

In the arrest warrant, the 24-year-old accuser alleges Hardy threw her on a pile of guns and threatened to kill her.

She filed a protective restraining order against Hardy on Wednesday, saying he attacked her in his apartment and "picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in the bathroom" and that she "has bruises from head to toe."

She also says in the filing that the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Hardy pulled her by the hair and "was screaming he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats." She says Hardy choked her with both hands around her throat before picking her up and throwing her onto a couch "covered with assault rifles and/or shotguns" and "bragged that the guns were loaded."

"He threatened to shoot me if I went to the media or reported his assault to anyone," she says.

She says Hardy has approximately 25 to 30 firearms in his downtown Charlotte apartment, including an AK-47. She says she eventually got out of the apartment, where she ran into Charlotte Mecklenburg police.

Hardy's attorney, Chris Fialko, refuted those allegations Wednesday.

He argued in court - and later outside the courtroom - that Hardy and Sammy Curtis, his administrative assistant, were attacked by the accuser, and that it was Hardy who made the 911 call to police at 4:18 a.m. Tuesday.

The accuser's attorney, Stephen Goodwin, said his client was held down by Curtis and prevented from calling police.

Goodwin called Fialko's claim that Hardy was the one attacked by the accuser false.

"The physical evidence doesn't even come close to matching that," Goodwin said.

There were conflicting reports from 911 calls obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday night from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.

On a call made by Hardy, the NFL player can be heard saying, "My assistant is trying to restrain her and she's trying to break free and hit me with her heel. I'm literally running around the table right now."

Hardy also mentions in the call that he thinks the accuser is "on coke or something. I don't know. She's been drinking. I don't know what she's on, man."

In another call by someone at the player's condominium, an unidentified woman tells the operator that the woman had been beaten for more than 30 minutes.

"He's beating her (butt) in there. Some girl's getting her (butt) beat upstairs and I heard it. And I seen it. He's beating her (butt) right now."

Goodwin said Hardy and the accuser, who the lawyer said works as a waitress in Charlotte, were in a relationship and previously lived together. They were not living together at the time of the incident, which occurred at an "after hours" party.

Goodwin said he doesn't know what sparked the fight, but Tin stated in the courtroom that both parties were drinking alcohol.

Judge Tin said the court was "very concerned" about the bruises on the accuser's neck and back.

Hardy spent Tuesday night in jail and appeared in court Wednesday wearing an orange jump suit.

The incident began early Tuesday morning. Police said patrol officers responded to a domestic violence assault call at 4:18 a.m.

Hardy tied a franchise record with 15 sacks last season for the league's second-ranked defense. He had 11 sacks in 2012. That production convinced the salary-cap strapped Panthers to make Hardy their franchise player at $13.116 million for one season. Hardy signed the team's offer sheet in March.

The Panthers said in a statement Tuesday they were "very disappointed" to learn of the allegations and planned to investigate.

Hardy's NFL agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was in the courtroom but declined comment. Hardy's next court date is June 27.

The Panthers organization is particularly sensitive to domestic violence issues.

In 2001, Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was found guilty of conspiring to murder his girlfriend, Cherica Adams, who was carrying his child. Carruth was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison.

Hardy's court appearance occurred on the same day the Panthers hosted a breakfast at their stadium for "Men For Change," a group that serves victims of domestic violence.

Canadiens beat Bruins 3-1 in Game 7 to advance

BOSTON (AP) Carey Price stopped 29 shots to help Montreal beat the Boston Bruins 3-1 in Game 7 on Wednesday night and put the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals.

Montreal will play the New York Rangers for a spot in the Stanley Cup finals.

Dale Weise, Max Pacioretty and Daniel Briere scored for the Canadiens, who advanced to the conference finals for just the second time since winning the most recent of their NHL-record 24 Stanley Cup titles in 1993.

Jarome Iginla scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask made 15 saves for the Bruins, who had the NHL's best record in the regular season.

Heat rally past Nets to East finals, 96-94

MIAMI (AP) Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 32 seconds left highlighted a huge Miami rally, and the Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by topping the Brooklyn Nets 96-94 on Wednesday night.

The Heat won the series 4-1, and will face either Indiana or Washington in the East finals starting next week.

Miami had not led since late in the second quarter before Allen's shot from the left wing put the Heat up 93-91. Shaun Livingston tried to answer with 24 seconds left, missing in the lane and Chris Bosh controlled the rebound for Miami.

Allen made a pair of free throws with 21.6 seconds to play, capping a 12-0 run that erased an eight-point deficit.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 28 for the Heat. Joe Johnson scored 34 for the Nets, including a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left that got his team within one.

NBA: Refs correctly stuck to call in Oklahoma City

NEW YORK (AP) The NBA says because there was no "clear and conclusive" evidence on instant replay that their call on a ball out of bounds was wrong, referees correctly stuck to their original ruling late in Oklahoma City's victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.

The Clippers believed the Thunder's Reggie Jackson had knocked the ball out of bounds with 11.3 seconds remaining, but officials ruled it Oklahoma City ball. After going to replay, the call stood, and the Thunder rallied to win the game.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was livid, saying the Clippers were "robbed," but NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn says Wednesday in a statement that: "In order to reverse the call made on the court, there has to be `clear and conclusive' evidence. Since no replay provided such evidence, the play correctly stood as called with the Thunder retaining possession."

California Chrome to start from post 3 at Preakness

Post positions for Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes were drawn late Wednesday afternoon at Pimlico and Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome will start from gate No. 3 in the 10-horse field.

“I feel good about it. I don’t think post 3 will be any kind of hindrance to him,” trainer Art Sherman said of California Chrome, who was established as the 3-5 favorite on the morning line by oddsmaker Keith Fuestle.

“It’s a good long run to the first turn, so we should be in a good position by then.”

MORE: Preakness Contenders slideshow

The smaller field size brings far less scrutiny than the 19-horse Kentucky Derby, where an extreme emphasis is placed upon avoiding inside posts (Nos. 1-3), but recent history shows the same concerns are valid at Pimlico.

The innermost three posts have produced no Preakness winners since Tabasco Cat broke from No. 1 in 1994. Post 3 has historically performed well, producing the second-highest number of victories in the race’s 139-race history, but Prairie Bayou (1993) and Risen Star (1988) serve as the only winners from that spot in the last 30 editions.

Sherman acknowledged that there is plenty of speed to California Chrome’s outside, with Social Inclusion (post 8) and Pablo Del Monte (9) both confirmed front-runners, and the possibility exists that they will attempt to sprint forward and cross over in front of the heavy favorite. But the trainer remains extremely confident that his charge will handle any circumstances.

“He’s not chicken-hearted by any means,” said the 77-year-old Sherman, who became the oldest trainer ever to win the Kentucky Derby.

Dynamic Impact will enter on the upswing for his connections, following a March maiden triumph with a gutsy nose win in the April 19 Illinois Derby, but received the worst of the draw in post No. 1. That could negatively impact the chances of the promising 3-year-old.

General A Rod also received a less-than-ideal position in gate 2.

The connections of the remaining contestants had little to complain about.

Track announcer Dave Rodman emceed the post position draw and summed up the sentiments of all horse racing fans following the ceremony:

“Good luck and clean trips to all the participants.”

James reaffirms support for Silver on Sterling

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James of the Miami Heat reaffirms that he's pleased with the initial response from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to racist remarks made by now-banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Players union vice president and former Heat guard Roger Mason Jr. told Showtime that James will boycott games if Sterling is not removed as owner. But after the story escalated Wednesday, Mason Jr. tweeted that James "never said anything about boycotting."

James says players see what Silver's doing and that if the commissioner continues moving aggressively, "then we have nothing to worry about."

Sterling was banned for life from the NBA over his comments. The league is in a process that would lead to the Clippers owner being forced to sell the club.

Oprah's network plans series on NFL's Michael Sam

NEW YORK (AP) The Oprah Winfrey Network says it plans to produce a documentary series following the life of Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

The series will take an up-close look at the man recently drafted by the St. Louis Rams in a groundbreaking moment in professional sports. Cameras will follow the former University of Missouri football player as he works to earn a spot on the Rams while under a media microscope.

Sam says it would be great if his story can lead others to accept who they are and go for their dreams.

OWN did not specify a premiere date for the as-yet-untitled series or how many episodes it will be.

Sharks keep GM Wilson, coach McLellan

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) The San Jose Sharks are bringing back coach Todd McLellan and general manager Doug Wilson for another season despite another early playoff flop.

Owner Hasso Plattner said Wednesday he was accepting Wilson's recommendation to keep McLellan after the Sharks became just the fourth NHL team ever to lose a best-of-seven playoff series after winning the first three games.

"I am very disappointed in the way our team finished the 2013-14 season," Plattner said in a statement. "Gaining a 3-0 series advantage and being unable to advance is a major blow to our organization and fan base. Our teams have been consistently built to go deep into the playoffs and this goal won't change.

"Doug Wilson and I have met over the past two weeks. He has shared his support of the coaching staff, as well as his recommended changes to our team's roster, and he has my complete support moving forward."

Plattner also thanked fans for their support and said he is not satisfied with the performance the past few seasons and believes a plan is in place to improve on those results.

"I am confident that with the proposed changes, Doug and his staff will build a team we can all be proud of," Plattner said.

The Sharks have a 271-130-57 record in six seasons under McLellan, posting the second-most wins in the NHL in that span to Pittsburgh. San Jose made back-to-back conference finals under McLellan, losing in four games to Chicago in 2010 and in five games the following season to Vancouver.

The Sharks have won only one playoff series in McLellan's other four seasons, losing in the first round to Anaheim in 2009, St. Louis in 2011 and Los Angeles this season. San Jose swept Vancouver in the first round in 2013 before losing a seven-game series to the Kings.

Wilson became general manager in May 2003 and has built playoff teams every season. The Sharks have the second-most points in the regular season the past 10 seasons but are still looking for their first Stanley Cup appearance.

The Sharks have most of their key pieces under control for next season after signing captain Joe Thornton and all-time leading goal scorer Patrick Marleau to three-year extensions in January.

The most prominent unrestricted free agent is 37-year-old defenseman Dan Boyle. Forwards Bracken Kearns and Mike Brown, defenseman Scott Hannan and backup goalie Alex Stalock are the other unrestricted free agents.

The team also could use one of its two compliance buyouts to cut ties with unproductive forward Marty Havlat, who is owed $6 million next season in the final year of his contract.

Penguins face murky future after early exit

PITTSBURGH (AP) Sidney Crosby will be back. Evgeni Malkin too.

After that, what happens to the Pittsburgh Penguins over another postseason disappointment is anybody's guess.

Dan Bylsma, the winningest coach in franchise history, may be out of a job. Ray Shero, the general manager who spent the last half-decade unsuccessfully trying to replicate the success of 2009, could also be gone.

When Crosby lifted the Stanley Cup in triumph on that warm night in Detroit five years ago, it was supposed to mark the beginning of hockey's next dynasty.

That hasn't materialized. A handful of maddening springs later, it might be time to move on. Bylsma allowed as much Tuesday night after the Penguins fell to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, a 2-1 defeat that capped a stunning collapse after Pittsburgh grabbed a commanding 3-1 series lead.

"You think about it being the last game," Bylsma said.

While the Rangers exulted at one end of the Consol Energy Center ice after advancing to hockey's final four, the Penguins solemnly lined up for a handshake after losing a Game 7 at home for the third time in five seasons.

This isn't the way it was supposed to go. Not this time. Despite losing over 500 man games to injury - easily the highest total in the NHL - Pittsburgh strolled to the Metropolitan Division title behind the steady and spectacular play of Crosby, who led the league in scoring and is a heavy favorite to win his second MVP award.

After surviving a bumpy six-game series with plucky Columbus in the opening round, the Penguins appeared in total control after a 4-2 win in Game 4 against the weary Rangers.

Then it all fell apart. A dismal 5-1 loss in Game 5 shifted momentum to the guys in the blue shirts. New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist did the rest, including 35 sublime saves in the deciding game.

Defenseman Matt Niskanen called the debacle in Game 5 a "missed opportunity," one that could lead to significant change in a dressing room that has been among the most stable in the league.

"When expectations are high and you don't win, that's normal," Crosby said. "I'm sure there will be a lot of questions."

At the moment, there don't appear to be a lot of answers.

Crosby insists he's healthy but lacked his otherworldly sharpness at times, scoring just one goal in 13 playoff games.

"It wasn't a lack of effort or competing or anything like that," he said. "I'd love to tear it up every series, but it's not always the case. It doesn't make it any easier, I'll tell you that. It's tough losing as it is but when you're unable to contribute as much as you'd like, it's even tougher."

Maybe, but it's become all too common for one of the NHL's marquee franchises. The Penguins have sold out every home game since Valentine's Day in 2007 and play a brand of entertaining hockey that is overwhelmingly successful in the regular season but doesn't always translate in the tight-checking crucible of the playoffs.

The league's top power play during the regular season went just 1 for 20 with the man advantage against New York. Unable to generate much offense from in front of the net, the Penguins spent most of the last three games unsuccessfully peppering Lundqvist from long distance.

It's a path that led only to frustration and an all-too-familiar result: the Penguins watching another team skate off the ice in celebration.

It happened in 2010, when Pittsburgh fell to Montreal at home in Game 7. It happened last spring, when the Penguins failed to lead the Boston Bruins for a single second while getting swept out of the conference finals.

Ray Shero doubled down after seeing his team silenced by the Bruins. He awarded Bylsma a two-year extension, signed Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang to long-term deals and brought back defenseman Rob Scuderi to give the blue line some heft.

Different path. Same result. Only this time there will be no doubling down. There will be only change.

"It's all tough," Malkin said. "We have great teammates here. We work hard. But 3-1 up in series and last three games we lost, it's tough. See you next season, I don't know."

Neither does anybody else.

Pistons hire Stan Van Gundy as coach, president

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Pistons are counting on Stan Van Gundy to bring some much-needed stability to a struggling franchise.

They're certainly giving him plenty of authority.

The Pistons officially announced Van Gundy's hiring Wednesday as their new coach and president of basketball operations. The team will introduce Van Gundy at a news conference Thursday. Detroit went 29-53 last season, missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year. That was the end of Joe Dumars' tenure as team president. Coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February.

"Stan is a proven winner in our league," Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement. "He instills his teams with passion, purpose and toughness. He is a great teacher who will help our players grow and develop."

Van Gundy agreed to a $35 million, five-year contract - a commitment from the team that suggests he'll have plenty of time to turn Detroit's fortunes around. Dumars stepped down after 15 seasons in the front office, and toward the end of his tenure, the Pistons seemed increasingly adrift as they hired coach after coach with little success.

Cheeks lasted less than one year. Before him, Lawrence Frank and John Kuester were each at the helm for two seasons.

Van Gundy is 371-208 in seven-plus seasons as a coach with Miami and Orlando. He reached the NBA finals in 2009 with the Magic.

"It is an honor to be chosen to help Tom Gores build the Pistons into a team that competes for championships," Van Gundy said. "Tom's vision of building for the future, while seeking immediate improvement is a challenge that I embrace. We will work to put a team on the floor that reflects the franchise's rich tradition and embodies the toughness and work ethic of fans in the Detroit area."

The Pistons were active last offseason, signing free agent Josh Smith and trading for point guard Brandon Jennings. Amid heightened expectations, the new-look roster flopped. Cheeks was fired and replaced by interim coach John Loyer.

Van Gundy takes over now - and he'll have a chance to reshape the lineup before he has to coach it. Greg Monroe is a restricted free agent, and both Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva are unrestricted. Villanueva barely played last season, but Monroe and Stuckey were major parts of Detroit's rotation.

The Pistons have one of the game's top young big men in Andre Drummond, but they'll lose this year's first-round draft pick if it's not in the top eight - part of a previous trade with Charlotte.

Van Gundy gives the Pistons a big name - and the hope that he can produce won-loss records similar to his time in Miami and Orlando. It will be a fresh start for Van Gundy, who was fired by the Magic in 2012 after a season full of drama involving him and star center Dwight Howard.

In April of that year, Van Gundy claimed top-ranking team officials had told him that Howard had asked management to fire Van Gundy as a condition of the center signing a long-term contract. Howard denied it.

Van Gundy was fired the following month, and the Magic traded Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Before the tumultuous 2011-12 season, Orlando won at least 52 games in its first four seasons under Van Gundy.

"Stan is more than just a great coach, he's a great leader," Gores said. "What I'm most excited about is how Stan can help us shape the franchise and instill what it means to be the best. He's also a great communicator. My time with Stan has me convinced that he will bring our players, team and community to a very proud place."

Preakness field goes for a stroll at Pimlico

Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome's first visit to the track at Pimlico Tuesday morning was more about getting acclimated to the home of the Preakness than exercise.

Exercise rider Willie Delgado took the big chestnut out for a tour of the one-mile course at 6:45 a.m. (EDT), approximately 16 hours after he arrived at the Preakness Stakes Barn on a trip from Louisville, Kentucky.

"He jogged and he was great," said assistant trainer Alan Sherman, who has managed the horse since the Derby while his father, Art, has tended to the rest of his stable in Southern California. "He stood out there for a while, just looked around and took it all in. He's a really curious horse. He likes to look around a lot and check out the surroundings. He was good. He was really good."

Alan Sherman said the colt has settled in nicely in Stall 40, traditionally the Pimlico home of the Kentucky Derby winner. The next step, Sherman said, was to let the horse check out the track while he was stretching his legs and getting a feel for the surface.

"Yeah, just let him look around," Alan Sherman said. "When he gallops, I want him to be focused on what he's doing and not be looking around and stub his toe or anything."

Art Sherman, 77, was scheduled to arrive from California Tuesday afternoon and will be at Pimlico when California Chrome returns to the track at 6:45 Wednesday morning.

"He is enjoying the ride immensely, but he's not a young guy and was getting a little tired toward the end of all that. He's fresh now," Alan Sherman said.

California Chrome's emergence from promising young horse to the leader of his division with his resounding Derby victory has put the Shermans in the spotlight. Art Sherman has spent 60 years in the business as a stable hand, exercise rider, jockey and trainer. Alan Sherman works for his father and his brother, Steve, is a trainer in Northern California. The Sherman family is enjoying its ride with California Chrome.

"It's pretty awesome," Alan Sherman said. "Every year when you get the two-year-olds in you're saying, 'maybe this will be the one that will get us to the Derby,' but we've been saying that for a lot of years now and we finally made it. It's really special."

California Chrome, bred and owned by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, brings a five-race winning streak into the Preakness, but he wasn't an overnight sensation. He won two of his first six starts, most of them races against other California-bred horses before he stepped forward.

"In the King Glorious, the last stakes at Hollywood Park, that opened my eyes up. Then he just kept getting better," Alan Sherman said. "Then he won the California Cup Derby and that was another impressive race. But the San Felipe was probably when I went, 'wow.' It was the first time against open company and he just broke two in front and won so easy that day. I was pretty excited about that one."

After the San Felipe, California Chrome won the Santa Anita Derby by 5 1/4 lengths, a performance that made him the Derby favorite. His victory at Churchill Downs on May 3 made Art Sherman the oldest trainer to win the Derby and punctuated a solid career.

"My dad is so deserving of it," Alan Sherman said. "He works hard. He goes to the sales and buys horses himself and claims horses with his own money. He puts up his own money. He deserves it."

Having prevailed from the 19-horse Derby, in which several participants ran into traffic, California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza move to the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, a slightly shorter test at 1 3/16 miles with 10 likely starters.

"You're not going to get the traffic problems, hopefully," Alan Sherman said. "You can get in traffic problems in a four-horse race, but it's not 20, by any means. And he's got enough turn of foot. All Victor has to do is squeeze on him a little bit and he can keep himself out of trouble."

When someone asked him what the worst possible scenario might be, Alan Sherman grinned and said, "Losing." Sherman understood that the question was about race dynamics and quickly said the colt's versatility would enable Espinoza to ride the race as it develops.

"If they go too slow in front, he'll take it right to them and push the horses in front of him. If they are going fast in front, he can just sit off the pace," he said. "That's the good thing about him -- that he doesn't have one style of running. He's pretty push-button. If you ask him he'll do it."

Trainer Billy Gowan took a very active role in Ride On Curlin's morning activities at Pimlico. After leading the son of Curlin out to the track for a vigorous 1 1/8-mile gallop under exercise rider Bryan Beccia, Gowan walked his Preakness hopeful in the shedrow and assisted in the bath and the grooming of the star of his four-horse stable.

"It looked like he got over it (the track) perfect to me," said Gowan, whose colt shipped into Pimlico from Kentucky Monday afternoon. "Every track he's ever been on he's gone over good. This one looks just like the rest of them, really good. I was really happy."

Ride On Curlin is scheduled to breeze "an easy half-mile" Wednesday morning.

Trainer Mike Maker was on the scene for General a Rod's first trip to the racetrack at Pimlico, supervising the colt's 1 1/2-mile gallop under exercise rider Joel Barrientos.

"He really seems to like it here," said Maker, the former D. Wayne Lukas assistant who is preparing his first Preakness runner. "He likes that big stall. He's all sprawled every time I've seen him. Last night and this morning he was in the same spot, sprawled out and relaxed."

General a Rod has impressed his trainer with his consistency through his sophomore season.

"He's been exactly the same," Maker said. "Obviously he needs to get a little better, but, knock on wood, he's had a string of great days for a long time."

Social Inclusion jogged once around the Pimlico racetrack under exercise rider Domingo Navarro the morning after turning in a sharp :47 half-mile workout in preparation for Saturday's Preakness.

"He is feeling good. He ate up everything," trainer Manny Azpurua said. "I really think he is going to run a big race."

Azpurua is greatly encouraged by the way Social Inclusion has trained over the Pimlico surface since arriving from Gulfstream Park on Thursday.

"After his work, he came back with his head up and looking around. Sometimes after a work, horses that are tired will drop their heads. He was looking around. It was like he did nothing," said the 85-year-old native of Venezuela who has been training in South Florida since 1979.

The son of Pioneerof the Nile also pleased his trainer during his trip to the track Tuesday morning.

"My main concern is if there is rain for Saturday, but I believe he'd handle it," Azpurua said. "I think the track will be nice either way. I like the racetrack here."

Assistant trainer Samantha Randazzo supervised a routine gallop for Kid Cruz in the colt's first trip over the Pimlico racing strip shortly after 6:30 a.m.

Trainer Linda Rice is scheduled to be on hand at Pimlico for Wednesday's post-position draw for the Preakness.

"He got in last night at about 8 o'clock and had a nice mile and a half gallop this morning over the track," Rice said by phone from her Belmont Park base.

Rice said she plans to gallop the colt the rest of the week and plans to school him in the paddock sometime on Thursday.

"He's stepping up in class considerably," said Rice, who is preparing to saddle her first Preakness starter. "His numbers aren't as good as most of the horses in the field, so we know he'll have to step up in this race, but we're excited to give him the chance. He deserves it."

Johnson says Clippers owner living in 'stone ages'

LOS ANGELES (AP) NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson says Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has badly outdated views about minorities and is shockingly ignorant about HIV and AIDS for such a prominent public figure.

"He's living in the stone ages," Johnson said in an interview that aired Tuesday with CNN's Anderson Cooper, a day after Sterling made his first public comments since racist recordings emerged last month and earned him a lifetime NBA ban. "You can't make those comments about African-Americans and Latinos. You just can't do it."

In Sterling's interview with Cooper, Sterling repeatedly brought up the ex-NBA star's HIV and called him an unfit role model for children.

Johnson mostly avoided lashing back at criticism from Sterling, who at one point cut off Cooper's listing of Johnson's achievements to loudly say "He's got AIDS!" Johnson, who is HIV positive but does not have AIDS, said he was surprised Sterling didn't make the distinction.

"Here's a man who you would think would be educated, and a man who is smart enough to build this type of wealth and own a team and have an incredible platform to change the world," Johnson said. "But he's doing it in a negative way."

Johnson is now a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and was once a part-owner of the Lakers after the playing career that was cut short by his contracting HIV in 1991.

"I came out like a man, I told the world," Johnson said of his famous public press conference announcing his retirement. "I didn't blame nobody else. I understood what I did was wrong. And I hope that I was able to help people."

Johnson, who said he has known Sterling since he first came to LA to play for the Lakers more than 30 years ago, said he didn't know how he got stuck in the middle of a situation that should have been a personal dispute between Sterling and V. Stiviano. Stiviano recorded Sterling making racist comments about a photo of herself and Johnson on Instagram.

"He's trying to find something to grab on to help him save his team," Johnson said, "and it's not going to happen."

Sterling's comments won him a quick and stinging rebuke from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who said owners were working quickly to force Sterling out of the league.

On Tuesday his fellow owners in the league's advisory/finance committee met via conference call, discussed the CNN interview and reviewed the status of the charge for termination of the Clippers' ownership.

Silver or an owner has to formally charge Sterling in writing with violating Article 13 of the NBA's constitution. A hearing would then be held and require a three-fourths vote of the board of governors to force Sterling to sell the team he has owned since 1981.

Clippers coaches and players, in Oklahoma City on Tuesday for their playoff series against the Thunder, were asked about Sterling's latest comments, and most said they were doing their best to ignore them.

"I wasn't looking for him to say anything, to be honest," coach Doc Rivers said. "I was focused on our guys, and being above all that. He's going to keep doing what he does, and we have to keep doing our jobs."

Center Ryan Hollins said the team's playoff success amid the constant controversy is "a tribute to Doc and the character of our guys."

"I think we've always just had the mind-set of basketball first," Hollins said.

Price, Rays win 2-1, thanks to Rodney's blown save

SEATTLE (AP) David Price gave up one run in his second complete game this season, and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied in the ninth inning against Seattle closer Fernando Rodney to beat the Mariners 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma shut out the Rays for eight innings, allowing four hits, before giving way to Rodney. David DeJesus led off the ninth with a home run to tie the game, and Rodney (1-2) gave up a go-ahead RBI single to Matt Joyce five batters later.

Price (4-3) retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to complete the victory for the Rays. He kept the Mariners off balance most of the night, allowing one run and six hits. Eight of his 12 strikeouts came on called third strikes.

Thunder rally in final minute to stun Clippers

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Russell Westbrook scored 38 points and made three free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining, and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 50 seconds to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-104 on Tuesday night to go up 3-2 in the Western Conference semifinals.

Westbrook was fouled by Chris Paul while shooting a 3-pointer with the Thunder trailing by two. After his free throws, Paul drove to the hoop, but Reggie Jackson stole the ball from him, and time expired.

Kevin Durant scored 10 of his 27 points in the final 3:23 for the Thunder.

Blake Griffin had 24 points and 17 rebounds, Jamal Crawford scored 19 points and Paul had 17 points and 14 assists for the Clippers.

The Thunder can clinch the series Thursday in Los Angeles.

The Clippers took a 101-88 lead in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Crawford before Durant finally got involved. He hit a 3-pointer with 3:23 remaining on his first shot of the quarter, then drained two free throws to cut the Clippers' lead to 101-95.

A layup by Jackson cut Los Angeles' lead to four.

Griffin made the first of two free throws, and Glen Davis grabbed the rebound of the second. Paul's mid-range jumper on the extra possession gave the Clippers a 104-97 edge with 49 seconds to play.

Durant made a 3-pointer, then Crawford missed in close before Durant made a layup with 17 seconds left. Westbrook stole the ball, and in a scramble, the Thunder got possession with 11.3 seconds to play, setting up Westbrook's play.

The Thunder fell behind by 15 points in the first quarter but rallied in the second as foul trouble set in for the Clippers. Oklahoma City took a 39-38 lead on a dunk by Steven Adams, but the Clippers regained control.

Paul made a 3-pointer to give the Thunder a 55-45 lead with just over two minutes left in the second quarter. The Thunder cut their deficit to three before J.J. Redick drained a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half.

The Clippers committed 18 fouls in the first half. Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Davis, the team's primary inside players, all had three fouls at the break.

The Thunder started the second half by taking mostly jumpers, but eventually, they started driving and the fouls again started piling up for the Clippers. Jordan committed his fifth with 4:56 left in the third quarter and Davis committed his fifth with 1:22 left in the period.

The Clippers held Durant to 3-for-17 shooting in the first three quarters and took an 86-80 lead into the fourth.

Notes: Thunder F Serge Ibaka played after the league reviewed his punch to Griffin's groin in Game 4. . ... Westbrook was called for a Flagrant 1 foul in the first quarter after trying to stop Griffin on a breakaway drive to the hoop. ... The Clippers were called for a clear path foul when Darren Collison barreled into Jackson, who was passing to a wide-open Westbrook with 2.3 seconds left in the first quarter.

Kane, Blackhawks top Wild 2-1 in OT to advance

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Patrick Kane scored on a backhand at 9:40 of overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 6 to clinch their second-round Western Conference series on Tuesday night.

Kris Versteeg scored at 1:58 of the first and Corey Crawford came up with tough save after tough save among his 34 stops for the Blackhawks, who advanced to the Western Conference finals to meet either Anaheim or Los Angeles. Anaheim leads that series 3-2 and Game 6 is Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

Erik Haula scored and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 25 shots for the Wild, who pushed a frenetic pace for much of the night but missed prime chances to score.

They paid for it in the extra period, when a simple dump-in by Brent Seabrook took an unusual bounce back toward the slot. The puck slid past Peter Regin but not Kane, who deked once and flipped it into the net.

Marlins' Fernandez has elbow tear, surgery looms

LOS ANGELES (AP) Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez has a significant tear in his right elbow and the team doctor has recommended season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Team president Michael Hill made the announcement in the Dodger Stadium press box during Tuesday night's game against Los Angeles.

"Pitching's a precious commodity and we've always tried to be very careful with it. So you try to err on the side of caution," Hill said. "We've done everything we've thought was the right thing, as to how we've handled him. It's just one of those things that happened."

The 21-year-old Fernandez is 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA in eight starts. Last season's NL Rookie of the Year was examined Tuesday by Marlins team physician Lee Kaplan in Florida.

Fernandez would be the latest star pitcher in the majors to have Tommy John surgery this year. The recovery time for the elbow ligament transplant procedure can be 12 to 18 months.

The Marlins put their Cuban ace on the 15-day disabled list Monday.

"I think like any 21-year-old kid who hasn't had an injury or been hurt, it's tough," manager Mike Redmond said.

"I'm sure he feels like he's letting his teammates down because he got hurt, and all the things that come with the type of competitor he is. But all we really want is for him to be OK and getting himself healthy and getting back to the ballclub. That's the important thing," he said.

Fernandez is visiting with his family to talk about his options with surgery looming.

"He didn't really give us an idea of when," Hill said. "Obviously, a lot has gone on the past few days, so for him it's a lot to take in and a lot to absorb. So he's just taking the time to digest all the information he's been given from both doctors."

"From what the doctors saw, they did not want to go the rehab route. They felt like surgery was the best option, and that was the recommendation. Hopefully, we can make that call and get things set up and get it taken care of so we can get him on the road to rehab," he said.

Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani will be promoted from the minors and start Wednesday night in his major league debut.

"He's a guy that's done well in the minor leagues and we felt like he was probably the most ready to make the start," Redmond said.

"If we didn't have to use (Kevin) Slowey and (Brad) Hand so much on this road trip, maybe one of those guys would have gotten the start. But we've had to use them a lot, so we really needed a fresh arm. So that definitely played into it."

The 24-year-old former University of Florida star was 3-4 with a 4.19 ERA in eight starts at Double-A Jacksonville.

"Out of all of our younger guys, he's probably a little more polished because he's a college guy and he's got a few more innings under his belt, as far as experience," Redmond said. "There's no doubt that losing Jose is a big blow, but it's also an opportunity for guys to step up and show what they can do."

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