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OAKLAND Adidas Gordie Howe Jersey , Calif. — Two pitchers looking to create a first positive memory of Sunday’s opponent go head-to-head when the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics complete a three-game series.
The A’s have won the first two games of the series, getting outstanding performances from starters Paul Blackburn and Edwin Jackson in 3-1 and 7-2 victories.
Oakland, which has won six in a row, allowed five total runs in its last four games.
Right-hander Frankie Montas (4-1, 3.68 ERA) will attempt to continue that run, but will do so in the wake of three consecutive shaky efforts, during which he has allowed 12 earned runs and 24 hits in 15 innings.
The 25-year-old has never started a game against the Indians, but faced them three times in relief, going 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 4 2/3 innings.
One of those bullpen outings against Cleveland came last May, when he gave up two runs in an 8-4 loss.
Montas will have big shoes to fill after the outings by Blackburn and Jackson, who held the Indians to a total of two runs in 13 innings.
With the recent emergence of Blackburn and Jackson and news that Trevor Cahill appears on schedule to return to the starting rotation after the All-Star break, Montas might only have a few opportunities to turn things around before losing his job.
A’s manager Bob Melvin gushed over the performance of Jackson on Saturday in his second straight sharp outing after having been signed off the scrap heap.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised,” Melvin said. “That he was available to us was a surprise.”
Having seen the veteran firsthand, the Indians might be wondering why they weren’t the ones who gave the 99-game winner a shot.
Especially with news Saturday that Danny Salazar, a 14- and 11-game winner for the Indians in recent years, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Monday, putting his season in question.
Right-hander Mike Clevenger (6-3 Adidas Mike Green Jersey , 3.03), who got a greater opportunity last year while Salazar had health issues and responded with a 12-win season, will attempt to salvage one win in Oakland for the Indians on Sunday.
He has pitched well in his last four starts, allowing six earned runs, but he has never beaten the A’s in his career, going 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA in two games (one start).
The A’s last saw the 27-year-old in a relief role in August 2016 and cuffed him around for four hits and three runs in one inning of a 9-1 victory.
Clevenger will have to hope for more offensive support than the Indians provided Trevor Bauer and Adam Plutko in the first two games of the series. Both pitched well enough to win, allowing five runs and 11 hits in 12 1/3 innings.
The A’s have used the long ball to get the upper hand against the Indians in the first two games. Jed Lowrie, Josh Phegley, Dustin Fowler and Matt Olson all hit homers, accounting for six of Oakland’s 10 runs.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s conduct and substance-abuse policy.The NFL said that Foster will also be fined for violations from a weapons offense and misdemeanor drug charge that were resolved earlier this offseason.
Foster says he accepts the league’s decision and apologized for hurting the team.
Foster will miss San Francisco’s games against Minnesota and Detroit before being allowed to return on Sept. 17 before the Niners play Kansas City.
PRO BASKETBALL
NEW YORK (AP) – The NBA estimates an increase of about 40,000 miles of travel in the postseason if it scrapped its current conference format and took the top 16 teams.
Calls to change the system were renewed this week when LeBron James left Cleveland for the Los Angeles Lakers, which could create another strong Western Conference team after Houston and Golden State had the league’s top two records last season. They met in a thrilling West final before the Warriors swept the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Commissioner Adam Silver has said ideally there would be a format allowing the two best teams to meet for the title, but has repeatedly expressed concern about the additional travel that would be created if teams were seeded 1 to 16 in the postseason, instead of the current format in which it’s the top eight teams in each conference.
BASEBALL
SEATTLE (AP) – The Los Angeles Angels activated two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani from the 10-day disabled list and used him as the designated hitter in their game against the Seattle Mariners.
Ohtani and his injured right elbow are only cleared to hit for now, but Los Angeles said he will be re-evaluated as a pitcher in three weeks.
Ohtani received stem cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection to help heal the Grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament suffered more than three weeks ago. Ohtani was cleared for a hitting program Friday and took part in two simulated games against minor league pitchers over the weekend.
”We’re going to see how many looks we can give him as a (designated hitter) and hopefully he’ll give us a lift there,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Ohtani went 0 for 4 in Los Angeles’ 4-1 loss to the Mariners.
SOCCER
MOSCOW (AP) – England ended its long run of penalty misery and reached the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in 12 years, beating Colombia 4-3 in a shootout.
Eric Dier scored the decisive kick after a 1-1 draw.
England will play Sweden in the quarterfinals in Samara on Saturday. It is the furthest England has progressed in any tournament since the David Beckham era Adidas Frans Nielsen Jersey , when a golden generation of players exited the 2002 and 2006 World Cups in the last eight.
England took the lead in a scrappy match when Harry Kane scored from the penalty spot in the 57th minute. Yerry Mina headed in an equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time.
England trailed 3-2 in the shootout after Jordan Henderson’s shot was saved, but Mateus Uribe hit the bar and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford then saved Carlos Bacca’s kick.
MOSCOW (AP) – The lack of a U.S. team caused a big viewership drop for World Cup telecasts.
The 48 group stage telecasts on Fox and FS1 averaged 2,069,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is down 42 percent from the 3.54 million average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC four years ago and down 15 percent from the 2,429,000 average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC eight years ago.
Excluding games involving the U.S. team in previous World Cups, the average declined 28 percent from the 2014 tournament in Brazil and was up 1 percent from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
Most group-stage kickoff times this year were morning EDT, starting as early as 6 a.m., and the latest matches began at 2 p.m. Games in 2014 started mostly from noon to 4 p.m. EDT, while in 2010 games there were many matches at 10 a.m. and some as early as 7:30 a.m.
Twenty-six group-stage matches were aired on Fox, up from six on ABC in 2014 and four on ABC in 2010.
Ratings include only television viewers and not those who viewed digital streams.


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