Here is the latest Illinois sports news from The Associated Press

Here is the latest Illinois sports news from The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The National League Central is providing Major League Baseball a needed dose of pennant fever. All five teams are separated by just 4½ games coming out of the All-Star break. The other five divisions have at least a 5½-game gap between first and second. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon says the division is tight because all five teams are trying to win. That includes upstart Cincinnati and resilient Pittsburgh, which are in the thick of the race with the Cubs, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

SILVIS, Ill. (AP) — Roberto Diaz shot a 9-under 62 to take the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic. Playing in the final group of the day off the first tee, Diaz birdied four of the first holes, eagled the par-5 10th and birdied three of the last five in the bogey-free round at TPC Deere Run. The 32-year-old Mexican player is winless on the PGA Tour.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Chicago businessman Peter Thornton is taking a slower, more comfortable approach to the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. He’s entered his 104-foot ketch Whitehawk in the cruising division of the 111th edition of the world’s oldest annual freshwater distance race. He and his crew will enjoy staterooms, and propane fireplace and even a teak bathtub.