PITTSBURGH (AP) — The National League Central is providing Major League Baseball with a needed dose of pennant fever. All five teams are separated by just 4 1/2 games coming out of the All-Star break. The other five divisions have at least a 5 1/2-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.
CHICAGO (AP) — Five of baseball’s six divisions feature deficits of at least 5½ games as play resumes after the All-Star break. Life is pretty good for two iconic franchises, with Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers in control of the NL West again and Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees looking down on the rest of the AL East despite a rash of injuries. The one exception at the moment is the Central, where the Chicago Cubs have a 4½-game advantage over last-place Cincinnati.
UNDATED (AP) — Matthew Wolff made a name for himself by winning the 3M Open in his fourth PGA Tour start after turning pro. The 20-year-old who starred at Oklahoma State will try to make it two in a row this weekend at the John Deere Classic. Wolff was the tour’s youngest winner since Jordan Spieth won at TPC Deere Run at age 19 in 2013. And like Spieth, he’s being hyped as a future star as he arrives in the Quad Cities.
CHICAGO (AP) — Work crews have begun extending the protective netting to the foul poles at Guaranteed Rate Field, a step the Chicago White Sox are taking following a couple of high-profile injuries this season. The White Sox became the first major league team to take the step after a liner by Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. struck a 4-year-old girl in Houston in May. A woman was hit by a foul ball off the bat of White Sox slugger Eloy Jiménez in Chicago on June 10.
CHICAGO (AP) — Odyssey Sims hit the go-ahead jumper with 6.4 seconds to play and finished with 16 points in the Minnesota Lynx’s 73-72 victory over the Chicago Sky. Sylvia Fowles added 10 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota. She has 156 career double-doubles, one shy of the WNBA record set by Lisa Leslie.