News Summaries from The Sports Network - Saturday, April 18|
Predators' Weber to miss next two playoff games
Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Predators defenseman Shea Weber will not
travel to Chicago for the next two games of his team's Western Conference
quarterfinal series due to a lower-body injury.
Weber, who had one assist in Friday's 6-2 victory over the Blackhawks, left in
the second period after getting hit by Chicago's Brandon Saad behind the net.
The Nashville captain tallied 15 goals and 45 points and averaged 26:22 of ice
time during the regular season.
Forward Mike Fisher missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury and is listed as
Blackhawks tab Darling to start Game 3
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Rookie Scott Darling will start in net for
the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday in Game 3 of their Western Conference
quarterfinal matchup with the Nashville Predators.
Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville noted that the decision for a switch in
between the pipes was performance-based after starter Corey Crawford allowed
six goals on 35 shots in Game 2 on Friday.
Darling, who relieved Crawford in the series opener, turned aside all 42 shots
fired his way in 67:44 for an eventual double-overtime victory. It was the
longest relief appearance in a playoff game without allowing a goal in NHL
The 26-year-old netminder was 9-4-0 with a .936 save percentage, a 1.94 goals-
against average and one shutout over 14 appearances during the regular season.
Flames head coach Hartley fined $50K
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley was
fined $50,000 by the NHL for the post-whistle melee that occurred late in
Game 2 of Friday's Western Conference quarterfinal game against the Vancouver
The fine was issued for conduct prejudicial to or against the welfare of the
league, according to NHL by-law 17.3 (a).
The two teams totaled well over 100 penalty minutes Friday, with five players
earning game misconducts due to a scrum with 1:17 to play.
Hartley was fined $25,000 for a similar incident during the 2013-14 season.
The league also announced that the game misconduct handed to Calgary
defenseman Deryk Engelland for instigating a fight during the game's final
five minutes has been rescinded.
Royals send closer Holland to DL
Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals have placed All-
Star closer Greg Holland on the 15-day disabled list due to a right pectoral
Holland, the anchor of a Kansas City bullpen that carried the Royals to a
surprise World Series appearance last season, did pitch in Friday's 6-4 win
over Oakland. The standout right-hander needed just 10 pitches to throw a
scoreless ninth inning and earn his fourth save in as many chances on the
The 29-year-old had gotten his 2015 campaign off to a tremendous beginning,
having yielded just one walk over four one-inning relief stints.
Either Wade Davis or Kelvin Herrera will assume closer duties during Holland's
absence, while the Royals recalled right-hander Yohan Pino from Triple-A Omaha
to fill the available roster spot.
Pino started 11 games as a 30-year-old rookie with Minnesota last season,
going 2-5 with a 5.07 earned run average.
Peavy put on DL with back strain
San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jake Peavy's lingering back issues
forced the struggling San Francisco Giants to place the veteran pitcher on the
15-day disabled list Saturday.
The move comes less than 24 hours after Peavy lasted just 3 2/3 innings in the
Giants' eighth straight loss, a 9-0 setback to Arizona in which the right-
hander was tagged for four runs on eight hits.
Peavy had his season debut pushed back to last Sunday due to discomfort in his
back. He pitched just four innings in that outing and also received the loss
after surrendering four runs against San Diego.
The Giants re-signed the 33-year-old former NL Cy Young Award winner to a two-
year, $24 million contract in December. Peavy earned the deal by going 6-2
with a 2.17 ERA over 12 regular-season starts after being acquired by San
Francisco from Boston in late July.
Catcher Andrew Susac was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento to take the
available roster spot.
One of the team's top prospects, Susac hit .273 with three home runs and 19
RBI in a 35-game audition for the Giants late last season.
Djokovic beats Nadal to reach Monte Carlo final
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Top-seeded Novak Djokovic
beat third-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the Monte
Carlo Masters final.
Djokovic had his serve broken in the opening game of his semifinal match at
the famed Monte Carlo Country Club, but got the break back to level the first
set at 2-all. After fighting off a break point in the seventh game, Djokovic
broke to go up 5-3.
The world No. 1 Djokovic broke Nadal's serve two more times in the second set
to reach his fourth final at this clay-court Masters 1000 tournament. He ended
Nadal's reign in Monte Carlo with a victory over the Spaniard in the 2013
Djokovic is bidding to win a third Masters title in a row this year following
triumphs in Indian Wells and Miami.
Nadal won eight consecutive titles and 46 straight matches at the Country Club
prior to his loss to Djokovic two years ago.
Saturday's match marked their 43rd career meeting and first since Nadal beat
Djokovic in last year's French Open final.
In the other semifinal, sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych defeated 14th-seeded Gael
Monfils 6-1, 6-4. Berdych has yet to drop a set this week.
Kvitova, Czechs take 2-0 lead in Fed Cup semifinal
Ostrava, Czech Republic (SportsNetwork.com) - Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova
won the opening singles matches to give the reigning Fed Cup champion and host
Czech Republic a 2-0 lead over France in their semifinal on Saturday.
Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4
after Safarova fought off five match points to escape with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-1),
6-1 victory over Caroline Garcia.
The Czechs topped the Germans in last year's final to capture their third
title in the last four years.
Kvitova can secure a spot in another final for her country on Sunday in the
first reverse singles match against Garcia.
The winner in Ostrava will face the Germany-Russia victor in the World Group
final in November.
Serena wins, but Italy draws even in Fed Cup playoff
Brindisi, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - World No. 1 superstar Serena Williams
beat Camila Giorgi 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in the opening singles match Saturday before
Italy came back to draw even with the United States in their Fed Cup playoff.
Former French Open finalist Sara Errani posted a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Lauren
Davis to level the best-of-five series on red clay.
Williams improved to 12-0 in her career Fed Cup singles matches. She will face
Errani in the first reverse singles match on Sunday, with Davis and Giorgi
scheduled to meet in the second match.
A doubles match that could decide the winner is slated to feature an American
tandem of Christina McHale and Alison Riske against the Italian duo of Flavia
Pennetta and Karin Knapp.
The winner returns to the World Group next year, while the loser will drop
down to World Group II.
Russians grab 2-0 lead in Fed Cup SF
Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana
Kuznetsova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova gave the Russians a 2-0 lead over
Germany in their Fed Cup semifinal on Saturday.
Kuznetsova defeated Julia Goerges 6-4, 6-4 in the first singles match and
Pavlyuchenkova rallied for a 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over Sabine Lisicki.
Kuznetsova became Russia's most successful Fed Cup player with her 27th win.
The hosts are one win away from the final against defending champion Czech
Republic or France.
Germany lost in last year's final.
Top seed Svitolina upset in Bogota SFs
Bogota, Colombia (SportsNetwork.com) - Teliana Pereira upset top-seeded Elina
Svitolina 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Claro Open.
The 130th-ranked Pereira reached the first WTA final of her career. She will
look to become the first Brazilian to capture a singles title since Neige Dias
won at Barcelona in 1988.
Fifth-seeded Yaroslava Shvedova outlasted former champion Mariana Duque-Marino
6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the other semifinal.
Shvedova will be bidding for her second career title. Her first came way back
in 2007 at Bangalore.
Duque-Marino, who won this tournament in 2010, had to finish a quarterfinal
match that was suspended due to darkness on Friday. She beat Julia Glushko
7-5, 6-3 to advance.
Merritt maintains lead at Heritage
Hilton Head Island, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - Troy Merritt had just one
blemish on his scorecard on Saturday as he carded a 2-under 69 to take a 3-
shot lead into the final day of the Heritage.
Merritt, who entered the day with a 4-stroke lead thanks to a course-record 61
on Friday, finished 54 holes at 14-under-par 199. Merritt is seeking his first
career victory on the PGA Tour.
"Saturday is a lot different than Sunday," Merritt said when asked how
Saturday prepared him for the final round. "Tomorrow will be the first day
that I have the solo lead on Sunday so it will be all new to me. But I'm
looking forward to it."
Defending champion Matt Kuchar remains within striking distance following his
3-under 68 at Harbour Town Golf Links. He is tied for second with Brendon Todd
(63) and Kevin Kisner (67) at 11-under 202.
Brice Garnett (65), Branden Grace (66) and Jim Furyk (68) are one shot further
back and tied for fifth at minus-10.
Masters champion Jordan Spieth followed up his 62 on Friday with third-round
68, putting him in a tie for eighth with Bo Van Pelt (67) at 9-under.
Merritt picked up right where he left off on Friday as he rattled off back-to-
back birdies on two and three from 17 and six feet, respectively. That quickly
got the 29-year-old into red figures and allowed him to keep a stronghold on
After making four straight pars from No. 4, Merritt ran into trouble for the
first time on the day at the par-4 eighth.
Merritt pulled his second shot into the water on the left. Following a drop,
his chip came up well short of the green. Merritt then chipped onto the green
and sank his putt for a double-bogey. Just like that his lead was down to one.
"I think I just tugged a 6-iron, something that hasn't happened in a while and
watched it sail into the water and make a spectacular splash," said Merritt.
"But I was able to roll that 5-, 6-footer in to keep the momentum going."
That did not throw Merritt off his game, however, as he stuck his next
approach on nine to six feet and knocked that in for birdie to go back up by
On the back nine, Merritt wrapped eight pars around a 4-foot birdie on the
par-3 14th, which gave him a 3-shot lead. That advantage held up at the end of
Kuchar also got off to a good start with birdies of six and three feet on two
and five. His approach at the par-3 seventh looked good, but it caught a
branch and bounced to the left of the green. A bad chip and an eventual 2-putt
led to a double-bogey for Kuchar, dropping him back to even for the day.
The 36-year-old drained a 13-foot birdie putt on eight and made it back-to-
back gains with a 7-footer at nine. Kuchar then traded a bogey on 10 for a
birdie on 11 and he finished up with six pars and a birdie at 15.
"I thought I was going out, playing some nice golf. I was trying to be
aggressive and I played some really good golf," Kuchar said. "Just had that
little bad break on the seventh hole. I hit a beautiful shot in, it caught a
limb and ended up costing me a double-bogey, which was too bad. Other than
that, I was pleased."
Todd, who teed off well before the leaders, made his way up the leaderboard
early with five birdies on the front nine. It was more of the same on the back
nine as Todd rolled in three more gains to complete his bogey-free day.
Due to Merritt's double-bogey on No. 8, Todd was within one shot at one point
before the leader took control once again.
Kisner was also bogey-free with two birdies on both the front and back nine.
NOTES: Saturday was the first time Merritt ever played with a solo lead on the
PGA Tour ... Merritt has never held the 54-hole lead on tour ... Merritt is
looking to become the 11th different player to make this event their first
career win ... Kuchar is looking to join Davis Love III (1992-93) and Boo
Weekley (2007-08) as the only players to win this event back-to-back years ...
Due to impending bad weather, Sunday's tee times were moved up and will run
from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. ET. Players will go off of split tees and in
Aphibarnrat moves 2 clear of Uihlein in China
Shenzhen, China (SportsNetwork.com) - Kiradech Aphibarnrat dropped three
strokes in the final two holes on Saturday, but it was his scorching front
nine that helped him take a 2-shot lead after three rounds at the inaugural
Aphibarnrat, who will go for his second European Tour title on Sunday, carded
a 4-under 68 to end 54 holes at 12-under-par 204 at Genzon Golf Club.
Second-round leader Peter Uihlein posted an up-and-down, 1-under 71. He dipped
into second place at minus-10. Pablo Larrazabal matched the low round of the
day with his 7-under 65. The Spaniard flew into third place at 9-under 207.
Matt Ford and Emiliano Grillo both shot 2-under 70 in round three. They are
tied for fourth at minus-8 with Scott Hend (68) and Tommy Fleetwood (69).
Former PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang (66) headlines a group of five
players tied for eighth place at 7-under-par 209.
Two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson stumbled to his second straight 74, which
dropped him into a tie for 58th at 2-over-par 218.
Aphibarnrat and Uihlein played together in the third round. The pair both
opened with birdies at the first. Aphibarnrat followed with a birdie at the
second, while Uihlein tripped to a bogey.
The 2-shot swing gave Aphibarnrat a 1-stroke lead, and he pushed his advantage
to two with his third straight birdie at the third. He wrapped bogeys at the
fifth and seventh around a birdie on No. 6.
Aphibarnrat caught fire starting with a birdie at the eighth. He followed with
birdies on each of the next three holes. He carded his final birdie at the
13th to move to minus-15.
The 25-year-old Thai was four clear at that point and he ran off three pars in
a row from the 14th. Trouble loomed, however, as Aphibarnrat stumbled to a
double-bogey at the par-5 17th. He dropped another shot at the last to end two
ahead of Uihlein.
"I've been striking the ball so well in the first three rounds. It's a good
way to start. First, I made three straight birdies to jump up at the top. I
was still hitting the ball great on the back. Then, I made a big mistake on
last two holes, not the way to finish," Aphibarnrat stated.
"I lost the focus on the short putt on 17. That is the big turn, the big key
for me after Peter made birdie, and we swung three shots on that. That's a big
move. But I made a mistake and I lost some concentration."
Uihlein followed his bogey at the second with six consecutive pars. He birdied
the par-5 ninth for the third straight day en route to making the turn at
The 2010 U.S. Amateur winner tripped to a bogey at the 10th, but came right
back with a birdie on No. 11. He birdied the 13th to stay within four, but
bogeys at 14 and 15 dropped Uihlein six behind.
As Aphibarnrat made a mess of the 17th, Uihlein made birdie there for the
third consecutive day. He parred the last to end two back.
"I just made too many sloppy bogeys. Four bogeys, a bit rough, five birdies
and missed a couple pretty easy ones," admitted Uihlein.
NOTES: Aphibarnrat was the 54-hole leader at the Malaysian Open in 2010 and
again in 2013, and he went 1-1 with those two leads ... Aphibarnrat has done
all of his damage on the front nine this week as he has played the back nine
in even-par with five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey ... Uihlein is
also looking for his second European Tour title.
Hamilton on pole for Bahrain GP
Sakhir, Bahrain (SportsNetwork.com) - Defending Formula One world champion
Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth pole position in as many races this season
after beating Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg in Saturday's qualifying for
the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton posted a lap time of 1 minute, 32.571 seconds during the final round
of qualifying for his 42nd career F1 pole, including his first in the Bahrain
GP. The Mercedes driver finished 0.411 seconds ahead of Vettel from Ferrari
and 0.558 seconds in front of Rosberg, who is Hamilton's teammate.
In Saturday's final practice session, held just prior to qualifying, Hamilton,
Vettel and Rosberg placed 1-3, respectively.
"I feel very happy," Hamilton said after he captured his fourth pole in a row
this season. "Obviously coming into the weekend that was the target to really
kind of master this track and get the car into an area that I'm really
comfortable with. That's generally how this weekend has gone."
Hamilton won last year's Bahrain GP after starting second. The first night
race here in 2014 was a hard-fought battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, who
started on the pole. Rosberg finished one second behind in the runner-up spot.
Rosberg also started on the pole in Bahrain two years ago. He will line up
third on the grid in Sunday's 57-lap race here.
"Strategy-wise today, I got it wrong because I was thinking too much about the
race," Rosberg said. "I under-estimated Sebastian's speed. I took it easy in
(the second round of qualifying) on the race set of tires that we start the
race with. I just lacked the rhythm as a result."
Hamilton won last month's season-opener in Australia and this past weekend's
race in China. He currently holds a 13-point lead over Vettel, who won in
Malaysia, and a 17-point advantage over Rosberg.
"I'm very happy with second today," Vettel said after qualifying. "It was a
tough session. In the beginning, I really didn't find the rhythm that I seemed
to have in practice. But towards the end of the session, it was getting
better. I was happy with the car."
Kimi Raikkonen from Ferrari qualified fourth, followed by Williams drivers
Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was seventh and
Nico Hulkenberg from Force India eighth. Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Romain
Grosjean from Lotus completed the top-10.
McLaren driver Jenson Button failed to set a time in the opening round of
qualifying when he came to a stop on the track while attempting his first lap.
It was the third time this weekend that Button experienced failure with his
Honda-powered McLaren. His car suffered electrical problems in both of
Friday's practice sessions. He will start the race from the rear of the field.
"I don't know what happened (in qualifying), but it was similar to what
happened on Friday," Button said. "Everything just shut down in the car and
there was a loud bang."
Button's teammate, Fernando Alonso, advanced into round two and ended up
Mathews defeats Luis for WBA lightweight title
Merseyside, United Kingdom (SportsNetwork.com) - Derry Mathews won a 12-round
unanimous decision over Tony Luis on Saturday for the vacant WBA interim
Mathews (38-9-2) took two cards of 114-112 and one of 115-112 over Luis
(19-3), who was a late substitute for Ismael Barroso.
04/18 18:55:09 ET