Gerrit Cole was once again in impressive form for the New York Yankees, as they beat the Kansas City Royals 3-0 on Saturday.

The 2021 Cy Young runner-up claimed his second win in as many starts this season, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out six in 91 pitches over a dominant six innings.

Cole's performance on the mound was particularly important, given his team did not hit any home runs this time around.

The Yankees (29) only trail the Toronto Blue Jays (30) for home runs this season, and the top of the order in DJ LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rizzo claimed one hit out of a combined 11 at-bats.

Aroldis Chapman worked a hitless ninth for his fifth save of the season, moving the Yankees to 15-6 and the top of the American League East.

Undermanned Giants still make light work of Washington

The San Francisco Giants are keeping pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West despite a number of Covid-19 enforced absences, claiming a 9-3 win over the Washington Nationals.

Not scoring a home run before this series against the Nats, Jason Vosler went deep for the second consecutive day – hitting the famous Bay at Oracle Park - while Darin Ruf had three hits from five at-bats.

The hitting performance came at an ideal time, with Giants starter Logan Webb giving up a career-high 11 hits and striking out three in 95 pitches over six innings.

Orioles break losing streak in extra innings

The Baltimore Orioles claimed a shock win in extra innings, defeating the Boston Red Sox 2-1 at home to end a five-game losing streak.

Jorge Mateo scored the winning run for the Orioles, after a Robinson Chirinos bunt with runners on first and second forced an error from Red Sox pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura, launching the ball past third baseman Rafael Devers.

Orioles reliever Jorge Lopez came up big, pitching two hitless innings before retiring Alex Verdugo in the extra inning with two outs and runners on first and third.

World number two Jon Rahm maintained his two-stroke lead at the Mexican Open coming into the final round, shooting a three-under 68 in Vallarta on Saturday.

After opening the back nine with a bogey on the par-four 10th hole for the second consecutive round, Rahm recovered with two birdies on the final two par fives, to finish on 15-under after 54 holes.

The 27-year-old has steadied after opening at the Vidanta course with a bogey-free round of seven-under, and has played some measured golf over the opening three rounds, despite not capitalising on opportunities.

He had two eagle chances on the par-five sixth and par-four seventh and settled for birdies and after driving into the water on the 10th, missed a short birdie chance on the par-five 12th.

A precise up-and-down on the 14th gave the Spaniard some momentum, before closing with another birdie on the 18th.

With his last win on the PGA Tour coming at the US Open at Torrey Pines in 2021, final rounds have provided some trouble for Rahm, converting only once out of the seven times he has at least held a share of the lead coming into the final day.

Kurt Kitayama will be hoping to take advantage after shooting a five-under 66 on Saturday, to put him two strokes back in second along with Cameron Champ.

Kitayama scorched the front nine with three birdies and an eagle on the seventh, but also bogeyed on the 10th hole after an errant tee shot.

He bounced right back with a birdie on the par-three 11th to eventually finish on 13-under after 54 holes.

There is a three-way tie for third a further stroke back, with Nate Lashley, Patrick Rodgers and Davis Riley locked on 12-under.

Former national player Karen Anderson has been elected as president of the Jamaica Squash Association (JSA) at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday.

Anderson a 13-time national champion and former coach has prioritized strengthening the JSA’s governance structure, ensuring financial stability, and accelerating the growth of squash island-wide.

“My involvement in squash is multifaceted from playing to coaching to refereeing, managing teams, and marketing the game and I have the depth of experience and passion to expand the reach of squash within Jamaica while making our players more competitive in regional and international arenas,” Anderson said.

Other areas of focus will include developing a grassroots program that will encompass educational institutions and community-based outreach.  Development programs for coaches and referees will also be an area of emphasis.

The new administration also includes veteran player and IT specialist, Joey Levy as Vice President while financial expert, Deanne Pryce and seasoned administrator, Gill Binnie retained their positions as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively.

 The supporting Executive Committee includes an infusion of current national team players such as Bruce Burrowes, Julian Morrison, and Tahjia Lumley as well as Nathlee Boreland, Stephen Dear, businessman, and squash aficionado, Douglas Beckford.

The Premier League witnessed drama at both ends of the table on an absorbing Saturday, as Manchester City and Liverpool continued to trade blows in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp's men downed in-form Newcastle United thanks to Naby Keita's first-half strike, before City responded by cruising to a 4-0 thrashing of Leeds United at Elland Road.

At the other end of the table, Norwich City were condemned to a record sixth Premier League relegation at Aston Villa, and Watford look destined to join them after Burnley continued their incredible upturn in form at Vicarage Road.

After another frantic day of action, Stats Perform looks at some of the key Opta facts from Saturday's contests.

Newcastle United 0-1 Liverpool: Keita continues Reds' run

Liverpool's bid for a remarkable quadruple faced a tough test when they travelled to Eddie Howe's in-form Newcastle in the first clash of the day.

However, Naby Keita's 19th-minute goal proved the difference in a competitive encounter, and was Liverpool's earliest winning goal in a 1-0 Premier League victory since December 2016, when Georginio Wijnaldum netted after eight minutes against Manchester City.

Klopp's side had chances to extend their lead, with home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka making nine saves, his highest tally in a single Premier League match. Since 2003-04, when Opta data began, the only Newcastle goalkeepers to make more saves in a Premier League game are Tim Krul (14 against Tottenham in November 2013) and Karl Darlow (11 against Tottenham in September 2020).

However, a 21st clean sheet of Liverpool's league campaign was enough to move them to the top of the table - only in 2005-06 (22) have the Reds kept more shutouts in a single Premier League campaign.

Liverpool have now picked up 40 points from the last 42 on offer in the competition, and the win turned up the pressure on City ahead of their trip to Leeds later on Saturday.

Leeds United 0-4 Manchester City: Visitors draw on set-peice prowess to reclaim top spot

The Reds were not top of the table for long, however, as City claimed a 4-0 win over relegation-threatened Leeds at Elland Road. Goals from Rodri and Nathan Ake both came from set pieces, meaning City have now scored 18 set-piece goals (excluding penalties) this season, their most in a Premier League campaign since 2013-14 (22).

Pep Guardiola's men have also kept five consecutive away league clean sheets, the best such sequence in the club's history.

After Gabriel Jesus had made the points safe, Fernandinho stuck a superb fourth goal late on, becoming the club's oldest ever Premier League goalscorer at 36 years and 361 days old, overtaking Frank Lampard in 2015 (36 years and 338 days old).

Leeds, meanwhile, are looking over their shoulders after another heavy defeat. They have conceded a remarkable 20 league goals against the two Manchester clubs this season (11 against City, nine against Manchester United) – a new top-flight record for goals conceded against the duo in a single season.

Watford 1-2 Burnley: Clarets' revival continues after Cork ends barren run

Elsewhere, Burnley continued their incredible revival by coming from behind to defeat Watford, making Mike Jackson the first Clarets boss to win three of his first four league games in charge since Jimmy Mullen won his first four in 1991.

After James Tarkowski's own-goal put Watford ahead, Jack Cork ended his run of 84 Premier League games without a goal with his first strike since December 2018 (against Liverpool), before Josh Brownhill scored a late winner.

The Clarets are now five points above the bottom three after winning three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April 2019, having won just three of their previous 21 games.

Roy Hodgson's Watford, meanwhile, look destined for relegation after becoming the first side in English top-flight history to lose 11 consecutive home league matches.

Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich City: Canaries suffer another relegation at Villa Park

Burnley's win had other ramifications, contributing to Norwich suffering their sixth relegation from the Premier League – the most of any club in the competition's history – after the Canaries were beaten at Villa Park.

Remarkably, Norwich have been relegated in each of their last four Premier League seasons (2013-14, 2015-16, 2019-20 and 2021-22). They are only the second side in English league history to suffer relegation in four consecutive campaigns in the top-flight, after Crystal Palace (1992-93, 1994-95, 1997-98 and 2004-05).

 

Dean Smith's men saw their fate sealed after becoming the first team to concede 70 Premier League goals this season after just 34 games, representing the earliest point in any league campaign they have reached 70 concessions since 1956-57 (in their 34th game in the old Third Division South).

Ollie Watkins set the tone for Villa's win with his first-half strike, and he has now scored at least 11 more goals than any other Villa player since his September 2020 debut (25 goals in all competitions).

The full extent of the latest injury to Aston Villa and Jamaica forward Leon Bailey is yet to be determined but the team’s head coach Steve Gerrard sympathizes with the player’s situation.

On Saturday, the 24-year-old hobbled from the field five minutes before half-time, having suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury.  The setback was the latest in an up and down season for the winger.

Previously, Bailey spent lengthy spells on the sideline having injured his thigh on two separate occasions.  Since moving to the club from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, the attacker has shown flashes of tremendous potential but struggled to stay fit.  Gerrard admits the situation has been frustrating for everyone.

"It’s an ankle issue. In terms of the extent and the damage, I’m sure he’ll be MRI scanned in the next 24 to 48 hours. I’m really disappointed and frustrated for him because he’s worked really hard to get back, he’s been training ever so well,” Gerrard said.

Bailey started only his second match, since returning from injury, against Leicester last weekend, the coach had promised to give the player an opportunity to play his way back into form.

"We wanted to give him another opportunity off the back of Leicester to really try and keep him in the rhythm. You see how he started the game he nearly scores with a fantastic effort and a top save from Tim Krul,” Gerrard said.

"Not too far after that he’s got to come off the pitch. He’s frustrated, we’re frustrated and I’m sure the supporters are as well.”

  

Diego Simeone is ready to accept responsibility if Atletico Madrid fail to qualify for the Champions League.

On the day Atleti saw their LaLiga crown taken by bitter rivals Real Madrid, they suffered a potentially damaging 2-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

They remained in fourth after the defeat, yet fifth-placed Real Betis can cut the gap to just a point if they overcome Getafe on Monday.

Los Colchoneros face a tough run-in that sees them play champions Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad in three of their four remaining games.

Asked at a media conference if he was worried about not securing a top-four spot, Simeone said: "It occupies me. You have to know how to be in difficult moments and there have been a few in recent years. 

"We will see who is up for this difficult moment. The responsibility rests with me. I am the first one responsible for whether it happens or not.

"Everyone needs to stay calm, there are four games left."

 

Athletic were good value for their win, which came courtesy of an early Mario Hermoso own goal and a second-half penalty from Inaki Williams.

The result meant Atleti have now failed to score in their past two LaLiga games – the first time they have done that since October 2020 when they drew blanks against Huesca and Villarreal.

Simeone had no complaints with his side's effort, though, and said there is no lack of desire to achieve a top-four spot.

"The first few minutes weren't good, then the team improved," he said. "Their first goal hit Hermoso and went in; Carrasco's strike does the same but goes wide. These are the small details that matter.

"If you see how they train, how they work and commit to doing what we say, then there is nothing to say. There is no lack of commitment or intensity.

"There is anxiety and the desire to achieve the goal of the club."

Atleti are next in action on May 8 when they host Los Blancos in El Derbi at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler expects to be fit for the start of the Eastern Conference semi-finals against Philadelphia 76ers on Monday after recovering from a knee injury.

Butler sat out the Heat's Game 5 win over the Atlanta Hawks as the team secured their first semi-finals appearance since 2019-20, when they went on to lose the NBA finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The six-time NBA all-star impressed in the first four games of the first-round series, becoming just the third player in franchise history – after LeBron James and Dwyane Wade – to post 45 points, five rebounds and five assists in a playoff match in Game 2, but missed out on the series-clinching win.

However, the 32-year-old is confident he will return for the top-seeded Heat's opening clash with the 76ers.

"It's all right," Butler said of his knee after Saturday's practice. "We got another day in between. Get out there, rip and ride.

"I know it will be ready to hold up come Monday, but the time off has been great for myself and so many other guys that are nicked up. Everybody's ready to compete."

Guard Kyle Lowry, who also missed out on the Heat's last outing, was also able to do "a little bit more" on Saturday, coach Erik Spoelstra revealed.

Butler said he would be disappointed to see former team-mate Joel Embiid miss out for the 76ers after he suffered a mild concussion and orbital fracture against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday.

"I feel bad for my guy," Butler added. "Obviously, one of my former team-mates, arguably the MVP of this league, and I think I speak for everybody that's a part of this team, we want Jo to play.

"We want to go up against them at full strength and prove that we can hang with anybody and we can beat anybody. 

"It's a mishap. I hope he recovers well and gets back very, very soon."

Butler, who spent part of the 2018-19 season with the Sixers, said Embiid would get his vote for MVP after the 28-year-old averaged 30.6 points per game across the regular season – the highest figure in the NBA.

"I'm not an analytics guy, obviously," he added. "But I was told that they're a much better team defensively whenever he's on the floor, as they should be. I would guess offensively as well. 

"And he makes the right plays as well - but he's been doing this a long time in this league, [I'm] damn sure has been this year. 

"He would get my vote for MVP. It's going to be a challenge, but they beat us once without him."

Simona Halep blew Paula Badosa away with a Madrid Open masterclass to reach the round of 16 on Saturday.

Second seed Badosa had no answer to the brilliance of Halep in her homeland as the relentless Romanian won 6-3 6-1 at the Caja Magica.

Unseeded two-time grand slam champion Halep took just an hour and 17 minutes to eliminate Badosa, breaking three times in the first set and twice in the second.

Halep, in a new era with Patrick Mouratoglou in her corner, won 84 per cent of points when she landed her first serve in, staying in the hunt to win this tournament for a third time with the French Open on the horizon.

The former world number one will face Coco Gauff for a place in the quarter-finals following the American's 6-1 2-6 6-4 late-night defeat of Yulia Putintseva.

Gauff, the 14th seed, racked up 10 double faults and was pushed all the way by Putintseva, but served out the match after securing a third break in a tight final set.

Ons Jabeur earlier advanced into the third round at the expense of Varvara Gracheva, recovering from a second-set bagel to win 7-5 0-6 6-4.

Jabeur faces a meeting with Belinda Bencic after the Swiss dispatched Karolina Muchova 6-3 4-6 7-5.

Victoria Azarenka came from a set down to beat Tamara Zidansek 3-6 6-1 6-3 to set up a meeting with Amanda Anisimova, who also had to come from behind to dispatch Petra Martic 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Ekaterina Alexandrova and Marie Bouzkova also progressed in the Spanish capital.

 

 

MS Dhoni has taken over as Chennai Super Kings captain once again after Ravindra Jadeja decided to step down.

Jadeja was named skipper just before the tournament started last month after the long-serving Dhoni opted to relinquish the captaincy.

Defending champions CSK are second-bottom of the table with only two wins from eight games.

Jadeja has taken only five wickets – three of those coming in one match against Royal Challengers Bangalore - and scored just 112 runs at an average of 22.40.

The Super Kings on Saturday announced that the India all-rounder has decided to hand over captaincy duties in order to try and rediscover his form.

A statement released by the franchise said: "Ravindra Jadeja has decided to relinquish captaincy to focus and concentrate more on his game and has requested MS Dhoni to lead CSK.

"MS Dhoni has accepted to lead CSK in the larger interest and to allow Jadeja to focus on his game."

Former India captain Dhoni led CSK from the start of the IPL in 2008 before bringing his reign to an end, guiding the franchise to four titles and losing five finals.

The 40-year-old wicketkeeper-batter lifted the trophy in Dubai last year after his side beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final.

Frances Tiafoe downed fellow American Sebastian Korda in a hard-fought encounter to reach the final of the Estoril Open, while Holger Rune reached a first title match at the BMW Open.

Korda had eliminated top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals in Portugal to set up an all-American last-four clash, and looked on course to reach the final after winning the first set against Tiafoe.

However, the fifth seed roared back to seal a 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory and set up a final encounter with Argentina's Sebastian Baez, who beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas to reach his second tour-level final.

Baez also needed three sets in his semi-final clash after losing a competitive second-set tie-break, but he then produced a scintillating performance to win the decider without dropping a game, winning 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-0.

Elsewhere, Danish 19-year-old Rune sealed his first ATP tour final appearance by beating home favourite Oscar Otte 6-4 6-4 at the BMW Open in Munich.

Rune, who has enjoyed a dream week in Bavaria after sensationally downing Alexander Zverev in the last-16 and failing to drop a single set in the tournament, revealed his ambitions to become world number one in the future after the victory.

"It's a pretty unreal feeling," he said of his semi-final win. "I didn't expect this at all coming into this tournament, and I just took it match by match. Obviously, I had a tough draw, playing Zverev in the second round, but I knew it was going to be tough, so I was ready from the beginning, and I'm super happy to be in the final.

"It's getting better and better, I'm improving every day, and this is what matters. I have some goals to be number one in the world, and you have to start somewhere."

Rune will face eighth seed Botic van de Zandschulp in the final after the Dutchman rallied to beat Miomir Kecmanovic 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in his own final-four encounter. 

Atletico Madrid missed the chance to strengthen their grip on a Champions League qualification place after they slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

On the day Atletico saw their LaLiga crown taken by bitter rivals Real Madrid, Diego Simeone's men started sluggishly and were duly punished inside 10 minutes when Mario Hermoso turned Inaki Williams' cross into his own net.

Williams, who was a constant threat, then sealed all three points in the 56th minute from the penalty spot. 

Atletico remain in fourth, yet fifth-placed Real Betis can cut the gap to just a point if they overcome Getafe on Monday. Athletic, meanwhile, remain eighth.

Athletic's bright start was rewarded in the eighth minute when Hermoso deflected Williams' cross past Jan Oblak after the forward outmuscled Jose Gimenez.

Williams came agonisingly close to scoring for himself soon after, the 27-year-old's inswinging cross from the left missing everyone and bouncing off Oblak's left-hand post.

Geoffrey Kondogbia flashed wide as Atleti woke from their slumber shortly before the interval, while Yannick Carrasco saw an effort deflected just past Unai Simon's upright after a surging run.

Athletic doubled their advantage a few moments after Antoine Griezmann had thundered a free-kick against the crossbar, Williams clipping his spot-kick down the middle after Hector Herrera had brought down Iker Muniain just inside the area. 

Muniain and Nico Williams were denied in quick succession by Oblak as Athletic looked to add further gloss to the scoreline, while Angel Correa saw an effort deflected against the post deep into stoppage time for luckless Atletico.

 

Pep Guardiola insisted he is enjoying the pressure that comes with Manchester City's bid for the Premier League and Champions League titles after his team thrashed Leeds United 4-0.

Rodri and Nathan Ake converted from set pieces to put City in control of their Premier League clash at Elland Road, as the visitors reached 18 set-piece goals in the league this season (excluding penalties) – the highest tally in the competition.

Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho added some gloss to the scoreline late on as City returned to the Premier League summit, having been overtaken by Liverpool after the Reds' 1-0 win over Newcastle United earlier on Saturday. 

City are now unbeaten in eight league games, while title rivals Liverpool have dropped just two points in their last 14 games in the competition, but Guardiola insisted he was relishing the pressure of the title race after securing an "incredible" victory.

"I prefer to feel the pressure than to not feel it! It means we have a chance to do it," he told Sky Sports. 

"It's a long season but now it's the last effort, we have a final in Madrid in four days and after, the last four games of the Premier League.

"Today was so important, you know, to make our chances to be champions alive again.

"We suffered a lot in the first half, but after the second goal we had control and we could have scored more goals. It's an incredible result for us, so important. 

"We defended well, sometimes set pieces are so important, with Nathan Ake on the pitch we are really strong. What a game [Aymeric] Laporte played. He played an incredible game. We have five games, potentially six [if City make the Champions League final], to end the season."

In completing their first league double over Leeds since 1981-82 – a season that saw the Yorkshire club relegated from the top flight – City recorded their fifth successive away clean sheet in the Premier League.

That sequence represents the longest such run in City's history, and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan said the team overcame a "huge test" in their quest for consecutive Premier League titles.

"Leeds started with a lot of intensity and made our lives difficult," Gundogan added. "Obviously the first goal helped us a lot, but still in the first half they were more than in the game.

"After the second we were able to move the ball better, quicker, and create more chances. At the end of the day, it was a very good result for us."

City and Liverpool have set a relentless pace in another absorbing race between the duo, and Gundogan echoed his manager's sentiments in claiming the players were enjoying the pressure that competition brings.

"It's only as tough as you make it, we are all competitors, and we need to be able to manage these kinds of situations," he said. "It's normal that sometimes they will play first and sometimes we're going to play first.

"But the pressure is always on, and the responsibility is always there to win all the games. It looks like both teams might not struggle until the end, that's what we want obviously, and every game is a final."

The Buffalo Bills made one of the most highly anticipated selections of day three of the 2022 NFL Draft, picking up punter Matt Araiza.

Known affectionately as the 'Punt God', Araiza became an internet sensation during his college career at San Diego State as he continually used his booming left leg to flip the field position battle.

He had 18 punts of 60-plus yards last season, as well as a pair of 80-plus punts. In college football in the 21st century, there have been just 10 punts of 80 yards or more.

However, Araiza saw two punters, Penn State's Jordan Stout and Georgia's Jake Camarda, picked ahead of him as they each went in the fourth round.

And, after being selected 180th overall, he will now play for a team that is not used to punting.

The Bills punted only 53 times last season, the sixth-lowest total in the NFL.

Given Araiza's track record, the Bills may be happier to do so in 2022.

Sam Howell's wait is over after the Washington Commanders selected him in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Once seen as a potential number one pick, Howell was instead the sixth quarterback taken in a draft in which just one signal-caller went in the first round.

Howell was taken with the 144th pick by the Commanders, and gets to reunite with his former North Carolina team-mate, wide receiver Dyami Brown.

In 2020, Howell completed 68.1 per cent of his passes and was second among quarterbacks from college football's Power 5 conferences with an average of 10.3 yards per attempt.

However, his completion percentage dipped to 62.5 and his yards per attempt average fell to 8.81 in 2021 after Brown and running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams all went pro, Howell throwing 24 touchdowns a year after tossing 30.

Blessed with one of the strongest arms in the draft class, Howell struggled to throw the ball accurately in his final college season. He delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 75.6 per cent of pass attempts last year, his ratio well below that of 20th overall pick Kenny Pickett (82.7). His well-thrown percentage dipped to just 50 on throws of 20 yards or more.

Howell will now get the chance to back up Carson Wentz in Washington, with the Commanders surely hoping he can put pressure on their recently acquired veteran and have a chance to become their quarterback of the future.

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