Busch Gets Past Busch in Bristol
Kyle Busch was in the race Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, so of course, he won.
Busch grabbed his third Cup win of the season, eighth overall at Bristol, and 10th this year spanning all three of NASCAR’s national series.
The victory Sunday came at the expense of his older brother, who lined up right beside him on the final restart but couldn’t slow Busch’s steamrolling of the competition this year. The Busch Brothers were first in line not to pit for tires during the 11th caution to set up a final shootout between Bristol’s two winningest active drivers.
Kurt Busch is a six-time winner at the .533-mile high-banked oval and lamented over the P.A. system that he should have wrecked his brother for the win. The crowd roared and affirmed Kurt Busch’s frustration with the final results.
Reds, Pirates in fracas
Yasiel Puig looked eager to take a big swing. And not with a bat, either.
An enraged Puig barreled into a bunch of Pirates during a bench-clearing fracas, and was among five ejections in host Pittsburgh’s 7-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
The trouble started in the fourth inning when Pirates starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch behind the waist of Derek Dietrich. His previous time up, Dietrich dropped the bat and stood to admire his 436-foot home run clear the fence atop the Clemente Wall and bounce into the Allegheny River. Dietrich froze in the batter’s box when Archer’s 93 mph fastball whizzed by. Plate umpire Jeff Kellogg warned both benches and new Reds manager David Bell jogged from the dugout to the infield, arguing Archer should’ve been ejected.
Housley canned by Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres fired coach Phil Housley following two underperforming seasons and after the team extended its franchise-worst playoff drought to an eighth consecutive year.
Buffalo finished 13th in the Eastern Conference standings and joined the 2016-17 Philadelphia Flyers in becoming the second of 50 NHL teams to miss the playoffs in the same season in which they won at least 10 straight games.
Bob Boughner has become the latest coach to pay for Florida’s almost-annual inability to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Panthers fired Boughner, ending his two-year tenure with the team with one year remaining on his contract. In Boughner’s first stint as an NHL head coach, Florida won 80 of its 164 games with him on the bench. Assistant coach Paul McFarlane also was fired. ... Dani Cameranesi scored two goals and had an assist as the United States shut out Switzerland, 8-0, at the women’s world championship in Espoo, Finland.
Keys tops Wozniacki
Madison Keys got much more than she expected at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C., leaving with her first championship in two years and a successful reunion with coach Juan Todero.
Keys was unsure how she would handle the season’s first clay-court event -- clay is not among her favorite surfaces -- or if she’d mesh again with Todero, who had worked with her in 2013 and 2014 and was back in her corner this week after five years apart. Any concerns were allayed when the 24-year-old American overpowered the normally steady Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Conners wins first PGA event
Corey Conners claimed his first PGA Tour victory and earned an invite to the Masters, winning the Valero Texas Open less than a week after qualifying.
Conners only entered the tournament field Monday, and he’s the first golfer to win on the PGA Tour after qualifying on a Monday in nine years. He made three birdies in the final five holes, shooting a 6-under 66. He was 20-under for the tournament, winning by two shots over Charley Hoffman.
Next stop for Conners: Augusta, Georgia, for next week’s Masters.
Jin Young Ko won the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif., for her first major title and second victory in three weeks.
Ko closed with a 2-under 70 in hot and mostly calm conditions for a three-stroke victory over Mi Hyang Lee.
After bogeys on 13 and 15 cut her lead to a stroke, Ko made a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th and closed with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th. Lee parred the final six holes in a 70.