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Monday Sports in Brief

August 25, 2020 GMT

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Clemson is the preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25, a poll featuring nine Big Ten and Pac-12 teams that gives a glimpse at what has already been taken by the pandemic from an uncertain college football season.

Ohio State (1,504 points) was a close No. 2 behind Trevor Lawrence and Clemson (1,520), which starts atop the rankings for the second straight season. The Tigers beat the Buckeyes in a thrilling College Football Playoff semifinal last season.

Alabama is No. 3, Southeastern Conference rival Georgia is No. 4 and defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma is No. 5. Defending national champion LSU is No. 6.

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The 85th edition of the AP rankings will be like none before.

When the season starts — if the season starts — the Buckeyes and 53 other Bowl Subdivision teams will no longer be eligible for inclusion in the Top 25 because they have postponed their seasons to the spring.

The Big Ten, where Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State play, and the Pac-12, home to No. 9 Oregon, canceled their fall sports seasosn because of concerns about the coronavirus. The Mid-American and Mountain West conferences have also said they will try to play spring football.

MLB

HOUSTON (AP) — Los Angeles Angels star Albert Pujols continued his climb up the career charts Monday night, passing Alex Rodriguez with his 2,087th RBI.

Hank Aaron is the record holder at 2,297. Babe Ruth is next on some lists with 2,214, even though 224 occurred before the RBI became an official statistic in 1920.

“Definitely it’s an honor,” Pujols said after an 11-4 loss to the Houston Astros.

The 40-year-old Pujols hit an RBI single in the fifth inning to top A-Rod.

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona will miss the club’s three-game series against Minnesota this week while he continues to deal with health issues.

Francona underwent another procedure Friday at the Cleveland Clinic to address a gastrointestinal condition that has bothered him for nearly a year.

The 61-year-old Francona already has missed 17 games and the club will be without him as they take on the AL Central-leading Twins, who lead the Indians by 1 1/2 games going into Monday’s series opener.

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston’s game against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday has been moved to Tuesday and will be played as part of a doubleheader because of Tropical Storm Laura.

The Astros were supposed to wrap up a four-game series with the Angels on Thursday afternoon. Instead, they will play a doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m. EDT on Tuesday. Laura could make landfall on the Gulf coast late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

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Wednesday’s game, which was scheduled to start at 9:10 p.m. Eastern, was moved up to 1:10 p.m because of the impending storm.

NBA

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers fired coach Brett Brown on Monday, a day after his seventh season ended in a first-round postseason sweep.

The 76ers were 43-30 this season and had woefully underachieved in a year when they were expected to be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Brown had guided the 76ers back from the bottom of the NBA, but now someone else will try to take them further.

Brown finished 221-344, though his record was never going to be pretty because the Sixers weren’t trying to win when he was hired.

GOLF

RIDGEDALE, Mo. (AP) — Just about the only poor shot Phil Mickelson hit in his PGA Tour Champions debut was a wayward iron off the tee. He still turned it into a birdie.

It was one of five straight on the back nine Monday for the five-time major champion, who decided to make his over-50 debut this week after missing the cut at The Northern Trust and getting eliminated from the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs.

Mickelson finished with 11 birdies and shot a 10-under 61 to take a one-shot lead over David McKenzie.

K.J. Choi, making his second start on the PGA Tour Champions, was joined in a group at 7 under by Rocco Mediate, Rod Pampling and Tim Petrovic. Ernie Els, Bernhard Langer and Vijay Singh were among those another shot back.

NEW YORK (AP) — The CJ Cup in South Korea will be played this year at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, a move that allows the PGA Tour to stage most of its Asia swing amid the coronavirus pandemic and attract top players who might not otherwise have left the country.

The tournament will be called the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, instead of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, the course on Jeju Island, South Korea, where it had been played the previous three years. Justin Thomas is the defending champion, having also won the inaugural year. Brooks Koepka won in 2018.

TENNIS

NEW YORK (AP) — Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, pulled out of the U.S. Open on Monday, citing a change of schedule.

She is the latest woman with a Grand Slam title or high ranking to withdraw from the tournament that begins next week amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Six of the top eight women in the WTA rankings already were out, including No. 1 Ash Barty, the reigning champion at Roland Garros, and No. 6 Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 winner at Flushing Meadows.

Also pulling out Monday was Carla Suarez Navarro.

WNBA

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — The Dallas Wings will be without forward Isabelle Harrison and guard Moriah Jefferson for the rest of this season because of injuries.

The Wings said Monday that Harrison has had multiple injuries to her left ankle, and that Jefferson will be having surgery on her injured left knee.

Harrison, the 6-foot-3 forward who started 11 of her 13 games, re-injured her ankle Friday in a win over Washington. The team said she will miss the rest of the season.

Jefferson has missed the last five games after an injury to her left knee, and will likely have surgery in early September.

SOCCER

NEW YORK (AP) — New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena has been suspended for two more games and fined $15,000 for confronting game officials after receiving a red card in the team’s July 25 match against Philadelphia.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced the punishment on Monday “for confrontational conduct and unacceptable and offensive language directed towards match officials.”

Arena served the first game of his suspension on Thursday. He will also miss Tuesday’s match against D.C. United and Saturday’s against the New York Red Bulls. Assistant coach Richie Williams is expected to lead the team.

Arena was issued a red card after the final whistle of a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia in the final match of the Round of 16 of the MLS is Back tournament last month.

HORSE RACING

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old gelding died Monday during training at Del Mar, the second fatality during the summer meet.

Irreproachable was injured during a workout on the dirt track, according to the California Horse Racing Board website, which did not specify the injury.

Trained by Phil D’Amato, the gelding had no wins in two career starts and earnings of $5,550. Irreproachable finished second at Del Mar on July 24 and was 10th at Santa Anita on May 30.

The seaside track north of San Diego had its other fatality during a workout on July 11, when a 3-year-old filly was euthanized.

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