Wednesday August 7th Local Sports

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Atlanta Braves set the tone for what turned out to be a big offensive night from the very first pitch.

Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman hit first-pitch homers off Minnesota ace Jose Berríos and the Braves routed the Twins 12-7 Tuesday night.

The first three batters in Atlanta’s lineup — Acuña, Ozzie Albies and Freeman — combined to go 10 for 16 with nine runs and eight RBIs. Acuña scored four runs and Freeman drove in four.

Acuña sent the first pitch by Berríos into deep center field for his sixth leadoff homer of the season and the 14th of his career.

It was one of the worst starts of Berríos’ career. He allowed a career-high nine runs in the loss and slipped to 10-6. His bad night got worse in the sixth inning when he balked in a run. Albies hit an RBI triple later in the inning that chased Berrios.

Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz hit his 31st and 32nd home runs of the season, homering in the sixth and seventh innings. He has six multi-homer games this year, tying Harmon Killebrew in Twins’ history for the most in a season.

The Twins swatted four total homers Tuesday and have 223 home runs this season, the second-highest total in team history. Minnesota needs two more to tie the team record of 225, set in 1963.



AMES — A busy summer continues for Iowa State sophomore Tyrese Haliburton who is headed to California for the Nike Skills Academy. He returns Friday and the Cyclones leave Saturday for a summer trip to Italy. Haliburton was part of the United States gold medal winning team at the Under-19 World Cup in Greece.

That’s ISU coach Steve Prohm who says the Nike Skills Academy will be a good experience for Haliburton and he is not concerned with him wearing down.



ATLANTA (AP) — Rookie Napheesa Collier had 22 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Atlanta Dream 85-69 on Tuesday night.

Collier, the WNBA rookie of the month for July, scored 10 straight points during Minnesota’s 15-0 run for a 75-64 lead. She had just four points at halftime.

Sylvia Fowles added 12 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota (11-11), and Seimone Augustus played in her first game since offseason knee surgery.

Fowles became the fourth player in league history to reach 600 blocks. Augustus had eight points in 21 minutes to move into 10th on the WNBA career scoring list.

Renee Montgomery scored 19 points for Atlanta (5-18), which has lost eight straight. Tiffany Hayes and Alex Bentley each had 12 points.



EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — When the Minnesota Vikings take the field against the Saints in their preseason opener on Friday in New Orleans, Irv Smith Jr. will celebrate his 21st birthday in a special way. The second-round draft pick will make his NFL debut in the same stadium where his father spent most of his career, and he’ll do so in front of a host of family and friends in the city he calls home. The Vikings have big plans for the rookie tight end, but progress could come slowly this year amid a steep learning curve at a complex position.



KNOXVILLE — Sprint car racing’s biggest event begins Wednesday night with the first of two nights of qualifying at the 59th Knoxville Nationals. Saturday night’s championship lineup will be determined by a points system which includes qualifying, heat races and qualifying feature races. Race director John McCoy says it is a system that has been in place since the 1970s.

Ten time winner Donny Schatz makes a qualifying run on Wednesday night while defending champion Brad Sweet will be part of Thursday night’s qualifying program.

McCoy says there are activities around the track for fans of all ages.

McCoy says sprint car drivers remain accessible to the fans.

The more than $1 million purse will pay $150,000 to the winner. Saturday night’s championship race will be 50 laps.