CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 5,403,213 and the nation’s death toll stands at 170,052, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that the state recorded a positivity rate below 1 percent for the ninth consecutive day.
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION OPENS TONIGHT… The Democratic National Convention begins tonight and runs through Thursday, when presumptive nominee Joe Biden is selected to represent the party in November’s presidential election. The event was originally scheduled to be held in Milwaukee, but the coronavirus has forced the move to a virtual event. Tonight’s speakers include New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who are expected to hammer the Trump administration over its handling of the pandemic.
PELOSI CALLS BACK CONGRESS… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for representatives to return to session this week for a vote on a bill to prevent the Trump administration from implementing changes to the U.S. Postal Service. In a letter she sent her colleagues last night, Pelosi accused President Trump of attempting to sabotage November’s general election by manipulating the delivery of the country’s mail. The letter was issued after Thomas Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president for the USPS, sent letters to 46 states and Washington, D.C., warning that some mail-in ballots might not be counted in time for the November election. Multiple media outlets have cited internal documents in reporting that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy had ordered the decommissioning of 671 letter sorting machines. Earlier yesterday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee demanded that DeJoy and USPS Board of Governors Chair Robert Duncan appear to testify at an August 24 oversight hearing over delays in mail delivery and how it could effect the November election.
4 DEAD IN CINCINNATI SHOOTINGS… Four people were killed and at least 14 others were injured in gunfire that broke out in different neighborhoods of Cincinnati early yesterday morning. Authorities say the shootings occurred in the Avondale, Over-the-Rhine, Walnut Hills and West Hills neighborhoods. Cincinnati police officials say their department plans to beef up the number of uniformed officers in the affected communities and call on federal prosecutors and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “to focus on repeat shooters and aggressively bring illegal gun charges.”
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES… Rare summer thunderstorms brought lightning that sparked several small blazes in Northern California yesterday. Firefighters were already busy battling other blazes in the region, including the Lake Fire, which was just 12 percent contained after burning about 28 square miles of brush and trees. Meanwhile, a fire in the Angeles National Forest has charred about 4 square miles of brush in the foothills above the Los Angeles suburb of Azusa.
TAYLOR SWIFT REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART… Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” sold 136,000 copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 albums chart for a third week. Juice WRLD’s “Legends Never Die” jumped one spot to No. 2 on sales of 117,000 units. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” dropped into third place after selling 92,000 copies. Rod Wave’s “Pray 4 Love” leaped to fourth place on sales of 75,000 units. Luke Bryan’s “Born Here Live Here Die Here” debuted at No. 5 with 65,000 copies sold.
ELIZABETH DEBICKI TO PLAY LADY DI… Elizabeth Debicki has confirmed that she has signed on to play Britain’s Princess Diana in seasons 5 and 6 of the Netflix series “The Crown.” The 29-year-old actress is best known for her roles in the films “The Great Gatsby,” “The Night Manager” and “The Cloverfield Paradox.” She will join a Season 5 “The Crown” cast that features Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret. The show about the royal family will end with its sixth season.
Tampa Bay 3 – TORONTO 2… Brandon Lowe smacked a tie-breaking solo homer in the top of the ninth inning to send the Rays past the Blue Jays in the completion of a game suspended by rain on Saturday.
Tampa Bay 7 – TORONTO 5… Willy Adames connected for a tie-breaking two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to power the Rays past the Blue Jays. Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a three-run shot in the fourth.
PHILADELPHIA 6 – N.Y. Mets 2… Andrew McCutchen belted a go-ahead two-run homer and the Phillies went on to complete a three-game sweep of the Mets.
Washington 6 – BALTIMORE 5… Juan Soto scored a tie-breaking run on a throwing error in the top of the eighth-inning and the Nationals made it stand in edging the Orioles.
Cleveland 8 – DETROIT 5… Franmil Reyes slugged a pair of solo homers and the Indians also got round-trippers from Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and Sandy Leon in beating the Tigers for the 20th straight time.
Atlanta 4 – MIAMI 0… Five pitchers combined on a two-hitter as the Braves blanked the Marlins. Nick Markakis drove in three runs with a single and a double.
MINNESOTA 4 – Kansas City 2… Twins starter Randy Dobnak (4-1) held the Royals to two runs on three hits over 5-1/3 innings. Max Kepler homered with a runner aboard.
CHI. WHITE SOX 7 – St. Louis 2… Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez homered in succession during a six-run bottom of the fifth inning that carried the White Sox past the Cardinals. The power surge was at the expense of Cardinals reliever Roel Ramirez, who was making his big-league debut.
HOUSTON 3 – Seattle 2… Kyle Tucker’s one-out homer in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Astros a walk-off win over the Mariners.
Milwaukee 6 – CHI. CUBS 5… Ryan Braun singled home Orlando Arcia with a tie-breaking run in the top of the seventh inning and the Brewers held on to win their third straight against the Cubs. Arcia went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer.
COLORADO 10 – Texas 6… Ryan McMahon’s three-run homer sparked a five-run bottom of the second inning and the Rockies cruised past the Rangers.
Oakland 15 – SAN FRANCISCO 3… The Athletics made it four straight wins with their pounding of the Giants. Stephen Piscotty belted a three-run homer and stroked a two-run double. Chad Pinder and Marcus Semien both homered with a runner aboard.
L.A. Dodgers 8 – L.A. ANGELS 3… Keibert Ruiz homered on his first major-league swing and the Dodgers also got homers from Cory Seager, Max Muncy and Matt Beaty in finishing off a sweep of the three-game series.
ARIZONA 5 – San Diego 4… Eduardo Escobar came through with a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Diamondbacks over the Padres. Kole Calhoun’s third-inning homer accounted for Arizona’s first two runs.
N.Y. YANKEES 4 – Boston 2… J.A. Happ (1-1) allowed just a run on three hits over 5-2/3 innings and the Yankees made it nine straight wins over the Red Sox. Matt Ford singled home a run in the bottom of the first inning and homered with a runner aboard in the third.
TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
St. Louis (Kwang-Hyung Kim, 0-0; Austin Gomber, 0-0); is at the Chi. Cubs (Kyle Hendricks, 3-1; Albert Alzolay, 0-0) for a doubleheader…
the N.Y. Yankees (Jordan Montgomery, 2-1) host Boston (Martin Perez, 2-2)…
Washington (Anibal Sanchez, 0-0) is at Atlanta (Touki Toussaint, 0-0)…
Miami (Jordan Yamamoto, 0-0) hosts the N.Y. Mets (Robert Gsellman, 0-0)…
Toronto (Hyung-Jin Ryu, 1-1) is at Baltimore (Alex Cobb, 1-1)…
Kansas City (Kris Bubic, 0-2) is at Minnesota (Matt Wisler, 0-1)…
the Chi. White Sox (Gio Gonzalez, 0-1) host Detroit (Matthew Boyd, 0-2)…
San Diego (Zach Davies, 2-2) is at Texas (Jordan Lyles, 1-1)…
Houston (Brandon Bielak, 0-0) hosts Colorado (Kyle Freeland, 0-0)…
San Francisco (Tyler Anderson, 0-0) is at the L.A. Angels (Griffin Canning, 0-0)
the L.A. Dodgers (Ross Stripling, 3-1) host Seattle (Justin Dunn, 1-1)…
Oakland (Chris Bassitt, 0-0) is at Arizona (Zac Gallen, 0-0)
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS FIRST-ROUND SCORES…
N.Y. Islanders 2 – Washington 1 (OT)… Matthew Barzal found the net 4:28 into overtime and the Islanders took a 3-0 lead in the series. Game 4 is tomorrow.
Philadelphia 1 – Montreal 0… Jake Voracek’s first-period goal provided all the offense the Flyers needed to clip the Canadiens and pull within 2-1 in the series. Goalie Carter Hart stopped all shots. Game 4 is tomorrow.
Dallas 5 – Calgary 4 (OT)… John Klingberg ripped through the game-winner at 16:05 of overtime as the Stars evened the series at 2-2. Joe Pavelski forced overtime by scoring his third goal of the game with 12 seconds left in regulation. Game 5 is tomorrow.
Chicago 3 – Vegas 1… Goalie Corey Crawford made 48 saves as the Blackhawks topped the Golden Knights to avoid a first-round sweep. Drake Caggiula and Matthew Highmore scored first-period goals. Game 5 is tomorrow.
St. Louis 3 – Vancouver 2 (OT)… Brayden Schenn scored off a breakaway at 15:06 of overtime to send the Blues past the Canucks bring them within 2-1 in the series. Justin Faulk and David Perron scored second-period goals. Jake Allen piled up 41 stops at goal.
TODAY’S NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS FIRST-ROUND SCHEDULE…
Tampa Bay vs. Columbus for Game 4 with Tampa Bay leading 2-1…
Boston vs. Carolina for Game 4 with Boston leading 2-1
Colorado vs. Arizona for Game 4 with the Avalanche leading 2-1…
St. Louis vs. Vancouver for Game with the Canucks leading 2-1
NBA PLAYOFFS OPEN TODAY… The NBA’s postseason gets underway today with four games in Orlando. In the Eastern Conference, second-seeded Toronto opens against seventh-seeded Brooklyn and third-seeded Boston battles sixth-seeded Philadelphia. In the Western Conference, the second-seeded L.A. Clippers go up against seventh-seeded Dallas and third-seeded Denver takes on sixth-seeded Utah.