CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 33,414,114 and the nation’s death toll stands at 598,765, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The White House has announced plans to buy and donate 500 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine to other countries. The White House released plans to distribute 25 million doses last week, with 19 million being shared with Covax, an initiative backed by the World Health Organization that has allocated 81 million doses to 129 countries so far… Houston hospital system is suspending nearly 200 workers for two weeks without pay for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The suspensions at Houston Methodist follow a Monday deadline for all employees to be fully immunized. Nearly 25,000 employees got their shots in time.
BIDEN IN BRITAIN… President Joe Biden told U.S. troops stationed in Britain last night that “the United States is back” and that democracies of the world must rally together to confront the challenges of the day. Biden addressed the troops at the Royal Air Force Mildenhall, about 90 miles northeast of London, during the first leg of his first overseas trip as president. Biden’s eight-day trip includes visits to Belgium and Switzerland for meetings with politicians, royalty and NATO allies. The president will attend summits with the Group of Seven nations, the European Union and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
KEYSTONE PIPELINE SPONSORS CALL OF PROJECT… The sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline announced yesterday that it is calling off project after Canadian officials failed to persuade President Joe Biden to reverse his cancellation of its permit. Calgary-based TC Energy had hoped to use the pipeline to transport crude from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. Construction began last year when former President Donald Trump revived the long-delayed project after it had stalled under the Obama administration. Biden canceled the 1 200-mile pipeline in January over longstanding concerns that burning oil sands crude would make climate change worse.
IRS SENDS MORE STIMULUS CHECKS… The IRS has announced that it will send millions more additional stimulus checks to eligible Americans, with another 2.3 million payments issued yesterday. The latest round of payments is part of the Biden administration’s efforts under the American Rescue Plan to deliver $1,400 to each eligible adult and child. The IRS says it has now delivered more than 169 million payments worth $395 billion, with the last batch of checks amounting to a total of $4.2 billion.
TEXAS AG UNDER INVESTIGATION… The Associated Press reported yesterday Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is being investigated by the state’s bar association for his attempt to have the 2020 presidential election overturned in favor of Donald Trump. The State Bar of Texas wants to know whether Paxton’s actions amount to professional misconduct. Critics accuse Paxton of trying to disenfranchise the voters in multiple states.
NBC CANCELS ‘ZOEY’S’… NBC announced yesterday that it is canceling “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” after two seasons. The series starred Jane Levy as Zoey, a young woman who can hear people’s inner thoughts as songs. Mary Steenburgen co-starred as Zoey’s mother.
NETFLIX THRILLER ROUNDS OUT CAST… Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Beau Bridges have joined the cast of the Netflix thriller “End of the Road.” They join Queen Latifah, who stars as Brenda, a recent widow who drives her family cross-country to start a new life after losing her job. Along the way, they must learn to fight back when they become the targets of a mysterious killer.
Chi. Cubs 3 – SAN DIEGO 1… Joc Pederson smacked a game-tying homer in the top of the fourth inning and Sergio Alcántara added a solo blast as the Cubs topped the Padres.
PHILADELPHIA 2 – Atlanta 1… Luke Walker’s two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Phillies a dramatic win over the Braves. The homer was the first of his career.
L.A. Dodgers 2 – PITTSBURGH 1… Justin Turner homered in his first two at-bats and the Dodgers hung on to edge the Pirates. Six L.A. pitchers combined on a three hitter.
Colorado 4 – MIAMI 3… Raimel Tapia had three hits and scored two runs in helping the Rockies get past the Marlins. Austin Gomber (5-5) allowed just a run on five hits over five innings.
CINCINNATI 7 – Milwaukee 3… Tyler Stephenson knocked in three runs with a pair of doubles and the Reds handled the Brewers. Nick Castellanos added a two-run double. Vladimir Gutierrez (2-1) surrendered two runs on six hits over seen innings.
Houston 8 – BOSTON 3… The Astros pounded the Red So with a 17-hit attack. Alex Bregman went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer. Jose Altuve homered to lead off the top of the third inning. Michael Brantley had three hits, including an RBI single.
Seattle 9 – DETROIT 6 (11 innings)… Jake Fraley’s RBI single sparked a five-run top of the 11th inning that carried the Mariners past the Tigers. Kyle Seager belted a game-tying three-run homer in the sixth. Both teams scored single runs in the 10th.
N.Y. Yankees 9 – MINNESOTA 6… Giancarlo Santon homered twice and drove in five runs to power the Yankees past the Twins. Aaron Judge and Miguel Andujar also went deep. Gerrit Cole (7-1) gave up two runs on five hits over six innings.
Toronto 6 – CHI. WHITE SOX 2… The Blue Jays scored five runs in their final two at-bats to rally past the White So. Randal Grichuk homered to lead off the top of the second inning.
L.A. ANGELS 6 – Kansas City 1… Anthony Rendon doubled home two runs and Wong stroked a two-run single for the Angels in their win over the Royals. Griffin Canning (5-4) allowed a run on five hits over 6-2/3 innings.
TEXAS 4 – San Francisco 3 (11 innings)… The Rangers scored single runs in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings in outlasting the Giants. Brock Holt singled home Nate Lowe with the winning run.
OAKLAND 4 – Arizona 0… Sean Manaea (5-2) pitched two-hit ball over six scoreless innings and three relievers completed the shutout as the Athletics dealt the Diamondbacks their 19th straight road loss. Mark Canha tripled home two runs and scored on Jed Lowrie’s infield single in the bottom of the second inning.
N.Y. Mets 14 – BALTIMORE 1… Kevin Pillar and Billy McKinney each homered twice as the Mets thrashed the Orioles. Pete Alonso and Mason Williams also went deep.
Washington 9 – TAMPA BAY 7 (11 innings)… Starlin Castro doubled home a tie-breaking run and scored on Josh Harrison’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 11th inning to send the Nationals past the Rays. Juan Soto opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first.
ST. LOUIS 8 – Cleveland 2… The Cardinals downed the Indians to end their six-game skid. Tyler O’Neill homered twice. Adam Wainwright (4-5) gave up two runs on three hits over seven innings.
TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
the L.A. Dodgers (Julio Urias, 8-2) are at Pittsburgh (Mitch Keller, 3-6)…
Cincinnati (Luis Castillo, 2-8) hosts Milwaukee (Freddy Peralta, 8-2)…
Atlanta (Ian Anderson, 4-3) is at Philadelphia (Zack Wheeler, 4-3)…
Washington (Max Scherzer, 5-4) hosts San Francisco (Anthony DeSclafani, 5-2)…
Colorado (Chi Chi Gonzalez, 2-3) is at Miami (Trevor Rogers, 6-3)
Seattle (Justus Sheffield, 5-4) is at Detroit (Tyler Anderson, 0-0)…
Boston (Eduardo Rodriguez, 5-4) hosts Houston (Zack Greinke, 6-2)…
Toronto (Hyun-Jin Ryu, 5-3) is at Chicago (Dallas Keuchel, 4-1)…
Minnesota (J.A. Happ, 3-2) hosts the N.Y. Yankees (Michael King, 0-3)…
Kansas City (Mike Minor, 4-3) is at Oakland (Frankie Montas, 6-5)
NBA PLAYOFF SCOREBOARD…
PHOENIX 123 – Denver 98… The Suns ran past the Nuggets to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Devin Booker’s 18 points. Booker also grabbed 10 rebounds. Chris Paul scored 17 points and dished off 15 assists without a turnover. Deandre Ayton finished with 15 points and 10 boards. The series moves to Denver for Game 3 tomorrow.
TONIGHT’S NBA PLAYOFF SCHEDULE…
Brooklyn is at Milwaukee for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Nets leading 2-0…
Utah hosts the L.A. Clippers for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals with the Jazz leading 1-0
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCOREBOARD…
N.Y. ISLANDERS 6 – Boston 2… The Islanders skated past the Bruins to wrap up their East Division second-round playoff series in six games. Brock Nelson scored back-to-back goals in the second period. Joe Bailey had two assists. New York awaits the winner of the Colorado-Vegas series in the Stanley Cup playoff semifinals.
TODAY’S NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE…
Colorado is at Vegas for Game 6 of the West Division second-round playoff series with the Golden Knights leading 3-2