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Thursday's Sports in Brief

BASEBALL

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson apologized for raising his arm during a postgame celebration in what looked like a Nazi salute.

Christenson made the gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks following the A’s 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

Hendriks immediately pushed Christenson’s arm down and cameras then showed him laughing and briefly raising his arm a second time.

Christenson faced criticism after video of the gesture circulated on social media.

The A’s called the gesture “offensive” and apologized for it. The 46-year-old Christenson played six years in the majors from 1998-2003. He later spent several years coaching in the minors before becoming bench coach for the A’s in 2018.

BALTIMORE (AP) — Jonathan Villar hit a first-pitch leadoff homer to spark a robust offensive performance by the Miami Marlins, who beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-7 to complete a startling four-game sweep and make Don Mattingly the winningest manager in franchise history.

Villar had three hits and Brian Anderson drove in three runs for the upstart Marlins, who emerged from a team-wide coronavirus outbreak to dominate the Orioles and forge the best winning percentage in the big leagues.

Miami is 6-1 and in first place in the NL East despite putting 18 players on the injured list before the series opener Tuesday.

The Marlins were the “home” team because this was a makeup of a July 28 game that was to be held in Miami but postponed in the wake of the Marlins’ COVID-19 outbreak.

GOLF

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jason Day took his first step toward a return to the spotlight in the majors at the PGA Championship.

Brooks Koepka never seems to leave.

Day took advantage of a TPC Harding Park that never felt this accommodating during the practice rounds. With only a mild breeze and a welcome appearance by the sunshine, he finished his bogey-free round of 5-under 65 with an approach to 6 feet for birdie on No. 9, the toughest hole on the course at 518 yards.

That gave him a share of the lead with Brendon Todd, whose round was equally impressive. Playing in the afternoon, as the wind strengthened, Todd made seven birdies and finished with a 10-foot par putt.

They were one shot ahead of nine players, a group that included major champions from years gone by, a PGA Tour rookie and the one guy — Koepka — who shows up at every major no matter what kind of shape his game is in.

Koepka is the two-time defending champion, presented the opportunity this week to become only the seventh player in the 160-year history of major championship golf to win the same major three years in a row. It was last done 64 years ago.

He was at 66 with eight other players, a list that included former major winners Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Zach Johnson, rising star Xander Schauffele and tour rookie Scottie Scheffler.

NFL

NEW YORK (AP) — A total of 66 players have opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly half of them linemen.

Twenty offensive linemen and 11 on defense opted out before Thursday’s deadline. Players with a medical opt out will receive a $350,000 stipend, while those voluntarily opting out receive $150,000 as an advance against future salaries.

No team has come close to New England in losing players for the upcoming season, which begins Sept. 10 with Houston at Super Bowl champion Kansas City. The Patriots, already minus several stars who left in free agency — including, of course, Tom Brady to Tampa Bay — saw eight opt outs: running back Brandon Bolden, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, tight end Matt LaCosse, wide receiver Marqise Lee, offensive lineman Najee Toran and fullback Dan Vitale. Hightower, Cannon and Chung were key contributors in recent seasons.

Cleveland was next with five players skipping the season: defensive tackle Andrew Billings, tackle Drake Dorbeck and guards Drew Forbes, Colby Gossett and Malcolm Pridgeon.

Only three teams had no one opting out: the Steelers, Falcons and Chargers.

HOCKEY

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett each scored a goal and an assist, and the Calgary Flames beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 in Game 4 to win their qualifying round series.

Dillon Dube and Rasmus Andersson also scored for the Flames, and Cam Talbot made 31 saves for the shutout.

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 30 shots for the Jets.

Calgary outscored Winnipeg 16-6 while winning three of the four games. It was a series the Jets were chasing from the get-go, when they lost elite scorers Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele to injury in Game 1. Two other top point-getters Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor failed to step up to fill the void

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