U.S. women rout Angola, 90-38

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U.S. women rout Angola, 90-38

LONDON -- Another game, another blowout for the U.S. women's basketball team -- not that the score matters to them. That sounds like the right thing to say after Candace Parker had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the U.S. to a 90-38 rout of Angola on Monday night. But the Americans aren't just being politically correct. They know they are still a work in progress, having only been together training for two weeks, and are going to play some tough games during the tournament. "The goal is to continue to get better every game and I think that was what we did" against Angola, Parker said. "I think we're continuing to work on things that no matter what the scoreboard can help us down the line." The game against Angola was expected to be an easy romp -- and it was -- with the U.S. overwhelming the Olympic newcomer. "It's definitely about ourselves," said U.S. guard Sue Bird. "That's how Coach Geno Auriemma coaches in college. It's his philosophy. Never about how much you win by or lose by, it's how we played. Especially in a game like tonight where going in we kind of had a feeling it might be like this. Not to play to the score, not to relax. "This is an opportunity for us to play together and we need to take advantage of every opportunity we get." Parker finished with her second double-double of the tournament. She is averaging 12.5 points and 12.5 rebounds. The Americans (2-0) have won their last 35 straight games in the Olympics and four consecutive gold medals while Angola is looking for its first victory. The team lost its opener to Turkey by 22 points meaning African nations have only won one of their 25 games in the Olympics since Congo -- formerly known as Zaire -- first qualified in the 1996 Atlanta Games. Nigeria owns the only victory, beating Korea by four points in 2004. The Americans had played African teams twice and routed them both. The U.S. beat Zaire by 60 points in 1996 and then Mali by 56 at the Beijing Games in 2008. Angola (0-2) did fare a little better than its continental neighbors. The team stayed close to the Americans for the first quarter, only trailing by 10 at the end of the period. Then the U.S. put the game away outscoring the African country 19-6 in the second period. Parker hit two reverse lay-ins in the quarter. The Americans continued the rout in the second half. The strong crowd which had witnessed some very competitive games all day, emptied out early in the final period knowing the outcome wasn't in doubt. "We decided we want to enjoy the game, we understood before the difference in the standard," Angola coach Anibal Moreira said. "We feel a lot of pride to be able to play against such a team, who are idols for our players. We hoped to get to 50 points but we didn't succeed." Sonia Guadalupe scored 11 points to lead Angola. Auriemma decided before the game not to play center Sylvia Fowles, who has a sore left foot. "I tweaked it a little bit yesterday in practice and I gave it a go this morning and it didn't feel quite right so we're just resting it and playing it safe," Fowles said. It didn't matter as the 6-foot-4 Parker looked confident on the floor, demanding the ball in the post and running the floor for easy layups. The game was a contrast for the U.S. from its opener when the Americans struggled on offense for the first three quarters before pulling away from Croatia. Despite the lopsided final score, Auriemma has been impressed in the growth of women's basketball that he's seen in Angola and other African countries. "Angola's one of those countries you hope, because of what's happened with the U.S. and some other places in women's basketball, that other African countries pick up and say that could be us," Auriemma said. "Hopefully that's a country that becomes accustomed to playing in the Olympics. Hopefully they devote more energy and resources and they can come back to the Olympics on a regular basis." Next up for the U.S. is Turkey, which improved to 2-0 in pool play with a 61-57 victory over the Czech Republic. The Americans also will face China and the Czech Republic. The U.S. beat the Czechs in the finals of the 2010 world championship to qualify for the London Games. In other games Saturday, France shocked Australia 74-70 in OT. It was the first loss by the Aussies to anyone other than the U.S. in an Olympic game since 1996. China routed Croatia 83-58; Russia beat Brazil 69-59; and Canada edged Britain 73-65.

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

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Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

BOSTON - Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. The 26-year-old left-hander's only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw bullpen sessions. Hernandez said he "felt really good."... LHP James Paxton (strained forearm) is set to come off the DL and pitch at home Wednesday.

Red Sox: Pedroia was back at second base after getting Friday off to rest his sore left knee and not play on a wet field. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm his first time up and went 1 for 3. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the DL with a sprained right knee, was expected to play nine innings Saturday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager John Farrell didn't rule out that he could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over four innings in a 10-1 loss Tuesday at Washington.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.35) has gone at least six innings in eight of nine starts.

How dominant has Craig Kimbrel been? The numbers are eye popping

How dominant has Craig Kimbrel been? The numbers are eye popping

Remember that infield hit by Jonathan Villar of the Brewers off Craig Kimbrel on May 11 in Milwaukee?

Don't worry, nobody does. That's the last hit off the Red Sox closer. That's right. One hit this month.

How dominant has Kimbrel been? Going into Saturday, right-handed hitters don't have a hit off him in their past 39 at-bats. Opponents are hitting .083 against him. Move the decimal point and 0.83 happens to be his season ERA, too, to go with 13 saves. 

Here's more via @SoxNotes:

Kimbrel, 28, has been one of baseball's best closers for years with the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres. His first year in Boston last season was solid with 31 saves and a 3.40 ERA, but his walks climbed (30 total and 5.1 per 9 innings, the second-highest totals of his career). He also struggled in non-save situations.

There's been no struggling lately. The last run Kimbrel gave up was a home run by Kendrys Morales of the Blue Jays in the ninth inning on April 20 in Toronto that tied the score at 1 in a game won by the Red Sox 4-1 in 10. Kimbrel got the win and his only blown save of the season.

His three-out save Friday night was his first outing without a strikeout since a one-out save April 23. That followed his four-strikeout inning Thursday night.