Friday’s Sports In Brief

GOLF

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) Patrick Reed is leading a major championship for the first time, and his confidence is so high that he can only see what’s ahead of him.

Reed started and finished the front nine with three straight birdies. He answered Marc Leishman’s bold shot for an eagle by polishing off another run of three straight birdies. It added to a 6-under 66 and a two-shot lead over Leishman going into the weekend at Augusta National.

Right behind them are five major champions – Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson.

Nowhere near him are Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the two names that generated so much of the buzz for a Masters that otherwise is living up to expectations.

BASEBALL

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani is making himself at home in the Big A.

Ohtani hit a home run for the third straight game, Justin Upton hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Los Angeles Angels rallied from an early six-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 13-9.

Ohtani, the two-way star from Japan, connected for a long, solo drive in the second inning against Daniel Gossett. The ball landed in the rocks beyond the center field wall after traveling 449 feet and was measured with a 112.3 mph exit velocity according to Statcast, the hardest-hit and longest of Ohtani’s three major league homers.

NEW YORK (AP) – Pedro Alvarez hit a grand slam in the 14th inning, Manny Machado homered twice and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees 7-3 after New York saw four players forced to make early exits.

Yankees starter CC Sabathia left with hip soreness, star catcher Gary Sanchez limped off with a leg cramp right before Alvarez struck, third baseman Brandon Drury was lifted for migraines and second baseman Tyler Wade was removed because of flu-like symptoms. New York had to use 20 players in all – reliever Adam Warren was the only non-starting pitcher left.

Alvarez connected after midnight, deciding a game that took 5 hours, 20 minutes and included 14 pitchers, a couple of wild misadventures on the basepaths and an admitted missed call by umpires.

MMA

NEW YORK (AP) – Conor McGregor was arraigned on charges of felony criminal mischief charges and misdemeanor assault, menacing and reckless endangerment charges following a backstage melee he sparked at a UFC event in New York City the previous day.

He spoke only to acknowledge that he understood the conditions of his release, saying, ”Yes, your honor.”

McGregor was released on $50,000 bond – pocket change for a fighter who was guaranteed $30 million last year in his ballyhooed boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. McGregor is due back in court June 14.

In the underbelly of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Thursday, McGregor went wild, using a dolly, chairs and guard rails as weapons, not his fists. Fueled by revenge and running with a pack of his ”hoodlums,” McGregor’s antics landed him in jail – and injured two fighters on Saturday’s UFC 223 card.

NBA

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Ben Simmons topped LeBron James in a triple-double battle to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their 13th straight win in their biggest game in six years, 132-130 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With a buzz in the city over the Sixers that hasn’t been felt since the pre-Process days, they romped toward a 30-point lead over the Cavs in the first half and scored 78 points at the break.

Simmons had 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists. James had 44 points (17-of-29 shooting), 11 assists and 11 rebounds, bringing the Cavaliers to the brink of an epic comeback.

The Sixers (49-30) moved into third place in the Eastern Conference over the Cavaliers (49-31).

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Lakers unveiled a statue of Elgin Baylor before their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Baylor’s statue became the sixth that decorates the front of Staples Center, joining Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Chick Hearn. The Lakers selected Baylor first overall in the 1958 NBA draft. He averaged 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds in 14 seasons for the franchise, including the first two when it played in Minneapolis.

Various Lakers alumni spoke during Baylor’s ceremony, including O’Neal, Johnson, West and Abdul-Jabbar. Johnson said Baylor put entertainment into the NBA, and will always remember that Baylor set the Finals record for single-game points against the Boston Celtics on the road.

NHL

PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will start their bid for a Stanley Cup three-peat home.

Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel banked in goals off Craig Anderson minutes apart in the second period, Casey DeSmith stopped 34 shots and the Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 4-0 to clinch second place in the Metropolitan Division and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

Phil Kessel collected his 34th goal of the season and Patric Hornqvist pushed his career-high to 29 when he beat Anderson late in the third period for the Penguins, who will host Columbus, New Jersey or Philadelphia next week.

AUTO RACING

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Kurt Busch got a little more aggressive in the first round of qualifying, and it paid off with a pole at Texas Motor Speedway.

Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer will start in the top three spots in Texas after a weather-shortened qualifying session.

With his top lap of 197.368 mph, Busch earned his first pole this season and the 32nd in his career.

There was initially a delay because of lightning in the area soon after the first round had been completed to determine the top 24 drivers. The second and third rounds of qualifying were eventually canceled because of more lightning and threatening weather.

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Sebastien Bourdais took the IndyCar pole at ISM Raceway to join Simon Pagenaud in an all-French front row.

The last driver to qualify, Bourdais had a two-lap average of 188.539 mph on the 1.022-mile oval in Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 18 car.

The 39-year-old Frenchman won his 34th career pole and first since fracturing his pelvis and right hip last year in a crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.