CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 36,666,269 and the nation’s death toll stands at 621,595, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Over the past 28 days, there have been 2,572,359 new cases and 12,486 deaths… National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said yesterday the U.S. could decide in the next couple weeks whether to offer coronavirus booster shots to Americans this fall. Among the first to receive them could be health care workers, nursing home residents and other older Americans. Collins also said he expects 200,000 cases a day in the next couple of weeks and warned that unvaccinated people are “sitting ducks” for the Delta variant.
U.S. RETURNING MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN… The addition of 1,000 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne raises to 6,000 the number of troops being sent back to Afghanistan to help evacuate U.S. personnel and Afghans who assisted the U.S. mission. The additional troops were re-routed from Kuwait after General Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, met with Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, and warned them not to interfere with the U.S. mission at the airport. Taliban militants took control of Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul yesterday after President Ashraf Ghani left the country. A Taliban spokesman claimed that Afghan government security forces had abandoned their posts.
DOZENS HOSPITALIZED AFTER BUS ROLLOVER… Authorities said yesterday that dozens of people remain hospitalized following the rollover of a tour bus rolled over on an upstate New York highway on Saturday. New York State Police said 57 people were transported to hospitals after the bus ran off the New York State Thruway near the village of Weedsport in Cayuga County. Police said a preliminary investigation is trying to determine why the bus left the road.
WESTERN WILDFIRES… The Dixie Fire in Northern California remains the largest of more than 100 major blazes burning in more than a dozen states in the West. The 21,000 federal firefighters working on the ground is twice the number of firefighters who were battling blazes at this time a year ago. More than 6,000 firefighters alone were battling the Dixie Fire, which has consumed nearly 867 square miles and destroyed more than 1,000 homes and businesses. Crews held their own over the weekend in bringing the blaze to 31-percent containment as of yesterday but conditions turned for the worse and left nearly 15,000 structures under threat.
FRED STRENGTHENS ON APPROACH… The remnants of Tropical Storm Fred redeveloped into a tropical storm over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico early yesterday morning on its approach to the Florida Panhandle. Forecasters say the main impacts from the storm are expected today. Fred had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph as it came within 200 miles of Panama City yesterday. A tropical storm warning has been issued from Navarre to the Wakulla/Jefferson County line. Parts of Florida and southeastern Alabama are under a tropical storm watch.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE… “Free Guy” took in $28.4 million to open atop the weekend box office. Another newcomer, “Don’t Breathe 2,” made $10.6 million to finish at No. 2. “Jungle Cruise” slipped into third place with $9 million. “Respect” made $8.8 million to debut at No. 4. Last week’s champ, “The Suicide Squad,” tumbled into fifth place with $7.7 million.
BILLIE EILISH REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART… Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” sold 85,000 copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second week. Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour” jumped one spot to No. 2 with 61,000 units sold. Nas’ “King’s Disease II” debuted in third place on sales of 56,000 copies. The Kid LAROI’s “F*ck Love” dropped to No. 4 after selling 56,000 units. Doja Cat’s “Planet Her” stayed at No. 5 with 55,000 copies sold.
Cincinnati 7 – PHILADELPHIA 4… Tyler Stephenson’s two-run homer capped a three-run bottom of the eighth inning that carried the Reds past the Phillies. Jonathan India had three hits, including a homer to lead off the game.
Atlanta 6 – WASHINGTON 5… Dansby Swanson homered with a runner aboard in the top of the third inning and the Braves got back-to-back homers from Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley in the fifth on their way past the Nationals.
Milwaukee 2 – PITTSBURGH 1… Six pitchers combined on a three-hitter and the Brewers held off the Pirates. Christian Yelich’s run-scoring double in the top of the third inning proved to be the difference.
MIAMI 4 – Chi. Cubs 1… Jazz Chisholm smacked a go-ahead homer to lead off the top of the sixth inning and the Marlins put away the Cubs. Jesus Aguilar added a two-run shot in the seventh. Miami starter Elieser Hernandez allowed a run on four hits over 5-1/3 innings and four relievers shut the door.
SAN FRANCISCO 5 – Colorado 2… Tommy La Stella went 3-for-4 with a two-run double and the Giants breezed past the Rockies. Alex Wood (10-3) gave up two runs on six hits over 6-2/3 innings.
San Diego 8 – ARIZONA 2… Fernando Tatis, Jr. went 4-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs in leading the Padres past the Diamondbacks. Jake Cronenworth added a two-run shot. Seven pitchers held Arizona at bay.
L.A. Dodgers 14 – N.Y. METS 4… Max Muncy belted a pair of two-run homers and the Dodgers crushed the Mets to complete a sweep of the series. Justin Turner, Will Smith and Matt Beaty also went deep for L.A. Max Scherzer (10-4) gave up two runs on four hits over six innings.
BOSTON 6 – Baltimore 2… J.D. Martinez gave the Red Sox the lead for good with a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning. Kiké Hernandez singled home a run to spark a three-run sixth. Eduardo Rodriguez (9-6) surrendered just an unearned run on three hits over six innings.
Cleveland 11 – DETROIT 0… Triston McKenzie (2-5) came without four outs of pitching a perfect game and got plenty of support in the Indians’ thrashing of the Tigers. Jose Ramirez homered with a runner aboard to cap a six-run top of the second inning and his RBI double capped a five-run third.
MINNESOTA 5 – Tampa Bay 4… The Twins recovered to edge the Rays after blowing a four-run lead. Jorge Polanco’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Max Kepler with the winning run. Josh Donaldson singled, doubled and knocked in three runs.
N.Y. Yankees 5 – CHI. WHITE SOX 3… Yankee starter Nestor Cortes (1-1) held the White Sox to a run on seven hits over six innings. Rougned Odor and Luke Voit slugged two-run homers for New York.
TEXAS 7 – Oakland 4… DJ Peters cracked a pair of two-run homers to power the Rangers past the Athletics. Adolis Garcia also went deep.
L.A. ANGELS 3 – Houston 1… Reid Detmers (1-2) limited the Astros to a run on three hits over six innings in notching his first career victory. Phil Gosselin homered for the Halos.
Toronto 8 – SEATTLE 3… Teoscar Hernandez and Randal Grichuk connected for their 20th homers of the season and the Blue Jays also got round-trippers from Alex Dickerson and Marcus Semien in downing the Mariners. Steven Matz (10-7) gave up just an unearned run on three hits over five innings.
St. Louis 7 – KANSAS CITY 2… The Cardinals did all their scoring in their first two at-bats and never looked back in downing the Royals. Nolan Arenado’s RBI single sparked a three-run top of the first inning and he homered with a runner aboard in the second. Tyler O’Neill also went deep. J.A. Happ (7-6) pitched five-hit ball over 5-2/3 scoreless innings.
TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
Atlanta (Touki Toussaint, 1-2) is at Miami (Braxton Garrett, 1-1)…
Cincinnati (Wade Miley, 9-4) hosts the Chi. Cubs (Justin Steele, 2-1)…
San Diego (Ryan Weathers, 4-5) is at Colorado (Antonio Senzatela, 2-9)…
San Francisco (Kevin Gausman, 11-5) hosts the N.Y. Mets (Rich Hill, 6-4)…
Pittsburgh (Steven Brault, 0-1) is at the L.A. Dodgers (TBA)
the L.A. Angels (Jose Suarez, 6-5) are at the N.Y. Yankees (Gerrit Cole, 10-6)…
Tampa Bay (TBA) hosts Baltimore (Matt Harvey, 6-11)…
Oakland (Frankie Montas, 9-8) is at the Chi. White Sox (Dallas Keuchel, 7-6)…
Minnesota (Griffin Jax, 3-1) hosts Cleveland (Cal Quantrill, 3-2)…
Houston (Jake Odorizzi, 5-6) is at Kansas City (Carlos Hernandez, 3-1)