The Rundown for July 21, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 34,172,290 and the nation’s death toll stands at 609,508, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said yesterday that the Delta variant is now responsible for 83 percent of new cases. The CDC warns that America remains highly vulnerable because only about half of the nation is vaccinated.

TRUMP ALLY ARRESTED… The chairman of former President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural fund has been arrested on federal charges for illegally lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. 74-year-old billionaire real-estate investor Thomas Barrack is accused with two others of “acting and conspiring to act as agents of the UAE in an attempt to influence the policy positions of the Trump administration,” according to the Justice Department. Barrack, a longtime Trump ally, was also charged with obstructing justice and making false statements.

SENATE PANEL TO PROVE CRYTOCURRENCY ROLE IN CYBERCRIMES… Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters, who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, is launching an investigation into the role cryptocurrencies play in encouraging cybercrime. Peters noted in a statement that ransomware attacks increased 150 percent from the previous year in 2020, with more than $412 million in cryptocurrencies paid to cybercriminals. Peters said the investigation will examine the rise in ransomware attacks, how cryptocurrency emboldens cybercriminals and what steps lawmakers and federal regulators can take to disrupt hackers from committing crimes to obtain cryptocurrencies. It will also examine current oversight and regulations into virtual currencies and how to ensure that Americans can safely access and benefit from cryptocurrencies.

DEA AGENT ARRESTED FOR CAPITOL ATTACK ROLE… An off-duty special agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency was arrested yesterday on multiple charges related to his participation in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Mark Ibrahim of Orange County, California, allegedly carried his government-issued firearm during the insurrection and repeatedly flashed his DEA badge. Court documents said Ibrahim entered restricted grounds outside the Capitol shortly after they’d been breached by the mob and sent photos of himself there to a group chat on WhatsApp that included at least five other law enforcement officers.

WESTERN WILDFIRES… The National Interagency Fire Center said yesterday that fires are burning across 13 states and have charred 1.29 million acres of land. South-central Idaho, Northern California, the northern Rockies and south-central Oregon are among the hardest-hit places. The Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon grew by more than 20,000 acres overnight into yesterday and is nearing the 400,000-acre mark, the U.S Forest Service said. The fire is only 30-percent contained and is already large enough to create its own weather.

ENTERTAINMENT
‘THE GOOD FIGHT’ GETS 6TH SEASON
… Paramount+ announced yesterday that it has renewed “The Good Fight” for a sixth season. Christine Baranski stars in the spinoff and sequel to CBS’ “The Good Wife.” Season 5 closed with Baranski’s Diane Lockhart questioning her role as partner at the Black law firm she runs with star Audra McDonald’s Liz Lawrence. Co-stars include Sarah Steele, Michael Boatman, Nyambi Nyambi, Zach Grenier, Charmaine Bingwa and Mandy Patinkin.

WEINSTEIN EXTRADITED… Disgraced Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein has been extradited to California to face 11 charges of sexual assault in Los Angeles County involving five women. Weinstein has been serving a 23-year prison sentence at a maximum-security prison near Buffalo since his conviction last year on first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape charges. In Los Angeles, Weinstein faces four counts of forcible rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force.

SPORTS
BUCKS CAPTURE NBA TITLE
… The Milwaukee Bucks pulled away in the second half to down the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and claim the franchise’s second-ever league title, and first in 50 years. They made it four straight wins after dropping the first two games on the road. Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 50 points and brought down 14 rebounds on his way to being named the Finals MVP. Khris Middleton continued his clutch shooting and finished with 17 points. Jrue Holiday had 12 points and 11 assists.

MLB SCOREBOARD
NATIONAL LEAGUE
WASHINGTON 6 – Miami 3
… Trea Turner singled home a tie-breaking run during a three-run bottom of the sixth inning that gave the Nationals the lead for good in their win over the Marlins. Josh Bell homered to lead off the eighth.

CINCINNATI 4 – N.Y. Mets 3… The Reds got solo homers from Jonathan India, Joey Votto and Aristides Aquino before holding off the Mets. Wade Miley (8-4) allowed two runs on seven hits over 6-1/3 innings. One of the runs was unearned.

ATLANTA 2 – San Diego 1… Freddie Freeman’s solo homer broke a tie in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Braves hung on to edge the Padres. Touki Toussaint (1-0) came off the disabled list and limited San Diego to a run on three hits over 6-2/3 innings.

Chi Cubs 7 – ST. LOUIS 6… The Cubs erupted to score six runs in the top of the ninth inning and upend the Cardinals. Javier Baez singled home two runs and Ian Happ doubled in two more to cap the uprising.

ARIZONA 11 – Pittsburgh 6… The Diamondbacks erased a 5-1 fifth-inning deficit on their way past the Pirates. Josh VanMeter tripled home a run and doubled home two more during an eight-run bottom of the seventh inning. Nick Ahmed and Josh Reddick drove in two runs apiece.

L.A. DODGERS 8 – San Francisco 6… Will Smith cracked a three-run a pinch-hit, walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Dodgers over the Giants after they trailed 6-1. Chris Taylor homered twice and drove in thee runs for L.A., which pulled within one game of San Francisco atop the NL West standings.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
OAKLAND 6 – L.A. Angels 0
… James Kaprielian (5-3) pitched five-hit ball over six innings and three relievers completed the blanking of the Angels. Matt Olson smacked his 25th homer and singled home a run.

TAMPA BAY 9 – Baltimore 3… Francisco Mejia homered with a runner aboard and legged out a bases-clearing triple in leading the Rays past the Orioles. Randy Arozarena also went deep. Shane McClanahan (4-3) surrendered a run on four hits over five innings.

DETROIT 4 – Texas 1… Tigers starter Tarik Skubal (6-8) held the Rangers to a run on four hits over six innings. Eric Haase hit a game-tying leadoff homer and Jonathan Schoop singled home a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Robbie Grossman homered in the first.

HOUSTON 9 – Cleveland 3… The Astros used a six-run bottom of the fifth inning to put away the Indians. Kyle Tucker blasted a two-run homer between two-run singles by Yordan Alvarez and Michael Brantley. Luis Garcia (7-5) pitched three-hit ball over six scoreless innings.

CHI. WHITE SOX 9 – Minnesota 5… Jose Abreu’s three-run homer capped a five-run bottom of the eighth inning that carried the White Sox past the Twins. Abreu also opened the scoring with a run-scoring single in the first. Yoan Moncada homered with a runner aboard.

Boston – TORONTO (ppd)… Rain in Buffalo forced postponement of last night’s Red Sox-Blue Jays game. It has been rescheduled for August 7.

INTERLEAGUE
Kansas City 5 – MILWAUKEE 2
… Ryan O’Hearn connected for a tie-breaking two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning as the Royals got past the Brewers. Jorge Soler also went deep. Mike Minor (7-8) allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. One of the runs was unearned.

N.Y. YANKEES 6 – Philadelphia 4… Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Estevan Florial all hit solo homers as the Yankees powered their way past the Phillies.

Seattle 6 – COLORADO 4… Dylan Moore homered with a runner aboard for the Marines. Cal Raleigh and Ty France lined two-run doubles. Marco Gonzales (2-5) gave up two runs on six hits over five innings.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE
NATIONAL LEAGUE
San Diego (Chris Paddack, 5-6; Reiss Knehr, 0-0) is at Atlanta (Kyle Muller, 1-2; Charlie Morton, 8-3) for a doubleheader…
Cincinnati (Jeff Hoffman, 3-4) hosts the N.Y. Mets (Marcus Stroman, 6-8)…
Pittsburgh (Chad Kuhl, 3-5) is at Arizona (Madison Bumgarner, 4-6)…
Washington (Erick Fedde, 4-7) hosts Miami (Sandy Alcantara 5-9)…
the Chi Cubs (Kyle Hendricks, 12-4) are at St. Louis (Adam Wainwright, 7-6)…
the L.A. Dodgers (Julio Urias, 12-3) host San Francisco (Logan Webb, 4-3)

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Baltimore (Keegan Akin, 0-5) is at Tampa Bay (Michael Wacha, 2-2)…
Toronto (Robbie Ray, 8-4) hosts Boston (Tanner Houck, 0-2) in Buffalo…
Texas (Jordan Lyles, 5-6) is at Detroit (Matt Manning, 1-3)…
Houston (Lance McCullers, Jr., 7-2) hosts Cleveland (Eli Morgan, 1-3)…
Minnesota (Michael Pineda, 3-5) is at the Chi. White Sox (Dylan Cease, 7-5)

INTERLEAGUE
Kansas City (Brad Keller, 6-9) is at Milwaukee (Eric Lauer, 3-4)…
Colorado (Austin Gomber, 6-5) hosts Seattle (TBA)…
Philadelphia (Matt Moore, 0-1) is at the N.Y. Yankees (TBA)

The Rundown for May 25, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 33,143,246 and the nation’s death toll stands at 590,529, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Alabama Governor Kay Ivey yesterday signed into law a measure that bans state and local governments from issuing “vaccine passports” as proof of immunization against COVID-19. The new law also bans private businesses from requiring vaccine passports to gain entry to retail stores, restaurants or offices… Two coronavirus vaccines have shown to be effective against the variant first identified in India, according to a recent study… British government researchers studied the effectiveness of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines against India and U.K. coronavirus variants and gave each a passing grade. In a study that included more than 12,000 COVID-19 cases, researchers found that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 88 percent effective against the India variant, and two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60 percent effective against the India variant. Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 93 percent effective against the UK variant and two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 66 percent effective against the UK variant.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION DOUBLES DISASTER FUNDING… The Biden administration announced yesterday that it will double federal funding to better prepare for hurricanes and other severe weather events. President Biden was set to present his plan for $1 billion in additional funding during a meeting later yesterday at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters. The White House said NASA will launch a new mission for an Earth System Observatory to better understand and track how climate change is impacting weather and communities.

FORMER AMBASSADOR SUES POMPEO… Former U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is reportedly suing former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for $1.8 million in unpaid legal costs stemming from his testimony in the first impeachment of former president Donald Trump. The damaging testimony prompted Trump to fire Sondland. According to the Washington Post, the lawsuit claims that Pompeo promised Sondland that the State Department would pick up his fees ahead his November 2019 testimony. However, the suit maintains, the State Department reneged on that offer. The State Department has paid Sondland $86,040 for his legal fees but the ex-ambassador is now demanding “full reimbursement,” either from the U.S. government, or from Pompeo’s personal wealth.

NATIONAL GUARD LEAVING CAPITOL… National Guard troops protecting the U.S. Capitol will end their nearly four-month deployment this week, Pentagon officials have confirmed. Retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who led a review of security failures after the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, says troops will begin leaving immediately. About 25,000 National Guard troops were rotated through the Capitol in the past 137 days. A March 12 deadline to remove all troops was extended by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to May 23.

TEXAS LAWMAKERS PERMIT HANDGUN-CARRY BILL… Texas lawmakers yesterday approved a bill that would allow residents to carry handguns without licenses, background checks or training. Republican Governor Greg Abbott vowed last month that he would sign the bill, which would apply to people 21 and older beginning later this year. Supporters of the bill say previous handgun restrictions in the state “infringe” on Texans’ Second Amendment rights.

ENTERTAINMENT
MEGADETH FIRES BASSIST
… The metal band Megadeth announced on social media yesterday that it has fired bassist David Ellefson amid accusations of sexual misconduct. The 56-year-old Ellefson, who co-founded the band in 1983 along with frontman Dave Mustaine, had been accused of grooming a young fan online after sexually explicit footage of him surfaced, along with pictures of text exchanges with a girl rumored to be underage. Ellefson, who is married, has denied the accusations and insists the photos were part of interactions between him and another consenting adult.

COLBERT RETURNING TO LIVE AUDIENCE… “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” will return to live episodes on June 14 at New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater. Audience members will be required to show proof of vaccination before being allowed in the audience, CBS said in making the announcement. Face masks will be optional. The show has produced 205 episodes without a live audience since the pandemic.

SPORTS
MLB SCOREBOARD

NATIONAL LEAGUE
MIAMI 9 – Philadelphia 6
… Adam Duvall hit a three-run homer to cap a four-run bottom of the seventh inning that carried the Marlins past the Phillies. Jesús Aguilar knocked in two runs with a single and a double.

Colorado 3 – N.Y. METS 2… Austin Gomber (3-4) held the Mets to two runs on four hits over eight innings and the Rockies held on for the win. Ryan McMahon and Elias Diaz smacked solo homers in the top of the second inning and Garrett Hampson tripled home a run in the fourth.

MILWAUKEE 5 – San Diego 3… The Brewers withstood a ninth-inning rally to end the Padres’ nine-game winning streak. Manny Piña homered with a runner aboard in the bottom of the second inning. Avisail Garcia cracked a leadoff homer and singled home two runs in the fourth. Brandon Woodruff (3-2) pitched three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Tampa Bay 14 – TORONTO 8
(11 innings)… The Rays erupted to score seven runs in the top of the 11th inning on their way to winning their 11th in a row. Francisco Mejia stroked a tie-breaking two-run single and Randy Arozarena doubled home two runs during the uprising. Joey Wendle unloaded a grand slam to cap a five-run first.

Cleveland 6 – DETROIT 5… Jordan Luplow made the final out with a diving catch of a sinking liner to preserve the Indians’ win over the Tigers. Eddie Rosario’s two-run single in the top of the seventh inning proved to be the difference.

MINNESOTA 8 – Baltimore 3… The Twins scored six times in the bottom of the eighth inning following a 45-minute rain delay to upend the Orioles. Mitch Garver delivered a tie-breaking two-run double. Trevor Larnach and Kyle Garlick hit solo homers.

Seattle 4 – OAKLAND 2… Kyle Lewis drilled a two-run homer and Jarred Kelenic added a solo shot as the Mariners downed the Athletics. Yusei Kikuchi (2-3) allowed a run on four hits over six innings.

INTERLEAGUE
CHI. WHITE SOX 5 – St. Louis 1
… Andrew Vaughn hit a two-run homer and Tim Anderson doubled home two runs during a four-run bottom of the sixth inning and the White Sox put away the Cardinals. Lance Lynn (5-1) surrendered a run on three hits over seven innings.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE
NATIONAL LEAGUE
the Chi. Cubs (Jake Arrieta, 4-4) are at Pittsburgh (TBA)…
Miami (Sandy Alcantara, 2-3) hosts Philadelphia (Vince Velasquez, 1-0)…
Cincinnati (Tyler Mahle, 2-2) is at Washington (Max Scherzer, 4-2)…
the N.Y. Mets (Jacob deGrom, 3-2) host Colorado (Chi Chi Gonzalez, 2-2)…
San Diego (Joe Musgrove, 4-4) is at Milwaukee (Corbin Burnes, 2-3)…
Arizona (Corbin Martin, 0-1) hosts San Francisco (Kevin Gausman, 4-0)

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Toronto (Steven Matz, 5-2) is at the N.Y. Yankees (Corey Kluber, 4-2)…
Detroit (Tarik Skubal, 1-6) hosts Cleveland (Aaron Civale, 6-1)…
Kansas City (Brad Keller, 3-4) is at Tampa Bay (Rich Hill, 3-1)…
Minnesota (Jose Berrios, 4-2) hosts Baltimore (Dean Kremer, 0-4)…
Texas (Hyson-Jong Yang, 0-1) is at the L.A. Angels (Andrew Heaney, 1-3)…
Oakland (Cole Irvin, 3-5) hosts Seattle (Logan Gilbert, 0-2)

INTERLEAGUE
Boston (Garrett Richards, 4-2) is at Atlanta (Charlie Morton, 2-2)…
Houston (Zack Greinke, 4-1) hosts the L.A. Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 6-3)…
St. Louis (Jack Flaherty, 8-0) is at the Chi. White Sox (Lucas Giolito, 3-4)

NBA PLAYOFF SCOREBOARD
MILWAUKEE 132– Miami 98… The Bucks made 22 3-pointers and led from start to finish in routing the Heat to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. Giannis Antetokounmpo had game-highs with 31 points and 13 rebounds. Bryn Fores added 22 points off the bench. Jrue Holiday dished off 15 assists to go with his 11 points. Game 3 is Thursday in Miami.

DENVER 128 – Portland 109… The Nuggets rolled past the Trail Blazers to bring the Western Conference first-round playoff series even at a game apiece. Nikola Jokic scored 38 points to lead six players in double figures. Damian Lillard’s 42 points weren’t enough for Portland, which hosts Game 3 on Thursday.

TONIGHT’S NBA FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Boston is at Brooklyn for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series with the Nets leading 1-0…
Phoenix hosts the L.A. Lakers for Game 2 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series with the Suns leading 1-0…
Dallas is at the L.A. Clippers for Game 2 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series with the Mavericks leading 1-0

NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCOREBOARD
N.Y. Islanders 3 – PITTSBURGH 2 (2OT)… Josh Bailey scored off a takeaway 51 seconds into the second overtime period to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead in the East Division first-round playoff series. Bailey also assisted on Anthony Beauvillier’s first-period goal. Jordan Eberle netted a tying goal in the third. The series shifts to Brooklyn for tomorrow’s Game 6.

Toronto 2 – MONTREAL 1… Morgan Rielly netted a go-ahead goal late in the second period and the Maple Leafs hung on to edge the Canadiens and take a 2-1 lead in the North Division first-round playoff series. Goalie Jack Campbell made 28 saves. The series remains in Montreal for tonight’s Game 4.

FLORIDA 4 – Tampa Bay 1… The Panthers cruised past the Lightning after spotting them an early goal and pulled within 3-2 in the Central Division first-round playoff series. Mason Marchment netted a tie-breaking goal late in the second period. Patric Hornqvist and Mackenzie Weegar each had a goal and an assist. Spencer Knight stopped 36 shots at goal.

Minnesota 4 – VEGAS 2… The Wild scored three straight goals in the first period to take the lead for good in beating the Golden Knights to pull within 3-2 in the West Division first-round playoff series. Zach Parise netted the go-ahead goal. Cam Talbot made 38 saves at goal. Game 6 is tomorrow in St. Paul.

WINNIPEG 4 – Edmonton 3 (3OT)… Kyle Connor ripped through the winning goal at 13:08 of the third overtime period and the Jets completed a sweep of the North Division first-round playoff series. Mark Scheifele opened the scoring with a first-period goal and netted the tying goal on a third-period power-play. Winnipeg awaits the winner of the Toronto-Montreal series in the second round.

TODAY’S NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Toronto is at Montreal for Game 4 of the North Division first-round playoff series with the Maple Leafs leading 2-1…
Carolina hosts Nashville for Game 5 of the Central Division first-round playoff series with the series tied 2-2