IN BRIEF

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS -

AUTO RAC­ING: Michael An­nett raced to his first NASCAR na­tional se­ries vic­tory in the Xfin­ity sea­son opener at Daytona In­ter­na­tional Speed­way. An­nett held off JR Mo­tor­sports team­mate Justin All­gaier on the fi­nal lap.

BASE­BALL: Jame­son Tail­lon will be the Pi­rates’ open­ing-day starter March 28 against the Reds at Cincin­nati, man­ager Clint Hur­dle said. It will be the first open­ing-day start of Tail­lon’s four-year ca­reer . ... Re­liever John Ax­ford and the Blue Jays com­pleted a mi­nor-league con­tract. If added to the 40-man ros­ter, the 35-year-old right-han­der would get a one-year con­tract with a $1.65 mil­lion salary . ... The Ori­oles have agreed to terms with short­stop Al­cides Es­co­bar on a mi­nor-league con­tract with an in­vi­ta­tion to ma­jor-league camp.

GOLF: Justin Thomas got a lot done in just eight holes be­fore leav­ing Riviera with a one-shot lead and fac­ing a marathon fin­ish at the Ge­n­e­sis Open in Los An­ge­les. Thomas nearly holed a 9-iron and then made par with a chip off the green and over the bunker in the mid­dle of the par-3 sixth hole to com­plete a 6-un­der 65 in the sec­ond round. Adam Scott also had a 65 and tied Thomas for the 36hole lead. Thomas be­gan the third round with a 12-foot ea­gle putt and saved par be­fore dark­ness halted play . ... Ken Tani­gawa had six back-nine birdies in a 5-un­der 66 for a share of the lead with Glen Day and Stephen Ames at the Chubb Clas­sic in Naples, Fla . ... Gene Lit­tler, whose fluid swing car­ried him to 29 vic­to­ries on the PGA Tour and a U.S. Open ti­tle at Oak­land Hills, died Fri­day night. He was 88. He ral­lied from three shots be­hind in the fi­nal round to win the U.S. Open in 1961 for his only pro­fes­sional ma­jor ti­tle. NFL: Den­ver po­lice said wide re­ceiver De­mary­ius Thomas crashed his ve­hi­cle near down­town early Satur­day. Po­lice said Thomas’ ve­hi­cle rolled over and ended up on a grassy me­dian af­ter he ap­par­ently lost con­trol at around 12:20 a.m. A fe­male pas­sen­ger sus­tained pos­si­ble se­ri­ous in­juries that weren’t be­lieved to be life-threat­en­ing. Thomas and a male pas­sen­ger suf­fered mi­nor in­juries. Po­lice spokesman Jay Casil­las said the cause of the crash was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated but it doesn’t ap­pear that drugs or al­co­hol played a role.

SKI­ING: Mikaela Shiffrin fought through sick­ness to win an un­prece­dented fourth straight slalom ti­tle at the world cham­pi­onships in Are, Swe­den. No Alpine skier, male or fe­male, had won the same dis­ci­pline at four suc­ces­sive worlds. The 23-year-old Amer­i­can, who was low on en­ergy be­cause of a chest cold, im­proved from third af­ter the first run to win by 0.58 sec­onds over Anna Swenn Lars­son. It was the sec­ond gold of these cham­pi­onships for Shiffrin af­ter the su­per-G. She also took bronze in the gi­ant slalom. She has won five golds at worlds and seven medals, putting her just one off the Amer­i­can record held by Lind­sey Vonn.

TEN­NIS: Three-time ma­jor cham­pion Stan Wawrinka reached his first fi­nal since his come­back a year ago from left knee surg­eries. The un­seeded Wawrinka beat top-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 at the ABN AMRO World Tour­na­ment in Rot­ter­dam, Nether­lands, to face Gael Mon­fils for the ti­tle Sun­day. The fi­nal is Wawrinka’s first since the 2017 French Open, where he last met Mon­fils in the fourth round.

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