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Reds’ streak leaves them on doorstep of first place in NL Drivers agree that Palou’s lead isn’t insurmount­able

- By NOAH TRISTER AP Baseball Writer By STEVE MEGARGEE AP Sports Writer

Despite starting off on a rough start due to weather, the annual Father’s Day Little League Classic baseball tournament went off without a hitch, crowning five champions.

In the eight and under division, Kalida defeated New Bremen

Elly De La Cruz’s arrival gave fans in Cincinnati a reason to be hopeful about the future.

Then the Reds started looking like they might be contenders — right now.

It helps that they play in the NL Central, where everyone is one great week away from challengin­g for the division lead. And after eight straight victories, the Reds are only a half-game behind first-place Milwaukee. Cincinnati finished the week by sweeping a three-game series on the road against defending champion Houston. The Reds haven’t had a winning streak this long since 2012.

Cincinnati is 10-2 since De La Cruz’s big league debut June 6. The 21-year-old shortstop already has six stolen bases to go with his .273 average. Jonathan in a run-rule game 14-2. In the nine and under division, Selma sneaked by St. Mary’s 2-1. In the 10 and under division, Tinora defeated New Bremen 11-1, and in the 11 and under division, Celina defeated St. Mary’s 10-0.

The St. Mary’s 12 and under got revenge as they battled back from an 8-0 deficit to

India, the National League Rookie of the Year in 2021, has reached double figures in both homers and steals, giving the Reds an exciting young infield tandem.

Although the mediocrity in the NL Central — where the top four teams are separated by only four games — is one reason the Reds are near the top, they’re also just two games behind the NL’s third wild card. Cincinnati is one of four NL teams currently on a winning streak of six games or more, along with Atlanta, San Francisco and Philadelph­ia.

Pittsburgh has lost six in a row but in the NL Central, the Pirates are only 2 1/2 games out of first.


Saturday was quite a day for major league debuts. Kansas City’s Samad Taylor hit a walk-off single, giving the Royals a 10-9 victory over the Los tie Celina at 8-all and then defeated Celina with a run in the bottom of seventh inning for a 9-8 victory.

“I want to thank everybody who helped over the weekend especially the umpires and the concession crew,” Brian Beam said. “I think it was a very successful weekend.”

Angeles Angels. Zach Remillard entered in the middle of the game for the White Sox, and the 29-year-old infielder delivered a tying single in the ninth inning before putting Chicago ahead with a hit in the 11th. The White Sox beat Seattle 4-3.

The previous day, Emmett Sheehan of the Dodgers made his debut and threw six hitless innings before leaving the game against San Francisco. He’d been called up directly from Double-A. TRIVIA TIME Taylor’s hit snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Royals. Kansas City (19-52) and Oakland (19-55) are both on pace to challenge the modern record of 120 losses set by the 1962 Mets.

The Mets, however, do not hold the modern record for lowest winning percentage in

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Alex Palou isn’t taking anything for granted and his competitor­s aren’t conceding a thing.

But someone’s going to have to make a heck of a charge in the second half of the season to prevent Palou from winning his second IndyCar Series championsh­ip in three years.

Palou has won three of the last four IndyCar events and owns a 74-point lead over Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Marcus Ericsson as the season approaches its midway point. That’s the biggest advantage anyone’s had eight races into the season since 2020, when Scott Dixon led the rest of the field by 117 points at this stage.

“Yeah, I’m glad that we have those points in our camp and we don’t have to catch other people, but I’m not relaxed by the points gap at all because it’s IndyCar,” Palou said after winning Sunday at Road America. “If it was another series, yeah, maybe I would be a bit more relaxed. In IndyCar, you can’t.”

The 2020 season provides evidence of that.

Dixon seemed ready to breeze to the championsh­ip that year after finishing first or second in six of the first eight races, but he couldn’t keep up that torrid pace. Dixon ended up winning his sixth title by only 16 points over Josef Newgarden.

That season should offer some encouragem­ent for all the drivers currently chasing Palou in vain.

As big as Palou’s lead is, it could have been even bigger.

His Road America triumph followed victories on the Indianapol­is road course and at

Detroit. He very easily could have a four-race winning streak right now if circumstan­ces had gone just a little bit differentl­y in the Indy 500.

Palou had the pole position at the Indy 500 and dominated for much of the race before he was spun on pit road during routine stops. He still managed to finish fourth.

That Indy 500 performanc­e reflects his ability to produce plenty of points even when he doesn’t win. Palou was eighth in the season opener at St. Petersburg and hasn’t finished below fifth in any of the seven races since.

“They’ve not had a bad race,” said Newgarden, who finished second at Road America. “I think that’s to be expected. We had an engine pop on us in the very first round. Everybody has a dif

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