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SPORTS BRIEFING

No fans at Masters

The Masters, known as much for the roars as the raw beauty of Augusta National, will be on mute this year. The club decided Wednesday there will be no spectators.

That means all three majors in this year of COVID-19 will not have fans, and the silence figures to be most deafening at Augusta National when the Masters is played Nov. 12-15.

From the opening holes down to Amen Corner all the way through the back nine, players can often figure out what’s happening with others just by listening. That will be missing this year, along with the azalea and dogwood blooms from having to move it from April.

“Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome,” club chairman Fred Ridley said.

Considered in some circles to be the cathedral of golf, Augusta National now will sound like one.

“Part of the allure and kind of majesty of Augusta National is the patrons,” Brandt Snedeker said. “You have that electricity from the first moment on Thursday morning to the last putt goes in on Sunday night on every hole. It’s not just on the back nine — it’s on every hole. So to not have that there is going to be a different feeling.”

Tribe can’t touch Cubs

CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyle Hendricks pitched six strong innings in his first appearance against Cleveland since Game 7 of the 2016 World Series and Anthony Rizzo homered, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 7-2 win over the Indians on Wednesday night to match their best start in 50 years.

Hendricks (3-1) didn’t have much trouble with the slumping Indians, who came in batting a major league-worst .192. He allowed one run and seven hits and handled everyone in Cleveland’s lineup but Franmil Reyes, who got three hits.

The Cubs are 12-3 in their first season under manager David Ross, matching the club’s start after 15 games in 1970.

Rizzo homered in the third off Carlos Carrasco (2-2), David Bote drove in two runs and Kris Bryant connected for a 430-foot shot as the Cubs swept the two-game interleague set.

Hendricks hadn’t faced the Indians since Nov. 2, 2016, when he started the dramatic finale as the Cubs beat the Indians in extra innings to clinch their first Series title since 1908. The right-hander is as efficient now as he was four years ago. He threw 65 of his 90 pitches for strikes without a walk.

Carrasco was pulled in the fifth after a shaky, seven-walk outing over 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander struggled with his control from the outset, but he was able to work around two, two-walk innings without giving up any runs.

He did allow a pair of singles to start the fifth before striking out Willson Contreras, who smashed his bat in the dirt near home plate and was immediately ejected. Reliever Oliver Perez came in gave up a sacrifice fly to Jason Heyward before Bote’s two-out single made it 4-0.

No general admission

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Churchill Downs officials expect less than 23,000 fans will be able to attend next month’s rescheduled Kentucky Derby under an updated health and safety plan.

The plan eliminates general admission and standing room only areas, with total capacity limited to less than 14% of the 2015 attendance record of 170,513. The 146th runnings of the Derby and Oaks for fillies were postponed from May 1-2 to Sept. 4-5 because of coronavirus concerns.

Spectators were not allowed for Churchill Downs’ spring meet, but the track had stated in June that general admission would be limited to the 26-acre infield for the Derby.

Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery said the plan meets or exceeds recommended state and local guidelines. He added, “we’ll make adjustments all the way up to Derby Day as we find ways to improve and continue to adhere to ever-evolving best practices.”

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