Bryant has 47 in Lakers' 113-106 over Blazers
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 47 points and the Los Angeles Lakers pulled closer to a playoff berth with a 113-106 victory over the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
The Lakers moved a game up on the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Portland, missing the playoffs for the second straight season, has lost nine straight, the most since an 11-game skid in the 2005-06 season. Rookie Damian Lillard led the Blazers with a career-high 38 points.
Pau Gasol (pow gah-SOHL') had 23 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, while Dwight Howard added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers.
Bryant was 18 of 18 from the free throw line.
Carter caps big series as Astros beat Mariners 8-3
SEATTLE (AP) — Rick Ankiel and Chris Carter each hit a two-run homer to help the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 8-3 on Wednesday night.
Carlos Pena had three hits and scored twice for the Astros, who also got two RBIs from J.D. Martinez and a late home run by Marwin Gonzalez. Brad Peacock earned first major league win since 2011.
After losing 3-0 on Monday, the Astros scored 24 runs on 37 hits in winning the final two games of the series.
Carter, who hit two home runs in a 16-9 rout Tuesday, added three hits in this one. He finished the series 8 for 15 with three homers and five RBIs.
Peacock allowed three runs and four hits in five-plus innings for his first big league victory since Sept. 22, 2011, with Washington at Philadelphia.
Mariners RF Saunders leaves with sprained shoulder
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mariners right fielder Michael Saunders sprained his right shoulder crashing into the outfield wall to make a catch.
He will be re-examined Thursday and the team says Saunders is expected to miss "some time."
Saunders left Wednesday night's game against Houston in the first inning after running down a deep drive hit by leadoff batter Jose Altuve. Saunders chased the ball in a full sprint across the warning track and caught it just as he collided with the padded wall.
He fell to the ground holding his right shoulder.
He stayed down for several minutes while the Seattle medical staff treated him. Saunders then walked to the dugout holding his right arm close to his ribs.
Jason Bay took over in right field.
Saunders was batting .286 with a seven-game hitting streak.
BLUE JAYS MOVES
Blue Jays claim OF Casper Wells off waivers
TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays have claimed outfielder Casper Wells off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners designated Wells for assignment on March 31, when the Mariners kept Jason Bay as a backup outfielder, and the Blue Jays added him on Wednesday.
Wells batted .228 for the Mariners in 2012 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs. He has played parts of three seasons with Detroit and Seattle.
The Blue Jays also have designated right-handed pitcher Alex Burnett for assignment.
Eaton working on big things after banner year
(Stations: Note Bend, Ore., interest.)
(AP) — Ashton Eaton is trying to figure out a way to top his season-for-the-ages during which he set a world decathlon record at U.S. trials last June and captured Olympic gold two months later at the London Games.
The 25-year-old Eaton had such a memorable year that he became a clue in a newspaper crossword puzzle.
Since his big summer, Eaton has been invited to many a dinner party in his hometown of Bend, Ore., where he's constantly asked just what he's planning to do for an encore performance.
Now that has even him puzzled.
Still, this will be another unforgettable year for Eaton — off the track, anyway.
On July 13, Eaton will marry Oregon heptathlete and Canadian Olympian Brianne Theisen.
Said Eaton: "It's going to be a sweet day."