National sports briefs


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Cub wins 7th straight

CHICAGO (AP) — Kyle Schwarber hit two homers and drove in four runs, Jon Lester won his fourth straight decision and the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 9-2 Thursday for their seventh victory in a row.

Schwarber, Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo each homered in the fifth inning as Chicago won for the 13th time in 14 games. The Cubs’ winning streak is their longest since 2011.

The Cubs, holding the lead for the second NL wild-card spot, completed their first undefeated homestand of at least seven games since 2008. They began this stay at Wrigley Field by sweeping four from San Francisco, then took three from the Brewers.

Schwarber later connected in the seventh and has two multihomer performances in 31 games of his first season in the majors. Fellow rookie Kris Bryant extended his hitting streak to 10 games and Chris Denorfia later added the Cubs’ fifth homer of the day.

UFC champ penalized

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada fight regulators imposed the maximum penalty Thursday on former UFC champion Anderson Silva for testing positive for steroid use last January.

Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Francisco Aguilar said the 40-year-old Silva was suspended for one year, stripped of his January win over Nick Diaz and fined $380,000.

The fight was ruled a no contest. It had represented Silva’s return to the cage at age 39 for the first time in 13 months after badly breaking his leg.

Aguilar says Silva provided inconsistent testimony and records after testing positive for Drostanolone metabolites Jan. 9.

Silva is considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the sport’s history.

He won 10 consecutive title defenses over seven years as the UFC’s 185-pound champion until losing the belt to Chris Weidman in 2013.

LeBron giving back

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James is giving kids from Akron — ones with challenging backgrounds like his — the chance to go to college for free.

The NBA star has partnered with the University of Akron to provide a guaranteed four-year scholarship to the school for students in James’ “I Promise” program who qualify. The scholarship will cover tuition and the university’s general service fee — currently $9.500 per year.

It’s the latest example of James, who often refers to himself “as just a kid from Akron” giving back to a community that helped raise him.

“It’s the reason I do what I do,” said James, who announced the program Thursday while hosting an event for students at Cedar Point Amusement Park. “These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there. They’re going to have to earn it, but I’m excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.”

NBA, refs reach deal

NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association have reached a deal on a seven-year collective bargaining agreement.

The league and the referees’ union announced the deal Thursday. It replaces the agreement that was set to expire at the end of the upcoming season.

“The NBA takes great pride in our world-class referee program and we are pleased to extend the league’s partnership with the NBRA for another seven years,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

“Recent efforts including state-of-the-art development and training programs, improved use of instant replay through the NBA Replay Center and unprecedented transparency concerning call accuracy have been instrumental in strengthening the game. We commend our officials for embracing these technological innovations and thank them for the high level of professionalism with which they perform their jobs.”

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