Red Sox get to Arrieta early, beat Cubs 5-4

BOSTON (AP) -- Against Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, the Red Sox didn't have time for a slow start Friday night -- not exactly a strength for them this season. Andrew Benintendi helped Boston solve that issue, and the club just had to hang on from there. Benintendi hit a solo homer off Arrieta to spark a five-run first inning and Boston beat Chicago 5-4.

LEADING OFF: Mets banged up already, Cubs unis a big sell

A look at what's happening around the majors today: ___ METS NEED TO MEND The ailing Mets continue a series against NL East rival Washington while dealing with a wave of injuries. Jacob deGrom was scratched from his scheduled start Friday night, and first baseman Lucas Duda and infielder Wilmer Flores were placed on the disabled list.

LEADING OFF: Mets banged up already, Cubs unis a big sell

A look at what's happening around the majors Saturday: ___ METS NEED TO MEND The ailing Mets continue a series against NL East rival Washington while dealing with a wave of injuries. Jacob deGrom was scratched from his scheduled start Friday night, and first baseman Lucas Duda and infielder Wilmer Flores were placed on the disabled list.

Kris Bryant of Cubs has baseball's most popular jersey

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kris Bryant has the most popular jersey in baseball. The Chicago Cubs third baseman has taken over that spot from retired Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. The commissioner's office and players' association also said Friday that the Cubs had four of the five most popular jerseys following their first title since 1908. First baseman Anthony Rizzo is second, infielder Javier Baez is fourth and left fielder Kyle Schwarber fifth.

Update on the latest in sports:

AARON HERNANDEZ Former Patriot Hernandez kills himself in jail cell MILFORD, Mass. (AP) -- Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez has killed himself in his jail cell. A Massachusetts prison official says the 27-year-old Hernandez hanged himself Wednesday morning with a bedsheet in his cell at a correctional center in Shirley, Massachusetts, and was found by guards just after 3 a.m. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Thames, Braun power Brewers past struggling Cubs 6-3

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers have found a left-handed complement for Ryan Bryan in the batting order, and everything is right in their world at the moment. Early season sensation Eric Thames homered in his club record-tying fifth straight game and the streaking Brewers turned back the Chicago Cubs 6-3 on Monday night. The victory was their sixth in the last seven games.

McCarthy dominates, Toles homers as Dodgers beat Cubs 2-0

CHICAGO (AP) -- Brandon McCarthy pitched four-hit ball over six innings, Andrew Toles hit his first leadoff homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Chicago 2-0 on Wednesday night after the Cubs received their championship rings. The Cubs put the finishing touches on a celebration that started when they beat Cleveland in Game 7 last November to win the World Series for the first time since 1908.

LEADING OFF: Banner day at Wrigley Field; Verlander vs Sale

A look at what's happening all around the majors today: ___ BANNER DAY In a home opener unlike any other at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs will raise a banner as defending World Series champions for the first time since they moved into the venerable ballpark more than a century ago. "Oh, it'll be crazy," young slugger Kyle Schwarber said.

Schwarber, Zobrist homer in Cubs' 7-4 win over Brewers

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- After scuffling offensively over the first four games, the Chicago Cubs will return home to raise the World Series championship banner suddenly potent at the plate. Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist hit home runs and Jake Arrieta threw seven strong innings as the Cubs got double-digit hits for the second straight game and took the weekend series from the Milwaukee Brewers with a 7-4 victory Sunday.

BC-AP Sports Digest

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Cubs' Baez collides with Heyward year after Schwarber injury

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez left a game Friday night with a left eye contusion after colliding with outfielder Jason Heyward on the anniversary of Kyle Schwarber's major knee injury. The left side of Baez's head appeared to hit Heyward's elbow as both sprinted after a pop fly by Milwaukee's Hernan Perez in the sixth inning.

Update on the latest in sports:

GOLF-MASTERS Hoffman goes on birdie-run after top-ranked Johnson withdraws from Masters AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Charley Hoffman was too hot to catch. Dustin Johnson was too sore to play. Hoffman has the first-round lead at the Masters, taming Augusta National during an afternoon in which the top-ranked Johnson had to withdraw because of a back injury.

Molina: "Dumb" to ask about substance on chest protector

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and most everyone else at Busch Stadium laughed at the bizarre sight -- a ball somehow stuck to his chest protector , in plain view of everybody except him. But the St. Louis star didn't think it was so funny when asked if a foreign substance helped the thing cling. "Did I put anything on my chest protector to stick?" Molina said. "That's a dumb question.

Update on the latest in sports:

MASTERS-JOHNSON WITHDRAWS Hoffman goes on birdie-run after top-ranked Johnson withdraws from Masters AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Charley Hoffman was too hot to catch. Dustin Johnson was too sore to play. Hoffman has the first-round lead at the Masters, taming Augusta National during an afternoon in which the top-ranked Johnson had to withdraw because of a back injury.

Tuesday's Sports In Brief

NFL DALLAS (AP) -- Tony Romo couldn't bring himself to use the word "retired" and didn't have an answer for whether he would have decided to replace another former quarterback in Phil Simms as lead analyst for CBS if he hadn't lost his starting job in Dallas.

Almora's catch aids Arrieta in Cubs 2-1 win at St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Albert Almora Jr. provided a big lift for the Chicago Cubs with a birthday present for his mom. Almora robbed Matt Adams of a home run and Javier Baez made a terrific sliding stop on Kolten Wong's game-ending grounder, sending Jake Arrieta and the Cubs to a 2-1 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Grichuk, Cardinals top Cubs 4-3 in wild opener

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Randal Grichuk smiled as he backed away from a mob of St. Louis Cardinals chasing him around the field. Then he stopped and jumped into the air for a celebratory collision with Dexter Fowler. It was wet and wild, and far from a masterpiece. But opening day was a ton of fun for Grichuk & Co.

Cubs begin title defense against Fowler, Cardinals

Dexter Fowler is going to have a bunch of old friends on hand for his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals. The rivalry between the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs begins a new chapter in prime time on Sunday. The Cubs are the new kings of baseball, coming off their first World Series title since 1908, while the Cardinals are trying to return to the playoffs after missing the party last year.

Behind the camera with Eddie Vedder and the Cubs' 'Bryzzo'

MESA, Ariz. (AP) -- Eddie Vedder walks through the door, guitar in his right hand, folder in left, a backward Chicago Cubs batting helmet on his head. He places the folder on the desk, swings the guitar around and begins his pitch to Cubs players Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.