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Patrick McDermott/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Look north from the upper deck of Nationals Park in southeast Washington, D.C., home of the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, and through the construction cranes dotting the skyline, the ivory dome of the U.S. Capitol looms, one mile away on the horizon.

It's an all-too-perfect symbol for the encompassing presence of politics in popular culture in recent years, including, of course, within the world of sports.

History is replete with athletes who voiced opinions about wars and peace, endorsed candidates or run for office themselves, but President Donald Trump's election and his vociferous criticism of the Colin Kaepernick-led national anthem protests have intensified political discourse among some professional players and sparked a new level of activism on and off the fields and courts.

While the NFL, in particular, has drawn the ire of the president, and the majority-black rosters of the NBA became a natural setting for discussions of racial inequality, the ranks of Major League Baseball have been largely quiet on such issues of social justice and politics.

It's not even something that I talk about that much with my teammates -- the guys that I'm around every day," said Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle at the All-Star Game's media session Monday.

Despite Doolittle's reservations within the clubhouse, he can be counted as one of the more outspoken players in the league on topics of social activism. While a member of the Oakland Athletics in 2015, Doolittle and his now-wife Eireann Dolan purchased tickets from fans perturbed by the team's Pride Night promotion and donated them to a local LGBTQ youth center. Last year, in the midst of the national anthem debate, the pair wrote an op-ed in Sports Illustrated seeking to shift attention towards honoring the military by promoting mental health care for veterans.

And when violence broke out during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August, Doolittle, who played college baseball for the University of Virginia, tweeted his disgust with the event.

"It's 2017. Actual Nazis just marched on #Charlottesville. We have to come together & drive this hatred & domestic terrorism from our country," Doolittle wrote, launching a thread on the topic that concluded with a post that appeared directed towards Trump:

"There is only one side," he posted.

But the pitcher acknowledged Monday that there was a time and place for when he felt his activism was appropriate, and that it wasn't necessarily within the confines of the notoriously private clubhouses during the grind of the 162-game MLB season.

"I'm a big believer in letting my actions, the stuff my wife and I do in the community, speak for itself," Doolittle said. "Every once in a while we will speak out on Twitter, but that kind of stuff doesn't find its way into the locker room too much."

Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLB Players Association and a former All-Star first basemen himself, explained that the locker room could, at times, be a place where players held debates and hashed out broader issues, given the trust that players built among themselves in such close quarters.

"In a good locker room, common ground is always found," he said. "Particularly when the end game and the goal is the same. In other words, trying to achieve a particular goal or trying to affect a certain type of change in the climate that you happen to be in."

Several players agreed Monday that there were no impediments necessarily precluding their fellow major leaguers from speaking out, either internally or externally, but unlike in the NFL, on-field displays of protest have been rare.

Last September, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first, and thus far only, MLB player to kneel during a pre-game performance of the national anthem. At the time, Maxwell, who was born into a military family, said that he believed that the ideas of racial inequality were being perpetuated by Trump.

"It's being practiced from the highest power that we have in this country, and it's basically saying that it's OK to treat people differently," Maxwell said at the time, according to ESPN. "My kneeling, the way I did it, was to symbolize that I'm kneeling for a cause, but I'm in no way or form disrespecting my country or my flag."

Maxwell's teammate Jed Lowrie, an All-Star this year, said that the catcher's decision didn't cause division within the clubhouse.

"There were guys who had questions for him and wanted to understand why he did it, but I think the general consensus was support for him and why he chose to do it," Lowrie said Monday, adding, "I think if a player has a specific issue they feel passionate about then I think it's fair for them to use their platform to direct their message."

Such a sentiment was echoed by Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Cain, who is African-American, viewed the NFL protests in the name of racial injustice as instances of the players "standing up for themselves" and said he respected their decision.

"From afar, I definitely understood why they were kneeling," Cain said, while explaining that there was nuance to the debate. "I agree with some of the stuff they were doing, [but] for me, [during] the national anthem, I think of our troops fighting overseas and that's why I stand for it. But the other guys were kneeling for entirely different reasons -- we all know why -- and I definitely understand where they were coming from."

A popular theory raised as to why the MLB has lagged behind other leagues in public displays of activism has been the racial makeup of its players. While the NFL and NBA are both majority-black, as of Opening Day, the MLB noted only 8.4 percent of major leaguers were African-American -- down from a high of 18.7 percent in 1981, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. An additional 30 percent, as of 2016, were either Latino or Asian, the organization determined.

Clark predicted that the MLB's activism could catch-up however, particularly given the multitude of avenues in which players can now deliver messages.

"In the past, there may have been a platform or two that guys had access to and now you have far more," Clark said. "They view it as an opportunity to have their concerns heard and hope that leads to effecting the kind of change that they want to see."

Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon agreed, adding that he was "thankful" to be in a position to be heard, should he wish to be, but showed respect for the responsibility that accompanies such power.

"Before I use that platform to influence the way others think, I need to make sure that I have all the facts and I know what I'm talking about and truly believe that what I'm saying is right," he said, cautioning that some of the responsibility falls on the consumers of public discourse to weed out fact from fiction.

"I'm not going to blindly follow what Beyonce says because I really like her music," Blackmon noted as an example.

A common thread among the All-Stars who commented on the topic of activism and protest was that of respect, be it between persons with opposing points of view, among teammates, or between fans and players with whom they disagree.

"I don’t really like how some fans don’t like guys [who] speak out about what they believe in," said Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger. "I think everyone comes from different places on Earth, different countries, and I think the way you grow is to learn from other people's backgrounds and to see where they come from, [and] how and why they think about the things they believe in."

Haniger, who said he enjoyed talking politics but avoids it on social media, argued that it was the disagreements, even with some of the teammates he considers his best friends, that could be most valuable.

"I think at the end of the day, I kind of learn from why he feels that way and why he thinks and believes in the things he does," he said. "That's how you progress and get better."

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Ian MacNicol/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Four members of the anti-Vladimir Putin, anti-Donald Trump group Pussy Riot were sentenced to 15 days in jail for participating in a dramatic on-field protest during the World Cup final at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday.

Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva, Olga Pakhtusova and Petya Verzilov also have been banned from attending sporting events for three years, according the group's representative, who confirmed the sentences to ABC News on Monday. The group also shared information about each of their member's sentences in a series of tweets.

The Russian punk rock band and arts collective claimed responsibility for the on-field protest during the World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia.

The four members ran onto the field early in the second half dressed as policemen, calling for the release of political prisoners in front of millions tuned in to the final match -- including Putin.

According to a statement obtained by ABC News from Russian police, the Pussy Riot protesters who stormed the field were charged with administrative offenses -- violating the rules of conduct for spectators during the holding of official sporting events and also wearing a police uniform without authorization.

In a post published on the group's official Facebook page, the members claimed responsibility for the protest, explained the significance behind the police imagery and included a list of demands.

"Today is 11 years since the death of the great Russian poet, Dmitriy Prigov. Prigov created an image of a policeman, a carrier of the heavenly nationhood, in the russian culture," the group wrote. "...The heavenly policeman rises as an example of the nationhood, the earthly policeman hurts everyone...The FIFA World Cup has reminded us of the possibilities of the heavenly policeman in the Great Russia of the future, but the earthly policeman, entering the ruleless game breaks our world apart."

In their Facebook post on Sunday, the groups demands included letting "all political prisoners free," "all political competition in the country," and to "stop illegal arrests on rallies."

Pussy Riot has been fiercely critical of Putin's government. The group was launched into the international spotlight in 2012 when three of its original members were charged with hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison for performing the anti-Putin protest song "Punk Prayer" at a Moscow cathedral.

Yekaterina Samutsevich's sentence was suspended on appeal, but Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina remained in prison until December 2013.

After their release, the activists founded an independent media outlet that advocates for political prisoners and have continued to speak out against Putin and other leaders, including Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

"We've seen the authoritarian tendencies is parading all around the world as sexually transmitted diseases, and we think it's time to make connection," Tolokonnikova told CNN in August 2017. "It's time to create global people's movement if we want to find an alternative to this raid of populism, which we've seen in my own country, Russia and in America too, Donald Trump, and in the UK, which ended up in Brexit."

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Shaun Botterill/Getty Images(PARIS) -- The French are welcoming home their soccer heroes in Paris on Monday after becoming the 2018 World Cup champions. But what is notable about the squad isn't just the goals they managed to rack up, but the diversity the players embody.

Some 15 of the 23 members of France's World Cup team are of African descent, with families hailing from places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Cameroon, Morocco, Angola, and Algeria. While 21 out of the 23 players were born in France, many come from immigrant families.

Kylian Mbappe, 19, one of the star players of the World Cup, is part Cameroonian and part Algerian.

One of France's biggest goal scorers, Antoine Griezmann, is of German and Portuguese descent.

"We are proud to represent the diversity of France," French midfielder Blaise Matuidi said during a press conference before the World Cup final.

France midfielder Paul Pogba, whose parents are from Guinea, responded to a question about the diversity of the French team last week as well.

"France today is a France full of colors. There are people of many different origins, that’s what makes France so beautiful. We all feel French, we’re happy to wear this shirt," Pogba said.

France's World Cup win comes a year after far-right leader Marine Le Pen reached the run-off stage in the French presidential election. Le Pen ran on an anti-immigration platform that found support in parts of French society. This diverse team's victory contrasts with the struggle France has had in welcoming immigrants in recent years.

Echoing the diversity of their football teams, thousands of people from all different backgrounds headed to the famous Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris Sunday night to celebrate the victory.

Waving French flags and chanting "We are the champions," supporters united in a party atmosphere throughout the night.

It's the second time in history that France has won the World Cup. The first time was in 1998.

The World Cup winners were set to parade down the Champs Elysees Monday in front of thousands of supporters.

The French team then heads to the presidential palace to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron attended the final World Cup game in Moscow and celebrated the victory with the players in the locker room. He also thanked them in a tweet.

While most of the celebrations in Paris were harmonious, there were small pockets of violence and conflict, with troublemakers throwing flares at police on Champs Elysees Avenue.

French police responded using tear gas and water canons to disperse violent fans.

More than 290 people were taken into custody in France last night, and 45 policemen were slightly injured during the clashes, according to the French interior minister.

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Visionhaus/Corbis via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Less than a year after giving birth, Serena Williams captivated the world this month as she soared to the Wimbledon final.

She came up short Saturday, losing to Angelique Kerber, but Williams dedicated her impressive comeback at the famed London Grand Slam event to "all moms," working and stay-at-home.

"These past 2 weeks was a sound for all moms stay home and working you can do it you really can!" she tweeted Monday morning. "I’m not any better or diff than any of you all. Your support has meant so much to me. Let’s keep making noise everyday in everything we do."

Such sentiments mirror comments the tennis icon made after Saturday's loss in the final.

"I was really happy to get this far,” Williams, 36, said then. “For all the moms out there, I was playing for you today.”

A lot was said during Williams' comeback about her losing her top-ranked status after taking time off to have a baby. Williams welcomed her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Sept. 1 and had skipped last year's Wimbledon.

"Unfortunately, in the '90s they changed the rule whereas if you were injured [and] then you come back, you lose your seeding," Williams recently told "Good Morning America." "But they never took into account women that left No. 1 due to pregnancy and left not for an injury, but to have a great life and not give up tennis, but to come back."

Eventually, Wimbledon changed the rule and ranked her 25th in this year's tournament. She'll most likely be ranked much higher when she returns next year or in the next Grand Slam event.

Williams' husband also had plenty to say about her return to the elite of her field.

"Days after our baby girl was born, I kissed my wife goodbye before surgery and neither of us knew if she would be coming back," Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian wrote on Instagram. "We just wanted her to survive—10 months later, she's in the #Wimbledon final."

That was a reference to the pulmonary embolism Williams endured a day after she gave birth, which required multiple surgeries.

Ohanian continued, "@serenawilliams will be holding a trophy again soon—she's got the greatest one waiting at home for her. Our family knows she'll win many more trophies, too. She's just getting started. And I couldn't be more proud."

The tech mogul had been on hand both weeks, supporting his wife's remarkable run through the famed London tournament.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from yesterday's sports events:
   
INTERLEAGUE
 Final  Colorado      4  Seattle         3
 Final  Oakland       6  San Francisco   2
 Final  L-A Dodgers   5  L-A Angels      3
 
AMERICAN LEAGUE
 Final  Baltimore       6  Texas         5
 Final  Boston          5  Toronto       2
 Final  Cleveland       5  N-Y Yankees   2
 Final  Detroit         6  Houston       3
 Final  Minnesota      11  Tampa Bay     7, 10 Innings
 Final  Chi White Sox  10  Kansas City   1
   
NATIONAL LEAGUE

 Final  Washington   6  N-Y Mets       1
 Final  Miami       10  Philadelphia   5
 Final  Atlanta      5  Arizona        1
 Final  Pittsburgh   7  Milwaukee      6, 10 Innings
 Final  St. Louis    6  Cincinnati     4
 Final  Chi Cubs     7  San Diego      4

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VI Images via Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Pussy Riot claimed responsibility Sunday for an on-field protest during the World Cup 2018 final game between France and Croatia, a dramatic display of dissent that called for the release of political prisoners and advocating for freedom of speech.

Four members of the Russian punk rock band and arts collective ran onto the field early in the second half, dressed as policemen, and pitched a protest in front of millions of viewers who were tuned in to the final match, which was also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The protest also comes a day ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's high-stakes summit with Putin in Helsinki.

"They're held at the police station 'luzhniki' and the lawyer Nikolay Vasilyev from Agora is there. But the cops don't let him in," a representative of the group told ABC News in an email Sunday afternoon.

The message was relayed from Pussy Riot member Nadezhda "Nadya" Tolokonnikova, who was imprisoned in 2013 for protesting Putin's policies, but was not one of the four members who staged the protest on the field.

According to Tolokonnikova, who cited a Russian police website, "They're charged with 2 misdemeanor cases."

According to a statement obtained by ABC News from Russian police, members who ran to the pitch are charged with administrative offenses —- violating rules of conduct for spectators during the holding of official sporting events and also wearing a police uniform without authorization.

In a post published on the group's official Facebook page, the members claimed responsibility for the protest, explained the significance behind the policeman imagery and included a list of demands.

"Today is 11 years since the death of the great Russian poet, Dmitriy Prigov. Prigov created an image of a policeman, a carrier of the heavenly nationhood, in the russian culture," the group wrote. "...The heavenly policeman rises as an example of the nationhood, the earthly policeman hurts everyone...The FIFA World Cup has reminded us of the possibilities of the heavenly policeman in the Great Russia of the future, but the earthly policeman, entering the ruleless game breaks our world apart."

In their Facebook post on Sunday, the group called for letting "all political prisoners free," "all political competition in the country," and to "stop illegal arrests on rallies," among other demands.

In 2012, three of the group's original members were charged with hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison for performing the anti-Putin protest song "Punk Prayer" at a Moscow cathedral.

Yekaterina Samutsevich's sentence was suspended on appeal but Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina remained in prison until December 2013.

After their release, the activists founded an independent media outlet that advocates for political prisoners and have continued to speak out against Putin and other leaders, including Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

"We've seen the authoritarian tendencies is parading all around the world as sexually transmitted diseases, and we think it's time to make connection," Tolokonnikova told CNN in August 2017. "It's time to create global people's movement if we want to find an alternative to this raid of populism, which we've seen in my own country, Russia and in America too, Donald Trump, and in the UK, which ended up in Brexit."

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Catherine Ivill/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- France overwhelmed Croatia 4-2 in Moscow to win the world's biggest international soccer tournament for the second time.

France had been among the favorites to win the tournament from the outset and proved too much for Croatia, who dominated possession but were undone by an early own goal and a penalty given away before halftime.

Croatia pulled two back, including one from a goalkeeping error, but it wasn't enough with a French win cemented in the 65th minute by 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé.

France's win brings to a close one of the most unpredictable tournaments in recent years in which many of the sport's giants fall by the wayside and underdogs exceed expectations.

Croatia, while never a complete outsider, was nonetheless one of those, with a team of world-class but older players digging deep to get their country to its first World Cup final. Along the way, they dispatched two favorites going into the competition, beating the European champions, Portugal, and running roughshod over Argentina in a spectacular 3-1 win. They also ended the host Russia's unlikely World Cup run, defeating them in the quarterfinals.

France, by contrast, started as a favorite and have driven toward the final with a single-minded determination that's produced results, if not always excitement. A young team flush with talent, they have turned their brilliance on and off when required -- winning a stunning 4-3 victory against Argentina, coming from behind with some of the most spectacular goals of the tournament. But in the final group-state match they settled for an infuriating 0-0 draw with Denmark where both sides essentially agreed not to play, needing just 1 point each to qualify for the following round. In the semifinal, France elected to smother a creative Belgium, suffocating its attack and relying on a single goal.

French President Emmanuel Macron attended the game in Moscow's Luzhniki stadium, as did Russian President Vladimir Putin. Macron and Putin will met for talks first in the Kremlin.

The final brings to an end a World Cup for Russia that has also, for a month a least, transformed the cities in which it was held, with a party atmosphere reigning and fans from a bewildering combination of countries dancing in the streets and partying every night for weeks on end. In Moscow, residents have been stunned at what has been permitted during the competition, and the light touch of police, who stood by and allowed the party to go on, including drinking that's normally forbidden in public areas, and wild scenes right up to the Kremlin.

Fears that the competition would be marred by violence from soccer hooligans -- over-emphasized by some media before the tournament -- never materialized thanks to an aggressive crackdown by Russia's security services. Fans arriving in Moscow also enjoyed the city, which has received a colossal makeover in recent years, and some were surprised at the thriving restaurants and bars that have appeared to replace the post-Soviet gloom many expected.

The tournament has without doubt been a boon for the Kremlin in altering the country's perception on the world stage, temporarily competing with headlines about its bombing campaign in Syria, war in Ukraine, nerve-agent poisonings in Britain, political repression at home and election meddling in the United States and elsewhere.

But few expect the spell will last far beyond Sunday's final when the last fans begin to leave Moscow and Putin on Monday heads for Finland for his first summit with Trump.

Russian Police have already said that drinking laws will be reasserted, waving flags in the Red Square will likely be ill-advised and climbing lampposts to shout probably will end in arrest. Even during the tournament, two prominent human rights activists were detained for holding signs calling for the release of Oyub Titiev, who leads the rights group Memorial in Chechnya and who is currently on trial.

That case and others will remain once the tournament ends, including that of Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director who has been on hunger strike in a Russian jail for 63 days while demanding the release of three dozen other Ukrainian political prisoners.

The World Cup though will perhaps leave a mark on Russia, beyond the stadiums built or refurbished in 11 cities across the European half of the country. It will also be remembered for Russia's own team's shocking success, reaching the semifinals for the first time since 1970 by beating Spain, having been dismissed even by their own fans as likely not to even reach the knockout stages.

"Moscow will never be like this again," one woman shouted in joyful amazement to a reporter after that match.

It will perhaps also be remembered as a moment when Russia and the rest of the world could have fun together.

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Clive Mason/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Less than a year after having a baby, Serena Williams fell just short of winning Wimbledon.

The tennis star lost the championship Saturday in a stunning two-set match to Angelique Kerber.

Kerber, who was ranked No. 11, beat Williams 6-3, 6-3 at the final at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London. Williams was vying for an eighth career Wimbledon title, after missing the Grand Slam tennis tournament last year while pregnant.

"I was really happy to get this far," a visibly emotional Williams said in a post-match interview. "For all the moms out there, I was playing for you today and I tried, but Angelique played really well."

Williams struck the ball into the net during the final point, and Kerber fell on the grass court in a show of victory. The two hugged from across the net after the game.

It's Kerber's first Wimbledon title and third Grand Slam title in her tennis career.

Williams, 36, had last faced Kerber, 30, in the 2016 Wimbledon final, where she was victorious.

"You're such an inspiration for everybody," Kerber said to Williams during her post-match interview Saturday. "Congrats again for coming back."

It was Williams' 10th final at the All England Club. A win would have tied her with Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles.

Williams was ranked No. 1 in the world when she took her maternity leave before welcoming a daughter in September with her then-fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The couple wed in an intimate ceremony in New Orleans three months later.

She was ranked No. 183 after returning to the pro tour in March.

"Unfortunately, in the '90s, they changed the rule whereas if you were injured -- then you come back, you lose your seeding," Williams told ABC News' Good Morning America during an interview last month in New York City.

"But they never took into account women that left No. 1" due to pregnancy, she added. "And left not for an injury, but to have a great life and not give up tennis, but to come back."

Williams played unseeded at the French Open in Paris this May, eventually pulling out of the Grand Slam tournament in the fourth round due to an injury.

She was seeded No. 25 in Wimbledon this year after the All England Club amended the rules and ranked her in the tournament, instead of following the ranking list that doesn't take into account players going on maternity leave.

Speaking to reporters after Saturday's match, Williams again praised her opponent's game, saying Kerber played "unbelievable." She also explained that she was unsure "how I would be able to come back" after taking time off to be a new mom, and that making it to the Wimbledon final was a "great opportunity."

"It was such a long way to see light at the end of the road," Williams said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Friday’s sports events:

INTERLEAGUE
Colorado 10, Seattle 7
L.A. Dodgers 3, L.A. Angels 2
San Francisco 7, Oakland 1

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Texas 5, Baltimore 4
Cleveland 6, N.Y. Yankees 5
Toronto 13, Boston 7
Houston 3, Detroit 0
Minnesota 11, Tampa Bay 8
Chicago White Sox 9, Kansas City 6

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 7, Milwaukee 3
Philadelphia 2, Miami 0
N.Y. Mets 4, Washington 2
Arizona 2, Atlanta 1
Cincinnati 9, St. Louis 1
Chicago Cubs 5, San Diego 4, 10 Innings

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Connecticut 91, Phoenix 87
Washington 88, Chicago 72
Atlanta 98, Indiana 74
Las Vegas 85, Minnesota 77

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

INTERLEAGUE
Philadelphia 5, Baltimore 4

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Oakland 6, Houston 4
Boston 6, Toronto 4
N.Y. Yankees 7, Cleveland 4
Minnesota 5, Tampa Bay 1
L.A. Angels 11, Seattle 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Colorado 5, Arizona 1
Pittsburgh 6, Milwaukee 3
Washington 5, N.Y. Mets 4
L.A. Dodgers 3, San Diego 2

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Dallas 92, L.A. Sparks 77

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