Sports Watch

Rangers vault to AL West lead behind Jones' three homers...16 of 22 for the White Sox

(AP) - Hitting three homers in one game is getting a bit common in the American League.

Texas slugger Andruw Jones homered in his first three at-bats in the Rangers' 8-1 win over the L.A. Angels as Texas takes over first place in the AL West by one game over the Angels. Jones' three-homer performance came one night after Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox homered three times in a 10-6 win over Cleveland Tuesday night. Jones also had a three-homer game for Atlanta in 2002.

After connecting his first three times at the plate, Jones failed in his bid to tie the major league mark of 4 homers in a game. Jones popped up in the sixth inning. In his final at-bat in the ninth, Jones struck out. Jones has 14 homers this season after hitting just three in 75 games for the Dodgers last season.

There have been 15 four-homer games in the majors, most recently by Carlos Delgado for Toronto in 2003.

In the rest of the AL:

Detroit rookie Lucas French outdueled Zack Greinke (GREHN'-kee) and the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 3-1. In his second career start, French and three relievers combined on a six-hitter to deny Greinke's bid for his 11th win.

Boston edged Oakland 5-4. All-Star Tim Wakefield earned his AL-leading 11th victory. David Ortiz homered and drove in four.

A.J. Burnett won his third straight start, and Brett Gardner's two-run single helped the New York Yankees build an early lead and beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3.

Helped by a pair of errors by Seattle second baseman Jose Lopez, the Baltimore Orioles rallied for five runs in the ninth inning to beat the Mariners 5-3. Ty Wigginton's two-run single drove in the go-ahead runs.

Jose Contreras allowed one run over 6 1-3 innings, Jermaine Dye had three RBIs and the surging Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 for their 16th victory in the last 22 games.

Tampa Bay scored a run in the bottom of the ninth and outlasted Toronto 10-9. All-Star Ben Zobrist hit a three-run homer in the fourth and had an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to win it.

In the NL:

Oliver Perez was activated from the disabled list in time for the struggling New York Mets to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4. The Mets ended a 4-game losing streak with their third win in 12 games. All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez gave up a Manny Ramirez homer in the ninth, his 535th career shot that moved him into 16th place ahead of Jimmie Foxx.

Wandy Rodriguez tossed a five-hitter and tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts in Houston's 5-0 blanking of Pittsburgh. Rodriguez improved to 8-6, throwing his second career complete game. Lance Berkman doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs for the Astros, who won 2 of 3 in the series.

Shane Victorino's RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning lifted the Philadelphia Phillies over Cincinnati 3-2. The World Series champs have won 5 of 6.

Florida's Chris Volstad tossed a five-hitter for his first career complete game as the Florida Marlins pounded San Francisco 7-0. Dan Uggla socked a three-run homer as the Marlins avoided a 3-game sweep.

The Atlanta Braves won a road series for the first time in nearly two months with a 4-1 victory over the Cubs. Kenshin Kawakami shut down Chicago for six innings and Casey Kotchman hit a solo homer.

Ryan Spilborghs (SPIHL'-borgz) hit a bases-loaded triple in a four-run fifth-inning as Colorado dumped Washington 10-4 in Denver to complete a 3-game sweep. Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa won for the sixth time in seven starts.

Chris Volstad pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game, Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer and the Florida Marlins beat the San Francisco Giants 7-0 to avoid a sweep.

Milwaukee edged St. Louis 5-4. Prince Fielder drove in the go-ahead run with his two-out, eighth inning infield single.

Arizona won its sixth in a row by beating San Diego 6-2. Felipe Lopez hit a three-run homer in the eighth.

Blue Jays release lefty B.J. Ryan...Morneau skipping home run derby

(AP) - The Toronto Blue Jays have released 1-time closer B.J. Ryan and activated current closer Scott Downs from the 15-day disabled list. The 33-year-old Ryan is in the fourth year of a $47 million, 5-year contract.

Ryan has struggled this season, going 1-1 with a 6.53 ERA in 25 relief appearances. The left-hander allowed 22 hits, including five homers, and 17 walks over 20 2-3 innings.

There will be a new champion crowned at the All-Star home-run derby Monday night in St. Louis. Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau (MOHR'-noh) says he has declined an invitation to participate in the popular All-Star Game event. He says he wants to rest and would prefer to watch.


Police rule McNair shot dead by girlfriend in murder-suicide

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Police in Nashville, Tenn., are confirming that ex-NFL star Steve McNair's 20-year-old girlfriend killed him in his sleep before turning the gun on herself.

They say they may never know what was going through Sahel Kazemi's (sah-HEHL' kah-ZEE'-meez) mind when she shot McNair in his condominium on July 4, but they say it's clear it was a murder-suicide.

Police Chief Ronal Serpas says at one point, Kazemi told an associate that her "personal life was all messed up." She had mounting debts and had been unable to sell her car. Her roommate was moving, which would have doubled her rent. Interviews with friends also revealed that Kazemi suspected McNair was having a second affair with another young woman.

Authorities think McNair was asleep on a sofa when Kazemi shot him in the head. She then apparently shot him twice in the chest before shooting him again in the head and then shooting herself.

'Sheed joins Celtics... McDyess to the Spurs

(AP) - On the first day NBA teams could sign free agents, the Boston Celtics have inked Rasheed Wallace, who was 1 of this year's most coveted players on the market.

The 4-time All-Star forward averaged 12 points per game for Detroit last season while earning $13.68 million in the final year of a 5-year deal with the Pistons.

Elsewhere around the NBA:

Antonio McDyess (mik-DYS') is leaving the Detroit Pistons for the San Antonio Spurs. The 34-year-old forward averaged 9.6 points and 9.8 rebounds in his 14th NBA season last year.

A person with knowledge of the deal says the Dallas Mavericks will acquire forward Shawn Marion from Toronto. The Raptors couldn't afford to re-sign Marion because they need to clear salary cap space for Hedo Turkoglu (HEE'-doh TURK'-uh-loo), as they near an agreement with him.

Stephen (STEH'-fihn) Curry, the seventh overall pick in last month's NBA draft, has signed with the Golden State Warriors. The 21-year-old Curry left Davidson after three seasons. He led the nation in scoring with 28.6 points per game as a junior.

Ron Artest (ar-TEHST') signed with the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, the team he says he wanted to join for years. Artest played for the Rockets last season, and according to his agent, gets a 5-year deal worth about $33 million.

The Detroit Pistons have signed free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva (vihl-uh-NWAY'-vuh). The 26-year-old Gordon averaged close to 21 points last season for Chicago. Villanueva, who turns 25 next month, averaged over 16 points and 6.7 rebounds last season with Milwaukee.

Toronto has re-signed Andrea Bargnani (ahn-DRAY'-uh bahrn-YAH'-nee) to a 5-year contract extension.

A person with knowledge of the deal says Atlanta has reached an agreement to re-sign its 7-foot center Zaza Pachulia. He averaged 6.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in 77 games while helping the Hawks to their second straight playoff appearance.

37-year-old Armstrong hanging tough

PERPIGNAN, France (AP) - Thomas Voeckler of France won the fifth stage of the Tour de France.

Following a long breakaway, Voeckler made his move 3.1 miles from the finish of the 122-mile trek to escape from a small group of riders and cross the finish line by himself.

Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland retains the yellow leader's jersey. 7-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong remains second overall by a fraction of a second, with Astana teammate Alberto Contador of Spain 19 seconds back in third.

NASCAR asks appeals court to reverse ruling

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - NASCAR has asked an appeals court to overturn the injunction that lifted Jeremy Mayfield's indefinite suspension for failing a random drug test, claiming a lower court judge relied on incorrect information when he lifted the driver's suspension.

NASCAR made its request to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

14-time Olympian qualifies for worlds

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Michael Phelps won the 200-meter freestyle and 200 butterfly at the U.S. nationals to earn a trip to the world championships later this month in Rome. Aaron Peirsol created the biggest buzz at the Indiana University Natatorium pool by reclaiming his world record in the 100 backstroke, winning in 51.94 seconds.

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