Sports Watch

 AL wins again

ST. LOUIS (AP) - New year, different ballpark, same result.

The American League remains unbeaten in the All-Star game since 1996, improving to 12-0-1 during that span with a 4-3 win over the Nationals. Curtis Granderson manufactured the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning, slapping a one-out triple before scoring on Adam Jones' sacrifice fly.

Carl Crawford earned MVP honors by going 1 for 3 and making the defensive play of the game. The game was tied 3-3 in the seventh when Crawford made a leaping catch to rob Brad Hawpe (hahp) of a leadoff homer.

Most of the scoring came in the first two innings. The AL tallied twice in the first on first baseman Albert Pujols' (POO'-holz-ihz) error and Josh Hamilton's RBI grounder.

The NL countered with a three-run second on four consecutive two-out hits. Yadier Molina (YAH'-dee-ehr) Molina singled home the first run of the inning and scored the lead run on Prince Fielder's ground-rule double.

The 3-2 lead lasted until the fifth, when Joe Mauer doubled home Derek Jeter to make it 3-3.

The senior circuit didn't put a runner on base in between Fielder's second-inning double and Orlando Hudson's two-out single in the eighth. But the National League had a chance to go ahead in the bottom of the eighth until pinch-hitter Ryan Howard struck out with runners on second and third to end the threat.

Jonathan Papelbon (PAP'-ul-bahn) worked a perfect seventh for the win. Mariano Rivera retired three straight in the ninth for his All-Star game-record fourth career save.

Heath Bell was the loser.

The outcome gives home field advantage in the World Series to the American League.

Martinez close to signing

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Pedro Martinez will be pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies this summer.

A person familiar with the negotiations says the 3-time Cy Young Award winner has agreed to a 1-year, $1 million contract that includes another $1.5 million in incentives. The Phillies plan to hold a news conference today to announce the deal.

Martinez is 214-99 with a 2.91 ERA in 17 major league seasons. The 8-time All-Star went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA for the New York Mets in 2008 and pitched in the World Baseball Classic last winter.

Selig denies collusion claims, wants drug suspensions to include minor league games

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Baseball commissioner Bud Selig denies that teams conspired against free agents after the 2008 season.

Several agents say they want to the union to file a collusion grievance against teams during the free-agent market last winter. They are worried because no major players eligible for free agency have agreed to contract extensions. Agent Jeff Borris says there is a "general level of suspicion in the air."

Selig says he can't believe anyone would find collusion in baseball.

The commissioner also wants to keep players on drug suspensions from going to the minor leagues before they return.

Manny Ramirez drew sellout crowds last month during his minor league rehab assignment before his return to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 3. The Dodgers slugger was suspended 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy.

Selig says "I think that's something we really need to change in the next labor negotiation."

Writers reject plan to alter voting

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Baseball writers have turned down a proposal to form a committee for developing guidelines on evaluating players from the steroids era in Hall of Fame voting. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander, who brought the matter up at a Chicago chapter meeting last month, made the proposal Tuesday at a national meeting of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The proposal was voted down 30-25.

AP source: Chiefs sign QB Cassel to long-term deal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs have signed quarterback Matt Cassel (KAS'-uhl) to a multiyear deal.

The 27-year-old Cassel was obtained from New England during the offseason along with linebacker Mike Vrabel (VRAY'-bul) for Kansas City's second-round pick in 2010. He was 11-5 for the Patriots last year after taking over under center when Tom Brady sustained a season-ending knee injury during the season opener against the Chiefs.

The Patriots had made Cassel their franchise player, meaning he will be paid about $15 million this season.

Bulls cut ties with Thomas, again

(AP) - Carlos Boozer says he expects to become a former Utah Jazz pretty soon.

The 2-time All-Star has told a Chicago radio station (WMVP) he and the team have agreed to work out a trade that was beneficial for both sides. Just two weeks ago, Boozer opted to remain with the Jazz for the final year of his contract.

Boozer has averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds since Utah signed him as a restricted free agent five years ago, but injuries have forced him to miss over 25% of the team's games.

Forward Tim Thomas and the Chicago Bulls have agreed on a contract buyout. It ends the veteran's second stint with the Bulls.

Acquired from the New York Knicks in February, Thomas averaged 5.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 18 games with Chicago.

And the Indiana Pacers have signed free-agent guard Dahntay Jones to a 4-year, $11 million package. Jones started 71 games for the Denver Nuggets last season and averaged 5.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in the regular season.

Warrant issued for former All-Star

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A warrant has been issued for the arrest of former NBA star Antoine Walker on criminal charges stemming from $822,500 in gambling debts.

Walker is accused of 3 felony counts of writing bad checks. County prosecutors say he failed to make good on 10 checks totaling $1 million written to Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Red Rock Resort.

Prosecutor Bernie Zadrowski told the Las Vegas Sun that Walker has repaid $178,000 of the debts incurred last July to January.

Blackhawks oust GM Tallon

CHICAGO (AP) - Dale Tallon is out as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, just a few months since the team clinched a playoff berth for the first time in seven years.

Tallon has been reassigned to senior adviser of hockey operations and replaced by assistant GM Stan Bowman, the son of legendary NHL coach Scotty Bowman. The elder Bowman was hired last year as a senior adviser.

A clerical mistake may have hastened Tallon's departure. Last week, the NHL Players Association filed a grievance against the team, saying the Blackhawks missed the deadline for sending qualifying offers to restricted free agents. The Blackhawks ended up signing all their restricted free agents.

Tallon denies that the administrative problem and grievance had caused the Blackhawks to overpay the restricted free agents.

Providence hoops coach Davis signs contract extension

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Providence men's basketball coach Keno Davis has been given a contract extension after winning 19 games in his first season with the Friars.

The 1-time AP national coach of the year at Drake went 10-8 in the Big East last season and 19-14 overall.

The new contract will keep Davis at Providence through at least 2015-16.

Truex penalized

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Martin Truex Jr. has been penalized by NASCAR for a rules violation during Saturday's race at Chicagoland Speedway. NASCAR announced that Truex was docked 25 Sprint Cup points because his right rear quarter panel was found to be too high at the post-race inspection.

Crew chief Kevin Manion was fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Owner Teresa Earnhardt was penalized 25 points in the Sprint Cup Series owner standings.

Cavendish gets another stage win

ISSOUDUN, France (AP) - There's still no change among the top three heading into the 11th stage of the Tour de France. 7-time champion Lance Armstrong is still eight seconds behind leader Rinaldo Nocentini (noh-chehn-TEE'-nee), with Alberto Contador six seconds off the pace. That's been the margin between those three since late last week.

Great Britain's Mark Cavendish won yesterday's segment, his third stage victory of the Tour.

Nadal recovering

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Rafael Nadal plans to resume practicing next week and return to the tour next month.

Nadal's publicist says the 6-time Grand Slam title winner is in Barcelona for tests on his sore knees and is "slowly recovering from his injury."

He says Nadal will return to practice Monday and will play in the hard-court tournament at Montreal that begins Aug. 10.

Nadal has not played a match since being upset in the fourth round at the French Open in May.

Preakness-winning filly to run in Haskell

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The owner of Preakness-winning filly Rachel Alexandra plans to run her against the boys again in the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 2 at New Jersey's Monmouth Park.

Jess Jackson says Rachel Alexandra is in top condition and will run in the race if her current preparation continues.

She has won seven consecutive races, most recently by 19 lengths against fillies in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on June 25.

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