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Associated Press

Posted on August 31, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Updated Saturday, Aug 31 at 7:36 AM

MLB-SCHEDULE

Bucs blank Redbirds

UNDATED (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals are back in a first-place tie in the National League Central after the Bucs took the opener of their head-to-head series in the Steel City.

Francisco Liriano is 15-6 with a 2.57 ERA after allowing just two hits in eight innings of the Pirates' 5-0 shutout of the Cardinals. Liriano didn't allow a runner past first base and stayed out of trouble by retiring the first two Redbirds in every inning.

Garrett Jones was the hitting star for the Pirates, going 3-for-4 with a solo homer, a two-run double and four RBIs. Jones and Russell Martin hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning to put the Bucs ahead 4-0.

Also in the majors, David Ortiz hit a two-run single that gave Boston a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning of a 4-3 triumph over the Chicago White Sox. Ryan Dempster took a three-hitter into the seventh and allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.

The Red Sox now lead the AL East by 3 ½ games after the second-place Tampa Bay Rays fell 4-3 at Oakland. The Athletics blew a 3-1 lead in the eighth before Jed Lowrie doubled home the tiebreaking run later in the inning. Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run homer for the A's, who pulled within two games of AL West-leading Texas.

Yu Darvish had a no-hitter until Chris Herrmann and Justin Morneau hit back-to-back homers to turn a 2-0 deficit into Minnesota's 3-2 triumph over the Rangers. Liam Hendricks allowed one earned run over six innings for his first win of the season.

Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki each hit two-run homers as the New York Yankees downed Baltimore 8-5. Suzuki's blast was part of a five-run fifth that put the Yankees ahead 7-5.

Julio Teheran was sharp in Atlanta's 2-1 win over Miami, allowing one run and four hits while fanning eight in 6 1/3 innings. Freddie Freeman's two-run homer in the first inning was enough offense for the Braves to earn their fifth straight win and extend their lead in the NL East to 14 games over Washington.

Ike Davis launched a two-run homer and Daniel Murphy scored from second on a grounder as the New York Mets beat the Nationals in Washington 3-2. Dillon Gee helped the Mets send the Nationals to their second loss in 10 games, holding them to two runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Todd Helton homered twice and had six RBIs as Colorado dumped Cincinnati 9-6, dropping the Reds 3 ½ games behind the NL Central-leading Pirates. Wilin Rosario produced four of the Rockies' 19 hits.

Tim Lincecum (LIHN'-she-kuhm) scattered six hits in six innings of San Francisco's 1-0 shutout of Arizona, which keeps the Diamondbacks six games behind Cincinnati for the final NL wild-card berth. The Diamondbacks dropped their second straight despite holding the Giants to three hits.

The Dodgers are 10 ½ games better than the D-Backs in the NL West after Adrian Gonzalez smacked a pair of two-run homers to carry Los Angeles to an easy 9-2 win over San Diego. Hanley Ramirez had two RBIs, A.J. Ellis hit a solo homer and Yasiel Puig (YAH'-see-ul pweeg) went 4-for-5 with an RBI from the leadoff slot.

Adam Lind poked a two-run single in the first inning as Toronto turned a four-hit attack into a 3-2 win against Kansas City, ending the Royals' five-game winning streak. Winning pitcher Mark Buehrle (BUR'-lee) allowed just four hits in seven shutout innings.

Michael Young capped his four-hit afternoon by delivering a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning to complete Philadelphia's comeback in a 6-5 win over the Cubs. Chase Utley hit a two-run triple for the Phillies, who overcame a 5-0 deficit to help manager Ryne Sandberg win in his return to Wrigley.

Seattle thumped Houston 7-1 behind the pitching of top prospect Taijuan Walker, who didn't allow an earned run over five innings in his major league debut. Dustin Ackley had a career-high four hits and four RBIs.

Jared Weaver tossed six scoreless innings and Grant Green hit a three-run double in the Angels' 5-0 shutout of Milwaukee. Weaver added just three singles and escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth inning.

MLB-TIGERS/CABRERA

Cabrera lifted again

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera has been pulled from a second straight game, this time after two innings because of irritation in his abdominal area.

Cabrera left Thursday's game after hurting his abdomen while making an awkward slide in the fifth inning.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he checked with Cabrera on Friday and said the third baseman was ready to play.

The reigning Triple Crown winner has been bothered by a strained left abdominal wall for over a month and hampered by knee and shin injuries since then. Cabrera leads the majors with 130 RBIs and a .358 batting average. He also has 43 home runs.

MLB TRADES

Indians, Cards, O's make moves

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians have picked up Jason Kubel (KOO'-bul) from Arizona in an effort to provide some offensive punch for the playoff push. The Indians will give up cash or a player to be named later.

The left-handed hitting outfielder hit 30 homers last season, but has slumped this year and was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks this week. Kubel is hitting just .220 with 5 homers and 32 RBIs. He's averaged 20 homers and 81 RBIs the past five seasons.

St. Louis went for bullpen help, getting John Axford from Milwaukee for a player to be named later. Axford is 6-7 with a 4.45 ERA and 19 saves in 62 games this season, two years after leading the NL with 46 saves in 2011 while helping the Brewers to the NL Central title.

The Baltimore Orioles have picked up Michael Morse from Seattle for fellow outfielder Xavier Avery. The 31-year-old Morse is hitting .226 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs in 76 games this season.

Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz (nehf-TAH'-lee feh-LEEZ') will skip his final rehabilitation appearance and be activated Sunday when rosters expand. The former closer hasn't pitched in the major leagues since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.

And the Dodgers have signed veteran pitcher Edinson Volquez for the remainder of the season, three days after he was released by San Diego. Volquez was the Padres' season-opening starter this year but was just 9-10 with a 6.01 ERA in 27 starts when he was designated for assignment.

GOLF-DEUTSCHE BANK CHAMPIONSHIP

Lefty fires 63 to grab share of lead

NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Phil Mickelson has started strong at the Deutsche Bank Open, although he has company atop the leaderboard.

Mickelson carded seven birdies while shooting a 28 on the front nine en route to an 8-under 63. He's tied with Brian Davis, who drained a 25-foot birdie putt on his final hole.

Mickelson fared better than playing partners Tiger Woods and Adam Scott. Woods opened with a 68 while Scott signed off on a 73.

Kevin Stadler is one shot back and one ahead of Hunter Mahan (MAY'-han), Sergio Garcia and Roberto Castro.

LPGA-SAFEWAY CLASSIC

Phatlum holds lead

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum is the leader through the second round of the LPGA Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon.

Phatlum's 6-under-par 66 puts her at minus-14, one shot ahead of Suzann Pettersen.

Pettersen moved into contention with a 63.

CHAMPIONS TOUR-SHAW CHARITY CLASSIC

New event debuts

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Rocco Mediate eagled two of the final four holes to take the first-round lead in the Champions Tour's inaugural Shaw Charity Classic. Mediate's 8-under 63 leaves him one stroke ahead of Bart Bryant, Jeff Sluman (SLOO'-mihn), Bobby Clampett and Rod Spittle.

NFL CONCUSSIONS

NEW YORK (AP) — Some former NFL players, and others, think the league is getting off cheap in its tentative settlement with victims of concussion-related brain injuries. They feel that hundreds of millions of dollars the NFL is ready to pay former players may sound great, until you stretch it out over 20 years and divide it among thousands of people. The deal announced yesterday to settle 4,500 or so claims is awaiting approval by a federal judge in Philadelphia.

NFL-JAGUARS-GABBERT

Gabbert is coming along

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert continues to recover from a hairline fracture of his right thumb and is on pace to return for the season opener.

Gabbert is squeezing the football and could throw some passes this weekend, but coach Gus Bradley says the quarterback is still experiencing some pain.

If Gabbert can't practice or play against the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday, Bradley feels good going with backup Chad Henne (HEH'-nee).

Backups Mike Kafka and Matt Scott were released on Friday.

NFL-ROSTERS

Pats cut tight ends

UNDATED (AP) —The New England Patriots have released veteran tight ends Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells. The moves indicate Rob Gronkowski might be ready sooner than expected after missing all four exhibition games following back surgery. He is one of three tight ends on the roster.

Ballard and Fells were among the 10 players cut as the Patriots work to get down to the regular-season limit of 53 players by Saturday's deadline.

Also in the NFL, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end DeQuin Evans has been suspended for the season's first eight games for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances for a second time.

Left tackle Max Starks was among 11 players cut by San Diego after allowing three sacks in Thursday's preseason loss to San Francisco.

Baltimore has cut Caleb Haney and Dayne Crist, leaving Tyrod Taylor to back up Joe Flacco.

Buffalo has released quarterback Matt Leinart, who was signed just last week as an injury replacement. The Bills also signed center Eric Wood to a contract extension.

The Atlanta Falcons have waived linebacker Brian Banks, who was attempting to make a late start to his NFL career after spending five years in prison on a conviction that was later overturned.

TENNIS-US OPEN

Djokovic starts slow, wins easy

NEW YORK (AP) — Men's top seed Novak Djokovic (JOH'-koh-vihch) third seed Andy Murray and No. 5 Tomas Berdych have reached the third round of the U.S. Open, while women's top seed Serena Williams has moved into the fourth round.

Djokovic was taken to a first-set tiebreak before dispatching Benjamin Becker 7-6, 6-2, 6-2. He needed less than an hour to complete his last two sets.

Murray was tested by 81st-ranked Leonardo Mayer before winning 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

Lleyton Hewitt pulled off the biggest stunner on the men's side, beating Juan Martin del Potro (wahn mahr-TEEN dehl-POH'-troh) in five sets.

Hewitt's marathon victory prevented Williams from getting on stadium court until around midnight. Fortunately for her, she made quick work of Yarosloava Shvedova (shveh-DOH'-vuh), 6-3, 6-1 to reach the round of 16.

Other third-round winners on the women's side include third seed Agnieszka Radwanska (ag-NAY'-skah rad-WAHN'-skah), fifth seed Li Na (lee nah), No. 8 Angelique Kerber, No. 9 Jelena Jankovic and No. 15 Sloane Stephens.

Wimbledon finalist and 16th seed Sabine (sah-BEEN') Lisicki was ousted by No. 24 Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4, 7-5.

NASCAR-SPRINT CUP

Stenhouse snares first Sprint pole

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has earned the first Sprint Cup pole of his career.

Stenhouse turned a lap of 189.688 mph in qualifying for Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. His previous best qualifying run was third at Kansas this season.

Carl Edwards was the second-fastest qualifier, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and Denny Hamlin.

NASCAR-LARSON

Larson to replace Montoya

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Kyle Larson has been tapped to replace Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 42 car at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.

The announcement was made at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where the 21-year-old Larson will compete this weekend in a Nationwide Series race. EGR dumped Montoya after only two wins in eight Sprint Cup seasons. The former Indianapolis 500 winner and Formula One driver is 22nd in the Cup standings. Larson ranks eighth in the Nationwide standings as a rookie. He has never competed in a Cup race, but team owner Chip Ganassi hopes to get the youngster some experience in the final 12 races of the season.

NHL-DUCKS-SELANNE

Selanne returns for last season

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Teemu Selanne (TAY'-moo suh-LAH'-nay) says he's returning to the Anaheim Ducks for his 21st and final NHL season. The 43-year-old Finnish forward announced his decision in a humorous video posted on YouTube by the Ducks.

Selanne is the 15th-leading scorer in NHL history with 1,430 points, and his 675 career goals are 11th-most in league history. He had 12 goals and 12 assists in 46 games last season.

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