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White Sox Off to Best Start Since 1935 (AP)
AP - Freddy Garcia pitched seven strong innings, Juan Uribe had three hits and the Chicago White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-2 Friday night to stretch their winning streak to five games. Chicago's 13-4 record matches the best start in team history set in 1912, 1919 and 1935.

Cardinals Win Rematch of NLCS Over Astros (AP)
AP - So Taguchi and Mark Grudzielanek each hit a two-run double, and the St. Louis Cardinals' previously untouchable bullpen withstood a mid-game meltdown, squandering almost all of a seven-run cushion in an 8-7 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Athletics Edge Angels 4-3 (AP)
AP - Scott Hatteberg's two-run single off Francisco Rodriguez with two outs in the ninth inning sent the Oakland Athletics to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

Newspaper Disciplines Best-Selling Author (AP)
AP - The Detroit Free Press has disciplined Mitch Albom after an investigation prompted by errors in one of the best-selling author's columns, according to a front-page letter to readers in the newspaper's Saturday's editions.

Rodgers, Smith Trying to Figure Out 49ers (AP)
AP - Aaron Rodgers thinks he has figured out the San Francisco 49ers' approach to using the first pick in the draft.

Morency Believes He's Top-Tier NFL Back (AP)
AP - Not being included among the top three running backs in most mock drafts hasn't stopped Vernand Morency from being confident heading into the NFL draft.

Sonics, Kings Will Keep Scorekeeper Busy (AP)
AP - Every spring, there's plenty of talk about how the game slows during the NBA playoffs.

Indians Defeat Mariners 6-1 (AP)
AP - C.C. Sabathia pitched seven strong innings and Ronnie Belliard hit a three-run homer, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

Jacqua's Goal Helps Fire Edge MetroStars (AP)
AP - Nate Jacqua scored in the first half off a deflection to give the Chicago Fire a 1-0 victory over the MetroStars in a physical match on Friday night.

Islanders' Parrish Leads U.S. Over Canada (AP)
AP - Mark Parrish scored with 4.5 seconds remaining to lead the United States to a 5-4 victory over Canada on Friday night in the teams' final North American tuneup before the world hockey championships.

Looking out for No. 1
NEW YORK – While Aaron Rodgers' concern grows, Alex Smith feels more confident he'll be the No. 1 pick.

Rodgers, Smith try to figure out 49ers (AP)
Rarely has an NFL draft been so one-sided in its emphasis on either offense or defense. This year's selection process brought far more offensive players into the limelight than defenders, especially at the top. Some mock drafts had seven offensive prospects going before the first defensive player. Of course, there always are quarterbacks near the top of the draft because of the importance coaches...

Chiefs acquire CB Surtain from Dolphins (AP)
For three straight years, one of the NFL's greatest offenses has been chained to one of the worst defenses, a snorting, high-strung race horse hooked to a milk wagon. Now, with the acquisition of two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain in a deal with the Miami Dolphins, the defensively inept Kansas City Chiefs have completed a three-pronged plan to revamp and retool even before the NFL draft...

LB Sharper signs with the Seahawks (AP)
Linebacker Jamie Sharper officially became a member of the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, signing a five-year, $17.5 million deal that includes a $1.5 million signing bonus. Sharper was released by the Houston Texans on April 1. The deal was agreed upon last week, but Sharper said he'd been moving some items out of Houston, delaying the signing.

Lions sign WR Kevin Johnson (AP)
The Detroit Lions signed free agent receiver Kevin Johnson to a one-year contract Friday. Johnson has 367 career receptions and 25 touchdowns over six seasons. He will play alongside second-year pro Roy Williams and Charles Rogers, if he is healthy for the first time in three seasons. Johnson caught 35 passes last season -- his first with fewer than 57 -- and one TD in Baltimore, his third team in...

Emotional memorial service for Mills (AP)
Knowing that his battle with cancer was coming to an end, former NFL linebacker Sam Mills planned every last detail of his own memorial -- all the way down to the menu of fried chicken and greens. ``He picked the songs and the scriptures and he told us not to keep you here too long,'' Carolina Panthers president Mark Richardson said during one of Thursday's eulogies.

New Jersey OKs Giants' stadium deal (AP)
State officials approved a new $750 million stadium for the New York Giants that should be ready for the 2009 season, a year later than first expected. Eleven commissioners of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority voted in favor of the stadium plan Friday, while four abstained. The arena is to be built near the existing stadium, which will be razed.

Jets trade first-round pick to Raiders (AP)
The New York Jets finally filled their need at tight end. The Jets acquired Doug Jolley from Oakland on Thursday in exchange for their first-round pick in Saturday's NFL draft. The deal, agreed upon Wednesday night, was completed when Jolley passed his physical Thursday morning. Oakland gets the 26th overall selection, moving back into the first round after trading the seventh overall pick to...

Shaq sits out practice with thigh bruise (AP)
Shaquille O'Neal is still hurting, and it's uncertain if the Miami Heat's center will be ready for the beginning of his team's Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the New Jersey Nets. O'Neal, who missed the Heat's final two regular-season games because of a deep right thigh bruise, did not practice Friday.

Jefferson returns, practices with Nets (AP)
All-Star forward Richard Jefferson practiced with New Jersey for the first time in nearly four months on Friday, two days before the Nets take on the Miami Heat in the opening round of the playoffs. ``It feels good,'' Jefferson said. ``It was kind of funny going on the court. Everybody was laughing and making fun of me.

Pacers get Aug. 1 trial date (AP)
The trials for the five Indiana players involved in the November brawl at the Pacers-Pistons game will begin Aug. 1, starting with Ron Artest. Teammates Anthony Johnson, David Harrison, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson are to follow in that order. The players earlier were granted requests for separate trials on misdemeanor assault and battery charges.

Kobe's focus: preparing for next season (AP)
Kobe Bryant says it doesn't matter who coaches the Los Angeles Lakers next season. His main concern is being prepared to help the team return to prominence. ``I don't care. I trust their track record,'' Bryant said Friday, referring to Lakers owner Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak. ``Whoever they bring in here, I'm going to be ready.

NBA All-Star Game may go to Vegas in '07 (AP)
None of the NBA's 30 owners expressed any objections Friday to holding the 2007 All-Star Game in Las Vegas. ``It was not a contentious issue at all,'' said commissioner David Stern, who estimated the owners spent less than 10 minutes discussing the subject during the two days of meetings at a Manhattan hotel.

Suns out to prove 62 wins was no mirage (AP)
The Phoenix Suns have heard all the reasons they won't win an NBA title. Too young, too small, no depth, no defense. And that tires-screaming-down-the-drag-strip style -- so refreshingly fun to watch -- just won't work on the mean streets of the playoffs. It's as if those 62 victories were a mirage in the desert.

Iverson not fazed about facing old coach (AP)
Allen Iverson acknowledges Detroit coach Larry Brown has coached and watched him play enough to know all his moves. He's just not worried about it. ``That don't have anything to do with being out there on the court and playing against me,'' the Philadelphia 76ers All-Star said. ``I'll be ready for it all.

Like Bulls, Wizards rose from depths (AP)
Who's the underdog when the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls meet in the first round of the NBA playoffs? ``We're both the underdogs,'' Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas said. ``No one expected us here. We did a great job this year, both teams. It's going to be great, exciting, inexperienced basketball.'' The Wizards are in the playoffs for the first time since 1997, while the Bulls haven't been...

Mavs' rookie coach is no playoff novice (AP)
Five weeks after Don Nelson handed over his whistle and made Avery Johnson coach of the Dallas Mavericks, the man nicknamed ``The Little General'' will be in charge of a playoff game for the first time. Uh, scratch that. Make it the first playoff game he'll be in charge of while wearing a suit. Only six years ago, Johnson was the starting point guard on San Antonio's championship team.

Pacers on last try to get Reggie a title (AP)
Reggie Miller still has some unfinished business before he leaves basketball for good. The Indiana Pacers threw a raucous, emotional retirement party for their all-everything player after his final regular-season game. But he still has the playoffs, starting Saturday in Boston, and one last chance to win a championship ring that has eluded him for 18 years.

Americans beat Canada in world championship tuneup (AP)
Mark Parrish scored with 4.5 seconds remaining to lead the United States to a 5-4 victory over Canada on Friday night in the teams' final North American tuneup before the world hockey championships. Matt Cullen had two goals for the Americans, and Mike Knuble and Yan Stastny also scored in front of 7,166 fans at the Quebec Coliseum.

United States advances to under-18 title game (AP)
Phil Kessel and Nathan Gerbe each had a goal and two assists, and the United States beat Sweden 6-2 Friday to advance to the final of the world under-18 ice hockey championship. The Americans advanced to Sunday's championship game against Canada, a 3-2 overtime winner over the Czech Republic in Friday's other semifinal.

Report: Former NHL D Ramage to stand trial (SportsTicker)
TORONTO (Ticker) - Two-time Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Rob Ramage is in for the fight of his life.

NHL linesman Provost dies in motorcycle accident (SportsTicker)
NEW YORK (Ticker) - National Hockey League linesman Stephane Provost died Friday in a motorcycle accident in Florida. He was 37.

NHL linesman Provost killed in motorcycle wreck (AP)
NHL linesman Stephane Provost was killed early Friday when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a tractor trailer. A 10-year officiating veteran with the NHL, the 37-year-old Provost died near his home in Weston, about 17 miles west of Fort Lauderdale on the edge of the Florida Everglades. Around 3:30 a.m., Provost was traveling west on State Road 84 when he hit the rear of a semi, a Broward...

ECHL suspends Langdone for eight games for injuring Scott Gomez (AP)
The ECHL suspended Bakersfield Condors right wing Ashlee Langdone for eight games for a blindside hit that injured NHL star Scott Gomez, who was playing for the Alaska Aces. The hit occurred during the second period of an April 16 playoff game. Langdone sat out a game Monday and will not eligible to play in the ECHL until Bakersfield has played seven regular-season games in 2005-06, the league said...

Bettman: 'Time working against' 2006 Olympic participation (AP)
Prospects for NHL players taking part in the 2006 Olympics are dwindling because of the ongoing lockout, commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday. ``If we don't have a deal by the time we have to schedule, I assume it would be difficult to have Olympic participation,'' he said during the Associated Press Sports Editors annual meeting with league commissioners.

NHL won't start next season with replacement players (AP)
The NHL is searching for a deal, not replacements for its locked-out players. With speculation mounting that hockey would return next season no matter what, even if that meant using replacement players, commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday that the league won't return to the ice in October if a new collective bargaining agreement hasn't been reached with the players' association.

USA Hockey adds C Yan Stastny to World Championship roster (SportsTicker)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Ticker) - The United States is ready for the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship.

Burton's best chance
AVONDALE, Ariz. – Jeff Burton still is searching for his first top-10 of the year. It could happen Saturday.

Biffle survives Busch Series crashfest at Phoenix (SportsTicker)

Biffle wins Busch race (AP)
Greg Biffle survived an early spinout and grabbed another dominating victory Friday night, this time overpowering the field in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Jeff Gordon wins first pole at Phoenix (SportsTicker)

Newman hits wall; Gordon wins Phoenix pole (AP)
The big news Friday at Phoenix International Raceway was that Ryan Newman did not win the pole position for the NASCAR Nextel Cup race.

Sun presents glaring problem for NASCAR drivers (AP)
Anyone who drives a car has at one time or another been at least momentarily blinded by the glare of setting sun.

Driver Ramirez released from hospital (SportsTicker)
SONOMA, California (Ticker) - One day after being involved in an accident during a NASCAR Nextel Cup test session at Infineon Raceway, Jose Luis Ramirez was released from John Muir Medical Center.

Biffle overpowering in Texas victory (AP)
Greg Biffle's body was sore heading into the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Biffle wins NASCAR Nextel Cup Samsung/RadioShack 500 (SportsTicker)

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