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Tribe fireworks barrage blasts Yanks 19-1 (AP)
New York Yankees pitcher T.J. Beam wipes his face as he watches Cleveland Indians' Ronnie Belliard's ball after Belliard hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning in baseball action, Tuesday, July 4, 2006, in Cleveland.  (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)AP - George Steinbrenner's 76th birthday was a big bash all right. Victor Martinez went 5-for-6 and Jhonny Peralta and Travis Hafner each hit two of Cleveland's six home runs, powering the Indians to a 19-1 rout of New York on Tuesday night to spoil the Yankee owner's Fourth of July birthday.


Royals stop Twins 11-game winning streak (AP)
Kansas City Royals' David DeJesus (9) celebrates with third base coach Luis Silverio after hitting a home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday, July 4, 2006, in Kansas City, Mo.  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)AP - After missing more than a month with a hamstring injury, David DeJesus is making up for lost time. DeJesus homered in Kansas City's four-run fourth inning and Mark Grudzielanek had two doubles and scored two runs as the Royals beat Minnesota 7-2 on Tuesday night, ending the Twins' 11-game winning streak.


Italy boots Germany 2-0 to reach final (AP)
Italy's Alessandro Del Piero celebrates after scoring his side's second goal in the semifinal World Cup soccer match between Germany and Italy in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, July 4, 2006. Italy won the match 2-0 after extra time.  (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)AP - For a team intent on avoiding penalty kicks, Italy sure cut things close. Like down to the final minute.


Mickelson looks to put U.S. Open in past (AP)
Phil Mickelson, center, watches his drive on the fifth hole as he plays a round of golf with his swing coach Rick Smith, right, and Medinah head pro Mike Scully at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill., Tuesday, July 4, 2006. Mickelson, who is the defending PGA Champion and in the area for the Western Open, played an early morning round at Medinah where the PGA Championship will be held in August. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)AP - Phil Mickelson walked down the aisle, said "Hi, guys" and took a seat at the table. Then he had a question. "What would we possibly be talking about today?" he asked in jest Tuesday.


Payton, A's nick Tigers 2-1 in 10 innings (AP)
Oakland Athletics' Bobby Crosby, left, is safe at home, scoring the game-winning run, after colliding with Detroit Tigers' Vance Wilson in the 10th inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, July 4, 2006. Crosby scored on Jay Payton's base hit. The Athletics won 2-1 in 10 innings. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)AP - Bobby Crosby barreled over catcher Vance Wilson for the winning run in the 10th inning, and just like that the Oakland Athletics had their second straight victory against the team with the best record in baseball. Not a bad lift for a club that got swept by the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks just last weekend.


'Skins safety Sean Taylor sued over fight (AP)
AP - Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was sued by a man who said the NFL player brandished a gun and repeatedly hit him during a fight last June.

Wallace leaving Pistons to sign with Bulls (AP)
Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace dunks against the Phoenix Suns in an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 2, 2006, in Auburn Hills, Mich. Wallace scored 11 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to help the Pistons to a 109-102 win. Wallace, a free-agent, who also is being courted by the Chicago Bulls, says he's disappointed by Detroit's $49.6 million, four-year contract offer. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)AP - Ben Wallace is bringing his rebounds, blocks and steals to the Chicago Bulls. The free-agent center, a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, is leaving the Detroit Pistons to sign with the Bulls, a person within the NBA said Monday.


Rockies tie for 1st after beating Giants (AP)
Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jeff Francis delivers a pitch to San Francisco Giants batter Lance Niekro in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Tuesday, July 4, 2006. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)AP - In a batting cage below Coors Field, Jeff Francis kept his arm loose. As the rain delay went on, Francis would throw lightly, sit down, throw some more and sit down again.


Donovan leads Galaxy to win over Red Bulls (AP)
Los Angeles Galaxy's Landon Donovan, right, getes pulled down by New York Red Bulls' Marvell Wynne during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Carson, Calif., Tuesday, July 4, 2006. Wynne got a yellow card on the play. The Galaxy won the game, 1-0. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)AP - Landon Donovan scored his third goal in two games to lead the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Tuesday night. The Galaxy (4-10-3) won its first home game of the season and broke a nine-game winless streak against the Red Bulls (2-5-8) dating from 2002.


Yzerman retires, but will stay involved (AP)
Detroit Red Wings' Steve Yzerman walks off the ice for the last time after the Edmonton Oilers scored to beat the Wings in the first round of the NHL playoffs in Edmonton on May 1, 2006. After 22 seasons as a Red Wing, Yzerman announced his retirement on July 3, 2006. (CP PHOTO ARCHIVE/John Ulan)AP - Steve Yzerman has laced up his skates for the Red Wings for the last time. That doesn't mean Hockeytown has to say goodbye to the longtime Detroit captain.


Read and React: Injured list
The mailbag was filled with comments on the recoveries of Ben Roethlisberger and Chad Pennington.

Redskins S Taylor being sued for assault (AP)
Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was sued by a man who said the NFL player brandished a gun and repeatedly hit him during a fight last June. Ryan Hill filed the suit on June 27 in Miami Dade Circuit Court and is seeking $15,000 in damages from Taylor. The lawsuit states that Hill was bruised, incurred medical expenses and lost wages because of the fight.

Ricky Williams scores first CFL TD (AP)
Suspended NFL star Ricky Williams scored his first touchdown and ran for 97 yards on 18 carries Friday night for the Toronto Argonauts in a 26-19 loss to British Columbia Lions. Williams, playing in his third regular-season game in the CFL after he was suspended by the NFL for one year after a fourth positive drug test, also had two catches for 21 yards.

Bucs sign free-agent QB Jay Fiedler (AP)
Free-agent quarterback Jay Fiedler signed Tuesday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will compete for a backup job behind Chris Simms. The Bucs also signed tight end Matt Kranchick, who spent last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants. The team released receiver Ben Nelson and offensive tackle Stefan Rodgers.

Ex-NFLers sue NFLPA over hedge fund scam (AP)
Steve Atwater told his four kids their recent trip to Cancun may be the last one for a while. Blaine Bishop has tossed and turned at night, worried his retirement safety net could be in jeopardy. The two former NFL defensive backs insisted Friday that the league and its players' union are to blame for the $20 million they and five other current and former players lost in an alleged investment scam.

49ers sign 14-year veteran P Tom Rouen (AP)
The San Francisco 49ers signed punter Tom Rouen on Thursday and waived Tom Malone. Rouen, a 14-year veteran, averaged 41.6 yards on 62 punts for Seattle last season. He averaged 50.2 yards per punt in the Seahawks' 21-10 loss to Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. Rouen originally entered the NFL in 1991 with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent.

Patriots DL Jonathan Sullivan arrested (AP)
New England Patriots defensive lineman Johnathan Sullivan faces several charges, including possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, after his car was pulled over, police said. Sullivan, 25, was stopped by a police officer early Sunday after he ran two stop signs, a police report said. When he approached the vehicle, the officer noted that Sullivan and his passenger weren't wearing their seat...

Ravens, Reed agree to 6-year, $40M deal (AP)
Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed agreed to terms Tuesday on a six-year, $40 million contract extension with the team. Reed was entering the final year of his original contract. The agreement ended off-and-on talks that began last season. Reed's agent, Greg Genske, said his client will receive a $15 million signing bonus in the largest deal ever given to a safety.

The wild, wild East
There's a reason the Pistons and Bulls would overpay for Ben Wallace. Three of them, actually.

Pistons replace Wallace with Mohammed (AP)
The Detroit Pistons are already moving on without Ben Wallace. A day after losing Wallace to the Chicago Bulls, the Pistons reached an agreement with free-agent center Nazr Mohammed on Tuesday, a person within the NBA told The Associated Press. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because NBA free agents can't officially sign contracts until July 12, said the team and Mohammed made an...

Ben Wallace to sign with Bulls (AP)
Ben Wallace is bringing his rebounds, blocks and steals to the Chicago Bulls. The free-agent center, a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, is leaving the Detroit Pistons to sign with the Bulls, a person within the NBA said Monday. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because NBA free agents can't officially sign contracts until July 12, said the Pistons...

Wade, Heat working on extension (AP)
Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat are working on a five-year contract extension, with the hope that a deal will be struck before the MVP of the NBA finals leaves for USA Basketball's summer training camp later this month. Wade is eligible for a deal worth about $80 million; the exact value of the extension, much like the one agreed to by Carmelo Anthony with Denver and the one offered to LeBron James...

Hawks to sign PG Claxton (AP)
The Atlanta Hawks have reportedly reached agreement with veteran point guard Speedy Claxton, filling one of the team's greatest needs. Claxton, a five-year NBA veteran, played on San Antonio's 2003 NBA championship team and averaged 12.3 points, 4.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds last season with the Hornets.

Harpring agrees to re-sign with Jazz (AP)
Matt Harpring is staying with the Utah Jazz, agreeing to a multiyear deal with the team Tuesday. "Matt is a bottom-line person. He listened (to other teams) and he was flattered, but he didn't want it to drag on," Atlanta-based agent Richard Howell said. Terms of the deal, which can't be formally completed until July 12, were not announced.

Agent: F Piatkowski to join Suns (AP)
The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent forward Eric Piatkowski. The 35-year-old forward won't officially become a Sun until the NBA signing period opens on July 12, but the team and Piatkowski have a deal, sports agent Jeff Austin said Tuesday. Austin would not discuss financial terms of the contract.

Bulls mascot charged with attacking cop (AP)
A Chicago Bulls mascot dressed in a bright red costume was charged with attacking an off-duty officer after driving a mini-motorcycle through an outdoor festival. Barry Anderson, the Benny the Bull mascot, was charged with misdemeanor battery and driving within a parkway. The 26-year-old man is accused of throwing a punch at the sheriff's deputy, knocking off his glasses and breaking his watch.

Longtime Wings captain Yzerman retires (AP)
Steve Yzerman has laced up his skates for the Red Wings for the last time. That doesn't mean Hockeytown has to say goodbye to the longtime Detroit captain. Yzerman, who led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup titles and spent his entire 23-year NHL career in Detroit, retired from playing Monday, but said he plans to stay in the organization while devoting more time to his family.

Oilers trade former MVP Pronger to Ducks (AP)
Star defenseman Chris Pronger was traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday for right wing Joffrey Lupul, defenseman Ladislav Smid and three draft picks. Pronger, the 2000 NHL MVP with St. Louis, led the Oilers to the Stanley Cup finals last month. They fell just short of a championship, losing Game 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Leafs ink former rookie of year Raycroft (AP)
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed newly acquired goaltender Andrew Raycroft to a three-year, $6-million contract Tuesday. Toronto got the 26-year-old goalie from Boston at the NHL draft last month in exchange for goalie prospect Tuukka Rask. The Calder Trophy winner as the NHL's top rookie in 2003-2004 when he posted a 2.05 goals-against average and .926 save percentage for the Bruins, Raycroft was...

Senators C Spezza signs two-year deal (AP)
The Ottawa Senators re-signed restricted free agent forward Jason Spezza on Monday to a two-year contract worth $9 million. The 23-year-old center had 19 goals and 71 assists for a career-best 90 points last season, placing him third on the Senators. "We feel that he's a great asset to our organization," Senators general manager John Muckler said.

Lightning sign Denis to three-year deal (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning signed goaltender Marc Denis to a three-year, $8.6 million contract on Tuesday. The Lightning obtained Denis from the Columbus Blue Jackets last Friday for left wing Fredrik Modin and goalie Fredrik Norrena. He will replace John Grahame, who signed with Carolina, as Tampa Bay's starting goalie.

Coyotes bring back Jeremy Roenick (AP)
Jeremy Roenick is coming back to the Phoenix Coyotes. The team said Tuesday it had signed the free-agent center to a one-year contract, bringing the nine-time All-Star back to Phoenix. Roenick, 36, was an original member of the Coyotes, playing with the club for five years through the 2000-01 season. Roenick was limited by injuries to 58 games for the Los Angeles Kings last season.

Reasoner rejoins Oilers for two years (AP)
Center Marty Reasoner is returning to the Edmonton Oilers, signing a $1.9 million, two-year contract Tuesday. The Oilers traded Reasoner to the Boston Bruins on March 9 in exchange for forward Sergei Samsonov. Reasoner missed the club's run to the Stanley Cup final, though he finished the season with a career-high 11 goals and 23 assists in 77 games.

Chasing change
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Rather than adjusting its "playoff" format, NASCAR should just leave the Chase alone.

Five ways to make the Chase better (AP)
Less than three years into the Chase for the championship, NASCAR chairman Brian France wants to tweak his title-crowning format.

Villeneuve eyes NASCAR switch (AFP)
Canadian Jacques Villeneuve could quit Formula One for the US-based NASCAR championship next year, the veteran racer said.

Stewart may have made his final fence fling (AP)
Tony Stewart may have climbed his last fence.

Schumacher wins incident-packed US Grand Prix (AFP)
Michael Schumacher cruised to his third win of the season in the United States Grand Prix as he led home Ferrari's first one-two of the year after an incident-filled race.

Stewart repeats at NASCAR Pepsi 400 (SportsTicker)

Johnson's plate-racing streak ends at Daytona (AP)
Jimmie Johnson's winning streak at restrictor-plate races is over. His Nextel Cup points lead is intact -- barely.

Terry Cook ends four-year drought with NASCAR Trucks win (SportsTicker)

Dodge chairman pledges commitment to NASCAR (AP)
The chairman of DaimlerChrysler denied a widespread rumor that Dodge is pulling out of NASCAR, and pledged his commitment to America's top racing series.

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