August 2ndt, 2006


Guillen hits for cycle; Abreu coaxes key walk


The Associated Press
Oakland Athletics’ Marco Scutaro turns the double play in the fifth inning as Los Angeles Angels’ Adam Kennedy slides into second base Tuesday in Anaheim, Calif.

By The Associated Press
Carlos Guillen hit line drives all over the field and hustled his way to a cycle. Bobby Abreu helped the New York Yankees win by simply drawing a walk.
With an eighth-inning double Tuesday night, Guillen became only the third Detroit Tigers player since 1951 to hit for the cycle. He scored three runs and drove in two during a 10-4 victory at Tampa Bay.
“That was pretty impressive,” said Tigers rookie Justin Verlander, who became baseball’s first 14-game winner. “It was fun to watch.”
Abreu watched a few close pitches go by in his Yankees debut — and that patience paid off.
He worked out a nine-pitch walk in the fourth inning, checking his swing a couple of times after falling behind 0-2, to set up Bernie Williams’ three-run double in a 5-1 win over the visiting Toronto_Blue Jays.
Abreu’s sharp eye fits New York’s patient style at the plate, a big reason the Yankees traded for him Sunday. The right fielder, a two-time All-Star in Philadelphia, was leading the majors with 91 walks for the Phillies.
With its sixth victory in seven games, New York (62-41) moved into the AL East lead for the first time since before play on June 18. The Yankees lead Boston (63-42) in winning percentage by .602 to .600.
“The only thing that means is we don’t have to worry about other teams,” Derek Jeter said. “Now, if we play better than the rest of the division, we’ll win.”
Abreu started in right field and batted fifth, going 0-for-3. New York acquired him to play right in the absence of Gary Sheffield, out since wrist surgery in June.
With Sheffield and left fielder Hideki Matsui (broken wrist) hoping to return in September, Sheffield said before the game that he wouldn’t mind a shift to first base when he gets back.
Abreu’s arrival, combined with the acquisition of first baseman-right fielder Craig Wilson, is likely to cut Williams’ playing time.
“I kidded with him, saying, ‘You’re probably not going to play anymore,”’ manager Joe Torre said. “Then I basically told him he’d DH sometimes and play center field when Johnny (Damon) needs_a break.”
Williams was the designated hitter Tuesday and said he’s willing to fill any role.
“When everybody got hurt, it was a bonus for me,” he said. “Hopefully, Joe will have enough confidence in me to throw me out there in certain situations.”
Williams’ double off A.J. Burnett (2-5) was his 442nd, tying Don Mattingly for second on the Yankees’ career list behind Lou Gehrig (535).
Jaret Wright (7-6) pitched five effective innings to win for the first time in three starts.
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Guillen became the 10th Detroit player to complete the cycle. He had an RBI triple in the second inning, a solo homer in the third, a single in the sixth and a double in the eighth.
Guillen hit his double to right-center and slide safely into second, beating a throw from Damon Hollins.
“That was awesome,” said new first baseman Sean Casey, who homered and drove in two runs in his Tigers debut. “I felt like a fan. If he didn’t go for second, I was going to go out and tackle him.”
The last two Tigers to accomplish the feat were Damion Easley in 2001 and Travis Fryman in 1993. It was Detroit’s first cycle on the road since George Kell did it on June 2, 1950, at Philadelphia.
“Inside I felt pretty good,” Guillen said. “I was looking for the double. As soon as I hit the ball, I tried to run hard. If I don’t run hard my first at-bat, I don’t get the triple. If I don’t run hard my last at-bat, I don’t get the double.”
Verlander (14-4) won his seventh consecutive decision, allowing three runs in five innings. He is 7-0 with a 2.04 ERA in his past nine starts, and he hasn’t lost since June 7 against the Chicago White Sox.
The AL Central-leading Tigers (71-35) matched their win total from last season.
Indians 6, Red Sox 3: C.C. Sabathia (8-7) pitched eight solid innings and Casey Blake hit his third homer in two games as Cleveland snapped a three-game skid.
Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will have surgery for torn cartilage in his left knee, leaving Boston without one of its most important players during a tight pennant race. It’s not yet clear when Varitek might return.
Rangers 9, Twins 0: Gary Matthews Jr. hit his second grand slam this season to highlight an eight-run fourth, and Adam Eaton (1-1) pitched six solid innings for his first win with Texas. Michael Young also homered for the Rangers, who won for only the second time in nine games.
White Sox 7, Royals 5, 10 innings: Joe Crede went 4-for-5 with a homer and singled in the go-ahead run in a three-run 10th for Chicago. Bobby Jenks earned his 29th save.
Angels 3, Athletics 2: Joe Saunders (2-0) pitched seven strong innings in place of injured ace Bartolo Colon. The Angels capitalized on two Oakland errors and used some daring baserunning to beat Joe Blanton (11-9), pulling within a half-game of the first-place Athletics in the AL West.
Francisco Rodriguez got his 26th save, and left fielder Juan Rivera threw out a runner at the plate in_the sixth.
Orioles 2, Mariners 0: Rodrigo Lopez (8-11) took a three-hitter into the eighth to beat Jamie Moyer (6-10), and Melvin Mora and Nick Markakis each had an RBI. Chris Ray earned his 27th save.



Landis ‘D-Day’ nears

PARIS (AP) — Floyd Landis said all he wanted was a chance to clear his name. His first opportunity will come Saturday — though not even the Tour de France champion believes it will do him much good.
Landis, who showed a testosterone imbalance in an initial urine sample taken during the Tour de France, will find out this weekend whether the “B” sample confirms that result, or gets him off the hook.
Not even Landis’ legal team thinks that’s going to happen. The 30-year-old cyclist and his lawyer have previously acknowledged that they expect the “B” sample to show the same elevated ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone found in the “A” sample last week.
Michael Henson, a spokesman for the cyclist, confirmed Tuesday that a urine test on Landis after the tour’s 17th stage turned up an 11:1 ratio — far above the 4:1 limit allowed. A 1:1 ratio is average.
The “A” sample was provided July 20 by the cyclist after he zoomed his way back into contention by winning a tough Alpine leg with an epic ride that will long be remembered by race fans.
Landis has insisted that his body’s natural metabolism — not doping — caused the elevated result, and said he would undergo further tests to prove it.
But a New York Times report cast doubt on that defense. The newspaper cited a source from the UCI, cycling’s international federation, saying that a second analysis of the “A” sample, called a carbon isotope ratio test, had detected synthetic testosterone in Landis’ system. The newspaper said the person at UCI had knowledge of the result.
The “B” sample, collected from Landis at the same time as the “A” sample, will be unsealed in the presence of Landis’ lawyer and tested at the same Chatenay-Malabry lab near Paris.
If it comes back negative, the cyclist would be cleared.
If the tests confirm the “A” sample results, Landis could become the first winner of cycling’s premiere race to lose the yellow jersey in a doping case. Should that occur, Tour runner-up Oscar Pereiro_of Spain would be declared the_winner.
Landis has already been suspended by his Phonak racing team pending the final results, and could be fired. He could also face a two-year ban from racing.
Although UCI counsel Philippe Verbiest confirmed that an isotope test had taken place, he declined to provide details.



Kobe takes in debut

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Kobe Bryant grabbed a seat about five rows behind the basket, close enough to admire the powerful dunks Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard threw down in the third quarter.
Problem is, Bryant wanted to be playing with those guys, not watching them.
Knee surgery put that plan on hold. Instead, he had to settle for observing the U.S. national team’s debut Tuesday night. And he came away impressed.
“It’s amazing, it’s fun to watch,” Bryant said. “They come at you in waves. It’s nonstop, the pressure that they put on fullcourt, quick hands, quick feet that they have.”
If the Americans play as well as they did at times Tuesday, they might not even miss Bryant.
Even without the NBA’s leading scorer, the U.S. had several impressive spurts during a four-quarter scrimmage against Puerto Rico. Scores were reset at the start of each period, otherwise the Americans would have won 116-82.
U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski stressed earlier Tuesday that the scrimmage was nothing more than a practice, but he found his players took it more seriously than that.
“I like the fact, I think it meant something,” Krzyzewski said. “I thought actually a couple of guys were nervous in a good way. That means it means something. I thought they tried to play every possession.”