Wilson comes up just short
UNDATED (AP) — Angels lefty C.J. Wilson became the first major league pitcher in 11 seasons to start back-to-back games and Los Angeles went on to defeat the Rangers 4-2 in Texas.
Wilson took the loss Friday night after throwing 22 pitches to five batters before a lengthy rain delay prevented him from going back out to the mound. He allowed five hits and two runs over 5 2-3 innings of this one and just missed getting a win. Kendrys Morales had a pinch-hit, tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, making a winner out of David Carpenter, who got the last out in the sixth after replacing Wilson.
Ranger slugger Josh Hamilton continues his tear, blasting his major league-leading 18th home run and ninth in six games.
In National League play, the Milwaukee Brewers pounded out an 8-2 decision over the visiting Chicago Cubs. Edwin Maysonet hit his first career grand slam to help the Brewers to their second straight victory over the Cubbies. Chris Volstad took the loss and drops to 0-5. It's the 18th straight start that Volstad failed to earn a W.
And the New York Mets beat the Miami Marlins 9-3. David Wright went 4-for-6 with a homer and three RBIs to lead the way. It's his fourth straight multi-hit game. Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco didn't make it out of the fifth inning and loses for the first time in five decisions this season. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey went six innings to pick up the win and improve to 5-1.
Marmol demoted and now disabled
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Chicago Cubs placed former closer Carlos Marmol on the 15-day disabled list because of an injured hamstring.
The right-hander was hurt Friday night while pitching during the seventh inning in a game against Milwaukee. He returned to Chicago to have an MRI, which revealed the injury.
Marmol is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA and in 15 games this season and has blown three of his five save opportunities.
MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James has officially been named the NBA's MVP for a third time in four years. That makes him just the eighth player in league history with three or more MVP awards.
James says he'd give up all three for an NBA championship ring.
James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists and earned 85 out of a possible 121 first-place votes. League scoring champion Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was named first on 24 ballots, finishing second to James for a second time in his five-year career.
Last season's MVP, Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, appeared in only 39 of 66 regular-season games this season because of a variety of injuries and finished 10th.
First and second round action tonight
UNDATED (AP) — The second round of the NBA playoffs begins today in Boston while first-round action continues in Los Angeles.
The Celtics host surprising Philadelphia in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The 76ers are in the second round for the first time since 2003 after dispatching injury-plagued Chicago in six games. The Sixers are just the fifth No. 8 seed in NBA history to dispatch a No. 1 seed.
The Celtics eliminated Atlanta is six games as well, but go into the next round with continuing injury worries. Paul Pierce is hobbled by a sprained knee ligament and Ray Allen continues to be bothered by bone spurs in his right ankle.
The Nuggets try to complete an improbable comeback when they meet the Lakers in Game 7 of their opening-round series. Denver has won back-to-back games while facing elimination, including a 16-point romp Thursday night on their home court.
The Lakers will welcome back forward Metta World Peace from the seven-game suspension he served for elbowing Oklahoma City's James Harden in the head during the second-to-last game of the regular season.
Fowler gets hot
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Rickie Fowler fired a 6-under-par 66 to get to 9-under for the tournament and is the clubhouse leader as third-round play continues at the Players Championship. A bogey on 18 was the lone blemish on his card. Fowler is coming off his first PGA Tour victory at last week's Wells Fargo Championship.
Moments after Fowler finished, second-round co-leader Matt Kuchar (KOO'-chur) got to minus-10 with a birdie on No. 9. He played the front side in 2 under.
Phil Mickelson carded a 2-under 70 and is 4-under with 18 holes to play at TPC Sawgrass.
Tiger Woods matched par and remains stuck at minus-2.
It was a tightly bunched leaderboard when weekend play got under way this morning at the Players Championship.
Zach Johnson, Kevin Na and Matt Kuchar (KOO'-chur) were all 8-un par after 36 holes at TPC Sawgrass. Johnson is coming off a 6-under 66.
Harris English trailed by one when they hit the halfway pole and six more golfers were just two off the pace.
Tiger Woods avoided missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in his career and began the day six shots back of the leaders, same as Phil Mickelson.
Serena still in it
MADRID (AP) — Serena Williams will meet top-ranked Victoria Azarenka (ah-zah-REN'-kuh) in the final of the Madrid Open.
Williams beat qualifier Lucie Hradecka 7-6, 6-love on the new blue-clay court after Azarenka ousted fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska (ahg-nee-ESH'-kuh rahd-VAHN'-skuh) 6-2, 6-4.
Williams will move up from ninth to sixth in the rankings with the win. She's chasing her second title of the season. Azarenka has won four tournaments this year.
Williams holds a 6-1 head-to-head record against Azarenka, whose only win came in 2009. This will be the first time they meet on clay.
Game 7 showdown
NEW YORK (AP) — It's winner-take-all tonight when the Capitals and Rangers meet in New York for Game 7 of their NHL Eastern Conference semifinal.
The two teams have alternated wins and losses, and have been tied or within one goal 90 percent of the time.
The club that has scored first has won every game in the matchup, and since New York's 3-1 victory in the opener, the next five games have been decided by one goal, including two that went to overtime.
The winner takes on the well-rested Devils in the Eastern Conference finals. New Jersey finished off the Philadelphia Flyers in five games on Tuesday.
FORMULA ONE-SPANISH GP
Hamilton moved way back
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lewis Hamilton lost his pole position for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix over a rules infraction but will still be allowed to race. The McLaren driver will start from the last spot on the grid.
Officials penalized Hamilton for not having enough gas left in the tank for the sample that's required after qualifying.
Pastor Maldonado was second fastest in Saturday qualifying in Barcelona and will be the first Venezuelan to start a Formula One race from the pole when the green flag drops at the Catalunya Circuit. The decision gives Williams its first pole since the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Biffle will lead the field to green
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Sprint Cup points leader Greg Biffle has the pole for tonight's Southern 500 at Darlington. He's claimed two victories on the South Carolina track and has finished in the top 15 in eight of 11 races there.
Jimmie Johnson takes green on the outside of row one.
Danica Patrick is making her second Sprint Cup series appearance of the season following the Daytona 500 and will start 38th.