Heat hammer Celtics, send series back to Miami
BOSTON (AP) — LeBron James showed why he's the NBA's reigning MVP as he put on one of his greatest postseason performances to help the Miami Heat force a seventh game in the Eastern Conference finals.
James shot 19-for-26 from the field and finished with 45 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Heat's 98-79 rout of the Celtics in Boston. He ended up four points shy of his playoff career-high while playing 45 minutes, not sitting down until the victory was long secured.
James was outstanding while his teammates combined to shoot 36 percent from the floor. Dwyane (dwayn) Wade shot 6-for-17 in scoring 17 points. No other Miami player had more than nine points.
The Celtics had their own shooting problems, shooting 1-for-14 from beyond the arc. Paul Pierce missed 14 of his 18 field-goal attempts and was held to nine points. Rajon Rondo (RAH'-zhahn RAHN'-doh) had team-highs of 21 points and 10 assists but also had seven turnovers.
Game 7 will be Saturday at Miami. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder are awaiting the series winner after disposing of San Antonio in the Western Conference finals.
Game 1 of the finals will be Tuesday at Oklahoma City.
Price right for Rays...A long time coming for Dodgers
UNDATED (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays own a piece of first place in the American League East once again after salvaging the finale of a three-game set with the Yankees in New York.
David Price outdueled CC Sabathia (suh-BATH'-ee-uh) by allowed a run on three hits and four walks in the Rays' 7-3 win over the Yanks. Price left with a 5-1 lead after fanning Alex Rodriguez and retiring Robinson Cano (kuh-NOH'), both with the bases loaded.
Sabathia struck out 12 but surrendered three earned runs and seven hits in seven innings.
The Rays and Baltimore have identical 32-25 records, a half-game ahead of the Yankees, two games in front of Toronto and three games better than Boston.
The Orioles lost in Boston for the first time since last season, absorbing a 7-0 shutout by the Red Sox. Clay Buchholz fired a four-hitter for his third career shutout, all coming against the Birds. Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and two RBIs as the Red Sox ended a three-game skid and salvaged the series finale.
The Chicago White Sox won for the 15th time in 19 games to stretch their Central Division lead to 1 1/2 games over Cleveland. Orlando Hudson's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Chisox over Toronto 4-3. Alex Rios drove in Chicago's other runs with an RBI single and a two-run homer.
The Cleveland Indians dropped another game behind the White Sox by falling to Detroit 7-1. Miguel Cabrera belted a two-run homer while the Tigers were building a 7-1 lead against losing pitcher Derek Lowe.
Also in the AL, Oakland tagged Yu Darvish for six runs on six hits and six walks over 5 1-3 innings before completing a 7-1 win over Texas. Coco Crisp drove in four runs with a solo homer and a bases-loaded triple.
Over to the National League, where the Los Angeles Dodgers have run their record to a major league-best 37-21 by doing something they hadn't accomplished since Leo Durocher was their manager and Jackie Robinson was playing for the Montreal Royals.
The Dodgers fell behind 3-0 against the Phillies before rallying for an 8-3 victory that gives them their first four-game sweep at Philadelphia since 1946. Andre Ethier (EE'-thee-ur) and Jerry Hairston Jr. drove in two runs apiece, and Matt Treanor (TRAY'-nur) supplied the tiebreaking single to cap a three-run sixth.
Aaron Harang survived a rocky third inning and scattered eight hits in six frames for his 100th career victory, allowing the Dodgers to stay four games ahead of second-place San Francisco in the National League West.
The Giants enjoyed an 8-3 victory against San Diego as Matt Cain struck out nine over seven innings while winning his sixth consecutive start. Buster Posey, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco (GREG'-ur BLAHN'-koh) homered and Ryan Theriot (TEHR'-ee-oh) had four hits as the Giants won for the ninth time in 11 games.
Also in the National League, R.A. Dickey became the majors' first nine-game winner of the season and stretched his shutout streak to 24 2-3 innings by blanking Washington on four hits over 7 1-3 to lead the New York Mets to a 3-1 win over the Nationals. Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer to back Dickey, who's 9-1 with a 2.44 ERA.
Atlanta is within a game of the East-leading Nats after Jason Heyward hit two of Atlanta's four homers in an 8-2 pounding of Miami. Martin Prado (mahr-TEEN' PRAH'-doh) put the Braves ahead to stay with a two-run homer and Michael Bourn added a three-run blast as the Braves completed a three-game sweep.
Pittsburgh is within two games of Central-leading Cincinnati after Michael McHenry's RBI double in the 10th inning lifted the Pirates past the Reds 5-4. The tiebreaking hit came against Aroldis Chapman, who hadn't allowed an earned run in a club-record 24 appearances covering 29 innings.
Lance Lynn joined Dickey as baseball's first nine-game winners, striking out a career-high 11 while working six innings of the St. Louis Cardinals' 14-2 laugher over Houston. David Freese (freez) hit a grand slam and a two-run homer after Carlos Beltran smacked his league-high 16th home run of the year.
Norichika Aoki (nohr-ee-CHEE'-kah ah-OH'-kee) tripled his season home run total by slamming two, including a walk-off blast in the 10th inning of Milwaukee's 4-3 verdict over the Chicago Cubs.
Lasorda on the mend...Holland to miss time
UNDATED (AP) — Former L.A. Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has been released from a New York hospital, three days after suffering a mild heart attack.
A Dodgers spokesman says the 84-year-old Lasorda will spend a few more days in the Big Apple returning to Los Angeles.
Lasorda was in New York to represent the Dodgers at the major league draft.
He is in his sixth decade working for the Dodgers organization. He managed them to 1,599 victories and won the World Series in 1981 and 1988. Lasorda retired as manager in 1996 after suffering a heart attack.
Also, the AL West-leading Texas Rangers have placed left-hander Derek Holland on the 15-day disabled list because of fatigue in his throwing shoulder. Holland also has been dealing with a stomach virus that has caused him to lose 10-15 pounds over the last couple of weeks.
Major League Baseball and its players' association decided there will be no written decision in the case overturning Ryan Braun's 50-game drug suspension. The two sides announced changes to their drug-testing agreement in the wake of the Feb. 23 decision by an arbitrator to overturn the suspension that followed a positive test by the Brewers outfielder and reigning NL MVP.
The Astros have signed 17-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa (koh-RAY'-uh), the first overall pick in this week's major league draft. Correa accepted a signing bonus of $4.8 million.
And former University of San Francisco pitcher Kyle Zimmer has signed with the Royals after agreeing to a $3 million signing bonus. Zimmer was the fifth overall pick in this week's amateur draft.
FRENCH OPEN-WOMEN'S SEMIFINALS
Sharapova tantalizingly close
PARIS (AP) — It will be second-ranked Maria Sharapova (shah-rah-POH'-vah) against Sara Errani (eh-RAH'-nee) in the French Open women's final Saturday at Roland Garros.
Sharapova cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 4 Petra Kvitova (kuh-VIHT'-oh-vuh) after the 21st-seeded Errani rallied for a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 win over No. 6 Sam Stosur (STOH'-sur).
Errani has never faced Sharapova, who will climb to No. 1 in the rankings when they are released on Monday.
Friday's men's semifinals have six-time champion Rafael Nadal (rah-fay-ehl nah-DAHL') taking on David Ferrer (feh-REHR') and top-seed Novak Djokovic (NOH'-vak JOH'-kuh-vich) facing Roger Federer.
Nadal is 15-4 versus Ferrer while Federer holds a 14-11 edge in career meetings with Djokovic.
NHL-STANLEY CUP FINALS
Devils won't go quietly
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The participants in the NHL's Stanley Cup finals are enjoying the first of two off days before the series resumes Saturday night in New Jersey. The Devils extended the season with last night's 3-1 victory on the Kings' home ice, cutting L.A.s advantage to 3-1 in the best-of-seven matchup.
Los Angeles was trying to become the first team to sweep the finals since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings against Washington. The Kings are still hunting the first Cup in the 45-year history of the franchise.
Jones re-ups with Avs
DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche have agreed to a four-year deal with David Jones, the team's fourth-best scorer over the last two seasons. Jones had 37 points this season after tying for the team lead with 27 goals during the 2010-11 campaign.
Pats ink veteran TE
The New England Patriots have inked free-agent tight end Bo Scaife (skayf).
The six-year NFL veteran has played in 90 games with 62 starts, and has 251 receptions, 2,383 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. That includes 36 catches for 318 yards and four TDs last season.
A lawsuit bringing together scores of cases has been filed in federal court accusing the NFL of hiding information linking football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries.
Lawyers for former players say more than 80 pending lawsuits are consolidated in the "master complaint" filed in Philadelphia.
Plaintiffs hope to hold the NFL responsible for the care of players suffering from dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other neurological conditions.
PGA-ST. JUDE CLASSIC
Veteran golfer shares lead
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Forty-eight-year-old Jeff Maggert owns a share of the first-round lead at the PGA's St. Jude Classic in Memphis. Maggert and John Merrick each opened with 4-under-par 66s, one stroke better than J.J. Henry, Jeff Overton, Arjun Atwal and Seung-Yul Noh.
Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, John Daly and Davis Love III are part of an 11-man logjam at minus-2.
Tseng seven back through 18
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Three players share the lead through one round of the LPGA Championship, and the trio doesn't include top-ranked Yani Tseng (YAH'-nee sehng).
Beatriz Recari, Ryann O'Toole, and Giulia Sergas each fired 3-under 69s, one shot better than Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak (say ree pahk) and five others.
Tseng is seven strokes off the lead following a 76, matching her worst score of the year.
Tie at the top
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Dan Forsman and Bill Glasson shared the first-round lead in the Regions Tradition, shooting 6-under 66's in the second of the Champions Tour's five major championships.
Fred Funk was a stroke back, and Bernard Langer opened with a 68.
Owens dies before induction
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Recently elected NASCAR Hall of Famer Cotton Owens has passed away at the age of 88.
Owens was a NASCAR pioneer who won nine times on the top circuit. But he was perhaps better known as an owner, fielding cars for Hall of Fame drivers like Junior Johnson and David Pearson. Owens had 41 wins and 38 poles in 487 races as an owner.