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  • Suzuki records 4,000th hit as pro

    NEW YORK (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki stood near first base after lining a single for his 4,000th hit, hugging his teammates one by one, basking in the resounding cheers of an adoring Yankee Stadium crowd.
    In that moment it did not matter that his name would not be listed in Major League Baseball’s record book next to Ty Cobb and Pete Rose, the only two players to reach the milestone solely in the major leagues.
    Everyone involved Wednesday night knew: this was quite an achievement.
    “I was overwhelmed,” Suzuki said of the reception.
    The 39-year-old outfielder slashed a single the opposite way in the first inning off Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey that bounced just beyond diving third baseman Brett Lawrie for hit No. 4,000 in a career split between Japan and the major leagues.
    “It’s an astronomical number,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. “He’s set a new standard in baseball and I offer Ichiro my heartfelt congratulations.”
    With his 2,722nd hit in the big leagues he passed Yankees Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig in his 13th season in the United States. The speedy outfielder amassed 1,278 hits in nine seasons with Orix of Japan’s Pacific League.
    Rose finished with 4,256 hits and Cobb had 4,191, but Suzuki is not thinking about catching Rose.

  • Bolt was still the top ticket at contentious world track event

    MOSCOW (AP) — Yes, Usain Bolt dazzled again.
    He usually does on the biggest of stages, taking all suspense out of races early and leaving everyone else to compete for medals other than gold.
    Unlike Bolt's races, however, these world championships packed plenty of drama. Some of it wasn't so much for race finishes as the finish on the fingernails of two Swedish athletes. To show support for Russian gays and lesbians in the face of an anti-gay law, they went with rainbow nail polish during competition.
    That prompted a complaint from Russian pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva, who said she supported Russia's law and that Russians have "normal" heterosexual relations.
    Isinbayeva later backed off her remarks, saying she may have been misunderstood because she was speaking in English instead of her native language.
    On the track, Bolt was the show once more. When is that not the case? He picked up three more titles and is now the most decorated male athlete in world championship history with eight golds and two silvers, moving past Carl Lewis (eight golds, one silver, one bronze).
    Fellow Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also earned three gold medals as the proud sprinting country swept the men's and women's 100, 200 and 4x100 relays.

  • AP top 25 preseason college football poll

    The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press preseason college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2012 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and final ranking:

  • Dufner redeems himself at PGA Championship

    PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Jason Dufner doesn't have the same set of skills as Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, though his career has shared the same path — from a memorable collapse at a major championship to redemption in pretty short order.
    And in this sport, redemption doesn't always come easily. Just ask Dustin Johnson or Thomas Bjorn. There's an even longer list of players who gave away majors in the final hour and never so much as earned another shot, such as Ed Sneed or Mike Reid.
    There was reason to believe Dufner might be part of the latter group.
    Go back just two years to Atlanta Athletic Club to find Dufner standing on the 15th tee with the PGA Championship in his hands. He was four shots clear of Anders Hansen and five ahead of Keegan Bradley, who had just made a triple bogey on the par-3 15th.
    What followed was painful to watch.
    Dufner hit into the water and made bogey on the 15th. He hit into a bunker right of the 16th and made bogey. He hit the middle of the 17th green and still made bogey with a three-putt. Bradley answered with back-to-back birdies to catch Dufner, and then beat him in a playoff.
    "Maybe looking back 10, 15 years from now, I'll feel disappointment that I let this one get away if I never get another chance," Dufner said that day.

  • Experts pick 49ers as top team

    NEW YORK (AP) — Colin Kaepernick has the job from the start this season, and the feeling is the flashy quarterback is more than capable of leading the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl championship.
    The 49ers, who came up a few yards short of winning last year's title game, open the preseason as the No. 1 team in the AP Pro32 NFL power rankings.
    "He looks ready to take the next step," Newsday's Bob Glauber said of the third-year quarterback who stepped in for the now departed Alex Smith and went 7-3 in leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
    "A lot of losses from last year's roster," noted NBC Sports' Tony Dungy, "but solid in all three phases."
    San Francisco's wide receiver spot took a hit with the loss of Michael Crabtree until midseason, but the 49ers filled the void by signing Ravens standout Anquan Boldin. The 49ers also added dependable kicker Phil Dawson in the offseason to replace the inconsistent David Akers and signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
    San Francisco received five first-place votes Tuesday from The Associated Press panel of 11 media members who regularly cover the league, and totaled 344 points.

  • Woods, Mickelson top rankings heading into Pittsford

    PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Here they are again, back at the top of the world rankings.
    Tiger Woods, No. 1.
    Phil Mickelson, No. 2.
    Wouldn't it be something if they went out in the final pairing of the PGA Championship on Sunday, dueling head-to-head with a major title on the line, still the guys to beat after all these years?
    Mickelson would certainly relish the challenge.
    "I've always been a competitive person," Lefty said Tuesday, coming in from a practice round at Oak Hill. "I'm as motivated as ever to compete and to play and get the best golf out of me, to hopefully play against Tiger when he's playing his best. That would ultimately be the goal — I can play as well as I can at the same time he's doing the same.
    "I would love that opportunity."
    Both players are on top of their games entering the final major of the year.
    Woods is coming off a seven-stroke win at the Bridgestone, his PGA Tour-leading fifth victory of the year.
    Less than three weeks ago, Mickelson won the British Open with a dazzling final round at Muirfield.
    While Woods is mired in the longest major drought of his career — more than five years — he's clearly bounced back from personal woes, a series of injuries, and major changes in his swing.

  • A-Rod may be finished already

    NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez is allowed to play. Now we’ll find out if he can anymore.
    Coming off his second hip surgery in four years, the 38-year-old third baseman finally made his season debut Monday night for the New York Yankees — hours after he was suspended through 2014 by Major League Baseball as part of the Biogenesis drug investigation.
    The embattled slugger promised to appeal his penalty, which probably keeps him in pinstripes for the rest of this year. After that, who knows if he’ll ever take the field again?
    So he’s not banned yet, but maybe he’s all but finished. At least as A-Rod the All-Star.
    “I just hope that there’s a happy ending there somewhere,” he said.
    Time will tell.
    Time, and a steady dose of big league pitching. Time, and the daily grind of a major league schedule. Time, and the way his broken-down body rebounds after sliding into second or diving for a grounder.
    Four months on the sidelines is a long stretch for any player, especially one so late in his career. Not to mention, Rodriguez wasn’t exactly tearing it up before his latest injury.
    He went 3 for 25 (.120) without an RBI in the 2012 playoffs and wound up getting benched. Against right-handers, he was 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts.

  • Alex Rodriguez, others suspended by MLB for drugs

    NEW YORK (AP) — Defiant till the end, Alex Rodriguez is intent on evading baseball's most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal.

    Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players for their relationship to Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.

    The harshest penalty was reserved for Rodriguez, the New York Yankees slugger, a three-time Most Valuable Player and baseball's highest-paid star. He said he will appeal his suspension, which covers 211 games, by Thursday's deadline. And since arbitrator Fredric Horowitz isn't expected to rule until November or December at the earliest, Rodriguez was free to make his season debut Monday night and play the rest of this year.

    Sidelined since hip surgery in January, Rodriguez rejoined the Yankees five hours after the suspension in a series opener at the Chicago White Sox, scheduled to play third base and bat fourth.

    "The last seven months has been a nightmare, has been probably the worst time of my life for sure," Rodriguez said.

  • Woods shoots 70, coasts to 8th win at Bridgestone

    AKRON, Ohio (AP) — They say par is a good score in a major. If that's true next week at the PGA Championship, then Tiger Woods is already dialed in.

    Woods played safe and smart with a big lead, parring 16 holes in an even-par 70 Sunday to coast to a seven-shot victory at the Bridgestone Invitational for his eighth win at the event — matching the PGA Tour record he shares for victories in a single tournament.

    As he walked to the scorer's trailer to finalize his score, he scooped up young son Charlie.

    After a second-round 61 in which he flirted with 59, Woods ended up at 15-under 265 to easily beat defending champ Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson.

    Woods' mastery at Firestone Country Club allowed him to again match Sam Snead's PGA Tour record for wins in an event. Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Earlier this year, Woods won at Bay Hill for the eighth time.

    As if he weren't already the favorite next week in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, the lopsided victory reinforced it.

    No one ever got within six shots all day of the world's No. 1.

    When he had a good shot at a pin, he took it. Otherwise, he took few, if any, risks.