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Slide hard to ignore

KANSAS CITY – In a bizarre twist that no one expected, this long, miserable losing streak that has has turned Kansas City into a national joke might wind up doing the Royals some good. At least people do, for a change, seem to care. Embarrassment and anger have shocked fans out of their apathy. Instead of shrugging off one more losing year, they’re demanding action.

Arizona keeps Marquis from ending slump

ST. LOUIS – Claudio Vargas worked six solid innings and Luis Gonzalez hit a pair of home runs, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-2 on Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep. Cardinals pitcher Jason Marquis had an infield hit and an RBI double his first two at-bats, giving him six straight hits, before flying out in the seventh. He leads all pitchers with 25 hits, four more than the rest of the St. Louis rotation, and a .373 average.

Mavs rally by Otters

The Mid-Missouri Mavericks staged a late rally Thursday night, scoring eight runs in the final three innings to end a three-game losing streak with a 10-7 victory in Evansville. The host Otters led 7-2 heading into the seventh, but Alex Derhak reached on an error and Brett Winn singled. Wayne Astrauskas followed with his first home run of the season.

New route for receivers

When Missouri coach Gary Pinkel decided to revamp the Tigers’ offense after last year’s disappointing 5-6 season, the team’s wide receivers were unsure how they would be affected. But after beginning offseason practice last spring, it quickly became apparent that the biggest difference, at least according to many, is the amount of running. There’s a lot more of it.

Folly continues

SEATTLE — One of the Kansas City Royals has even had to change his evening plans.“I’m embarrassed," right-hander Jose Lima said. “I’m embarrassed to go into a bar. The people would say, ‘They lost 18 in a row. They really stink this year."

Scherzer, Mense gain from national team play

A special summer for two Missouri baseball players should benefit the Tigers next season. Max Scherzer, who will be a junior pitcher for the Tigers in 2006, and Hunter Mense, who will be a junior outfielder, played on the USA National Baseball Team this summer. The team consisted of the top collegiate players in the country that are non-draft eligible. “Everyone of these guys will play professional baseball,” said Baylor head coach Steve Smith, who managed the national team this summer. A long list of major and minor league players have been on the team in the past, including Mark ...

Something to think about

The play appeared to be finished. The ball had been snapped directly into the ground, a good foot and a half in front of the quarterback, and in all honesty, it didn’t really matter. Because Chase Daniel was the fourth-string quarterback, after all, and how impressive could he possibly be?

Howard drawing praise at tight end

Junior DeQuincy Howard watched last season while sophomore Martin Rucker earned the starting tight end spot and emerged as a legitimate receiving option for quarterback Brad Smith. But he was not jealous. Howard, Rucker’s backup, took it as a learning experience.

Taguchi's career day lifts Cardinals

ST. LOUIS – So Taguchi, one of the St. Louis Cardinals’ unexpected regulars due to injuries, is doing more than his part to keep the team on top of the National League. Taguchi matched career highs with four hits and three RBIs, and Jeff Suppan pitched seven strong innings to win for the third time in four starts in an 8-2 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

Scrimmage gives players chance to exhibit skills

There won’t be any fans cheering as the Missouri football team makes its way onto the field this morning. There won’t be flashy player introductions, cheerleaders or firing cannons either. No one will even be keeping score. Still, for many players seeking playing time, today’s game might be the most important of their college football careers. After a week of studying playbooks and attacking tackling dummies, the Tigers will scrimmage for the first time this fall.

Questions aplenty at Chiefs camp

RIVER FALLS, Wis. — Defensive end Jared Allen, who had a team-high nine sacks last year and was voted Kansas City’s top rookie, is fighting for his job. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Allen found himself running second team in practice Monday morning behind Jimmy Wilkerson. Allen has not had a great training camp and did not play well in last week’s exhibition loss to Minnesota.

Fans keep Tigers busy

By the time the circus began to wind down Sunday evening, Chad Moller was thoroughly and visibly spent. While players and coaches enjoyed a rare afternoon away from the monotony of summer two-a-days, Moller, the MU director of media relations, endured a non-stop adventure from start to finish at the Missouri football team’s Media and Fan Days at Daniel J. Devine Pavilion.

Johnson plays inspired round

Chris Johnson turned to others to guide him to victory in the Kiwanis Columbia Championship golf tournament Sunday afternoon. Johnson, a 16-year-old junior at Hickman High School, said when his play failed him, he was inspired by the memory of three friends who died last year.

Woods keeps Cards in check

CHICAGO — Mark Prior got relief from Kerry Wood, and the Chicago Cubs won another game from the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals. Prior (8-4) threw 123 pitches in six innings for the win while Wood had his longest stint since being sent to the bullpen, two shutout innings with four strikeouts, and the Cubs held on through a shaky ninth for a 5-4 victory Sunday night.

Coleman not complaining

Long after most of the Missouri football players had happily made their way through the lobby of the Tom Taylor building and into the cafeteria for lunch early Saturday afternoon, junior quarterback Brandon Coleman emerged from a long hallway, quiet and alone. It’s been a long, lonely walk for Coleman in his three years at Missouri. Recruited out of North Miami High School in Florida, he arrived in Columbia just in time to get a front-row seat to the start of the Brad Smith Show. Since 2002, when Smith burst onto the national college football scene after becoming the second player in Division 1-A history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season, Coleman has found himself lower on the depth chart, waiting for the opportunity to step into a starting role.

Defensive line repositions

When Lorenzo Williams first stepped on to Faurot Field two years ago, he couldn’t have guessed he would end up on Missouri’s interior defensive line. A standout linebacker at Midwest City High School in Oklahoma, Williams said he weighed only 225 pounds when he joined the Tigers. Last spring, though, the sophomore with career aspirations in the medical field, was called upon to repair the hole in the heart of the Missouri defense left by the sudden departure of C.J. Mosley for the NFL.

Johnson set for final round

Chris Johnson leads the Kiwanis Columbia Championship golf tournament after shooting a 2-over-par 72 in the second round of the three-round tournament Saturday at A.L. Gustin Golf Course. Dee Sanders had led after shooting a 2-under par 69 in the opening round Friday at Lake of the Woods Golf Course with Johnson (70) in second. Sanders shot 74 on Saturday to fall one shot back.

Gaining speed

With the loss of Thomson Omboga to graduation, the Tigers lost 39 catches, but junior receiver Brad Ekwerekwu said the receivers will not lose much in the end. “We’re all still strong,” he said.

Gateway’s Dessau still gets fans’ favor

The applause was as steady as it would have been two months ago, when Erik Dessau was one of the good guys. Fans in Columbia don’t forget about former Tigers.

Cub veteran contains Cards

CHICAGO – Greg Maddux worked hard for victory No. 314, then rejected talk about his retirement. The four-time Cy Young Award winner pitched his first complete game in more than a year to lead the Chicago Cubs to an 11-4 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, tying Gaylord Perry for 16th on the career wins list.

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