Cards left in lurch by fading Mulder

CINCINNATI — Even when he struggled, St. Louis left-hander Mark Mulder could count on getting left-handed batters out. Now, even that is not a sure thing.

The slumping Mulder gave up two home runs to left-hander Adam Dunn and a two-run double to Ken Griffey Jr., another left-hander, as Cincinnati scored seven runs in the first three innings and held on for a 7-6 win Wednesday.

Blues keep Kitchen, work to keep fans

ST. LOUIS — The team’s for sale, the league has been shut down for a year and just lost a national television contract. But life goes on for the St. Louis Blues.

On Wednesday, the team with the odd distinction of 25 straight playoff appearances without a sniff of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals announced that head coach Mike Kitchen has been signed through the 2005-06 season. Terms were not released.

Senior Games begin today

For some senior games means old men sitting around a park playing chess. For Jack Miles it means physical and mental competition between seniors.

Miles, the coordinator for the 12th annual Missouri State Senior Games, says for the nearly 800 people 50 and older who have signed up so far to participate today through Sunday in this year’s event in Columbia, it’s about staying fit.

Detroit forces Game 7

SAN ANTONIO — The identity of the next NBA champion will not be known for another two days — not until Game 7 of a suddenly suspenseful series is finished.

Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and the Detroit Pistons weren’t ready to concede the title, and Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs weren’t quite good enough to earn it Tuesday night.

Cincinnati bats put Cardinals in the red

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds brought fireworks back to Great American Ball Park on Tuesday night.

Backup catcher Javier Valentin drove in four runs with a three-run home run and a bases-loaded walk to help the Reds to an 11-4 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jerry Narron’s debut as interim manager.

Post 202 looking to boost offense

After finishing second in the Missouri American Legion tournament last year, Columbia’s Post 202 senior team is making a fresh start this year.

“It’s an entire new team,” Post 202 coach Eric Greer said. “This is definitely a rebuilding year.”

Kleiza will stay in draft

Mizzou’s Linas Kleiza announced Tuesday that his name will remain on the list of prospects for the 2005 NBA Draft on June 28.

Tuesday was the last day that undergraduate players could withdraw from the draft and still return to their college teams.

Mavericks defeat Freedom

The Mid-Missouri Mavericks defeated Florence Freedom 6-3 on Tuesday at Champion Window Field in Florence, Kent. Mavericks’ starter Mike Schaefer pitched six innings and allowed three runs on six hits. Cooper Eddy relieved Schaefer, allowing only one hit.

Outfielder Eli Albertson was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Third baseman Greg Buscher was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI.

State wrestling championships moved to Mizzou Arena

Mizzou Arena will hold the 2006 MSHSAA Wrestling Championships from February 16-18. MSHSAA announced Tuesday that the championships will move from the Hearnes Center, which held the championships for 31 years. The MSHSAA Board of Directors approved the switch on June 15.

After the 2006 championships are held at the Mizzou Arena, the University of Missouri and the MSHSAA will evaluate the event and decide if it should remain in Columbia.

Garland, White Sox stop K.C.

CHICAGO — Jon Garland allowed four hits in 8 1/3 innings and became the major leagues’ first 12-game winner as the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 5-1 Tuesday night.

Garland (12-2) reached the 12-win mark for the fourth straight season.

Almost spotless

CINCINNATI — Even after pitching another gem, Chris Carpenter was frustrated. The way he is throwing the ball, he figures he should be able to go all the way every time out.

Carpenter took a shutout into the ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals got two-run home runs from Albert Pujols and Reggie Sanders in a 6-1 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.

Kansas City’s power surge fails

CHICAGO — Paul Konerko, Frank Thomas and Jermaine Dye each hit home runs, and A.J. Pierzynski had a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 11-8 victory against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.

The White Sox won their fifth straight despite blowing a 7-3 lead.

Tiger’s roar fades at U.S. Open

PINEHURST, N.C. — Tiger Woods looked like a beaten man as he stood behind the 18th green, gently rubbing his knuckles over his upper lip as he gazed back at the 16th and 17th holes, a 200-yard area of Pinehurst No. 2 that cost him a chance to win the U.S. Open.

Off to his right was the bronze statue of Payne Stewart, striking the winning pose from six years ago.

Coaching revives love of sport

A small group of boys in red shirts and gray baseball pants toss a baseball around the outfield at the American Legion field, joking among themselves and stretching.

The only reason Nick Tietsort stands out is because he is wearing black shorts.

Vought ropes fourth national berth

Adrienne Vought, a senior at Rock Bridge High School, qualified for the National High School Rodeo Finals for the fourthconsecutive year.

Vought, Brady Wilson, a junior at Rock Bridge, Cindy Wood, a sophomore at Hickman, and Casey Chasteen, a freshman from Jefferson Junior High competed in the state rodeo finals Thursday through Saturday at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

Mavericks drop series

Mavericks’ right-hander Steve Soja’s schedule Sunday evening called for him to sit in the dugout during the Mavericks’ 10-5 loss to the Chillicothe Paints.

Between innings he planned to counsel teammate Danny Shuck, who went the distance to win his most recent start Tuesday to open Mid-Missouri’s 2-4 homestand.

Horry strikes again

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Big Shot Bob did it again.

Robert Horry, whose clutch postseason 3-pointers have defined his career, knocked down a wide-open 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds left in overtime Sunday night to give the San Antonio Spurs a 96-95 victory against the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Rematch gives same conclusion

David McDonald and Joe Bellmer are names engraved many times on the Francis Hagan Match Play Championship trophy.

They will show up there again after Sunday’s play.

Biffle stays on track at Batman 400

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Greg Biffle never considered pitting during the last caution period Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

Instead, he stayed on track with slightly worn tires and turned that decision into his fifth Nextel Cup victory in 15 starts this season.

Cardinals roll by Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Louis Cardinals aren’t impressed with their steadily growing lead in the NL Central.

The defending National League champions increased their cushion over second-place Chicago to a season-high 91/2 games with Sunday’s 8-5 victory against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but say it’s important to keep the club’s fastest start in more than 60 years in perspective.