Firing on all Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The defending champion Detroit Pistons got a burst of life, and so did the NBA Finals.

Playing with a furious energy that was nowhere to be found in the first two games, Ben Wallace and Richard Hamilton led the way as the Pistons won 96-79, thoroughly outplaying the San Antonio Spurs in the second half of Game 3 Tuesday night.

Blue Jays edge Cards

TORONTO — Roy Halladay says he feels he is pitching as well as he did in 2003, when he won the American League Cy Young Award. The statistics show he is better.

Halladay pitched a five-hitter for his major league-leading fifth complete game, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 on Monday night.

U.S. Open Test Approaches

PINEHURST, N.C. — Four days ago, Conrad Ray was getting ready for the summer golf camp at Stanford University, where he just finished his first year as the golf coach.

Monday morning, he was on the first tee with Tiger Woods, getting ready for the U.S. Open.

Giddens’ future at KU uncertain

OLATHE, Kan. — Kansas fans who are finally getting over that embarrassing loss to little Bucknell have something new to grate on their nerves.

It’s not clear whether J.R. Giddens, the Jayhawks leading returning scorer who is recovering from a knife wound he suffered in a fight outside a Lawrence bar, will be allowed to rejoin the team. And it’s not clear he should.

Edwards flips again

Carl Edwards turned his first laps at Pocono Raceway playing a video game.

He paid attention, and when it came time for the real thing, nobody was better.

Spurs bolt by Pistons

Two steps quicker, two games ahead.

The San Antonio Spurs were at their best Sunday night in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, speeding out to a big early lead and frustrating the Detroit Pistons the rest of the way in a 97-76 victory for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven championship round.

Good Clean Fun

The drivers’ fresh sunburns clashed with their bright orange shirts. Tearing down one of Columbia’s main thoroughfares in their colorful six-foot-long cars livened up the downtown considerably Sunday.

“Get off the track!” yelled several in the crowd at the 2005 Mid-Missouri All-American Soap Box Derby as an unsuspecting cyclist wandered onto the course on Broadway between Seventh Street and Providence Road.

Chung shines at Hagan

D.J. Chung made it look easy.

Chung, the 2003 champion and No. 6 seed, needed only 28 holes to beat his two opponents Sunday at the Francis Hagan Match Play Championship, including vanquishing the defending champion.

Barrel racing on their minds

If you ride horses you probably know the Schneider family.

Jeff, Nanette, Katie and Jacob Schneider have been riding horses for most of their lives. Not only do they win state awards for barrel racing, but they train and sell horses as well.

Former champions lead pack in Hagan

There were 110 golfers who took part in the qualifying round for the Francis Hagan Match Play Championship on Saturday at Lake of the Woods Golf Course. David McDonald, Dee Sanders and Scott Sasek led the field with low rounds of even par 71.

The qualifying round cut the field down to 64 for the start of match play competition today. Two rounds are scheduled to narrow the field to 32 with the final rounds set for next weekend.

New season, new uniforms

When the Missouri football players take on Arkansas State in this season’s opener, they will sport a new style that has been in the works for over a year.

“A little over a year ago, we decided it was time for a new look,” said Director of Equipment Operations Don Barnes.

Players test table tennis talent

Will Todd has known table tennis his entire life.

His father taught him the sport when he was 2 by attaching a net to a coffee table. When he was 6, the Columbia native was the No. 1 player in the nation for his age group, and he has since lost count the number of times he won the under-17 state tournament.

Royals waste shot at rare road sweep

SAN FRANCISCO — Felipe Alou frequently speaks of “stopping the bleeding.” Perhaps the San Francisco Giants have bandaged their troubles for a day.

Edgardo Alfonzo hit a go-ahead single in the sixth inning and pinch-hitter Pedro Feliz added a key two-run double, helping San Francisco snap a six-game home losing streak with a 9-7 victory against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.

Cards challenge slipping Yankees

ST. LOUIS — After taking two of three from the team that swept them in the World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals move on to an even higher-profile series.

Next up, the slumping New York Yankees for a three-game weekend series in their first-ever regular-season visit to town.

Rain not obstacle to fan’s loyalty

Just two days after a trip to the emergency room, Jack Frier drove from his home in St. Louis to Memorial Stadium on Wednesday to participate in the filming of a commercial for the Missouri football team, only to find out that it was cancelled due to thunderstorms. The shoot has been tentatively rescheduled for next week.

Frier said he cut his hand on the chicken wire around his birdfeeder on Monday. He had to be rushed to the hospital to get stitches to stop the bleeding.

Royals deal Marrero to Orioles for prospect

PITTSBURGH — The Baltimore Orioles, thin on the bench because of injuries, acquired outfielder-first baseman Eli Marrero from the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday for minor league infielder Pete Maestrales.

Marrero, who had 10 home runs and 40 RBIs last season as a part-time player with the Braves, will undergo a physical Thursday. If he passes, he will join the Orioles in Cincinnati on Friday, when a roster move will be made to accommodate him.

Pirates select Boone

James Boone proved he was a solid baseball player when he hit a home run in his first game as a Tiger. He proved it once again Tuesday when the Pittsburgh Pirates picked him in third round of the Major League First-Years Player Draft.

“This is everybody’s dream, and definitely my dream. It’s something you never thought would happen to you,” Boone said. “You would look at other people and think, ‘Wow, I wish I were there.”

Mavs’ rookie tries for niche on team

Wanda Bergstrom knew it was a coincidence when her son signed with the Mavericks last Dec. 8. That didn’t keep her from pretending it was planned, though.

“She likes to tell everybody that I signed my first pro contract on her birthday,” Mid-Missouri outfielder Bub Bergstrom said.

Arizona chooses Upton as No. 1 pick

NEW YORK — Justin Upton was simply too good for the Arizona Diamondbacks to pass up.

Despite having a few talented shortstops already in their minor league system, the Diamondbacks added another when they made the Virginia high school star the top pick in the baseball draft Tuesday.

Web site simplifies recruiting

Scouts and general managers in all levels of baseball are constantly mulling over tough questions. Some of them lack concrete answers.

That’s why predicting baseball talent can be as difficult as hitting a 95-mph fastball.