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A huge weekend in the world of sports, so let's discuss...
- The past weekend saw the first three of eighteen game between the New York Yankees and their hated archrivals, the Boston Red Sox. While it sarted off well for the Bronx Bombers (Chien-Ming Wang tossed a complete game 4-1 win Friday night), it soon went downhill from there. Saturday saw the Yanks take a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning, only to have Mike Mussina give up a double to Manny Ramirez and a abse hit from Kevin Youkilis. After getting one back in the top of the eighth, there was a rain delay which lasted over two hours. After the long wait, Yankees fans would not be rewarded as the Sox took game 2, 4-3.
- Sunday night was no better, as young gun Phillip Hughes came out misfiring and lasted only two innings in a game that saw control problems from both clubs' starters (Hughes and Daisuke Matsuzaka) and frigid temps. The bizarre affair ended with the Olde Towne Team taking the series, 8-5. All this without the struggling David Ortiz in the Red Sox lineup...
- Another wild weekend came in the Windy City, where the Chicago White Sox squared off with the Detroit Tigers. Friday night saw a very brief appearance by the Tigers' newest pitching acquisition Dontrelle Willis, who lasted only an inning before leaving the game with a knee injury in the first inning. Despite this setback, the TIgers won the opener, 5-2.
- From that point on, though, it was all ChiSox. Saturday saw Gavin Floyd take a no-hitter into the eighth, only to lose it on an Orlando Cabrera home run. Still, Floyd's gem was enough to shut out the Tigers, 7-0. In the finale, grand slams from Paul Konerko and Jim Thome were enough to make Tigers manager Jim Leyland blow his stack in an 11-0 Sox slam.
- In a battle of National League top guns, Jake Peavy and Brad Penny dueled in Chavez Ravine, with Peavy and his San Diego Padres prevailing in a 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Trevor Hoffman, last weekend's Dope, got the save. Maybe getting admonished did help him out psychologically...
- If you want to now how bad things are with the San Francisco Giants so far this season, look no further than Saturday. Giants hurler Matt Cain had a no-hitter going in the top of the seventh before losing it on a base hit from St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Adam Kennedy. The Cards eventually took the lead, only to have the Giants come back to tie in the last of the ninth...and blow it in the tenth on a Chris Duncan single for an 8-7 loss.
- Johan Santana's Shea Stadium debut didn't turn out so hot, as the New York Mets' ace gave up homers in three consecutive innings to contribute to a 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
A new master at the Masters
- Coming into this year's Masters tournament, there was wide speculation that Tiger Woods would all but dominate the field at Augusta. However, Woods finished runner-up to a South African golfer who had to endure a lot over the last few months. As 2007 came to an end, Trevor Immelman was found to have a benign tumor in the general vicinity of his rib cage. While it was good news that he had not developed cancer, Immelman did miss the first two months of this year's PGA TOUR schedule. Despite shooting a final round 75, Immelman manged to hold off Tiger and the unheralded Brandt Snedeker to become the first Springbok since Gary Player in 1978 to cop the green jacket. Phil Mickelson, the winner of two and four years ago, finished in a tie for fifth, with last year's champion, Zach Johnson, in the middle of the pack.
Last weekend of the NBA regular season
- It was a memorable weekend for the Los Angeles Lakers, as Kobe Bryant combined for 49 points (including coming shy of a triple-double and outsocring MVP candidate Chris Paul Friday night) in a nail-biter against the New Orleans Hornets (107-104) and a rout of the San Antonio Spurs (124-97). Also, the Lake Show climbed back into first place in the Western Conference.
- There were 20s all around for the Utah Jazz Saturday night, as Mehmet Okur, Corey Brewer and Carlos Boozer made it rain for 20 points apiece – Okur got 20-15 on the night – in a 124-97 blowup of the Denver Nuggets.
- Before the Memphis Grizzlies' home finale against the Minnesota Timberwolves, three fans were injured when a rail collapsed at the FedEx Forum. The three did recover from their injuries, and that was the only real thing to come out of an otherwise dull 114-105 Wolves victory.
- In what may have been their last home game in the Emerald City, the Seattle Sonics defeated the Dallas Mavericks, 99-95.
First weekend of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs
- Alexander Ovechkin began his first SC playoffs by netting the gamewinner in a 5-4 barnburner against the Philadelphia Flyers. However, he and the Washington Capitals were shutout on Sunday afternoon, 2-0, to even the series at one game apiece.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins got two goals from Petr Sykora, getting a 5-3 win and a 2-0 lead in their series against the Ottawa Senators.
- The New York Rangers built up a 2-0 series lead via a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils; that preceded a barnburner that was one of three overtime finishes on the day Sunday. John Madden netted the winner home, 4-3. Even with Sean Avery committing some tomfoolery during a two-man advantage...
- Denis Savard ended a five-game losing streak to the Montreal Canadiens via a Denis Savard extra session goal, 2-1. The Habs' series lead was cut to 2-1, also.
- The Stanley Cup may be up for grabs, as the defending holders, the Anaheim Ducks, dropped the second game of their series against the Dallas Stars, 5-2.
Across the Pond
- Manchester United look to not let go of the top of the Premiership standings, even after a 2-1 win over Arsenal which sent the Gunners to third thanks to Chelsea's draw against Wigan – talk about Monday Night Football! Devils got three points clear of the Fighting Avram Grants with two answers to Emanuel Adebayor's 48th-minute goal – a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo and a 71st-minute goal from Owen Hargreaves.
- Liverpool almost pitched a shutout at home against Blackburn Rovers, opening with a Steven Gerrard goal on the hour. Roque Santa Cruz' goal, which came seconds after the nail from Andriy Voronin, was too much, too little, too late, as Reds escaped with a 3-1 win and a five-point lead over regional rival Everton for the last UEFA Champions League berth for 2008-09.
- Jimmie Johnson all but owns Phoenix International Raceway; further edification comes with his second win in a row in the Subway Fresh Fit 500. Johnson also won last fall in the Arizona desert.
- Meanwhile, in Portugal, a Spanish rookie named Jorge Lorenzo took the MotoGP checquered flag at Estoril. This was Lorenzo first-ever win in the major circuit, and it comes after fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa won in front of the home crowd at Jerez two weeks ago.
Odds and Sods
- Back to baseball for just a moment: Major League Baseball announced on Friday that it had revamped its drug policy. Highlights of note included amnesty for players named in the Mitchell Report, and the annullment of suspensions previously given to Jay Gibbons and Alex Rios.
- Kudos to Boston College's men's ice hockey team, who won their third national title and their second in the last eight years with a 4-1 over Notre Dame.
- The AWIR sends it prayers to Yankees set-up man Joba Chamberlain, who has taken leave of the team to cure for his ailing father, Harlan.
Time to whip out the big honors
- Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa, who got his first win in almost five years on Friday night in six innings of work, scattering two hits, walking two and fanning six in a 4-2 wni over the Brew Crew.
Bronx construction worker Gino Castignoli. On Friday, word broke out that Castignoli had buried a Red Sox jersey in a concrete slab at the site of the New Yankee Stadium in an effort to jinx the Yanks once they move into their new playpen next year. The Yankees later denied the story, dismissing the burial. However, on Sunday, the jersey – a David Ortiz one, at that – was uncovered via a jackhammer. Colin Cowherd was right...no one can keep a secret these days...
Go back in time
We've been around for quite a while – just over a hundred articles in this series, as a matter of fact! So if you're curious about what happened this weekend in the past two years, click the links below to fire up the time machine: Remembering Jackie – Just getting our sea legs
That's the lot
Until next week, as always, let's all be good sports...