NEW YORK, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Randy Johnson captured his third straight Cy Young Award Tuesday, honoring him as the best pitcher in the National League.
The tall, lanky Arizona star, known as "The Big Unit," won by a landslide over teammate Curt Schilling. The pair were baseball's most dominant pitching tandem this season as they led the Diamondbacks to a seven-game World Series victory over the New York Yankees.
They shared the Series MVP Award, but this one was all Johnson's. He collected 30 of the 32 first-place votes cast by the Baseball Writers Association and 156 points. Schilling got the other two first-place votes and 98 points.
The 38-year-old Johnson is the first pitcher to win the Cy Young three straight times since Greg Maddux won each year from 1992 to 1995. He is only the fourth pitcher to win the award as many as four times. Johnson won in the American League with the Seattle Mariners in 1995.
The 6foot-10, 230-pound lefthander was 21-6 this season with the best ERA in the National League -- 2.49. His 373 strikeouts in 249 2/3 innings established a record for strikeouts per nine innings (13.4).
Johnson went 16-2 with a 2.21 ERA in his final 24 appearances to help the Diamondbacks win the NL West title.
Schilling was just as important to Arizona's cause, posting a 22-6 record with a 2.98 ERA. He led all of baseball with 256 innings and struck out 293. After Arizona losses, Schilling was 13-1 with a 1.72 ERA.
Matt Morris of the St. Lous Cardinals, who tied Schilling for the league lead with 22 wins, finished third with one-second place vote and 28 thirds for 31 points.
Bledsoe gets medical green light
FOXBORO, Mass., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Quarterback Drew Bledsoe has been given medical clearance to return to the New England Patriots but he won't be starting right away.
Tom Brady, who has subbed admirably for Bledsoe, will start at the controls when the Patriots host the St. Louis Rams Sunday night.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Bledsoe has not played since suffering a "sheared" blood vessel in his chest cavity after being hit by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis in a Sept. 23 game.
Bledsoe and members of the medical team that treated him held a news conference at Massachusetts General Hospital Tuesday afternoon. Bledsoe lost 20 pounds as a result of the internal bleeding, but resumed training two weeks ago.
"Whether it be the quarterback position or not there's something to say for staying with the hot hand," Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said, in announcing that Brady would continue for now as the starter.
Another blow for downtrodden Bills
BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The Buffalo Bills, off to their worst star in 16 years at 1-7, had another crippling blow to deal with Tuesday -- the loss of their quarterback.
Rob Johnson suffered a broken collarbone in Sunday's 21-11 loss to the New England Patriots and is out for an estimated three to five weeks. There was concern among team officials and teammates alike, however, that he might be out much longer.
Johnson left the game with 4:41 left after Patriots cornerback Terrell Buckley slammed his right shoulder into the turf on a sack. Alex Van Pelt, who has not starter a game in four years, will be at the helm Sunday when the Bills face Seattle.
WNBA holds first draft lottery
NEW YORK, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The inaugural WNBA draft lottery was scheduled for Tuesday to determine the top three picks in 2002.
The draft lottery is modeled after the one used in the NBA and will include the eight teams that did not qualify for the playoffs last season. It will only determine the order of selection for the first round.
The second, third and fourth rounds will be based on the teams' regular-season finishes. Washington, Detroit, Seattle and Indiana have the best chances of receiving the No. 1 pick.They shared the league's worst record last season at 10-22.
The WNBA draft will be held April 19, 2002 in Secaucus,N.J.
SYDNEY, Australia, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The big serve of Goran Ivanisevic put a dent into Gustavo Kuerten's dreams of ending the year as the No. 1 player Tuesday.
Ivanisevic, the eighth-seeded Wimbledon champion, fired 28 aces to power past the top-seeded Kuerten, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, in just under two hours in round-robin play at the $3.65 million Tennis Masters Cup, the final ATP tournament of the season.
Kuerten's lead in the ATP Tour Champions Race 2001 points standings shrunk to 38 points over U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt, the second-ranked Australian. Hewitt faces Australian Open winner Andre Agassi of the United States, another contender for the year-end No. 1 ranking, on Wednesday with 20 points going to the winner.