Angels come from behind again
ANAHEIM, Calif., July 26 (UPI) -- Garret Anderson snapped a tie with a bloop single in the eighth inning and David Eckstein posted his third career four-hit game Thursday as the Anaheim Angels rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
With the game tied, 4-4, and runners at first and second and two out in the eighth, Anderson hit a 1-0 pitch that dropped in front of left fielder Adam Piatt, scoring Darin Erstad to put the Angels ahead.
Anderson, who went three for five to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, improved his career average against Oakland to .340.
It was the 30th come-from-behind victory of the season for Anaheim, which has won eight of its last nine at home. The Angels have captured 14 games in their last at bat.
Scot Shields (3-1) tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings to get the win in relief of starter Ramon Ortiz, who allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. Ortiz remained winless in four career decisions against the Athletics.
Other American League results: Detroit 5, Kansas City 2; Boston 6, Tampa Bay 0.
Diamondbacks increase lead
PHOENIX, July 26 (UPI) -- John Patterson pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings for his second win in as many starts Thursday and Matt Williams belted a three-run homer as the Arizona Diamondbacks smashed the San Diego Padres, 10-0.
Patterson (2-0) made his major league debut against San Diego on Saturday and allowed just one run and three hits in six innings. He was even better his second trip to the mound and may provide another solid arm for Arizona as it tries to pull away in the competitive National League West.
The 24-year-old righthander allowed just five hits while striking out six. He threw 70 of 110 pitches for strikes and walked only one.
Williams homered in the fifth inning to give Patterson a 4-0 cushion.
Quinton McCracken's three-run double highlighted a six-run seventh and the Diamondbacks rolled to their first shutout since May 30.
San Diego rookie Oliver Perez (3-3), who lost in Patterson's debut, surrendered four runs and five hits in five innings.
Arizona moved 3 1/2 games ahead of second-place Los Angeles in the NL West.
Other National League results: Philadelphia 6, Chicago 2; St. Louis 4, San Francisco 3; Houston 8, Pittsburgh 0; Florida 3, Montreal 2.
Armstrong nears victory
CLUSES, France, July 26 (UPI) -- Just 227 miles to go for Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong maintained his overall lead in the Tour de France Thursday while Dario Frigo of Italy won the 17th stage of the world's most prestigious cycling race.
Barring accident or injury, the 30-year-old Texan should roll through the streets of Paris Sunday as a four-time winner, joining France's Jacques Anquetil (1961-64) and Bernard Hinault (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985), Belgium's Eddie Merckx (1969-72) and Spain's Miguel Indurain (1991-95) as the only cyclists to win the Tour more than three times.
Frigo triumphed over Belgium's Mario Aerts and Italy's Giuseppe Guerini in a sprint to win the 88-mile stage from Aime to Cluses in four hours, two minutes and 27 seconds.
The three riders took charge of the stage about halfway through, having led since just before the second climb at the Col des Saisies.
The 28-year-old Frigo became the first Italian to capture a stage in the 2002 Tour. Spain's Joseba Beloki remained in second overall, more than five minutes behind Armstrong.
Durham traded to Athletics
OAKLAND, Calif., July 26 (UPI) -- The Chicago White Sox Thursday traded former All-Star second baseman Ray Durham to the Oakland Athletics for minor league righthander Jon Adkins and cash considerations.
"The decision to trade Ray was not an easy one," Chicago general manager Ken Williams said. "Ray has been a part of our family since 1990 and we have helped him grow into an All-Star-caliber second baseman. However, in moving him, we not only pick up a quality arm in Adkins, but we also are afforded the opportunity to see Willie Harris play regularly at the major league level."
With the White Sox trailing first-place Minnesota by 14 games in the American League Central, Durham could be the first of a handful of high-dollar players leaving Chicago.
The Athletics, meanwhile, are are in the thick of the race for either the AL West title or the league's wild-card berth.
Heinen leads John Deere Classic
SILVIS, Ill., July 26 (UPI) -- Mike Heinen fired an 8-under-par 63 at the TPC-Deere Run Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the John Deere Classic.
A week after the British Open, most of the tour's top players are skipping this event. Heinen took advantage, collecting nine birdies and a bogey as he seeks his first win since claiming his lone PGA victory at the 1994 Houston Open.
Fred Funk, at 32nd the highest-ranked player on the PGA money list in the field, shot a 64 for sole possession of second place.
Defending champion David Gossett, Robert Gamez and Tripp Isenhour were two shots back after opening-round 65s while 10 players are within three strokes of the lead, including Spike McRoy, who is coming off his first PGA victory at last week's B.C. Open.
Duffy Waldorf, who shared the lead after the first round of the British Open, also carded a 66.
Straka suffers compressed vertebra
PITTSBURGH, July 26 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Thursday that center Martin Straka suffered a small compression fracture of a vertebra in his lower back and an associated torn ligament while training in his native Czech Republic.
According to reports, Straka and Penguins teammate Milan Kraft were lifting weights on a machine when the 375-pound apparatus slid on a carpet and fell on him.
Straka, who missed most of last season after twice breaking his right leg, will be fitted with a brace to keep him immobile and will be re-evaluated in six weeks.
The Penguins open training camp on Sept.12 and the regular season on Oct. 10.
Straka, who turns 30 on Sept.3, had a career-high 95 points in 2000-01, but was limited to 13 games last season after twice suffering a broken leg as well as a fractured orbital above his left eye.
The loss of Straka is a devastating blow to the Penguins, who were relying on star center Mario Lemieux and Straka to rebound from injuries. Lemieux played in just 24 games last season due a hip injury.
Potential buyers interested in Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y., July 26 (UPI) -- Five groups are interested in buying the NHL's Sabres and keeping them in Buffalo, commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday, shortly before the team announced it had signed veteran defenseman James Patrick to a two-year contract.
He would not identify the potential ownership groups. Bettman also said it was "purely a coincidence" that he was in Buffalo a day after John Rigas and two sons were arrested in connection with the $3.1 billion collapse of Adelphia Communications Corp.
At a news conference, Bettman said he and Buffalo general manager Darcy Reiger planned Thursday's meeting well before Rigas' arrest Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud.
Bettman again echoed his previous statements that the league is "committed to a process that keeps the Sabres in Buffalo." He said the league was not even talking to anyone who would express an interest for the franchise to be anywhere but Buffalo.
Bettman and Reiger were joined at the news conference by Erie County Executive Joel Giambra and Buffalo Mayor Anthony Massiello. The commissioner was in Buffalo to meet with area business leaders in an effort to raise local support for the team.
"We need support and we need it now," Bettman said. "The sale of the team will be done in an orderly, professional way. As important as it is to get a transaction, we want good owners."
The NHL took over control of the Sabres last month. The arrangement allows Rigas, the founder and former chairman of Adelphia, to remain owner of the team in title only, and has cleared the way for a potential sale.
Comets stay close to first place
HOUSTON, July 26 (UPI) -- Janeth Arcain scored 22 points -- one shy of a season high -- as the Houston Comets climbed within one game of first place in the Western Conference Thursday night with a 69-60 victory over the Miami Sol.
Miami grabbed a 41-39 lead on Sheri Sam's 11-footer with 17:37 remaining, but Houston took control with a 12-0 spurt. Arcain capped the run with a three-pointer, giving the Comets a 51-41 lead with 12:08 left.
Arcain converted nine of 14 shots from the field, including two of three from three-point range.
Tina Thompson added 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Comets, despite battling the effects of food poisoning. She has not practiced all week.
Houston recorded its 10th straight victory at the Compaq Center, marking the fourth time in franchise history the Comets have had a winning streak reach double figures at home.
Other WNBA results: Cleveland 83, Charlotte 73; Detroit 64, Washington 58; Seattle 79, Orlando 76.
Report: Warriors to hire Musselman
OAKLAND, Calif., July 26 (UPI) -- The Golden State Warriors, who are coming off a record three straight 60-loss seasons, reportedly will name Atlanta Hawks assistant Eric Musselman as their coach on Friday.
The San Jose Mercury reported that Musselman will receive a three-year deal worth between $4.5 million and $5 million.
The Warriors declined comment on the report and had no news conference scheduled for Thursday.
Musselman, 37, spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Hawks after spending two seasons with the Orlando Magic. He also served as a coach for seven years in the CBA, going 270-122 and sending 24 players to the NBA.
Musselman is the son of former NBA coach Bill Musselman. His first stint as an NBA assistant came on his father's staff with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1990-91 season. Bill Musselman died in 2001 while serving as an assistant for the Portland Trail Blazers.