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In Sports from United Press International

  |   Aug. 16, 2002 at 11:51 PM
Players set strike date for Aug. 30

NEW YORK, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Representatives of Major League Baseball players voted Friday to walk off the job Aug. 30 if a contract settlement is not reached with franchise owners.

A strike would put the World Series in jeopardy for the second time in less than a decade and leave the sport with an uncertain future.

"The baseball owners and the baseball players must understand that if there is a work stoppage, a lot of fans are going to be furious," President Bush said. "And I'm one of them."

The players insisted they do not want to strike, but said a strike date was needed to give a boost to stalled negotiations.

There had been optimism earlier this week that negotiations were moving forward, but progress has been minimal on the key issue of a luxury tax that would be imposed on teams with the highest payrolls.

So a deadline was set that has baseball headed for its ninth work stoppage since 1972.

"The players are committed to reaching a fair and equitable agreement, one which takes into account their views and not just those of the owners," union chief Donald Fehr said. "Needless to say, we are prepared to meet and bargain with the owners' representative until an agreement is reached."

The union announced that the vote to strike, made via a conference call, was unanimous and that 57 players participated in the discussion.

A walkout at the start of the Labor Day weekend would leave the remainder of the season in doubt and bring about the possibility the playoffs and World Series would have to be called off. Baseball was left without a champion in 1994 when the players struck late in the season.


Funk leads rain-marred PGA

CHASKA, Minn., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Fred Funk, relying on a hot putter to offset his lack of distance off the tee, owned a one-shot lead Friday when approaching tunderstorms stopped play in the second round of the PGA Championship.

Funk was one of 41 players on the course when the action was halted. Tournament officials said play would resume at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

After the second round is concluded, the third-round pairings will be made and the final major championship of the year will continue in what are forecast to be winds gusting to 30 miles per hour.

Funk, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, was in the next-to-last threesome off the 10th tee Friday. He played 13 holes at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in 3-under and stood at 7-under for tournament when the dark clouds heading for the course began to be streaked with lightning.

He had a one-shot lead over Justin Leonard, Mark Calcavecchia, Retief Goosen and Rich Beem -- all of whom played early Friday and wound up with a 36-hole total of 138.

Pierre Fulke of Sweden was alone in sixth place at 4-under 140 while the group at 3-under included Tiger Woods -- who was on the 17th hole when the siren sounded to send the players heading for cover.

The forecast called for heavy showers overnight, followed by the same kind of winds that blew during the third round of last month's British Open.

Funk shared the first-round lead, but by the time he teed off Friday he was two shots behind. He promptly rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the 10th hole. Funk also birdied par-3 13th and then hit his second shot at the par-5 15th beyond the putting surface. But he chipped to within four feet and made the putt for a birdie that gave him the lead by himself.

He then headed to the front nine and saved pars at the first and second holes with putts of eight and six feet. Funk then made a 12-footer for birdie at the par-5 third to move two shots in front. But he hit a greenside bunker at the par-3 fourth and eventually missed a three-footer.

Woods moved within two shots of the lead by firing a 3-under 33 on the front nine, but he three-putted the par-3 13th to slip back.

Woods is trying to become the first player in golf history to win three major championships in one year twice. He won three major titles in 2000 and Ben Hogan did so in 1953.


Mays helps blank Red Sox

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Joe Mays did not allow a hit until sixth inning before settling for a two-hitter Friday night as the Minnesota Twins scored three times in the seventh against Pedro Martinez and blanked the Boston Red Sox, 5-0.

Last Saturday, Mays (2-4) matched up with Martinez but took the loss, allowing two runs and seven hits in eight innings.

On Friday night, both pitchers were at the top of their game. Mays only allowed two baserunners before Johnny Damon's two-out double in the sixth ended the no-hit bid.

While Mays was holding the Red Sox in check, Martinez (16-3) was doing the same. The three-time Cy Young Award winner, who had won a career-high nine consecutive decisions, held Minnesota to three hits through six innings.

Martinez also struck out seven consecutive hitters, falling one shy of the American League record.

But Martinez had his career-best 35-inning scoreless streak ended in the fifth on Dustan Mohr's RBI groundout. It was the longest streak in the majors since Atlanta's Greg Maddux had a 39-inning streak in 2000.

Other American League results: Detroit 6, Baltimore 5; Kansas City 6, Tampa Bay 5; Texas 6, Toronto 5.


Schilling reaches 20 wins

CHICAGO, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Curt Schilling became baseball's first 20-game winner Friday, dominating the Chicago Cubs for eight innings before tiring in the ninth and combining with Byung-Hyun Kim to bring the Arizona Diamondbacks a 2-1 victory.

A leading candidate along with teammate Randy Johnson for the National League Cy Young Award, Schilling retired 18 straight Cubs and appeared to be on the verge of a shutout before Sammy Sosa homered to right-center field with two outs in the ninth.

The last Cub to reach base before Sosa had been Bill Mueller, who singled in the third.

Schilling allowed a single to Fred McGriff before giving way to Kim, who gave up a bloop double to right field to put runners on first and third. But Kim got Corey Patterson to pop out to right field to earn his 29th save.

It was the second straight 20-win season for Schilling, who won a career-high 22 times last season as Arizona went on to a World Series title.

Schilling struck out 12 Cubs, including every member of the lineup at least once except Alex Gonzalez. He allowed six hits and did not walk a batter.

Other National League results: Florida 4, San Francisco 2; Milwaukee 10, Pittsburgh 3; Montreal 11, San Diego 6; Philadelphia 4, St. Louis 0; Los Angeles 3, New York 2; Cincinnati 9, Houston 3; Atlanta 4, Colorado 1.


Earnhardt, Jr. wins NASCAR pole

BROOKLYN, Mich., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., driving the Chevrolet Monte Carlo owned by his late father, captured the pole Friday night for the NASCAR Pepsi 400.

It was the fifth career pole for Earnhardt, Jr. and first of the year. He earned it with a speed of 189.668 miles per hour during a rain-delayed qualifying session at Michigan Speedway.

Chevrolets from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Richard Childress Racing swept the first five positions for Sunday's race at the two-mile banked asphalt oval.

Kevin Harvick squeezed into second with a lap of 189.410 miles per hour, followed by Michael Waltrip, Steve Park and Robby Gordon. Waltrip also qualified on the front row for the Busch Grand National Series race.


Indiana, Utah win in WNBA playoffs

SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Adrienne Goodson scored 20 points and Margo Dydek added 11 and 13 rebounds Friday night as the Utah Starzz won a playoff game for the first time with a 66-59 victory over the Houston Comets.

Utah took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series and can advance to the Western Conference finals in Game 2 at Houston on Sunday.

Houston's Sheryl Swoopes, who missed all of last year with a torn ACL, finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. But the Comets fall to 16-4 in playoff games with her in the lineup.

Houston went cold for a stretch of over 12 minutes as it missed 17 consecutive shots. The Starzz outscored the Comets, 24-7, over that span and Jennifer Azzi's three-pointer with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half gave Utah its largest lead at 34-17.

In Indianapolis, rookie Tamika Catchings had 29 points and 11 rebounds as the Indiana Fever drew first blood in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with a 73-55 victory over the New York Liberty.

Indiana, one of the league's hottest teams, captured its first playoff game in franchise history and won for the sixth time in seven games. Top-seeded New York has made it past the first round in each of its four playoff appearances but now faces elimination.


Raiders produce shutout

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Rob Johnson and Shaun King threw touchdown passes and Martin Gramatica kicked two field goals Friday night as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blanked the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-0.

Rob Johnson, embroiled in a growing controversy with incumbent Brad Johnson, completed eight of 11 passes for 74 yards and one touchdown, a three-yard strike to Frank Murphy.

Murphy, who caught just eight passes last season, led all receivers with five catches and 40 yards.

Brad Johnson also played well, hitting on six of 12 for 97 yards. King, a starter two seasons ago, was nine of 15 for 97 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His 31-yard fourth-quarter strike to rookie Marquise Walker capped the scoring.

Gramatica connected on field goals of 28 and 50 yards for the Buccaneers, who collected three sacks and an interception.

Tampa Bay's Michael Pittman, a free agent acquisition from Arizona who will replace the departed Warrick Dunn in the backfield, ran for eight yards on four carries in limited action.

Other NFL exhibition results: Minnesota 24, Buffalo 21; Chicago 19, St. Louis 17.


Bibby stays with Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Sacramento's Mike Bibby, who elevated his game dramatically in last season's playoffs, has agreed to a new contract reportedly worth $80 million over seven years.

The Kings announced Friday that Bibby would sign a multi-year contract extension, but did not disclose terms.

The Sacramento Bee reported in Friday's editions that David Faulk, the agent for the point guard, agreed to the $80 million figure following a meeting with Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie and co-owners Gavin and Joe Maloof.

A restricted free agent, Bibby, who arrived in Northern California last summer in a trade with the Grizzlies, made clear his desire to stay with the Kings.

The Bee also reported the two sides had been talking since July 1 and that Faulk originally sought the maximum deal available, which at the time was worth $103 million. But the salary cap for 2002-03 decreased, limiting Bibby's maximum deal to $96 million.


Panthers extend coach's contract

SUNRISE, Fla., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Florida Panthers Coach Mike Keenan, who has two years remaining on his current contract, Friday signed a two-year extension.

The deal also includes a pair of one-year club options, meaning that Keenan, who has a history of wearing out his welcome, is under contract to the Panthers through the 2007-08 season.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Keenan was named Florida coach on Dec. 3, 2001 and led the injury-ravaged Panthers to a 16-29-8-3 record in 56 games.

The Panthers are the seventh NHL team coached by Keenan, who also spent time behind the bench with the Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins.

He has a career mark of 555-427-132-11 and has taken four teams to the Stanley Cup finals. In 1994, he led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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