NEW YORK, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- A number of union representatives said Friday that the Major League Baseball Players Association would respond Saturday to the owners most recent proposal concerning a competitive balance tax and revenue sharing.
"It's going to be a big day," said Tom Flaherty, player representative for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "We're going to make a proposal on the luxury tax and see if we can bridge some gaps. I'll be disappointed if ownership feels it is not enough."
The manner in which the union proposal is received could be a major factor in deciding whether an agreement can be reached prior to next Friday's strike deadline.
The two sides met Friday with the players making a new proposal on random steroid testing.
Rob Manfred, baseball's vice president of labor relations and human resources, said Friday's proposal brought the players toward management's position on the subject.
Manfred said, however, the key economic issues needed to be addressed in a hurry if a strike is to be averted.
"We're at the point in time where we really have to get at the core issues and see if we can get them resolved," he said. "The pace on those issues needs to improve."
Martinez enjoys extra day's rest
BOSTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Pedro Martinez pitched eight innings with an extra day of rest and Jason Varitek knocked in two runs Friday night to lead the Boston Red Sox to an important 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Angels.
Martinez was scheduled to start Thursday night's series finale against the last-place Texas Rangers. But with the weather expected to be a factor, Manager Grady Little opted push his ace back a day to face an Angels team that the Red Sox are chasing in a tight American League wild card race.
Little's decision worked as Martinez (17-3) allowed a solo homer to Troy Glaus and five other hits. The dominat righthander struck out six without a walk as he rebounded from last Friday's loss at Minnesota to win for the 10th time in his last 11 decisions.
Ugueth Urbina worked around a one-out walk in the ninth for his 30th save.
Other American League results: Texas 6, New York 2; Baltimore 11, Toronto 7; Minnesota 9, Kansas City 2; Tampa Bay 8, Chicago 2; Cleveland 4, Seattle 2; Oakland 9, Detroit 1.
Mets lose 12th straight
DENVER, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Jay Payton drove in four runs and Jason Jennings won his sixth straight decision Friday night as the Colorado Rockies handed the New York Mets their 12th straight loss, 10-4.
Payton, who was New York's Opening Day center fielder, was traded for righthander John Thomson on July 31. He is hitting .567 with five home runs and 16 RBI in his last seven games and took advantage of the Mets on Friday.
Payton put the Rockies up 1-0 when he led off the bottom of the second inning with his 13th homer of the season. Two innings later, Payton extended Colorado's lead to 5-0 with a two-out, three-run double against Mets starter Pedro Astacio (11-7).
Jennings (15-5), who hit a grand slam in his major league debut exactly one year ago in New York, carried a shutout into the sixth. He allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings and is two wins away from the franchise record for wins - set by Kevin Ritz in 1996 and matched by Astacio in 1999.
The Mets have dropped 12 straight for the first time since a 15-game skid from Aug. 15-31, 1982.
Other National League results: Houston 6, Cincinnati 4; Pittsburgh 6, Milwaukee 3; St. Louis 5, Philadelphia 4 in 10 innings.
Late field goal wins it for Badgers
MADISON, Wis., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Mike Allen kicked a 34-yard field goal with 2:05 remaining Friday night, giving the Wisconsin Badgers a 23-21 victory over Fresno State.
It was Allen's third successful field goal attempt of the night and Matt Bernstein added two touchdown runs for the Badgers, who had to rely on their defense in the game's final moments to hold off the Bulldogs.
After the winning field goal, Fresno State took over at its own nine-yard line but managed to move the ball to midfield. Bulldogs quarterback Jeff Grady then threw four straight incompletions to end Fresno State's last hope.
Anthony Davis gained 192 yards on 36 carries for Wisconsin, which came from behind three times.
Allenby, Lowery share NEC lead
SAMMAMISH, Wash, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Australian Robert Allenby shot a 7-under 29 on the back nine Friday, produced a course-record 63 and tied Steve Lowery for the lead after 36 holes of the NEC Invitational, the second of the year's four World Golf Championship tournaments.
On a day in which low scores were commonplace at the Sahalee Country Club, Tiger Woods could never get going. He bogeyed two of the first five holes and had to birdie the par-5 18th just to shoot a 71 that left him at six shots off the pace in a tie for 17th. He was twice as many strokes behind after the second round as he was after the first.
Allenby has won four PGA Tour events over the past two years, but he put himself in position for the most important victory of his career with an impressive run over the back nine Friday.
He eagled the par-5 11th, ran off four straight birdies beginning at the 13th and then birdied the 18th as well.
Lowery, who finished a spectacular second to Rich Beem at The International earlier this month when he had an eagle and double-eagle in the closing four holes, shot a 65 Friday to tie Allenby at 10-under 132.
Retief Goosen, who has climbed to fourth in the world since capturing the 2001 U.S. Open, was a shot out of the lead after firing a 68. He was 4-under for the day through 11 holes, but failed to make another birdie.
England's Justin Rose was at 134 and alone in fourth place while Phil Mickelson shot a 69 to put him at 135. Mickelson had a chance to challenge for the lead before making a bogey at each of the last two holes.
Beem, who shot a weary 74 Thursday in his first appearance since capturing the PGA, bounced back with a 67 Friday that moved him into a tie for 34th place.
Haas reaches U.S. Amateur semifinals
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Bill Haas shot an amazing 7-under 28 on the front nine of one of the most difficult courses in the country Friday and went on to reach the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur Championship with a 5 & 4 victory over John Klauk.
None of the quarterfinal matches reached the 17th hole as America's the oldest golf tournament its field narrowed to the final four.
Haas, 20, son of PGA Tour veteran Jay Haas, will face Ricky Barnes of Stockton, Calif., in Saturday's semifinals. The other semifinal will send Hunter Mahan of McKinney, Texas against Dustin Bray of Asheboro, N.C.
Although short putts are routinely given in match play, the score turned in over the front nine of the Oakland Hills Country Club course was still remarkable. After winning the 1951 U.S. Open over the Oakland Hills course, Ben Hogan dubbed it, "The Monster," and that name has stuck.
The all-time record for nine holes on the PGA Tour is 27.
Haas, 20, a junior at Wake Forest University, was medalist in qualifying.
He will face a tough test in the semifinals since Barnes put on almost as spectacular a show as Haas did Friday.
Barnes shot a 31 on the front nine and won three straight holes in a 4 & 3 victory over 18-year-old Spencer Levin of Elk Grove, Calif. The last of that streak came when Barnes holed his second shot for an eagle at the par-4 sixth, giving him a 4-up lead.
Brady throws two touchdown passes
FOXBORO, Mass., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Tom Brady threw a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes Friday night as the New England Patriots coasted past the Carolina Panthers, 23-3.
The Super Bowl Most Valuable Player last season, Brady struggled in his first two exhibition games, failing to lead the Patriots to a touchdown.
But he looked better in this one, throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to David Givens and eight-yarder to tight end Christian Fauria, giving the Patriots a 20-3 lead.
Brady left after his scoring pass to Fauria and finished the night 16 of 25 for 203 yards and an interception.
Adam Vinatieri kicked field goals of 45, 27 and 44 yards for the Patriots, who won for the second time in three preseason games.
Other NFL exhibition results: Baltimore 13, Philadelphia 12; Jacksonville 24, Chicago 16; Minnesota 14, Tennessee 10.
Davenport, Serena to meet in final
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Second-seeded Lindsay Davenport cruised past Russia's Anastasia Myskina Friday, 6-2, 6-2, to reach the final of the Pilot Pen.
Davenport is seeking her first title this season after missing nearly nine months while recovering from knee surgery.
Since her return, however, the California native has reached the Los Angeles hardcourt final and the Stanford and San Diego hardcourt semifinals.
Davenport was runner-up twice in the last three years here and is trying to win the tournament for the second time. Her first triumph came in 1997.
Former Packer dies in accident
INDEPENDENCE, Mo., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Former NFL linebacker Wayne Simmons, who won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, was killed early Friday in a one-car crash.
Witnesses told police that Simmons' Mercedes was speeding on Interstate 70 eastbound at 2:40 a.m. when it veered between traffic, left the roadway and overturned several times.
The vehicle caught fire and passing motorists were unable to extricate Simmons. Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which was confined to the engine block, then removed Simmons, who later was pronounced dead at Independence Regional Hospital.
The cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner's office. Results of toxicology tests are not expected for a week.
Oswalt suspended five games
NEW YORK, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Houston Astros righthander Roy Oswalt, one of baseball's hottest pitchers, was suspended five games Friday by Major League Baseball for throwing at and hitting Chicago Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez in the Astros' 9-6 victory on Aug. 12.
Houston had a seven-run lead when Gonzalez was hit leading off the bottom of the seventh inning.
Oswalt insisted he was not trying to hit anyone.
Unless appealed, the suspension will begin Saturday.
Oswalt is 6-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last six starts, raising his record for the season to 16-6 with a 3.03 ERA.
Jeff Gordon wins NASCAR pole
BRISTOL, Tenn., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Jeff Gordon ended a protracted qualifying drought on friendly territory Friday.
Gordon captured his second straight pole at Bristol Motor Speedway and third of the NASCAR Winston Cup season, driving his Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a top lap of 124.034 miles per hour at the Sharpie 500.
A four-time Winston Cup champion, Gordon qualified no higher than 11th in his last six races. But he edged Dale Earnhardt Jr. by .012 seconds for his 42nd career pole and first since the Food City 500 in March at this legendary short track.
Now that he has solved his qualifying problems, Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsports team will try to end a career-high 31-race winless drought. The last of his 58 Winston Cup victories came at the Protection One 400 last September.
Michael Waltrip made it a Chevrolet sweep of the top three qualifying positions, with the Ford Taurus of Rusty Wallace and the Dodge Intrepid of Bill Elliott rounding out the top five.
In Montreal, Cristiano da Matta continued his success in Canada by capturing the provisional pole for the CART Molson Indy Montreal.
CART's runaway leader with six wins and 143 points this season, Da Matta drove his Toyota/Lola around the 2.7-mile Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in 1 minute, 19.465 seconds for a top speed of 122.726 miles per hour.
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