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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Twins avoid sweep in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, MO -- Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored as the Twins topped the Royals 8-3 to avoid a three-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.  Josmil Pinto  homered and scored twice, while Kurt Suzuki had two hits and drove in two for Minnesota, which evened its record at 9-and-9.  Phil Hughes permitted three runs over six innings as he improved to 1-and-1.  Alcides Escobar hit a two-run homer for the Royals, who had a five-game winning streak snapped.  Yordano Ventura yielded four runs in four frames to suffer the loss and fall to 1-and-1.  

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The Minnesota Twins open up a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.  Minnesota's Mike Pelfrey aims for his first win of the year.  He is 0-and-2 with a 7.98 ERA in three starts so far.  The Rays will counter with left-hander David Price, who is 2-and-1 with a 4.39 ERA.

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The Twins have acquired Major League outfielder Sam Fuld from the Oakland Athletics.  Minnesota claimed the outfielder on waivers yesterday.  Fuld had played in seven games for the A's this season, hitting .200 with a home run.  The 32-year-old Fuld is a career .233 hitter, having played for the Cubs, Rays, and A's.  He'll join the Twins tomorrow.  To make room for Fuld, the Twins designated outfielder Darin Mastroianni for assignment.

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 Both the Golden Gopher softball and baseball teams lost two of three games over the weekend.  The No. 14 Gopher softball team lost at No. 3 Michigan yesterday 7-2  The Wolverines beat Minnesota on Saturday, while the Gophers beat Michigan on Friday.  The Minnesota softball team is now 33-and-8 on the season and 11-and-5 in the Big Ten.  The Gopher host North Dakota on Wednesday  The Gopher baseball team dropped a game at Iowa yesterday, 7-6.  Minnesota is now 19-and-16 overall and 6-and-9 in the Big Ten.  The Gophers host Hamline on Wednesday in baseball.

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The University of Minnesota baseball pitching coach is in the midst of a ten-week fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Minnesota.  Todd Oakes is competing for the organization's Man of the Year Award.  Oakes himself was diagnosed with a form of leukemia in 2012 and is now in complete remission.  He says what motivates him is raising enough money for more cancer research so one or two other cancer patients can hear the word remission. Former Gopher pitcher and current Twins closer Glen Perkins is donating $100 for every strikeout he has this month and the Twins and the MLB Players Association are matching the funds.  The general public can also donate.  Info is available at www.mwoy.com/mn.  Oakes will find out if he wins the award next month.

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The Minnesota Wild look to get in the win column as they host the Colorado Avalanche in Game Three of their Western Conference quarterfinal series tonight at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  Minnesota trails 2-0 in the best-of-seven series after a pair of losses in Colorado.  Wild head coach Mike Yeo says his team has played well enough to be in both of the first two games of the series, but there's much room for improvement.  Tonight's game is set to begin at 6 p.m.  Game Four will also be in St. Paul on Thursday.

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 The AHL Iowa Wild closed out their first season in Iowa on Saturday with a 3-2 loss to the Barons in Oklahoma City.  Iowa closed the season on a six-game losing streak.  The Wild finished last in the Western Conference with a 27-36-and-13 record.  The Iowa Wild are the affiliate for the NHL Minnesota Wild.

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The Flyers beat the Rangers 4-2 to even their series at one game each in the NHL playoffs yesterday.  The Bruins downed the Red Wings 4-1 to knot that series at one.  The Canadiens have a 3-0 lead on the Lightning after a 3-2 win.  The Sharks rolled the Kings 7-2 to go up 2-0 in that series.

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Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders is scheduled to meet with reporters later today in Minneapolis.  There has been no official word on the future of Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman.  There is little doubt Saunders will be asked about that situation today, so there's a chance there could be developing news out of the briefing, which is slated for 10 a.m.

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Eight teams started the NBA playoffs yesterday with Game Ones.  The Heat downed the Bobcats 99-88 in the Eastern Conference while the Wizards upended the Bulls, 102-93.  The Spurs edged the Mavericks 90-85 out West while the Trail Blazers held off the Rockets 122-120 in overtime.

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 A Sauk Rapids man says he'll have mixed emotions when he runs in the Boston Marathon today.  Tim Wright had just finished the race last year, when the first bomb went off and says he wants to go back and finish the race.  He says he wants to put the marathon back in people's minds as a good experience following last year's bombing. Wright says today is about reclaiming the marathon and what it truly stands for.

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