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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Twins win in the 10th on Escobar's homer

CLEVELAND, OH -- Minnesota's Eduardo Escobar launched a home run in the top of the 10th inning to lift the Twins to a 1-0 win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field last night in the opener of a four-game set.  Reliever Caleb Thielbar of Randolph grabbed the win and Stillwater's Glen Perkins locked up his eighth save with a perfect 10th.  Minnesota was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, but still got back to .500 through 30 games with its third straight victory.  Kyle Gibson tossed seven shutout innings, but wasn't a part of the decision.  Cleveland was held to three hits, two from Mike Aviles.  John Axford was handed his third loss of the season.  Zach McAllister bounced back striking out eight through six-and-two-thirds innings for the Tribe, who are 2-and-8 in their last 10.  The same two teams play tonight in Ohio, with a 6:05 p.m. first pitch.

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WNBA Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore racked up 14 points, seven steals, seven rebounds and six assists as Minnesota cruised past the Australian National Team 82-66 in their preseason opener at the Target Center last night.  The Lynx head to Orlando for a preseason tournament starting Friday against Phoenix.  Chicago and Indiana will also participate in the tourney.  Minnesota will be without forward Devereaux Peters, who will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery this week.  

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University of Minnesota women's basketball coach Marlene Stollings has hired John Motherwell as one of her new assistant coaches.  Stollings, who was hired last month as Golden Gopher head coach, brings Motherwell to the Twin Cities from Detroit-Mercy, where he just completed his first season as an assistant coach with the Titans women's program.  Motherwell has coaching experience at Minnesota State-Moorhead, Concordia-St. Paul, and St. Scholastica, as well as North Dakota, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and West Florida.  His wife Sherri is an Elrosa native and a 2001 graduate of St. Scholastica.  

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The Big Ten Conference is continuing plans to shift its footprint east.  The conference has announced the 2017 men's basketball postseason tournament will be held in Washington, DC.  It will mark the first time since 1998 that the event will be held outside of Indianapolis or Chicago.  The Big Ten will add Maryland and Rutgers to the conference this season.  The 2015 tourney will be at Chicago's United Center while the 2016 event takes place at Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse.  There is a news conference scheduled for today to announce the decision to hold the event in the nation's capital.

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The Big East and Big Ten are teaming up for an early-season men's college basketball series.  The Gavitt Tipoff Games will feature eight games to be played on four consecutive days in the first full week of the season beginning in 2015.  Games will be played at home sites and honor Big East founder Dave Gavitt.  The current agreement between the conferences is for eight years through 2022.

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The start of the NBA playoffs second round wasn't able to live up to the hype on Monday night after a riveting opening round.  The Wizards took care of the Pacers, 102-96, in Game One of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.  Indiana also lost Game One at home to the Hawks in the quarterfinals.  The Clippers demolished the Thunder, 122-105, in Oklahoma City.  Chris Paul posted 32 points and 10 assists as the Los Angeles jumped out to a 1-0 lead.  

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The Minnesota Wild look to get in the win column tonight as they host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Three of their Western Conference semifinals series at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  Minnesota is down 2-0 in the best-of-seven set after dropping both games in Chicago.  The Blackhawks have outscored the Wild 9-3 in the first two games.  Wild head coach Mike Yeo says his team must be better and puck movement in the offensive zone in hopes of drawing a few more penalties and gaining more power play opportunities  Tonight's game is set to begin at 8 p.m.

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Here is the schedule and the results for the NHL Western Conference Semifinal best-of-seven series between the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks:

Game One (Friday 5/2):  Chicago 5, Minnesota 2 (CHI leads series 1-0) Game Two (Sunday 5/4):  Chicago 4, Minnesota 1 (CHI leads series 2-0) Game Three (Tuesday 5/6):  Chicago at Minnesota, 8pm Game Four (Friday 5/9):  Chicago at Minnesota, 8:30pm Game Five (Sunday 5/11):  Minnesota at Chicago, if necessary, TBD Game Six (Tuesday 5/13):  Chicago at Minnesota, if necessary, TBD Game Seven (Thursday 5/15):  Minnesota at Chicago, if necessary, TBD

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The first-round of the NFL Draft will kick-off on Thursday from the Radio City Music Hall in New York.  The Minnesota Vikings hold the eighth pick of the first round.  Minnesota has seven total picks in the draft including two third-round choices.  Minnesota will have four picks in the top 100.  Rounds two and three take place on Friday and the final four rounds resume on Saturday.  

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