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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Mauer's single wins game for Twins

HOUSTON  --  Joe Mauer hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the ninth inning in his first game back from the disabled list as the Minnesota Twins beat the Houston Astros, 4-2, in the opener of a three-game set. 

After Eduardo Escobar struck out to start the ninth, Jordan Schafer and Brian  Dozier  worked walks against Josh  Fields (2-5) around a pop out. Mauer then shot a base hit through the hole on  the left side to plate Schafer.  Dozier  scored from  first after Danny Santana hesitated getting the ball into the  infield Mauer, who  had missed the last five weeks with a strained right oblique, also smacked a double for the Twins, who have won two straight on the heels  of a four-game losing streak. Lefty Tommy Milone, acquired from Oakland last  month for  Sam Fuld, made his  first start for Minnesota. He allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks over six innings.


The Kansas City Royals are adding some pop to their lineup as yesterday the Royals acquired outfielder Josh Willingham from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league right-hander Jason Adam.  Willingham is batting just .210 with 12 homers and is two seasons removed from bopping 35 home runs for the Twins in 2012.  


Tonight the Twins take on the Astros again in Houston and will be looking for their third straight win. Joe Mauer, who returned in last nights win after missing 34 games with a strained oblique, will be looking to stretch his hitting streak to 14 games.  While he's hitting just .274 on the season, during the 13-game hitting streak Mauer is clubbing .373 with 13 RBI's.  While the Twins will be looking for win number three in a row, the Astros have dropped five of seven. Yohan Pino (1-4, 4.59 ERA) goes tonight for the Twins and he'll face Collin McHugh (4-9, 3.18).  First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.  


Alcides Escobar singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as the red-hot Royals edged the Athletics 3-2 in the first of four at Kauffman Stadium.  Escobar drove in two, while Jarrod Dyson scored the other run on a double play ball for the Royals, who have won eight straight to take a half-game lead on Detroit in the AL Central.  KC hasn't been atop the division this late in the season in 11 years.  Kelvin Herrera picked up the win and Greg Holland notched his 35th save.  Brandon Moss had a two-run single for Oakland, which has lost two straight since a three-game winning streak.  Sonny Gray allowed three runs, two earned, in seven frames to fall to 12-6 with the loss.


The MInnesota Vikings have today off from training camp.  They will continue practice tomorrow as they gear up to host the Arizona Cardinals this Saturday in the second preseason game for both teams.  Head coach Mike Zimmer announced yesterday that Matt Cassel will start again this week.


The University of Minnesota football team will practice today at 10:25 a.m. on campus as fall camp continues.  The Gophers are preparing for their season opener, which is set for August 28th against Eastern Illinois in Minneapolis at TCF Stadium.  The teams is back to a pair of practices tomorrow.


Tonight the Minnesota Lynx return to the Target Center floor to face a Western Conference rival when the LA Sparks come to town.  The Lynx had an 11-game winning streak snapped with Saturday's 82-80 loss to Phoenix.  Maya Moore finished with 30 points and hit a runner to tie it with 7.9 seconds remaining before Lindsay Whalen had her last-second layup blocked.  LA on the other hand has dropped three of five.  The Lynx are looking to sweep the season series after taking the first three meetings by an average of 13.6 points. Moore scored 31 in a 94-77 win June 17 and 30 in an 83-72 victory July 8.  Tap tonight is at 7 p.m.


The Minnesota Wild announced the inaugural Minnesota Wild Breakaway 10K/5K/1-Mile Run, benefitting the Minnesota Wild Foundation and celebrating the beginning of the 2014-15 NHL season. The event will take place in downtown Saint Paul on Saturday, Sept. 20, beginning at 8:30 a.m. All races will begin and end at Gate 1 of Xcel Energy Center.  Online registration began yesterday for the Breakaway Run at  Participants can register on or before Aug. 17 for the lowest price. The top three male and female finishers at each distance will receive prizes - first place in each will receive two lower-level tickets to Opening Night, while the top three finishers receive a 2013-14 team signed hockey stick. There will also be awards for the top male and female Wild Season Ticket Holder in all three races. All participants will also receive a Wild Breakaway Run t-shirt. Participants are encouraged to wear Wild gear.  Check-in time and location to be announced at a later date.


After  not competing  in  Sunday's  Sprint Cup  Series  race  at Watkins  Glen International,  Tony  Stewart has pulled out  of an upcoming winged sprint car event in Plymouth, Indiana. Plymouth Speedway announced the news that Stewart would  not  race Saturday in  a statement  released Monday. Stewart struck and killed  20-year-old Kevin  Ward Jr. during a sprint car race on Saturday night in  upstate New York.  Ward was struck after he climbed out of his car and was on  the dirt track.  There is no word yet from Stewart-Haas Racing if Stewart, who  is  not currently under  criminal investigation, will compete in Sunday's 400-mile Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.