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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Gibson's strong outing lifts Twins to series win

HOUSTON -- Kennys Vargas delivered a two-run single in the top of the eighth inning as the Twins topped the Astros 3-1 at Minute Maid Park.  Danny Santana went 4-for-5 and Joe Mauer homered for Minnesota, which took a 3-0 lead into the eighth.  Kyle Gibson pitched seven-and-two-thirds innings of one-run ball to move to 11-and-9.  Glen Perkins posted his 30th save as the Twins took two-of-three in the series.  Brett Oberholtzer allowed just one run in seven frames, but fell to 4-and-8 with the tough-luck loss.  Chris Carter singled in the lone run for Houston in the bottom of the eighth.  Twins have today off and return to Minneapolis to open a 10 game home stand that begins on Friday.


The rough year for highly regarded Minnesota Twins prospect Byron Buxton continued on Wednesday.  Buxton collided with a teammate in right-center field as he made his debut for the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats.  Buxton had to be carted away from the field in an ambulance. stated he was down on the field for 10 minutes.  Yahoo Sports is reporting Buxton has concussion-like symptoms.  


Today the Minnesota Vikings wrap up their stay in Mankato with a pair of practices.  It starts with a morning walk thru followed by a 3 p.m. practice.  After that the team returns to the Twin Cities as they prepare for their second preseason game on Saturday night.  They'll host the Arizona Cardinals at TCF Bank Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kick-off.  The Vikings are 1-0 on the preseason coming off a 10-6 win over Oakland last Friday.


The Minnesota Vikings have announced former Pro Bowl linebacker E.J. Henderson has been named the team’s Youth Football Manager.  Henderson, who spent nine seasons (2003-11) as a linebacker with the Vikings, will be an integral part of the Vikings community relations team. He will help develop new community-based youth football initiatives, will zero in on health and safety issues and will work to expand Vikings programming in Greater Minnesota. Henderson will also assist with all Vikings youth football programs, including the Vikings of Tomorrow, USA Football, Community Quarterback Awards, the All-State High School Football Team and Heads Up Football.


Should the Kevin Love trade to Cleveland actually happen next week we now know when he'll return to face his former team for the first time.  Yesterday, the Timberwolves announced their 2014-15 season schedule and they'll open up on the road Wednesday, Oct. 29 in Memphis.  But the game most Wolves fans will have circled is when they host the Cavs on Jan. 31 at Target Center.  That should be the return of Kevin Love to Minneapolis assuming the much talked about trade sending him to the Cavs for Andrew Wiggins actually comes to fruition.  Other notable home games include Dec. 12 and April 15 vs. Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers return to Target Center on March 25 and Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets come to Minnesota on March 16. 


The  NBA unveiled  its full  regular-season  schedule on  Wednesday night.  An extended  All-Star  break for the first  time in league history was announced, but  there will be plenty of intriguing matchups before the February showcase.  LeBron  James returns  to Miami on Christmas  Day as his Cavaliers take on the Heat  in one of  five holiday games. James, of course, won two titles with the Heat before bolting back to Cleveland this offseason. The remaining four games on  Christmas  are: Wizards-Knicks,  Thunder-Spurs, Lakers-Bulls and Warriors-Clippers.  The  Spurs will unveil  their fifth  championship banner on Oct. 28 against  the  Mavericks, one of  three Opening Night  games with the other two being Magic-Hornets and Rockets-Lakers.


The Golden Gopher football team will have on practice this morning on the U-of-M campus.  Fall camp has now stretched into its second week gearing towards the season opener against Eastern Illinois on August 28th at TCF Bank Stadium.  


The Minnesota Lynx and Land O’Lakes, Inc. are teaming up to host a food drive to benefit Second Harvest Heartland. As part of its commitment to Second Harvest Heartland, Land O’Lakes will donate $1 for every pound of food collected from Lynx fans during the month of August.  The first 100 Lynx fans to donate canned goods will receive free tickets to the Lynx final regular season home game on August 16 at 7 p.m. Fans can drop off food donations and receive their tickets at the Timberwolves and Lynx administrative office in Target Center. Each canned item is good for one Lynx ticket Fans can receive up to two tickets each.  


Just four days before leaving for college, Luke Johanson squeezed one final tournament into his busy summer schedule Wednesday.  The result was a four-stroke victory to claim his second consecutive Minnesota Public Golf Association Public Links Championship at Bunker Hills Golf Club.  Johanson, Chaska, Minn., was tied for second, one shot off the lead at even par 72 with Mason Fiddle after Wednesday’s morning session.  The defending champion had little trouble over the final nine holes Wednesday as he made par on the first five holes to remain even, before rolling in a 12-foot birdie at the sixth to move to 1-under for the championship.  An errant tee shot on the par-3 seventh hole led to his only bogey during the afternoon as he fell back to even par, but rebounded well with a birdie on the par-5 ninth and final hole to end the championship on top at 1-under par 107.  Fiddle, White Bear Lake, Minn., recorded one birdie and a pair of bogeys on the opening nine during Wednesday’s morning session and made the turn at 1-over par 37 before rolling in two birdies with just one bogey over the next nine holes to shoot even par 72.  


The number of remaining games continues to shrink and the deficit continues to grow in the North Division, a bad combination for the St. Paul Saints.  After losing their fifth consecutive game and second straight to the division leading Winnipeg Goldeyes, 4-2 on Wednesday evening at Shaw Park, the Saints are now 5.0 games back with 20 games left  They are closer to the Wild Card, 3.0 games behind the Laredo Lemurs who were still in action.  The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. at Shaw Park.  The Saints send RHP Nick Barnese (6-6, 3.63) to the mound against Goldeyes RHP Ethan Hollingsworth (6-1, 3.94).