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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Mauer's bat hot, leads Twins to win

BALTIMORE --  Minnesota designated hitter Joe Mauer broke a three-all tie in the eighth with a two-run single off Andrew Miller, as the Twins beat the Orioles 6-4 at Camden Yards in Baltimore yesterday. 

Mauer went 3-for-4 with a triple and drove in four runs for Minnesota, which avoided a four-game sweep.  Kennys Vargas added two hits and plated two in the win.  Phil Hughes permitted three unearned runs in eight innings to improve to 15-9.  Glen Perkins shut the door for his 33rd save.  Kevin Gausman gave up five runs, four earned, in seven-and-a-third innings to fall to 7-7.  Nelson Cruz and Nick Hundley both homered for the Birds, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.  Minnesota opens a two-game set with the White Sox tonight in Minneapolis.  Chicago was off yesterday and beat Detroit on Sunday.


The Minnesota Lynx meet the Mercury tonight in Phoenix in a decisive Game Three of the WNBA Western Conference Finals.  Seimone Augustus hit a go-ahead jumper with 23.3-seconds left as the Lynx stayed alive with an 82-77 victory in Game Two on Sunday at Target Center.  Tonight's winner will advance to play either Chicago or Indiana in the WNBA Finals.


The Minnesota Vikings are preparing for their regular season opener against the Rams on Sunday in St. Louis.  Minnesota went a perfect 4-0 in the preseason.  The Vikings have won two straight in the series including a 36-22 victory in the most recent matchup in St. Louis in 2012.  The Vikes will not practice today and will begin implementing the gameplan tomorrow.


The University of Minnesota football team are back to work this week as they prepare for Saturday's showdown with Middle Tennessee State at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.  Minnesota opened the year with a 42-20 victory over Eastern Illinois last Thursday.  Middle Tennessee crushed Savannah State 61-7 on Saturday to start the season.  Saturday's kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. 

Here is the 2014 schedule for the University of Minnesota football team (all home games at TCF Stadium):

Thursday, August 28 - Gophers 42, Eastern Illinois 20 (final)

Saturday, September 6 - vs. Middle Tennessee State, 2:30pm

Saturday, September 13 - at TCU, 3pm

Saturday, September 20 - vs. San Jose State, TBD

Saturday, September 27 - at Michigan, 

Saturday, October 4 - BYE WEEK

Saturday, October 11 - vs. Northwestern, TBD

Saturday, October 18 - vs. Purdue, 11am

Saturday, October 25 - at Illinois, 11am

Saturday, November 1 - BYE WEEK

Saturday, November 8 - vs. Iowa, TBD

Saturday, November 15 - vs. Ohio State, TBD

Saturday, November 22 - at Nebraska, TBD

Saturday, November 29 - at Wisconsin, TBD 


The U.S. men's basketball team takes a 2-0 record into today's Group C contest against New Zealand at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.  The Americans defeated Finland on Saturday before coming from behind to down Turkey on Sunday.  Team USA currently sits atop its group with four points while New Zealand is last with two.  The other four teams in the group have a win and loss and hold three standings points.  The top four teams in each six-team group advance to the Round of 16.  Today's contest begins at 10:30 a.m.


Five-time champion Serena Williams is moving on at the U.S. Open.  The American cruised to an easy fourth-round victory on Monday, defeating Estonian slugger Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3 at Ashe Stadium.  Williams moves to the quarterfinals where she will face Flavia Pennetta, who defeated Casey Dellacqua.  Also Monday, Ekaterina Makarova bounced Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard  to reach her second straight U.S. Open quarterfinal.  Makarova will next face Victoria Azarenka, who survived a scare from Aleksandra Krunic.  On the men's side of the draw, top seed Novak Djokovic rolled past German Philipp Kohlschreiber to reach the quarters.  He will face Great Britain's Andy Murray, who beat France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.  Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka secured his spot in the quarterfinals by downing Tommy Robredo of Spain.  Wawrinka will meet Kei Nishikori, who outlasted Canada's Milos Raonic in a five-set match that ended at nearly 1:30 a.m.


Tony Stewart crashed in his return to racing on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Stewart wrecked halfway through the Oral-B 500 and finished 41st.  He missed the previous three races after his car struck and killed 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr. in a dirt-track race August 9th in upstate New York.  Stewart started 12th and quickly made his way into the top-six, but after a restart on lap 122, he made contact with the wall while battling Kyle Busch for position.  He managed to continue in the race but his night came to a premature end on lap 172 when he blew his right-front tire and crashed into the wall.  Kasey Kahne  won the race on Saturday.