Mauer a hot pick for MVP
NEW YORK ó Joe Mauer became only the second catcher in 33 years to win the American League MVP award, finishing first in a near-unanimous vote Monday.
The Minnesota Twins star received 27 of 28 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Yankees teammates Mark Teixeira (225 points) and Derek Jeter (193) followed. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera drew the other first-place vote and was fourth with 171 points, one point ahead of the Angels’ Kendry Morales.
Mauer set a major league record for highest batting average by a catcher and won his third batting title, becoming the first repeat batting champion since Nomar Garciaparra in 1999-00. Mauer set career bests with 28 homers and 96 RBIs. He also had more walks (76) than strikeouts (63).
Ivan Rodriguez in 1999 had been the only catcher since Thurman Munson in 1976 to win the AL MVP.
n CHICAGO ó Omar Vizquel is joining a team with a long history of Venezuelan shortstops, and that was part of the attraction in coming to the Chicago White Sox.
The 42-year-old Vizquel agreed to $1,375,000, one-year contract to add depth and experience.
NFLHOUSTON ó Rob Bironas kicked a 53-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining and the Tennessee Titans beat the Houston Texans 20-17 for their fourth straight win after an 0-6 start.
The Texans (5-5) had a chance to tie it, but Kris Brown’s 49-yard attempt with one second remaining was wide left. It was his second miss of the game and the second straight game he’s missed a chance to send the Texans to OT.
The Titans (4-6) haven’t lost since Vince Young took over at quarterback. He is 2-0 as a starter in his hometown of Houston after running for the winning touchdown in overtime in his last start here, as a rookie in 2006.
Chris Johnson finished with 151 yards rushing and Young had a touchdown pass in the first half.
n The playoff chase has gotten much more difficult for the Packers after they lost two key defensive players to season-ending injuries.
Cornerback Al Harris and linebacker Aaron Kampman will have knee surgery after suffering major injuries against San Francisco.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said top overall pick Matthew Stafford was “extremely sore” after sustaining a separated left shoulder on the next-to-last play of the win over Cleveland. Stafford won’t play against Green Bay on Thursday unless the pain subsides.
Schwartz was also unsure about receiver Calvin Johnson, who hurt his knee on the same play that Stafford was injured.
The Redskins added running back Ladell Betts (torn left knee ligaments), tackle Chad Rinehart (broken leg) and fullback Eddie Williams (broken leg) to their long injured reserve list.
For the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger left Sunday’s game with concussion-like symptoms and backup Charlie Batch injured his left wrist during overtime. Batch could miss about six weeks.
n Syracuse was so impressive in the 2K Sports Classic that it made one of the best entrances ever into The AP’s college basketball poll.
The Orange, which beat Cal and North Carolina by an average of 19 points in winning the tournament at Madison Square Garden, went from unranked to No. 10, the third-best jump-in in poll history.
Duke moved up two spots to seventh and UNC dropped to 11th.
The most impressive move from unranked to ranked was Kansas’ jump in to No. 4 in 1989 after beating No. 2 LSU, No. 1 UNLV and No. 25 St. John’s in the Preseason NIT.
n A study by two professors has found that college referees favor the home team and tend to do what they can to keep foul counts close.
The professors, from Indiana University and Ball State, studied 365 college games during the 2004-05 season. They found that refs had a terrific knack for keeping the foul count even, regardless of which team was more aggressive.Their findings were published The Journal of Sports Sciences earlier this year. They discovered that the probability of a foul being called on the visiting team was 7 percent higher than on the home team.
The professors also discovered that in games when the home team had five or more fouls than the visiting team, there was a 69 percent chance the visitors would be whistled for the next foul.
n GREENSBORO ó Duke’s Nolan Smith and Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors (freshman) have captured the ACC’s weekly honors.
Smith was named player of the week after averaging averaging 22 points, six assists and four rebounds in two wins.
No. 3 Texas 85, Iowa 60
KANSAS CITY, Mo. ó Dexter Pittman scored 15 points in a CBE Classic semifinal.
No. 6 Purdue 73, No. 9 Tenn. 72
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands ó E’Twaun Moore scored 22 points to lead Purdue in the championship game of the Paradise Jam.
Tennessee (4-1) had a chance to win it, but center Wayne Chism missed an open 3-pointer from the top of the key with two seconds left.
No. 16 Louisville 80, App. St. 53LOUISVILLE, Ky. ó Samardo Samuels had 16 points for Louisville, which led 39-30 at halftime.
Donald Sims led Appalachian State (2-3) with 19 points and Jeremi Booth had 14.
No. 19 Clemson 102, Winthrop 66CLEMSON, S.C. ó Trevor Booker had 15 points and 11 rebounds to help Clemson win its 30th straight game in November.
The Tigers (4-0) haven’t lost in college basketball’s opening month since a 79-70 defeat at Boston College on Nov. 26, 2004.
No. 21 Maryland 79, Chaminade 51LAHAINA, Hawaii ó Sean Mosley scored 19 points, Eric Hayes added 12 and Landon Milbourne had 10 to lead Maryland in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
The Terrapins (4-0) advanced to a semifinal meeting today with Cincinnati, which beat No. 24 Vanderbilt 67-58 in the first round.
Virginia Tech 71, Campbell 60
BUIES CREEK ó J.T. Thompson scored a season-high 17 points and Virginia Tech pulled away late.
Malcolm Delaney shook off a rough night to finish with 15 points and reach the 1,000-point mark for his career with the Hokies (3-0).
The Camels (3-1) played host to an ACC school for the first time and hung tough for most of the way before falling to 1-27 all-time against the league.Montana 68, Oregon 55
EUGENE, Ore. ó Anthony Johnson scored 20 points and Brian Qvale added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Montana.
The Grizzlies (4-0) beat a Pac-10 team for the first time since an 88-69 win against Stanford in 2005.
James Madison 79, N.C. Central 66MIAMI ó Darren White led four players in double figures with 20 points in the 2K Sports Classic.
C.J. Wilkerson led all scorers with 21 points for Central (2-4).NBASAN ANTONIO ó Tim Duncan had 24 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs halted the Milwaukee Bucks’ three-game winning streak with a 112-98 victory.
Grizzlies 116, Kings 105
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ó Rudy Gay scored 24 points and O.J. Mayo added 20.
Trail Blazers 122, Bulls 98
PORTLAND, Ore. ó Greg Oden tied a career high with 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge also had 24.
Oden missed one of his eight shots from the field and added 12 rebounds. Aldridge pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
Luol Deng scored 25 points.
NHLDALLAS ó Marty Turco stopped 22 shots for his 38th career shutout, rookie Jamie Benn scored a power-play goal in the first period and the Dallas Stars beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0.
Manny Legace made 27 saves as the Hurricanes remained winless on the road this season (0-8-3).
Islanders 4, Maple Leafs 3
TORONTO ó Dwayne Roloson made 58 saves ó the most by an NHL goalie in 18 years ó and Josh Bailey scored at 4:18 of overtime.
Ron Tugnutt had 70 saves for Quebec at Boston on March 21, 1991, according to STATS.GOLFRICHMOND, Texas ó Anna Nordqvist won the LPGA Tour Championship and Lorena Ochoa finished second to win her fourth consecutive player of the year award by one point over Jiyai Shin.