National Sports Briefs
ST. LOUIS ó Nolan Ryan must have been getting a tad uncomfortable as the innings ticked by Thursday night and the Rangers crept ever closer to a two-game World Series deficit.
The team’s president and chief executive had boldly predicted on a Dallas radio station that Texas would need six games to wrap up the series, but the St. Louis Cardinals had already taken the opener and were leading Game 2 by a run heading into the ninth inning.
That’s when Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus delivered back-to-back singles, and Josh Hamilton and Michael Young followed with back-to-back sacrifice flies. Texas went on to win 2-1.
Rather than needing four straight wins to back up their boss, the Rangers just need three more in four.
“Our offense is such that every night, we can break out and have a big inning like we did against Detroit,” Ryan said before Game 2 at Busch Stadium. “When I looked at St. Louis’ pitching, I don’t look at their pitching like a (Justin) Verlander where you say, ‘Boy, Verlander is on. We’re going to hope that something good has to happen.’
“I’m not downplaying the Cardinals’ pitching by any means,” Ryan said. “I feel every night that we should score some runs and give our pitchers the opportunity to win some ballgames.”
Game 3 is tonight in Texas.
GREEN BAY, Wis. ó Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame guard Gale Gillingham died at his home in Minnesota while lifting weights, his son said Friday. He was 67.
Wade Gillingham said the former Pro Bowler appeared to have had a heart attack Thursday at his home in Little Falls, but his family doesn’t have confirmation on a cause of death.
NEW YORK ó NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver calls Bryant Gumbel’s comments on HBO about Commissioner David Stern “outrageous.”
In his closing commentary on Tuesday’s “Real Sports,” the longtime TV host said Stern had “always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys.”
Filling in for the ill Stern at an NBA news conference Thursday, Silver says: “I can’t speak for David, and the only personal comment is, I thought it was outrageous.”
The league has declined comment on Gumbel’s remarks.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. ó Justin Leonard described his round Friday at Disney as a “fun, easy day,” and it was every bit of that. He had a 9-under 63 for his lowest round of the year, putting him in a tie for the lead with Henrik Stenson and Bio Kim at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.
It was only after his round that he felt as though he was on Thunder Mountain without ever leaving the golf course. Leonard is at No. 144 on the PGA Tour money list and not the least bit worried about keeping his card because he already is exempt through 2012. Because of a misprint in the media guide, reporters didn’t understand how he was exempt, leading to confusion ó and a brief spell of panic for Leonard ó while tour officials researched the regulations to confirm the answer.
By the time he headed for the Magic Kingdom for the parade with his four children, all was well. Leonard, Stenson (64) and Kim (65) were at 12-under 132, two shots clear of Nick O’Hern (66).
CASTELLON, Spain ó Sergio Garcia shot an 8-under 63 on his home course to take a two-shot lead after the second round of the European Tour’s Castello Masters.
TALLADEGA, Ala. ó Kyle Busch’s race team will field a full-time Nationwide Series car next season in addition to his Truck Series program.
Busch said Friday that the car is fully funded, but didn’t announce the sponsor or a driver. It’s possible he will drive the car a good bit and try to win the owners championship, but he said he will honor his commitment to run the races he’s already signed up for with Joe Gibbs Racing.
“It’s a great opportunity for myself and for the Kyle Busch Motorsports organization, for everybody that’s there now (and) that we have on the line to hire to bring over in order to foresee that program being successful,” Busch said. “We’re excited. It’s a great day for us. Crew chiefs, sponsors, drivers ó all that stuff will be announced at a later time.”
Busch’s truck team is currently second in the owner standings, 73 points behind Kevin Harvick Inc.
But KHI is shutting its truck program down at the end of the season, and its Nationwide team is being transferred to Richard Childress Racing.
Busch said he was not gun-shy about expanding Kyle Busch Motorsports.