National Sports Briefs
SYDNEY ó Tiger Woods keeps referring to the “process” as he tries to work his way back toward the top of golf.
Despite a setback Saturday at the Australian Open, it looks like progress.
With a one-shot lead going into the third round ó his first time atop any leaderboard in nearly a year ó Woods trudged off the 18th green at The Lakes with a 3-over 75 and found himself six shots behind John Senden.
He started the day posing over a short iron that was headed right for the flag, only for the ball to take one hop forward and trickle off the steep bank to the left of the green that set up the first of three straight bogeys. By the end of his round, he was staring down putts and looking perplexed when they turned away from the cup.
Since his last win two years ago at the Australian Masters, Woods now has been in front three times.
And all three times, he failed to break par.
“Well, 75s are never exciting,” Woods said.
CARACAS, Venezuela ó The kidnapping ordeal of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos ended after two days when Venezuelan police commandos swooped in to rescue him in a flurry of gunfire and arrested five alleged abductors.
Ramos said he was happy and thankful to be alive, and that the final moments had been hair-raising as police and the kidnappers exchanged heavy fire in the remote mountainous area where he was being held.
PARIS ó Roger Federer earned his 800th career victory, beating Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the Paris Masters. He then beat Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-3 to reach the final.
MIAMI ó A surprising visit by Albert Pujols sent a message: The Miami Marlins will be a much different franchise than the Florida Marlins.
Pujols picked an unlikely locale to begin his free-agent tour Friday when he was courted in Miami by the Marlins, only hours before they officially changed their name during a ceremony at their new ballpark.
RALEIGH ó Eric Staal scored for the first time in a month and Carolina beat Pittsburgh 5-3 on Saturday.
It was Staal’s fourth goal of the season and first since Oct. 18. Chad LaRose added a breakaway score with 2:30 left. Jeff Skinner had a goal and two assists, and Tuomo Ruutu had two goals for the Hurricanes, who led 3-0 lead after two periods and snapped a four-game slide. Cam Ward had 37 saves.
DEVILS 3, CAPITALS 2
WASHINGTONó David Clarkson scored in the fourth round of the shootout, after Johan Hedberg made a pad save on Nicklas Backstrom, and the New Jersey Devils rallied for a 3-2 win.
BRUINS 6, SABRES 2
BOSTON ó Tyler Seguin scored twice and had an assist as Boston increased its season-high win streak to five.
RED WINGS 5, STARS 2
DETROIT ó Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Brad Stuart scored in the third period, and Detroit beat Dallas.
BLUE JACKETS 2, JETS 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio ó Rookie Ryan Johansen, a healthy scratch in the previous game, had his first two-goal effort, and Steve Mason made with 35 saves to help struggling Columbus end a three-game losing skid.
BLUES 3, LIGHTNING 0
ST. LOUIS ó Brian Elliott stopped 19 shots, and defenseman Kris Russell scored in his St. Louis debut.
CANADIENS 2, PREDATORS 1, OT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Max Pacioretty scored 2:31 into overtime to lift Montreal over Nashville in front of a sellout crowd.
SENATORS 5, LEAFS 2
TORONTO ó Craig Anderson made 31 saves, Nick Foligno scored two goals and Ottawa snapped its five-game losing streak.