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CHICAGO (AP) - Brek Shea sure knows how to make an entrance.

Just 42 seconds after coming into the game as a substitute Sunday, Shea pounced after Landon Donovan whiffed a shot and poked the ball into the net. His goal in the 69th minute gave the United States a 1-0 victory over Panama and the CONCACAF Gold Cup title. It is the fifth Gold Cup title for the Americans, but their first since 2007. It also is the first international title as a coach for Jurgen Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championship with Germany.

"It doesn't matter who scored today," Shea said. "We won."

The U.S. is doing a lot of that lately.

This was the 11th straight victory for the Americans, four more than their previous record, and they likely will leapfrog Mexico as the best team from the North and Central America and Caribbean region when the next FIFA rankings come out Aug. 8.

When the final whistle sounded, the Americans on the field began celebrating while the rest of the team raced off the bench. Several players jumped up and down, and hugs and high-fives were exchanged. Klinsmann, who watched the game from a luxury box after being suspended for his tirade over the officiating in the semifinal, quickly made his way down to the field, pumping his fists in the air as he walked.

"They wanted to send out a signal that they are the best group in CONCACAF, and they are," Klinsmann said. "For today."

But their performance in this tournament is likely to stay with the Americans for a while. At least until the next round of World Cup qualifying in September. Not only did they outscore opponents 20-4 in the tournament - no other team had more than 11 goals - but they showed they are deeper than they've ever been, with one young player after another stepping up.

And one veteran, too.

Despite his big whiff, Donovan was selected the tournament MVP. He finished with five goals and seven assists, a particularly impressive performance considering it followed a four-month sabbatical over the winter that cost him his place on the national team.

"In terms of just having fun, it's up there," Donovan said. "I'm just enjoying being part of it, I really am."

Though Klinsmann picks his roster based on form, not reputation, he acknowledged it would be almost impossible to leave Donovan off the roster for the next round of qualifying.

"He deserves every compliment for this tournament," Klinsmann said.

The only disappointment for the Americans was the loss of Stuart Holden with another right knee injury. Holden sprained his knee early in the first half, and while he will have further tests, Klinsmann said after the game that "it's not looking good."

"We are very, very sad for him," Klinsmann said. "We are very concerned about Stuey's situation. It looks like a very serious knee injury."

While most expected a Mexico-US final, Panama had other ideas, upsetting El Tri twice on the strength of its stingy defense. Panama was just as dogged against the Americans early, crowding Donovan and Eddie Johnson and not giving the U.S. any space.

But rather than taking wild shots or trying to force things, the Americans stayed patient.

"At times it may have been a little slow or been going back and forth, but we stuck to the game plan," Besler said.

And as the game went on, the Americans began to break Panama down. They finished with three shots on goal and another eight that were off target - six in the second half alone. Their best chance came in the 56th minute, DaMarcus Beasley chipped a ball into Donovan, who was in front of the goal at the near post. Donovan got his head on the ball, but not at the angle he wanted and it flew wide of the net. As the crowd groaned, Donovan threw back his head and Beasley swatted the red flag in the corner.

"We were all hopeful, we all wanted to win," Panama coach Julio Dely Valdez said. "But we all go away feeling we gave it our all. I said I wanted to walk away from the Gold Cup feeling good, and I do."

Shea replaced Joe Corona in the 68th minute, just as the Americans were pressing forward again. Alejandro Bedoya got the ball on his left foot and crossed to Donovan, who took a mighty swing - and missed. But it was enough to throw goalkeeper Jaime Pendeo off, and when the ball rolled past Panama's Roberto Chen and on toward the net, Shea was ready. Parked inches from the goal line, Shea stuck out his left foot and tapped the ball into the net for his second international goal.

"I was there just to put it away," he said.

Asked if it was the quickest goal he'd ever had or the closest, Shea replied, "Easiest."

The Americans had a chance to double the lead in the 84th minute when Shea fed a wide-open Eddie Johnson 2 yards from the goal. But Johnson couldn't finish it, sending the ball flying over the cross bar.

But it didn't matter as Panama never threatened.

"I think they were rewarded today for the fantastic Gold Cup they played," Klinsmann said. "They put all their energy in that they had. They should be very, very proud of themselves."

Sunday, 28 July 2013 22:55
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Angels slugger Albert Pujols returned to Los Angeles on Saturday morning for further testing on his ailing left foot.

"This is sorer than anything he's dealt with," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll just see what happens."

Scioscia would not address if Pujols could miss the rest of the season, or at the least, go on the disabled list.

"He's sore," Scioscia said. "We'll see what's going on."

Pujols has been dealing with plantar fasciitis all season. He re-injured his foot running to first base after singling in the ninth inning on Friday night.

Pujols has served as the Angels' designated hitter for most of the year. He is hitting .258 with 17 home runs and 64 RBIs.

Saturday, 27 July 2013 21:50
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ATLANTA (AP) - Andrelton Simmons hit a two-run double in the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves, boosted by Julio Teheran's sharp outing, beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 Saturday in a matchup of NL division leaders.

Teheran allowed two hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking one.

Simmons' bases-loaded, two-out double came on a 99 mph fastball from Trevor Rosenthal.

Randy Choate (1-1) walked Freddie Freeman to open the eighth. Evan Gattis struck out and Brian McCann singled. Rosenthal relieved and struck out Dan Uggla before walking Chris Johnson to load the bases.

Luis Avilan (3-0) pitched a perfect eighth and Craig Kimbrel recorded three outs to earn his 30th save.

Cardinals starter Joe Kelly pitched 6 1-3 scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and walking three.

Kelly, making only his fourth start of the season and first appearance since July 12, matched Teheran through the sixth before finding trouble in the seventh.

With one out, Simmons singled and moved to third on pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich's soft double to the left-center gap.

Kelly issued an intentional walk to Jason Heyward to load the bases. Right-hander Michael Maness replaced Kelly and got Justin Upton to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Teheran allowed a two-out double to Matt Holliday in the first and then walked Allen Craig. The right-hander permitted only one baserunner - Jon Jay doubled in the fifth - through the next six innings.

Holliday was activated off the 15-day disabled list before the game. He had been out since July 12 with a strained right hamstring.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez juggled his lineup. Heyward hit leadoff for only the second game this season. Upton, normally the No. 3 hitter, batted second for the first time in 2013.

Gonzalez said he wanted Freeman, his most consistent hitter, to hit third so he would be certain of having an at-bat in the first inning. Gattis hit cleanup for the second straight game.

"I'm just kind of tinkering," Gonzalez said. "I haven't tinkered in a while."

NOTES: The Cardinals optioned OF-1B Brock Peterson to Triple-A Memphis to clear a roster spot for Holliday. ... Gonzalez said he is 95 percent certain RHP Brandon Beachy, returning from elbow ligament-replacement surgery in June 2012, will come off the DL to start Monday night's game against Colorado. ... The three-game series ends Sunday night when Atlanta RHP Kris Medlen faces St. Louis rookie RHP Shelby Miller.

Saturday, 27 July 2013 21:44
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin tore the ACL in his right knee during practice Saturday and could miss the season.

Maclin went down at the end of a non-contact drill and appeared to be in pain while he was on the ground for several minutes. He was helped onto the cart and needed assistance getting off it and going into the team's practice facility.

"Appreciate all the love and support twitter fam....sad day but I have setbacks my entire life. Minor setback for a MAJOR comeback! #birdgang," he wrote on Twitter.

Philadelphia is in its second full practice under new coach Chip Kelly. The first practice with pads is Sunday.

The Eagles signed wide receiver David Ball to the 90-man roster. The 29-year-old Ball played for Kelly at New Hampshire, and broke Jerry Rice's Division I-AA record for touchdown receptions. Ball spent time in training camp with Chicago and the New York Jets in 2007-08.

Maclin is headed into his fifth season with the Eagles. He led the team with 69 catches for 857 yards and seven touchdowns last season, and the former first-round pick is in the final year of his rookie contract.

Two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson is Philadelphia's other starter. The team has veterans Jason Avant and Riley Cooper, along with several younger wideouts in camp.

Maclin has averaged 64 catches, 863 yards and six TDs in his first four seasons. His best year was in 2011 when he had 70 receptions for 964 yards and 10 TDs.

Saturday, 27 July 2013 21:43
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CHICAGO (AP) - The U.S. soccer team will be missing a key figure for the Gold Cup final against Panama on Sunday: their coach.

Jurgen Klinsmann was suspended for one game Friday by CONCACAF's disciplinary committee, the result of his ejection in the 87th minute of a 3-1 victory over Honduras in the semifinals Wednesday. FIFA rules call for anyone ejected from a match to be suspended for the following game, the disciplinary committee decided.

"I don't think it changes too much," U.S. captain DaMarcus Beasley said Friday. "It's always good to have him on the bench, but he'll give his wisdom before the game ... make sure we get off on the right foot. But it's not going to be the same not seeing his face on the sideline, giving us instructions when we need it and being the enthusiastic person that he is on the bench. Especially, when we score or he needs to tell us something if we need to change something."

Klinsmann was irate Wednesday after the referee failed to issue cards on a series of hard fouls against the Americans. He could be seen yelling and gesturing angrily in the direction of the referee, and was told to leave the field after he slammed a ball into the ground.

Klinsmann later apologized, saying he acted out of frustration.

"I was talking to the ref as well. There weren't any cards," Beasley said. "I got hit three, four times in somewhat the same sequence, and they didn't call anything but a foul. So I could understand his frustration. I was frustrated."

The Americans are seeking their fifth Gold Cup title. They also are looking to extend their record 10-game winning streak in all matches.

"This is what he lives and dies for," Eddie Johnson said. "This is the opportunity that American soccer has been wanting, to have a coach with such experience, who's played at the highest level and played on big teams and managed big players, to be in this position to help us get to where we're trying to go in American soccer."

Friday, 26 July 2013 22:09
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ATLANTA (AP) - Mike Minor allowed only one run to give Atlanta's depleted rotation a lift, Jason Heyward homered, and the Braves beat Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 in a matchup of division leaders on Friday night.

Minor (10-5) gave up four hits with no walks in seven innings. His sharp performance came two days after Tim Hudson was lost for the season with a broken right ankle.

The Atlanta rotation also is without left-hander Paul Maholm, who isn't on the disabled list but is expected to miss at least one start because of a bruised left wrist.

Wainwright (13-6), the NL leader in wins, took his first loss since a 2-1 decision to Texas on June 23.

Yadier Molina gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead with his eighth homer in the second inning. The Braves answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Wainwright allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits and one walk in seven innings.

Minor, who became the first Braves pitcher to reach 10 wins, lowered his ERA to 2.89. His strong start was especially important after Hudson's season ended when he was injured on Wednesday night against the Mets.

The Braves took a 2-1 lead with four hits off Wainwright in the second. Brian McCann doubled, moved to third on Dan Uggla's single and scored on Chris Johnson's single to left field. Minor added a single with two outs to drive in Uggla.

Heyward pushed the lead to 3-1 with his eighth homer, a one-out shot to left field, in the fifth.

With one out in the seventh and Johnson on first base following his second hit, Joey Terdoslavich pinch-hit for Minor and hit a grounder to shortstop Pete Kozma, who threw wild toward second base. Johnson scored on the error.

Jordan Walden pitched a perfect eighth inning before Craig Kimbrel recorded the final three outs for his 29th save.

Heyward, sprinting toward the infield from right field, made a diving catch to take a hit away from David Freese in the fifth inning. Heyward rolled and came up holding the ball as Minor slapped his glove in approval on the mound.

NOTES: Of Minor's 103 pitches, 70 were strikes. ... Attendance was 50,124, a sellout. ... Hudson had surgery to repair his broken right ankle. His wife, Kim, said on her Twitter account the procedure went well. ... RHP Brandon Beachy, recovering from right elbow ligament-replacement surgery in June 2012, will come off the DL to take Hudson's rotation spot Monday night against Colorado. ... Cardinals LHP John Gast had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder. He could return in eight to 12 months. Gast was 2-0 with a 5.11 ERA in three starts before he was placed on the disabled list on May 26 with a left shoulder strain. ... Atlanta's Julio Teheran will face Joe Kelly in a matchup of right-handers on Saturday. Kelly will make only his fourth start of the season.

Friday, 26 July 2013 22:06
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Lance Lynn allowed one run over seven innings and the St. Louis Cardinals scored three times in the third in a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.

Matt Carpenter, Jon Jay and Matt Adams drove in runs for the Cardinals, who have won seven of nine.

Philadelphia has lost five in a row, tying a season high. The Phillies also dropped five straight from June 7-12.

St. Louis has the most wins in the majors at 62 and is a season-high 25 games over .500.

Lynn (12-5) had dropped four of his previous five decisions and was 3-4 with a 6.32 ERA in his past eight starts.

He returned to his early season form on Thursday.

Lynn, who was 8-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his first 12 starts, gave up just five hits against the slumping Phillies, who have scored just nine runs during the five-game skid. He struck out six and walked four.

Lynn, whose last win came on July 7, retired eight batters in a row from the fourth through seventh innings. He set the side down in order in the fifth and sixth on a combined 23 pitches.

Closer Edward Mujica picked up his 30th save in 32 opportunities. He struck out two and is tied with Pittsburgh's Jason Grilli for the most saves in the NL. Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless eighth for the Cardinals.

St. Louis scored three times on four hits off Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick (9-7) in the third.

Carpenter drove in Pete Kozma with a one-out single. Jay followed with an RBI triple and Adams added a run-scoring single.

Erik Kratz drove in the Phillies' run with a single in the fourth.

Philadelphia outfielder Steve Susdorf grounded into a double play in the seventh in his major league debut. He was recalled earlier in the day to replace Domonic Brown, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list.

Notes: St. Louis OF Matt Holliday is expected to come off the disabled list on Saturday. Holliday's wife Leslee gave birth to a son, Reid Joshua, on Wednesday night. Holliday was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 12 with a right hamstring strain. ... The Cardinals open an 11-game road trip on Friday in Atlanta. Adam Wainwright (13-5, 2.44) will face Mike Minor (9-5, 2.88) in the opener of a three-game series. Philadelphia begins a three-game series in Detroit on Friday. Cole Hamels (4-12, 4.16) takes on Doug Fister (8-5, 3.90) in the series opener.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 23:28
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jake Westbrook pitched seven solid innings and contributed offensively with his second career steal, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to an 11-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.

Matt Adams had two hits and three RBIs and Shane Robinson's three-run triple in the fifth was his third hit of the game for the Cardinals, who are 4-1 since the All-Star break and lead the majors with a 61-37 record. They scored in four straight innings, totaling nine runs on 12 of their 16 hits from the second through fifth.

Allen Craig had two hits and a walk to give him 16 hits during a nine-game hitting streak. He's second in the league in hitting at .337 behind teammate Yadier Molina, who had three hits and an RBI and is batting .339.

John Mayberry had two hits and an RBI for the Phillies, who were without top run producer Domonic Brown and have lost four in a row. Brown is being evaluated for concussion-like symptoms and the team expects to know Thursday whether he'll be placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Right fielder Delmon Young threw out a runner at the plate in the second to thwart a sacrifice fly bid.

Westbrook (7-4) had his first career three-hit game and helped knock out John Lannan (2-4) when he drew a two-out walk in the fourth, stole second and scored on Carpenter's single for a 4-0 lead.

Westbrook is 2 for 2 in his career on steals, getting his first last season. He has scored four runs this year, matching his total from the last two seasons combined.

After retiring the side in order in the first, Lannan surrendered eight hits and two walks the next three innings. The biggest hit was Adams' two-run single on an 0-2 count with the bases loaded in the second.

Lannan worked eight innings and allowed a run each of his two previous starts. He was pitching on 10 days' rest.

The Phillies were held to one hit before bunching three singles the first four at-bats of the fifth, with Carlos Ruiz getting the RBI, but pinch hitter John McDonald grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Robinson's bases-clearing triple capped a five-run fifth against rookie J.C. Ramirez that broke the game open. Robinson's sinking liner bounced in front of and then over diving center fielder Mayberry and the Cardinals also had three doubles in the inning with Adams and David Freese getting RBIs.

Brock Peterson got his first career hit on an RBI single in two-run eighth for St. Louis.

NOTES: Lance Lynn (11-5, 4.13) has lost consecutive starts while giving up 10 runs on 17 hits in 9 1-3 innings entering the finale against Kyle Kendrick (9-6, 3.94). Kendrick is 5-1 with a 2.72 career ERA against St. Louis. ... The Cardinals scored on a pair of softly-hit balls in the third, Carpenter's leadoff infield hit and Molina's two-out bloop RBI single. ... A sellout crowd of 44,317 was the 18th sellout and put the Cardinals over 2 million attendance for the 18th straight season. ... Tony Cruz had an infield hit in the eighth in his first appearance since the break for St. Louis.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 23:44
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - By even the very high standards of coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Landon Donovan is regaining top form after taking a break from the national team.

Donovan scored two goals and set up another on Wednesday night, helping the United States beat Honduras 3-1 to advance to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

Klinsmann said the performance was "wonderful to watch."

"I have told him in our conversations that 'I measure you. Your benchmark is the best Landon Donovan ever,'" Klinsmann said. "I'm not taking anything less than that. And he is trying to catch up with that. Give him more games. Give him time."

The Americans will play Panama, a 2-1 winner over Mexico in the second semifinal, on Sunday in Chicago. The U.S. has won a team-record 10 straight games.

While Klinsmann has declined to confirm that Donovan will be rejoining the World Cup qualifying team later this year, the top goal scorer in U.S. history is leaving little doubt that he belongs.

Donovan has five goals in the tournament, tying him with teammate Chris Wondolowski for most in the Gold Cup. Donovan has set up seven goals, including four in the last two games.

Entering the game, he was the only U.S. player to play every minute of the tournament. He finally was subbed out in the 72nd minute, having earned a rest.

"It's the most relaxed I've felt," Donovan said. "I feel good, and I'm really enjoying it."

The U.S. struck first when Donovan found Eddie Johnson running through the middle of the Honduran defense. Johnson took a dribble and powered a shot past goalkeeper Donis Escober, giving the U.S. a lead 11 minutes into the game.

In the 27th minute, Johnson started another scoring sequence with a pass to midfielder Alejandro Bedoya. Donovan received Bedoya's short chip off his chest in the middle of the goal box and poked a shot past Escober.

"The first 30 minutes was brilliant football. Brilliant, high pressure, high tempo," Klinsmann said. "We wanted to move the football around and create chances, and that's what we did."

Nery Medina of Honduras made it a one-goal game in the 52nd minute, heading in a cross from Marvin Chavez. The Americans countered a minute later when Bedoya ran down a long ball from Clarence Goodson and crossed it to Donovan, who scored from a few yards out.

"In the end, the U.S. was able to beat us in every aspect of the game," Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez said.

After the game, it was uncertain whether Klinsmann would be suspended for the final after being ejected in the 87th minute for slamming a ball into the ground. A CONCACAF official said the referee would file a report with CONCACAF's disciplinary committee, which will announce a decision in the next day or two.

Klinsmann said he was reacting to a number of hard fouls over the game's final 30 minutes.

"It was a reaction out of frustration," he said. "It was not meant against the referee, against anybody. It was just frustration. I apologize for that."

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 23:29
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Shelby Miller threw six shutout innings and Allen Craig drove in a pair of runs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.

Miller (10-6) broke out of a three-start slump with one of his finest efforts of the season. He had given up 10 earned runs in 12 2-3 innings over his previous three starts. He was working on 12 days rest and gave up three hits while striking out six and walking one. He is the third St. Louis starter to reach double-digits in wins joining Adam Wainwright (13-5) and Lance Lynn (11-5).

The Cardinals have won four of five and 10 of 13. Philadelphia lost its third straight game.

Edward Mujica picked up his 29th save in 31 opportunities. Randy Choate, Seth Maness and Trevor Rosenthal followed Miller to mound.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013 23:09
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