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The Cardinals made more moves in advance of Tuesday's match up against the Central-leading Pirates.

The team recalled infielder Jermaine Curtis from the Triple-A club and optioned Michael Blazek to Memphis. Curtis was batting .259 in Triple-A with four homers and 42 RBIs. First pitch tonight at 7:15.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 13:19
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HOUSTON (AP) -- With every swing and miss, this looked as if it might be the day Yu Darvish pitched a no-hitter against the overmatched Houston Astros.

And then with one out in the eighth inning, Carlos Corporan ended Darvish's latest bid with a home run.

Darvish once again neared perfection versus Houston, striking out a career-high 15 and permitting only one hit in eight innings as the Texas Rangers won 2-1 Monday for their season-high eighth straight victory.

"A win's a win," Darvish said through a translator. "I'm just glad I was a big part of this win."

Texas won for the 13th time in 14 games and headed home atop the AL West.

In early April, Darvish (12-5) was one out away from a perfect game at Minute Maid Park before Marwin Gonzalez singled between his legs. Darvish joined Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers in team history to have more than one start of at least eight innings with one hit or less.

Darvish became the first pitcher to have two no-hitters broken up in the eighth inning or later since it happened to Justin Verlander in 2011.

Outfielder Alex Rios chased Corporan's drive to the wall, but had to watch as it sailed about five rows into the stands. Darvish simply looked around, and then wiped his brow with his arm before preparing to throw his next pitch.

"Well, I'd like to see it happen of course," manager Ron Washington said. "But those are professional hitters over there, too, and Corporan caught one."

Until the homer, Houston's lone runner came when rookie Jonathan Villar drew a two-out walk on a full count in the sixth. Texas catcher A.J. Pierzynski was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Ron Kulpa about a 2-2 breaking pitch he called low - Pierzynski was tossed after Villar walked.

"Was it a strike? I don't know," Pierzynski said. "Obviously I thought it was and Ron didn't, and I was upset we walked the guy and I said a bad word and I was ejected."

Darvish was perplexed by the actions of his catcher.

"When he got ejected, I thought, `What is he doing?" Darvish said with a laugh.

The two-time All-Star ace from Japan was sharp all game, retiring the last two batters in eighth and exiting after increasing his major league-leading strikeout total to 207.

"He used everything today: slider, curveball, cutter, fastball," Washington said. "He moved it around, kept them off-balance. When they were looking for breaking balls he was throwing fastballs and cutters and when they were looking for cutters he was throwing breaking balls."

"I was pretty locked in," he said.

Darvish struck out 14 in four prior games this year, including his earlier gem at Houston. His 15 strikeouts on Monday matched his career-high from his professional career in Japan.

He is 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA and 37 strikeouts in three starts in Houston this season, and is 4-1 with a 1.31 ERA and 50 strikeouts in five starts since returning from the disabled list.

Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 35th save.

The AL West-leading Rangers took a quick lead over the last-place Astros. With two outs in the first, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre doubled and Pierzynski hit an RBI single off Brett Oberholtzer (2-1).

Oberholtzer yielded seven hits and two runs with six strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings for his first loss in three major league starts.

The Houston hitters had no such luck with Darvish.

Darvish was strong from the start relying mostly on a four-seam fastball, sliders and a cutter against the Astros' inexperienced lineup.

"He doesn't just have control. This guy has command," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "He can throw every pitch the way he wants to throw it, even out of the strike zone. Which, when you have that kind of repertoire, you're going to be up against it."

He struck out the side in the first inning before getting two fly outs and a ground out in the second.

The 26-year-old righty fanned two each in the third and fourth innings, struck out the side in the fifth and the first batter of the sixth inning. His strikeout of Chris Carter to start the fifth was his 200th of the season, giving him a team record for fewest games (23) needed to reach the mark.

In the sixth, Darvish started walking off the mound after his close pitch to Villar. Pierzynski also began heading to the dugout, but Kulpa said it missed.

Pierzynski didn't like the call. After the walk, started yelling in Kulpa's face and was quickly tossed. Geovany Soto took over at catcher.

Darvish, a two-time MVP in Japan, flirted with perfection last Sept. 3, too, retiring the first 17 batters at Kansas City.

NOTES: Injured Texas DH Lance Berkman is getting Monday off and will DH for Double-A Frisco on Tuesday and Wednesday and will be re-evaluate him after that. ... Neftali Feliz, who was expected to throw Saturday for Round Rock but did not pitch as a precaution because of mild right arm triceps tendinitis, has been shut down. Feliz has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery last year. ... Darvish set rookie franchise records for wins (16) and strikeouts (221) last season. He finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting behind winner Mike Trout and Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013 11:47
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PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) -- Equipped with a two-shot lead at the turn, still carrying a few scars from his PGA Championship collapse two years ago, Jason Dufner never showed signs of cracking.

No one expected anything else from a player whose popularity comes from his flat-line personality.

He merely waved to the gallery when he shot 63 in the second round to tie a major championship record. He didn't show much of a pulse Sunday as he matched scores with Jim Furyk at every hole on the back nine of Oak Hill. Only after Dufner tapped in for a bogey on the 18th hole to win the PGA Championship did he crack a smile, raise both arms and give a slight pump of the fist, saving all that emotion for a grand occasion.

Major champion.

Dufner can't think of any other athlete who plays with so little emotion.

"But those sports are a little more exciting - big plays in basketball, home runs in baseball, big plays in football. That will get you pumped up," he said. "For me, golf is a little bit more boring. I hit it in the fairway or I didn't. Usually I'm struggling with the putter, so there's not too much to get excited about with that."

His name on the Wanamaker Trophy?

That was worth a smile.

"Nobody can take that away from me," Dufner said after he closed with a 2-under 68 for a two-shot win over Furyk. "It's a great accomplishment for me, and I'm really excited about it."

Dufner wasn't sure he would get another chance after the PGA Championship two years ago in Atlanta, where he blew a four-shot lead with four holes to play and lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley. But he wasn't about to let this one get away. Dufner won by playing a brand of golf that matches the bland expression on his face.

It wasn't exciting. It didn't need to be.

Dufner finished the front nine with six straight one-putt greens, and then delivered a steady diet of fairways and greens. He putted for birdie on every hole on the back nine until the last hole. He calmly rolled a 10-foot par putt toward the cup and tapped it in.

"There's not much to celebrate from 6 inches or less, but it was nice to have that short of a putt," he said. "It was a perfect ending for me."

The turning point at Oak Hill was the final two holes - on the front nine.

Dufner made a short birdie on the eighth hole to take a one-shot lead, and Furyk made bogey on the ninth hole to fall two shots behind. Furyk, a 54-hole leader for the second time in as many years in a major, couldn't make up any ground with a procession of pars along the back nine. He finally made a 12-foot birdie putt on the 16th, but only after Dufner spun back a wedge to 18 inches for a sure birdie.

Furyk also made bogey on the last two holes, taking two chips to reach the 17th green and coming up short into mangled rough short of the 18th green, where all he could do was hack it onto the green. Furyk closed with a 71 to finish two shots behind.

"I have a lot of respect for him and the way he played today," Furyk said. "I don't know if it makes anything easy, or less easy. But I don't look at it as I lost the golf tournament. I look at it as I got beat by somebody that played better today."

Dufner finished at 10-under 270, four shots better than the lowest score in the five previous majors at Oak Hill. Jack Nicklaus won the 1980 PGA Championship at 274.

Henrik Stenson, trying to become the first Swede to win a men's major title, pulled within two shots on the 13th hole and was poised to make a run until his tee shot settled on a divot hole in the 14th fairway. He chunked that flip wedge into a bunker and made bogey and closed with a 70 to finish alone in third. In his last three tournaments - two majors and a World Golf Championship - Stenson has two runner-ups and a third.

Jonas Blixt, another Swede, also had a 70 and finished fourth. Masters champion Adam Scott never made a serious of move and shot 70 to tie for fifth. Defending champion Rory McIlroy made triple bogey on the fifth hole to lose hope, those he still closed with a 70 and tied for eighth, his first top 10 in a major this year.

Dufner two-putted for bogey on the 18th from about 10 feet and shook hands with Furyk as if he had just completed a business deal. He hugged his wife, Amanda, and gave her a love tap on the tush with the cameras rolling.

Asked if he had ever been nervous, she replied, "If he has been, he's never told me."

That's what gives Dufner is own personality on the PGA Tour. He didn't look any differently on the opening tee shot than when he stood on the 18th hole.

"I would say I was pretty flat-lined for most of the day," he said.

Among the first to greet Dufner was Bradley, who beat him in the PGA playoff at Atlanta and was behind the "Dufnering" craze from earlier this year.

Dufner went to an elementary school in Dallas as part of a charity day as defending champion in the Byron Nelson Classic. A photo showed him slumped against the wall in the classroom next to the children, his eyes glazed over, as the teacher taught them about relaxation and concentration techniques. The pose was mimicked all over the country, giving Dufner some celebrity for his zombie appearance.

Now he's known for something far more important.

Dufner became the sixth player to win a major with a round of 63, joining Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.

He is the third first-time major champion of the year, and the 15th champion in the last 19 majors who had never won the big one. Woods is responsible for the latest trend, mainly because he's not winning them at the rate he once was.

Woods extended his drought to 18 majors without winning, and this time he wasn't even in the hunt. For the second straight round, Woods finished before the leaders even teed off. He closed with a 70 to tie for 40th, 14 shots out of the lead.

"I didn't give myself many looks and certainly didn't hit the ball good enough to be in it," Woods said.

Furyk wasn't about to beat himself up for another major opportunity that got away. He had a share of the lead at the U.S. Open last year until taking bogey on the par-5 16th hole with a poor tee shot. His only regret was not making par on the last two holes - the toughest on the back nine at Oak Hill - to put pressure on Dufner.

Not that anyone would have noticed.

"It probably hasn't hit me yet. I can't believe this is happening to me," Dufner said. "To come back from a couple of years ago in this championship when I lost to Keegan in a playoff, to win feels really, really good."

Sunday, 11 August 2013 23:43
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Pete Kozma singled home the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals ended a four-game losing streak, beating the Chicago Cubs 8-4 and avoiding a sweep.

Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig each had three hits and drove in a run. Jon Jay and David Freese both drove in two runs, though they only had one hit between them.

The Cardinals dropped five of six to begin a 10-game homestand.

Edward Mujica worked the last two innings for his 31st save in 33 chances, overcoming Starlin Castro's leadoff double in the eighth while working with a one-run cushion.

Randy Choate (2-1) faced one batter, getting leadoff man David DeJesus to pop out with two men on to end the sixth after the Cubs had tied it at 4 on RBI singles by Castro and Darwin Barney off Seth Maness.

Barney, like Kozma an eighth-place hitter, had two RBI singles. He's batting .215 overall but has a .317 average against St. Louis with two homers and 10 RBIs.

Tony Cruz doubled with two outs in the sixth off Blake Parker (1-2) and scored easily on Kozma's single. Parker was the winner Saturday with an inning of relief.

Jay added a sacrifice fly in the seventh off Hector Rondon and the Cardinals got RBIs from Carpenter and Craig in the eighth off Michael Bowden.

The Cardinals combined two singles, a walk, a steal and a sacrifice fly off Edwin Jackson in a three-run first. Matt Holliday had one of the RBIs plus a steal off Jackson's slow move to the plate, before Jackson finally retaliated by picking off Jay.

Holliday handed the Cubs an unearned run in the third when he camped under Junior Lake's two-out high fly to medium left but then whiffed on the catch and DeJesus scored from first.

The Cubs settled for their first series win in St. Louis since a three-game sweep Sept. 13-15, 2010. They'd been 0-6-1 the previous seven series, and were trying for a three-game sweep.

NOTES: Cardinals OF Carlos Beltran fouled a ball off his right foot in the fifth, got medical attention on the field and then struck out before leaving with a bruise. X-rays were negative. ... Holliday grounded into his major league-leading 26th double play in the fifth. ... The Cubs' Darnell McDonald walked pinch-hitting in the seventh in his first at-bat of the year. He's the 50th player used by the Cubs, most in the majors. ... Cardinals starter Joe Kelly has been the starter the last two St. Louis wins. He allowed three earned runs in 5 1-3 innings and Jackson gave up four runs in five innings.

Sunday, 11 August 2013 17:26
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PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) -- The final moments Saturday at Oak Hill brought out more emotion as big putts kept falling in the PGA Championship, with one big difference.

These putts were for par.

Jim Furyk, after a 3-wood struck so poorly off the 18th tee that he couldn't have reached the green even if he had been in the fairway, worked his way up the 472-yard hole until he had a 15-foot putt from the fringe to keep a one-shot lead. The ball curled into the left corner of the cup, and the 43-year-old emphatically shook his fist.

Adam Scott, whose sweet swing turned sour on the last few holes, was on the verge of letting the lead get another shot away from him when he knocked in a 15-foot putt for par on the 17th hole, bowed his head and pumped his fist.

And then there was Jason Dufner, whose disappointment turned to surprise on the 18th hole when he took a step toward the cup to tap in a missed putt and watched gravity pull it into the hole for a par that put him in the final group.

Perhaps those scenes were a prelude for Sunday, the final round of the final major of the year.

"It's only going to get harder," Furyk said.

Oak Hill finally had enough elements for a tough test, and Furyk showed enough of his western Pennsylvania grit for a 2-under 68 and a one-shot lead over Dufner.

Grinding to the end in a swirling wind that cast doubt on so many shots, Furyk closed with two clutch putts - one for birdie to regain the lead, the par putt to keep it - that put him 18 holes away from winning another major 10 years after his U.S. Open title.

There was nothing fancy about the way he worked his way to the top of the leaderboard at 9-under 201, but then, that's rarely the case with Furyk. He made three birdies and two tough pars on the back nine, and the one bogey was a bunker shot that hit the pin and rolled 7 feet away.

He was so wrapped up in his game that he didn't even know the score.

"Give me a leaderboard. Where are we at?" he asked before he was told he was one shot ahead of Dufner, and two clear of Henrik Stenson.

"I'm comfortable with where I'm at," Furyk said. "There's a crowded leaderboard at the top, and instead of really viewing it as who is leading and who is not, I'm really viewing it as I need to go out there tomorrow and put together a good, solid round of golf. Fire a good number and hope it stacks up well."

Dufner was eight shot worse than his record-tying 63, but at least he got into the final group at the PGA Championship for the second time in three years. At the Atlanta Athletic Club in 2011, he had a four-shot lead with four holes to go and lost to Keegan Bradley in a playoff.

"I was young, new to doing the majors," Dufner said. "I think that was the third or fourth major I played in. So hopefully, the experience I've had since then will pull me through and give me a chance to win tomorrow."

Stenson, a runner-up at the British Open three weeks ago, dropped only one shot over the last 16 holes and ran in a pair of 12-foot birdie putts for a 69 and was two shots behind. Sweden's odds of winning a major have never been this high. Stenson will play in the penultimate group with Jonas Blixt, who had a 66.

The surprise was Scott, who was poised to seize control at any moment.

Scott blasted a driver on the uphill, 318-yard 14th hole that was so pure he snatched his tee from the ground as the ball was still rising. It stopped 25 feet below the cup, and he had an eagle putt to tie for the lead. The Australian two-putted for birdie, and two holes later fell back with a double bogey on the 16th. Scott escaped further damage with a 15-foot par save on the 17th and managed a 72. He was four shots behind, along with Steve Stricker, who had a 70.

Those were the only five players within five shots of the lead.

Still with an outside chance was Rory McIlroy, who came to life with three birdies over his last six holes for a 67. McIlroy, trying to join Tiger Woods as the only repeat winners of the PGA in the stroke-play era, knocked in a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th and then showed more emotion than he has all year when he chipped in for birdie on the 18th.

"It was good to feel the sort of rush again," McIlroy said.

He was at 3 under, still six shots behind.

Woods, meanwhile, will have to wait eight more months to end his drought in the majors. He opened with two bogeys in three holes and shot a 73 to fall 13 shots behind. It was a shocking performance from the world's No. 1 player, mainly because he was coming off a seven-shot win at Firestone that included a 61.

Woods has made only seven birdies in 54 holes - four of them on par 3s.

British Open champion Phil Mickelson was even worse. He sprayed the ball all over Oak Hill on his way to a 78, matching his highest score ever in the PGA Championship.

No one looked terribly comfortable at the start, not with the swirling wind and water hazard that winds its way along the front nine.

U.S. Open champion Justin Rose fell apart early with back-to-back double bogeys that sent him to a 42. He wound up with a 77. Scott opened with a 20-foot birdie putt, only to follow with back-to-back bogeys. And when Dufner ended his string of pars by driving into the creek on No. 5 for double bogey, it appeared that this tournament was wide open. The leaders steadied themselves, leaving the title Sunday it still up for grabs but likely among fewer players.

Scott knows as well as anyone how unpredictable a final round can be.

He was four shots up with four holes to play at the British Open last year and watched Ernie Els win the claret jug. At Muirfield last month, Mickelson came from five shots behind on the final day and won by three.

"I would like to be leading," Scott said. "Four back is well within reach. Anything can happen in a major. We just saw the pin spots get tough today, and scoring in the final groups was very difficult. With so much danger around, it's hard to be completely free where major pressure is on the line. Tomorrow is going to be similar."

 
Saturday, 10 August 2013 23:46
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro hit a run-scoring double in the eighth inning to cap a three-run rally and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cardinals 6-5 Saturday night to win a series in St. Louis for the first time in nearly three years.

Matt Holliday homered for twice St. Louis, which lost its fourth in a row. Chicago won for the third time in four games.

The Cubs trailed 4-2 entering the eighth, but tied it 4-4 on Darwin Barney's two-out, two-run double by off reliever Trevor Rosenthal (1-3). Navarro followed with his fifth pinch-hit RBI of the season to give Chicago a 5-4 lead.

Blake Parker (1-1) picked up the victory for the Cubs, who last won a series in St. Louis on Sept. 13-15, 2010.

Welington Castillo homered in the second to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.

Castillo and Nate Schierholtz drew leadoff walks to start the eighth. Rosenthal struck out the next two batters before Barney hit his 20th double of the season.

Kevin Gregg picked up his 25th save in 29 opportunities despite giving up Holliday's 15th homer of the season, a solo shot with one out in the ninth. Gregg retired the final two batters on ground outs.

Schierholtz added a run-scoring single in the ninth.

Castillo also had a sacrifice fly in the fifth that trimmed the deficit to 3-2.

Holliday hit a three-run homer in the fourth off Chicago starter Carlos Villanueva to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.

St. Louis rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, making his fourth major league start, surrendered two runs on five hits in a 99-pitch stint. He was recalled from Triple-A Memphis earlier in the day for the spot start.

Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran led off the fourth with singles to set the stage for Holliday's line-drive blast over the left-field wall.

The three-run outburst broke a string of 17 straight scoreless innings by St. Louis.

Villanueva gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings. His last win as a starter came on April 18.

The Cardinals stretched the lead to 4-2 on back-to-back doubles by Carpenter and Beltran in the sixth.

NOTES: St. Louis OF Jon Jay, INF Daniel Descalso and C Tony Cruz met with several Real Madrid soccer players, including standout Cristiano Ronaldo, before to Real Madrid's match with Inter Milan earlier in the day. ... St. Louis rookie C Rob Johnson started for the third time this season and had two hits. ... Cruz is mired in an 0-for-10 slump. ... Chicago is 34-34 since May 26.

Saturday, 10 August 2013 23:41
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CLEVELAND (AP) -- Brandon Weeden threw a touchdown pass and led Cleveland on two scoring drives, and Travis Benjamin returned a punt 91 yards for a TD as the Browns won coach Rob Chudzinski's exhibition debut, 27-19 over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night.

Weeden finished 10 of 13 for 112 yards, which should help end any talk of a quarterback competition in Cleveland. Chudzinski has not yet chosen Weeden his starter, but the second-year QB did everything he needed to secure the job.

Weeden hooked up with running back Dion Lewis, starting for Trent Richardson, for a 2-yard TD on the first play of the second quarter.

St. Louis' Sam Bradford threw a 3-yard TD pass to Chris Givens as Rams coach Jeff Fisher left his starting offense in after Benjamin's runback made it 17-0.

Thursday, 08 August 2013 22:22
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A.J. Ellis hit a three-run home run and rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven stellar innings to help the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 Thursday night.

The Dodgers have won 17 of their last 18 games on the road, with the only loss coming Tuesday to St. Louis in the second game of the four-game set. Los Angeles returns home for a six-game home stand against Tampa and the New York Mets.

Ryu (11-3) allowed one unearned run on five hits while striking out seven and walking no one. He increased his winning percentage to .786, which is the highest winning percentage for a rookie in Dodgers' history.

Los Angeles spoiled the first Major League start for St. Louis rookie Carlos Martinez (0-1), who was called up from Triple-A Memphis earlier in the day to make the start.

Thursday, 08 August 2013 22:21
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PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) -- Adam Scott began the final major of the year with a tee shot deep into the trees. He ended the opening round of the PGA Championship by having to gouge out of deep rough. It was the golf in between that was some of the best he has ever played, even for an Australian with a green jacket.

Showing that he's not satisfied as only being a Masters champion, Scott ran off five straight birdies early in his round Thursday on soft and vulnerable Oak Hill, and a 15-foot par putt at the end gave him a 5-under 65 and a share of the lead with Jim Furyk.

"Probably the best run I've ever had," Scott said of his five straight birdies. "I just hit really nice shots and didn't leave myself too much work. You have to take advantage of that if you're feeling that. It was a dream start after kind of a nervous first couple of holes."

It felt like an easy start to so many others.

Oak Hill has such a strong reputation that it has yielded only 10 scores under par over 72 holes in five previous major championships. The last time the PGA Championship was held on this Donald Ross design in 2003, there were only 12 rounds under par on the first day.

But with overnight rain, humid conditions and a 71-minute delay for storms in the afternoon, Thursday might be as easy as it gets. Scott and Furyk had plenty of company, two of 35 players who broke par.

Tiger Woods was not among them.

The world's No. 1 player made only two birdies despite playing in the still of the morning, and he watched his round fall apart with a bogey on par-5 fourth and a double bogey on his final hole when his flop shot out of a deep rough floated into a bunker. Woods had a 71, not a bad start at Oak Hill, except on this day.

"The round realistically could have been under par easily," Woods said.

Furyk, who won his lone major at the U.S. Open in 2003 at Olympia Fields, has gone nearly three years since his last win at the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup and win PGA Tour player of the year. Still fresh are the four close calls from a year ago, including the U.S. Open.

He was as steady as Scott, rarely putting himself in trouble until the end of the round. Furyk missed the fairway to the right and had to pitch out because of thick rough and trees blocking his way to the green. That led to his only bogey, but still his lowest first-round score in 19 appearances at the PGA Championship.

"Usually disappointed with ending the day on a bogey," Furyk said. "But you know, 65, PGA, is not so bad."

David Hearn of Canada, an alternate until a week ago, had a 66 in the morning. Also at 66 was Lee Westwood, who had his best score ever in the PGA and offered evidence that there was no hangover from losing a 54-hole lead in the British Open last month.

There were no record scores at Oak Hill despite the soft conditions, just a lot of low rounds.

"If you don't hit it in the fairways, then you won't score well," Westwood said. "These guys are good. There are a lot of good players playing in the tournament. Somebody is going to hit it straight, and somebody is going to shoot a good score."

Scott certainly didn't start out that way. He had to pitch out from the trees on No. 1, but managed to get up-and-down from about 85 yards in front of the green, and after two more pars, he began his big run of birdies.

"Just got on a bit of a roll and hit a few shots close," Scott said. "I didn't have too much putting to do. You've got to take advantage when it happens, because it doesn't happen too much in the majors. Nothing to complain about in 65."

He felt similar to the opening round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes last year in the British Open, when he flirted with a 63 and had to settle for a course record-tying 64. Scott was on pace to tie the Oak Hill record for majors when he birdied the 14th, but he three-putted two holes later for bogey and was pleased to walk away with par on the 18th.

"I felt good out there today," he said. "I felt like I could swing freely and I was hitting all the shots that I wanted to hit. When you get something going for you in a major, sometimes you have got to be not afraid to get out of your own way and let go. I did that at Lytham, and I did that here for 10 or 11 holes."

Just last month at Muirfield, the 31-year-old Australian had the outright lead on the back nine in the British Open until he made four straight bogeys and couldn't keep up with Phil Mickelson and his great finish. Even so, it was evident that Scott was serious about adding more majors to that green jacket he won at Augusta National in April.

"I put a lot into my game the last two years with a focus on the big tournaments," Scott said. "Everyone around me has had the same focus, as well. We come here to do business."

Even Rory McIlroy got in on the act. The defending champion, at the end of a major season that has been a major disappointment, came out firing with three birdies on the opening four holes and made the turn in 32 until back-to-back bogeys. He wound up with a 69.

A resurgent Paul Casey was in the group at 67, while U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, British Open runner-up Henrik Stenson and the ageless Miguel Angel Jimenez were among 11 players at 68.

Mickelson wound up with the same score as Woods, only they arrived at 71 much differently. Woods had only two birdies. Mickelson shot 71 despite two double bogeys, including one on the 18th hole. On the par-5 fourth hole, he hooked his tee shot out-of-bounds and nearly lost the next tee shot in the same place.

"The first four holes was like a shock to my system," Mickelson said. "Hitting it out-of-bounds on 4 ... out-of-bounds is not even in play. So I got off to a terrible start. I was actually under par for a little while, but that took a lot of fight. And unfortunately, I'm in a position where if I hit a low round tomorrow, I can get back in it."

He headed straight to the practice range, even summoning coach Butch Harmon down from the Sky Sports television booth.

Asked when he finished his work if he was worried about his game, Mickelson replied, "Not now. I was."

Thursday, 08 August 2013 22:20
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The Cardinals have recalled two pitchers from AAA before the series finale against the Dodgers tonight. Right hander Carlos Martinez and lefty Sam Freeman will join the big while Keith Butler and Brock Peterson have been optioned to Memphis. Martinez is up for the 3rd time this season, with all of his appearances coming in a relief role. He's struck out 11 batters in just over 11 innings and was the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June. Freeman has gone 7-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 44 games at Memphis. 

Thursday, 08 August 2013 09:37
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