Two 4-game winners on the mound in Miami
UNDATED (AP) — Ricky Nolasco is trying to become the winningest pitcher in Miami Marlins history today with a victory over the visiting New York Mets (1:05 p.m. Eastern). The right-hander's 68 career wins with the franchise tie Dontrelle Willis for the top spot. Nolasco is 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA.
The Mets are going with 4-1 knuckleballer R.A Dickey.
The Marlins have won nine of 10 after rallying with two in the ninth last night to beat the Mets 6-5 in a contest that to five hours to complete.
The Brewers and Cubs have an early start in Milwaukee after playing 13 innings last night in Miller Park (1:05 p.m. Eastern). The Brewers won the series opener 8-7 on Corey Hart's RBI single.
The Rangers and visiting Angels are first up in the American League. Texas improved to a major league-best 22-11 with last night's 10-3 pounding of division-rival Los Angeles. After opening their checkbook in the offseason for high-priced and highly-touted free agents, the Halos are just 14-19 and last in the AL West.
Moving day in Florida
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — It was a tightly bunched leaderboard when weekend play got under way this morning at the Players Championship.
Zach Johnson, Kevin Na and Matt Kuchar (KOO'-chur) were all 8-un par after 36 holes at TPC Sawgrass. Johnson is coming off a 6-under 66.
Harris English trailed by one when they hit the halfway pole and six more golfers were just two off the pace.
Tiger Woods avoided missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in his career and began the day six shots back of the leaders, same as Phil Mickelson.
Serena still in it
MADRID (AP) — Serena Williams will meet top-ranked Victoria Azarenka (ah-zah-REN'-kuh) in the final of the Madrid Open.
Williams beat qualifier Lucie Hradecka 7-6, 6-love on the new blue-clay court after Azarenka ousted fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska (ahg-nee-ESH'-kuh rahd-VAHN'-skuh) 6-2, 6-4.
The ninth-ranked Williams is chasing her second title of the season. Azarenka has won four tournaments this year.
Williams holds a 6-1 head-to-head record against Azarenka, whose only win came in 2009. This will be the first time they meet on clay.
Second round play begins
UNDATED (AP) — The second round of the NBA playoffs begins today in Boston while first-round action continues in Los Angeles.
The Celtics host surprising Philadelphia in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The 76ers are in the second round for the first time since 2003 after dispatching injury-plagued Chicago in six games. The Sixers are just the fifth eight seed in NBA history to dispatch a No. 1 seed.
The Celtics eliminated Atlanta is six games as well, but go into the next round with continuing injury worries. Paul Pierce is hobbled by a sprained knee ligament and Ray Allen continues to be bothered by bone spurs in his right ankle.
The Nuggets try to complete an improbable comeback when they meet the Lakers in Game 7 of their opening-round series. Denver has won back-to-back games while facing elimination, including a 16-point romp Thursday night on their home court.
The Lakers will welcome back forward Metta World Peace from the seven-game suspension he served for elbowing Oklahoma City's James Harden in the head during the second-to-last game of the regular season.
Game 7 showdown
NEW YORK (AP) — It's winner-take-all tonight when the Capitals and Rangers meet in New York for Game 7 of their NHL Eastern Conference semifinal.
The two teams have alternated wins and losses, and have been tied or within one goal 90 percent of the time.
The club that has scored first has won every game in the matchup, and since New York's 3-1 victory in the opener, the next five games have been decided by one goal, including two that went to overtime.
The winner takes on the well-rested Devils in the Eastern Conference finals. New Jersey finished off the Philadelphia Flyers in five games on Tuesday.
FORMULA ONE-SPANISH GP
Hamilton too fast for rest of the field
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lewis Hamilton was fastest in qualifying for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. The McLaren driver will be on the pole for the third time this Formula One season.
Hamilton used his final lap to edge Williams driver Pastor Maldonado by over half a second as he seeks his first victory at Catalunya Circuit.
Fernando Alonso of Ferrari starts third in front of his home fans.
Biffle's the one to catch
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Sprint Cup points leader Greg Biffle has the pole for tonight's Southern 500 at Darlington. He's claimed two victories on the South Carolina track and has finished in the top 15 in eight of 11 races there.
Jimmie Johnson takes green on the outside of row one.
Danica Patrick is making her second Sprint Cup series appearance of the season following the Daytona 500 and will start 38th.