WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC
Team USA in big hole
PHOENIX (AP) — The United State lost to Mexico 5-2 in its first game of the World Baseball Classic.
L.A. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has hit a two-run homer off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for Mexico, which lost its first game 6-5 to Italy on Thursday. Dickey took the loss for the Americans.
Luis Cruz had two RBIs to give a boisterous, pro-Mexico crowd of 44,256 plenty to cheer about at Chase Field.
Yovoni Gallardo (GY'-yar-doh), the Milwaukee Brewers hurler, got the victory. Sergio Romo, the star closer for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, got the save for Mexico.
The Americans play Italy tonight in what almost is a must-win game for the U.S. if it wants to advance out of the first round. The Italians are coming off a 14-4 rout of Canada.
The loss continues a history of so-so play for the U.S. in the WBC. The U.S. has stalled out in the semifinals the first two times, helping to clear the way for Japan to win the first two titles.
Big money deal for Craig...Jeter could play Saturday
UNDATED (AP) — Allen Craig and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a $31 million, five-year contract that could be worth $43 million over six seasons. The 28-year-old would have been eligible for salary arbitration next winter and for free agency after the 2016 World Series. Craig has 150 RBIs in 238 big league games and was sixth in the NL last season with a .307 average. He had 22 home runs and 92 RBIs despite not playing his first game until May 1 following offseason surgery on his right knee.
In other spring training news:
— Derek Jeter could be making his first game appearance today since breaking an ankle last October in the AL championship series. Yankees manager Joe Girardi says he plans to talk with Jeter on this morning before making a decision.
__ Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Corey Hart's MRI exam on Friday went well and he remains on track to return sometime in May. Hart had surgery on his right knee on Jan. 25.
Avs stun Blackhawks
UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks' amazing streak of games without a regulation loss is over. The Colorado Avalanche beat the Blackhawks 5-1 to hand Chicago its first regulation loss in the 25th game of the season. The Blackhawks had recorded at least one point in 30 games dating back to last season.
Playing their third game in four nights, the Blackhawks finally were beaten in regulation after going 21-0-3. They went through the first half of the lockout-shortened schedule earning a point in every game.
Their string of 30 games without a regulation loss dating back to last season also was snapped.
Matt Duchene (doo-SHAYN') had a goal and three assists for Colorado, which lost at Chicago on Wednesday night.
In other NHL action:
— Jakob Silfverberg broke a tie with 4:41 left, and the Ottawa Senators snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the New York Rangers 3-2.
— Colin Wilson had a career-high two goals and two assists, and the Nashville Predators blanked the Edmonton Oilers 6-0 to snap a three-game skid.
— Dustin Byfuglien (BUHF'-lihn) scored with 40.5 seconds left in overtime and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Florida Panthers 3-2.
— Daniel Winnik ended an 18-game goal drought on the first shot of the game and Viktor Fasth posted his second career shutout for the Anaheim Ducks with 29 saves in a 4-0 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Heat wave continues...Spurs lose by 30
UNDATED (AP) — The Miami Heat now own the 12th-longest winning streak in NBA history.
The Heat run reached 17 straight as they rallied to beat Philadelphia 102-93 behind 25 points and 10 rebounds from LeBron James. Dwyane (dwayn) Wade added 22 points and Chris Bosh chipped in 12. The Heat trailed by nine early in the second half before making a 17-4 run to take command.
In other NBA action:
— Damian Lillard had 35 points and nine assists and the Portland Trail Blazers routed the San Antonio Spurs 136-106 to set a record for most points by an opponent at the AT&T Center. LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points and J.J. Hickson had 23 points and 11 rebounds for Portland. It's the third straight game the Spurs played without All-Star point guard Tony Parker, who has a sprained ankle.
— Jason Terry hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 35 seconds left in overtime and the Boston Celtics rallied past the Atlanta Hawks 107-102.
— O.J. Mayo scored 22 points and the Dallas Mavericks held on to beat the Detroit Pistons 102-99 when Charlie Villanueva missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
— Deron (DEHR'-ihn) Williams made an NBA-record nine 3-pointers in the first half, and scored a season-high 42 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 95-78 victory over the Washington Wizards.
— Kevin Durant had 19 points and seven assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 116-94 for their fourth straight victory. Derek Fisher and Thabo Sefolosha both had 13 points for the Thunder, who swept the two-game series against Charlotte by a combined 65 points.
— Paul George had 25 points and Tyler Hansbrough added 18 and the Indiana Pacers used a big first half to roll past the Orlando Magic 115-86. Indiana scored 30 points off 21 Orlando turnovers and also connected on 11 3-pointers.
__Marco Belinelli made a 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left to lift the Chicago Bulls to an 89-88 victory over the Utah Jazz. Belinelli and Carlos Boozer each had 22 to pace the Bulls.
— Marc Gasol scored 22 points and the Memphis Grizzlies held off a late run for a 103-92 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Grizzlies have won 11 of 12.
— Isaiah Thomas scored 27 points and Tyreke Evans had 25 for the Sacramento Kings, who defeated the Phoenix Suns 121-112.
__ Houston edged Golden State 94-88. Chandler Parsons scored 26 points while James Harden had 20 points and 11 assists for the Rockets.
__ And in overtime, the L.A. Lakers outlasted Toronto 118-116. Kobe Bryant hit for 41, including the game-tying three-pointer that sent the game into OT. Dwight Howard added 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Woods ties personal mark, leads at Doral
DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods tied his personal best with 17 birdies over two rounds on the Blue Monster course at Doral. What mattered more to him was a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the Cadillac Championship.
Woods seized control with six birdies in an eight-hole stretch around the turn on the way to a 7-under 65. Graeme McDowell put together a birdie-birdie finish for a 67 and sole possession of second place.
Phil Mickelson, sparked by a visit to Augusta National earlier this week, had a 67 and joined Steve Stricker, who also shot 67, to stand three shots out of the lead.
Rory McIlroy showed signs of turning the corner with a 69, his first round under par this year. That left the world's top ranked player 11 shots off the pace.
PGA TOUR-PUERTO RICO OPEN
Romero has the lead
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) — Argentina's Andres Romero shot his second straight 7-under 65 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead in the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open. Scott Brown was second after a 63. He eagled the par-4 seventh and had eight birdies and a bogey.
New ride for Allmendinger...Vegas qualifying washed out...Danica OK
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Driver AJ Allmendinger is back with Roger Penske. The former open-wheel racer has been hired to drive in two IndyCar races this season including the Indianapolis 500 on May 26. Allmendinger also will compete April 7 in Birmingham, Ala.
NASCAR suspended the driver in July after he failed a random drug test.
In other NASCAR news:
— Brad Keselowski will start on the pole after heavy rain forced NASCAR to cancel qualifying for Sunday's race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sunday's field will be set by points and the NASCAR rule book, giving the pole to last season's Sprint Cup series champion.
—Daytona 500 pole-sitter Danica Patrick says she's fine after getting hit in the head by a rock on a dirt track. Patrick got smacked by a stray rock while attending a race Thursday night, leaving her with a sore head.
Team USA goalie to miss 2 World Cup qualifiers
UNDATED (AP)— Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has two broken bones in his back and likely will miss the Americans' World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico this month.
Aston Villa's Brad Guzan is likely to take over in goal in what would be his first qualifiers in four years.
Howard was hurt Feb. 26 in an FA Cup win over Oldham and missed last weekend's Premier League game against Reading, ending his streak of consecutive league matches at 210.
Ex-skater accuses Gabel of rape
UNDATED (AP) — A second former speedskater has come forward with allegations against Andy Gabel, telling The Associated Press she was raped at age 15 by the one-time leader of the U.S. short track program, then manipulated into an illicit three-year relationship that ended at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.
Nikki Meyer was known by her maiden name of Nikki Ziegelmeyer when she won short track relay medals for the U.S. at the Albertville and Lillehammer Games. She delivered the most recent accusations against Gabel, a medalist himself who competed in four Olympics, was a former president of U.S. Speedskating and, until last week, held a prominent position at the International Skating Union.
"He wasn't a hero. He wasn't the god of speedskating," Meyer, now 37, told the AP in an hour-long telephone interview from her hometown in suburban St. Louis. "He's a child molester. He's a rapist. He's a sexual abuser. He's a pedophile. By no means should anybody think he is anything more than that."
Gabel, now 48, issued a statement to the AP acknowledging he made mistakes during his skating career, but strongly denied forcing himself on anyone.