They can hit (their 258 RBIs trail only Yanks and Red Sox in AL). They can field (league-low 25 errors). And--gasp!--they can pitch (4.35 ERA is second best in AL West). That adds up to an eight-game winning streak for a team that knows how to harness its heat. Starter Ryan Drese and catcher Rod Barajas brawled in the dugout, then collaborated on a 4-3 victory. Said manager Buck Showalter, "I'd rather have that than, 'Ho hum, who cares?'"
No American male reached the fourth round at the French Open, but six of the 16 men who did were from Argentina--and Guillermo Canas and Mariano Puerta made it to the quarters. In the NBA, Manu Ginobili (page 48), pride of Bahia Blanca, soared through the playoffs.
The Yankees' Randy beat the Red Sox; the Tigers' Jason beat the Orioles for the second time this year; Nick leads the Nationals with 28 RBIs; Reed's hitting .312 for the Blue Jays; and Dan (A's) and Kelly (Braves) made their big league debuts.
As Pistons battle Heat, Larry Brown is rumored to be taking over the Cavaliers' front office. (As what? Vice president of LeBron?) His coach could be Pacers associate Mike Brown. Then there's Texas football's Mack Brown, whose school spent big to get him star assistants. AD DeLoss Dodds told the San Antonio Express-News, "I want Mack to have the best coach at each position."
The defending NL wild card is a Bad News Bears--like 5-22 away from home and stands 14 games out of first, and ace Roger Clemens left his last start with a groin injury. Starter Brandon Backe had a root canal, then told Houston Chronicle losing was worse. "I don't love my tooth as much as I love baseball."
The Longest Yard
Speaking of dentistry (see above), critics drilled the remake of the 1974 semi-classic. PEOPLE said that costar Chris Rock "tries in vain to give bite to toothless comic dialogue." Actor Eddie Albert, who did a fine turn as the warden in the original, died at age 99 last Thursday.
Jerome, hot for the Giants last year, had a 9.39 ERA at Triple A before being shipped to Cubs; the O's Todd has a 6.52 ERA in his last 10 games; the Padres' Woody is on the DL; and the Yanks' Bernie, without a homer since May 16, is hitting .241.
New Jersey assemblyman Craig Stanley wants the NHL Devils to change their nickname. ("I've always cringed when people say they're going to see the Devils," said Stanley, a Baptist deacon.) And the NCAA may soon rule that 30 teams must drop names offensive to Native Americans.
JOHN IACONO (RANGERS' SORIANO)
ELSA/GETTY IMAGES (BACKE)
DOUG PENSINGER/GETTY IMAGES (DEVILS MASCOT)