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Leading Off

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Same Old Storii
With his team losing 4--2 in the sixth inning last Friday, Twins centerfielder Torii Hunter was tagged out by A's catcher Jason Kendall in Game 3 of their AL Divisional Series in Oakland. The A's won 8--3 to sweep Minnesota (page 38), which had failed to make it past the first round in its last playoff appearance, two years ago.

Bear Foot
Chicago running back Cedric Benson got a boost off the back of guard Ruben Brown (74) as he tried to blast past the arm of Bills tackle Larry Tripplett on Sunday at Soldier Field. The Bears won 40--7 to remain unbeaten (page 50).

Big Bang
Nikolay Valuev, the 7-foot, 328-pound Russian heavyweight, knocked down Monte Barrett twice in the 11th round, then delivered a hard jab that left Barrett staggering against the ropes, ending their WBA championship fight last Saturday night in Rosemont, Ill. The TKO ran Valuev's record to 45--0.

For more Leading Off pictures, go to SI.com/photos.

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Photograph by Brad Mangin

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Photograph by John Biever

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Photograph by John Iacono