The South Benders took a step in the right direction with 358 yards of offense and four sacks of Purdue QB Robert Marve during a 23--12 win in front of celeb fan Taylor Swift (right). And the real Irish football (read: soccer) team beat Armenia 1--0, a baby step toward its first Euro entry in 22 years.
As in Cuban import Aroldis Chapman, 22, who debuted for the Reds and set down nine batters on 34 pitches, the swiftest of which clocked in at 103.9 mph. Now he's getting his wheels up to speed, applying to change the MPH102 vanity plate on his Lamborghini.
Hoops has March Madness; the PGA Tour has Playoff Probability, with blink-and-you'll-miss-'em projections of FedEx Cup standings. On Monday at the Deutsche Bank, Brandt Snedeker (right) was 15th when he teed off on number 9; two bogeys later, he was 29th.
GONZALEZ: A BEAST
Through Sunday, third-year Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez had an extra-base hit in 11 of his last 13 games, during which he hit .529 with six home runs and 16 RBIs, while Colorado narrowed its gap with the Padres in the NL West from 11 to 4½ games.
Two days after new coach Laurent Blanc saw Les Bleus blanked 1--0 by Belarus in a Euro qualifier, France cut ties to previous leader Raymond Domenech, who had been retained as an adviser despite the team's flameout in South Africa. And France's hoops squad fell to Turkey by 18 to exit the FIBA world championship.
The Nats' Nyjer Morgan got an eight-game suspension after inciting an all-out brawl against the Marlins. But there were more unlikely tussles: Fisticuffs broke out—and went viral online—in the U.S. Open stands and at an Oregon--Oklahoma State women's soccer game.
San Diego, NL West leaders nearly all year long, had lost 10 in a row through Sunday, a skid matched by only one other first-place team, the '32 Pirates. Said manager Bud Black, whose pitchers, defense and batters share blame, "We have to turn around. It's in us because I've seen it."
GONZO BIG EAST
Time to rethink college football's kookiest conference? The three teams (Pitt, Cincinnati, UConn) that SI picked to finish 1-2-3 lost to unranked opponents by a combined 37 points, while putative cellar dwellers Syracuse and South Florida rolled by 71.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
WHO IS THE FASTEST PLAYER IN THE GAME?
Carl Crawford, Rays LF 33%
Michael Bourn, Astros CF 12%
Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins 3B 9%
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates CF 8%
Jose Reyes, Mets SS 6%
Among active base runners Crawford, with 403 career steals through Sunday, trails only White Sox centerfielder Juan Pierre (513 steals; 2% of the vote). ... One vote behind Reyes was 36-year-old Mariners rightfielder Ichiro Suzuki (377 steals, including 36 this season). ... In a separate poll of 323 players, Rangers catcher Bengie Molina was overwhelmingly (64%) voted MLB's slowest player.
Based on 339 players who responded to SI's survey
NUCCIO DINUZZO/CHICAGO TRIBUNE/MCT/GETTY IMAGES (SWIFT)
CHRIS LEE/ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH/MCT/LANDOV (CHAPMAN)
CARLOS M. SAAVEDRA (SNEDEKER)
RUSSELL LANSFORD/ICON SMI (GONZALEZ)
JOHN IACONO (CRAWFORD)
AARON M. SPRECHER/ICON SMI (BOURN)