Summer cruisin'. Baseball's best team (69--42) had an 11 1/2 game lead in the
AL West through Sunday—and had slugger Mark Teixeira in the clubhouse, fresh
from Atlanta. They pitch (3.90 ERA), they score (six or more runs eight times
in 11 games) and they whup teams on the road (38--21). Could Torii Hunter
(above) be Series bound?
Heady times in Green Bay. A crucial offensive star came back after missing the
first days of practice—oh, and Brett Favre was around too. Running back Grant,
who busted out with 956 yards last season, came into the fold a happy camper:
He'd signed a four-year deal that could be worth up to $30 million.
The Twins' pennant hopes got a whole lot healthier. Liriano, the 2006 phenom
coming off arm surgery, sizzled in the minors, then went six shutout innings on
Sunday to beat Cleveland. "Been a long time," said the lefty, who
hadn't won in the bigs for two years.
That epic victory in the Wimbledon final is paying off—along with a run of 32
straight wins. Nadal just unseated Roger Federer for tennis's No. 1 ranking.
Kick back and relax 'til the U.S. Open? Uh, no. "I'm out to try to win a
medal [in Beijing]," the Spaniard said.
Aching and out of it. Chipper Jones is on the DL, starter Tim Hudson's gone for
the year (just like John Smoltz), and Mark Teixeira's been dealt to the Angels.
Relying on guys like outfielder Jeff Francoeur (above), who was batting .231,
Notlanta went 5--10 and fell 10 games back in the NL East. Said Chipper,
"This is a tough pill to swallow."
He's back, but is he into it? The receiver, signed by the Raiders after an
injury-plagued and TD-less 2007 in Denver, weighed retirement (and returning
his $11 million bonus) last week before being coaxed back by owner Al Davis.
Coach Lane Kiffin was not amused: "I'm worried about where he's at
Rumors that he'd be dealt to a contender never came true, so the allegedly
promising righty remains in Pittsburgh, where his dreadful season (4--8, 6.14
ERA) got even more painful: He left Sunday's game after four innings with back
Uneasy strokes the arm that wears the crown. Or something like that. A day
after learning he'd move up to No. 1, Nadal got mashed in straight sets by
Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati. Said a surprised Djokovic, "The way he was
playing, we all thought he's not going to lose."