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The Kansas City Royals win for the 21st time in 26 games.....

     MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Erik Kratz homered twice after replacing an ailing Salvador Perez, and Jason Vargas pitched seven strong innings to lead the first-place Kansas City Royals to a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
     Vargas allowed one run on four this and struck out three, but had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 17 when Oswaldo Arcia hit a solo homer in the seventh. Perez had two hits and two RBIs before leaving in the seventh because of discomfort in his right knee, helping the Royals win for the 21st time in 26 games.  Kansas City extended its lead over the idle Detroit Tigers in the AL Central to two games.
     Trevor May gave up three runs on seven hits and walked four in 4 2-3 innings for the Twins.

     MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Hennepin County authorities have dropped a felony domestic assault charge against free-agent forward Dante Cunningham.  Hennepin County prosecutor Mike Freeman made the announcement on Monday, saying there "is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt" that Cunningham committed the crime. Cunningham was charged in April for allegedly choking his then girlfriend.  Cunningham maintained his innocence throughout the process. He tells The Associated Press he is "ecstatic and ready to move forward in life."
     Cunningham spent the last two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He became a free agent this summer, but several teams told him they would wait for the legal process to play out before considering signing him. He averaged 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game last season.

     EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - Both of Minnesota's first-round draft picks have been part of the themes that emerged from the first two preseason games.  Vikings fans have eagerly chanted and cheered for Teddy Bridgewater. Anthony Barr has been a productive pass rusher.
     Even if Bridgewater is the backup quarterback this year, he's still the featured acquisition. Barr, though, was selected 23 spots higher and could make a much bigger impact on the season. Over the first two exhibitions, Barr has a sack and a half and a forced fumble.  Not only has he been playing outside linebacker, but the Vikings have experimented with him at defensive end in passing situations.

     UNDATED (AP) - There were just eight games on Monday's major league schedule, but seven had a direct bearing on the playoff races.
     The Los Angeles Angels have sole possession of the AL West lead for the first time since May 10, 2011, moving a half-game ahead of Oakland with a 4-2 victory in Boston. C.J. Wilson was reached for five hits and five walks in just 5 1/3 innings but left the game with a 2-1 lead. Mike Trout put the Angels ahead with an RBI double in the Angels' two-run second. L.A. also scored twice in the eighth on an error by pitcher Junichi Tazawa.
     Baltimore still has the largest division lead, moving 7 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East with an 8-2 rout of the White Sox in Chicago. It was a 3-2 game in the eighth inning until Jonathan Schoop hit a three-run double and scored on a two-run homer by Nick Markakis. Nelson Cruz tied Miami's Giancarlo Stanton for the major league home run lead by hitting his 32nd in the sixth inning.
     Adam LaRoche belted a walkoff homer with two out in the 11th inning to give Washington a 5-4 win against Arizona. Wilson Ramos hit a two-run blast for the Nationals, who blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth before staying six-games ahead of second-place Atlanta in the NL East.
     The Braves kept pace with the Nats as Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons hit solo homers to ignite a six-run first in Atlanta's 7-3 victory at Pittsburgh. Ervin Santana allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings as the Braves dropped the Pirates two games behind San Francisco for the final NL wild-card berth.
     St. Louis has climbed to within 2 1/2 games of the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers by downing Cincinnati 6-5 on Jhonny Peralta's walkoff single in the bottom of the 10th. Peralta had three hits and drove in two runs to help the Cardinals overcome Jay Bruce's three-run homer and four RBIs.
     Seattle fell into a tie with Detroit for the final AL wild-card berth. The Mariners were beaten 4-1 in Philadelphia as Jerome Williams held them to a run and three hits in seven-plus innings. Andres Blanco smacked a three-run homer to put the Phillies ahead 4-0 in the fifth.
     Also on Monday, Anthony Rizzo hit a tiebreaking, solo homer in the eighth inning before Javier Baez added a two-run blast in the ninth as the Chicago Cubs downed the Mets 4-1 to earn a four-game split. Kyle Kendricks gave up just three hits in seven innings against the punchless Mets, who have collected four hits or fewer in five straight games.

     UNDATED (AP) - The Cincinnati Reds gave themselves a boost on Monday by activating Brandon Phillips from the 15-day disabled list.  Phillips was placed on the DL on July 11 after he had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. He was batting sixth for last night's opener of a three-game set against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
     Phillips hit .272 with a .701 OPS, seven homers and 40 RBIs prior to the injury. His return comes at a crucial time for Cincinnati, which was swept in a doubleheader at Colorado yesterday and is barely hanging on in the playoff race.
     The Reds also activated reliever Logan Ondrusek from the DL and optioned right-hander Dylan Axelrod and catcher Tucker Barnhart to Triple-A Louisville.
     Also in the majors:
     - Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton sat out a second straight game Monday in Boston after asking to take Sunday's game off. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that Hamilton needs another day to relax, and he would be coming to the park early Tuesday to work on things. Hamilton is hitting .266 with eight homers and 35 RBIs.
     - The Red Sox have optioned center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A Pawtucket and recalled outfielder/infielder Mookie Betts. The 24-year-old Bradley was hitting just .216 with one homer and 30 RBIs in 112 games. Betts hit .244 with a homer and two RBIs over 13 games in his previous two stints with the Red Sox.
     - The Washington Nationals agreed to a minor league deal with Nate Schierholtz and assigned the veteran outfielder to Triple-A Syracuse. The lefty-hitting Schierholtz hit .192 with six homers in 99 games with the Chicago Cubs before he was designated for assignment Aug. 6. Schierholtz is a .254 career hitter with 51 home runs and 224 RBIs in 776 games.

     WASHINGTON (AP) - Browns head coach Mike Pettine had hoped to name his regular-season starting quarterback by Tuesday, but that was before Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel failed to impress during Cleveland's 24-23 loss to Washington Monday night.
     Hoyer was just 2 for 6 for 16 yards in five series, and Manziel completed just seven of his 16 throws for 65 yards and a touchdown. Manziel also raised the middle finger of his right hand as he jogged away from the Washington sideline after a play late in the third quarter.
    In other NFL news:

     - Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay wants to delay his trial on two misdemeanor charges stemming from a March traffic stop.  The trial had been scheduled for Aug. 28, but The Indianapolis Star reports an attorney for Irsay has filed the request for the continuance. Police say Irsay failed field sobriety tests following a March 16 traffic stop, and that various prescription drugs were found in his vehicle.
    - Two influential NFL voices said Monday they likely won't use the term "Redskins" when discussing the franchise. CBS broadcaster and former Giants quarterback Phil Simms says, "my very first thought is it will be Washington the whole game." NBC's Tony Dungy said in an email that "I will personally try not to use Redskins and refer to them as Washington. Personal opinion for me, not the network."
     - The status of Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles remains in question after he missed Sunday night's preseason game in Carolina because of a bruised foot. Charles suffered the injury in a freak way as he rolled his foot over a curb. Coach Andy Reid says that Charles had X-rays and an MRI exam that revealed no significant injury.
     - New York Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders is back with the team after being hospitalized over the weekend following a car accident. The fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma was released from the hospital Sunday morning, two days after his single-car accident on his way to the team's practice facility.

     PITTSBURGH (AP) - Arnold Palmer has had a pacemaker implanted to correct an abnormal heartbeat.  According to his website, Palmer had successful surgery Monday at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. The 84-year-old Palmer was expected to be released from the hospital on Tuesday.

     SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - Lynnwood, Washington, has been eliminated in the Little League World Series.  Pearland, Texas, stayed alive in the tournament by rolling to an 11-4 win over Lynnwood.  Chicago rallied to beat Cumberland, Rhode Island, 8-7, eliminating Cumberland.  Mexico eliminated Australia 6-2, Venezuela knocked out Puerto Rico 2-1 and Rapid City, South Dakota earned a 5-3 win over the Czech Republic.


   (Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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