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WHITE SOX-TWINS

Vargas, Nunez lead Twins over White Sox 11-4

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Kennys Vargas homered for the second consecutive night and Eduardo Nunez had four hits as the Minnesota Twins defeated the Chicago White Sox 11-4 on Wednesday.

The Twins broke loose for five runs in the fifth inning to break a 3-all tie and set up Trevor May for his first major league win. Vargas' RBI single and Eduardo Escobar's two-run triple did the bulk of the damage for Minnesota.

Vargas added a two-run homer deep into the second deck in left field in the sixth. Since being called up from the minors on Aug. 1, Vargas has 31 RBIs - third-most in the majors during that span.

May allowed three runs and six hits while striking out six in five innings.

The Twins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first behind Nunez's RBI triple and back-to-back doubles from Josmil Pinto and Oswaldo Arcia.

BREWERS-CUBS

Soler drives in two more runs as Cubs beat Brewers

CHICAGO (AP) - Rookie Jorge Soler had a two-run double to become the second player in Cubs history with as many as 10 RBIs in his first seven games as Chicago beat Milwaukee 6-2 on Wednesday night.

Soler joined Mandy Brooks, who had 12 RBIs in 1925, as the only Chicago players to accomplish that feat.

Kyle Hendricks pitched five-plus innings to hear his fifth straight win. Hendricks allowed two runs on nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander did not walk or strike out a batter.

With five rookies in the lineup, the Cubs completed their first three-game sweep of the Brewers since Aug. 23-25, 2004.

Milwaukee concluded a 1-8 road trip with its eighth straight loss to fall three games behind St. Louis in the NL Central race.

PIRATES-CARDINALS

Cardinals beat Pirates in ninth inning, 1-0

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Peter Bourjos singled home the winning run in the ninth inning, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a series sweep and their fifth straight win with a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.

Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon, in his second inning of work, got the first two men before Yadier Molina drew a walk. John Jay singled to left. Bourjos followed with a single to center and Molina easily beat the throw home.

St. Louis grabbed the Central Division lead Monday and increased it to 2 1-2 games over the Milwaukee Brewers. It is largest lead this season for the defending division champs.

Trevor Rosenthal pitched the ninth for the win.

SKY-FEVER

Sky headed to WNBA Finals after beating Fever

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Allie Quigley scored 24 points and the Chicago Sky advanced to the WNBA Finals with a 75-62 win over the Indiana Fever on Wednesday night, ending the career of Hall of Fame coach Lin Dunn.

Quigley had 10 of her points in a key second quarter stretch that gave Chicago the lead for good. Sylvia Fowles added 17 points in the decisive Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Sky will face the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Finals which begin Sunday.

Dunn had announced before the season that she would retire when the year was over. She will be succeeded by assistant coach Stephanie White.

Chicago led 61-51 with 3:52 left in the fourth before Quigley hit her fourth 3-pointer to seal the win.

Shavonte Zellous scored 16 points to lead the Fever while All-Star forward Tamika Catchings finished with just nine.

CUBS-CASTRO OUT

Cubs SS Castro expected to miss rest of season

CHICAGO (AP) - All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro is expected to miss the remainder of the Chicago Cubs' season with an ankle injury.

Castro left Tuesday night's 7-1 win over Milwaukee after getting hurt on a first-inning slide into home plate. Tests showed he sustained a high ankle sprain.

Castro, a three-time All-Star, was holding out hope that he could beat the four-week prognosis to return. But general manager Jed Hoyer said Wednesday the organization will move forward as though Castro had played his final game this season.

Cubs rookie Javier Baez, a natural shortstop, will shift over from second base and take Castro's place in the field.

ILLINOIS-TURNOVERS

No turnovers an ongoing problem for Illini defense

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - For a moment Saturday it looked like Illinois' turnover drought might end. But linebacker Austin Teitsma (TIGHTS'-muh) dropped Youngstown State quarterback Dante Nania's poorly thrown pass.

With its 28-17 victory Saturday, Illinois has gone more than two games now without forcing a turnover. The Illini had just 11 last season.

Coach Tim Beckman calls the lack of turnovers an Achilles heel for his defense.

The near interception in Illinois' victory might have helped seal up the game much earlier than Illinois managed to and get a tired defense off the field.

But defensive coordinator Tim Banks says his players also missed a couple of chances to create fumbles.

The Illini could use the help turnovers offer this weekend when Western Kentucky brings its powerful passing attack to Champaign.

BEARS-BRIGGS

Briggs didn't tell Bears reason for day off

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - When Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs asked coach Marc Trestman for a personal day this week, he left out a detail - it was to attend the grand opening of his barbecue restaurant.

He didn't mention it afterward, either.

Briggs raised a few more eyebrows with that revelation while being grilled by reporters on Wednesday.

With the season opening this week he found himself at the center of attention for missing practice to be at the opening of his barbecue restaurant near his hometown of Sacramento, California.

His comments on Wednesday added some more heat.

He said "no" after someone asked if he told Trestman the day off was for the opening of the restaurant he part-owns.

NFL-FLAG FOOTBALL

NFL boosts youth flag football with new program

The NFL wants to boost flag football participation by providing kits to a half-million youngsters.

A program being announced Wednesday by Commissioner Roger Goodell will supply elementary schools and after-school programs nationwide with equipment and instruction. Six cities are targeted as focal points this year: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Seattle.

Plans are for the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative, run in conjunction with the National Recreation and Park Association, to expand nationwide in three years.

Funded as part of the league's $45 million commitment to USA Football, the program is designed to keep children active while stressing good nutrition and enabling them to learn the basics of football.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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