Wakeup call: No soccer for KG; are you serious, Seahawks??

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Wakeup call: No soccer for KG; are you serious, Seahawks??

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, August 6:

BASEBALL
People hereabouts complain about the Red Sox' record when Josh Beckett and Jon Lester pitch, but how about the Giants being 4-14 in games started by Tim Lincecum? Until yesterday, that is. (CSN Bay Area)

Roy Oswalt, irked because he was lifted from the starting rotation, lifted himself in the ninth inning of a tie game after pitching two innings in relief (with Texas suffering from a case of the bullpen shorts), saying he'd "had enough". The Rangers went on to lose in extras, and Ron Washington didn't seem too pleased. (Dallas Morning News)

When you hit your knees tonight, give thanks one more time that the Red Sox didn't trade for Matt Garza. (CSN Chicago)

That's five straight games now that A.J. Pierzynski has homered. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The Indians have lost nine straight, and this one probably hurt more than the first eight put together. (AP)

Yes, yes, Chipper Jones is hitting .320 with a .912 OPS. No matter; he still plans to retire. (Hardball Talk)

Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez are feeling better. (Hardball Talk)

Ryan Dempster didn't give up on his dream of going to the Dodgers until he got word straight from the horse's mouth that it wasn't going to happen. (CSN Chicago)

BASKETBALL
Doesn't seem right that LeBron James can own a piece of a European soccer team and Kevin Garnett can't. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Linsanity hits Taiwan. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Nick Saban says everyone's so worried about the destination that they fail to appreciate the journey. (AP) Of course, in a manner worthy of a Belichick Coaching Tree member, he wasn't quite that philosophical about it.

The investigation continues into the attack on Wisconsin running back Montee Ball. (AP)

HOCKEY
His girlfriend won a bronze medal at the Olympics and Alex Ovechkin -- if total number of exclamation points are the criteria -- is pretty excited. (CSN Washington)

The Stanley Cup has been taken a lot of places over the years. But on a hunting trip? (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
Football's back. (AP)

And it didn't take long for the Cardinals to lose a key player. (AP)

The replacement-officials adventure didn't get off to a very good start. (AP via NBC)

The injury woes continue for Ben Roethlisberger, though the Steelers don't think it's very serious. (AP)

Say it ain't so, Seahawks. Say it ain't so. (AP)

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

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Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

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Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.