Rays chose one away if three-way deadlock occurs

NEW YORK — The Tampa Bay Rays have chosen to play one road game rather than two at home if they finish tied with the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels for the AL wild card.

Tampa Bay had first choice because of a 16-10 record against the Red Sox and Angels this year, while Boston had second pick for going 12-14 in head-to-head games. Los Angeles was 6-10.

In the event of a three-way tie, the Red Sox would host the Angels on Thursday, with the winner hosting the Rays on Friday. For a two-team tie, the Rays would host the Red Sox because Tampa Bay won the season series 12-6.

Boston began Monday one game ahead of Tampa Bay and two games in front of Los Angeles.

In the NL, St. Louis would host Atlanta in a tiebreaker on Thursday because the Cardinals won the season series 5-1. The Braves entered Monday with a one-game lead.

Italian club Virtus Bologna still chasing after Bryant

ROME — The Italian team Virtus Bologna says its top offer to Kobe Bryant is a one-year contract worth $5 million.

With NBA players locked out, Virtus hopes the Los Angeles Lakers star agrees to a deal before he arrives in Italy this week for a tour arranged by one of his sponsors.

The person said the other offers on the table include a two-month deal worth nearly $2 million, a one-month contract for $1.3 million or $900,000 for only one game.

All of the offers are pretax and would allow Bryant to return to the Lakers immediately if the lockout ends. Bryant spent part of his youth in Italy while his father played in the country and he speaks Italian.

Losses, lack of support cited in UNM coach firing

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico's bad record, a lack of fan support, and a number of "embarrassing" off-the-field events led to the firing of head football coach Mike Locksley, athletic director Paul Krebs said Monday.

Speaking at a news conference on campus, Krebs said he told Locksley on Sunday of his decision to fire him after the Lobos lost 48-45 in overtime Saturday to Sam Houston State before an announced crowd of 16,313 — the smallest home crowd in nearly two decades.

UNM President David Schmidly said he fully supported the decision.

Locksley had been surrounded by controversy almost as soon as he became head coach three years ago. During his tenure, Locksley faced a sexual harassment suit, a suspension after he punched another coach, and, most recently, criticism after police arrested his son's friend on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in an SUV registered to Locksley's wife.

Azarenka, Radwanska advance at Tokyo

TOKYO — Third-seeded Victoria Azarenka made short work of Irina-Camelia Begu today, beating the Romanian 6-1, 6-3 in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open.

Azarenka, winner of two WTA Tour titles this season, closed out the match 1 hour, 15 minutes under clear skies at Ariake Colosseum, a day after rain forced the closure of the roof and disrupted play on the outer courts for several hours.

Begu was unable to break the Belarussian a single time during the contest, despite having nine chances. Azarenka won 72 percent of her first serves in the match.

In other second-round matches, ninth seed Agnieskza Radwanska of Poland downed qualifier Angelique Kerber of Germany 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, while 13th seed Julia Goerges of Germany beat Greta Arn of Hungary, 6-2, 6-1.

Compiled from wire reports

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