DENVER (AP) – Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs
and right-hander Derek Lowe handcuffed the Colorado Rockies over
6-and-a-third innings in the Atlanta Braves’ 7-4 victory Monday
night. Lowe must have felt right at home in the unusually warm night in
Colorado, and the sunshine actually helped him beat the Rockies for
the second time in two weeks. Lowe’s ground ball to third base in the second inning resulted in a two-run error on first baseman Todd Helton, who lost the throw in the setting sun, and ignited the Braves’ fifth win in five tries
over the Rockies this month. Lowe (6-7) gave up four runs and eight hits over 6-and-a-third solid innings on a 92-degree night, finally fading in the seventh
when he left with a 7-2 lead and watched his bullpen allow two more
runs. Rookie Craig Kimbrel recorded his 16th consecutive scoreless
appearance, striking out the side in the ninth for his 29th save in
34 chances.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) – The Colorado Rapids will be without
leading goal scorer Conor Casey for the rest of the season after
the standout striker tore his Achilles’ tendon in a game over the
weekend in Seattle. Casey will have surgery Wednesday in Denver to repair the tendon. He’s expected to be sidelined for around eight months.
The injury occurred in the 38th minute of a 4-3 loss to the
Sounders on Saturday. Casey slowly limped off the field and then
into the locker room. An MRI on Monday revealed the degree of the injury.
Casey, who turns 30 next week, has six goals this season for the
defending MLS Cup champions. A Denver native, he is the Rapids’
all-time leading goal scorer.

UNDATED (AP) – All signs point to a nearing resolution of the
NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987.
Lawyers for the owners and players are meeting with a
court-appointed mediator in New York today. Representatives of
retired players are also expected to participate as the sides
attempt to close a deal that would end a four-month lockout.
Players are gathering in Washington so they’re ready to vote on
an agreement in principle tomorrow, if a deal gets done.
Owners would vote to ratify any new collective bargaining
agreement at a special meeting Thursday, in Atlanta.
Commissioner Roger Goodell (guh-DEHL’) and NFLPA head DeMaurice
(deh-MOHR’-his) Smith spoke to each other on the telephone Monday
and plan to stay in regular contact.

Red-hot Rangers back in action

UNDATED (AP) – The Rangers return to the diamond tonight in
Anaheim, hoping an off day hasn’t stalled the momentum they built
up with 11 straight wins. Texas holds a four-game lead over the
host L.A. Angels on top of the AL West standings.
The 55-41 Rangers have the third-best record in the junior
circuit behind Boston and New York. The league-leading Red Sox are
58-36 headed into their outing at Baltimore. The 56-37 Yankees, who
trail the Bosox by 1 1/2 games in the East race, are at Tampa Bay.
Elsewhere tonight, Seattle looks to end a nine-game skid at
Toronto, Central leader Cleveland is at Minnesota, Detroit is home
to Oakland, and Kansas City entertains the Chicago White Sox.

The NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates will be looking for a
third straight victory tonight when they host Cincinnati. The Bucs
lead St. Louis and Milwaukee by a half-game. The Cardinals are in
New York to play the Mets, while the Brewers take on the
Diamondbacks in Arizona.
Also under the lights in the senior circuit, it’ll be East
leader Philadelphia at the Chicago Cubs, San Diego at Florida,
Houston hosting Washington, Atlanta playing at Colorado, and the
West leading San Francisco Giants hosting the rival L.A. Dodgers.

Back on their bikes

SAINT-PAUL-TROIS-CHATEAUX, France (AP) – Thomas Voeckler
(VOHK’-lur) led the Tour de France after the second and final race
rest day as the pack headed out on today’s hilly 16th stage. The
title contenders are hoping to save energy before hard days in the
Alps later this week.
Voeckler has had the lead since the crash-marred ninth stage.
Barring an accident, the 32-year-old Frenchman should still be
in yellow after the 101-mile route that includes only one
significant climb.

London Games under budget

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s Olympics minister says the 2012 London
Games will be delivered under budget. The overall cost of the games
is in the $15 billion neighborhood. Hugh Robertson says the anticipated final cost of the Olympic construction project has decreased by $25 million to $11 million since May. With London preparing to mark the one-year countdown next week, the Olympic Delivery Authority says 88 percent of the construction is complete.