Seven straight wins had pulled the Cats two games up in the AL Central. Their booming offense (a baseball-best 451 runs) isn't the only reason they look as sharp as last year's AL champs; rookie starter Andrew Miller (above) is learning quickly in the bigs. Said Miller after beating the Braves on Sunday, "Wins are good."
Juan Pablo Montoya
He won a Nextel Cup race! Open-wheel sensation became the third driver to win in F/1, IndyCar and NASCAR, and the third born outside the U.S. (he's from Colombia) to win on NASCAR's top circuit. And check this out: He rallied despite qualifying 32nd in the field. Said a giddy Montoya, "This is the biggest thing I've done."
The good-field, good-hit shortstop (right) signed with the Angels after winning a World Series with Boston in 2004. He may be leading the way to another title: He's batting .336 (.374 in June) with 50 runs scored for first-place L.A.
Los Angeles's middling MLS team lost on Saturday, but that didn't dim the big picture. David Beckham himself was about to suit up for L.A.—he whetted anticipation by filming an Adidas commercial with Reggie Bush. A whole new Galaxy lies ahead.
Five straight losses had dropped the Pale Hose 14 1/2 games out in the AL Central—that's K.C. Royals territory!—and their inept offense (a baseball-worst 275 runs) was only partly why they look nothing like the 2005 World Champs: Their bullpen includes the hittable David Aardsma (above, 5.76 ERA) and Nick Masset (7.16).
He won a Busch series race! Well, sort of. The 23-year-old raced 59 laps of the AT&T 250 before his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who came late after travel trouble, relieved him and took the checkered flag. Almirola (credited with the win) bolted after being replaced. Said Hamlin, "I knew he'd be upset."
Red Sox shortstop can't seem to get over the Mendoza Line (page 114) and along with a league-worst .193 batting average he's truly bottoming out: Since being dropped from leadoff to the end of the order he's 2 for 35.
Frankfurt's NFL Europe team lost a game—and a title—before its home crowd last Saturday. After falling 37-28 to Hamburg in the highest-scoring World Bowl ever, Galaxy coach Mike Jones admitted, "We didn't do a good job defensively."
SI PLAYERS POLL
Who is the softest-throwing pitcher in baseball?
¬´ Jamie Moyer, Phillies starter 72%
Tim Wakefield, Red Sox starter 14% ¬ª
Greg Maddux, Padres starter 2%
Tom Glavine, Mets starter 2%
Mike Maroth, Cardinals starter 2%
FAST FACTS: Players could not vote for a teammate.... The 6-foot, 182-pound Moyer, 44, was 7-5 with a 4.13 ERA through Sunday; he's 223-171 in his 21-year career.... Wakefield is the majors' only knuckleballer.... St. Louis acquired Maroth from the Tigers last week.... Of the 10 pitchers who drew multiple votes, Orioles sidearmer Chad Bradford is the only reliever.
[based on a survey of 464 MLB players]
For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.