No way, José!Pirates second baseman had two homers through May 25. Then the Venezuelannative went on a tear, ripping six bombs in five games and boosting average to.305. All of Castillo's dingers came in wins for the suddenly smokin' Bucs.
Orioles rightyRodrigo Lopez was winless in nine straight starts until backup catcher JavyLopez became his permanent backstop on May 25. In a win over the Yankees onSunday, Rodrigo (right) went to 3-0 with his new batterymate, who smacked twohomers.
Once dogged bydoping controversy, Jones (left) is back, taking 100-meter title at ReebokGrand Prix, her third win in three tries this year. She beat world champ LaurynWilliams in 11.06 seconds.
Somethingspecial's in the air all right. With Mavericks and Heat meeting in Finals,series will shuttle between Dallas's American Airlines Center and Miami'sAmericanAirlines Arena. Does NBA stand for Nothing But American?
No way, José!Mexican lightweight was 4 1/2 pounds over 135-pound max for WBC title fightversus Diego Corrales, forcing cancellation and costing pugs $2.1 million. SaidCorrales, "I wanted to hit him in the mouth."
Will Bengals needto change to different stripes? Possibly. Within 24 hours last weekend twoplayers were charged with crimes: second-year receiver Chris Henry (drunkendriving and speeding) and rookie linebacker A.J. Nicholson (grand theft,burglary and vandalism). For Henry (left), it was his third arrest in sixmonths.
After earningNBA-best 64 wins, Pistons got over-Heated in Eastern Conference finals, losingin six to Miami (page 40). Meanwhile, first-place Tigers were channeling the2003 Tigers, dropping six of eight as fuming skipper Jim Leyland got the hookon Sunday.
Albert Pujols'sshot at triple likely ended when he strained muscle and went on DL. And theBelmont, racing's final jewel, lacks Derby or Preakness champ for just thirdtime in 36 years.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Who is the toughest pitcher you ever faced?
Randy Johnson, Yankees 13.4%
Roger Clemens, Astros 7.9%
Mariano Rivera, Yankees 7.6%
Pedro Martinez, Mets 7.5%
FAST FACTS Clemens (page 48) came out of retirementlast week.... Retired righty Kevin Brown was fifth (4.2%).... Of the 22pitchers who drew more than 1% of the vote, Rivera and Phils closer Tom Gordonare the only current relievers.... Rivera, a righty, got 13.1% of the voteamong lefty hitters; lefties have hit .209 against him.... Only 9.2% of ALplayers picked Johnson, against 16.5% of NLers; Johnson's 4.16 ERA sincereturning to the AL last season is a full run higher than his career mark.
[ Based on a survey of 470 MLB players ] • For anexpanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.