Newsmakers: Blake, Kahne, Pujols

  • June 22, 2009, 10:31 AM

Blake Falls in First-Round Upset

James Blake of the United States has been upset in the first round at Wimbledon.

The 17th-seeded Blake lost to Andreas Seppi of Italy 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (5) on Monday, making the American the first seeded player to lose this year at the All England Club.

Blake held one set point in the third, leading 6-5, but he missed a forehand long to end a 23-stroke exchange. Blake then took a 5-0 lead in the tiebreak, before Seppi won the match's last seven points.

Blake has lost three Grand Slam matches in a row, including a first-round exit at the French Open last month and a fourth-round defeat at the Australian Open in January.

Seppi is ranked 50th and never has made it past the third round at a Grand Slam tournament.

Kahne Breaks Drought

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) -- Richard Petty Motorsports has made news this season for all the wrong reasons. Caught in the financial crunch of Chrysler's bankruptcy, the team had a recent round of layoffs and companywide salary reductions.

Star driver Kasey Kahne has been openly unhappy with RPM's slow development of an improved Dodge motor, and the organization can't shake whispers about its long-term stability.

A win can cure most of those ills.

Kahne returned team co-owner Richard Petty to Victory Lane for the first time in over a decade with a much-needed win -- on a road course, of all places -- at Infineon Raceway on Sunday.

It snapped a 37-race winless streak for Kahne, who last won at Pocono a year ago, and the first win for a Petty-owned car since John Andretti's victory at Martinsville in April, 1999.

"I feel just as good as (Kahne) does," The King, clad in his trademark cowboy hat and sunglasses, said before he sipped on a congratulatory glass of red wine. "It's great, man. It's great."

Pujols (2 HRs) Helps LaRussa to Milestone Win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Albert Pujols comes through Kansas City once a season. The Royals wouldn't be too disappointed if he never came back.

Pujols finished off a three-day romp in Kansas City with two homers and six RBIs, helping the St. Louis Cardinals rout the Royals 12-5 Sunday in win No. 2,500 for manager Tony La Russa .

''He's the best hitter in the game,'' Royals starter Gil Meche said.

Pujols made a mockery of Kansas City pitching in his return to the town where he went to high school, hitting three homers and driving in 10 runs in the Cardinals' three-game sweep over their cross-state rivals.

The two-time NL MVP had four hits Sunday and delivered the decisive blow in the Cardinals' eight-run fourth inning, pounding his club record-tying third grand slam of the season off a window on the Royals Hall of Fame in left. He also had a run-scoring single in the first and added his major league-leading 26th homer - eighth in 10 games - in the fifth to put the Cardinals up 12-4.

''It's nothing special. I'm just seeing good pitches and hitting them,'' said Pujols, who has 12 homers in 27 career games at Kauffman Stadium.

Pujols tied Stan Musial 's team record of nine career grand slams and matched the season mark of three shared by Jim Bottomley (1925), Keith Hernandez (1977) and Fernando Tatis (1999). His fifth multihomer game this season - 28th career - helped La Russa join Connie Mack (3,831) and John McGraw (2,763) as the only managers with 2,500 career victories.

''He does it over and over again and it's impossible to describe how great he is,'' said La Russa, who has 1,180 wins in 14 seasons with St. Louis. ''Albert's amazing.''

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