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Albert Pujols is top vote-getter for All-Star game

St. Louis Cardinals slugger will start at first base in his home ballpark.

July 06, 2009|Associated Press

Albert Pujols will be in a familiar spot when St. Louis plays host to the 80th All-Star baseball game. Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is headed for a brand-new situation.

Pujols was the leading vote-getter in balloting for the Midsummer Classic announced Sunday by Major League Baseball, giving the Cardinals first baseman the start in his home ballpark.

"It feels great to be there and represent the organization and the city you play in," Pujols said.

The National League most valuable player is well on his way to another amazing year, leading the majors with 31 home runs and 82 runs batted in. He collected 5,397,374 votes to finish with the second-highest total in major league history, trailing only Ken Griffey Jr.'s 6 million votes in 1994.

Wakefield made his first All-Star roster in his 17th season, one of a major league-high six Red Sox headed to Busch Stadium for the July 14 game. The 42-year-old right-hander is tied for the big league lead with 10 wins.

Teammate Dustin Pedroia, the reigning American League most valuable player, passed Texas' Ian Kinsler in a close vote at second base and left fielder Jason Bay also won a spot in the lineup.

The injury-riddled New York Mets lead the NL with four selections. Center fielder Carlos Beltran and third baseman David Wright were selected by fans, but Beltran has been out because of a bruised right knee and probably won't play.

New York ace Johan Santana and closer Francisco Rodriguez were selected by the players, coaches and managers.

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was the leading vote-getter in the AL and will make his 10th appearance and sixth start in the Midsummer Classic.

Jeter and the AL beat the NL, 4-3, in 15 innings at Yankee Stadium last season to improve to 11-0-1 since the NL last won in 1996 at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, the longest unbeaten streak in the game's history.

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BASKETBALL

Wallace reportedly headed to Celtics

Two Boston newspapers reported that the Celtics have reached an agreement with free agent Rasheed Wallace.

Bill Strickland, Wallace's agent, told the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe on Sunday night that the 34-year-old forward told him to call off meetings the agent was in the process of scheduling with the Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks.

Wallace played the last six seasons with the Detroit Pistons, where he won an NBA championship in 2004. He heads to a Celtics team loaded with veterans such as Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, and hoping to make at least one more title run.

Wallace has averaged 15 points and 6.9 rebounds in 14 NBA seasons. He averaged 12 points and 7.4 rebounds last season.

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MOTOR RACING

Wilson wins at Watkins Glen

Justin Wilson passed pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe early, then dominated the IndyCar Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International to give team owner Dale Coyne his first victory after 25 years of trying.

Penske and Target Chip Ganassi drivers had won the previous eight races this season, including 10 straight and 15 of 16 dating to last year. Coyne's victory came in his 558th entry as an owner-driver.

It was Wilson's second IndyCar win. His first came at Detroit on Labor Day weekend last year, making him the only driver to break through against the Penske and Ganassi juggernaut in that span.

Wilson started on the front row of the Camping World Grand Prix alongside Briscoe and had the strongest car from the outset. He attempted to pass Briscoe in the sweeping, high-speed esses on the second lap and failed.

Briscoe was warned for blocking and Wilson slipped past him on the next lap in the same place and went on to lead nearly the entire race.

After the final full sequence of pit stops was completed with 15 laps remaining, Wilson regained the lead by two seconds over Briscoe. Hideki Mutoh brought out the fourth caution of the race with seven laps remaining to give Briscoe one final chance, but he was no match for Wilson and his sticky red tires, losing by nearly five seconds.

Ganassi's Scott Dixon was third, followed by Penske's Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti.

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