White Sox

Bulls roll over Cavs in finale

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Bulls roll over Cavs in finale

With a chance to secure home-court advantage throughout the postseason in the final regular season game, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau wanted nothing but the usual from his guys, even without the services of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver.

The Bulls (50-16) took care of business, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-75 and with the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference finalizing, will play the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the postseason starting Saturday.

Also with the win, even if San Antonio wins their season finale, Chicago, owners of the tie-breaker between the Spurs, will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

In a balanced scoring effort, John Lucas led the team with 25 points. Joakim Noah finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds and six Bulls finished with 8 or more points.

Despite a solid showing by the starters in the first period, the intensity picked up in the second period as a backcourt of Lucas, Mike James (10 points), along with Jimmy Butler (12 points), Taj Gibson (10 points, 12 rebounds) and Noah helped to out-score the visitors 32-20 for a 58-45 lead going into halftime.

With the starters back on the floor to start the second half, the Bulls blew the game open, going up as much as 22 before settling with an 80-62 lead going into the fourth period.

The fourth quarter was simply a formality as the sizable margin led a sellout crowd to wonder when fan-favorite Brian Scalabrine would check into the game and whether they would receive their complimentary Big Macs.

They got both.

Squirrel runs onto field to interrupt play during White Sox-Twins game

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USA TODAY

Squirrel runs onto field to interrupt play during White Sox-Twins game

In one of the nuttier things to happen at a baseball game this season, a squirrel came onto the field during Tuesday’s White Sox-Twins game.

The squirrel ran onto the field during the bottom of the fifth and the umpire called time to stop play. It ran through the legs of Max Kepler, who was the baserunner at first base for the Twins at the time, straight across the infield and into the White Sox dugout.

Check out the chaos:

'Baby steps' in the right direction for Cole Hamels

'Baby steps' in the right direction for Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels is working on so much stuff mechanically right now, he compared his pitching delivery to a golf swing and how "you're thinking about like 10 different things and you can't hit the ball off the tee box."

The veteran southpaw picked up the win Tuesday night and recorded his first quality start since June 23, but it wasn't exactly smooth.

Two separate times, he failed to come through with a shutdown inning after his offense gave him the lead, serving up a pair of homers to allow the Giants to tie the game. But he came through when they needed him most, throwing up a goose egg in the box score after Jonathan Lucroy drove home Javy Baez with the game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Overall, it was a step in the right direction for Hamels as he tries to regain the form he had before he hit the injured list.

"It's just kinda the baby steps and getting back to knowing what I'm capable of doing and obviously not causing any sort of damage for these games that I'm trying to get back to what I know to do," Hamels said after the 5-3 victory and conceded he did have some positive things to build off of. "I was able to get a better line and direction toward home plate, but at the same time, leaving some balls up. That's what I was trying to get away from, just 'cause the past couple starts, I was really getting hurt on the fastballs up. Like I did today, the two fastballs up were obviously hit out of the ballpark.

"It's a game of inches. If I can slowly but surely get to where I need to be, then I can see the type of results I know I'm capable of having and will look a little bit better on TV and in the box score."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon felt like Hamels got better throughout the game, as the lefty started "pitching" more and settling in with his command. 

Hamels was on fire before he hit the injured list with an oblique injury and even after more than a month on the shelf, looked to be picking up right where he left off with 5 shutout innings in his first game back Aug. 3. 

But things have taken a turn since then, as he allowed 12 earned runs on 17 hits over just 5 innings pitched in his next two starts before grinding it out Tuesday night.

The Cubs haven't seen this type of struggle from Hamels, who gave the team a major shot in the arm last summer after coming over in a trade and was the rotation's best pitcher for the first half of this season.

"He's been Steady Eddy for us since he's been here," Anthony Rizzo said. "He's a professional. He's one of my favorite teammates ever. I love when he plays. I love him in the dugout, I love the intensity he brings and it's fun to watch him play."

Assuming the Cubs stay on the same rotation, Hamels will get one more start on this homestand - Sunday afternoon in the series finale with the Nationals.