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Sports in brief


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man united raises hopes for title run

LIVERPOOL, England — Manchester United relied on brilliant goalkeeping by David de Gea and a late, opportunistic finish by Wayne Rooney to snatch a 1-0 win at Liverpool on Sunday, sparking talk of an unlikely run at the Premier League title.

With Arsenal drawing 0-0 at Stoke to return to first place on goal difference above Leicester, United — owned by the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs — trimmed its deficit to seven points in one of the most erratic title races in years.

Talk of United even challenging for the title would have been dismissed as fanciful at the end of 2015, when it was on an eight-game winless run and manager Louis van Gaal's future looked precarious. Things look very different now.

"Our competitors (for the title) have lost points," said van Gaal, whose team climbed one place, to fifth. "When the gap is like this, seven points, you can overcome that."

Spain: Luis Suarez scored a hat trick to lead Barcelona's 6-0 demolition of 10-man Athletic Bilbao in a game in which Lionel Messi was replaced after halftime because of what coach Luis Enrique called a "slight pain." Messi, who had one of Barcelona's goals, "will have the necessary tests," Enrique said. Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz was sent off in the fourth minute. Atletico Madrid got a 3-0 win at Las Palmas to retain a two-point lead in first place over Barcelona. Real Madrid remained four points back in third after a 5-1 win over Sporting Gijon, but it lost Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to injury after they scored. Madrid lost Bale a minute before halftime with a right-calf injury, and Benzema went down early in the second half when teammate James Rodriguez kicked his right leg.

Et Cetera

Bowling: Anthony Simonsen and Connor Pickford raced away from Josh Blanchard and Andres Gomez 223-173 to win their first PBA Tour title at the season-opening PBA Doubles Championship in Reno, Nev. In winning his first title, Simonsen, a two-handed player, became the second-youngest title winner. He is two days younger than Hall of Famer Norm Duke was in 1983 when he won the Cleveland Open at 18 years, 345 days.

College football: Former Michigan coach Brady Hoke joined Oregon's staff as defensive coordinator. Hoke replaces Don Pellum, who returned to coaching linebackers for the Ducks. Hoke, 57, who has not been a college coordinator before, coached the Wolverines from 2011-14, going 31-20 before being fired in December 2014.

Sailing: Bella Mente, skippered by Hap Fauth of Minneapolis, is favored to defend its Maxi 72-class title at the five-day Key West Race Week sailing regatta that begins today off the Florida Keys.

Swimming: American Katie Ledecky broke her world record in the 800-meter freestyle, finishing in 8 minutes, 6.68 seconds in the Arena Pro Swim Series event at Austin, Texas. Ledecky, 18, smashed her mark of 8:07.39 set at the 2015 world championships in Russia. Ledecky owns nine of the top 10 times in history.

Times wires

Sports in brief 01/17/16 [Last modified: Sunday, January 17, 2016 10:55pm]
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  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

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  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.