RELIEVERS LEAD VALPO TO HORIZON LEAGUE WIN: Valparaiso relief pitchers Kyle Wormington and Karch Kowalczyk combined for five innings of two-hit baseball in a 5-3 Horizon League win over first-place Milwaukee on Friday.
Wormington (3-7) allowed two hits in four innings with three strikeouts. Kowalczyk pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his sixth save. Andrew Bain was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI for the Crusaders (21-23, 8-8); Spencer Mahoney was 3-for-3 with a run scored, and John Loeffler had two RBIs.
CUBS' RALLY FALLS SHORT: Jay Bruce had two RBIs and scored a run; Shin-Soo Choo drove in a run and scored twice, and the Cincinnati Reds held off the Cubs 6-5 on Friday.
The Cubs scored three runs in the ninth against Reds closer Aroldis Chapman before reliever J.J. Hoover came on and struck out Darwin Barney with the bases loaded to pick up his first save.
Mike Leake (2-1) gave up two runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, earned his fourth straight decision over the Cubs with help from five relievers.
Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart also had run-scoring hits to help the Reds hand Carlos Villanueva (1-2) the loss.
SOX GAMES AT K.C. POSTPONED: The Royals' game against the White Sox was postponed due to weather on Friday and will be made up Monday, when the teams were scheduled to have a day off.
PACERS FINISH OFF HAWKS: George Hill and David West each scored 21 points, and the Pacers withstood a furious Atlanta comeback in the fourth quarter, beating the Hawks 81-73 on Friday night to close out the opening-round playoff series four games to two.
The home team had won every game until the Hawks returned to Philips Arena and set a franchise record with just nine points in the second quarter on 1-of-15 shooting. The defense broke down in the third, allowing Hill and West to combine for 22 points. The Pacers advanced to face New York.
KNICKS OUST CELTICS: Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points, and the New York Knicks held on after blowing most of a 26-point lead to beat the Boston Celtics 88-80 in Game 6 on Friday night and advance in the postseason for the first time since 2000.
AP SOURCE SAYS LEBRON WINS FOURTH MVP AWARD: LeBron James is getting his fourth Most Valuable Player award — and the only mystery left is whether the vote was unanimous.
The Miami Heat star will be introduced Sunday as the award winner, according to a person familiar with the results and who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league has not publicly announced this year's recipient. James will become the fifth player with at least four MVP awards, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.
PASTRANA CAPTURES FIRST CAREER NATIONWIDE POLE: X Games star Travis Pastrana won his first career Nationwide Series pole Friday at Talladega Superspeedway.
The 10-time X Games gold medalist-turned-NASCAR driver topped qualifying for Saturday's Aaron's 312 with a fast lap of 176.500 mph on the 2.66-mile tri-oval.
Austin Dillon will start second, followed by Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick and Justin Allgaier.
KURT BUSCH TO TEST INDY CAR AT IMS: Kurt Busch will test an Indy car for Andretti Autosport at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week.
The 2004 NASCAR champion was at Indy this week testing tires for Goodyear with NASCAR team Furniture Row Racing. An agreement was apparently made with Michael Andretti to return next Thursday and turn laps at the famed speedway two days before the track opens for Indianapolis 500 practice.
Busch says in a statement he's interested in exploring the possibility of someday running the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.
NEW BALL ST. COACH ADDS BILLY WRIGHT TO STAFF: New Ball State coach James Whitford has hired Billy Wright as an assistant.
Wright has strong Indiana ties. He grew up in Richmond, led the school to the 1992 state title and spent 12 seasons coaching high school basketball at Indianapolis Ben Davis and Indianapolis Pike. He was Pike's head coach from 2006-08 and worked with three future first-round NBA draft picks -- Courtney Lee, Jeff Teague and Marquis Teague.
Wright left Pike to take an assistant coaching job at Western Illinois, where he's been the last five seasons.
Around the horn
Phil Mickelson opened with a pair of 15-foot birdie putts, dropped in a 40-foot putt at the turn and made back-to-back birdies late in his round Friday at Quail Hollow. He finished with a 5-under 67 for a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the Wells Fargo Championship. ... Thai teen Ariya Jutanugarn followed her opening 7-under 64 with an even-par 71 in windy conditions to hold onto the lead in the LPGA Tour's Kingsmill Championship. ... Mike Goodes shot a 3-under 69 in wind that gusted to 30 mph to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship.