In case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports on Thursday.
- The USA Today Coaches’ Poll chose the Oklahoma Sooners as college football’s preseason no. 1. It was a big day for Oklahoma, as the state was also voted the country’s no. 1 place to live by the USA Today Sarcastic Person’s Poll.
- Tiger Woods returned to the PGA tour after a three-month injury absence with an opening-round 68 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Fans were excited that he walked without a limp for the entire round, except for that one time on the 12th hole when he did a really funny old-man impression. Vintage Tiger.
- The NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement will introduce blood testing for human growth hormone. Coaches and owners are thrilled, as negative tests will give them a clear idea of who they should cut for not wanting it bad enough.
- Cliff Lee pitched his league-leading fifth shutout of the season as the Phillies beat the Giants, 3-0. Lee was helped by two stellar plays by Placido Polanco. After the game, the third baseman waited patiently for more than an hour, but Lee never came over to say thank you. He was just laughing it up with his friends on the other side of the locker room like their relationship meant nothing. Polanco felt humiliated. He felt invisible. Men.
- Ivan Nova struck out 10 to help the Yankees complete a four-game sweep of the White Sox. Manager Joe Girardi will have to decide whether Nova, whose ERA is under 3.00 in his past eight starts, replaces A.J. Burnett in the five-man rotation. Luckily, Burnett will probably make his decision easier within the next week by punching a cat, getting stabbed at a bar, or spitting on a senior citizen who looked at him funny.
- Boston ran out of late-game theatrics against the Indians, falling 7-3. The Red Sox and Yankees are now tied atop the AL East going into this weekend’s series at Fenway. Because of the pennant-race tension, baseball officials are expecting a lot of verbal abuse coming from the Boston fans. Men.
- Rookie pinch-hitter Robinson Chirinos put on an extra-innings show, with a game-tying hit in the 10th and a game-winning hit in the 12th, to help the Rays squeak by the Blue Jays, 7-6. His heroics ensure that he’ll never have to buy another drink in Tampa (at that one bar where they sometimes show the games on the corner television).
- Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler turned in a Web Gem of his own as Texas dropped the Tigers, 5-2. The win keeps the Rangers one game ahead of the Angels, who beat Minnesota behind Dan Haren’s eight strong innings and Mark Trumbo’s 4 RBIs. Up next for Texas is the Cleveland Indians, while the Angels move on to face the Seattle Mariners, a comedy baseball troupe from the Pacific Northwest.
- Despite Xavier Paul’s spectacular catch in right field, the Cubs rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to finish their sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. To put Pittsburgh’s season in terms of actual pirates, they’ve slowly transitioned from “Blackbeard” to “Calico Jack” to “a group of elementary schoolers nervously performing The Pirates of Penzance.”
Shane Ryan is a staff writer for Grantland. Follow him on Twitter @SCurrySavesDuke.