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Oracle still making waves in America’s Cup

Sailing: Skipper Jimmy Spithill and defending champion Oracle Team USA accelerated off the starting line and stayed ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand to win its fifth straight race and remain alive in the America’s Cup in San Francisco on Monday.

Oracle’s remarkable comeback closed the Kiwis’ lead to 8-6 and no doubt has all of New Zealand on edge.

Team New Zealand has been on match point since Wednesday, only to watch Spithill and Oracle’s improved 72-foot catamaran sail ahead in a determined attempt to keep the oldest trophy in international sports.

Oracle has won eight races. But it was docked two points for illegally modifying boats in warmup regattas called the America’s Cup World Series, so it needs three more wins.

The margin in Race 16 was 33 seconds.

Because Race 16 was delayed a half-hour due to light wind, Race 17 was postponed until today.

Retirees’ appeal rejected by court

Football: The retirees who sued the NFL Players Association over benefit negotiations during the lockout have lost their appeal.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis upheld the prior decision of U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson in Minnesota rejecting the claim against the union by the retirees. They argued they were illegally excluded from negotiations over post-career care to streamline the process and were seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

The court ruled retirees couldn’t have won a better package from the league, without the NFLPA.

Mercury slip past Sparks, win series

WNBA: Brittney Griner hit a turnaround jumper with 4.9 seconds left, lifting the visiting Phoenix Mercury to a 78-77 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks in the deciding Game 3 of their WNBA playoff series.

Phoenix advances to the Western Conference finals where it will face top-seeded Minnesota. Game 1 is Thursday.

• Dream knock off Mystics: Erika de Souza scored 10 of her 18 points during a decisive fourth quarter and the Atlanta Dream beat the Washington Mystics 80-72 to win the deciding Game 3 of their WNBA first-round series.

The Dream advanced to face the fourth-seeded Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference finals, which will begin Thursday in Atlanta.

Eraud claims junior time trial

Miscellany: France’s Severine Eraud crossed the finish line 2.60 seconds quicker than Australian Alexandria Nicholls to win the women’s junior time trial at the road cycling world championships in Florence, Italy.

Eraud covered the 10.11-mile course, in 22 minutes, 42.63 seconds.

Damien Howson of Australia finished the 27-mile course in 49:49.97 to win the men’s under-23 event.

• Decision nearing on Indy road race: IndyCar officials, awaiting approval by the Hulman & Co. board of directors, could decide as soon as next week whether to add a May road race in Indianapolis to the 2014 schedule.

• Leafs’ Clarkson suspended: Toronto forward David Clarkson has been suspended 10 regular-season games by the NHL without pay for leaving the bench to take part in a fight Sunday night against Buffalo.

• Blues add veteran Morrow: St. Louis signed veteran Brenden Morrow, 34, to a one-year contract.

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