It all boils down to Brazil (again)

Women's World Cup: The U.S. women have faltered in the past year but it has been easy to rationalize away. On Wednesday, all they needed was a tie to avoid playing Brazil in the quarterfinals. Instead, they fell to Sweden 2-1 -- their fourth loss since November and first in the group stage. The Americans were once seemingly invincible. Now, not so much. The U.S. needs to shore up its defense if it's going to have a fighting chance against Marta and the Brazilians, who are picking up serious speed match by match. Let's hope this isn't a replay of their 4-0 loss in the semifinals of the 2007 FIFA World Cup. We'll be cheering from here.

NBA: Armen "The Hammer" Gilliam died Wednesday at the age of 47. The former UNLV star -- he led the team to a 37-2 record in the Final Four in 1987 -- and NBA player died doing what he loved: playing pick-up basketball at a Pittsburgh-area health club. His NBA career spanned six teams: the Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and the Utah Jazz. The cause of death has yet to be determined pending an autopsy.

Side note: Australian road cyclist Carly Hibberd died while training in Italy. The 26-year-old was hit by a car while cycling in the Northern Italian hills. Colombian rider Diego Tamayo was riding with Hibberd but was not hurt.

MLB: Albert Pujols returned to the Cardinals lineup, acquitting himself nicely with a hit and RBI, even though the Cardinals fell to the Reds 9-8 in 13 innings. ... The Yankees lost to the Indians 5-3, but lead-off batter Derek Jeter's double puts him just three hits away from 3,000. ... The Mets won their fourth straight over the (ghost town Chavez Ravine) Dodgers 5-3 -- their fifth loss in a row. This Dodgers season already has that tragic air about it and they're just getting started.

Side note: Bud Selig will make sure his nemesis Frank McCourt doesn't get his grubby hands on the financials from other baseball franchises. That's McCourt's latest (feeble) attempt to show the bankruptcy court how normal his finances are compared to other teams. Lots o' luck, Frank.

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