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This Weekend in Sports — Tour de France, Strikeforce and NL Playoff Contenders Meet

Wkd_Sports_7_12
Bryn Lennon, Strikeforce, Victor Decolongon

The TV sports calendar is fairly light this weekend. Here are the sports events worth watching:

Friday, July 13

Tour de France — Stage 12

France; 6:30 a.m. (EDT), NBC Sports Network-TV

First-place holder Bradley Wiggins of Britain leads the world’s best cyclists into Stage 12 of the Tour de France, which runs from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Annonay Davezieux. The race continues through the week, before ending on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 22.

Saturday, July 14

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

Turner Field, Atlanta, GA.; 4:05 p.m. (EDT); FOX-TV

Two National League playoff contenders face off on Fox’s ‘Game of the Week.’ The surprising New York Mets (46-40) will send dependable Johan Santana (6-5, 3.24) to the mound to face the Atlanta Braves (46-39), who are fueled by speedy leadoff hitter Michael Bourn. Tommy Hanson (10-5, 3.71), the Braves’ leader in wins, ERA and strikeouts, will pitch against a Mets’ lineup that includes slugging third-baseman David Wright.

Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Kennedy

Rose Garden Arena, Portland, OR; 10 p.m. (EDT); Showtime-TV

The Strikeforce mixed martial arts circuit presents a middleweight title match between champ Luke Rockhold and contender Tim Kennedy. On the undercard, contenders Tyron Woodley and Nate Marquardt face off for the welterweight title vacated last year by Nick Diaz.

Sunday, July 15

Lenox Industrial Tools 301

New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, NH; 1:15 p.m. (EDT); TNT-TV

Matt Kenseth leads NASCAR’s Sprint Cup standings, but Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson are all within 60 points of first place. Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart always race well at New Hampshire, so both figure to be near the front of the pack this Sunday.

St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds

Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, OH; 8:05 p.m. (EDT); ESPN-TV

Two teams within 2.5 games of the NL Central lead meet in Cincinnati for a three-game series this weekend. On ESPN’s ‘Sunday NIght Baseball,’ St. Louis (46-40) will send Jake Westbrook (7-7, 3.75) against a Cincinnati lineup that includes National League MVP candidate Joey Votto. Johnny Cueto (10-5, 2.39) gets the start for the Reds against a Cardinals’ lineup that includes All-Stars Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal, David Freese and Yadier Molina.

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