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<i> One </i> Remains the Loneliest Number of All for Giant Fans

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Tim Keown of the San Francisco Chronicle agonized over the Giants’ 12-1 defeat by the Dodgers on Sunday:

“This is story nobody wanted to read, the conclusion nobody wanted to see, an ugly end to a beautiful thing.

“The Giants were up to every challenge this season. They answered every twist and turn and quirk of fate.

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“Every one except one.”

There, there.

Tom terrific: One day after the Dodgers beat the Giants to give the Atlanta Braves the National League West championship, a grocery-story chain took out a full-page ad on the back of the sports section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that read: “Lasorda for Mayor. Thanks L.A.”

Trivia time: How many times has Notre Dame played in the Rose Bowl game?

Time warp: The Raiders have been long gone from Oakland, but in the minds of Kansas City fans the old AFL rivalry lives on, according to Chief President Carl Peterson.

“In this city, they never, ever, nor will they ever, refer to them as other than the Oakland Raiders. I’ve never heard anybody here ever say, ‘Are we going to beat Los Angeles?’ ”

Epitaph: The Boston Red Sox finished 15 games behind Toronto in the American League East and Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe characterized the team:

“They are an old, wounded, dysfunctional, highly paid, boring, slow, powerless, defenseless, polite, optimistic, dedicated, happy and scrappy baseball team. But they are not a good team and Butch (Manager Hobson) knows it.”

Lamb that roared: In its preview of the Ryder Cup matches, Golf World magazine dismissed Jim Gallagher Jr. of the U.S. team in its “Guts Index,” giving him a heart and a half and putting him between chopped liver and a lamb.

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Gallagher won two of his three matches, earning a vital two points for the victorious American team.

“Before we went over, I nicknamed myself ‘Lamb Chop,’ and before the end of the week I was ‘Killer Lamb Chop,’ ” Gallagher said with satisfaction.

Dream on: Gary Olson of the St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press asked running back Marshall Faulk what it would have been like if had attended Notre Dame instead of San Diego State.

“Oh, my God, if I was playing for Notre Dame I’d probably be the god of college football,” Faulk said. “With the feats I’ve accomplished, no doubt they would hand me the Heisman before the season starts.”

Not enough hot air: A hot-air balloon shaped like a football, after being aloft for about 15 minutes, plummeted toward earth just before the kickoff of last Saturday’s game between Missouri and Southern Methodist at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo.

The balloon snagged on oak branches on a hillside near the stadium and the wicker gondola came to rest on a steep slope, but balloonist Tom Rote insisted he did not crash.

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“It was a landing that occurred a lot sooner than I wanted,” Rote explained.

The game feel flat, too. It ended in a 10-10 after SMU blocked a 47-yard field-goal attempt that would have won it for Missouri.

Creative scoring: Charles D. Carey was arrested last Thursday in Noblesville, Ind., after cheating on his golf score in a charity tournament and accepting a $50 gift certificate for second place.

Carey claimed he shot a 67, but sheriff’s detectives who followed him said his score was around 80.

Appropriately, Carey played his round at Hanging Tree Golf Club.

Trivia answer: Only once, in 1925, when Notre Dame beat Stanford, 27-10.

Quotebook: Gary Fencik, former Chicago Bear defensive back, on former Bear defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan: “Buddy was like my favorite uncle. The one I wanted to tell, ‘Shut up.’ ”

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