BROOKLYN, Mich. Rob Gronkowski Jersey
. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.s return to Michigan isnt off to a great start. Earnhardt, who won at Michigan International Speedway in June to snap a four-year losing streak, will have to start from the back Sunday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race. He rubbed against the wall in practice Saturday and will need to go to a backup car. "We were making some changes on the car and got the car too loose, and it just came out from under me in the corner," Earnhardt said. "I probably was running harder than I should have been in practice." Series points leader Jimmie Johnson also will be in back because of an engine change. Earnhardt tested his backup car at MIS, back in June. "We know a lot about the car here at this particular track, where in most cases you dont. So we have that going for us," Earnhardt said. "We should be able to put a car out there thats relatively in the ballpark. Other than just starting in the back, I dont think that its hurt our chances too much." Johnson said his team discovered an issue before practice Saturday and decided to change the engine. "We probably could have run some of this practice, but I think we had to change the engine regardless," he said. "We didnt want to oil the track or create an issue and crash our car." Johnson was third in qualifying Friday. Earnhardt was 22nd. Earnhardt broke through at this track in June, winning for the first time in 144 Cup races. Hes fourth in the points standings and has nine top-five finishes, but lately he has had his share of problems. He led the points race even after finishing 32nd at Pocono two weeks ago -- he was forced to the garage at one point because of a busted transmission. Then last weekend at Watkins Glen, he was in the top 10 before a late spin sent him on his way to a 28th-place showing. The last driver to sweep the two Cup races at MIS was Bobby Labonte in 1995. Earnhardt has nine top-10 finishes in 26 starts at the track. "Getting over that hurdle, getting that first win does a lot to relieve you," Earnhardt said. "It reassures you that your team can win. I think if we were still winless, we would still feel a bit snake-bitten, or somewhat cursed I guess in a way. That might mess your psyche a little bit, mess with you mentally. But once you do break through that barrier, it definitely gives you a reason to believe that you can do it again." Hell have his work cut out for him Sunday after his practice mishap, but the victory two months ago has helped Earnhardts confidence. "To me Dale has been really focused and really into everything that I have been part of this season with him," said Kasey Kahne, Earnhardts teammate with Hendrick Motorsports. "Hes into the racing thing as much as Ive seen him. I havent been really close with Dale over the years, but Ive known him and been friends with him. I think hes as passionate and into the racing as Ive seen him right now, so thats good to see." Earnhardt had some good news Friday when the Army National Guard extended its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports. The National Guard will stay on as a sponsor of Earnhardts No. 88 Cup team. That took some of the focus off his recent struggles. Another good showing at MIS would help too. "There is a little bit of added pressure to go back out and have the same performance and run the same," he said Friday, before qualifying. "I know that is not always likely." Reggie Wayne Jersey
. But it wasnt necessarily the rock stars that got them into the second round. It was Dale Hunter hockey. Jay Beagle played four more seconds than Alexander Ovechkin in Game 7 and it was the line with Beagle, Matt Hendricks and Jason Chimera that typified how this team played. Champ Bailey Jersey
. Bullington has been up and down through the Kansas City organization all year, but he made his first start for the club Tuesday against the Angels. In that matchup against Anaheim, the right-hander surrendered three runs on five hits in six innings of work in a 3-1 loss. Blaine Gabbert Jersey
. And the Nuggets needed it to overcome Ben Gordons record-tying night from 3-point range. McGee soared into the lane to rebound a teammates missed free throw and dunk with 5 seconds remaining, and the Nuggets withstood Gordons season-high 45 points for a 116-115 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. Steve Johnson Jersey
. And the NBA commissioner isnt sure he wants to see his veteran players in the Olympics anymore. Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday the league is committed to sending top players to the Olympics only through London, and then wants to look into saving them just for the world basketball championship and having the Olympics reserved for those 23 and under, as soccer does. Terrell Davis Jersey
. Goaltenders are a little different from the other players on the team. For instance, Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall used to vomit before almost every game he played. Ask teammates throughout the years like Chicagos Bill Hay or St.SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence came through in a big way, erasing a slow start with his new team with one swing of the bat. Pence hit a three-run homer during a five-run rally in the eighth inning that lifted the San Francisco Giants over the Colorado Rockies 9-6 on Sunday. "He hit the ball hard the one time that was turned into a double play," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That three-run homer makes up for a few mistakes we made." Buster Poseys sacrifice fly in the eighth tied it. Melky Cabrera, who had an RBI single in the comeback, drove in three runs. Brandon Belt doubled twice and went 4 for 4 for the Giants. "A lot of stuff was going wrong for us but it didnt matter," Belt said. "That home run came at a great time." Matt Belisle (3-4) took the loss after allowing the first three hitters he faced to reach base. Rafael Betancourt gave up Poseys deep fly to left and Pences drive into the left-field bleachers. Clay Hensley (4-3) pitched the eighth for the win. Eric Young had three hits and drove in a run for the Rockies, who have lost three of four. Starting pitcher Alex White and reliever Carlos Torres also drove in runs. "We did everything we could to try and win that game," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We played with heart and we played with energy. The key to the whole eighth inning is when the leadoff pop up fell. I really believe that if we record that out, that inning was going to go cleanly. I believe that. We opened the door for them." Giants starter Barry Zito lasted 5 1-3 innings, giving up four runs and seven hiits. Fred Jackson Jersey
. White allowed three runs and seven hits in four innings. "We just made a mistake in the first inning," White said. "I just wanted to keep us in the game." The Giants trailed 6-4 when Brandon Crawford singled, pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez doubled and Angel Pagan walked to open the eighth. After Belisle got Marco Scutaro on a short fly to left, Cabrera delivered an infield single to score a run. Betancourt came in to face Posey, who fouled off five consecutive pitches before the sacrifice fly. Pence, hitting .137 as a Giant, then hit his 18th home run. "That was big," Posey said. "Hes been working hard and it was nice to see him come through." Torres delivered a two-out single, his first career hit, to highlight a two-run rally in the sixth that put the Rockies ahead 5-4. D.J. LeMahieu doubled home run a batter earlier. Cabreras two-run single in the first gave the Giants the early lead. Belt also singled home a run in the inning. Young and Josh Rutledge each doubled home a run in the third and Whites sacrifice fly in the fourth tied it at 3. Ryan Theriots double put the Giants back on top in the fifth, setting up Torres hit in the sixth. NOTES: White recorded his first career RBI. ... The Giants expect INF Pablo Sandoval to be available Monday night against the Washington Nationals after playing in his third rehab game at Class-A San Jose. ... RHP Ryan Vogelsong (10-5, 2.27) goes for the Giants against the Nationals. He leads the NL in ERA. ... LHP Jeff Francis (3-4, 6.06) pitches for the Rockies against the Milwaukee Brewers. ' ' '