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National

  • The AP college football top 25

    The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Oct. 5, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:

  • Cobb, Rays shut out Indians to advance

    CLEVELAND (AP) — They shut off the lights, cranked up the music and turned their clubhouse into a nightclub.
    As Pitbull’s “Don’t Stop The Party” boomed off walls covered by plastic sheets, the Tampa Bay Rays sprayed each other with Silly String and emptied bottles of champagne as quickly as they could open them.
    This road trip isn’t ending anytime soon.
    “Nobody wants to go home,” pitcher Alex Cobb said.
    Next stop: Boston.
    Dodging trouble for nearly seven innings, Cobb and the Rays pitched their way to another must-have win on the road, beating the Cleveland Indians 4-0 Wednesday night in the AL wild-card game.
    Cobb, who missed a chunk of the regular season after he was hit in the head by a line drive, quieted a thundering Cleveland crowd and ended the Indians’ unexpected season just one game into October.
    Delmon Young homered in the third inning off rookie Danny Salazar as the Rays, playing in their third city over four days, advanced to face the AL East champion Red Sox in the best-of-five division series starting Friday.

  • Shutdown may threaten academies' sports

     WASHINGTON (AP) — Army, Navy and Air Force might be forced to skip their football games next weekend because of the partial government shutdown.

    The Defense Department temporarily suspended sports competition at the service academies Tuesday as a result of the budget impasse in Congress.

    A Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, said the decision was being reviewed by lawyers considering a series of legal questions, including whether money that comes from sources other than Congress could be used to pay for sports during the government shutdown.

    Meantime, the suspension put a pair of college football games in jeopardy: Army at Boston College, and Air Force at Navy.

    During a six-day government shutdown in November 1995, Army, Navy and Air Force played football games — all at home.

    The U.S. Naval Academy said in a statement that a decision will be made by noon Thursday about whether the Midshipmen will play the Air Force. Navy's football team did practice Tuesday.

  • Pirates top Reds, head to St. Louis

     PITTSBURGH (AP) — Andrew McCutchen was in mid-answer when teammate A.J. Burnett stuck a bottle of champagne inside the jersey of the star Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder and turned it upside down.

    "Feels good," McCutchen said with a laugh as the bottle emptied, further drenching his already soaked uniform. "I could get used to this."

    So could the city he plays in.

    After an absence of two decades, playoff baseball is back in Pittsburgh. And it's not going anywhere for a while.

    The Pirates are heading to St. Louis for the NL division series after drumming the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 in the NL wild-card game on Tuesday night, nine innings of dominance that also served as a coming out party for a franchise eager to escape a generation of misery.

    "There are mile markers along the road to get to the place you want to get to," manager Clint Hurdle said. "There's nobody in there that doesn't want to win the World Championship for the Pirates organization."

    Pittsburgh is one step closer after dispatching the Reds. The NL Central champion Cardinals await. A.J. Burnett will start for the Pirates against St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright in Game 1 on Thursday.

  • Price, Rays top Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — For Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays, this was a fitting way to get back into the playoffs.
    They earned their postseason berth in the final game of the regular season for the second time in three years, needing an extra game to do so this time.
    And their 5-2 victory in the AL wild-card tiebreaker Monday night came against the Texas Rangers, the team that knocked the Rays out the playoffs their last two trips.
    “It feels really good to be able to leave here celebrating instead of with our heads down,” said Longoria, who had a two-run homer Monday.
    “It sure feels good to get them after so many times they’ve knocked us out,” Ben Zobrist said.
    David Price (10-8), the reigning AL Cy Young winner, threw his fourth complete game this season. He struck out four and walked one, and even picked off two runners while allowing seven hits, striking out four and walking one. He threw 81 of 118 pitches for strikes.
    The Rays face another must-win situation Wednesday night at Cleveland in the AL wild-card game, Tampa’s third game in three cities in a four-day stretch.
     The winner faces Boston in the division series.

  • Yankees won't make postseason

    NEW YORK (AP) — The end came quietly for this year’s New York Yankees. No celebrations. No titles. No October baseball.
    Curtis Granderson was batting in the eighth inning Wednesday night when the Cleveland Indians completed a 7-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. And with that, the Yankees were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention in the middle of the season’s final week, even before they finished an 8-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
    New York failed to make the postseason for the first time since 2008 and for only the second time in 19 years. Mariano Rivera will be in the bullpen Thursday night for his final game at Yankee Stadium — he’ll be there in a regular season game with nothing at stake for New York, rather than on the postseason stage where he solidified his credentials as the greatest relief pitcher ever.
    “I’ll be there for the fans. They deserve it,” Rivera said. “But it don’t mean anything. I’m not used to pitching for something that doesn’t mean anything. I wanted to pitch for something that means something.”
    Evan Longoria homered twice as the Rays won their sixth straight and lowered their magic number to 3 for clinching an AL wild-card berth.

  • Pirates headed to playoffs

    CHICAGO (AP) — The long wait is over, Pittsburgh. Your Pirates are finally headed back to the postseason.
    After a 21-year absence, the Pirates clinched at least a National League wild card Monday night when they beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 and the Washington Nationals lost to St. Louis.
    Now, they can turn their attention toward bigger goals, the kind that seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream through all those losing seasons.
    “Even though I didn’t lose for the last 20 years, they make you feel like you are. You feel like you lost those 20 years,” Andrew McCutchen said. “That’s all you hear. You hear it every single day — ‘When’s it going to change? You think this is the year?’ You get sick and tired of hearing that. It’s awesome that there won’t be any questions anymore. The question is, ‘Are we going to be able to go farther?’”
    It will be Pittsburgh’s first trip to the postseason since Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland and Co. won three straight NL East titles from 1990-92. Bonds then left for San Francisco as a free agent, and the small-budget Pirates piled up 20 consecutive losing records — the longest streak in the four major professional sports.

  • Reid, Kansas City top Eagles in Philly

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — This was one time Andy Reid didn’t mind being a big target.
    The man in the bull’s-eye so often when he coached in Philadelphia was easy for Chiefs receiver Donnie Avery to find.
    At the end of Kansas City’s 26-16 victory over the Eagles in Reid’s homecoming Thursday night, Avery gave Reid a Gatorade shower.
    Reid already looked strange decked in all red on the visitors’ sideline.
    “Yeah, it was different,” Reid said. “I was on the opposite side of the field than I normally am at. But I can’t tell you that I was caught up in that part of it.”
    The result was similar to what he gave Philadelphia in his 14 years in charge of the Eagles, thanks to a dynamic Chiefs defense that forced five turnovers and sacked a harried Michael Vick five times. Vick even limped off after a late fumble — he said his ankle got rolled, but he was fine — but stayed around to hug Reid following the final play.
    “It was great to see the players that are here,” Reid admitted. “I had a chance to talk to them after the game.”

  • Former Heavyweight Champion Ken Norton Dies
  • Pittsburgh stumbles to 0-2 start

    CINCINNATI (AP) — The Steelers haven’t opened a season so badly in 11 years.
    Rookie running back Giovani Bernard scored his first two NFL touchdowns, and Pittsburgh’s offense had trouble getting first downs as the Cincinnati Bengals pulled away to a 20-10 victory on Monday night.
    For the first time since 2002, the Steelers are off to an 0-2 start.
    “We have work to do,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We aren’t going to hide from that fact. We are going to embrace it and accept it, and understand that there is some misery that comes from the position we are in right now.”
    There’s plenty of misery to embrace.
    The Bengals (1-1) piled up 407 yards, holding the ball for more than 35 minutes. On offense, the Steelers had another game full of self-destruction, turning the ball over twice in scoring range.
    Pittsburgh failed to get a first down on seven of its 12 possessions, giving the defense little time to catch its breath.
    “There’s not a lot of positives going on right now,” said Ben Roethlisberger, who was 20 of 37 for 251 yards with one touchdown and an interception. “We can’t start doubting each other. Right now, there’s a general feeling of being upset.”