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National

  • Giants Win Game 1 of World Series

    An historic night by Pablo Sandoval led the Giants to a 1-0 lead in the World Series Wednesday night. Tigers ace Justin Verlander was ousted in the 4th inning while Giants starter Barry Zito allowed only one run in 5 and 2/3rds.

  • Giants blast Cardinals, head to World Series

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After all the Giants had overcome to get back to the World Series, a late shower wasn't about to dampen their celebration.

    All right, it was a driving downpour.

    So reliever Sergio Romo danced through the raindrops, Tim Lincecum helped lead a soaked victory lap around the ballpark and Angel Pagan stayed on the field with his daughter long after his teammates took the party indoors.

    Hunter Pence got the Giants going with a weird double, Matt Cain pitched his second clincher of October and San Francisco closed out Game 7 of the NL championship series in a rainstorm, routing the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 on Monday night.

    "The rain never felt so good," series MVP Marco Scutaro said. "We're going to the World Series, this is unbelievable."

    San Francisco won its record-tying sixth elimination game of the postseason, completing a lopsided rally from a 3-1 deficit.

    The Giants, who won it all in 2010, will host reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, Triple Crown slugger Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 on Wednesday night.

    Verlander is set to pitch Wednesday's opener at AT&T Park. Giants manager Bruce Bochy insisted before Monday's game he had not planned any further in advance.

  • UCI strips Armstrong of his 7 Tour titles--Video Extra

    GENEVA (AP) — Cycling's governing body agreed Monday to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and ban him for life, following a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that accused him of leading a massive doping program on his teams.

    UCI President Pat McQuaid announced that the federation accepted the USADA's report on Armstrong and would not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    The decision clears the way for Tour de France organizers to officially remove Armstrong's name from the record books, erasing his consecutive victories from 1999-2005.

    Tour director Christian Prudhomme has said the race would go along with whatever cycling's governing body decides and will have no official winners for those years.

    USADA said Armstrong should be banned and stripped of his Tour titles for "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen" within his U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams.

  • The AP top 25 college football poll 10-21-12

    The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Oct. 20, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:

  • Zito, Giants force NLCS back to the Bay

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — Offense has a lot to do with San Francisco's streak of 13 consecutive victories when Barry Zito is on the mound, given they're averaging more than six runs.

    In Game 5 of the NL championship series Friday night, with their season on the line, they didn't need all that production. Not with the pitcher they thought they signed a half-dozen years ago showing up in shutdown form.

    Zito dominated into the eighth inning of a 5-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals that sent the best-of-seven series back to San Francisco. The Giants cut their series deficit to 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Sunday night, with Ryan Vogelsong set to face Chris Carpenter for the second time in the series.

    "We needed that kind of performance from him because there is no tomorrow for us," second baseman Marco Scutaro said. "We just needed to get back home."

    The defending-champion Cardinals still have two chances to make it to back-to-back World Series as a wild card.

    "It should be another battle," St. Louis third baseman David Freese said. "San Francisco is a great city, but I wish we weren't going back."

  • 49ers play well enough to win Thursday

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two of the NFL's top defenses dueled it out in a low-scoring game just as everybody expected — and San Francisco's offense did just enough to give the 49ers a narrow lead in the NFC West.

    For the time being, anyway. This is hardly the kind of firm hold on the division they owned last October.

    Alex Smith threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker late in the third quarter and San Francisco held off the Seattle Seahawks 13-6 on Thursday night as the 49ers won their long-awaited division opener.

    "We expect these games in the NFC West to be 60 minutes of physical football," said 49ers left tackle Joe Staley, who returned to the field four days after suffering a concussion against the Giants.

    Frank Gore ran for 131 yards and the 49ers (5-2) hung tough on defense late in a game featuring two teams allowing fewer than 16 points per game.

    Smith went 14 of 23 for 140 yards in a second straight subpar performance.

  • Yankees' troubles may just be starting

    NEW YORK (AP) — George Steinbrenner would have issued a public apology.

    After leading the league in wins this year, the New York Yankees didn't just lose to Detroit in the AL championship series. They got swept in one of the more humiliating moments in the team's history.

    The four-game wipeout made headlines — A-Rod's benching, Derek Jeter's injury, Robinson Cano's slump. But it also revealed serious cracks in the foundation, showing a team full of aging All-Stars at the plate, in the field and on the mound that suddenly seems a long, long way from championship caliber.

    "Obviously, we're all getting older," Andy Pettitte said Thursday night after the season-ending 8-1 loss to the Tigers.

    Jeter broke an ankle near the end. Mariano Rivera busted a knee back in the spring. The Yankees transformed baseball's bruisers into the Bashed Bombers, closer to AARP years than MVP seasons.

  • Brothels rescue cash-strapped Greek soccer team

    LARISSA, Greece (AP) — The world's oldest profession is giving a whole new meaning to love of the game.

    Players on a cash-strapped Greek soccer team now wear pink practice jerseys with the logos "Villa Erotica" and "Soula's House of History," two bordellos it recruited as sponsors after drastic government spending cuts left the country's sports clubs facing ruin.

    Other teams have also turned to unconventional financing. One has a deal with a local funeral home and others have wooed kebab shops, a jam factory and producers of Greece's trademark feta cheese.

    But the amateur Voukefalas club — whose players include pizza delivery guys, students, waiters and a bartender — has raised eyebrows with its flamboyant sponsorship choice.

    "Unfortunately, amateur football has been abandoned by almost everyone," said Yiannis Batziolas, the club's youthful chairman, who runs a travel agency and is the team's backup goalkeeper. "It's a question of survival."

  • Nike severs ties to Armstrong 'with great sadness'

    NEW YORK (AP) — Nike has severed ties with famed cyclist Lance Armstrong, citing insurmountable evidence that he participated in doping and misled the company about those activities for more than a decade.

    The clothing and footwear company said Wednesday that it was terminating Armstrong's contract "with great sadness."

    "Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner," it said in a statement.

    Armstrong said Wednesday, just minutes before the announcement from Nike, that he was stepping down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity so that the organization can steer clear of the whirlwind surrounding its founder.

    A representative for Armstrong could not be immediately reached for comment.

    Nike Inc., based in Beaverton, Ore., said it plans to continue its support for Livestrong. Anheuser-Busch and the sunglasses company Oakley have already pledged ongoing support for the organization.

  • Beyonce to Play Super Bowl