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National

  • Dodgers get back into NLCS with win

     LOS ANGELES (AP) — Led by a pair of precocious rookies, the Los Angeles Dodgers got themselves right back into the NL championship series.

    Hyun-Jin Ryu outpitched Adam Wainwright with seven innings of three-hit ball, and Yasiel Puig celebrated twice on his RBI triple that helped Los Angeles beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 Monday night in Game 3.

    Adrian Gonzalez's RBI double ended a 1-for-17 drought for the Dodgers with runners in scoring position. An ailing Hanley Ramirez added a run-scoring hit as Los Angeles handed Wainwright his first postseason loss and trimmed its deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

    "The playoffs are one-day momentum swings," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Right now I feel like we've kind of grabbed it."

    Puig's youthful exuberance, which energized the Dodgers as they surged from last place to first during a torrid midseason stretch, was on full display in the fourth inning.

    The 22-year-old Cuban defector was so excited when he connected that he raised his arms immediately and stood in the batter's box to watch the flight of the ball toward right field, clearly thinking it was going out of the park.

  • Cards are in the NLCS

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright sprinted to the mound for the ninth inning, sending a message that he had plenty left. He pretended not to notice when the bullpen got busy, and he avoided eye contact with manager Mike Matheny.
    Without saying a word, the St. Louis Cardinals ace told them all to stand down, he had this one.
    “To pitch a game like that was one of the highlights of my baseball life, no doubt,” Wainwright said after throwing a complete game to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Wednesday night and put the Cardinals in the NL championship series for the third straight season.
    “These are the moments that starting pitchers live for.”
    David Freese’s two-run homer in the second inning off rookie Gerrit Cole was all Wainwright needed. The right-hander also had won Game 1 and allowed one run in 16 innings in two dominant outings against the Pirates.
    The Cardinals are 8-1 when facing postseason elimination the last three years, and they get to stay at home to open the championship series against the well-rested Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.

    “It’s going to be a blast,” Freese said. “It’s going to be fun, St. Louis and L.A. going at it.”

  • Tigers win to force Game 5 vs. A's

    DETROIT (AP) — On a night of desperation, dispute and finally, delirium, Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers kept their season alive by the slimmest of margins.

    A tying home run, helped along by a couple of fans in right field.

    A full-count pitch with the bases loaded that was low and inside but became strike three when the batter swung.

    A line drive down the line with the bases still full — foul by a few feet.

    During a relief outing to remember, Scherzer escaped a major jam one inning after two fans reached out to try to reel in Victor Martinez's disputed home run, and the Tigers rallied past the Oakland Athletics 8-6 on Tuesday to force a decisive fifth game in their AL division series.

    Scherzer was in line to start Game 5, but the 21-game winner came on Tuesday instead for his first relief appearance since the 2011 postseason. He wriggled out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the eighth inning and got the win.

    "We took our best shot and we had to because we were behind the 8-ball a little bit," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We took that shot and, hey, both teams are going to have a good pitcher going two days from now."

  • Late rally puts Red Sox in ALCS

     ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — When the champagne stopped flowing in the visitor's clubhouse, the Boston Red Sox took the celebration back out to the stands at Tropicana Field so that family and friends could share some of the fun.

    A year after finishing in last place, the AL East champion Red Sox won 97 games to match St. Louis for the best record in baseball. Now, they're moving on to the AL championship series for the first time in five years.

    "I think at this point it really doesn't do any good to kind of look at where we were," reliever Craig Breslow said after coming out of the bullpen to give the team a huge boost in a 3-1 victory that ended Tampa Bay's season.

    "We had guys come to spring training, everybody bought in," Breslow added, explaining Boston's quick turnaround after going 69-93 last year. "There's accountability and 25 guys who prioritize winning baseball games beyond any kind of individual achievement or accolade."

    The resilient Rays won four win-or-go-home games over the previous nine, but couldn't win another to send the best-of-five matchup back to Fenway Park for a decisive Game 5.

  • Manning tops Romo, Cowboys in wild 51-48 shootout

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Peyton Manning had to make sure Tony Romo wasn't the last man with the ball in his hands.

    The Denver quarterback did it by keeping the Broncos out of the end zone in the final moments of the second-highest scoring game since the NFL-AFL merger.

    Manning maintained his record pace for touchdown passes, then milked the clock for a game-ending field goal after an interception by Romo spoiled the first 500-yard game in Dallas history, and the Broncos stayed unbeaten with a 51-48 victory Sunday.

    Matt Prater's 28-yard kick for the Broncos' 16th straight regular-season win came after linebacker Danny Trevathan's diving interception at the Dallas 24 with Romo trying to direct a third go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

    "We had the huge defensive play at the end, which was significant," said Manning, who threw four touchdowns to give him a record-setting 20 in the first five games. "And we did not want to give them the ball back."

    Needing a first down but not a touchdown so the Broncos (5-0) could run out the clock, Manning and Knowshon Moreno shouted at each other in the backfield just before the snap.

  • 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.