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Red Sox, Astros Wrap Up Wild Cards (AP)
Boston Red Sox players celebrate after defeating the  New York Yankees 10-1 and clinching the AL east Wild Card berth at Fenway Park in Boston Sunday, Oct. 2, 2005. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)AP - The ties are broken and the matchups all set. Get ready for another postseason with the Yankees AND Red Sox.


Indians Complete Collapse in AL Central (AP)
From left, Cleveland Indians' Victor Martinez, Coco Crisp and Fernando Cabrera watch from the dugout in the eighth inning Sunday, Oct. 2, 2005 in Cleveland. Needing a win and then help from the New York Yankees to force a one-game playoff with Boston for the AL wild card, Cleveland dropped its season finale 3-1 to the Chicago White Sox. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)AP - Turned out, one team did collapse in the AL Central. It was the Cleveland Indians, not Chicago.


Astros Gain Wild Card, Will Face Braves (AP)
Houston Astros' Roger Clemens, right, douses team owner Drayton McLane with champagne after clinching the National League wild card spot Sunday, Oct. 2, 2005, in Houston. (AP Photo/Tim Johnson)AP - The Houston Astros finished the regular season the same way they did last year. Now they hope for a repeat performance against Atlanta in the opening round of the playoffs.


Eagles, Bengals Show Resilience in Wins (AP)
Kansas City Chiefs' Dante Hall, bottom, fumbles the ball while covered by Philadelphia Eagles defender Reno Mahe (34), Mike Labinjo (59) and Jason Short (52) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 2, 2005. Mahe recovered the ball on the play. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)AP - When the Philadelphia Eagles' defense can't stop anybody, the offense takes over. When the Cincinnati Bengals' offense can't get going, the defense handles matters. That was evident Sunday when both teams displayed their resilience in victories.


Jarrett Ends Drought With Win at Talladega (AP)
NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett (88) passes Tony Stewart (20), Matt Kenseth (17) and Carl Edwards (99) in Turn 2 on the final lap of the UAW-Ford 500 race at Talladega, Ala., Sunday Oct. 2, 2005. (AP Photo/Glenn Smith)AP - Dale Jarrett ended a 98-race drought by winning at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, while Tony Stewart reclaimed his spot on top of the Nextel Cup standings and Jimmie Johnson's reputation and championship hopes were damaged.


Milestone overseas game draws record crowd in Mexico (Reuters)
Josh McCown, quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, makes a pass under pressure from the San Francisco 49rs defence in the second quarter of their game at Mexico City's Azteca stadium October 2, 2005. This is the NFL's first ever regular season game outside the U.S. (Daniel Aguilar/Reuters)Reuters - More than 100,000 fans packed the Azteca Stadium on Sunday to witness a 31-14 "home" victory for the Arizona Cardinals over the San Francisco 49ers in the first NFL regular season game played outside the U.S.


Heat Will Try to Put New Pieces Together (AP)
FILE ** Miami Heat 's Dwyane Wade drives the ball to the goal against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter Friday, Dec. 17, 2004, in Miami.  With training camp set to formally open on Tuesday, the Heat already have high hopes of winning the franchise's first NBA title. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)AP - Slumped at his locker, moments after Miami's season ended in a Game 7 loss to Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals, Shaquille O'Neal was looking toward the future. "Next year," said the Heat center, his tone barely above a whisper, "we've got to start from square one."


15 Years Later, Clemens ERA Leader Again (AP)
Houston Astros' Roger Clemens delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)AP - Fifteen years after he first won his first major league earned-run average title, Roger Clemens did it again. The 43-year-old Rocket had a 1.87 ERA for his hometown Houston Astros and won his first NL title to go along with six he gained in the AL.


Chelsea Runs Premier Streak to Eight (AP)
Liverpool's John Arne RIise, right, has a cross blocked by Chelsea's William Gallas during their English Premiership soccer match at Anfield, Liverpool, England. Sunday Oct. 2 2005. (AP Photo/Paul Ellis)AP - Defending champion Chelsea kept its English Premier League record perfect with a 4-1 victory at Liverpool on Sunday behind goals by Frank Lampard, Damien Duff, Joe Cole and Geremi.


Blue Jackets Send Four to Syracuse (AP)
AP - The Columbus Blue Jackets sent four players — including Bill Lindsay and Jamie Pushor — to their American Hockey League affiliate in Syracuse on Sunday.

Making Giant strides
Eli Manning's matching of Peyton's four TDs proved that the Giants' QB is growing up fast in New York.

Cardinals top 49ers in Mexico (AP)
Robert Griffith sprinted out of the giant inflatable helmet, charging through the smoke and the corridor of cheerleaders. The Cardinals safety was screaming -- and wildly waving a Mexican flag. Needless to say, the biggest regular-season crowd in NFL history went loco. Judging from the vibrant colors in the stands and the beautiful halftime show, the NFL's first regular-season game outside the...

Chargers pound depleted Patriots 41-17 (AP)
Injuries finally caught up with the New England Patriots. San Diego's explosive offense added to the misery. Even Marty Schottenheimer knew something wasn't right with the defending Super Bowl champions. After his Chargers beat New England 41-17 Sunday, the San Diego coach suggested the win may have had as much to do with who wasn't playing for New England as the superior performances of Drew Brees,...

Manning leads Colts past Titans 31-10 (AP)
It's time to quit doubting the Indianapolis offense. The Colts showed they can be methodical and score lots of points at the same time. Peyton Manning threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns, including two to Marvin Harrison that tied the NFL record for most TDs between a quarterback and receiver, and the Colts beat Tennessee 31-10 Sunday.

Falcons coast past Vikings, Vick injured (AP)
Michael Vick felt good enough to go back in the game. No need. In about a quarter and a half, he did enough to lead the Atlanta Falcons past the hapless Minnesota Vikings. Vick went down with a sprained right knee Sunday, turning it over to backup Matt Schaub and the Falcons' defense to finish off a 30-10 rout of the Vikings.

Bengals 4-0 for first time in 17 years (AP)
Carson Palmer's shoulder bore a nasty red scrape. Blood trickled from an inch-long gash on the bridge of Willie Anderson's nose. Chad Johnson wore a bandage above his skinned knee. These Bengals were beaten up, but still unbeaten. The Bengals improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1988 -- the last they made the Super Bowl -- with a 16-10 victory Sunday over the Houston Texans, who couldn't take...

Ailing McNabb rallies Eagles over Chiefs (AP)
By the look of things, all those aches and pains were getting to Donovan McNabb. Philadelphia's first three drives yielded two punts and a blocked field goal, and the Eagles were suddenly down 17-0 in the second quarter at Kansas City. Turns out McNabb is as good leading a comeback as he is at enduring pain.

Bucs hold off Lions, remain unbeaten (AP)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers knew it was only a matter of time before opponents started stacking the line of scrimmage in hopes of slowing down Carnell ``Cadillac'' Williams. The Detroit Lions were successful at it Sunday, but containing the rookie also left them vulnerable to other playmakers in an improved offense that's helped the resurgent Bucs to their first 4-0 start since 1997.

Eli powers Giants to 44-24 rout of Rams (AP)
A week after spending the first quarter on the sideline for violating team rules, Plaxico Burress redeemed himself with one of the best days of his career. The sixth-year wide receiver had two touchdown catches among a career-high 10 receptions Sunday as the New York Giants defeated the St. Louis Rams 44-24.

Saints top Bills 19-7 at Alamodome (AP)
Aaron Brooks saw an opening and bolted. Crossing the goal line just ahead of a defender, he spiked the ball and raised his arms to celebrate. That's when he heard it: the deafening roar of a crowd cheering for the New Orleans Saints. And for one Sunday afternoon at least, San Antonio and the Alamodome felt like home for Brooks and his nomadic teammates.

Bristow resigns as Hornets GM (AP)
Allan Bristow resigned as general manager of the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday, citing health concerns. Bristow, 52, took over as the Hornets' general manager in June, when Bob Bass retired. He helped oversee the Hornets' temporary move to Oklahoma City, which was prompted by Hurricane Katrina. ``The stress and strain of the last month took a serious toll on various health problems that I was...

Pacers' Harrison sentenced to probation (AP)
David Harrison of the Indiana Pacers was sentenced to a year of probation Friday after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from one of the worst brawls in U.S. sports history. He also must perform community service, undergo anger management counseling and pay a $250 fine. Teammates Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson entered the same pleas on the same charge and...

Blazers assistant sues for release (AP)
Portland Trail Blazers assistant Tim Grgurich sued the team in a bid to coach elsewhere. The suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, also asks for $114,583 that Grgurich claims the team has withheld since July, as well as additional damages. It includes a temporary restraining order that would allow Grgurich to accept a job with another team.

Celtics acquire Dickau from Hornets (AP)
The Boston Celtics acquired point guard Dan Dickau from the New Orleans Hornets on Friday in exchange for a second-round choice in 2006. Dickau, who averaged 12.5 points playing for both Dallas and New Orleans last season, was acquired for the draft choice that Miami gave to Boston in a previous deal.

Steve Smith retires from NBA (AP)
After a storied career at Michigan State and 14 seasons with six NBA teams, Steve Smith retired Friday. Smith returned to his alma mater to announce his retirement as a player at age 36. ``My mother would be very proud,'' Smith said of his inspiration, the late Clara Bell Smith. ``She'd say, `You can close this chapter now.

Lakers, Divac again postpone decision (AP)
The Los Angeles Lakers and Vlade Divac agreed for a second time to postpone a decision on the status of the veteran center's contract. The Lakers have the option of picking up a one-year, $5.4 million contract option or buying him out for $2 million. The decision was due Friday, but the parties put it off until Oct.

Wizards' Blatche speaks of good fortune (AP)
Washington Wizards rookie Andray Blatche walked slowly and laboriously down the hallway of the MCI Center, showing the effects of two bullet wounds from a carjacking attempt and the realization that his basketball career nearly ended before it began. ``A lot of lessons learned,'' Blatche said. ``Me being young, I shouldn't be out that late to begin with.

Lemieux completes strong preseason (AP)
Mario Lemieux had a goal and assisted on three power-play goals to help the Pittsburgh Penguins finish their preseason schedule with a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday night. Lemieux had two goals and nine assists in four exhibition games. Ziggy Palffy added two goals and an assist for Pittsburgh (2-5-2), and Rico Fata, Mark Recchi, Rob Scuderi and Ric Jackman also scored.

Tkachuk has successful preseason debut (AP)
Keith Tkachuk had a successful debut, scoring with 2:01 left to give St. Louis a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Blues' preseason finale Sunday night. Tkachuk, playing his first game since returning from a team-imposed suspension for failing his physical, crashed the net and banged the rebound of Trent Whitfield's shot past Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

Jagr's late goal lifts Rangers (AP)
Jaromir Jagr scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:12 left in the third period to lift the New York Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday night in the preseason finale for both teams. Jagr got the puck at center ice and raced down the right side into the New Jersey zone. Jagr cut past Devils defenseman Dan McGillis to get in front of the net and then popped a shot past Martin...

Penguins send G Fleury to minors (AP)
Marc-Andre Fleury, the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NHL draft and the Pittsburgh Penguins' starting goalie at the beginning of that season, was reassigned to the team's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) farm club Saturday. The move means Sebastian Caron will begin the season as Jocelyn Thibault's backup in Pittsburgh.

Flyers use big rally to beat Capitals (AP)
Stefan Ruzicka scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Philadelphia Flyers a wild, come-from-behind 7-6 victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. Washington was seemingly in command with a 5-1 lead after two periods. But Jonathan Sim sparked Philadelphia's five-goal third period with three scores, including one with 16.2 seconds left that forced overtime.

Turgeon's two goals lift Avs over Stars (AP)
Pierre Turgeon scored twice against his former team Saturday night as Colorado beat Dallas 4-3 in the preseason finale for both teams. Andrew Brunette added a goal and an assist and Joe Sakic also had two assists for Colorado (4-0-2). Dallas (4-4-0) had 29 shots to 17 for the Avalanche. Turgeon's second goal came on a breakaway at 9:52 in the second period when he took a pass from Wojtek Wolski and...

Habs hand Sens first preseason loss, 6-3 (AP)
Tomas Plekanec strengthened his case to make the Montreal roster Saturday, scoring once and adding a pair of assists to lead the Canadiens to a 6-3 win over the previously unbeaten Ottawa Senators. Plekanec, battling to survive the final round of cuts ahead of Wednesday's season opener, opened the scoring at 8:46 of the second period to cut Ottawa's lead to 2-1.

DJ delivers
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Dale Jarrett proved Sunday that he still knows how to get it done.

Jarrett wins at Talladega, Chase standings shuffled (AP)
One of the knocks on NASCAR's championship format is that it relegates the 33 drivers not in the title hunt to also-rans, their fate meaningless as 10 others race for the Nextel Cup title.

Johnson blamed for Chase-wrecking crash at Talladega (SportsTicker)
TALLADEGA, Alabama (Ticker) Jimmie Johnson is one of NASCAR'S cleanest racers. But after Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, plenty of other drivers were pointing the finger at him for making a mess of the points standings.

Talladega still the wildest track in NASCAR (AP)
Talladega showed once again why it may be the fastest -- and scariest -- crapshoot in racing.

Dale Jarrett wins wild UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega (SportsTicker)

Wild crashes typical at Talladega (AP)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, the most recent masters of restrictor-plate racing, wound up watching most of Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway from the sidelines.

Multicar crashes slow title contenders (AP)
Two eight-car crashes in the first 65 laps of Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway hurt the chances of several contenders in the Chase for the championship.

Kinser gets first ARCA win (AP)
Kraig Kinser overcame an early mistake Saturday and won the Food World 300 in only his second start in the ARCA stock car series. The 20-year-old son of 19-time World of Outlaws sprint car champion Steve Kinser, started from the pole and led all but two of the first 51 laps before he was sent to the rear of the lead lap for crossing the blend line coming out of his first pit stop.

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