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Braves Rock Astros 7-1, Tie Series at 1 (AP)
Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz  reacts after ending the 7th inning of their game against the Houston Astros during Game 2 of the National League Division Series at Turner Field in Atlanta, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)AP - The rookie rocked the Rocket, John Smoltz picked up where he left off six years ago, and the Atlanta Braves find themselves all even with the Houston Astros in the NL playoffs. Brian McCann hit a three-run homer in his first postseason at-bat off Roger Clemens, which were all the runs Smoltz needed to lead the Braves past Houston 7-1 on Thursday night, tying the best-of-five series at one game apiece.


Cardinals Beat Padres 6-2 for 2-0 Edge (AP)
St. Louis Cardinals' starting pitcher Mark Mulder winds up to deliver a pitch in the first innning of Game 2 of their National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres in St. Louis, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005.  (AP Photo/James A. Finley)AP - Mark Mulder tossed aside a pair of poor tuneup starts and put the St. Louis Cardinals on the brink of a playoff sweep. Mulder pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and the Cardinals once again built an early lead, beating the San Diego Padres 6-2 Thursday for a 2-0 edge in their first-round NL series.


Johnson Ready for Yankees Postseason Debut (AP)
New York Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson gestures as he discusses Game 3 of the American Legue Divison Series Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005, during a news conference at Yankee Stadiium in New York. Johnson is scheduled to pitch against Los Angeles Angels pitcher Paul Byrd in Friday's game, weather permitting. The forecast is for rain. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)AP - Randy Johnson knows his mission: Win and nothing else. The Yankees imported the Big Unit last winter to be their ace, snuff out opponents and get New York its first World Series title since 2000. With the best-of-five AL playoff series against the Los Angeles Angels tied at one game apiece going into Game 3, the 42-year-old left-hander sounded determined as he prepared for his Yankees postseason debut.


Down 2-0, Red Sox Are in a Familiar Spot (AP)
Boston Red Sox Kevin Millar (15) puts his arm around Red Sox Captain Jason Varitek (33) during a team workout at Boston's Fenway Park, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005.  The Red Sox lost the first two games against the Chicago White Sox in the five game American League Division Series. Red Sox Tony Graffanino takes a swing in the batting cage, left. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)AP - For once, the Boston Red Sox have history on their side. Heading into Friday's game against the White Sox at Fenway Park, the team that went 86 years between World Series titles is undaunted by Chicago's 2-0 lead.


Montgomerie Takes AmEx Championship Lead (AP)
Colin Montgomerie, of Scotland, tees off on the 15th hole during the first round of the American Express World Golf Championships at Harding Park in San Francisco, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)AP - Coming off his first victory in 19 months, Colin Montgomerie appears hungry for more. Montgomerie showed no effects from an emotional victory four days ago in Scotland, matching his career-low score in the United States with a 6-under 64 that gave him a three-shot lead Thursday in the American Express Championship.


Titans' Jones Faces Booing, Legal Issues (AP)
This 2005 photo provided by the NFL shows Tennessee Titans' Pacman Jones. Jones, the Titans' highest draft pick since moving to Tennessee, seems to be the easy scapegoat for a struggling team. (AP Photo/NFL, HO)AP - Maybe it's because Adam "Pacman" Jones sat out most of training camp in a contract holdout. Or maybe it's the legal troubles that followed an incident at a nightclub in July.


Lakers' Brown Looks to Be Inside Presence (AP)
Los Angeles Laker's Kwame Brown practices his game on the court during training camp in Honolulu, Hawaii, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005. Brown is thrilled to be playing for the Los Angeles Lakers after four up-and-down seasons in Washington. He believes he can provide the inside presence his new team lacked last year.  (AP Photo/Ronen Zilberman)AP - Kwame Brown moved through several defenders to grab an offensive rebound and deftly put the ball in the basket.


Griffey, Giambi Win Comeback Player Awards (AP)
The New York Yankees' Jason Giambi breaks his bat as he lines out to Los Angeles Angels pitcher John Lackey in the first inning of Game 2 of their American League Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)AP - Cincinnati's Ken Griffey Jr. was voted the NL Comeback Player of the Year by fans on Thursday and the New York Yankees' Jason Giambi was given the AL honor.


Colombian Soccer Star's Killer Released (AP)
AP - A judge ordered the early release of the man who killed Colombian soccer star Andres Escobar for scoring an own-goal in the 1994 World Cup loss to the United States.

Red Wings Beat Blues 4-3 for Home Sweep (AP)
St. Louis Blues' Doug Weight, right, and Detroit Red Wings' Jiri Fischer, of Czech Republic, collide during the second period on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005, at the Savvis Center in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Kyle Ericson)AP - Robert Lang had a goal and an assist, and Jason Williams had three assists to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a season-opening home-and-home sweep of the St. Louis Blues with a 4-3 victory Thursday night.


Picture Purr-fect
Quarterback Carson Palmer has been nearly flawless, but really – how good are the 4-0 Bengals?

Bills WRs: Holcomb will replace Losman (AP)
Coach Mike Mularkey's secret is out -- wide receivers Eric Moulds and Lee Evans acknowledged Thursday that backup Kelly Holcomb is replacing J.P. Losman as the starting quarterback for Buffalo's game against Miami on Sunday. Moulds backed the decision, crediting Mularkey for attempting to provide a spark to a sputtering offense that has managed 29 points -- two touchdowns and five field goals -- in...

Martz may have infection of the heart (AP)
ST. LOUIS AP) -- St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz has an infection of the heart that will require treatment with antibiotics and keep him out of practice for a couple of days. ``I haven't been feeling good for four or five weeks and there is some type of infection in my body that has gotten worse,'' Martz said Wednesday.

Pats could face Falcons without Seymour (AP)
The New England Patriots might be without three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour for Sunday's game in Atlanta. Seymour was not on the field Wednesday or Thursday during the time the media was allowed to view practice. He was listed as questionable on Thursday's injury report, which said he missed part of practice.

Packers put WR Murphy on IR (AP)
Rookie wide receiver Terrence Murphy, who hurt his neck and was taken off the field on a stretcher Monday night, was placed on injured reserve Thursday, ending his season. Murphy, a second-round draft choice out of Texas A&M, suffered a bruised spinal cord on Thomas Davis' helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter of Green Bay's 32-29 loss at Carolina on Monday night.

Testaverde becomes Jets starter (AP)
Vinny Testaverde is nearly 42 years old. He has not thrown a pass in a regular-season game since January. On top of all that, he has had about a week to learn the Jets offense. This is the player coach Herman Edwards has entrusted to help save the season. Edwards named Testaverde his starting quarterback Wednesday, a move the desperate Jets hope can spark their floundering offense.

Miami awarded 2010 Super Bowl (AP)
South Florida heat prevailed over a city whose last Super Bowl was an icy one. Miami was awarded the 2010 Super Bowl on Thursday, a record 10th time the city will host the title game and record 15th time it will be in Florida. ``We love our city and we love our area. We think the weather is the best. We think we have the best hotels, the best restaurants, the best beaches and the best golf courses,''...

NFL to stay in Europe for 5 more years (AP)
NFL owners voted Thursday to extend their commitment to NFL Europe for five more years. ``We had good support from the Players Association recognizing that it develops players,'' NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said. ``I think NFL Europe is an important piece of our international development. They had a very successful year this year and last year.'' The league set an attendance record by averaging...

Lions' Rogers suspended for four games (AP)
Detroit wide receiver Charles Rogers was suspended Wednesday for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, the latest setback in his injury-plagued career. The announcement came in a two-sentence statement from the league. ``I will make no excuses for what I did, and I accept full responsibility for my actions,'' Rogers said in a statement released by the Lions.

Banged-up Vick learning how to play hurt (AP)
For a quarterback who puts himself at risk as much as Michael Vick, there's a skill that must be mastered as much as learning plays and reading defenses. Playing in pain. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback is getting plenty of experience at it this season, having already endured a strained hamstring and a sprained knee.

NBA camps Q&A
Of the 10 most pressing questions going into NBA training camps, the most prominent is "Who'll beat the Spurs?"

Knicks, Curry play waiting game (AP)
Eddy Curry's status with the New York Knicks remained unsettled Thursday, with the team waiting for medical tests on his irregular heartbeat. Knicks president Isiah Thomas said Thursday the team does not have all the information needed to evaluate whether Curry is healthy enough. Curry, the Bulls' top scorer last season at 16.1 points a game, missed the final 13 games of the year and the playoffs...

Lakers waive C Vlade Divac (AP)
Vlade Divac was placed on waivers by the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, apparently ending his long career. The Lakers had the option of picking up a one-year, $5.4 million contract option or buying Divac out for $2 million. The 7-foot-1, 260-pound center, one of the first Europeans to make a significant impact in the NBA, will be owed the $2 million if he clears waivers, which seems a sure thing.

Jackson recruits Pippen to help Odom (AP)
Lamar Odom is eager to become Kobe Bryant's sidekick with the new-look Los Angeles Lakers. And a lot more. Scottie Pippen, once an acclaimed sidekick himself, is lending a hand in that direction at the behest of Phil Jackson, his former coach in Chicago. When Jackson returned to the Lakers for a second time in June, he pointed to Odom's disappointing 2004-05 season and how much he expected from the...

Versatile G Jaric joins Timberwolves (AP)
Marko Jaric didn't hesitate to describe his national team's performance in the European Championships this summer. ``Not too good,'' he said of Serbia-Montenegro's early ouster from a tournament the team is used to winning. The reigning world champions succumbed to infighting and egos, going 2-2 in the tournament and prompting the team's head coach to resign in disgust.

Stoudemire signs $73 million extension (AP)
A month shy of his 23rd birthday, Amare Stoudemire has achieved the wealth that goes to the few at the very top of their sport. Now he's out prove that he's worth it. Amazingly agile, with a sweet jumper to go with his monster jams, Stoudemire signed a five-year contract extension with the Phoenix Suns on Monday.

Raptors send Alston to Rockets for James (AP)
The Toronto Raptors traded temperamental point guard Rafer Alston to the Houston Rockets for guard Mike James on Tuesday. Alston was involved in several scrapes last season. He threatened to quit the team and the NBA after a Dec. 3 game in Boston and was suspended by the Raptors for two games for conduct detrimental to the club after he walked out during practice.

Duncan gets earful as Spurs camp opens (AP)
The charter plane carrying the defending NBA champions was inches away from landing on the island of St. Thomas when the razzing of Tim Duncan began. Somebody had to take the blame for the rain-soaked sights the San Antonio Spurs were seeing from their windows, and a fuselage full of fingers began pointing toward the three-time finals MVP as the grief came raining down, too.

Power Rankings
Ottawa and San Jose are in position to reach the Stanley Cup Finals according to our season-opening Power Rankings.

Leafs' Sundin to miss 4-to-6 weeks (AP)
Toronto captain Mats Sundin could miss four to six weeks after breaking the lower orbital bone when he was hit in the face by a puck in the season opener, the Maple Leafs announced Thursday. Sundin lasted just seven minutes of the 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night. ``It makes you sick,'' said forward Darcy Tucker, who plays without a visor.

Ryder, Montreal top Rangers in OT (AP)
The Montreal Canadiens already have a shootout specialist. He's Michael Ryder and he doesn't even wait for the NHL's new tiebreaker. Ryder struck late for the second straight night, firing a wrist shot off goaltender Kevin Weekes 2:10 into overtime to give the Canadiens a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday.

Red Wings hang on, beat Blues again (AP)
In the new-look NHL, Detroit forward Brendan Shanahan says a lead in the third period doesn't mean nearly as much as it used to. ``The old days of having a two- or three-goal lead and just being able to lock on are over,'' Shanahan said Thursday night after the Red Wings gave up two goals in the third period but hung on for a 4-3 victory over the St.

Coyotes lose in Gretzky's coaching debut (AP)
The Phoenix Coyotes didn't win for their new head coach on Wednesday night. They did leave a good impression with ``The Great One.'' Markus Naslund scored two goals and Dan Cloutier made 16 of his 30 saves in the first period to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Coyotes in Wayne Gretzky's coaching debut.

Penguins lose Crosby's debut to Devils (AP)
Sidney Crosby has dominated at every level of hockey he's played. On Wednesday night, the night of his life, he wasn't even the best rookie on the ice. Zach Parise, New Jersey's first-round draft pick in 2003, scored a power-play goal and assisted on one of Brian Gionta's two goals in an outstanding debut that led the Devils to a 5-1 victory over Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins.

Lightning finally celebrate championship (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning brought in the new season with a long-awaited celebration with their fans and a win in their first defense as NHL champions. The Stanley Cup winners enjoyed an emotional pregame ceremony in which their giant championship banner was raised, and then the Lightning went out and beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Ward in as 'Canes G for injured Gerber (AP)
Cam Ward made an impressive debut with the Carolina Hurricanes, stopping all 24 shots to secure a shutout in his very first start. Of course, that came during the preseason. The Hurricanes can only hope he's up to the task when it counts. The 21-year-old rookie will take over in goal for the injured Martin Gerber when Carolina plays Pittsburgh on Friday.

Thrashers place Lehtonen on injured list (AP)
The Atlanta Thrashers put goalie Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve Thursday after he hurt his groin in the season opener. Lehtonen, the second overall pick in the 2002 draft, was injured in the first period of the Thrashers' 2-0 loss to Florida on Wednesday night. He was sidelined by a groin problem during the preseason, but this apparently was a different injury.

Senators beats Leafs in first shootout (AP)
The first shootout in NHL history went to the Ottawa Senators. Daniel Alfredsson scored twice in the final six minutes of regulation and once in the NHL's new tiebreaker as the Senators rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. ``It is exciting. It's nice to have a winner,'' Alfredsson said.

Martin and Clint
The Busch Series' two-way battle for the title continues this weekend at Kansas.

NASCAR suspends crew chief Darrow for substance abuse (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Nextel Cup crew chief Glenn Darrow was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Thursday for violating its substance abuse policy.

Darrow suspended for violating NASCAR substance abuse policy (AP)
NASCAR on Thursday suspended crew chief Glenn Darrow indefinitely for violating its substance abuse policy.

A glance at drivers in NASCAR's championship chase (AP)
The 10 drivers competing in NASCAR's Chase for the Nextel Cup championship, in order of points standings: DRIVER...

Spotlight will be on Edwards this weekend at Kansas (AP)
Carl Edwards has managed to stay under the radar through the first three Chase for the championship races.

Keller would like to see Busch Chase (AP)
With the burgeoning success of NASCAR's Chase for the Nextel Cup championship, the list of advocates for a...

Wallace down to seven races in his remarkable career (AP)
There are seven races remaining in the driving career of Rusty Wallace, and the longtime NASCAR star would like...

Movie crew shoots scenes at Talladega Superspeedway (AP)
GADSDEN, Ala. – When racing fans come to Talladega Superspeedway, the last thing they expect to happen is...

Harvick crew chief appeals suspension; Waltrip penalty rescinded (AP)
Crew chief Todd Berrier plans to appeal his two-race suspension and will be in Kevin Harvick's pit for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway.

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