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Astros Beat Cardinals, Win First Pennant (AP)
Houston Astros shortstop Adam Everett, left, leaps into the arms of first baseman Lance Berkman after the Astros beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005, in St. Louis. The Astros advance to the World Series to face the Chicago White Sox.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)AP - On this wild night of celebration, the Houston Astros owed it all to Roy Oswalt. He took their dreams, hopes and gritty resolve and pitched his teammates into their first World Series, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 Wednesday night with help from Craig Biggio.


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Oswalt Pitches Astros Into World Series (AP)
Houston Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005, in St. Louis. Oswalt pitched seven full innings allowing one run. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)AP - Call him Roy Wonder, the 20-game winner in the same rotation with Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte — and the one who finally pitched the Houston Astros into the World Series.


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For White Sox and Astros, the Wait Is Over (AP)
Aaron Hutchinson from Traverse City Mich., uses a template to begin painting the 2005 World Series logo at US Cellular Field in Chicago Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)AP - Windy City vs. Bayou City. Deep dish pizza vs. Texas barbecue. They have one historic theme in common: decades of futility. And one current trait that got them to where they are: deep starting pitching.


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Conroy Gives Kings 5-4 Win Over Avalanche (AP)
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Bob Boughner, top, takes a swing at Los Angeles Kings right wing George Parros as the pair fight in the first period in Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005. Both players were given five-minute penalties for fighting. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)AP - Craig Conroy scored the winning goal with 58 seconds left Wednesday night to lift the Los Angeles Kings to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, who blew their second three-goal lead in a week.


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Brewer's Goal Lifts Blues Past Ducks 3-2 (AP)
St. Louis Blues' Eric Brewer celebrates after scoring past Anaheim Mighty Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, of Russia, during the third period Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005, in St. Louis. The Blues won 3-2. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)AP - Eric Brewer scored with 56 seconds left in regulation Wednesday night to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.


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Seahawks' Ken Hamlin Moved Out of ICU (AP)
Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren speaks to reporters, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005, at Seahawks headquarters in Kirkland, Wash.  Homlgren announced that pending observation, Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin should be moving out of intensive care later in the evening. Hamlin was seriously injured following a fight outside a downtown Seattle nightclub early Monday morning. (AP Photo/Scott Cohen)AP - Seattle Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin, severely beaten outside a Seattle nightclub, cleared his first recovery hurdle Wednesday. He was moved out of intensive care and into a private room on a regular floor, according to his agent.


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Pacers' Jackson Criticizes NBA Dress Code (AP)
San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, left, of France, is fouled by Indiana Pacers forward Stephen Jackson during the second quarter in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2005.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)AP - Indiana guard Stephen Jackson believes the NBA's new ban on bling-bling is racially motivated, but says he will abide by the rules.


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Loss May Signal End of Walker's Career (AP)
St. Louis Cardinals' Larry Walker leaves the Cardinals' dugout after losing Game 6 of the National League Championship Series to the Houston Astros 5-1 in St. Louis, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005. The Astros won the National League pennant 4-2 games and will play the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)AP - Larry Walker would have preferred to go out another way. But after taking a called third strike in the ninth inning of the Houston Astros' NL championship series-clinching 5-1 win over St. Louis on Wednesday night, Walker sounded like he was through.


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Lyon Stays Perfect in Champions League (AP)
Lyon's  Brazilian forward Fred ,  right, challenges for the ball with Michalis Kapsis of Olympiakos during their Champion's League soccer match,  in Lyon, central France, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005. (AP Photo/Claude Paris).AP - Lyon defeated Olympiakos 2-1 Wednesday, leaving the four-time defending French champions as one of three teams with perfect records in the Champions League.


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Wild Get 5 Goals in 3rd, Beat Sharks 6-1 (AP)
Minnesota Wild defenseman Willie Mitchell, left, pumps his fist toward the fans as he celebrates his goal off San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov during the first period in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)AP - Manny Fernandez made 34 saves and the Minnesota Wild scored five goals in the third period in a 6-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.


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Savior situation
Tedy Bruschi is back, but how much can the Patriots expect from a linebacker who's returning from a stroke?

Bruschi returns to Patriots practice (AP)
Tedy Bruschi lifted both legs far over his head as he lay on his back and stretched. He chased teammate Mike Vrabel and blocked him playfully in the back. He ran to the next drill. And he smiled. For the first time since a minor stroke eight months ago threatened his NFL career, the Patriots' star linebacker was practicing with his team Wednesday.

Randy Moss doubtful for Sunday's game (AP)
Randy Moss is unlikely to play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills after being listed as doubtful in Wednesday's injury report. Moss attended the Oakland Raiders' walk-through Wednesday morning but the receiver was still nursing bruised ribs, a strained groin and a bruised pelvic area after getting hurt in a hard fall while trying to make a leaping catch late in the first quarter of last Sunday's...

Griese out for season with knee injury (AP)
Tampa Bay quarterback Brian Griese will miss the rest of the season after tearing ligaments in his left knee. Griese was injured during the second quarter of Sunday's 27-13 victory over Miami, and just before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline the Bucs acquired Tim Rattay as a backup for Chris Simms and Luke McCown.

Seahawks' Hamlin out of intensive care (AP)
Seattle Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin, severely beaten outside a Seattle nightclub, cleared his first recovery hurdle Wednesday. He was moved out of intensive care and into a private room on a regular floor, according to his agent. Joel Anderson of Capital Sports & Entertainment said in an e-mail that Hamlin had been moved, but he didn't know whether doctors had upgraded the safety's condition from...

Panthers' Durde positive for steroids (AP)
Aden Durde, a practice squad player with the Carolina Panthers, left the team Wednesday after the NFL cited him for violating the league's steroid policy. Durde, a linebacker, was assigned to the Panthers through the NFL International Development Practice Squad program. He said in a statement that the league told him he tested positive for nandrolone on August 1 during a routine preseason drug...

Mariucci deciding, Harrington or Garcia? (AP)
Joey Harrington and Jeff Garcia split the snaps in practice Wednesday, although coach Steve Mariucci would not commit to a change at quarterback for the Lions in Cleveland on Sunday. Doctors cleared Garcia to play at Cleveland. Garcia injured his ankle and leg in the final preseason game after signing with Detroit as a free agent.

New Orleans mayor rips Saints owner (AP)
Mayor Ray Nagin disparaged Saints owner Tom Benson on Wednesday for working with San Antonio officials to permanently keep the NFL team in Texas. The mayor's comments came after the departures of two top Saints executives who were supportive of keeping the Saints in Louisiana. Nagin is concerned that San Antonio officials said publicly that Benson is working with them to relocate the franchise to...

Rice joins former greats in reality show (AP)
Though Jerry Rice retired from football this season, he has found another place to stoke his competitive fire -- and he's bringing Karl Malone, Bo Jackson and Jennie Finch along with him. The NFL's most prolific receiver is joining an eclectic group of athletes who will compete against regular folks in a new reality television show.

Ravens S Ed Reed doubtful for Bears (AP)
Ravens star safety Ed Reed will almost certainly miss Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears with a high ankle sprain, an injury that could sideline the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year for several weeks. Reed did not practice Wednesday and was listed as doubtful (25 percent chance of playing) on the team's injury report.

NBA preview: Southwest
Only the Spurs' egos can prevent them from winning a second straight division title.

Jordan admits his gambling got ``stupid'' (AP)
Michael Jordan admits being ``stupid'' in his gambling, but never jeopardized his livelihood or his family, he told CBS' ``60 Minutes'' in an interview to be broadcast Sunday. Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles in the 1990s, said his gambling is related to his fierce competitiveness.

Pacers' Jackson calls dress code racist (AP)
Indiana guard Stephen Jackson believes the NBA's new ban on bling-bling is racially motivated, but says he will abide by the rules. The NBA has announced that a dress code will go into effect at the start of the season. Players will be required to wear business-casual attire when involved in team or league business.

LeBron stars in first game back (AP)
At times, LeBron James wheezed and gasped for air from his burning lungs. He doubled over, pulled on his shorts and wondered when or if he would ever find his second wind. Luckily for the Cleveland Cavaliers, he got it just in time. James scored 26 points -- nine over the final 2:31 -- in his first game back from a short hospital stay, leading the Cavaliers to an 88-84 exhibition win over the...

Hawks center Collier remembered (AP)
Jason Collier's family asked that his funeral service be a celebration of his life, but grieving Atlanta Hawks teammates, as well as former high school and college teammates and coaches, were still struggling Wednesday with the death of the 28-year-old center. ``Jason's untimely death has stunned us,'' former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins said.

Sonics get first preseason win (AP)
Rashard Lewis scored 28 points and the Seattle SuperSonics beat the Los Angeles Clippers 99-93 on Wednesday night for their first win of the preseason. Luke Ridnour added 14 points, including a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired that put Seattle ahead 95-90 with 38 seconds left. Lewis played 35 minutes and was 10-of-16 from the field, while Ray Allen scored 20 points and Damien Wilkins had 10 for...

Hill injured in Magic's win over Maccabi (AP)
Steve Francis had 20 points and eight assists and Dwight Howard contributed 14 points to help the Orlando Magic hold off Maccabi Tel Aviv 93-79 Wednesday night. All-Star Grant Hill left the game in the first quarter with an abdominal strain and didn't return. The Magic said Hill, who scored 10 points in nine minutes, was day-to-day.

Villanueva leads Raptors past Nets in OT (AP)
Charlie Villanueva had 24 points and Loren Woods scored six points in overtime to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 107-105 victory over the New Jersey Nets in an exhibition game on Wednesday night. Villanueva, the seventh overall pick in the draft, tied it at 97 with 1.6 seconds left in regulation by making three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.

Power Rankings
Montreal and Buffalo shot up the rankings, while Calgary and Pittsburgh are falling fast in the latest installment of the Power Rankings.

Satan's SO goal lifts Isles over Rangers (AP)
Miroslav Satan waited for Henrik Lundqvist to make the first move. After watching Lundqvist stay deep in the crease to stop Alexei Yashin's backhander on the first attempt in a shootout, Satan fired a wrist shot past the rookie to help the New York Islanders beat the Rangers 3-2 on Wednesday night. ``I just watched the goalie to see what he was going to do.

Crosby headlines Team Canada hopefuls (AP)
Pittsburgh Penguins top draft pick Sidney Crosby and fellow rookies Jeff Carter, Michael Richards, Dion Phaneuf and Cam Ward are among the 81 potential players for Canada's men's hockey team at the Turin Olympics in February. The list, released by Hockey Canada on Tuesday, includes nine goaltenders, 23 defensemen and 49 forwards.

Conroy's late goal finishes Kings' rally (AP)
Craig Conroy was surprised to find himself with the puck on his stick, in position to score the easy goal that gave the Los Angeles Kings a come-from-behind victory. Apparently, he hadn't seen much of the Colorado Avalanche lately. Conroy's flip past David Aebischer with 58 seconds left Wednesday night gave the Kings a 5-4 win, and marked the second time in a week that Aebischer and the Avalanche...

Penguins still searching for first win (AP)
Not many would question the skill level of the Pittsburgh Penguins. A lineup featuring a Hall of Fame, soon-to-be 700-goal scorer (Mario Lemieux), a 400-goal scorer (Mark Recchi), two 300-goal scorers (Ziggy Palffy and John LeClair) and rookie phenom Sidney Crosby would not figure to have much trouble creating plays and putting the puck in the net.

Wild use big third period to beat Sharks (AP)
The Minnesota Wild have found the scoring touch at home this season. Manny Fernandez made 34 saves and the Wild scored a team-record five goals in the third period to beat the San Jose Sharks 6-1 on Wednesday night. ``This team has confidence, especially at home,'' said Wild right wing Marian Gaborik, who had two assists in his season debut.

Brewer's last-minute goal lifts Blues (AP)
Eric Brewer wasn't trying to do anything special when he got the puck just inside Anaheim's blue line with less than a minute left in regulation. ``I was just trying to get it on net and see what happened,'' the St. Louis defenseman said. What happened was that Brewer's wrist shot made it through a crowd and past Anaheim's Ilya Bryzgalov with 56 seconds remaining to give the Blues a 3-2 victory over...

Coach Gretzky gets OT win in Edmonton (AP)
Edmonton native Derek Morris gave Wayne Gretzky a victory over the team he led to four Stanley Cup titles. Morris scored a power-play goal one minute into overtime and Oleg Saprykin had two goals in the Phoenix Coyotes' 4-3 win over the Oilers on Tuesday, a night Gretzky started by joining fellow Hall of Famer Paul Coffey at center ice as the latter's Edmonton jersey was retired.

Oilers retire Paul Coffey's No. 7 (AP)
Paul Coffey wiped away tears as his No. 7 Edmonton Oilers jersey was raised Tuesday night in a ceremony marked by the sound of trumpets, the streaming of confetti, the flashing of lights in a darkened arena and the deafening roar of fans chanting his name. ``All I can say is it's great to be an Oiler,'' Coffey said as he stood at center ice with his family before the Oilers played the Phoenix...

Rangers activate Weekes, recall Purinton (AP)
The New York Rangers activated goalie Kevin Weekes from the injured list Wednesday and also recalled suspended defenseman Dale Purinton and assigned rookie goalie Chris Holt to Hartford of the American Hockey League. Weekes, who was sidelined by a groin injury, backed up Henrik Lundqvist on Wednesday night against the New York Islanders.

Trading Paint: TV and tires
Tires are blowing, fans are angry. NBC is leaving, fans are rejoicing.

Commission upholds two-race suspension for Berrier (AP)
A National Stock Car Racing Commission panel on Wednesday unanimously upheld the two-race suspension and other penalties handed down by NASCAR to Todd Berrier, Kevin Harvick's crew chief.

Four-time Indy 500 champ is recovering from pancreatitis (AP)
Al Unser remained hospitalized Wednesday with pancreatitis, and his wife said the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion will stay through next week for gall bladder surgery. ``He's not a happy camper. He doesn't like being in the hospital,'' Susan Unser said. ``But he's got a lot of friends calling to check on him and that makes it a little more bearable.'' The 66-year-old Unser was admitted to...

American Speed to drive for Red Bull in Formula One (AFP)
American Scott Speed was named as a regular driver for Red Bull Racing, which will field two Formula One teams next season after acquiring Minardi in September.

IRL to probe Patrick's dustup with Lazier (AFP)
Indy Racing League officials plan to probe an altercation after Sunday's Toyota Indy 400 race in which Jaques Lazier claims fellow driver Danica Patrick struck him on the head.

Charlotte race turns into debacle after tire troubles (AP)
Slumped over and scowling, Tony Stewart made no effort to mask his disgust after finishing a race in which he feared for his safety.

Johnson wins NASCAR UAW-GM Quality 500, ties for points lead (SportsTicker)


Johnson wins fourth straight in racing debacle at Lowe's (AP)
The alternator failed, the battery had to be switched mid-race and the entire electrical system was on the fritz. Add all that to a constant fear of having a tire explode at any second and even the most veteran driver would be rattled.

Roush responds to NASCAR's proposed cap on teams (AP)
Feeling singled out by NASCAR's proposed cap on teams, Roush Racing distributed a 10-point argument Saturday outlining the benefits of multicar ownership.

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