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Mets, Martinez can't clinch NL East (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060916/ap_on_sp_ba_ga_su/bbn_mets_pirates"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20060916/capt.062d5b70990a44cdb104da60e95b63c0.mets_pirates_baseball_paks103.jpg?x=87&y=130&sig=6ofKVmyVpU9hAjaaJxet_A--" align="left" height="130" width="87" alt="New York Mets starting pitcher Pedro Martinez delivers to Pittsburgh Pirates' Freddy Sanchez in the first inning of the baseball game in Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 15, 2006. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)" border="0" /></a>AP - Pedro Martinez struggled in his first start in more than a month and the New York Mets missed a chance to clinch the NL East, losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.</p><br clear="all"/>

Bush denies impropriety while at USC (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060916/ap_on_sp_co_ne/fbc_reggie_bush_investigation"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20060915/capt.f822df6932984df4bb8d7376f801f05d.saints_reggie_bush_investigation_ny162.jpg?x=103&y=130&sig=4SgLp.6sfafYiJqnljtagQ--" align="left" height="130" width="103" alt="Southern California tailback Reggie Bush picks up the Heisman Trophy after being announced as the winner of the award in this Dec. 10, 2005 file photo in New York. New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush and his family appear to have accepted gifts, money and other benefits worth more than $100,000 from two marketing agents while the Heisman Trophy winner was still playing at Southern California, according to a report posted Thursday on Yahoo.com. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, Pool)" border="0" /></a>AP - New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush insisted Friday he and his family have done nothing wrong, responding to allegations that they accepted gifts, money and other benefits worth more than $100,000 from two marketing agents during his career at Southern California.</p><br clear="all"/>

Tigers pound Orioles 17-2 to stay in 1st (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060916/ap_on_sp_ba_ga_su/bba_orioles_tigers"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20060916/capt.e916f4ee3b74477d92af95a1d3192ab9.orioles_tigers_baseball_dts104.jpg?x=128&y=130&sig=fJI3OUluz4sqhMLyb5bx5w--" align="left" height="130" width="128" alt="Detroit Tigers' Brandon Inge, right, is welcomed to the dugout by Justin Verlander as Craig Monroe (27) and other teammates look on after Inge hit a grand slam in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game Friday, Sept. 15, 2006, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)" border="0" /></a>AP - The Detroit Tigers doubled their AL Central lead Friday night. Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run homer in an eight-run fourth inning, Brandon Inge added a grand slam in the sixth and the Detroit Tigers boosted their division lead to two games by routing the Baltimore Orioles 17-2 Friday night.</p><br clear="all"/>

Rolen, Cardinals demolish Giants 14-4 (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060916/ap_on_sp_ba_ga_su/bbn_giants_cardinals"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20060916/capt.648ea72ce8314a108547da5abd897bec.giants_cardinals_baseball_sts107.jpg?x=130&y=105&sig=VegzM3_UfWK5101Jb_0FHQ--" align="left" height="105" width="130" alt="St. Louis Cardinals Scott Rolen follows through on his first inning 3-run home run off San Francisco Giants Brad Hennessey during a baseball game on Friday, Sep. 15, 2006, in St. Louis. Rolen's home run also scored Albert Pujols and Scott Spiezio. (AP Photo/Kyle Ericson)" border="0" /></a>AP - Scott Rolen hit two home runs and drove home a career high seven runs, and rookie Chris Duncan also homered twice to lead the St. Louis Cardinals over San Francisco 14-4 Friday night and dent the Giants' NL wild-card chances.</p><br clear="all"/>

Phils top Astros, stay alive in NL hunt (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060916/ap_on_sp_ba_ga_su/bbn_phillies_astros"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20060916/capt.3245ffd6a8bf4320add59387037f45d9.phillies_astros_baseball_hta104.jpg?x=88&y=130&sig=aPNU0nnHgdeMMWlfn0iwLA--" align="left" height="130" width="88" alt="Philadelphia Phillies' Brett Myers delivers a pitch in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in National League baseball Friday, Sept. 15, 2006 in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)" border="0" /></a>AP - Pat Burrell hit a grand slam in the first inning off Roger Clemens and the Philadelphia Phillies kept their slim NL East title hopes alive with a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.</p><br clear="all"/>

Redskins' Portis surprised he won't play (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060916/ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_redskins_portis"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20060912/capt.80a00e5dd127429a8c65f2ad064946cb.redskins_gibbs_vanw104.jpg?x=88&y=130&sig=wwHtvAV_PS0HY_h8eMWZPg--" align="left" height="130" width="88" alt="Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs speaks at a press conference at Redskins Park, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006, in Ashburn, Va. The Redskins lost their opening game 19-16 to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.(AP Photo/Nick Wass)" border="0" /></a>AP - Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs ruled Clinton Portis out for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, an announcement that surprised Portis and created yet another twist in the running back's injury saga.</p><br clear="all"/>

Cowens joins Pistons as assistant coach (AP)
AP - Dave Cowens joined the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday as an assistant coach, leaving his job as coach and general manager of the WNBA's Chicago Sky.

Indians nick Twins 5-4 in 10 innings (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060916/ap_on_sp_ba_ga_su/bba_twins_indians"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20060916/capt.b5e1af2878af4c379eee107ad6f076c7.twins_indians_baseball_ohtd107.jpg?x=130&y=79&sig=V5ds1UTL1qbC.JkE5RAUnw--" align="left" height="79" width="130" alt="Cleveland Indians' Ryan Garko (25) is mobbed at the plate after hitting a game-winning single off Minnesota Twins pitcher Jesse Crain in the tenth inning in baseball action, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006, in Cleveland. Garko's single scored Franklin Gutierrez for the Indians' 5-4 win. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)" border="0" /></a>AP - Rookie Ryan Garko's bouncer scored Franklin Gutierrez from third in the 10th inning Friday night, sending the Cleveland Indians to a 5-4 win over Minnesota and dropping the Twins two games out of first place in the AL Central.</p><br clear="all"/>

ON SOCCER: Ashley Cole has image problem (AP)
AP - With the glamorous lifestyle that comes with having a pop star wife, Ashley Cole seems to have everything going for him as a highly paid soccer player. He recently picked up a 50 percent pay raise by joining two-time English champion Chelsea and now earns $170,000 a week. He's even being hailed as the world's best left-sided defender and his autobiography is being serialized in The Times of London.

Whirlwind over, Hurricanes begin defense (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060916/ap_on_sp_ho_ne/hkn_hurricanes_begin"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20060915/capt.nyol54909152210.hurricanes_begin_nyol549.jpg?x=96&y=130&sig=j1xW9vHjkCZylzHvtBJ59g--" align="left" height="130" width="96" alt="In this June 19, 2006 file photo, Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour hoists the Stanley Cup after the Hurricanes defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in Raleigh, N.C. After a whirlwind summer, the Hurricanes opened training camp Friday to begin defense of their title. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt/file))" border="0" /></a>AP - Nearly everywhere Rod Brind'Amour looked this offseason, he saw the famous photo of his screaming, smiling self finally hoisting the Stanley Cup.</p><br clear="all"/>

Least in the East
Projected as potential playoff teams, the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins are trying to avoid 0-2 starts.

Foley: Officer tried to end his career (AP)
Chargers linebacker Steve Foley told the off-duty police officer who shot him at least three times, "You're trying to end my career, man," according to a sheriff's department report obtained Friday by The Associated Press. Foley made the comment after he was shot Sept. 3 outside his home, the report written by San Diego Sheriff's Deputy Robert Tockstein said.

Gibbs: Portis out for Cowboys game (AP)
Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs ruled Clinton Portis out for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, an announcement that surprised Portis and created yet another twist in the running back's injury saga. "He didn't practice today. ... If a guy doesn't practice, he's not going to play," Gibbs said.

Panthers WR Smith misses practice again (AP)
Steve Smith, the league's top receiver last season, missed practice again Friday with the Carolina Panthers because of a hamstring injury and is questionable for this weekend's game at Minnesota. Smith has been out since straining his right hamstring in practice Sept. 5. Without Smith, the Panthers failed to score a touchdown in their 20-6 season-opening loss to Atlanta.

Branch impresses, could play Sunday (AP)
Mike Holmgren prefers that new Seahawks players get weeks of preparation in his intricate offense. Normally, the mastermind of Seattle's myriad formations, pre-snap motions and poem-like play calls wouldn't consider playing a receiver who has had just three practices -- especially one who hadn't practiced or played in eight months because of a contract holdout with another team.

Eagles RB Westbrook misses practice (AP)
Ryan Moats spent most of practice this week emulating Tiki Barber. Against the Giants, Moats might have to mimic Brian Westbrook. With Westbrook probable for Sunday's game because of swelling in his knee, Moats could be in line for some carries. Even one carry would be more than he got in the opener against Houston, when he was relegated to special teams.

Cadillac practices, expects to play (AP)
Tampa Bay's Carnell "Cadillac" Williams returned to practice Friday and said he doesn't think back spasms will prevent him from playing against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Last season's NFL offensive rookie of the year had a MRI exam early this week and was held out of practice Thursday. He said both were precautionary, and he doesn't anticipate the problem lingering.

Packers' Robinson expects to play Sunday (AP)
Although he doesn't yet know the playbook and his knee is bothering him, Koren Robinson expects to suit up for the Green Bay Packers this weekend. And barring more trouble off the field -- or consequences from previous incidents that keep him from playing football -- Robinson expects Sunday's game against New Orleans to be the first in a long career in Green Bay.

Ex-Chiefs LT Roaf done playing in NFL (AP)
In May, he said he was eager to tack one more year onto his great career. In July, he sent a jolt through the Kansas City Chiefs when he retired on the eve of training camp. And on Thursday, Willie Roaf said he is done playing professional football. In a high-rise law office in downtown Kansas City, far removed from the stadiums and the cheers, the 11-time Pro Bowl left tackle who helped pave the...

Steelers to try Davenport in Bettis role (AP)
The Pittsburgh Steelers know they can't keep running Willie Parker 29 times per game, like they did in their opener. What they don't know is who should succeed the retired Jerome Bettis as the big running back who can wear down defenses and keep Parker rested. Duce Staley tried out for the role but, despite still being on their roster, couldn't win the job after averaging 2.2 yards per carry during...

Makes and Misses: Red, white and … boo?
In the latest mailbag, Team USA had more than its share of critics from around the world.

Wolves name Hoiberg, Babcock asst. GMs (AP)
Former Timberwolves player Fred Hoiberg and former Toronto general manager Rob Babcock were hired as assistant GMs for Minnesota on Thursday. A heart ailment forced Hoiberg to retire in April after 10 years in the NBA, including his last two in Minnesota. He had surgery in 2005 to correct an enlarged aortic root and briefly contemplated a comeback last season before calling it quits and joining the...

Charges dropped against Wizards' Arenas (AP)
Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas won't face charges for interfering while police arrested teammate Awvee Storey in Miami Beach during Memorial Day Weekend, authorities said. Miami Beach police charged Arenas on May 28 with resisting arrest without violence, but prosecutors dropped the charges Wednesday.

Warriors hire Silas' son as assistant (AP)
The Golden State Warriors hired Stephen Silas as an assistant coach Thursday, adding the son of veteran coach Paul Silas to Don Nelson's new staff. Stephen Silas spent five seasons on his father's staffs in Charlotte, New Orleans and Cleveland. When he joined Charlotte in 2000, he was the NBA's youngest assistant coach at 27.

Heat exercise options on Wright, Simien (AP)
The Miami Heat picked up options Friday on guard Dorell Wright and forward Wayne Simien, ensuring they remain under contract for at least two more seasons. Both options were under the NBA's rookie scale, with Wright's for a fourth year and Simien's for a third. Wright is entering his third season. The Heat's first-round pick two years ago has appeared in 23 games in his career, averaging 2.8 points...

Report: Kukoc says he's likely to retire (AP)
NBA veteran Toni Kukoc is likely to retire after failing to interest the Milwaukee Bucks or Chicago Bulls in signing him. "It looks like I'm done," Kukoc told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday after playing in a charity golf tournament. "There are teams that want me, but I don't want to go far from home." Kukoc lives in Highland Park, Ill., and the Bulls and Bucks are the two closest teams.

Ann Meyers becomes Mercury GM, Suns VP (AP)
Basketball Hall of Famer Ann Meyers has been coaxed away from her successful broadcast career to become general manager of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and vice president of the NBA's Phoenix Suns. "I have been pursued the last 10 years by the league and different teams, but it just was not the right timing," Meyers said at a news conference Tuesday.

Cowens leaves WNBA's Sky for Pistons (AP)
Dave Cowens joined the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday as an assistant coach, leaving his job as coach and general manager of the WNBA's Chicago Sky. A Hall of Fame center with the Boston Celtics in the 1970s, Cowens' last NBA coaching job was with the Golden State Warriors from 2000-02. "We are pleased to add Dave Cowens to our coaching staff," said Joe Dumars, Pistons president of basketball...

'Canes open camp, ready to defend Cup (AP)
Nearly everywhere Rod Brind'Amour looked this offseason, he saw the famous photo of his screaming, smiling self finally hoisting the Stanley Cup. The defending champion Carolina Hurricanes opened preseason camp Friday, and Brind'Amour said the focus is no longer on that first title, but the pursuit of another one.

Primeau retires because of concussion (AP)
With even the most mundane skating drills causing him headaches and fuzziness, Keith Primeau decided it was time to stop playing hockey. Trying every available option to return from concussions that robbed him of years of his career, Primeau was told by Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin he could continue to skate with a minor league affiliate or practice with a white jersey with a red cross so he...

Leafs hire Gilmour for front office job (AP)
Doug Gilmour is back with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The NHL team hired its former captain on Friday to become the player personnel advisor to general manager John Ferguson. Gilmour twice played for the Maple Leafs and retired as a member of the team after suffering a serious knee injury in 2003. He took over as captain in 1994 during his first stint with the Leafs and held the position for three...

Rookie of year Ovechkin back for encore (AP)
What can last year's rookie of the year do to get better? That very question stumped Washington Capitals coach Glen Hanlon, who paused 5 seconds before giving an answer. "That's hard," Hanlon finally said. "I'm not sure what Glen Sather said about Gretzky after his first year. I should have phoned and asked him." Sather had the pleasure of coaching NHL rookie Wayne Gretzky in 1979, and Hanlon enjoyed...

Forsberg named Flyers captain (AP)
Now the Flyers can call him "Captain Peter the Great." After only one season in Philadelphia, Peter Forsberg was named the 15th captain in team history Thursday, taking over the coveted "C" hours after Keith Primeau retired. The selection was really no surprise. He only hopes he can play with the letter on his sweater opening night.

Habs' Koivu hopes to wait for surgery (AP)
Canadiens captain Saku Koivu hopes to put off surgery on a small cataract in his left eye until after the season. Koivu, who had surgery to repair a detached retina this summer, said Thursday he is optimistic he will be ready to play this season despite lingering issues from an eye injury he received during the playoffs in April.

The new Gordon
LOUDON, N.H. &ndash; Jeff Gordon still is going strong, but Denny Hamlin is preparing to fill his shoes.

Harvick wins pole for Sunday's Sylvania 300 (SportsTicker)

Hot Harvick gets revenge; wins New Hampshire pole (AP)
It seems the pressure is definitely off now that NASCAR's Chase for the Nextel Cup championship is ready to begin.

Chase outsiders look for something else to race for (AP)
Greg Biffle believes if you aren't in the Chase for the championship, you're a nobody.

Martin has no ride for next year -- yet (AP)
The only thing Mark Martin knows for sure about his racing future is that he will be part of NASCAR's 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup championship that begins with Sunday's race at New Hampshire International Speedway.

NASCAR stars hit Big Apple to promote Chase (AP)
The days when Dale Earnhardt Jr. could walk down the street in New York City without being recognized are long gone.

As Chase begins, Childress back on top with 2 solid chances to win title (AP)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Richard Childress paced through one of his team haulers, masterfully handling several different...

A glance at the 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:...

Former star revives confidence with spot in Chase (AP)
RICHMOND, Va. - Jeff Burton was once the most promising driver in NASCAR, a hot shot groomed by Jack Roush,...

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