Wild card doubleheader
UNDATED (AP) — Baseball's first-ever games between wild card teams are on today's schedule.
The Braves and Cardinals are up first (5:07 p.m. Eastern).
Atlanta sends Kris Medlen to the home mound to face Kyle Lohse (lohsh). The Braves have won a major league record 23 straight games started by Medlen, who went 10-1 during the regular season. Lohse was 16-3.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will sit struggling catcher Brian McCann in favor of David Ross. McCann has been plagued by injuries and had the worst year of his career, batting just .230 with 20 homers and 67 RBIs.
This will be the first game between the Cardinals and Braves since May.
The winner will host the Washington Nationals on Sunday, for Game 1 of the best-of-five NL division series.
The first AL game between wild cards will be played in Texas, where the two-time World Series runner-up Rangers host the Orioles (8:37 p.m. Eastern).
The home team hands the ball to rookie Yu Darvish. The Orioles are going with late-season acquisition Joe Saunders.
The winner moves on to face the New York Yankees, with Game 1 of the ALDS matchup on their home field Sunday.
Not Valentine's day
BOSTON (AP) — The Red Sox have created quite a buzz, firing manager Bobby Valentine less than a year after hiring him away from ESPN.
Valentine was brought on board after Boston parted ways with Terry Francona following last season's late collapse. Hit hard by injuries and morale problems, the Red Sox limped in at 69-93. It's their worst end-of-season record in nearly 50 years.
Indians search continues
CLEVELAND (AP) — Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona is in Cleveland today, interviewing for vacancy on the Indians' bench.
Francona led Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. He and the Red Sox parted company following last year's late-season collapse and Francona spent this season working as a TV analyst.
Francona worked as an adviser in Cleveland's front office in 2001 and has said he would like the chance to rejoin the club.
It comes one day after Sandy Alomar Jr. interviewed with the Indians. He served as the club's interim manager for the final six games after Manny Acta was dismissed.
Over .500-Rams prevent Cards from 5-0 start
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The high-flying Arizona Cardinals came back to earth hard in St. Louis. Coach Jeff Fisher's upstart Rams upset the previously undefeated Cardinals 17-3 to improve to 3-2. It's the first time since 2006 that the 3-2 Rams have been over .500.
Robert Quinn had three of the Rams' nine sacks on Kevin Kolb (kahb) to keep the Cardinals grounded. Arizona had scored at least 20 points in each of its first four games, but had no luck containing a pass rush that entered the game with only six sacks.
Arizona fell to 4-1, leaving Houston and Atlanta as the only undefeated teams in the NFL.
Trojans win high-scoring affair in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) — It took Southern California, the 13th-ranked team in The Associated Press poll, 95 years to return to Salt Lake City to play a road game against Utah. Coach Lane Kiffin's team figured that as long as it was making the trip, the Trojans ought to make it worthwhile.
The Trojans did. After a slow start, Matt Barkley engineered a 38-28 win over the Utes. Barkley completed 23 of 30 passes for 303 yards, the 13th time in his career he has surpassed the 300-yard figure. He tossed three TD passes.
The Trojans are 4-1 and 2-1 in the Pac-12, while the Utes fall to 2-3 and are 0-2 in the Pac-12.
NHL-EARLY SCHEDULE CANCELLED
League wipes out start of the season
NEW YORK (AP) — The National Hockey League has announced the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through October 24. A total of 82 regular-season games were scheduled for Oct. 11 through the 24th.
The league says the cancellations were necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL.
Representatives for the two sides have met sporadically and agreed to some of the minor, non-economic issues.
Moore goes low but doesn't get much separation
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Ryan Moore brings a one-stroke lead over Brendon de Jonge (deh-YAHNG') into today's second round of this week's PGA Tour stop in Las Vegas. The former UNLV golfer matched the course record with yesterday's 10-under-par 61.
Tim Herron and John Huh begin the day two off the pace.
This is the first of four events in the Tour's Fall Series.
Top players advance in Far East tournaments
BEIJING (AP) — Top-seeded Novak Djokovic (NOH'-vak JOH'-kuh-vich) eased past Jurgen Melzer 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the semifinal of the China Open. Djokovic is playing in his first event since losing the U.S. Open final to Andy Murray.
Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka (ah-zah-REN'-kuh) and No. 2 Maria Sharapova (shah-rah-POH'-vah) reached the semifinals of the women's draw in Beijing.
TOKYO (AP) — Defending champion and top-seeded Andy Murray moved into the semifinals of the Japan Open with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over seventh-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka (vah-VINK'-ah) of Switzerland.