Athletics and Giants stay alive
UNDATED (AP) — The Oakland Athletics, after losing the first two games on the road, used the time-honored formula of good pitching, timely hitting and great defense in blanking Detroit 2-0 to cut the Tigers' lead to 2-1 in that AL Division Series.
Athletics left-hander Brett Anderson and three relievers combined on a four-hitter. Grant Balfour, who had 24 saves in the regular season, allowed a one-out single to Miguel Cabrera. But Balfour induced Prince Fielder to hit into a game-ending double play
Yoenis Cespedes (yoh-EHN'-ehs SEHS'-peh-dehs) drove in a run in the first inning with a single. Seth Smith added a homer for some insurance in the sixth.
Oakland turned in a couple of eye-popping defensive plays as well. Athletics center fielder Coco Crisp robbed Fielder of a homer in the second inning with a one-handed grab over the wall. In the seventh inning, Cespedes made a diving catch in left field to rob Fielder of a hit.
The San Francisco Giants also live for another day. Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, an eight-time Gold Glove award winner for his slick defensive play, booted a grounder in the 10th inning that allowed the winning run to score in the Giants' 2-1 victory over the Reds. Cincinnati holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five NL Division Series.
The Reds wasted a tremendous effort by starter Homer Bailey, who tossed a no-hitter two weeks ago. He didn't allow a San Francisco hit until there were two out in the sixth inning. That's when Marco Scutaro (SKOO'-tah-roh) delivered a clean single. The Giants won despite striking out 16 times.
Game 4 is Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ball Park. The Giants send out 15-game winner Barry Zito (ZEE-toh) to try and extend their season one more time. The Reds are unsure of their starter in the wake of Game 1 starter Johnny Cueto's (KWAY'-tohz) strained oblique. Mike Leake (LEEK) and Mat Latos (LAY'-tohs) are possibilities.
The two other division series resume Wednesday. Baltimore and New York are tied at a game apiece in the AL Division Series following the Orioles' 3-2 victory Monday night. Miguel Gonzalez gets the nod in Game 3 Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium against Hiroki Kuroda (hih-ROH'-kee kuh-ROH'-duh), who won 16 games this year for the Yanks.
And the Cardinals and Nationals are dead even after the Cards' 12-4 win in Game 2 in St. Louis. The scene shifts to the Nation's Capital, which will host its first postseason baseball game in 79 years on Wednesday. Chris Carpenter goes for St. Louis against ex-Cardinal Edwin Jackson.
Rookie Shelby Miller has replaced pitcher Jaime (HY'-may) Garcia on the Cards playoff roster. Garcia has a strained rotator cuff and inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
Collateral damage in Colorado
DENVER (AP) — The contracts of Colorado Rockies hitting instructor Carney Lansford and third-base coach Rich Dauer aren't being renewed in the wake of manager Jim Tracy's unexpected resignation over the weekend.
Lansford served two seasons under Tracy and the Rockies' .274 batting average this season was tops in the National League. But Colorado hit just .241 on the road as they finished a franchise-worst 64-98.
Dauer spent four years as the Rockies' bench coach and seven seasons in the organization overall. He also served as Colorado's infield coach and coordinator of all defensive positions.
Goodell upholds two, reduces two suspensions
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (guh-DEHL') has handed down new discipline to four players in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation of the Saints. There are no changes to the full-season suspension for New Orleans' linebacker Jonathan Vilma or the four-game suspension for Saints defensive end Will Smith.
The suspension of free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was reduced from eight to seven games, while Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita is now docked one game, down from three.
Only Smith and Fujita have played this season since an appeal panel created by the NFL's labor agreement vacated the original suspensions on technical grounds and told Goodell he needed to clarify the basis of the punishment.
Vilma has been rehabilitating from offseason knee surgery.
The players also can delay the suspensions by appealing again.
Texans lose Cushing
UNDATED (AP) — Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is out for the season with a torn ligament in his left knee suffered in Monday's win over the Jets. Coach Gary Kubiak says Cushing has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will need surgery in two to three weeks after the swelling goes down. Cushing's injury leaves the unbeaten Texans without their top tackler and one of their emotional leaders. Kubiak says that Tim Dobbins is the top option to replace Cushing.
In other NFL doings:
— Missing five of 12 field goal attempts this season has cost Billy Cundiff his job as Washington Redskins kicker. He's been replaced by free agent Kai Forbath, the 2009 Lou Groza winner who has yet to play in the NFL.
— Coach Rex Ryan says there is "no question" that Mark Sanchez is the New York Jets' starting quarterback despite struggling at times during Monday's 23-17 loss to undefeated Houston. Sanchez has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in four straight games and many fans and media have suggested that backup Tim Tebow should take over as the starter.
— The Cardinals have put running back Ryan Williams on season-ending injured reserve with a left shoulder injury. It's another blow to an already struggling ground game. Arizona is already without Beanie Wells until at least Thanksgiving weekend because of a severe turf toe injury. The Cardinals rank 31st out of 32 NFL teams in yards rushing per game at 63.4.
__ The unbeaten Houston Texans remained atop the AP Pro32 NFL power rankings. The Texans improved to 5-0 with a 23-17 win over the New York Jets on Monday night. They received 10 of the 12 first-place votes and 382 points Tuesday from the 12-person panel of media members who regularly cover the NFL. Atlanta, the NFL's only other unbeaten team, held on to second with 336 points. San Francisco received two first-place votes and 333 points to stay third.
Vols' Dooley will coach from press box following hip surgery
UNDATED (AP) — Tennessee's Derek Dooley is recovering from surgery on his fractured right hip and will coach from the press box Saturday at No. 19 Mississippi State. Dooley's hip has been bothering him for a couple months.
Howard takes another step...Ex-Pistons coach Butcher dead at76
UNDATED (AP) — Dwight Howard has been cleared for limited five-on-five scrimmages with the Los Angeles Lakers in his latest step back from offseason surgery. He had participated in every other aspect of the Lakers' practices during training camp except full-court contact.
The six-time All-Star center had surgery on his back last spring.
In other NBA news:
— Donnie Butcher, who played five seasons in the NBA and later coached the Detroit Pistons, has died. He was 76. Butcher averaged 6.1 points in 279 games with the Pistons and New York Knicks. He became Detroit's coach late in the 1966-67 season, replacing player-coach Dave DeBusschere (deh-BOOSH'-ur). Butcher went 52-60 at the helm. His only full season as coach was 1967-68, and he lead Detroit to the postseason — the team's only playoff appearance in a 10-season span.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-BATTLE OF MIDWAY
Bring your checkbook for this one
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tickets for the Battle on the Midway basketball game between Syracuse and San Diego State on Nov. 9 go on sale Wednesday, and they won't be cheap.
Tickets start at $150 with a limited number of seats available for $500.
Capacity for the game, to be played on the flight deck of the decommissioned USS Midway, which is now a museum, will be about 5,000.
Sandusky unlikely to outlive sentence
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP)— In what sounded at times like a locker room pep talk, Jerry Sandusky rambled in his red prison suit about being the underdog in the fourth quarter, about forgiveness, dogs and the movie "Seabiscuit."
With his accusers seated behind him in the courtroom, Sandusky denied committing "disgusting acts" against children and instead painted himself as the victim.
Didn't help. After he had said his piece, a judge sentenced him to 30 to 60 years in prison, all but ensuring the 68-year-old Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the child sexual abuse scandal that brought disgrace to Penn State and triggered the downfall of his former boss, football coach Joe Paterno.
He leaves behind a trail of human and legal wreckage that could take years for the university to clear away.
Judge John Cleland reprimanded Sandusky, saying the "tragedy of this crime is that it's a story of betrayal." Three of the men Sandusky was convicted of molesting as boys confronted him face to face and told of the lasting pain he had inflicted.
Sandusky says he'll appeal. The judge says he expects Sandusky to die in prison.
Donovan out of upcoming US games
MIAMI (AP) — Landon Donovan will not play for the U.S. national team in a pair of upcoming World Cup qualifying matches because of an injured left knee. The Americans are on the road Friday against Antigua and Barbuda, then in Kansas City on Oct. 16 against Guatemala.
Donovan was injured while playing Saturday for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Nadal ready to start comeback
UNDATED (AP) — Rafael Nadal (rah-fay-ehl nah-DAHL') says he has been more encouraged recently about his recovery from a partially torn patella tendon left knee injury and hopes to resume practice soon. Speaking from his home in Mallorca (my-OR'-kuh) during a conference call, Nadal didn't rule out playing next month in the ATP World Tour Finals or Davis Cup finals, but added that returning that quickly would be difficult. He hasn't played since losing in the second round of Wimbledon in June.