Cubs overpower Cardinals...Royals, Blue Jays force fifth games

UNDATED (AP) — Cubs ace Jake Arrieta and Mets standout hurler Matt Harvey didn't have their best stuff on Monday night. That didn't matter as long as the Cubs were establishing a team postseason record for home runs while the Mets broke their club mark for runs in a playoff game.

Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

The Cubbies banged out six homers and took a two-games-to-one lead in the NL division series by whipping the Cardinals 8-6 at Wrigley Field. Chicago topped the old team mark of five home runs set against the Padres in Game 1 of the 1984 NLCS.

St. Louis cut a 5-2 deficit to 5-4 in the top of the sixth before Jorge Soler smacked a two-run shot in the bottom half. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back homers in the fifth. Dexter Fowler, Starlin Castro and Kyle Schwarber also went deep for Chicago.

The Cubs won handily despite a shaky performance by Arrieta, who was 13-1 with a 0.70 ERA in his previous 16 starts. Arrieta surrendered four runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings, including Justin Heyward's two-run shot in the sixth.

Losing pitcher Michael Wacha was reached for four runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run homer in the ninth for the Cards, who will try to stave off elimination on Tuesday afternoon. John Lackey is scheduled to start for St. Louis against Jason Hammel.

As for the Mets, they took a 2-1 lead in their NLDS by clobbering the Dodgers 13-7. Curtis Granderson, Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d'Arnaud combined for eight hits, 11 RBIs and six runs scored after New York managed just five runs and 10 hits in the first two games of the series.

The run total beat the old team mark of 12 set in the Game 4 of the 2006 NLCS at St. Louis.

Granderson put the Mets ahead to stay with a three-run double in the second and added a two-run double to finish with five ribbies. Cespedes unloaded a three-run blast in the fourth, and d'Arnaud provided a solo shot and three RBIs.

Harvey had to work hard as he needed 97 pitches to complete just five innings. Harvey spotted the Dodgers a 3-0 lead in the second and left the game after yielding two earned runs and seven hits while striking out seven. But he fared better than Brett Anderson and Alex Wood, who combined to surrender 10 runs and 11 hits over the first five innings.

Chase Utley was not in the Dodgers' starting lineup after appealing his two-game suspension for an illegal slide in Game 2. Utley's hearing didn't take place Monday as the sides were unable to agree to a schedule.

The slide broke the right leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

The Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound on Tuesday as they try to stay alive. The Mets will go with rookie Steven Matz.


Royals, Blue Jays force Game 5s

UNDATED (AP) — The Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays have stretched their respective American League Division Series to a fifth and deciding game by winning this afternoon.

The Royals are 9-1 in their last 10 elimination games after scoring seven times in their final two at-bats to beat the Astros 9-6 in Houston. Kansas City scored five times in the eighth with help from shortstop Carlos Correa's two-run error on a potential double-play grounder. The miscue allowed the Royals to tie the game before Alex Gordon added a tiebreaking grounder. Eric Hosmer belted a two-run homer in the ninth after lining an RBI single during the eighth-inning rally.

Correa homered twice and had four RBIs for the Astros. Colby Rasmus homered for the fourth time in five playoff games to give Houston a four-run lead before the Royals sent the series back to Kansas City for Game 5 on Wednesday.

The Blue Jays are still alive after they hammered Derek Holland in an 8-4 rout of the Rangers in Texas. Holland surrendered three homers and was tagged for six runs and five hits in two-plus innings.

Josh Donaldson smacked a two-run homer to put the Jays ahead to stay before Chris Colabello and Kevin Pillar belted solo shots to make it 4-0 by the second inning. Pillar added a pair of RBI singles to help Toronto go up 8-1.

David Price worked three innings of relief to get the win. Toronto starter R.A. Dickey allowed a run and five hits but fell one out shy of qualifying for the victory.

There have been 21 home runs Monday, a record for one day in postseason play. The previous postseason mark was 15 home runs on Oct. 3, 1995, according to STATS. Like Monday, there were four postseason games on that day 20 years ago.


Spurrier steps down

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Steve Spurrier has coached his final game.

A person close to the situation tells The Associated Press that the South Carolina head football coach has told his players that he is retiring, effective immediately. The person says the school has not named an interim coach but likely would announce someone to finish out the season by Wednesday.

The Gamecocks are 2-4 overall and 0-4 in the SEC for the first time in Spurrier's 23 seasons coaching in the league at Florida and South Carolina.

The 70-year-old Spurrier was in the middle of his 11th season with South Carolina. He considered leaving the Gamecocks last December after the Gamecocks went 6-6. But the team defeated Miami in the Independence Bowl last December, which seemed to re-energize him.

The 1966 Heisman Trophy winner was 86-49 with the Gamecocks. He had his greatest success at his alma mater, going 122-27-1 with a national championship at Florida. Spurrier was 228-89-2 in 319 games as a college head coach.


Trojans sack Sarkisian

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California has fired head football coach Steve Sarkisian just a day after athletic director Pat Haden determined Sarkisian showed up at school in no condition to lead practice.

USC hasn't elaborated on Sarkisian's problems, but the second-year coach had an embarrassing public display in August at a pep rally where he appeared to be intoxicated while giving a speech. Sarkisian later apologized and said he had combined alcohol and medication, but promised not to drink again during the season.

Offensive coordinator Clay Helton was appointed interim coach Sunday and will officially lead his first practice Tuesday.


Gators QB suspended

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida quarterback Will Grier has received a one-year suspension for violating the NCAA's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

The eighth-ranked Gators are not facing a forfeiture of wins, and Grier won't lose any eligibility, but the school said it will appeal. Grier said he took an over-the-counter supplement, and coach Jim McElwain called it an honest mistake that could have been prevented by talking to the team's medical staff.

Sophomore Treon Harris will make his first start since the season opener when Florida plays at No. 6 LSU on Saturday.


Tunsil sits out one more

UNDATED (AP) — Mississippi starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil will miss Saturday's game against Memphis.

Tunsil has already sat out six games after the NCAA ruled he received several improper benefits. Among the benefits the NCAA says Tunsil received were three loaner vehicles over a six-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment when purchasing a used vehicle and an airline ticket.

Tunsil will be eligible to return after his seven-game suspension on Oct. 24 against Texas A&M.


Steelers rally to beat Chargers

UNDATED (AP) — Michael Vick couldn't engineer a touchdown drive for 3 ½ quarters on Monday before he rallied the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 24-20 thriller over the Chargers in San Diego.

Le'Veon Bell scored on a 1-yard wildcat run as time expired to give the Steelers a 3-2 record. He took the direct snap, ran left and was buried in traffic before diving for the end zone.

Vick kept the drive alive with a 24-yard scramble up the middle and then a 16-yard pass to Heath Miller one play before Bell's big run. Vick also fired a 72-yard touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton with 7:42 remaining to tie the game at 17.

Pittsburgh's other TD came on Antwon Blake's 70-yard interception late in the third quarter.

Philip Rivers was 35 of 48 for 365 yards and two touchdowns for the 2-3 Chargers.


AP source: Freeney agrees to 1-year deal with Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — A person with knowledge of the deal says the Arizona Cardinals have signed veteran defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney to a one-year contract.

The 35-year-old Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowl player and three-time first team All Pro, ranks 21st in the NFL in career sacks with 111 ½ and led the league with 16 sacks in 2004.

The move comes after the Cardinals' top outside pass rusher, Alex Okafor, went down with a calf injury in Sunday's 42-17 victory at Detroit.


Bracing for the worst on Charles knee

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs anticipate Jamaal Charles will miss the remainder of the season after the star running back hurt his right knee in the third quarter of Sunday's loss to Chicago.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid says that results of an MRI on Charles were not yet available, but he believes the running back's ACL is torn.

Charles was making a cut deep in Bears territory on Sunday when his right knee buckled at a gruesome angle.

Charles tore the ACL in his other knee four years ago, missing most of the season.


Lightning strike again

UNDATED (AP) — Steven Stamkos collected a milestone point while helping the Tampa Bay Lightning improve to 3-0.

Stamkos notched his 500th career point with a tiebreaking, power-play goal in the Lightning's 6-3 triumph at Boston. The goal put Tampa Bay ahead 4-3 late in the second period.

Brian Boyle scored twice and Ben Bishop settled down to finish with 27 saves after he spotted the Bruins a quick 2-0 lead.


— Philadelphia beat Florida 1-0 as Michael Neuvirth made 31 saves in his first shutout in more than 3 1/2 years. Brayden Schenn's goal backed Neuvirth and allowed Dave Hakstol to pick up his first NHL coaching victory.

— John Tavares had a goal and two assists in the Islanders' first victory in Brooklyn, 4-2 over Winnipeg. Ryan Strom, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey each scored their first goal of the season, while Thomas Greiss stopped 22 shots in his first win as an Islander.

— Rookie Jack Eichel scored an unassisted goal and Matt Moulson finished with a goal and two assists in Buffalo's first win of the season, 4-2 over Columbus. Moulson, Rasmus Ristolainen and Ryan O'Reilly each scored power-play goals against the 0-3 Blue Jackets.

— Vancouver was a 2-1 winner over Anaheim behind shootout goals by Radim Vrbata and Alexandre Burrows. Adam Cracknell tied it early in the second period and Ryan Miller made 28 saves for the Canucks.


Sabres starting goalie sidelined

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Newly named Buffalo starting goalie Robin Lehner didn't get to enjoy the role for very long.

He'll miss between six and 10 weeks with a sprained right ankle suffered in the second period of the Sabres' season-opening loss to Ottawa Thursday.

The injury means the Sabres will proceed with backup Chad Johnson, who stopped 22 shots in the Columbus Day win over the Blue Jackets.