AP Wednesday Sports Roundup
Cubs advance, Mets hope to follow
UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Cubs will spend the weekend in New York or Los Angeles.
The Cubs have won the National League Division Series by belting three more homers in a 6-4 victory over the Cardinals in Game 4 at Wrigley Field. Javier Baez launched a three-run homer to put Chicago ahead 4-2 in the second inning. The Cards eventually tied it in the sixth before Anthony Rizzo smashed a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the inning. Kyle Schwarber provided the Cubs' ninth home run in two games to make it 6-4 in the seventh.
Manager Joe Maddon needed a lot of help from his bullpen to close it out after starter Jason Hammel was reached for three hits in three innings. Seven pitchers followed Hammel, with Justin Grimm and Pedro Strop each tossing a hitless inning before Hector Rondon closed it out.
Losing pitcher Kevin Siegrist served up the solo shots by Rizzo and Schwarber.
Steven Piscotty hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who failed to reach the NLCS for the first time in five seasons. Piscotty also made the final out of the series, striking out against Rondon.
It's the first time the Cubs have ever clinched a playoff series at Wrigley Field. They also moved into the championship series for the first time since 2003.
Chicago remains baseball's hottest team. The Cubs ended the regular season on an eight-game winning streak before taking four of their first five playoff games.
As a wild-card team, the Cubs will open the NLCS on the road despite finishing with a better record than the Mets and Dodgers.
The Dodgers have sent their division series back to Los Angeles, thanks to a great outing by Clayton Kershaw.
The Los Angeles lefty had been 1-6 with a 4.99 ERA lifetime in the postseason before holding the Mets to a run and three hits while striking out eight in a 3-1 win over the Mets in New York. Kershaw's only major mistake was a fourth-inning homer by Daniel Murphy. It was the only extra-base hit of the night for the Mets, who had six in their 13-7 victory in Game 3.
The Dodgers got their runs in the third inning off Mets starter Steven Matz. Kershaw began the rally with a one-out single before Adrian Gonzalez singled home the first run with two out. Justin Turner followed with a two-run double to make it 3-0.
Gonzalez has five RBIs in the series, all coming with two out. Turner leads the team in batting at .467.
The Mets had the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the eighth before Murphy flied out to right to end the threat.
The series will be decided Thursday in Los Angeles. Zack Greinke will start for the Dodgers against Jacob deGrom.
The two American League Division Series resume on Wednesday. The Toronto Blue Jays will host the Texas Rangers in a winner-take-all fifth game, and the Kansas City Royals will entertain the Houston Astros in Game 5 of that series.
Utley appeal won't be heard until after NLDS
NEW YORK (AP) — A person familiar with the process has told The Associated Press that Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley's appeal hearing has been scheduled for Monday, long after the NLDS ends.
Utley was suspended two games by Major League Baseball Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre for his rough slide in Game 2, a collision that broke the right leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. Utley appealed the suspension and will be eligible to complete the series.
BASEBALL-DODGER STADIUM FIGHT
Person critically injured in parking lot after Game 1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two people suspected of critically injuring a man outside Dodger Stadium are believed to be a mother and son, according to Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Police declined to discuss what precipitated the fight on Friday night, but Beck said detectives were reviewing video that captured the assault in hopes of tracking the pair down. Police described the mother as being in her 40s or 50s, and her son as being between 25 and 30.
The man injured in the fight was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He was upgraded to serious but stable condition Tuesday.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-SOUTH CAROLINA-COACH
Spurrier announces retirement
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Steve Spurrier is now a former football coach.
The 70-year-old Spurrier officially announced his resignation as head coach at South Carolina, saying it was time to leave. The decision comes after the Gamecocks got off to a 2-4 start that includes an 0-4 mark in the SEC.
It caps a half-century in which he won the 1966 Heisman Trophy with Florida, quarterbacked the first 0-14 team in NFL history, revived a moribund Duke program as a first-time head coach, won a national championship with his alma mater and led the Gamecocks to their greatest successes.
South Carolina posted three straight 11-win seasons under Spurrier after never winning more than 10 before his arrival. He went 11-2 as late as 2013, but the Gamecocks followed that with a 6-6 season that caused Spurrier to ponder retirement last winter.
Spurrier 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.
Spurrier has been replaced on an interim basis by co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Shawn Elliott.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has confirmed that star defensive end Drew Ott will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Ott is the Hawkeyes' best pass rusher and arguably its best player. He is sixth in the Big Ten with 7.5 tackles for loss and five sacks despite being slowed by an elbow injury earlier this season.
Odom hospitalized after found unresponsive
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Authorities say former NBA star Lamar Odom was hospitalized after he was found unconscious Tuesday at a Nevada brothel.
The 35-year-old Odom was in a Las Vegas hospital Tuesday night and there was no immediate word on his condition, officials said.
The Nye County Sheriff's Department was called at about 3:15 p.m. to Love Ranch in Crystal, Nevada about 70 miles outside of Las Vegas for a report of an unresponsive man needing an ambulance. The 35-year-old played most of his 14-year career in Los Angeles with the Clippers and Lakers. He was the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2011, two years before his final game.
Odom saw reality TV fame through his four-year marriage to Khloe Kardashian.
Wizards forward has 2nd ankle operation
WASHINGTON (AP) — Wizards forward Alan Anderson is out indefinitely after undergoing a second operation on his left ankle.
Anderson initially had surgery in May to remove bone spurs from his left ankle, but he still was in pain from a fragment that was removed in the second procedure. He signed with the Wizards in July after averaging 7.4 points and 2.8 rebounds for Brooklyn last season.
Canadiens are first to 4-0
UNDATED (AP) — Three NHL teams had an opportunity to improve to 4-0 on the season. Only the Montreal Canadiens succeeded.
Tomas Fleischmann scored his first goal as a Canadien, snapping a 2-2 tie in the third period of a 3-2 triumph at Pittsburgh. Max Pacioretty scored a pair of go-ahead goals for the Habs, but the Penguins came back each time before Fleischmann allowed Montreal to return home following a perfect 4-0 road trip.
Carey Price turned back 31 shots in helping the Canadiens keep the Penguins winless this season.
The New York Rangers had been 3-0 until Bryan Little scored a short-handed goal and a power-play tally in Winnipeg's 4-1 verdict over the Blueshirts. Michael Hutchinson made half of his 40 saves in the second period and blanked the Rangers after Mats Zuccarello beat him 6:45 into the game.
Tampa Bay also suffered its first loss in four games as Henrik Zetterberg and Kyle Quincey each provided a third-period goal and an assist to secure Detroit's 3-1 triumph over the Lightning. Gustav Nyquist put the Wings ahead to stay with a power-play goal late in the second period.
Elsewhere on ice:
— Jason Spezza completed a hat trick by scoring twice in the last 4 ½ minutes of the Stars' 4-2 victory against Edmonton. Spezza's tiebreaking tally came one period after first overall draft pick Connor McDavid scored his first goal in three NHL games.
— Colton Parayko scored his first two NHL goals while St. Louis tallied three times in the second period of a 4-3 triumph over Calgary. Troy Brouwer had a goal and an assist for the Blues.
— Martin Jones recorded his second consecutive shutout by making 31 saves in San Jose's 5-0 rout of the Capitals in Washington. Chris Tierney and Matt Nieto each had an empty-net goal and an assist as the Sharks improved to 3-0. The Caps were without captain Alex Ovechkin, who sat out due to personal reasons.
— Joining the Sharks atop the Western Conference at 3-0 is Nashville after Roman Josi scored twice in the Predators' 3-1 win at New Jersey. Pekka Rinne had a shutout until Kyle Palmieri scored with 1:40 remaining.
— Connor Brickley, Aleksander Barkov and Jussi Jokinen scored during a 5:55 span late in the third period to give Florida a 4-1 win at Carolina. The Hurricanes put just 22 shots on Al Montoya and dropped to 0-3.
— Vancouver was a 3-0 winner over Los Angeles as Ryan Miller needed to make just 15 saves for his 36th career shutout. Alex Edler had a goal and an assist to help the Canucks improve to 3-0-1.
Kuechly returns to practice
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly has returned to practice for the first time since suffering a concussion in Carolina's season-opening win against Jacksonville. Kuechly spent four weeks in the NFL's concussion protocol and missed three games before being cleared to return. The Panthers had a bye last week and travel to play Seattle on Sunday.
In other NFL news:
— The Arizona Cardinals have confirmed the signing of veteran defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowl player and three-time first-team All Pro. The Cardinals inked the free agent after top outside pass rusher, Alex Okafor, went down with a calf injury in Sunday's 42-17 victory at Detroit. The team also placed linebacker Kenny Demens on injured reserve due to a torn ACL in Sunday's game.
— The Buffalo Bills have signed free-agent quarterback Josh Johnson, two days after starter Tyrod Taylor was battered in a 14-13 win at Tennessee. Taylor was sacked four times and took several big open-field hits while nearly single-handedly rallying the Bills to score two touchdowns in the final 16 1/2 minutes. Bills coach Rex Ryan also revealed Monday that Taylor has been bothered by a nagging ankle injury since training camp.
— The NFL has acknowledged an officiating error during final moments of Monday's game between the Chargers and visiting Steelers. Eighteen seconds were incorrectly run off the clock late in the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 24-20 victory at the San Diego Chargers, and none of the game officials noticed the gaffe and corrected it. After the Chargers hit a go-ahead field goal with 2:56 remaining, the ensuing kickoff went for a touchback, but the clock rolled down to 2:38 instead of remaining at 2:56.