Royals and Mets on the verge of advancing to Fall Classic

TORONTO (AP) — The Kansas City Royals are one victory away from returning to the World Series. Ben Zobrist tagged R.A. Dickey for a two-run homer in a four-run first inning, Alex Rios went deep leading off the second and the Royals routed the Toronto Blue Jays 14-2 to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series.

Alcides Escobar had four RBIs. Cain drove in three runs as the Royals bounced back from an 11-8 loss Monday. Kansas City led 5-2 in the seventh before breaking away with nine runs late.

The Royals can return to the World Series with a victory in Game 5 in Toronto Wednesday. The Royals send out Edinson Volquez for the clincher against Toronto's Marco Estrada.

CHICAGO (AP)— The New York Mets are one victory away from sweeping the Chicago Cubs and going to their first World Series since 2000.

Daniel Murphy tied a major league record by homering in his fifth straight postseason game in leading the Mets past the Cubs 5-2 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their National League Championship Series. It was the Mets' first win at Wrigley Field since May 19, 2013.

The Mets got a run-scoring double from Yoenis Cespedes to take an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Cespedes and David Wright each had three hits.

Jason deGrom won his third road game of the postseason. He allowed two runs on four hits, striking out seven in seven innings. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia finished up with two scoreless innings of relief. It was Familia's fifth save of the playoffs.

The lone bright spot for the Cubs was Kyle Schwarber's home run in the first inning. That's his fifth homer of the postseason, setting a Cubs franchise record.

The Mets send out rookie Steven Matz as they go for the sweep tonight. Jason Hammel goes for the Cubs.


Surgery for a Yankee starter

NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has undergone arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. The team says the typical recovery time includes six weeks of exercise and strengthening, followed by a throwing program.

Tanaka was 12-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 24 starts this year and lost to Houston in the AL wild-card game.


Meyers settles on Barrett as QB

UNDATED (AP) — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has announced that J.T. Barrett will get the start at quarterback Saturday against Rutgers, replacing Cardale Jones.

Barrett lost the starting job to Jones following a closely watched quarterback battle in the offseason for the top-ranked Buckeyes. But Jones has struggled to find the form that helped him lead the Buckeyes to the national title last season.

Ohio State heads into Saturday's game with a 7-0 record.


League GMs pick Cavs

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA general managers believe this is the season LeBron James finally takes Cleveland to the top. According to the results of the GM survey, the Cavaliers will win their first NBA championship and James will claim his fifth MVP award in the process.

The Cavs received 53.6 percent of the votes from those responding to the poll, beating out San Antonio, which got 25 percent.

James got 39.3 percent of the MVP votes to outpace Anthony Davis of the Pelicans, who got 25 percent.


Habs streak to 7-0 start

UNDATED (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens continued their torrid start by blanking St. Louis 3-0 to improve to 7-0 for the first time in team history. Carey Price stopped 38 shots for his second shutout of the season.

Carey Price, the league's most valuable player and top goaltender last season, has allowed only six goals in six starts. It was the 36th shutout of his career.

Max Pacioretty got his fifth goal. Torrey Mitchell and Alexander Semin scored the other goals.

In other hockey:

— Evgeni Malkin scored on the power play in overtime and Sidney Crosby picked up his first goal of the season to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers.

— The New York Islanders blanked Columbus 4-0. Jaroslav Halak stopped 37 shots for his 37th career shutout. The Islanders posted their fourth straight win.

— New Jersey posted a 3-2 overtime win over Arizona. Adam Larsson got the game-winner 47 seconds into OT. Travis Zajac had a goal and two assists.

— Dallas edged Philadelphia 2-1. Jamie Benn scored his sixth goal of the season and assisted on Tyler Seguin's goal for the Stars.

— Filip Forsberg scored the only goal of the shootout to lead the Nashville Predators to a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

— Washington scored a 6-2 road victory over Calgary. Alex Ovechkin had a goal and one assist. He now has 901 career points.


Stanley Cup champs lose defenseman

CHICAGO (AP) — Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith will be sidelined four to six weeks after undergoing right knee surgery for a torn meniscus. The two-time Norris Trophy winner as top defenseman in the league has two assists in six games this season.

The durable Keith is considered the anchor of the Blackhawks blueliners.


Steelers leaning toward Jones at QB

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Landry Jones had his first regular-season NFL action last week, helping the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Arizona 25-13. Now, it looks as if he will make his first start this week. Coach Mike Tomlin says the team is preparing for Sunday's game against the Chiefs at Kansas City as if Jones will be the starting quarterback.

Regular starter Ben Roethlisberger has been out since Sept. 27, and backup Mike Vick suffered a strained hamstring last weekend.

In other NFL news:

— The Detroit Lions officially put running back Zach Zenner on injured reserve. Coach Jim Caldwell said the move was coming. Zenner was hospitalized with broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung after Detroit's win over Chicago on Sunday.


"Long and tedious recovery" following back surgery

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tiger Woods has not started rehabilitation for a second back surgery he had a month ago, and says he faces another "tedious and long" process that suggests it might be awhile before he competes again. Woods last played at the Wyndham Champion on Aug. 23, where he tied for 10th for his best finish at a PGA Tour event in nearly two years.

Woods hasn't won since the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational for his 79th career win on the PGA Tour, just three short of the record held by Sam Snead. He has 14 majors, four back of Jack Nicklaus, but hasn't won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open.


Beem gives up exemption to needy Poulter

UNDATED (AP) — Rich Beem has agreed to give his spot in the Hong Kong Open to Ian Poulter who would otherwise have lost his European Tour membership and been ineligible to play in the Ryder Cup next year.

Poulter has to play a minimum 13 events on the European Tour to keep his membership and be eligible for the Ryder Cup, where he has compiled a 12-4-2 record and was largely responsible for two of the last three European wins.

The 2002 PGA Championship winner says it was the right thing to do.


Open heading to Ireland

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — For the first time in nearly 70 years the British Open is going to be held outside of England or Scotland when it is staged in Northern Ireland in 2019. The Royal and Ancient, the organizing body of the Open, has announced that the Open will be held at Royal Portrush in 2019. It last hosted the Open Championship in 1951.


Author says Pitino had to know

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Escort Katina Powell, who wrote a book detailing alleged parties she arranged for Louisville basketball players that involved dancers that had sex with recruits and players, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that coach Rick Pitino had to know about the parties.

She said she has no proof that Pitino knew that a former Cardinals staffer hired her and dancers to strip and have sex with the players but added, "How could Rick not know?"

Pitino has denied knowledge of the activities that Powell alleges in her book.


Audit shows wrong doing by Blatter

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA's audit chief has told The Associated Press that Sepp Blatter's decision to authorize a payment to Michel Platini without a written contract is a "classic conflict of interest."

Domenico Scala says FIFA president Blatter could be culpable of "falsification" of accounts over the 2011 payment of about $2 million to Platini, another high ranking soccer official, who is running to succeed Blatter.