Braves increase division lead
ATLANTA, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Tom Glavine posted his fifth straight win Wednesday night, allowing three runs over six innings, and John Smoltz escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the ninth as the Atlanta Braves posted a critical 8-3 triumph over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Atlanta pushed its lead over Philadelphia in the National League East to two games with four remaining. The series concludes Thursday.
The Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals, meanwhile, remained tied for the lead in the NL Central while Arizona stayed two games in front of San Francisco in the NL West.
Glavine (16-7) gave up just two earned runs and eight hits. The veteran lefthander walked two and struck out five in improving to 10-2 since July 8.
The win also was his 224th, tying Hall of Famers Jim "Catfish" Hunter and Jim Bunning for 56th place all-time.
Glavine's hot streak could not have come at a better time for Atlanta, which has seen Greg Maddux go winless since Aug. 22. It is the longest drought of his career since 1991.
After Maddux was beaten in Tuesday's series opener, Glavine came up with a big effort. He held Philadelphia in check through four innings and by the time he had allowed a run, Atlanta had scored four times.
In Houston, the Astros prevented Barry Bonds from reaching 70 home runs but he did reach base four times and scored three runs in an 11-8 Giants victory. St. Louis failed to take advantage, falling to Milwaukee, 9-7.
Arizona kept its lead over San Francisco in the West thanks to a 4-3 decision over the Colorado Rockies.
Other National League results: Chicago 13, Cincinnati 7; Montreal 2, Florida 0; Los Angeles 12, San Diego 5.
Henderson ties Cobb's record
SAN DIEGO, Calif., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Rickey Henderson scored from first base on a double in the third inning of the San Diego Padres' game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday night for his 2,245th run, tying the all-time record of Hall of Famer Ty Cobb.
Kevin Witt opened the inning against Eric Gagne with a walk and Henderson drew his major league-leading 2,140th career walk. One out later, Ryan Klesko doubled to right and Witt and Henderson easily scored.
Henderson, also the all-time leader in stolen bases, was treated to a standing ovation and came out for a pair of curtain calls.
The 42-year-old Henderson remains three hits shy of becoming the 25th player to reach 3,000.
Yankees clinch home-field advantage
NEW YORK, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Mike Mussina prepped for the postseason with seven solid innings Wednesday night as the New York Yankees clinched home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Mussina (17-11), whose signing in the offseason bolstered one of baseball's best rotations, improved to 5-0 in his last six starts.
The righthander went seven innings, allowing one run and five hits with one walk and four strikeouts. The four strikeouts gave Mussina 210 for the season, tying him with Bob Turley (1955) for sixth place on the Yankees single-season list.
A victim of poor run support for most of the season, Mussina has allowed just just six earned runs and 26 hits over 45 innings in his last six outings. His ERA dropped to 3.20, moving him ahead of Minnesota's Joe Mays for second in the AL.
Mike Stanton struck out one in a perfect eighth inning and Mariano Rivera gave up a single in a scoreless ninth to notch his major league-leading 49th save in 56 opportunities.
The win locked up the second seed for the Yankees, assuring they again will meet the Oakland Athletics in the Division Series. Last season, New York won Game 5 in Oakland and went on to its third straight World Series title.
Seattle will meet Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs.
Other American League results: Oakland 5, Texas 4; Toronto 7, Baltimore 6; Detroit 9, Minnesota 5; Boston 10, Tampa Bay 3; Cleveland 4, Kansas City 1; Seattle 4, Anaheim 3.
Defending champs open season with win
DENVER, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Vaclav Nedorost scored a goal and set up another in the second period of his NHL debut and Patrick Roy stopped 32 shots Wednesday night as the Colorado Avalanche opened defense of their Stanley Cup championship with a 3-1 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 14th overall pick in the 2000 draft, Nedorost broke up a scoreless game on the power play at 1:51 of the second. He took a pass from Steven Reinprecht and fired a wrist shot from low in the right faceoff circle that trickled off goaltender Johan Hedberg and into the net.
Less than eight minutes later, the 19-year-old Nedorost carried into the Penguins' zone and dropped the puck for Milan Hejduk, who flipped a pass in front of the net. Joe Sakic, the reigning Hart Trophy winner, got away from defenseman Darius Kasparaitis' check and put a wrister by Hedberg for his 458th NHL goal.
Chris Drury beat Hedberg on a breakaway 8:12 into the third period to extend Colorado's lead to 3-0. That was more than enough for Roy, who lost his shutout bid on Robert Lang's goal with 6:59 to play.
But that was all Pittsburgh could get past the winningest goalie in NHL history as Roy helped the Avalanche improve the league's best record in season openers to 14-4-5. He also extended his unbeaten streak against the Penguins to 11 games (9
In the other opening night contests: Ottawa outlasted Toronto, 5-4; and Calgary blanked Edmonton, 1-0.
Super Bowl stays in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The National Football League announced Wednesday that Super Bowl XXXVI will be kept in New Orleans and will be played on Feb. 3, allowing the NFL to keep its 12-team playoff format intact.
Moving Super Bowl Sunday back one week was made possible when the NFL and the National Automobile Dealers Association reached an agreement to swap weekends for their respective events in New Orleans.
The NADA annual convention originally scheduled for Feb. 2-5 in New Orleans now will be held Jan. 26-29. The Super Bowl will move from Sunday, Jan. 27 to Sunday, Feb. 3.
The NFL will pay the NADA $7.5 million to cover additional expenses and losses resulting from the switch. The agreement also includes an NFL Charities grant that will match NADA contributions to the Sept. 11 relief efforts up to $500,000.
The NFL regular season will conclude the weekend of Jan. 5-7, which originally was scheduled as the first weekend of the playoffs. Following the events of Sept. 11, the NFL postponed its Week 2 games and re-scheduled them for that first weekend in January.
The playoffs now will begin Jan. 12-13 with the wild card round. The AFC and NFC divisional playoffs will be Jan. 19-20 and the conference championship games on Jan. 27.
If the NFL and the auto dealers had not reached an agreement, the Super Bowl likely would have been moved out of New Orleans.
Security upgrade planned for Olympics
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Federal officials Wednesday reassured Utah officials a security upgrade for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City was planned in wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, near Washington and in Pennsylvania.
After a meeting with Attorney General John Ashcroft and representatives of various federal agencies, the Utah officials said funding and cooperation they requested would be forthcoming.
"We have a firm commitment from all the parties that attended our meeting today that they will put all essential resources behind our Olympic security needs," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
Milt Romney, president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, told the Deseret News the federal government had agreed to increase its original pledge of $200 million for Olympic security by another $30 million to $40 million.
Don Evans named Dodgers GM
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday named Dan Evans general manager, just four months after hiring him as a senior advisor.
Evans takes over for interim general manager Dave Wallace, who was named senior vice president of baseball operations. Evans also takes the tag of executive vice president.
The Dodgers have been searching for a GM since Kevin Malone resigned under pressure on April 19. Five days earlier, he challenged a San Diego Padres ticket holder to a fight during a game at Qualcomm Stadium.
Evans, 41, is regarded as one of baseball's top administrators, having worked in the front office of the Chicago White Sox from 1981-99, most recently as the assistant general manager.
When he was passed over for the GM job in favor of Ken Williams, Evans joined the Chicago Cubs as a consultant. He also worked as an analyst with Fox television before joining the Dodgers.
Manuel released from hospital
CLEVELAND, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Cleveland Indians manager Charlie Manuel was released from the hospital Wednesday, just over a week after admitting himself with an abdominal ailment.
He has had colon surgery twice in the last 16 months.
Without Manuel over the past five games, the Indians went 3-2, including Sunday's 9-1 victory over Minnesota that clinched the American League Central title.
Manuel is hopeful of joining the team this weekend in Toronto.
Paul Coffey retires
TORONTO, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Paul Coffey retired Wednesday after winning four Stanley Cups, playing in 14 All-Star Games and accumulating the second-highest point total among defensemen in NHL history.
Coffey, 40, left the game after 21 seasons, playing 18 games with Boston in 2000-01 before being waived.
He was awarded the Norris Trophy -- which goes to the NHL's best defensemen -- three times and played on three Canada Cup winners.
"I was able to play on championship teams both in the NHL and at the international level alongside so many players," said Coffey, who played 1,409 regular season games. "And I will remember these experiences forever."
Thrashers extend coach's contract
ATLANTA, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Thrashers Wednesday rewarded coach Curt Fraser for his team's "hard work and gutsy play," giving him a contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.
Fraser, who has a history with general manager Don Waddell, has been the Thrashers' only coach since they joined the NHL in 1999. Atlanta went a league-worst 14-61-4-7 during its expansion season before going 23-45-12-2 in 2000-01.
The Thrashers have not been able to compete on a talent level, but they have taken on the scrappy personality of their coach, who had 1,306 penalty minutes during a 12-year playing career.
"The integrity, perseverance and leadership that he embodied as an NHL player continue to be equally evident behind the bench," Waddell said. "(Fraser) demands the most from his players and they have responded with hard work and gutsy play."
Auerbach Celtics president again
BOSTON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Legendary NBA coach and executive Red Auerbach Wednesday regained the title of president of the Boston Celtics.
Already the Celtics' vice-chairman of the board, Auerbach was named president, a title that was vacant since Rick Pitino stepped down in January.
"Red Auerbach has been the cornerstone of our franchise for over the past five decades and he was the man who developed tradition with the Boston Celtics," team chairman Paul Gaston said. "The naming of his title and the success he has brought to Celtics fans everywhere is fitting for all he has accomplished in his distinguished career."
Auerbach was 938-479 in 20 seasons as coach, 16 of them with Boston. He directed the Celtics to nine titles, including an astounding eight in a row from 1959-1966.
Chiefs release Dan Williams
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The Kansas Chiefs Wednesday ended their rocky relationship with Dan Williams, releasing the veteran defensive tackle.
An eight-year veteran, Williams underwent offseason foot surgery and was placed on the physically unable to perform list on Sept. 2, preventing him from playing in the first six games of the season.
The Chiefs were not happy with Williams' rehabilitation, leading to Wednesday's move.
"He has been unable to pass our physical," team president Carl Peterson said. "Given his age and the new direction of our team, we believe it was in the best interest of Dan that we release him at this time."
Williams, 31, was a first-round selection of the Denver Broncos in 1993 and signed with Kansas City as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 1997 season.