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In Sports from United Press International

Sept. 27, 2002 at 12:13 AM   |   Comments

American League playoff berths filled

SEATTLE, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The final berths in the American League playoffs were determined Thursday with Oakland finally clinching the Western Division title and the Anaheim Angels wrapping up the wild card spot.

Miguel Tejada belted a game-tying homer in the ninth inning and added an RBI single in the 10th as the Athletics clinched the division title with a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Oakland improved to 100-59, notching consecutive 100-win seasons for the first time. The Athletics will open the playoffs next Tuesday against Central Division champion Minnesota. Anaheim will face the New York Yankees.

Seattle, which was eliminated from playoff contention by Anaheim's victory earlier Thursday, took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning and gave the ball to closer Kazuhiro Sasaki, who got the first out.

Tejada, who has been heroic throughout the stretch drive, followed with an opposite-field homer down the right field line to tie the game.

The Athletics began the winning rally in the 10th when pinch-hitter David Justice led off with a walk. Shigetoshi Hasegawa (8-3) retired the next two hitters before issuing a walk to Ray Durham.

Scott Hatteberg came through and delivered a two-run double to give Oakland the lead. Tejada, who notched his second four-hit game of the season, followed with a run-scoring single.

In Arlington, Texas, the Angels secured their first playoff berth in 16 years with a 10-5 victory over the Texas Rangers as Garret Anderson belted a three-run homer.

Anaheim stopped a four-game losing streak and are headed to the postseason for the first time since 1986. It will be only the third playoff appearance in their 42-year history.

After squandering their last four chances to clinch a playoff spot, the Angels got a big hit from their most productive player in Anderson, who smacked his three-run homer in the fifth for a 6-2 lead.

Other American League results: Chicago 3, Boston 2; Toronto 5, Baltimore 1; Cleveland 8, Minnesota 4; Kansas City 7, Detroit 2. Tampa Bay's game at New York was rained out and will be made up only if it plays a role in determining whether the Yankees or Athletics will have the best record in the league.


Diamondbacks end losing streak

PHOENIX, Ariz., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- A bases loaded triple in the third inning by Matt Williams and a complete-game effort by Randy Johnson carried the Arizona Diamondbacks to their first win in seven tries Thursday night, 4-2 over Colorado, and brought them nearer the NL West title.

The Diamondbacks boosted their lead over San Francisco to 2 1/2 games with Arizona having three games remaining and the Giants having four left.

Johnson (24-5) gave up six hits, walked two and struck out eight. Both walks came in the ninth inning, when Johnson loaded the bases with two outs before nailing down the victory.

Other National league results: Cincinnati 1, Chicago 0; Montreal 4, Florida 3; St. Louis 9, Milwaukee 1. Atlanta's game at Phildelphia was canceled due to rain, as was New York's game at Pittsburgh.


Jordan will play again

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Michael Jordan confirmed Thursday that he will play a 15th NBA season and indicated there is no guarantee that he will come off the bench for the first time in his glorious career.

Jordan signed a two-year contract with the Washington Wizards when he ended his second retirement. After missing 22 games with knee problems last season, Jordan said he is eager to fulfill his contract and is ready for the rigors of another NBA season.

"I am excited to return to the basketball court this year," Jordan said. "My love for the game of basketball continues to drive my decision. Physically, I am feeling very strong, and feel that the steps I took in the offseason have allowed me to return to the court in great condition."

Coach Doug Collins said previously that the Wizards would use Jordan off the bench, but Jordan stressed that the decision is not a final one.

The 39-year-old Jordan will be part of a backcourt that includes Jerry Stackhouse, who was acquired in a trade with the Detroit Pistons, and Larry Hughes, a free agent from Golden State.

The five-time NBA Most Valuable Player averaged 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists last season.


Moss apologizes for arrest

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- While claiming the incident that resulted in his arrest was blown out of proportion, Minnesota Vikings receiver Randy Moss apologized Thursday to his teammates, family and friends.

Moss was charged with two misdemeanors and released from jail Wednesday, one day after he allegedly bumped a female traffic officer with his car. But Moss stopped short of apologizing to the officer, Amy Zaccardi, during a rambling discourse at a news conference.

"I'm sorry for what I caused and what I brought to those who really care about me," Moss said.

Moss appeared nervous and uneasy during the news conference, often looking down and avoiding eye contact with those present. He asked the media to let the legal process run its course before judging him.

"These last couple of days have been really troublesome," Moss said. "I don't know who's with me and who's against me."

At first it was believed that Moss would face a felony count of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon. Instead, he was charged with careless driving and failure to obey a traffic officer.

"I don't know if trouble is out to find me, but I'm not out there to find trouble," Moss said.


Woods to play in opening Ryder Cup match

SUTTON COLDFIELD, England, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The 37th Ryder Cup gets underway Friday with Tiger Woods and Paul Azinger playing for the United States in the opening match.

The opening ceremony was held under sunny skies Thursday that included a moving tribute to the memory of those affected by last year's terrorist attacks.

The Ryder Cup was one of the first major international sporting events disrupted by the events of Sept. 11, eventually being postponed a full year.

"These matches would have taken place a year ago had it not been for those attacks on Sept. 11," The Right Rev. Antony Dittus said during the opening ceremonies. "Those events remain much in our minds a year on.

"While they led to a war on terrorism, they also must continue to lead us all to do everything we can to foster and work for peace and for reconciliation between all peoples and all nations."

A moment of silence was held in the midst of the ceremonies, followed by a lone piper playing, "Amazing Grace."

"Not a day goes by that we don't remember just why we're playing these matches in the year 2002," Strange said in his opening remarks. "Every country represented here lost citizens that day.

"Some of have said that because of that, the exictement for this event has lessened. We will show how wrong they are. I can't imagine a Ryder Cup not being a thrilling competition. I can promise you these players are eager."

Woods and Azinger will face Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn in the first of the morning's fourball matches. The other three matches will send David Duval and Davis Love III against Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood; Scott Hoch and Jim Furyk against Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer; and Phil Mickelson and David Toms against Padraig Harrington and Niclas Fasth.


Gamez leads Texas Open

SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Robert Gamez shot a course-record 7-under-par 63 Thursday and held a one-shot lead after the first round of the Texas Open.

While the eyes of the golf world will be on the Ryder Cup this weekend, Gamez tried to get the best to a field that included 14 former Ryder Cup players.

Gamez had few problems at the LaCentera Golf Club, posting a round that included nine birdies and two bogeys. Gamez had a one-shot lead over John Huston and Frank Lickliter II and was two strokes in front of D.A. Weibring.

Two-time defending champion Justin Leonard, who sank the putt that clinched the 1999 Ryder Cup for the United States, is trying to become the second player to win this tournament three times. Leonard opened with a 1-under 69.


New England wins playoff opener

FOXBORO, Mass., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Taylor Twellman and Daniel Hernandez scored Thursday night as the New England Revolution opened the playoffs with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire.

New England gained three points for the victory and the first team to reach five points advances to the semifinals. New England plays at Chicago in Game 2 Sunday night.

The leading scorer in the MLS, Twellman gave the Revolution the lead for good in the 13th minute, heading the ball past goalkeeper Zach Thornton off a a free kick.

Hernandez provided the insurance tally in the 60th minute by beating Thornton from 25 yards out.

On a rainy night, the Fire had few good scoring opportunties as the Revolution defense stopped most shots before they even reached goalkeeper Adin Brown.

Dallas, Los Angeles and Columbus won their series openers Thursday night. The playoffs resume Saturday.


Pace out for two to three weeks

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The St. Louis Rams announced Thursday that left tackle Orlando Pace, the anchor of their offensive line, will miss the next two to three weeks with a calf injury.

A three-time Pro Bowler and one of the league's premier tackles, the 6-7, 325-pound Pace was injured in Wednesday's practice.

The loss of Pace is another blow to the defending NFC champion Rams, who are winless and already thin along the offensive line.

With Pace sidelined, the Rams will probably start Grant Williams, who was acquired prior to the season from the New England Patriots.


Morrow signs three-year deal

IRVING, Texas, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The Dallas Stars agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension Thursday with left wing Brenden Morrow on Thursday.

Morrow had 17 goals, 18 assists and 109 penalty minutes in 72 games last season. A solid defensive player, Morrow was eighth among NHL forwards with 214 hits.

The 23-year-old Morrow was selected by the Stars in the first round of the 1997 draft and has 51 goals, 61 assists and 318 penalty minutes in 218 career games. In 31 playoff games, he has two goals and seven assists.


Bure has surgery

NEW YORK, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- New York Rangers star right wing Pavel Bure underwent successful arthroscopic surgery Thursday on his twice-rebuilt right knee on.

An MRI taken on Wednesday revealed that Bure has a posterior tear of the medial meniscus, but showed no damage to either the ACL or the MCL. The tear was repaired in surgery performed by team physician Dr. Andrew Feldman and Bure's rehabilitation process is expected to last only two weeks.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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