Giants look to close out Cardinals
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The San Francisco Giants Monday look to move into the World Series as they host Game Five of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Giants slugger Barry Bonds is one step away from reaching the Fall Classic for the first time in his illustrious career. He had a chance with Pittsburgh in 1992 but the Atlanta Braves scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in the decisive seventh game of the NLCS.
Bonds played a key role in San Francisco's 4-3 victory over the Cards on Sunday that gave the Giants a three games to one lead in the series.
He was issued a two-out intentional walk in the eighth inning and catcher Benito Santiago followed with a two-run homer for a 4-2 advantage.
"Well, yeah, we know that if we win tomorrow, we're going to the World Series, but you know, we know we still have a lot of work to do," said Giants first baseman J.T. Snow. "That's a good team over there. We've played some pretty good games the last four games, and they keep coming back at us and we keep coming back at them."
The Cardinals suffered their first loss in four road postseason games.
In Game Five, Giants lefthander Kirk Rueter (1-1, 12.38 ERA) tries for his second victory of the LCS. Rueter was the winner in Game One, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings in a 9-6 victory.
Rueter went 5-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 16 starts at home this season. The veteran is 2-1 lifetime with a 2.02 ERA against the Cardinals.
"I take the same philosophy here or on the road," Rueter said. "Even though this is more of a pitcher's park, you still have to make your pitches because, I mean, this park has proven that you can give up home runs. I mean, obviously, Barry hits a lot of them here."
Matt Morris (1-1, 6.35) looks to bounce back after his loss in Game One for St. Louis. He was pounded for seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
"You know, I'm going to go out there and keep my same game plan that I had in Game One," Morris said. "I don't think I ever was able to get to the execution part of it. The other day was kind of a blur. I'm going to focus on making pitches and keeping the ball down. I know that's what I said last time, too, but I'm serious this time."
Morris yielded just six hits in eight innings in a 4-0 victory in San Francisco on July 23. He has allowed just one earned run in 15 career innings at Pacific Bell Park.
The Cardinals are trying to become the first team to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS since the Atlanta Braves did it to them in 1996.
"You can't get down now," said Pujols. "You have to play like there is no tomorrow because, well, there is no tomorrow."
The Anaheim Angels await the NLCS winner. The Angels advanced to the World Series Sunday with a 13-5 Game Five rout of the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS.
Reports: Piniella wants to talk with Mets
SEATTLE, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Lou Piniella, who already has signed a deal to manage the Seattle Mariners in 2003, apparently would back out of the deal if he could catch on with the New York Mets.
Several media outlets, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and New York Newsday, have reported that Piniella has asked the Mariners permission to speak with the New York Mets, who fired Bobby Valentine earlier this month.
"The thing with me, basically, was the distance," Piniella told the Post-Intelligencer. "It got harder and harder, and that's the primary reason. There are family issues, and it just so happens there are a couple of jobs much closer to home. That's it."
Piniella, who lives in Tampa, Fla., apparently has become disenchanted with Seattle. One story in a New Jersey newspaper quoted an unnamed Mets source saying that club would be willing to compensate the Mariners with money or players to get Piniella as manager.
MLB.com, baseball's website, reported that Piniella got frustrated with ownership's refusal to improve the team heading into the trading deadline this past season, but that is not the reason he wants out.
"There were some frustrations, sure," he said. "The manager doesn't make (trade) decisions. People who own clubs make those decisions. I know that. (But) I've still got some time left in me. I don't have 10 years, but I've got enough for one more good contract. I'd like to win 1,500 (games as a manager) and would like, hopefully, to win one more championship."
The Mariners won 93 games this past season, but finished third in the powerful American League West Division, giving Piniella 1,319 career victories as a manager. Only two managers -- Fred Clarke and Joe Torre -- have won 1,500 games after getting at least 1,500 hits as a player.
Piniella, a two-time AL Manager of the Year, has a 10-year record of 840-711. He has led the Mariners to their only four postseason appearances in 25 seasons.
Fiedler suffers broken thumb
DAVIE, Fla., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins Monday learned that veteran quarterback Jay Fiedler likely will be sidelined for several weeks after suffering a broken right thumb in Sunday's dramatic come-from-behind 24-22 win at Denver.
Fiedler was hurt with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter. Team doctors say he will be sidelined indefinitely.
"It's a right thumb fracture, down near the joint," said Fiedler, who completing two passes for 39 yards to set up a game-winning 53-yard field goal by Olindo Mare with six seconds left.
Fiedler broke the thumb when he banged it off a helmet after completing a pass to running back Ricky Williams.
"It happened in the second-to-last drive on a throw to Ricky in the flat," said Fiedler, who has a cast on his right thumb. "I came down on a helmet and felt something loose in there, but I was still able to grip and throw."
Despite the injury, Fiedler came out for Miami's last possession after Jason Elam boomed a 55-yard field goal to give Denver a 22-21 lead with just 45 seconds remaining.
After two incomplete passes, Fiedler faced a third down play with 29 seconds left and fired a 17-yard pass to rookie tight end Randy McMichael.
Fiedler was fortunate on his next pass, which was tipped by Broncos linebacker John Mobley into the hands of Dolphins wide receiver Dedric Ward for a 22-yard gain to the Denver 35 with 11 seconds left, setting up Mare's winning kick.
The win gave the Dolphins (5-1) a two-game lead in the AFC East over New England and Buffalo.
Fiedler's injury tempered the elation for Coach Dave Wannstedt.
Ray Lucas is Miami's backup quarterback, and former Washington Redskin Sage Rosenfels is third string.
The Dolphins host Buffalo this Sunday before a bye week. At 5-1, Miami is tied with San Diego, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay for best overall record in the NFL.
Broken leg sidelines Rams lineman
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The St. Louis Rams, who finally got their first win of the season Sunday by knocking off the previously unbeaten Oakland Raiders, lost offensive tackle Grant Williams in the process for the balance of the 2002 campaign.
Williams, 28, who has been playing in place of injured All-Pro Orlando Pace, suffered a dislocated ankle and a fractured fibula.
"The fibula is an outer bone on the outside of the shin," said head trainer Jim Anderson. "They're going to operate on it (Monday) morning. They're going to put a plate in the fibula, and put a couple screws across the ankle bone."
The 6-7, 320-pound Williams, in his seventh NFL season, was hurt on the second play of the second quarter, and watched the rest of the game on a monitor in the lockerroom.
"The win makes me feel better than anything," Williams said. "Obviously, I would have liked to be out there, but watching in here I saw a different team. I saw passion. It was the best team in the NFL, an undefeated team - and us saying, 'That should be us.'"
Pace, who is recovering from a torn calf, hopes to be ready for next Sunday's contest against the Seattle Seahawks, one of Williams' former teams. He also has played for the New England Patriots.
Jaguars lose lineman for season
JACKSONVILLE, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars Monday learned that they won't have the services of offensive tackle Maurice Williams for the balance of the 2002 season after he suffered a broken fibula in his right leg in Sunday's 23-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Jaguars Coach Tom Coughlin said in his Monday media briefing that Williams will undergo surgery Wednesday and be placed on injured reserve, ending his season.
Williams, 23, in his second year out of Michigan and had started each of the 21 games in his NFL career, had to be carted off the field late in the first quarter after a play in which he was pass blocking for quarterback Mark Brunell.
The 6-5, 310-pounder was on crutches after the game.
"It's very disappointing, because I've never missed a game or had to go through the whole effect of being injured," Williams said. "It's emotional for me. It's hurting pretty bad. I'm just going to see how fast I can get back. I've never had a broken leg before -- ever."
With Williams out, the Jaguars likely will use six-year veteran Todd Fordham at right tackle.
The veteran veteran quarterback Mark Brunell also was forced to the sideline in Sunday's game with a concussion early in the first quarter. He was replaced by rookie David Garrard from East Carolina.
Coughlin said Brunell is progressing, but would not know anything more on his status until later in the week.
Jacksonville (3-2) plays at Baltimore (2-3) next Sunday.
Miami strengthens grip on No. 1
ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Miami remained No. 1 while Texas fell to eighth in the latest USA Today/ESPN college football coaches poll.
After escaping with 28-27 victory over Florida State on Saturday, Miami (6-0) lost two first-place votes, earning 58 of a possible 61 and 1,522 points overall in the nationwide poll.
The Hurricanes rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and Florida State's Xavier Beitia was wide left on a 43-yard field-goal attempt as time expired at the Orange Bowl. Miami has the nation's longest winning streak with 28 consecutive victories.
Oklahoma (6-0) picked up the three remaining first-place votes and 1,457 points to move up one spot to second. The Sooners topped then-second-ranked Texas, 35-24, on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Longhorns (5-1) plummeted to eighth, allowing No. 3 Virginia Tech (6-0), No. 4 Ohio State (7-0), No. 5 Georgia (6-0), No. 6 Oregon (6-0) and No. 7 Notre Dame (6-0) to each move up one place.
Michigan (5-1) is ranked ninth, followed by North Carolina State (7-0), Washington State (6-1), LSU (5-1), Iowa State (6-1) and Florida State (5-2)
Air Force (6-0) and Iowa (6-1) each climbed four spots to 15th and 16th, respectively. Washington (4-2) fell one place to 17th while Tennessee (4-2) slid nine spots to 18th after an 18-13 loss to Georgia.
Kansas State (5-1) is ranked 19th, ahead of Southern California (4-2) and Penn State (4-2).
Mississippi (5-1) enters the poll at 22nd while fellow newcomer Bowling Green (5-0) steps in at No. 23. Florida's ranking dove eight places to No. 24, and Colorado (4-2) came in at No. 25.
Auburn (4-2), which was routed by Arkansas, 38-17; Wisconsin (5-2), a 32-29 loser to Indiana; and UCLA, which lost, 31-30, to Oregon, dropped out of the poll.