Yankees near playoff exit
NEW YORK, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- For the second straight game at Yankee Stadium, the home fans were treated to the kind of baseball they are used to seeing in the playoffs.
But it was not the New York Yankees who were producing it.
Using the same formula the Yankees have employed to win three straight World Series titles -- quality pitching and solid defense -- the Oakland Athletics pushed New York to the brink of playoff elimination Thursday night.
Facing a two games to none deficit, the Yankees now travel to Oakland, where they have not won all year.
The Athletics also have not lost at home since Aug. 24, having won 17 consecutive games in their own stadium.
Ron Gant put Oakland ahead with a leadoff homer in the fourth inning and the Athletics added an unearned run off Mariano Rivera in the ninth as they closed in on their first playoff series win in 11 years.
Hudson allowed six hits, walked one and struck out three, constatly coming up with the big pitch when he had to. Through five innings, New York had only one hit -- a one-out single by Derek Jeter in the first inning.
The Oakland righthander then retired 12 in a row. Although the Yankees put seven runners on base during the final four innings, they could not produce the timely hit.
In Seattle, the Mariners were able to do what the Yankees could not. Seattle bounced back from a series opening loss with a 5-1 victory that evened the Mariners' series with Cleveland.
After equaling the all-time record for victories in a major league season with 116, Seattle found itself facing a must-win situation after dropping the series opener Tuesday.
The Mariners responded by scoring all their runs on homers and Moyer continued the form he displayed during the latter part of the season. Game 3 will be played in Cleveland Saturday.
Action resumes in the National League today with the Atlanta Braves trying to become the first team to advance in the playoffs this year.
The Braves will take a 2-0 lead into its meeting with Houston today with John Burkett going for Atkanta and Shane Reynolds for the Astros.
Miguel Batista will be on the mound for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they play in St. Louis tonight in a series that is tied at 1-1. The Cardinals will countery with Darryl Kile.
Of the eight playoff games contested thus far, six have been won by the visiting team.
Michael Jordan returns to the court
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Michael Jordan blocked a shot in the game's opening minutes and scored the first points of the contest Thursday night as he returned to the NBA following a three-year absence in a 95-85 exhibition decision for the Detroit Pistons over the Washington Redskins.
Jordan, who at first announced he would skip the game but then reconsidered when he learned 22,000 tickets had been sold, scored eight points in 17 minutes.
Having teased NBA fans with his possible comeback for months, Jordan finally took the court. Considered the greatest player his sport has ever seen, he received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
"It's a great sense of respect they pay me," Jordan said. "I think they're very loyal to their team. I certainly appreciate it. It inspires me to continue my job as a basketball player."
Early in the game, Jordan came from the weak side to swat a shot out of bounds and later used a headfake to free himself for a 20-footer over Corliss Williamson.
Jordan also converted an alley-oop pass, although he simply laid it in instead of hammering it home as he had done throughout his stellar career. He also had trouble defending Williamson in the post and clearly was not as quick as he was when he left the NBA on top three years ago.
"I kind of surprised myself because my energy level was pretty good," Jordan said. "In the first quarter, I thought I was OK. I still have room for improvement in terms of my wind. My legs are coming back. I'm on schedule. It's been three years since I played an exhibition game and obviously it's going to take some time."
Jordan did not play in the second half, ignoring chants of "We want Jordan" from the crowd.
Other NBA exhibition results: Toronto 115, Minnesota 8t; Miami 92, Milwaukee 89; New York 90, New Jersey 85; Indiana 99, Atlanta 94; Dallas 115, Houston 110; Denver 94, Seattle 92.
Islanders set NHL record
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Mark Parrish recorded his second career hat trick Thursday night as the New York Islanders spoiled the New Jersey Devils' home opener with a 6-4 victory.
The Islanders became the first team in NHL history to begin the season with four straight road wins.
0, New York is off to its best start since 1976-77. But no team had gone 4-0 while playing entirely on the road until the surprising Islanders and rookie coach Peter Laviolette.
Parrish tallied twice in the decisive four-goal third period, sealing the win by scoring New York's fourth power-play tally of the night into an empty net with two seconds remaining. He leads the league with eight goals after scoring 17 in 70 games last season.
Shawn Bates scored the go-ahead goal with 10:56 remaining and added an assist for the Islanders, who did not record their fourth win last season until their ninth game on Oct. 31.
Jason Arnott collected two goals and two assists on his 27th birthday for the Devils, who are off to their second 0-2-0 start in four seasons.
Other NHL results: Toronto 3, Carolina 2; Los Angeles 6, St. Louis 5; Nashville 1, Calgary 0; Chicago 3, Phoenix 0' Vancouver 4, Dallas 1; Edmonton 5, Colorado 3; San Jose 4, Tampa Bay 3.
Maryland remains unbeaten
ATLANTA, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The struggling Nick Novak kicked a career-long 46-yard field goal on the final play of regulation and a 26-yarder in overtime Thursday night, giving unbeaten Maryland a 20-17 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over No. 15 Georgia Tech.
Novak, a freshman, missed seven of his first 11 field goals and had been the weak link of a 20th-ranked Maryland team that has been one of the biggest surprises of the college football season.
His miss from 32 yards in the third quarter allowed Tech to stay in the game and rally in the second half. When Luke Manget made a 39-yarder with 6:33 left in the fourth quarter, the Yellow Jackets had a 17-14 lead.
In the final minute, however, Shaun Hill directed a desperation drive. His 17-yard pass moved the Terrapins (6-0, 4-0 ACC) to the Tech 29-yard line and Novak drilled the tying kick, forcing overtime.
Maryland had the first possession of the extra session and moved to the nine, from where Novak again came through.
After George Godsey completed a short pass, Tech fumbled and the Terps recovered, extending their best start since going 8-0 in 1978 under Jerry Claiborne.
USA tries to qualify for 2002 Davis Cup
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Oct. 12 (PI) -- The United States' quest for a record 32nd Davis Cup title begins today against India.
Youngsters Andy Roddick and James Blake lead the Americans into Joel Coliseum for a qualifying round encounter that was supposed to be held Sept. 21-23, but was postponed after the terrorist attacks.
The unheralded American squad, which includes the doubles team of Don Johnson and Jared Palmer, will be trying to help its country in the first step of a long process.
The first step to the 2002 Davis Cup title begins today with a pair of singles matches. There is a doubles match Saturday and the singles matchups are reversed Sunday.
The United States was relegated to the qualifying round early this year after losing to Switzerland in a World Group first-round tie. Australia and France will meet later this year for the 2001 title.
A loss to India will keep the Americans out of the World Group, preventing them from competing for the Davis Cup next year and dropping them into a qualifying zone for 2003. It also would push their title drought to seven years.
Lehman equals PGA Tour record
LAS VEGAS, Nev., Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Six weeks after one of the most disappointing moments of his career, Tom Lehman matched the PGA Tour's 36-hole scoring record Thursday to take the lead at the Invensys Classic.
Lehman's 36-hole total tied the tour record set by Tiger Woods at the 2000 NEC Invitational.
Couples, winless since 1998, added a 64 to his opening round 63, but had to settle for second place at 127. Couples played the TPC at the Canyons on Thursday in the event's three-course rotation. That course is a par 71 while the other two courses played in the tournament have a par of 72.
Daly also played the Canyons and shot a 62 to put himself alone in third at 129. Daly has three top-four finishes during the last five weeks, including a victory at the European Tour's BMW International.
"The expectations were high coming in here," said Lehman, who is winless since January 2000 and has missed three straight cuts. "The clubs feel comfortable in my hands."
This is Lehman's first appearance since.
WTA event canceled
STAMFORD, Conn., Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The WTA Tour announced Thursday it had canceled an upcoming tournament in Indonesia due to an escalation of political unrest in the area in the wake of the United States' military action in Afghanistan.
The WTA took the action to ensure the safety of its players after consulting with its security experts.
The tournament, scheduled to begin on Oct. 29 in Surabaya, will remain on the WTA calendar for next year.
"It was a painful decision because of steps taken by the tournament staff and their sponsors to ensure a terrific event," WTA CEO Bart McGuire said. "However, with the increased instability in the area, we decided, together with tournament management and our security experts, that the event had to be canceled as a precautionary measure."