Sports Update

Oct. 16, 2001 at 1:24 AM
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, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- In Sports from United Press International

New York Yankees and Seattle win AL Division Series

The New York Yankees became the first team in postseason history to win the final three games of a best-of-five series after dropping the first two at home Monday night as they posted a 5-3 triumph over the Oakland Athletics in their American League Division Series.

The Yankees open the American League Championship Series at Seattle Wednesday when they take on the Mariners who beat Cleveland Monday, 3-1.

Once again, the three-time defending world champions accomplished the unthinkable. New York dropped the opening two games at Yankee Stadium but won twice in Oakland to force a Game Five.

The Yankees even fell behind, 2-0, on Monday but got a clutch two-run single from rookie Alfonso Soriano, took advantage of some sloppy defense by the Athletics and received a key insurance homer from David Justice in the sixth inning.

The clincher featured a clutch moment by Derek Jeter and ended with a blazing Mariano Rivera fastball. New York capitalized on some terrible defense to scratch out four runs against Game One winner Mark Mulder (1-1). And after starter Roger Clemens surrendered three runs in 4 1/3 innings, Mike Stanton (1-0), Ramiro Mendoza and Rivera combined on 4 2/3 scoreless frames. Rivera went the final two to record his second save of the series.


The Seattle Mariners advanced to the American League Championship Series the way they rolled through the regular season as Jamie Moyer was brilliant over six innings, Kazuhiro Sasaki was dominant in the ninth and Ichiro Suzuki and Mark McLemore keyed the offense in a 3-1 triumph over the Cleveland Indians in Game Five of their Division Series.

Seattle won a major league record-tying 116 games in the regular season but trailed two games to one in the series and were losing in the seventh inning of Game Four on Sunday. But behind Suzuki, the Mariners rallied to win that game, and in Monday's decisive contest, baseball's best team took an early lead and was never headed.

Moyer (2-0) allowed a run and three hits en route to his second victory of the series. The 38-year-old lefthander continued his mastery of the Indians. In four outings against Cleveland this season, he was 4-0 with 1.03 ERA. The Mariners' bullpen trio of Jeff Nelson, Arthur Rhodes and Sasaki combined to allow one single over the final three innings.

Seattle broke on top 2-0 in the second inning, highlighted by a two-out, two-run single by McLemore, who had just three hits in the series. The veteran utility player also filled in admirably for ailing shortstop Carlos Guillen in the series.

Suzuki went 3-for-4 with a run scored and was the dominant offensive force in the series. The Japanese rookie sensation tied a Division Series record with 12 hits and batted .600 over the five games.

Cleveland's Chuck Finley (0-2) pitched much better than he did in Game Two but suffered his second loss of the series. The veteran lefthander allowed two runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings.


In the National League, Arizona edged St. Louis 2-1 Sunday to move into the title series and will host Atlanta Tuesday.

Chargers linebacker coach resigns

SAN DIEGO, Calif., Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Joe Vechiarella, the linebackers coach for the San Diego Chargers since 1997, resigned Monday, citing "personal reasons."

Vechiarella, 64, has spent 36 years in coaching, including 20 in the NFL.

Vechiarella had been calling the defensive plays in the absence of coordinator Joe Pascale, who just underwent his third back surgery and is expected to miss an extended period.

"We're saddened at Jim's decision," Chargers coach Mike Riley said. "But I understand he must do what he has to do. He's an outstanding football coach and person. We'll miss him around here."

Riley announced that Dick Roach will coach the linebackers for the remainder of the season.

Roach, 64, last coached in the NFL as a defensive assistant with the Seattle Seahawks. From 1987-97, he served as a defensive assistant with the Buffalo Bills, who reached four straight Super Bowls in that span.

Defensive corners coach Mark Banker will assume the play-calling duties for the defense. Rod Perry will coach the secondary, including cornerbacks and safeties.

Craven gets first Winston Cup win

MARTINSVILLE, Va., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Ricky Craven, in a career that appeared to be over just last year, finally is a winner as he was able to hold off Dale Jarrett in a side-by side finish Monday and claim his first career NASCAR Winston Cup victory in the Old Dominion 500.

The race was scheduled for Sunday but was postponed by rain.

Craven had pulled away from the field on a restart 16 laps from the finish and edged Jarrett by 0.141 seconds in the final short-track race of the Winston Cup season.

While others were too busy beating and banging each other, Craven was able to keep his cool and used a four-tire pit stop with 53 laps left to fine-tune his Ford.

Craven drove to victory at an average speed of 75.746 miles per hour after leading three times for 94 laps--the most of any driver in the race.

It also was the first career win for team owner Cal Wells, a longtime competitor in off-road racing and a former CART team owner. He scored his first win in that series in 2000 with Cristiano da Matta winning the Target Grand Prix at Chicago Motor Speedway.

Cannucks Bertuzzi banned 10 games

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Vancouver Canucks left wing Todd Bertuzzi received one of the longest suspensions in NHL history Monday, an automatic 10-game ban for leaving the bench to start a fight.

Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice president and director of hockey operations, made the announcement after reviewing Saturday's incident.

With 6:51 left in a 4-0 home win over Colorado, Bertuzzi left the bench to join a fight between teammate Ed Jovanovski and Avalanche enforcer Scott Parker.

Bertuzzi received a game misconduct and was automatically suspended under Rule 72 after leaving the players' bench "for the purpose of starting an altercation." In addition to the suspension, Bertuzzi will forfeit 10 games' pay, or $118,556. The Canucks were fined an additional $10,000.

Parker was suspended two games for entering the game on a legal line change and starting an altercation. He will forfeit $6,055.

Bertuzzi's suspension is just the 17th of 10 games or more in NHL history and the sixth since Campbell was named the league's "deputy" for the 1998-99 season.

The 6-3, 225-pound Bertuzzi has a goal and three assists in five games this season. In 2000-01, he blossomed into one of the best power forwards in the NHL, recording 25 goals and 30 assists in 79 games.

Bertuzzi will be eligible to return to the lineup November 6 at Columbus.

Webber out at least a month

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- It appears the Sacramento Kings will have to begin the season without their $123 million man.

Forward Chris Webber suffered a high left ankle sprain in the first quarter of an exhibition game against the Dallas Mavericks and could be sidelined four to six weeks, a club spokesman said.

The Kings open the 2001-02 campaign October 30 against the Seattle SuperSonics.

The injury could have been worse. Webber, the most coveted free agent on this summer's market before re-signing with the Kings for $123 million over seven years, slipped on a wet spot under Sacramento's basket and had to be carried off the court.

X-rays taken Monday at the UC-Davis Medical Center were negative.

Last season, the All-Star power forward averaged 27.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game and led the franchise to its first playoff series win in 20 years.

Webber, 28, was sixth in the NBA in scoring and seventh in rebounding. He finished fourth in voting for Most Valuable Player.

Auto racer fined $50,000

DETROIT, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Paul Tracy of Canada was fined $50,000, placed on probation and stripped of three championship points by CART on Monday for his actions during and after Sunday's Shell 300 Grand Prix of Monterey.

CART chief steward Chris Kneifel cited Tracy for violations relating to four separate incidents of unjustifiable risk, an unsafe act, unsportsmanlike conduct and criticism of officials.

The fine is the largest assessed to a driver in the series since Alex Zanardi was fined the same amount for an on-track infraction at Mid-Ohio in 1998. Tracy is on probation for the remaining two races in Australia and at California Speedway.

"Paul's lack of consideration for the safety of fellow competitors and their crew members on Sunday is a matter of great concern and is not expected of a driver of his caliber at this level of competition," Kneifel said.

The loss of three points drops Tracy from 11th to 12th in the standings with 73, one behind Roberto Moreno of Patrick Racing.

The initial incident occured during a full-course caution on lap 50, when Tracy and team Penske driver Helio Castroneves of Brazil entered the pits for routine stops. On the exit, Castroneves lost slight control of his car and moved partially into the "fast (right) lane" in the path where Tracy was driving.

In the opinion of the CART stewards Castroneves did not impede the progress of Tracy, and therefore committed no violation.

The second infraction occurred on lap 53 when Tracy pitted again during a caution and drove through several pit boxes to his pit area, where he executed a tire-smoking "burnout" before exiting. The stewards said this represented both an unsafe act and unsportsmanlike conduct.

On the same caution between laps 53-55, CART observers around the track reported deliberate nose-to-tail contact initiated by Tracy against Walker Racing rookie Toranosuke Takagi of Japan. This act represented further unjustifiable risk and reckless endangerment, in the opinion of the stewards.

Tracy retired from the race on lap 61 after going into the gravel trap. In his post-race comments following his exit, Tracy had some strong words for Castroneves and the way things are run by the CART stewards.

Rams lose Marshall Faulk

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Marshall Faulk, the St. Louis Rams' injured star running back and reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, will be out of action for at least one week, the team announced Monday.

Faulk suffered a bruised right knee late in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the New York Giants and will miss this weekend's contest against the New York Jets.

The Rams originally diagnosed the injury as a sprained right medial collateral ligament, but an MRI revealed no severe ligament or cartilage damage. Rams coach Mike Martz feared that Faulk may be sidelined for at least three weeks.

"They (the doctors) think he will be out somewhere between three to four weeks," Martz said.

Faulk will be re-evaluated next week and believes it is possible he could return for a key NFC West game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 28.

Penguins fire coach

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The winless Pittsburgh Penguins fired Coach Ivan Hlinka Monday and replaced him with Rick Kehoe. Hlinka coached the Penguins to the Eastern Conference finals last spring but lost his first four games this season.

Kehoe had spent 27 seasons in the Pittsburgh organization, including 14 as an assistant.

A native of Czechoslovakia, Hlinka's days in Pittsburgh appeared to be numbered after countryman and five-time NHL scoring champion Jaromir Jagr was traded to the Washington Capitals over the summer.

Hlinka was not a favorite of owner/superstar Mario Lemieux, and the slow start this season apparently sealed his fate.

Capriati is the new No. 1

STAMFORD, Conn., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Jennifer Capriati officially became No. 1 in women's tennis Monday.

With 4,867 points, Capriati moved 25 ahead of Martina Hingis of Switzerland in the WTA rankings. Hingis had occupied the top spot for 73 consecutive weeks. The American became the ninth woman to be ranked No. 1 in the history of the computer rankings.

Capriati lost in the quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Filderstadt, Germany on Friday. But the 25-year-old knew she had ascended to No. 1 for the first time after Hingis was forced to retire from her semifinal with American Lindsay Davenport due to an ankle injury.

The Florida resident has reached tremendous expectations and battled through various personal problems in her career to reach the top of the WTA list.

At age 14, Capriati became the youngest player to be ranked in the top 10, reach a Grand Slam semifinal at the 1990 French Open and be seeded in a Grand Slam event at the 1990 Wimbledon Championships

Two Chiefs sidelined

KANSAS CITY, MO. Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The Kansas City Chiefs, off to a 1-4 start, had more woes Monday with the announcement that starting cornerback Ray Crockett and right tackle Victor Riley would be sidelined indefinitely.

The Chiefs said both suffered serious injuries in the 20-17 loss Sunday to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Crockett, who was signed as a free agent to a six-year, $21.5 million contract, broke his right hand and Riley, a starter at right tackle for 51 straight games, suffered a broken right leg.

Second-year player William Bartee, who had been used as a nickel ack, will likely replace Crockett. But the injury to Riley will create more problems for the

Chiefs may be forced to slide Pro Bowl guard Will Shields to tackle.

Blues extend MacInnis contract

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Al MacInnis, long regarded as one of the National Hockey League's premier efenseman, signed a two-year contraction extension Monday with the St. Louis Blues that will keep him with the club through the 2003-04 season.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the deal to be worth $14 million.

In his eighth season with the Blues, MacInnis, 38, captured the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman in 1998-99 and owns the league's hardest slapshot.

MacInnis has played in 463 games for the Blues, tied with Gary Sabourin for ninth on the team's all-time list. He is St. Louis' all-time leading scorer among defensemen, registering 339 points on 100 goals and 239 assists.

Ferreira opens defense with win

STUTTGART, Germany, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- South Africa's Wayne Ferreira opened defense of his Stuttgart title on Monday with a three-set victory over Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia in the first round of this $2.95 million Tennis Masters Series event.

Ferreira defeated Hrbaty, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, for only his second win in his last nine matches. His only other match win since reaching the quarterfinals at Nottingham in June was a second-round victory two weeks ago at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Ferreira improved to 3-0 against Hrbaty, with whom he had been praticing with the last few days. He will next take on No. 11 Roger Federer.

Hrbaty had been playing well entering this tournament, reaching the semifinals in two of his previous three ATP events.

With the top 16 seeds gaining first-round byes, all 10 matches Monday involved only unseeded players.

Schett, Rubin win at Zurich

ZURICH, Switzerland, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Barbara Schett of Austria avoided a three-match losing streak Monday with a 6-1, 6-2 rout of Magui Serna of Spain in the first round of the $1.19 million Swisscom Challenge.

Chanda Rubin, of the United States also won, defeating Spain's Angeles Montolio, 6-1, 6-3, to advance to a meeting with fourth seed Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia. Dokic has won two of her last three events.

Schett lost tp Rubin in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Filderstadt, Germany, last week after reaching the quarterfinals at the Kremlin Cup the week before.

The 25-year-old Austrian is making her sixth straight appearance in Zurich, with her best result coming last year when she upset the third and fifth seeds to advance to the semifinals. She fell to eventual winner Lindsay Davenport.

In the only other singles match Monday, Nadia Petrova of Russia routed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, 6-2, 6-0. The 19-year-old beat Schnyder for the first time in three lifetime meetings.

Petrova takes on new world No. 1 Jennifer Capriati of the United States, who lost in the quarterfinals last week in Filderstadt but gained the top spot when Martina Hingis injured her ankle in the semifinals and was forced to retire. Hingis will be sidelined six to eight weeks.

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