Yankees win series opener
SEATTLE, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The New York Yankees did Wednesday what they are used to doing in the playoffs -- just enough to win.
The Atlanta Braves, meanwhile, did more than enough to even their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
A two-run homer by Paul O'Neill and a dominating effort by Andy Pettitte carried the three-time defending champion Yankees to a 4-2 victory Wednesday over the Seattle Mariners in the opening game of the American League Championship Series.
Pettitte allowed three hits and struck out seven over eight innings to give the Yankees a solid start against a team that won a record-equaling 116 games during the regular season. Seattle beat New York in six of their nine meetings during the regular campaign.
It was the fourth straight win in the playoffs for the Yankees, who faced elimination three times against the Oakland Athletics in the division round and survived each contest. Game 2 will be played tonight.
Pettitte outpitched Seattle starter Aaron Sele, facing the minimum number of batters in all but one inning.
Sele had to work his way out of trouble in the first inning, but the Yankees touched him for the first run of the series in the second.
Jorge Posada reached on a leadoff walk and was still there two outs later. But Alfonso Soriano singled Posada to second and Chuck Knoblauch hit a sharp grounder down the third base line and the ball glanced off the glove of a diving David Bell.
As Bell scrambled for the ball in foul territory, Posada came around to score.
The Yankees increased their lead in the fourth on the key blow of the contest. Posada led off the inning with a double and O'Neill drove him home with a low liner to right that sailed into the seats.
In Phoenix, Javier Lopez made his first start of the playoffs and he put Atlanta in front with a two-out, two-run homer off the right-field foul pole in the seventh inning. The Braves then staged a two-out explosion in the eighth to storm past Arizona, 8-1, and deadlock the NLCS at a game each.
A pitcher's duel between Atlanta's Tom Glavine and Arizona's Miguel Batista disintegrated in favor of the Braves, who gained home-field advantage in the best-of-seven series. The action will resume Saturday night at Turner Field.
Batista retired the first two Atlanta batters in the seventh inning of what was a 1-1 game.
But he walked then Andruw Jones on four pitches, just the second baserunner Atlanta had managed since the first inning, and Lopez lined a shot off the foul pole to put the Braves in front. Lopez sat out Atlanta's division series sweep of Houston following a foot injury suffered during the final week of the regular season.
Mike Morgan came on to start the eighth for Arizona and he, like Batista, retired the first two batters of the inning.
But Julio Franco singled, Chipper Jones walked and both scored on a double by Brian Jordan. Greg Swindell was summoned to relieve Morgan and he promptly gave up a two-run homer to right by B.J. Surhoff that made it 7-1.
Bobby Witt was next to the mound and he surrendered consecutive singles to Andruw Jones, Lopez and Rey Sanchez to account for the final run of the game.
Glavine stayed around long enough to get the win, giving up five hits over seven innings with two walks and two strikeouts. Paul Bako worked a perfect eighth and John Smoltz did the same in the ninth.
Islanders stay unbeaten on the road
RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Alexei Yashin and Roman Hamrlik each had power-play goals and Chris Osgood recorded his second shutout with 20 saves Wednesday night the New York Islanders remained perfect in five road games with a 4-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
New York, which lost its only home game thus far, opened the scoring just 1:35 into the game when red-hot Mark Parrish fed Shawn Bates, who rammed the puck past Carolina goalie Arturs Irbe.
The Hurricanes had the better of play for the rest of the first period, but Ron Francis missed in close on a power play and Darren Langdon hit the post just seconds before time expired.
Yashin and Hamrlik each tallied on the power play in the third period. Yashin's fifth goal came off a feed from Hamrlik just 28 seconds into the period after Carolina right wing Craig Adams was whistled for roughing late in the second period.
The duo reversed roles just 3:04 later. Irbe failed to clear the puck from behind the net and Oleg Kvasha found Yashin on the left side. Yashin made a cross-ice pass to Hamrlik, who easily beat Irbe from in close.
New York made it 2-0 with 9:41 left in the second period. Mats Lindgren skated in untouched on Irbe and fed Dave Scatchard, who hit the post with his shot. But Brad Isbister cleaned up the rebound for his first goal of the season.
Other NHL results: the New York Rangers 4, New Jersey 3 in overtime; Dallas 2, St. Louis 2; Boston 2, Anaheim 2.
NASCAR orders use of restraints
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Facing mounting criticism regarding the safety of its drivers, NASCAR Wednesday mandated the use of head and neck restraints.
Drivers will be required to wear the HANS or Hutchens device beginning this weekend in its three national touring series -- Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck.
This weekend's events include Sunday's EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, where cars regularly surpass 200 miles per hour.
NASCAR has encouraged drivers to wear head and neck restraints following a string of fatal crashes at its races, including one at this year's Daytona 500 that claimed the life of seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt.
A prolonged investigation into Earnhardt's death was conducted by NASCAR and the results announced in August determined the legendary driver died from a basal skull fracture that may have been caused in part by an improperly installed seat belt.
However, Earnhardt was not wearing a HANS device, which also could have contributed to his death.
Los Angeles, San Jose reach MLS title game
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy both won on the road in overtime Wednesday night to set up a confrontation for the Major League Soccer championship.
Troy Dayak's goal four minutes into overtime Wednesday night gave the San Jose a 1-0 victory over the punchless Miami Fusion.
And in Chicago, Mauricio Cienfuegos scored eight minutes into overtime to put the Galaxy into the championship game with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire.
The Galaxy notched their second victory in the series, in which the first team to accumulate five points advanced. It will be the third trip to the MLS Cup for Los Angeles, which lost to D.C. United in 1996 and 1998.
San Jose was shut out, 1-0, in the opener of its series, but rebounded with a pair of shutouts of its own -- relying on a defense that allowed a league-low 29 goals during the season.
Capriati, Davenport advance
ZURICH, Switzerland, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Current world No. 1 Jennifer Capriati and former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport advanced to the quarterfinals Wednesday at the million Swisscom Challenge.
Capriati, the second seed, required three sets to get past Russian teenager Nadia Petrova, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, in their first career encounter.
Davenport, the third seed, had a much easier time beating South African Amanda Coetzer, for the 10th time in their 13 lifetime meetings, 6-3, 6-4.
Capriati, who on Monday became just the ninth player in the history of the computer rankings to ascend to the top spot, continues to enjoy a career-best season. The American claimed the Australian and French Open titles and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Brand returns to Chicago
CHICAGO, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Elton Brand scored 13 of his 22 points in the first half during his return to Chicago Wednesday night and the Los Angeles Clippers cruised to a 110-102 exhibition victory over the Bulls.
Brand played his first two seasons with the Bulls and averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. The 1999 top overall pick was thought to be the cornerstone of Chicago's rebuilding project but was traded to Los Angeles in a draft day deal.
Curry scored 11 points while Chandler was held scoreless as he fouled out in 13 minutes. Neither played started and both had trouble on defense.
Brand's big first half helped Los Angeles open a 63-50 lead. The Clippers (3-2) held on as Darius Miles scored 20 points and Jeff McInnis added 16. Versatile forward Lamar Odom did not play for Los Angeles, which shot 49 percent.
Other NBA exhibition results: Cleveland 110, Boston 95; Charlotte 97, Orlando 84; Indiana 106, Toronto 96; Minnesota 105, Milwaukee 100 in overtime; New York 98, Phoenix 91; Portland 101, Sacramento 100.
Moore lost for the season
PONTIAC, Mich., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A bad season for the Detroit Lions turned even worse Wednesday when Herman Moore was placed on injured reserve with a torn abdomen muscle.
The best receiver in franchise history will miss the rest of the season after tearing a muscle from his right hip in the second quarter of Sunday's 31-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Lions lost their opening four games under rookie coach Marty Mornhinweg and joined Buffalo and Washington as the only winless teams left in the NFL.
Moore holds most of the Lions' all-time receiving records, including career tallies of 670 receptions, 9,174 yards and 62 touchdowns. He also set a club record with 14 receptions in a game against Chicago in 1995 and, in that same year, set the NFL record for most receptions in a season with 123.
But Moore, a first-round pick in 1991, has been slowed by injuries the past two years and became a third option behind Germane Crowell and Johnnie Morton.
Eric Snow suffers broken thumb
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Eric Snow has been added to the Philadelphia 76ers' mounting list of injured players.
In his first game back following offseason ankle surgery, Snow fractured his left thumb in Tuesday's 94-75 exhibition loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
It has not been determined how long Snow will be sidelined, but the point guard will need surgery once the swelling goes down. Snow will be re-evaluated by 76ers physician Dr. Jack McPhilemy in Philadelphia this weekend.
With 40 seconds left in the first half, Snow fell to the floor in a scramble for a loose ball. X-rays taken at halftime revealed the fracture. Snow scored seven points in 18 minutes before the injury occurred.
Center Dikembe Mutombo missed Tuesday's game with lower back soreness and forward George Lynch has a foot injury.
Agassi loses in Stuttgart
STUTTGART, Germany, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Second-seeded Andre Agassi was ousted in the second round Wednesday at the Tennis Masters Series - Stuttgart.
Hicham Arazi of Morocco recorded a 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 upset of Agassi, who has captured a record 12 trophies at the nine Tennis Masters Series tournaments.
The Australian Open champion failed to take advantage of the opening created by top seed Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil, who went out in the second round Tuesday.
Agassi hoped to collect the 100 ATP Champions Race points that go to the winner of this event. The Las Vegas native currently sits just 72 points behind world No. 1 Kuerten as they battle for the top spot at year's end.
Tiger ends five-week absence
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Having already clinched his third straight PGA Player of the Year award, Tiger Woods returns from a five-year week absence today at the National Car Rental Classic.
Woods has not played since the Bell Canadian Classic in early September and has an insurmountable 54-point lead in the Player of the Year standings entering the tournament at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Woods, who calls Orlando home, will use this event in his backyard as a tuneup for the Tour Championship in two weeks. He has claimed five tournaments and earned more than $5.5 million in 2001.
While the presence of the world's No. 1 player adds luster to the tournament, it is crucial for players seeking to get into the 30-man Tour Championship and others hoping to maintain their cards. Only three events remain on the 2001 schedule.