Schilling, Burkett tangle in Atlanta
ATLANTA, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Curt Schilling has been the most effective pitcher of the postseason, allowing one run in two complete game victories, and the Arizona Diamondbacks are counting on another dominant performance tonight.
Schilling will be on the mound for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves. The series is tied at a game each.
Schilling (2-0, 0.50) threw seven scoreless innings in his only start against the Braves this season -- a 7-0 Diamondbacks win on Aug. 10 at Turner Field.
In the Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Schilling was virtually unhittable. He tossed a three-hit shutout in the series opener and a six-hitter in the decisive fifth game -- a 2-1 victory on Sunday. The only run he allowed against St. Louis was a solo home run to J.D. Drew in the eighth inning.
"We like our chances when Curt takes the mound," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "Whether it be the postseason or whether it be a regular season or a spring training game, we know we're going to get the same kind of consistent performance out of him. We like sending him out there."
Arizona will have to deal with John Burkett, who pitched a three-hit shutout in his one start against the Diamondbacks on April 27.
In Atlanta's three-game sweep over Houston in the division series, Burkett allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings in the clincher last Friday.
The American League Championship Series resumes Saturday with the three-time defending champion New York Yankees leading the Seattle Mariners, two games to none.
Report: La Russa returning to Cardinals
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today that Tony La Russa, who has won more than 500 games in six seasons with the team, has decided to remain with a new deal worth $2 million or more per season for probably two years.
According to the paper, the details of the contract are still being worked out by the 57-year-old La Russa and Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty, but could be completed in the next week.
"I'm looking forward to coming back," La Russa told the Post-Dispatch. "Let's go forward."
The former Oakland skipper, who guided the Athletics to a World Series championship in 1989 in the midst of three straight appearances, is 507-464 at the helm of the Cardinals.
St. Louis claimed the National League wild card this season and has also won two NL Central Division titles. But the Cardinals are just 2-3 in playoff series under La Russa.
Longhorns host Colorado in highlight game
AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Oklahoma began to restore its reputation as a national power last season with three impressive October wins. A year later, another Big 12 Conference school is in position to do the same.
After disposing of Kansas State and Texas A&M the last two weeks, No. 17 Colorado goes for the trifecta when it visits No. 8 Texas on Saturday.
It is Saturday's only college football game between ranked teams on a weekend when four of the top 10 teams are idle. Among those in action are No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Nebraska, who stage their final tuneups before next week's Big 12 showdown in Lincoln.
Colorado (5-1), which won a national title 11 years ago, has five straight wins after a season-opening loss to Fresno State.
The Buffaloes finally have responded to third-year coach Gary Barnett, who took Northwestern to two Big Ten Conference titles but was just 7-5 and 3-8 in his first two seasons with the Buffaloes.
Sophomore Craig Ochs seems to have improved with every game and has completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 1,105 yards and six touchdowns.
This week, Ochs shares the stage with Chris Simms, who bounced back from a poor game against Oklahoma two weeks ago to throw five touchdown passes in a 38-10 victory over Oklahoma State.
Texas (5-1) is seeking its 12th straight home victory. The Longhorns snapped a six-game losing streak to Colorado with a 28-14 victory in Boulder last season.
McCord fires course record
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Gary McCord fired a course-record 9-under-par 63 today, the lowest score he has shot on the Senior Tour, to open a two-shot lead after the first round of the SBC Championship.
This is the final event before the Senior PGA Tour's exclusive season-ending Tour Championship, which is open only to the top 31 players on the money list. McCord is winless this year, but has done enough to hold 26th place. He has a $60,000 lead on Graham Marsh, who is in 32nd place.
With $1.4 million in prize money available, every player from McCord through No. 43 Joe Inman is entered, hoping for a strong showing that will vault them into the Senior Tour Championship.
McCord had the strongest showing of all. He birdied the par-5 18th with a four-foot putt to break the Dominion Country Club mark of 64 set by J.C. Goosie in 1987 and matched by George Archer five years later.
Senior Tour rookie Bobby Wadkins shot a 65 to finish second after one round. Wadkins is 37th on the money list, amassing nearly $500,000 in just nine events, but needs the $210,000 first prize here to crash the year-end party.
Pineda Chacon wins MLS MVP honor
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Miami Fusion forward Alex Pineda Chacon, the league scoring champion in goals and points, today was named the MLS' Most Valuable Player.
The 31-year-old Pineda Chacon tallied 19 goals and 47 points while also breaking a host of Fusion records. He finished the regular season with a five-game goal-scoring streak, also a new franchise mark.
Pineda Chacon's seven-game winning goals led the MLS and he was named league Player of the Week four times this season, the most of any player. He is the first member of the Fusion to win the award.
Davenport, Capriati reach semifinals
ZURICH, Switzerland, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati overcame a pair of youngsters today to reach the semifinals of the Swisscom Challenge.
Daniela Hantuchova, a native of Slovakia, actually surprised Davenport by winning the first set. But the third seed quickly regroupedand completed a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory to improve to 32-5 this year.
Marie-Giane Mikaelian, a resident of Switzerland, was defeated by Capriati, 6-4, 6-2. Mikaelian had been 4-0 in quarterfinals this year.
Capriati and Davenport will meet in one semifinal Saturday and seeds Jelena Dokic of Yugoslvia and Nathalie Tauziat of France will square off in the other.
But the were no surprises Friday. With the late withdrawal of top seed and defending champion Martina Hingis, the top four remaining seeds advanced to the semifinals.
UAE keeps World Cup hopes alive
The United Arab Emirates kept alive its hopes for a berth in the World Cup today by rallying from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 tie with Oman that wrapped up second place in Group B of Asian Qualifying.
The field for the World Cup, meanwhile, will grow to 22 later in the weekend when either Iran or Saudi Arabia will earn a spot in next summer's tournament.
At least four and perhaps five nations from Asia will play in the World Cup, but two of those spots were taken up by the co-hosts -- South Korea and Japan.
China clinched a berth earlier this month by winning Group B.
Iran will take a one-point lead over Saudi Arabia into Sunday's final games in Group A. In order to pass Iran in the standings, Saudi Arabia must win over Thailand and hope that Iran either ties or is beaten by Bahrain. A tie for Saudi Arabia and a loss by Iran would also put Saudi Arabia into the World Cup.
Once the Group A winner is determined, 10 positions will remain in the field.
One of those will be determined in a playoff between Ireland and the third-place team from Asia.
The second-place finishers in Asia's two groups will play a home-and-home series on Oct. 25 and Oct. 31 with the survivor of that meeting taking on Ireland next month.