Lopsided decisions in LCS
NEW YORK, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A pair of one-sided decisions Saturday brought the Seattle Mariners back into contention and forced the Atlanta Braves to the brink of elimination.
The games played in the American and National League Championship Series were almost identical -- with the winning team creating a lot of offense and the losing team falling apart on defense.
Bret Boone and Mark McLemore combined to drive in eight runs, igniting the Seattle offense and carrying the Mariners to a 14-3 blasting of the New York Yankees. In the storied history of the franchise, the 14 runs were the most ever given up by the Yankees in a playoff game. The Mariners also scored the most runs ever produced in an ALCS game.
After losing the first two games of the series at home following a regular season in which they equaled the major league record with 116 victories, the Mariners finally put their offense in gear with 15 hits and also benefited from some shoddy New York fielding.
The victory came after manager Lou Piniella said his Mariners would bring the series back to Seattle, something that would require two victories in the three games scheduled at Yankee Stadium.
Having reduced their deficit in the series to 2-1, Seattle will try to even it up tonight when the Mariners send Paul Abbott to the mound to oppose Roger Clemens.
In Atlanta, Craig Counsell drove in four runs and the Arizona Diamondbacks capitalized on what was a nightmarish third inning for the Braves in rolling to an 11-4 victory. Arizona is within one victory of the first World Series appearance in franchise history.
Atlanta committed three errors in the third, a league championship record, and superstar Greg Maddux unraveled both on the mound and in the field.
Maddux, pitching on three day's rest and being counted on by the Braves to help even the National League Championship Series, gave up eight hits and six runs while surviving just three innings. Arizona thus took a three games to one advantage and the Diamondbacks can earn a berth in the World Series tonight when Randy Johnson will take the mound against Tom Glavine.
The Braves, meanwhile, are on the verge of another disappointing end to a solid season. They have played in nine of the last 10 NLCS, but have reached the World Series just once since 1996. Atlanta actually outhit Arizona Saturday night, 13-12, but committed four errors overall that led to six unearned runs.
Nebraska, Oklahoma set up showdown
LINCOLN, Neb., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The second-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers and third-rated Oklahoma Sooners protected their positions Saturday night, setting up a meeting between the powerhouses next weekend that could determine one of the spots in the national championship game.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno, meanwhile, finally tied Bear Bryant for the most coaching victories in major college football. And the ranks of the unbeaten were trimmed to eight with a series of upsets.
Eric Crouch passed for three touchdowns and ran for another and Dahrran Diedrick rushed for 157 yards to power second-ranked Nebraska to a tougher-than-expected 41-31 win over Texas Tech.
The Cornhuskers (7-0, 3-0 Big 12 North) won their 19th straight home game and will welcome Oklahoma to Memorial Stadium next Saturday.
Texas Tech battled its way to a 28-28 halftime tie and was within seven points midway through the final period.
In Norman, Josh White threw for 343 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a score as the Sooners tuned up for their big game by downing Baylor, 33-17.
The defending national champion Sooners (7-0, 4-0 Big 12 South) won their 20th straight game, the longest current streak in the nation. It marks the fifth time in school history that the Sooners have won 20 or more in a row.
Paterno's victory came against Northwestern when backup Zack Mills threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Eric McCoo with 22 seconds remaining. That gave Penn State its first win of the season, 38-35 over 20th-ranked Northwestern.
It was the 323rd coaching victory of Paterno's career.
No. 1 Miami was idle Saturday, keeping the Hurricanes unbeaten along with Oklahoma, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, UCLA, BYU, Maryland and Washington State. Fresno State, Oregon and Toledo all lost their first game this weekend.
Oregon, ranked fifth, fell to Stanford Saturday, 49-42. In the only meeting of top 25 teams Saturday, No. 8 Texas blasted No. 17 Colorado, 41-7.
Bowman reaches 1,200 wins
DETROIT, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Luc Robitaille scored the go-ahead goal against his former team and Scotty Bowman recorded his 1,200th win Saturday night as the Detroit Red Wings held on for their fifth straight victory, 3-2 over the Los Angeles Kings.
The second-leading scorer in Kings' history, Robitaille signed with the Red Wings as a free agent on July 5. With 4:19 left in the second period and Detroit on the power play, he deflected Brendan Shanahan's shot past goaltender Felix Potvin to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games.
Dominik Hasek made it stand up as the game-winner as the Red Wings improved to 7-1-0.
Bowman moved to 1,200-563-304 in a coaching career that began in 1967-68, the same season the Kings joined the NHL. Despite taking off parts of eight years along the way, he has 138 more wins than the Los Angeles franchise.
Other NHL results: San Jose 2, New York Islanders 2; Carolina 2, Atlanta 1 in overtime; Calgary 4, Toronto 1; Colorado 5, Columbus 0; Buffalo 3, Montreal 1; Philadelphia 6, Washington 3; New Jersey 3, Ottawa 2; Tampa Bay 5, New York Rangers 2; Chicago 2, Dallas 2; Boston 2, Nashville 1; St. Louis 2, Pittsburgh 1; Edmonton 6, Florida 2; Phoenix 5, Vancouver 2.
Rams try to stay unbeaten
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The unbeaten St. Louis Rams seek to match a 6-0 start for the third consecutive year today. But the New York Jets hope to become the third straight AFC team to hand the Rams their first loss.
In their Super Bowl season of 1999, the Rams won their first six games before the streak ended at Tennessee. Last season, the Rams again started 6-0 before suffering a 54-34 loss at Kansas City.
The Rams head into the Meadowlands with a 5-0 record, but an AFC team on the road appears to be the wrong recipe for St. Louis.
And to make matters worse, the Rams will likely be without reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Marshall Faulk, who is nursing a bruised right knee and did not practice Friday.
Trung Canidate, a first-round pick in 2000, will probably fill in for Faulk.
The Jets (3-2) rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit and posted a 21-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins last week to move into a tie for first place in the AFC East.
One week before a showdown with St. Louis, the New Orleans Saints (3-1) host the Atlanta Falcons (2-3). The Saints had lost 10 straight games to the Falcons in their NFC West rivalry before last season, when they swept both games.
There are four other division contests today and one is a playoff rematch from last season on Monday night.
Three-time Most Valuable Player Brett Favre is just 2-7 at the Metrodome. But one of those wins came last year for the Green Bay Packers. The Packers (4-1) visit the Minnesota Vikings (2-3) in a crucial NFC Central contest.
The Denver Broncos (3-2) are worried about Brian Griese's recurring shoulder problems while the San Diego Chargers (3-2) are adjusting to changes to their defensive staff. They will meet in San Diego.
Baltimore will be at Cleveland and Indianapolis will host New England in the other division matchups.
Other NFL contests find Carolina at Washington, Chicago at Cincinnati, Kansas City at Arizona, Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay and Tennessee at Detroit.
Jordan in mid-season form
WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Michael Jordan looked like his old self Saturday night, scoring 41 points as the Washington Wizards suffered a 102-95, exhibition loss to the New Jersey Nets.
Jordan again was the most dominant player on the court, making 15 of 24 shots from the floor and taking over stretches of the game. He made nine of 11 free throws and had six rebounds and four assists.
He scored 15 points in the first half and produced 16 points in the third quarter during a 20-4 run that brought the Wizards within a basket. But his heroics were not enough to overcome the Nets, who scored 32 points in the first quarter and had a 55-37 cushion at halftime.
Other NBA exhibition results: Atlanta 88, Charlotte 73; Toronto 105, Cleveland 84; Utah 96, Philadelphia 86; Indiana 91, Chicago 90; Minnesota 93, Milwaukee 74; Dallas 94, Denver 88.
Coceres seeks second title of 2001
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Jose Coceres of Argentina shot an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to build a three-shot lead after three rounds of the National Car Rental Classic.
Coceres had eight birdies during his second straight bogey-free round at the Magnolia Golf Club and is in position for his second title of the season and career.
Coceres, 38, won the Worldcom Classic in April, defeating Billy Mayfair in a playoff. But he has missed the cut in seven of 18 starts this season and likely needs a win here to qualify for the Tour Championship.
At 19-under 197, Coceres was three shots better than Davis Love III, the fifth-ranked player in the world who also is aiming for his second title of the year.
The top 10 has four of the top eight players in the world, including No. 1 Tiger Woods, whose 5-under 67 put him a tie for 10th with eighth-ranked David Toms and Jesper Parnevik of Sweden at 13-under 203.
Davenport plays for Zurich crown
ZURICH, Switzerland, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- American Lindsay Davenport and Yugoslavia's Jelena Dokic won a pair of marquee matches Saturday to reach the finals of the $1.19 million Swisscom Challenge.
Seeded third, Davenport overcame a tough second-set setback to defeat second-seeded countrywoman Jennifer Capriati, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
Dokic, the No. 4 seed, had an easier time, cruising past fifth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France, 6-2, 6-2.
Looking for her sixth title of 2001 and second straight, Davenport continued her dominance here as she won for the 14th time in 15 matches. She captured consecutive titles in 1997 and 1998 before losing in the final last year to Hingis.
MLS championship on line today
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- After a pair of finals failures, the Los Angeles Galaxy try to lift the MLS Cup for the first time today when they battle the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Galaxy squandered a two-goal lead in the inaugural MLS Cup final in 1996 and suffered a 3-2 overtime defeat to D.C. United. Three years later, Los Angeles recorded just two shots on goal in a 2-0 blanking at the hands of United.
Los Angeles finally claimed a trophy in January, capturing the Football Confederation Champions Cup against the top clubs in North and Central America and the Caribbean. The Galaxy also advanced to the final of the U.S. Open Cup and will play the New England Revolution on Oct. 27.
Mauricio Cienfuegos scored eight minutes into overtime Wednesday as Los Angeles reached the final with a 2-1 road triumph over Chicago in Game 3 of their semifinal series.
The Earthquakes won both meetings during the regular season, 3-2 at the Rose Bowl on April 7 and 3-1 at Spartan Stadium on June 9. The clubs were scheduled to play a home-and-home series to end the season, but both matches were canceled following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.