Yankees produce another magical win
NEW YORK, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Alfonso Soriano ended yet another magical New York performance by driving in the winning run with a one-out single in the 12th inning Thursday night, moving the Yankees to within one victory of their fourth straight World Series title with a 3-2 victory over the stunned Arizona Diamondbacks.
In the last game of the season at Yankee Stadium, New York tied it in the ninth on a two-out, two-run homer by Scott Brosius -- just as they had done the night before on a blast by Tino Martinez. And the ninth-inning Arizona victim was once again 22-year-old Korean Byung-Hyun Kim.
It is the first time in World Series history that a team has come from behind twice to win games in which they trailed going into the ninth inning.
New York took a 3-2 lead in the Series, but still face a substantial obstacle in its bid to finish off what would be one of the incredible championships in the history of the sport.
After an off day Friday, the Yankees will face Arizona's Randy Johnson at Bank One Ballpark. New York will counter with Andy Pettitte in Game 6. And if there is a Game 7, Arizona will have Curt Schilling waiting to take the mound.
For the second straight night, Arizona was often just one big hit away from breaking open the game. But the Diamondbacks had to be satisfied with a 2-0 lead going into the ninth -- the runs coming on solo homers in the fifth inning from Steve Finley and Rod Barajas.
Arizona starter Miguel Batista pitched the game of his life in shutting out the Yankees through 7 2/3 innings -- allowing five hits with five walks and six strikeouts. Greg Swindell came on with two outs in the New York eighth to record the final out with two men on.
In the ninth, Arizona manager Bob Brenly once again turned to Kim, even though his ace reliever had suffered through a disastrous outing Wednesday night. Kim not only surrendered a two-run homer to Martinez that tied Game 4 in the ninth inning, but also gave up the game-winning blast to Derek Jeter in the 10th.
On Thursday night, he surrendered a bloop double to Jorge Posada to lead off the ninth, but Shane Spencer grounded out to third base and Chuck Knoblauch struck out. That brought up Brosius, who looked at ball one before turning on a fast ball down the middle and driving it into the left-field seats.
Brosius raised his arms an instant after he hit the ball, knowing that he had allowed the Yankees to again fight off defeat by the narrowest of margins.
Neither side had a base runner in the 10th, but Arizona had a great chance to break through in the 11th off closer Mariano Rivera. Danny Batista and Eurbiel Durazo opened the inning with singles and moved up on a sacrifice by Matt Williams.
Finley was then intentionally walked to load the bases, but Soriano recorded the second out at second base by leaving his feet to snare a liner off the bat of Reggie Sanders and Mark Grace bounced into a force play to end the inning.
Albie Lopez came in to pitch the 12th for Arizona and Knoblauch greeted him with a single up the middle. Brosius sacrificed Knoblauch to second and Soriano then looped a single to right field.
Sanders got to the ball quickly and had a chance to throw Knoblauch out at the plate. But the ball hopped just in front of the catcher Barajas and he was unable to field it cleanly as Knoblauch slid in with the winning run.
Langer shares lead, Woods ailing
HOUSTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- German Bernhard Langer, enjoying one of the best seasons of his career at the age of 44, shared the first-round lead at the Tour Championship with Frank Lickliter Thursday, but most of the attention was focused on an ailing Tiger Woods -- who shot a 1-under 70 despite persistent pain in his lower back.
Although he has twice won the Masters and keeps a home in Florida, Langer has tried to play both the United States and European tours over the past decade and it has been a constant grind.
This year, he decided to play most of his golf on the PGA Tour and that has led to him winning $1.6 million and a current standing of 24th on the money list.
He thus earned him a spot in this exclusive, season-ending event which is open only to the top 30 money earners on the tour.
He fired a 6-under 65 at the Champions Golf Club, a round that included birdies at the difficult 16th and 17th holes.
Lickliter, who has enjoyed a breakout season which sees him ranked 19th on the money list, shot a 4-under 31 on the back nine and birdied the final two holes for his 65.
Tied for third at 67 were Steve Lowery and Scott Verplank while Brad Faxon and Mike Weir were at 68. The superstar group at 69 included David Duval, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Tom Lehman, Justin Leonard and last week's winner Chris DiMarco.
Woods, seeking his sixth victory of the year but who has had only one top 10 finish in his last eight starts, played in the final pairing of the day with PGA Championship winner David Toms.
While on the practice tee Wednesday, Woods suffered a muscle pull or strain in his lower back. He had been in good form during the pro-am event on Tuesday, when he shot a 64.
The first hint of trouble came on the first tee, when he squatted down to put the tee in the ground instead of bending over from the waist.
At the second hole, his reached for his back with his right hand after hitting his tee shot. He winced in pain on a number of tee shots, but hung in and made three birdies against two bogeys to finish in a tie for 13th place.
"Yesterday afternoon it started acting up," Woods said. "It is one of those things. You just have to deal with it. I tried to play the best I could. I tried to slow my swing down."
Wizards win for first time with Jordan
ATLANTA, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Michael Jordan scored 31 points Thursday night as the Washington Wizards earned their first victory of the season with a 98-88 triumph over the Atlanta Hawks.
When Jordan played his first regular-season game in more than three years Tuesday night, he missed a pair of late jumpers as Washington fell at New York, 93-91. In his first game at Philips Arena, Jordan started off strong with 11 points in the first quarter and had 19 at halftime, his total against the Knicks.
Jordan did not muster much in the fourth quarter, but came up with a key assist late in the game. With Washington holding a 90-86 lead and 51 seconds left, Jordan drew a double-team on the wing and kicked it to a wide-open Chris Whitney, who hit a three-pointer to seal the win.
Other NBA results: Dallas 99, Philadelphia 92; Detroit 90, Memphis 80; Houston 98, Los Angeles Clippers 92 in overtime; Miwlaukee 102, Denver 101; Los Angeles Lakers 105, Utah 101; Seattle 144, San Antonio 108; Phoenix 107, Golden State 101.
Turek picks up ninth victory
CALGARY, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Roman Turek made 26 saves Thursday night and posted his league-leading ninth victory as the Calgary Flames rallied for a 2-1 victory over the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets.
Turek, who came into the game second in the NHL behind Philadelphia's Brian Boucher with a 1.78 goals-against average, allowed a goal just 1:53 into the game when defenseman Jaime Heward charged in front of him and backhanded in his own rebound.
But Turek dominated thereafter, making several key saves. One resulted in him being shaken up late in the first period when a redirected shot hit him in the groin area.
Turek recovered to make nine saves in the second period and six in the third.
Other NHL results: Pittsburgh 3, Toronto 1; New Jersey 5, Phoenix 2; St. Louis 4, Carolina 3; San Jose 5, Atlanta 2; Chicago 3, Los Angeles 2.
BYU improves to 9-0
PROVO, Utah, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Lucas Staley scored five touchdowns Thursday night to keep the eighth-ranked Brigham Young Cougars unbeaten with a 56-34 whipping of Colorado State.
Staley scored twice in the first period as BYU took a 21-0 lead, only to have the Rams tie it in the second quarter. But Staley scored on a 44-yard run with 1:54 to play in the first half to put BYU in front for good.
BYU improved to 9-0 as they remained one of three unbeaten teams in major-college football -- joining Nebraska and Miami.
In Atlanta, meanwhile, George Godsey put Georgia Tech in front with a three-yard scoring run late in the third quarter and the No. 21 Yellow Jackets held on to deal North Carolina's Atlantic Coast Conference title hopes a severe blow with a 28-21 victory.
The Yellow Jackets snapped North Carolina's five-game winning streak and dropped the Tar Heels out of a second-place conference tie with Florida State.
Godsey's touchdown came with 1:12 left in the third quarter and gave Georgia Tech (6-3, 3-2 ACC) a 20-14 lead.
Report: McGwire has not signed contract
ST. LOUIS, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa said slugger Mark McGwire never signed his $30 million, two-year contract extension, making it more likely he will retire, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday.
"I don't expect him back," La Russa told the newspaper in a telephone call from his home in California.
McGwire, 38, hinted as far back as July that he was thinking of retirement.
In mid-October, McGwire said he felt his body was "definitely worn out." The contract extension awards McGwire a $14 million salary for the 2002 season and $16 million in 2003.
La Russa said he expects McGwire to make a decision in the next month. He said he still thinks McGwire can play.
Astros hire Jimy Williams
HOUSTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The Houston Astros hired Jimy Williams as their new manager Thursday, 2 1/2 months after he was fired by the Boston Red Sox.
Williams, 58, takes over for Larry Dierker, who guided the Astros to four National League Central Division titles in five seasons but never won a playoff series and resigned after losing to the Braves in the Division Series this year.
Williams will manage his third team. He had three winning years in Toronto before being fired in 1989 and guided Boston to a pair of postseason appearances in four-plus seasons before being dismissed in August.
In nine seasons as a major league skipper, Williams is 695-593. He guided the Red Sox to the 1999 American League Championship Series, but lost control of his team as his relationship with General Manager Dan Duquette crumbled.
Hart becomes Rangers GM
ARLINGTON, Texas, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- John Hart, who helped turn the Cleveland Indians from an also-ran into a perennial contender, was named Thursday as general manager of the Texas Rangers.
Hart served as the Indians' executive vice president and general manager from 1991 through the end of the 2001 season. During his tenure, the Indians captured six division titles and American League pennants in 1995 and 1997.
The Rangers hope Hart, 53, can work the same magic in Texas. He replaces Doug Melvin, who was fired last month.
"He's had great success, he's a great leader and he's the guy that's going to be our leader," Texas owner Thomas Hicks said.
As part of their new management team, the Rangers also named Grady Fusion, 45, assistant general manager in charge of scouting and player development.
Fusion, Oakland's director of scouting for the past six years, also was a candidate for the Rangers' general manager position. During his time in Oakland, Tim Hudson, Eric Chavez, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder were among the players that climbed through the system.
NBA players named to national team
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- USA Basketball Thursday announced the first seven members of a 12-man team that will take part in next year's World Championships, which will take place from Aug. 29-Sept. 8 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Among those named to the team were Indiana Pacers teammates Reggie Miller and Jermaine O'Neal, who will try to win a gold medal in front of their home fans.
Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion and Toronto Raptors big man Antonio Davis, a former Pacer, rounded out the first seven members of the team.
The other five players will be named after the NBA All-Star Game, which is Feb. 9. George Karl of the Bucks has been named coach.
This will be just the second time NBA players have been featured in the World Championships.
Chinese gymnast wins gold medal
GHENT, Belgium, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Feng Jing of China, virtually unknown on the international competition scene, put on a consistent performance Thursday night to edge Ivan Ivankov of Belarus and capture the men's all-around gold medal at the World Gymnastics Championship.
Ivankov was bidding for his third world title, but sub-par efforts in the floor exercise and
pommel horse cost him the championship.
American Sean Townsend, who combined with his colleagues to win the silver medal in the team competition Wednesday night, had the lead until his last exercise -- but let it get away on the high bar and finished eighth.
Feng totaled 56.211 points for the six routines while Ivankov compiled 56.124 points for the silver medal. The bronze went to Jordan Jovtchev of Bulgaria with 56.085.
Next came Dan Potra of Romania, Eric Lopez of Cuba, Yernar Yerimbetov of Kazakhstan, Paul Hamm of the United States and Townsend.
Ivankov totaled just 8.825 points on the pommel horse compared with 9.425 for Feng and had a score of 9.000 on the floor exercise while Feng had a 9.287.
Townsend had to settle for a 8.250 on the high bar. Had he produced the same score on that apparatus as Feng, Townsend would have won the gold medal. Hamm also was in position for a medal until he, too, botched his high bar exercise.
Davenport wins 14th straight
MUNICH, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Second seed Lindsay Davenport enjoyed another overwhelming performance against Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia Thursday to continue her winning ways.
Davenport recorded 14 aces and broke Dokic's serve four times in overpowering her opponent for the third time in 12 days, 6-3, 6-3, to advance to the semifinals of the season-ending Sanex Championships.
In the day's other quarterfinal, Belgian Kim Clijsters, the third seed, took eight of the final nine games to pull away for a 7-5, 6-1 win over Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.
Davenport extended her tour winning streak to 14 matches.